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Civil Society Groups Raise Concerns Over Increasing Push for Carbon Markets, Offsets, and False Solutions like Geoengineering and Land Based Removals During Climate Negotiations

7 July 2023


The Supervisory Body Members, Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement

Parties to the UNFCCC –

This open letter from civil society groups from across the world reiterates our demands regarding the processes surrounding Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement and the wider issue of carbon markets and offsets. Namely:

  • Carbon markets, offsets schemes, and carbon removals cannot offer solutions to the climate crisis and instead further prop up a system that has enabled Big Polluters and rich countries to profit off of the crisis. They should therefore not be enabled under any provision of the Paris Agreement.
  • Land-based removals do not result in emission reductions and further lead to unacceptable negative environmental and social impacts, and foster unsustainable development, which are contrary to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and to adequate climate action – they should therefore be rejected.
  • Geoengineering removals are unproven, risky, and costly technologies that put the profits of Big Polluters above the protection of our communities and environment, and further distract and derail from the urgent, deep, real emission reductions needed – they should therefore be rejected.
  • Emissions avoidance should not be considered as it does not compensate for ongoing emissions, but instead poses a significant risk for inflating baselines.
  • Carbon markets cannot be enabled to be propped as climate finance in lieu of the commitments urgently needed from rich countries, including toward the loss and damage fund and in other UNFCCC work streams.
  • The process surrounding Article 6.4 is proving increasingly biased in favour of the industry and needs to be reassessed if it is to remain credible, including concerning the timeline of consultations and who is given a say in it.


Carbon Markets and Removals

We reiterate our opposition, as climate justice, human rights, Indigenous and gender justice groups and movements, to global carbon markets, offsets schemes, and carbon removals.  

The science is as clear as the increasing frequency and violence of climate impacts across the world: we cannot waste any more time for adequate climate action. Whilst impacts wreak havoc over our communities and ecosystems, Big Polluters carry on emitting under the cover of deceiving net zero claims. These schemes open the door to dangerous distractions in the form of land-based and technological removal offsets to be traded on carbon markets for Big Polluters to profit from. This should not be the result of an international agreement that was intended to avert climate catastrophe.

We refuse to buy into the greenwashing ploy to prop up these false solutions as climate action given that they not only do not address absolute emissions reductions but also perpetuate global North-South inequalities and inequities relating to carbon emissions.

Crucially we express our deep concern over the unacceptable environmental and social risks and costs that these so-called ‘solutions’ put on our communities. Removals and offsets cannot be considered as solutions so long as they continue to result in Indigenous rights violations, additional Human rights violations, land grabbing, and disproportionate impacts especially on communities in the global South and small peasant farmers communities.

We also reiterate that carbon markets are not climate finance. The climate debt of developed countries should be discharged through provision of public financial resources as part of the obligation of developed countries under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement and in line with the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), not via carbon markets and offsets.

Issues with Removals

Land-based removals, or so-called ‘nature based solutions’, cannot compensate for the permanent emissions from the fossil fuels and other high emitting industries. An increasing number of investigations have demonstrated that these offsets are, in the majority of cases, worthless, and do not result in actual, real emission reductions. Further, such projects including REDD/+ schemes, tree plantations, and soil carbon farming, have been linked to extremely concerning Human rights and Indigenous rights abuses. We cannot allow for the appropriation of land from Indigenous Peoples, small peasant farmers, and communities first and foremost in the global South, or for the erasure of ancestral practices that have maintained and protected ecosystems for centuries. Safeguards are needed but cannot be enough. Any land based removal activities will risk perpetuating the systemic causes of violations of Indigenous customary land rights and territories. 

Technological removals, or geoengineering, provide the illusion that polluters can keep on emitting based on the promise of future technologies that would allow for the removal of carbon from the atmosphere. Geoengineering approaches, such as Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS) or ocean fertilization and alkalinization or enhanced weathering, are risky, speculative, technologically unproven and/or unable to be proven at scale, and pose new impacts and considerable and unacceptable environmental and social risks, including serious threats to Indigenous rights and Human rights in general, and negative transboundary impacts. Their development at scale would drive disproportionate economic cost as well as put an irreversible strain on scarce resources such as land and water that we desperately need to uphold living systems. Science says we need to urgently phase out fossil fuels. The IPCC states that the best way to curtail climate change is “deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” this decade and that Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies are “uncertain and entail(s) clear risks”. The IPCC has been critically questioned for its over-use of CDR technologies in its mitigation scenarios. An equity assessment of global mitigation pathways in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report finds that the continued fossil fuel use in developed countries, even until 2050, is compensated for by higher sequestration (through land-based and Carbon Capture and Storage technologies in developing regions).

