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TOPIC: Go-REDD+#38:Should We Worry about Carbon Rights?

Go-REDD+#38:Should We Worry about Carbon Rights? 3 years 10 months ago #5065

Alain Karsenty and his co-authors point out the curious fact in a recent edition of Environmental Science and Policy that there is no discussion about carbon rights in the energy or industry sectors, despite the fact that measures to achieve emission reductions are prominent in these sectors. They argue that carbon rights only really make sense in a project-based approach (including the "nested" approach), and that such an approach was already discounted in UNFCCC COP meetings as early as COP-9, in 2003. By 2005, the idea of "compensated reductions" in the forest sector was based on a national crediting scheme, rather than a project-based approach.

But even in a project-based approach, since carbon rights, which equate to "title to carbon credits" are only relevant for those seeking economic "rents" from forest carbon, defined as the excess profit once opportunity costs and associated transaction costs are met. However, the REDD+ concept is based on compensating for opportunity costs, and in any case, in the current situation of weak carbon markets and constrained public expenditures, the likelihood of obtaining economic rents is low.

An alternative perspective views carbon rights as a means to pave the way for eventual recognition of tenure for groups such as Indigenous Peoples that have frequently been marginalized. However, the authors point that carbon rights presuppose a carbon market, yet most NGOs and other organizations that promote social equity reject a market-based approach.

The authors conclude that the only logical perspective to interpret "carbon rights" is in the context of obtaining benefits from sale of carbon credits, and they point out that this is a basic social issue rather than a legal issue. The focus of any legal reforms in this context should be on ensuring provisions for mandatory sharing, rather than on title to carbon credits. This conclusion suggests that countries preparing for REDD+ would be better advised to focus their legal reform efforts on establishing an equitable and transparent basis for sharing benefits, rather than defining a term that actually has no relevance to REDD+.

To read the full Go-REDD+ article, click here.
Last Edit: 3 years 10 months ago by Metta.Kongphan-Apirak.

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