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What Future for Voluntary Carbon Markets?

New Policy Brief Outlines the “Identity Crisis” of Voluntary Offset Standards after Paris

January 2017 - More and more individuals and corporations have a desire to offset some of their carbon footprint. To satisfy this demand, a host of voluntary carbon standards have emerged.

Originally, these standards operated within the international legal environment of the Kyoto Protocol with legally binding emission reduction obligations for industrialized countries and no such obligations for developing countries. The adoption of the Paris Agreement fundamentally changed the international legal architecture: now all countries have an obligation to develop and communicate so-called nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

This fundamentally different regime architecture poses a serious challenge to the voluntary carbon market. If voluntary standards do not find a way to arrange their activities to the new structure, there is a risk of loosing legitimation and credibility.

A recently published JIKO Policy Brief addresses this challenge in detail and outlines the “identity crisis” in which voluntary carbon standards find themselves in