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Briefings
24 Nov 2020

Carbon markets and agriculture – why offsetting is putting us on the wrong track

Executive summary Climate mitigation projects in the agriculture sector, particularly those focused on storing carbon in soils, are increasingly being tied to carbon markets. But the impact of these initiatives is highly questionable. First, agricultural offsetting schemes can be damaging to farmers. Some markets endanger food security and limit farmers’ autonomy by incentivising the uptake…

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
31 Aug 2018

Reconciling CORSIA and the Sustainable Development Mechanism

Executive Summary The Paris Agreement breaks away from the division of “developed” vs. “developing” countries which was enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol. It sets a new dynamic which will inevitably impact the next generation of carbon markets. It further sets new objectives for these mechanisms, such as contributing to overall mitigation of global GHG emissions and…

Briefings
14 Oct 2016

The CORSIA: ICAO’s market based measure and implications for Europe

Executive Summary On October 6th, Member States of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed on an offsetting scheme to compensate for emissions growth from 2020 levels. The new scheme, called the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), falls short of achieving the goal of carbon neutral growth in 2020 (CNG2020), let…

Briefings
24 May 2016

Report: Human Rights implications of climate change mitigation actions, second edition

Executive Summary Countries’ obligations under international human rights law are well established. These include the obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights, which are applicable in the context of climate change. Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognize that they must respect human rights—including procedural rights—in all climate-related actions….

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

Policy Brief: Integrating the Sustainable Development Agenda into the 2015 Climate Agreement

The new global Sustainable Development Agenda (Agenda 2030), officially adopted on 25 September 2015 by all United Nations (UN) Member States, has for the first time produced a stand-alone and universal climate goal. This explicitly recognises that the solutions to climate change and sustainable development are inherently interconnected and calls for coordinated efforts to address both simultaneously. From ending poverty and hunger, to addressing health, water and energy insecurity, to protecting oceans, forests and other ecosystems and preventing conflict, addressing climate change is critical to our collective ability to deliver on the SDGs.

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
1 Sep 2015

Policy Brief: Social and environmental accountability of climate finance instruments

Climate change is a global injustice to present and future generations, and one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time. For one, climate change has a significant effect on several human rights, such as the right to safe and adequate water and food, the right to health and adequate housing, and the right to life. On the other hand, certain actions to address climate change can directly result in adverse impacts on human rights.