6 December 2023


Jaclyn Foss


COP28: voluntary carbon highlights

COP28 has been a whirlwind of activity and it feels like this is finally the time that Voluntary Carbon Markets can move on from recent troubles and find new purpose and growth.


COP28: Voluntary Carbon Highlights

COP28 has been a whirlwind of activity and it feels like this is finally the time that Voluntary Carbon Markets can move on from recent troubles and find new purpose and growth. A series of significant developments have signalled a pivotal moment, emphasising the theme that collaboration, rather than competition, is essential for scaling this market effectively.

  1. End-to-End Integrity Framework: Key organizations, including the VCMI, Science Based Targets initiative, GHG Protocol, and The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), have joined forces to establish a comprehensive framework. This collaboration aims to provide consistent guidance on decarbonisation, including the use of carbon credits for residual emissions.
  2. Unified Standards for Carbon Crediting: Major CORSIA-approved standards such as Verra, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, ACR at Winrock International, ART, and Global Carbon Council have agreed to collaborate. Their focus will be on creating consistent standards for quantification, verification, and permanence, aligning with the ICVCM's requirements.
  3. Regulatory Guidance on Carbon Credits: The US commodities regulator, the CFTC, plans to announce guidance on carbon credits, a move expected to significantly scale up carbon markets.

These initiatives collectively aim to remove barriers for companies to responsibly offset emissions and contribute to keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C. They reflect a growing consensus on the need for high-integrity rules and a collaborative approach to meet global climate goals.

Prominent voices like UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, World Bank President Ajay Banga, and US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry have underscored the importance of the VCM, especially for developing countries. Their statements emphasize that no country should be left behind in using the VCM and stress the need for developing countries to be compensated for climate benefits they provide.

This collective movement at COP28 is a clear message: The voluntary carbon market is a crucial tool for driving increased climate ambition and action. The emphasis is on integrity, clarity, and collaboration to ensure that the market scales effectively and equitably, supporting both technological and nature-based climate solutions.
In wider climate news, Over 60 countries signed the Global Cooling Pledge to cut cooling-related CO2 emissions by at least 68% by 2050.

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