Governments must slash emissions, not ambition

As Carbon Market Watch prepares to attend the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, we urge the international community to commit to far more ambitious climate action. Negotiators must design effective and fair carbon markets under Article 6 that complement rather than replace rapid and massive emissions reductions.

The COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh (6-18 November 2022) is taking place two years into the decisive decade for the climate in which the world must massively scale up action if global heating is to be kept within the relatively manageable limits of 1.5°C set out in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

“The battle for effective and fair climate action now shifts to raising ambition on slashing emissions and to the implementation of Article 6, as well as to fixing the problems which the negotiators at COP26 left unresolved,” says Sabine Frank, CMW’s executive director. “Ultimately, countries should not make use of Article 6, except as a last resort. Instead, they should set themselves ambitious domestic targets first. Developing countries need support, which should come in the form of climate finance contributions.”

However, the war in Ukraine, tightening global energy supplies, a food emergency in many poorer countries and high inflation in many wealthier countries threaten to overshadow the negotiations and dampen ambitions. This would be a grave error because all of these problems have a climate or fossil fuel component and, thus, require an acceleration of ambition to rein in emissions.

“Governments need to stop making up excuses for climate inaction, and we count on them to act collectively to kick our fossil fuel addiction,” insists Sam Van den plas, CMW’s policy director. “World leaders must support the climate solutions of the future rather than giving the polluters of the present and past an easy way out.”

Credible carbon markets

Although the top priority for governments must be to strengthen their solidarity and to develop and implement measures that will deliver rapid and real emissions cuts, Carbon Market Watch will be in Sharm el-Sheikh to ensure that the carbon markets under Article 6 agreed on at COP26 in Glasgow are designed and governed in such a way that they help tackle the climate crisis and benefit local and indigenous communities.

“It is time for countries to start regulating carbon markets better and to close the door to greenwashing. Article 6 mechanisms must set an example for the global systems which are supplying the most polluting companies with cheap, low-quality offsets,” said Gilles Dufrasne, CMW’s lead on global carbon markets. “This requires exemplary transparency, robust governance, and stringent accounting provisions. This is what countries must deliver in the Article 6 negotiations at COP27.”

Robust governance and climate action

One key area on which Carbon Market Watch will be focusing is the adoption of governance rules and carbon market provisions that enable broad participation and proper accounting and transparency in carbon markets. Negotiators will need to clearly define what can be traded in carbon markets (for example, by better defining what “removals” are and by excluding “emission avoidance” as a basis for credits). They will also need to provide assurance about the level of transparency of the system, requiring the publication of clear and comprehensive information about any trade that takes place.

Last but not least, stakeholders must have access to an appeals process and a grievance mechanism – both of which are yet to be established.

“Absolute transparency is needed in Article 6 to ensure all carbon credit transactions are publicly accessible. The striking lack of transparency on the voluntary carbon market must not be replicated in Article 6,” explains Jonathan Crook, expert on global carbon markets at CMW. “Countries must seize the opportunity to lead by example also when it comes to accurately defining carbon removals and to excluding emission avoidance as a basis to generate dubious carbon credits.”

Human rights and wrongs

Safeguarding and promoting human rights is a core value we champion and a commitment to defending these fundamental rights and demanding climate justice underpin our approach to COP27. We support efforts to bolster climate finance from rich countries to poorer ones and to advance the cause of loss and damage for the countries most affected by the climate crisis.

In addition, we stand in solidarity with Egypt’s beleaguered civil society and demand the immediate release of the tens of thousands of Egyptian prisoners of conscience who have been deprived of their liberty.

CMW at COP27

Carbon Market Watch’s COP delegation will consist of:

Sabine Frank, executive director (Week 1)
Sam Van den plas, policy director (Week 2)
Khaled Diab, communications director (Week 1 and 2)
Gilles Dufrasne, lead on global carbon markets (Week 1 and 2)
Jonathan Crook, expert on global carbon markets (Week 1 and 2)

Carbon Market Watch will be organising a side event, in collaboration with CCFD Terre Solidaire, titled ‘Core principles for an independent grievance process in Article 6’ on Wednesday 9 November, Time: 15-16:30, Location: Thebes (150).

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