Crucially, the amount of land required for both types of removals (land-based or some geoengineering technologies such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, BECCS) will result in competition with cropland and associated negative impacts on food sovereignty, biodiversity loss, Human rights abuses, and increased food prices. Techniques like Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement and Enhanced Weathering would demand an additional expansion of the mining industry, creating more ‘sacrifice zones’, more habitat destruction, and adverse impacts on water quality. Not only would they impact communities and land, they could be detrimental for marine ecosystems and life. All of these techniques require an increase in energy use across their value and supply chains. In the case of DACCS, immense energy is needed that would drive the continued use of fossil fuels causing more and more delay.

As civil society groups and communities impacted by climate change we reiterate our demands for real, deep, and urgent emission reductions in line with principles of fair shares; as well as our opposition to the dangerous distractions that carbon markets, offsets, and net zero schemes represent.

Article 6.4 and Article 6.2

  • There should not be carbon markets, especially those that enable offsets, under the Paris Agreement. To include removals in such mechanisms is profoundly dangerous, due to continuing concerns about lack of permanence, additionality, the negative impacts and pose high risk on people and the environment, and reliance on speculative technology that is unproven or/and unable to be proven at scale, among others.
  • Geoengineering-based removals need to be excluded. The moratorium under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) must be respected as well as the precautionary decisions of the London Protocol / London Convention (LC/LP) given the risks they pose to communities and the environment. All BECCS, DAC, CCS, CCUS, or any other marine or land-based geoengineering proposals must be excluded from Article 6.4 as well as any other articles of the Paris Agreement.
  • Removal activities risk fostering unsustainable development in developing countries, resulting in land grabs and competition with cropland which will increase food prices. This goes against the objective of Article 6 and is a form of climate injustice.
  • Removals into land and soils cannot compensate for permanent emissions from fossil fuels. This cannot be resolved by carbon accounting practices. Emissions avoidance should not be considered as it does not compensate for ongoing emissions, but instead poses a significant risk for inflating baselines.
  • Carbon markets are not climate finance, and cannot provide an escape hatch in lieu of the needed financial commitments with rich countries taking the lead – including toward the loss and damage fund as well as with financial agreements in other UNFCCC work streams. 
  • Not only must there be an independent and effective grievance redress mechanism in line with respecting the right to remedy – all techniques and projects being considered must first undergo independent and rigorous preliminary Human rights and biodiversity impact evaluations that take into consideration the full life-cycle impacts, pursued with meaningful, inclusive and participatory consultations with all right-holders and communities potentially affected.

Process Flaws

We express our concerns regarding the process surrounding Article 6.4 and the engagement with stakeholders and rights holders. 

Firstly, as the objectives of Article 6 aim to allow for higher mitigation ambition and to promote sustainable development, it seems an obvious conflict of interest to allow for the input of industries that have been fueling climate change as well as distracting and delaying adequate action for decades. In line with the Kick Big Polluters Out demands, we reiterate that Big Polluters should not be granted access to policy making. The consultation process held by the Supervisory Body for Article 6.4 provides a strategic opportunity for pro-markets stakeholders to strengthen their tactics and therefore renders the process deeply flawed. Rights holders, on the other hand, must be given adequate avenues to actively provide input and influence the process and provisions of Article 6.4.

We also express our disappointment in the way the additional June 19th  consultation process was carried out. The short turnaround time offered for rights holders and civil society to provide additional and more specific feedback – while in the heart of the SB58 negotiations – is on the verge of improper consultation that privileged time to the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) industry. 

We are concerned that the unbalance of this process could lead to a disproportionate influence of the CDR industry on the process going forward, which would put into question the credibility of the Supervisory Body and the whole process. We therefore call on the Supervisory Body to maintain its impartiality in the process and to not allow for the influence of an industry that has so much interest in the question to weaken provisions regarding such risky and dangerous processes as carbon dioxide removals.


