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- Hannah Hauman
As global climate and net-zero ambition intensifies, the role of carbon offsets and the voluntary carbon market (VCM) have attracted the attention of many. Trading of offsets reached record levels in 2021 and there is unprecedented public and private sector interest in categories such as forestry and other nature-based solutions, as well as frontier carbon removal technologies. However, offsetting remains a wide-ranging, complex, and disputed space, and participants often risk heightened scrutiny over their involvement and decisions in this domain. What are the latest trends and observations? Are there emerging best practices and lessons learned for the private sector? How might the new Article 6 rules that emerged out of COP26 in Glasgow impact VCM? What are the key challenges and opportunities for different players in this space as we head into 2022?
Natural carbon sinks—or nature-based solutions—are expected to be a critical contributor to meeting the global ambition of reaching net zero and they have exploded in popularity with private sector participants. Yet the impact of these solutions varies hugely, and they span multiple geographies and types of methods, often with large challenges and uncertainty about their true carbon mitigation potential. How can these solutions be categorized, and which ones will have most impact in the midterm? Forestry is a key solution, yet it is complex and includes afforestation, reforestation, and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). How do their costs/benefits compare? Should all be pursued, or should one be prioritized?