Carbon into Gold: Forest Carbon Offsets, Climate Change Adaptation, and International Law
University of California Hastings College of the Law
August 18, 2010
Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, Vol. 15, p. 39, Winter 2009
In this paper, I provide an overview of the treaty framework for global climate change mitigation and adaptation. I explain the legal principles that could or do provide the basis for judging actors in climate change adaptation. I explain how deforestation contributes to global climate change and how forest carbon offsets propose to staunch this problem. Through case studies, I explain the major players in both the Clean Development Mechanism and the voluntary market in forest carbon offsets, and how they have created a system where they benefit economically without necessarily doing much to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, conserve biodiversity, or help the poor adapt to the effects of climate change. I close with a legal analysis of forest carbon offsets, and I propose how to use the law to foment genuine adaptation in the global South. I point to several efforts that are under way to do so, but also point to the need for strengthened systems of international environmental and human rights law capable of monitoring and enforcing forest carbon offsets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: environmental law, climate change, climate change law, human rights, forest carbon, international law, Clean Development Mechanism, mitigation, adaptation
JEL Classification: K32, K33Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 20, 2010
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