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Annual report 2022

Foreword by Sabine Frank

Cover of CMW’s 2022 annual report

The top story of 2022 was, sadly, the Russian invasion of and war in Ukraine. Beyond the emotional toll of watching the human cost of warfare, it had an impact on CMW’s work, too. The EU’s imposition of sanctions on Russia and its quest to gain energy independence from Moscow, sent energy prices skyrocketing. This, in turn, made for an unpropitious backdrop for the passage of ambitious climate legislation, and a tightening of carbon pricing instruments in particular. 

The fact that some companies had to halt production temporarily because high energy costs lowered their short-term profitability made it challenging to turn attention to the longer term and the need to halve emissions by 2030 and fully decarbonise by mid-century. The worst opportunists went so far as to call for a moratorium on the entire EU Emissions Trading System. 

This meant that we had to swim against the current with our advocacy work on the ETS and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). We stood our ground and insisted that the climate crisis requires the resolve of our governments to make the European Green Deal as effective as possible, that climate policies must remain just that and can’t substitute for energy or economic policies. 

Climate-related disasters – such as flooding in Pakistan, heatwaves on all continents and severe drought in the horn of Africa – showed how the climate emergency is not going away, no matter what our short-term concerns and crises may be. Although not as ambitious as we demanded, the revised ETS and the CBAM both passed the legislative hurdle.

In the global policy domain, it was likewise noticeable that the climate crisis is not preoccupation number one. International climate negotiations at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh tried to build on progress made in Glasgow, such as on carbon markets under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, but the breakthroughs were few and far between. The emission offsetting logic of old still rides strong. The UNFCCC’s goal of involving ‘non-state actors’ in achieving climate neutrality has led too many of them to jump on the bandwagon of big claims without matching them with big actions. CMW had its work cut out once more in shining a light on the bad and the ugly and fighting for sense and science in emerging climate governance frameworks.

Besides a busy year of ‘evidenced-based advocacy’ as is Carbon Market Watch’s mission, our team reached the point where it was double the size it was in 2019. This involved some significant changes to our internal functioning – a separation of financial management from human resources management and adding more structure to our policy team. We have also added a layer of learning to CMW about how to remain stable against a backdrop of changing circumstances. We keep revising the rules by which we work and the values to which we hold ourselves accountable so that our organisation remains well-placed to fight its external battles.

We continued to enjoy the generous support of our honorary board, the members of our organisation across the world, our project partners and engaged funders. A huge thank you to them all for having contributed to the success of Carbon Market Watch in 2022.

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