After a year in which global emissions of greenhouse gases rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels, it is clear that the world is off track in its efforts to meet international targets on climate stabilization. As detailed in the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the toolkit of necessary climate solutions includes simultaneously reducing emissions and removing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.
Despite the commitments made in Paris in 2015 and in Glasgow in 2021, global progress toward a net-zero-carbon future—on both the policy and technology fronts—remains too slow. In this context, and despite the challenges they present, markets for carbon credits are an indispensable tool for leveraging private investment in novel strategies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This issue brief outlines key questions and challenges facing carbon credits today and contends that improved and strengthened markets will be essential to unlocking the investments needed for mitigating climate change.
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