Over the summer Carbon Market Watch along with our members and new working partner NGOs in Latin America, Africa and India hosted a series of online webinars to discuss the current state of carbon markets around the world and their specific impacts on various regions. The online events were designed to substitute for physical workshop meetings that were canceled due to current pandemic restrictions.
The meetings were held across the month of August and provided a learning opportunity for participants and panels to share and communicate opinions and experience with existing and upcoming market mechanisms in each region.
The webinars served to bring our audience up to speed on all recent developments that have occurred since the last UNFCCC COP25 meeting in Madrid. For the second year in a row, there was no deal on the Paris Agreement’s new carbon market architecture that would replace the old market designs under the Kyoto Protocol. Carbon Markets covered under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, have been a thorny issue and have proven difficult for negotiators to resolve.
The webinars aimed to inform a civil society and academic audience, and CMW took the opportunity to play its new animation video that describes the opportunities for public engagement in the process. These events also drew insight from participants through a live comment and question forum, and this was an effective way of learning what more needs to be done to increase civil society’s capacity on these tricky topics.
Below our regional partners each share a short testimony from the webinars and some of the outcomes from the summer series.
Anysee Kenfack Ngnintedem (CMW member) _ Africa Webinar
It was a real pleasure for us to welcome with open arms this webinar, organized by Carbon Market Watch in partnership with ACDESPE, with the objective to strengthen the capacities of African civil society organizations on the role of international carbon markets in Africa. This involved equipping the various participants with the concept of carbon markets, so that they all have the same level of information in order to act informed.
The panelists structured their presentations around two main sub-themes, namely: International Carbon Markets presented by Gilles Dufrasne and the role of International Carbon Markets: Better understanding to act, presented by Joseph KOGBE. They presented respectively carbon markets in general, definition of concepts, operating principles, processes, etc. and some examples of projects implemented in Africa within the framework of carbon markets, actors and rules, examples of projects in Uganda and Benin.
African civil society is very poorly informed about carbon markets, which they consider to be a somewhat abstract notion for Africa. Initiatives like this one are very crucial and allow them not only to realize the opportunity that is theirs, but to strengthen the NGO dynamic around carbon markets, and to teach civil society and movements of leaders so that they are able to act.
In general, the webinar allowed participants to better understand the notion of carbon markets, and prepare themselves for future action. At the end of the webinar, the participants welcomed the initiative by calling for such initiatives to be multiplied.
For the sake of continuity, we believe it is important to develop and popularize an observer guide, so that organizations wishing to embark on observation have a guide manual. We must also work to obtain accredited observer status with ICAO, for the observation of the CORSIA mechanism.
Florencia Ortúzar/ Astrid Milena Bernal _ Latin America
Workshop on carbon markets in Latin America – CMW in alliance with Barranquilla + 20 and AIDA
On August 4, 2020, the workshop “Carbon Markets in Latin America” was held to train regional civil society in monitoring these markets and getting involved in the development of projects that are and will be issuing bonds or carbon offsets.
The event organized by Carbon Market Watch (CMW) and its regional partners, the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) and Fundación Barranquilla + 20, in Colombia, brought together more than 80 organizations, including representatives from indigenous peoples, local communities and academic and civil society organizations from Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador.
The event began with a presentation by CMW that offered an overview of the international carbon markets, setting the stage for discussion. Then, the focus was put on Latin America, an increasingly attractive region for the development of these types of projects, today hosting the largest number of projects in the voluntary market. With this in mind, an overview of the operation of carbon market projects in the region was offered, identifying the different instances in which civil society organizations can participate to demand fulfilment of social and environmental safeguards and the guarantee of the rights of local communities. A critical vision was maintained throughout the event, due to the impacts that these types of projects have historically had on local communities and the questioning about their real effectiveness to combat climate change.
Considering that the main sectors hosting projects associated with carbon markets in Latin America are the agriculture, forestry and other land uses (AFOLU) and the energy sector, four case studies were presented. The REDD + Suruí Forest project in Brazil, the REDD + Mutatá project in Colombia, the Jepirachi Wind Farm project in Brazil, and the Cururos Wind Farm project in Chile. With these examples it was possible to show the importance of monitoring certain aspects of these projects, such as the implementation of adequate participation processes that allow real involvement of local communities in their design and execution, and the importance of ensuring real additionality of the projects, which means to make sure they really contribute to the mitigation of climate change. In contrast to our critical vision, we emphasized that it is also possible to obtain good results when projects are carried out with the participation of communities, according to their needs, guaranteeing their rights and promoting the protection of the environment.
Falguni Joshi and Mahesh Pandya (CMW member) _ India
Webinar organized on the “Role of International Carbon Markets in India”
Carbon markets can take different forms, but one increasingly popular type of market – the so-called “baseline and credit” market – is used by countries and companies to purchase carbon offsets, which allow them to claim emission reductions even if they have not achieved these through their own actions. A multitude of emission reduction projects have been implemented across the world to generate such carbon offsets, and regulations were adopted at the UNFCCC through the Kyoto Protocol but are currently being replaced by rules being negotiated under the Paris Agreement. 2021 marks the start of a new era for carbon markets, as new international rules will govern their use.
ParyavaranMitra in association with Carbon Market Watch organized a webinar on the Role of international carbon markets in India on the 5thof August 2020. Members of civil society organizations, academic institutes, policy institutes, researchers and other interested stakeholders participated in the webinar. Carbon Market Watch’s Policy Officer, Gilles Dufrasne, started by sharing insights on the international dynamics of carbon markets. This was followed by a short video explaining the various steps which carbon market projects must follow before and during implementation. Participants then asked questions to clarify remaining doubts about the role of carbon markets and their potential contribution to sustainable development. Representatives of ParyavaranMitra Mahesh Pandya and Falguni Joshi then discussed the “Role of international markets in India”, focusing on selected case studies. Andrew Coiley of Carbon Market Watch moderated the open session and interesting discussions took place on the basis of questions from participants.
Past experiences with carbon market projects from different mechanisms have given us a chance to learn more, and stay alert to prevent that projects harm local communities or the environment. Civil society organizations must support local people in this work.
However, negotiations to agree on rules to govern international carbon markets have until now failed, and uncertainty remains as to whether or not countries will be able to agree on such rules by the next UN climate conference (COP26), scheduled to take place in November 2021.
In the absence of rules, international trades will still take place, and civil society monitoring will be particularly important. Until now, markets have failed to truly reduce emissions, and existing offsetting mechanisms are riddled with loopholes.
Currently, carbon markets are not trustworthy. A strong grievance mechanism and improved rules to stimulate public participation are needed as a precondition for these systems to work.