Journal Papers

Ten reasons why carbon markets will not bring about radical emissions reduction

Abstract: Almost two decades since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising rapidly. We argue that the global climate policy focus on carbon markets has played a significant role in the failure to reduce emissions. There are 16 compliance carbon markets in operation across the world. Many more are planned, although there have been numerous problems with carbon trading, including ineffectiveness, weak regulation and implementation, instances of fraud, little to no emissions reduction and major legitimacy issues for governments and the private sector. In this paper we take a “strong” position, arguing that carbon markets do not have a role to play in a policy scenario that requires radical emissions reductions in order to avoid dangerous greenhouse gas concentrations. We put forward 10 reasons why carbon markets should not be the preferred climate policy choice, which we have collated from positions taken by grassroots social movement organizations, think tanks, NGOs and other political advocacy groups as well as individual scientists and scholars.

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