Organizational Signatories


AbibiNsroma Foundation

Accelerate Neighborhood Climate Action

ActionAid International

Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development

Association des Agriculteurs Sans Frontières AASF DRC 

Association Jeunes Agriculteurs (AJA)

Association pour la protection de l’environnement et le développement durable de Bizerte APEDDUB 



Businesses for a Livable Climate

Call to Action Colorado

Catholic Network US

CCFD – Terre Solidaire

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Centre for Rights and Democracy (CRD) South Sudan

Centre for Citizens Conserving Environment & Management (CECIC) Uganda

Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP)

Centro Ecológico

Climate Justice Alliance

Climate Action Network Australia

Collectif Sénégalais des Africaines pour la Promotion de l’Éducation Relative à l’Environnement (COSAPERE)

Community for Sustainable Energy

Congo Basin Conservation Society CBCS network DRC

Consejo Shipibo Konibo Xetebo Peruvian Amazonia

Corporate Accountability

Corporate Europe Observatory

Earth Ethics, Inc. 



Elders Climate Action

Emonyo Yefwe International 

Ensemble pour la Justice climatique et la Protection des Défenseurs de l’environnement 

Environmental Defence Canada

Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia

ETC group

Friends of the Earth Canada

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Friends of the Earth Georgia

Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND e.V)

Friends of the Earth International

Friends of the Earth Japan

Friends of the Earth Spain

Friends of the Earth U.S.

Front Commun pour la Protection de l’Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP RDC)

GenderCC SA

Global Forest Coalition

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance

Green Revolution Initiative GRI ltd DRC

groundWork/ Friends of the Earth South Africa

Grupo para o Desenvolvimento da Mulher e Rapariga (GDMR)

Honor the Earth

I-70 Citizens Advisory Group

Iakwatonhontsanónstats of Kahnawake 

Indigenous Environmental Network

Indivisible Ambassadors

Innovation pour le Développement et la Protection de l’Environnement (IDPE)

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Institute for Globalization Studies

Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy Program

Institute of Socioeconomic Studies (Inesc)

International Network of Liberal Women

Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement Côte d’ivoire (JVE Côte d’Ivoire)

Just Transition Alliance

Khumbilo Agroecology Media Services

Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety and Environment 

Les Amis de la Terre-Togo

LIFE Education Sustainability Equality e.V.

Littleton Business Alliance

Mayfair Park Neighborhood Association Board

Mental Health & Inclusion Ministries

MenEngage Global Alliance


Montbello Neighborhood Improvement Association

Movement For Education And Advocacy Network Salone 

National Birth Equity Collaborative

National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal

National Family Farm Coalition

Natural Justice

NGO Forum on ADB

NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark

Ntaamba Hiinta Development Trust

Peace Track Initiative 

Plateforme Ivoirienne sur le Climat (PIC)

RapidShift Network

Reacción Climática – Bolivia 


Réseau Peace World International 

Rise Up Movement DRCongo 

Save EPA

Sahabat Alam Malaysia – Friends of the Earth Malaysia

Santa Cruz Climate Action Network

Sciences Citoyennes

Secours catholique- Caritas France

Small Business Alliance

Société Civile environnementale et Agro Rurale du Congo SOCEARUCO RDC

Southwest Organization for Sustainability

Spirit of the Sun, Inc.

Stay Grounded Network

System Change Not Climate Change

TEAL Climate

The Green House Connection Center

The Mind’s Eye

The People’s Justice Council

The RedTailed Hawk Collective 

Third World Network

Union Nationale des Marginalisés pour un Développement Durable UNAMDD DRC

Unite North Metro Denver

Vision Plus pour le Développement Durable (VIPDD/RDC)

Wall of Women

War on Want

Wen (Women’s Environmental Network)

Western Slope Businesses for a Livable Climate


Women Changing The World

Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) International

Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF-A0)

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

Womxn from the Mountain

Working for Racial Equity

Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity 

Zambian Governance Foundation

Zero Hour

Briefing: End Financing and Promotion of False Solutions

The world is experiencing an unprecedented climate crisis and the impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world, with devastating consequences for ecosystems, human health, and livelihoods. There are more frequent and severe weather events such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves. These events are causing widespread damage to infrastructure and economic activity, leading to food and water scarcity, displacement, and even loss of life. Nearly 3.5 billion people globally are climate vulnerable. Yet the world leaders have been more focused on pushing profit driven speculative technologies and technofixes.

Real, proven, community-centered, cost effective solutions to justly address the climate crisis are increasingly being swept aside in favor of industry-basked, risky, expensive, and harm-inducing false solutions. Climate justice begins with ending financing for and promotion of these false solutions.

