Statement from Conservation International: Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets’ report necessary to support market growth
Arlington, Va. (Jan. 27, 2021) – Today Agustin Silvani, Conservation International Senior Vice President of Conservation Finance, released the following statement in support of the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets:
“The newly released report by the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, led by United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action Mark Carney, is a vital document that lays out challenges and opportunities facing markets aimed at reducing climate-warming carbon to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“The report rightly notes that bending the carbon curve will require a viable and effective market for offsets, as even companies already working to cut their emissions may have to use offsets to abate some portion of them.
“To say that the task force’s report is necessary is an understatement.
“Demand for credible offsets is surging, but it is stymied by the fact that the voluntary market for carbon offsets is disparate and disorganized, with a panoply of different rules, strictures and standards. Not only does this disincentivize companies from buying offsets, given the dizzying array of different options, it also raises the risk of fraud — with deleterious effects on the climate that such offsets are intended to help. Conservation International supports the report’s calls for governance, in the form of a body to establish and monitor standards; repair faulty validation and verification processes; and combat fraud.
“While Conservation International supports all effective approaches to reduce and remove carbon from the atmosphere, we know that natural climate solutions are not only desirable, they’re necessary if we want to stabilize the climate: Protecting and restoring nature can provide at least 30% of all global action necessary to avoid the worst climate scenarios.
“A crucial aspect of nature-based offsets are “co-benefits” that go beyond simply a reduction in carbon emissions. These include but are not limited to wildlife habitat, freshwater regulation and sustainable nature-based livelihoods.
“With that in mind, while we encourage further development of carbon-capture technology, we urge that natural climate solutions are not overlooked, either in the short term or the long term, in favor of a technological solution that has yet to show that it can be scaled up to the degree necessary. Natural climate solutions, on the other hand, can be implemented quickly and at a global scale.
“Moreover, Conservation International calls for raising the “quality” of nature-based carbon offsets — that is, the level of confidence in whether an offset truly represents a reduction in carbon emissions and that this reduction is “permanent.” Many of the challenges pertaining to establishing high-quality offsets have been resolved, as a number of our own carbon projects have proven.
“There is high demand for high-quality offsets that provide verified emissions reductions and that include co-benefits. We urge that the value of such offsets be realized, and that any carbon-market governing body pushes for collecting data related to these benefits.”
About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International’s work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.