Countries go ahead with carbon deals despite Cop28 standoff

(Climate Home News, 20 Dec 2023) Carbon credit certifiers from the much-criticized voluntary market could be the big winners of a failure to strike a deal on the exchange of offsets between countries at Cop28, experts told Climate Home.

Talks over Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement – allowing for bilateral deals – collapsed in Dubai following a bitter fight over integrity between the European Union and the United States.

But willing countries can still move ahead with agreements in a vacuum that is increasingly being filled by independent certifiers from the voluntary market. Some observers are raising questions on whether they are fit for purpose.

Transatlantic fight

When the EU led a push at Cop28 for tighter controls over the bilateral exchange of carbon credits, one of its main goals was to restrict the role of operators from the voluntary carbon market.

In the year leading up to the summit, criticism of the market, which sells offsets mainly to corporate emitters, intensified. The climate credentials and the social and environmental integrity of several of its projects were being questioned. The nascent mechanism should draw a blank slate – the EU argued – and rely on a new standard directly supervised by the UN.

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Climate Home News, 20 Dec 2023: Countries go ahead with carbon deals despite Cop28 standoff