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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.

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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).

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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.

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Carbon Market Watch response to the EU consultation on addressing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and LULUCF in the context of the 2030 EU climate and energy framework

1. In your view, which of the multiple objectives of agriculture, forestry and other land use will gain most in relative importance by 2030?

It will be critical to ensure the long-term stability of carbon pools for carbon storage, biodiversity protection and ecosystem preservation in the future. Currently the emissions from land use represent a quarter of all human emissions and it is hence vital that the land use sector also contributes to tackling climate change.
The use of biomass is limited due to finite land availability and therefore the use of biomass should follow the cascading hierarchy and only as a last resort be used for lower-quality applications where other viable alternatives exist, which is the case with power generation.
Finally, it should be recognised that food security and sustainable farming should go hand in hand. Actions that support this include no-till farming, silvopastoral practises and demand-side measures to limit excess consumption.

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