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Briefings
31 Jul 2020

Carbon markets 101 – the ultimate guide to global offsetting mechanisms

Introduction This briefing gives an overview of the current discussions under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement which establishes the foundation for market-based climate measures after 2020. It lays out key lessons from the Kyoto Protocol markets, highlights essential issues within the Article 6 negotiations, and provides recommendations on how to solve them. It concludes…

Briefings
29 Oct 2018

The Clean Development Mechanism: Local Impacts of a Global System

Executive Summary The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was set up under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to allow developed countries to buy emissions reductions from developing countries in the form of credits, called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs). The objectives of the CDM are to help developed countries achieve their climate commitment and to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable…

Briefings
26 Apr 2018

Practitioner’s guide for local stakeholder consultation – how to ensure adequate public participation in climate mitigation actions

Introduction Over the past 20 years, global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change have increasingly relied upon the implementation of local mitigation projects. While aiming to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective way, some of these projects have built up a record of adverse impacts on local people, resulting in the displacement of…

Briefings
4 May 2017

Building blocks for a robust Sustainable Development Mechanism

The Paris Agreement marks a new era for international climate action in general, and specifically for international carbon markets. Though the agreement does not mention markets per se, Article 6 paragraph 4 establishes what has become to be known as the Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM) which builds on and shares some features of the Kyoto flexible mechanisms namely the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI).

Briefings
8 Nov 2016

Carbon Markets in the Post Paris World

The Paris Agreement represents a new era for international climate action, including for international carbon markets. Humans have emitted so much into the atmosphere that even if compensated, very little can still be emitted to limit serious consequences of climate change. 2°C of warming would have very negative effects, which is why it is important to swiftly work towards the Paris goal of the 1.5°C limit. If carbon markets are to help work towards this goal, they must work to rapidly increase ambition and guarantee high environmental integrity.

Briefings
22 Dec 2015

Paris outcomes: Carbon Market Watch Analysis of COP 21

From 30 November to 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC met in Paris to negotiate a new global climate treaty.

The Paris Agreement was a remarkable outcome, especially after the failures of Copenhagen. Almost all involved, including Carbon Market Watch, seemed surprised at how positive the outcome was. However, expectations had been carefully managed in the preceding years, so that aspirations of environmentalists to have a treaty that reflected the scientific reality by dividing up the remaining global carbon budget, had been downplayed into unreality.

Briefings
30 Nov 2015

Report: Using nature to pardon environmental pollution – Risks of agriculture sequestration carbon offsets

Agriculture supports the livelihoods of around a half of the world’s population, but is at the same time a notable source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) driving climate change. As of one the options to tackle emissions in the sector, governments have been discussing to include additional agricultural activities into the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) since 2011. Whether agricultural activities should be eligible for carbon offsetting programmes is not only topical within discussions in the UNFCCC but also within certain regional cap-and-trade schemes and discussions to establish a market based mechanism for international aviation emissions, expected to be adopted in October 2016 under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Briefings
30 Nov 2015

Human rights accountability of climate action

Not only man-made climate change, but also certain actions to address climate change can directly result in adverse impacts on human rights. While well intentioned, certain climate mitigation actions implemented under the UNFCCC have caused harm to the environment and people—even infringing on rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation, housing, and culture, among others.

Briefings
30 Nov 2015

Policy Brief: Fossil and biological carbon: a tonne is not a tonne

Whether biological carbon credit should be traded in carbon markets is topical, with discussions ongoing in the UNFCCC, ICAO and the California Cap-and-Trade system. To date, compliance markets have rejected the eligibility of biological carbon offsets. They are right to do so. Fossil and biological carbon operate on different parts of the carbon cycle, and on very different timescales. Fossil carbon is permanent; biological carbon is potentially and frequently subject to rapid fluxes, whether natural or manmade. For these reasons, offset credits from REDD+, afforestation and reforestation or other biological systems should not be treated as fungible with fossil carbon, but should instead be addressed through other, appropriate, policy measures.

Briefings
20 Nov 2015

Recommendations related to the role of carbon markets in the Paris Agreement

Only very few countries have outlined in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that they will use international trading as a means to help achieve their climate goals. However, despite the limited role of markets expressed by most industrialised countries in their INDCs, such as the EU and the US, the political reality regarding domestic carbon pricing schemes looks different: jurisdictions responsible for 40% of the global economy have already implemented carbon pricing mechanisms.