November 29 – Governments arrive in Dubai at COP28 this week with a global stocktake in hand showing that we are not on track to limit global warming to safe limits. Heavy-emitting industries and large-emitting countries must decarbonize deeply, and fast. Simultaneously, investment in clean infrastructure and nature protection must grow rapidly in emerging and developing economies.
An independent expert group of the G20 has declared that these economies, which sit at the heart of the global climate transition, require $3 trillion by 2030 to transition to a path of low-carbon, equitable, resilient, and rapid economic growth.
We need every tool at our disposal to get financial flows moving at scale to support this investment. A high-integrity voluntary carbon market (VCM) is one of those tools, and one of the most direct ways to unlock and catalyze private-sector finance, getting it moving faster to where it is most needed. There are estimates that the value of the VCM can grow to $50 billion by 2030, from $1.3 billion in 2022.
Critics of VCMs say that companies using carbon credits choose offsetting over decarbonization. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth for leading companies with net-zero plans. Research has shown that companies engaging in VCMs are more ambitious, and are decarbonizing faster, than those that do not.
But a low trust environment today surrounds VCMs, meaning that the finance and benefits realized by VCMs is slow to deliver, as buyer confidence wavers.
Agreement on what constitutes integrity, and its importance, was missing in previous iterations of the VCM.