This briefing provides simple talking points to help debunk and counter various false solutions.

Not Zero: How ‘Net Zero’ Targets Disguise Climate Inaction

‘Net zero’ has been all over the headlines and is even championed by many environmentalists. So you’d think it was a good thing, right? It should mean that the leopards are changing their spots – the polluters are starting to clean up their act.

Unfortunately, far from signifying climate ambition, the phrase “net zero” is being used by a majority of polluting governments and corporations to evade responsibility, shift burdens, disguise climate inaction, and in some cases even to scale up fossil fuel extraction, burning and emissions. The term is used to greenwash business-as-usual or even business-more-than-usual. At the core of these pledges are small and distant targets that require no action for decades, and promises of technologies that are unlikely ever to work at scale, and which are likely to cause huge harm if they come to pass.

A new technical briefing from climate justice groups – available in 4 languages – explores the story behind the headlines, examining some of the assumptions and claims that are taken at face value in most ‘net zero’ announcements. It examines the IPCC emissions reductions pathways that do not rely on unproven technologies such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and shows how the premise of offsetting upon which ‘net zero’ rests is unjust and unsustainable. Finally, the briefing offers a framework for a fair approach to global climate action and lists many examples of practical solutions that could be immediately implemented to really bring emissions down.

Download the joint technical briefing by ActionAid, Corporate Accountability, Friends of the Earth International, Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, Third World Network, and What Next?





Dangerous Distractions

Since the early years of the UN climate talks, governments responsible for needing to make the deepest emissions cuts have repeatedly attempted to divert this responsibility. They have done so in several faulty and flawed ways: by creating and advocating for “market mechanisms” to trade units of carbon, by incorporating carbon capture technologies into emissions reductions plans, and by advocating for “techno-fixes” including dangerous and untested geoengineering technologies. 

The underlying feature of all of these is the principle of offsetting – outsourcing emissions to elsewhere or trading credits to buy permission to emit. Sort of like the indulgences of the 12th century Catholic Church

weblog: carbon offset certificate - front

Offsetting emissions through market mechanisms is the antithesis to a true climate response from the global community, and from industrialized countries in particular. The science is clear: keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius will require strong emissions cuts, beginning in the developed world, which needs to achieve actual zero emissions as soon as possible. Mechanisms that rely on offsetting delay meaningful action and don’t address the fundamental gap between the 1.5 degree target and countries’ weak progress in emissions reductions. 

Furthermore, these mechanisms are rife with loopholes and often allow polluters to increase their emissions and profit from participating in such schemes, all while claiming the false banner of climate leadership. More recently, so called ‘Nature Based Solutions’ have formed the battleground in the fight to extend the concept of commodification of carbon to all ecosystems, with soil carbon, biodiversity and other values being measured and commodified.

No REDD+ protest, Paris | Friends of the Earth ...

What is a carbon market?

A carbon market is a scheme that views atmospheric space in “units”. These units are essentially the right to pollute for a price. The assumption of a carbon market is that if polluters are made to pay per unit of emissions, they will be incentivised to invest in alternatives or pollute less. Yet the opposite has proven true.

For industries and countries with more wealth, carbon markets simply allow them to continue with business as usual while outsourcing their emissions elsewhere. The established market mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (below) are riddled with loopholes and have actually resulted in an increase in emissions.

Repeating the same mistakes

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol established the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a highly controversial, contested scheme which eventually proved to be ineffective in meeting the targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

The intention of the CDM was to help developed countries meet their emissions reductions targets under the Protocol through the purchase of emissions reductions credits, but the actual result was that some businesses made a lot of money selling “credits” to entities who wanted to pollute more but not have said pollution on their books. The CDM was also widely criticised for harming local people and violating human rights, especially the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as failing to actually cut emissions.

For years afterwards, international negotiations on markets usually ended in no agreement between countries, although of course some countries did set up their own domestic markets which they hoped would one day allow for international trading. 

Countries that are strongly in favour of market approaches include the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and the US, while countries including Venezuela and Bolivia have strongly resisted such offsetting mechanisms. It is not clear how the recent turmoil will affect Bolivia or whether its “transitional” government will do a u-turn or simply remain silent.

After a frenzied two weeks of negotiations in 2015, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement ended up allowing countries to “choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) to allow for higher ambition in their mitigation and adaptation actions and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity,” and to engage “on a voluntary basis in cooperative approaches that involve the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs)” which can count towards their NDCs so long as they promote sustainable development, avoid double counting and ensure environmental integrity. 

