WatchThis! – New scheme could breathe life back into the CDM (June 2018)

(4-minute read)

Dear friends,

We are delighted to share with you the very first digital hub edition of the platform which brings you content such as interviews with our network members, academics, and other experts, a space to promote your campaigns, upcoming events, articles, and more.

Over the years, we have worked together for justice, human rights and environmental integrity of climate projects under the UN’s offsetting scheme, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). From people on the ground to the international level, our cooperation has helped to shed light on the various problems related to the CDM, helping us get closer to transitioning away from the concept of offsetting, that does not contribute to climate protection and obscures real solutions.

Because our achievements were not a given, because they came from our collaborative actions, in this edition of the WatchThis! we not only want to share the network experiences but also highlight our common future objectives.

The international negotiations are currently underway at both UNFCCC and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) to establish new mechanisms to mitigate climate change. There was little progress made at the last negotiating session in Bonn, and the next session in September will be crucial to ensure that negotiations start on the right foot in Katowice, where the Paris Agreement rulebook will be decided.


What does ICAO have to do with the CDM?

In 2021, new offsetting scheme for international aviation (CORSIA) will enter into force. This could potentially breathe life back into the CDM as airlines are expecting to be able to use credits from the CDM to meet their new obligations. In addition, private companies are eager to provide their own “credits” (the so-called voluntary markets) with no certainty about the project quality.

Questions that we need to ask ourselves include: what happens if private companies are allowed to create their own carbon market? What will be the role of the civil society in keeping CORSIA in check, when it has been effectively excluded from participating in the scheme’s development?

Little is known about what the aviation sector plans to do to “tackle” its massive climate impact. We challenge you to test how much you know about it here:

All this means that we as civil society organisations have a lot of work ahead of us. We must, first of all, ensure that any projects used by airlines will respect human rights and protect the environment, and second of all to push for climate solutions that go beyond offsetting – a concept that is not compatible with the Paris Agreement climate goals.



Get rid of what hasn’t worked: The CDM.


Uphold human rights and social safeguards.

Our guide on local stakeholder consultation lays out the steps to ensure adequate public participation in climate mitigation projects.

Make sure that there is public input, that governments and public have control of what goes into CORSIA

The current lack of transparency prevents us from seeing if the finance will be used for the right things, and not for projects that fail to reduce emissions or harm human rights, as has been the case with offsetting projects in the past (and present).


The operations of Green Resources -a Norwegian industrial forestry plantation and carbon offsets company- have resulted in a loss of lands and livelihoods for the local communities at Kachung and Bukaleba — its two sites in Uganda. Learn more here.


Miriam and Carbon Market Watch Team
  Thank you for welcoming us into your inbox and sharing your voice with us! We received a lot of helpful feedback as we were building this for you. To showcase national campaigns, events, and disseminate articles to a wider international community; to participate in our debates, interviews and/or propose content/topics that you would like to hear about in our podcast, send me an email at [email protected] 

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