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The Market for Voluntary Carbon Offsets: a new tool for sustainable development?

Nadaa Taiyab

Report/paper, 24 pages

Heightened public awareness of climate change and its impacts has led to rapid growth in the market for voluntary carbon offsets over the past two years. By buying into a carbon offset project, organisations and individuals can negate their CO2 emissions by helping to prevent a similar amount of CO2 from being emitted elsewhere. Carbon offset projects may include hydro-energy, conversion of methane from landfills to energy, hydro-fluorocarbon destruction, tree plantations, wind farms, solar powered lamps in rural communities, fuel efficient cooking stoves and small agro-forestry schemes. The voluntary market has potentially more scope to invest in small-scale projects with high sustainable development benefits to local communities in low income countries, as project developers can avoid the bureaucratic procedures and high transaction costs of the Kyoto Protocol’s highly-regulated Clean Development Mechanism.

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