'A Child Leads': Staff Refuses to Report on Climate Summit ...

Thus the door was opened to conflate carbon trading and offsetting with “cooperative approaches” to tackling climate change. The reference to “ITMOs” has also opened the door for the establishment of an international carbon market – contentious given the years of debate on this matter never arriving at an agreement, and laden with pitfalls and risks.

The ITMOs also pose the difficult question of whether a country can use such international transfers for anything other than fulfilling its Paris pledge. Can they, for example, be used in the global offsetting scheme under the International Civil Aviation Organisation, known as ‘Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation’ (CORSIA), which is not under the UNFCCC and which could potentially rely on 2.6 billion tonnes of ‘credits’ from supposedly avoided deforestation. 

Similarly, can carbon credits from other schemes outside the Paris Agreement also be traded alongside credits generated in the PA? Such schemes include the reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation or REDD+ scheme, also highly criticised for leading to increased emissions and harm to forest communities and indigenous peoples.

Climate: Real problem, false solutions. No.3: REDD+ - Via ...

Rather than focus on more meaningful, equitable methods of cooperation like technology sharing, capacity building, and finance, Article 6 decided that a “Sustainable Development Mechanism” should be set up. Like the CDM before it, this new market mechanism, if it is established, is likely to fail in delivering emissions reductions targets outlined in countries’ National Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

COP25 and the fate of Article 6

Last year at COP24 in Katowice, the section of the “Paris rulebook” dealing with Article 6 was not agreed and became a major sticking point. The talks nearly collapsed in spectacular fashion as Brazil wanted the certified emission reduction credits (CERs) it had obtained under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism to be counted towards its pledge under the Paris Agreement, and refused to accept rules to prevent double-counting. Eventually the formal conclusion was that no agreement could be reached. The same thing happened at the next round of talks in Bonn this June. 

The scene is therefore set for a pressurised round of talks in Madrid, as COP25 is the deadline to conclude this last remaining section of the Paris rulebook. Agreement will be difficult as double counting remains an unresolved issue and wealthy countries such as Australia continue to insist on double-counting their Kyoto credits towards their Paris commitments.

Carbon Market Watch estimates that there are some 20 billion units under the Kyoto mechanisms that could potentially be transferred into the Paris mechanism, rendering the Agreement’s 1.5 degree C goal impossible to achieve. But it gets worse.

[s]ome countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement have low targets which will be easy to over achieve. This means that these countries could potentially create between 18.7 and 28.3 GtCO2e worth of credits – or ‘hot air ’- that they can sell without reducing a single tonne of greenhouse gas emissions.

False Solutions to climate change | Climate Justice Taranaki

Market fundamentalists will want to leave Madrid with detailed technical guidelines to allow them to forge ahead with international carbon markets. Many others, notably those who do not stand to profit financially from these market mechanisms, will want only general guidance to try and ensure that if, or when, international markets are established they are regulated and do not threaten human rights or environmental integrity as they have under Kyoto.

Guidance, such as that offered by Carbon Market Watch below, can be quite simple:

  1. Only emission reductions that take place after 2020 can be used towards the NDCs
  2. Countries that over achieve their targets because they were set below business-as-usual emission levels in the
    first place should not be allowed to transfer these hot air credits to other countries that have adopted more
    stringent targets
  3. Countries with hot air in their current NDCs should not be allowed to transfer it to subsequent NDC periods to
    meet future targets
  4. Emissions should not be compensated through the use of excessively old credits, representing emissions
    which took place a decade or more earlier

With everything else in the Paris rulebook “package” having been wrapped up, it’s hard to see what exactly the horse trading will be but we can be sure of some.

Real solutions

The only way to reach real zero emissions as quickly as possible is to reject these dangerous distractions outright, and simultaneously for developed countries to embrace meaningful, real solutions to achieve the deep emissions cuts they are responsible for, while unconditionally financing the same in developing countries. There is an abundance of real, feasible, cost effective action across all sectors that can be implemented here and now, many of which will have immediate effect. 

Protest against proposed programs like REDD+ | Flickr ...

These include things like but not limited to investing in infrastructure of electrified, mass public transit, with free or heavily subsidized fares; rapidly transforming industrial agriculture towards agroecological practices through proper incentives and policies combined with removal of perverse subsidies, and phase out artificial fertilizers; embracing community governed forest conservation; planning for and transforming energy systems away from centralized corporate-controlled fossil fuels and other harmful technologies to clean, safe systems that empower people and communities. 

Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement provides an opportunity to address the real drivers of emissions by advancing policies and practices via voluntary cooperation among countries that can help deliver deep emissions cuts while advancing equity, environmental protection, and wellbeing. A work programme on how to enhance linkages and create synergy between inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity-building and how to facilitate the implementation and coordination of non-market approaches is under discussion at COP25.

Further reading

Click here to learn more about what carbon markets are and how they work

Click here to learn more about how carbon markets are a threat to people and planet

Click here to learn more about what real international solutions to the crisis look like

Click here to learn more about the nitty gritty of Article 6 negotiations

False Solutions

Another major issue at this round of talks was actually a hangover from COP24 in Katowice. The shorthand is “Article 6” – referring to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which deals with international cooperation between countries to result in an overall decrease in emissions. Mainly this has focused on controversial trading of “offsets”. 

Market mechanisms have long been a bone of contention in the climate talks, going back at least 2 decades to the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Back then, a so-called Clean Development Mechanism was set up with the intention to help developed countries meet their emissions reductions targets under the Protocol through the purchase of emissions reductions credits. 

However the actual result was that some people made rather a lot of money selling these “credits” to people who wanted to pollute more but not have said pollution “on their books”, while very little progress was made to actually cut emissions. Concerns around the actual function of the scheme expressed themselves in terms like “efficiency”, “additionality”, “carbon leakage”, and the simpler “human rights violations”.  


For years afterwards, negotiations attempted to establish global carbon markets, voluntary trading schemes and so forth. As opposition to carbon markets is a core tenet of climate justice, many groups did not even engage or follow this process, which usually ended in no agreement between countries, although of course some countries did set up their own domestic markets which they hoped would one day allow for international emissions trading.


In the process of negotiating Paris, market mechanisms did not feature. They suddenly appeared towards the end in Article 6, which established a “Sustainable Development Mechanism.”

Now we have to reckon with the reality. There are markets whether we like it or not. We can oppose them while also attempting to reduce the harm they cause.


In Katowice, the section of the “rulebook” dealing with these was not agreed and became a major sticking point. The talks nearly collapsed in spectacular fashion, and eventually the formal conclusion taken was that there was no agreement. 

The scene was thus set for a pressurised round of talks in Bonn, as the deadline they set to conclude this last remaining section of the Paris rulebook was December 2019, at COP25. 

They had a lot of ground to cover, as the starting point wasn’t even agreed. 

Nor was the way forward. 

But absent from the debate was any real answer to some important questions, like does this market approach actually reduce emissions? Does it help vulnerable people? Do transfers of credits actually even benefit the seller country? Are forests and biodiversity going to be traded away? Are we going to hold the rest of the talks to ransom for this? 

The most they were able to agree upon was to forward the decision-making to SB51 in Santiago, setting the scene for an even more pressurised negotiation. 

As per TWN’s reporting, “on the last day of negotiations, three separate set of draft conclusions on each of the three items under Article 6 (i.e. on the international transfer of mitigation outcomes [ITMOs] under Article 6.2; the sustainable development mechanism under Article 6.4 and the framework for non-market approaches under Article 6.8) were proposed for consideration by the SBSTA Chair Paul Watkinson (France) .

Each of the draft conclusions contained three paragraphs: the first para recognised the work carried out at the Bonn session; the second stated that there is agreement to continue consideration of the draft decision text (to advance further negotiations on the matter) at the next session of the SBSTA in Dec. 2019 (with the decision text referenced in a footnote) and the third para provided a placeholder for intersessional work (i.e. for a technical paper and workshop) within brackets, due to different views of Parties on the matter.

“Following these extensive interventions, the SBSTA Chair Watkinson after hearing “divergent views” on intersessional work said that there was “no consensus” and therefore suggested that the draft conclusions ‘do not include intersessional work'”.  

He also said that draft decision texts “do not represent a consensus among Parties,” and assured Parties that there would be no further iteration of the texts (prior to the meeting in Chile). He also clarified that the only editing that would be taken into account are such as “brackets are correctly inserted” and ‘accurate representation of inputs of Parties'”.

We should be talking about real solutions. Instead all the attention and effort is on what we know are false ones.

Even Leo DiCap is pushing the dangerous distractions.