Future role for voluntary carbon markets in the Paris era: executive summary

The end of 2020 marks a fundamental change in the global governance of greenhouse gas emissions with the shift from the Kyoto Protocol era to that of the Paris Agreement. This also has implications for the future role and the feasible models of the voluntary carbon market. A critical focus is whether and how “double counting” of emission reductions – using the same emission reduction for voluntary offsetting and to achieve a country’s target under the Paris Agreement – is avoided. Show that, where there is a risk that the same emission reduction outcome could be claimed more than once, the impact of voluntary engagement in carbon markets could be negligible, or even lead to an overall negative climate impact. Within this context it is important that the future design of the voluntary carbon market ensures that the support of activities does not disincentivise governments from increasing their climate mitigation efforts.