Global efforts to reduce carbon emissions are ramping up and carbon markets will likely play an increasingly important role in limiting warming to the 2°C ceiling established by the Paris Climate Agreement.
One of the key challenges in implementing the Paris Agreement will be integrating public and private sector efforts to reduce emissions. Carbon markets are one approach to enhancing this integration by linking regulatory requirements for emission reductions with opportunities to make those reductions in the most economically efficient sectors.
To get a thorough update on the current status of carbon markets, Eric Walberg, Senior Program Leader, Climate Services attended Navigating the American Carbon World, the largest annual North American carbon market conference in San Diego, California, from May 4 through May 6, 2016.
The conference focused a lot of its attention on the California Cap and Trade system, which has emerged as a global leader in carbon market development. Today, it is acting as a hub for a growing network of sub-national entities that are linking their markets to California’s. California and Québec completed an agreement in 2013 linking their programs, and Ontario has indicated that they will be next to link their program.
The evolution of carbon markets is an important topic for the forestry organizations that are members of the Climate Smart Land Network (CSLN). So far, forest offset projects account for the majority of offset projects approved in the California Cap and Trade system. Three categories of forest offset projects are possible: (1) afforestation, (2) avoided conversion, and (3) improved forest management. Currently, the majority of approved projects are in the improved forest management category. In the latest CSLN bulletin, Walberg describes in detail what he learned from the conference and outlines the carbon market ramifications for the forestry sector.
According to Walberg, “Forests play a critical role in climate regulation. Evolving international efforts to limit warming will present challenges and opportunities for the forestry organizations that are members of the CSLN. The Climate Services team at Manomet is placing increased emphasis on keeping our Network members up to speed on the changing policy and economic framework, just as we have been doing on issues associated with climate science and forest response. The role the forestry sector will play in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement is illustrative of the creative problem solving that will be needed to facilitate a broader global transition to a green economy.”