The concept of climate change began to attract attention in the 19th Century but it was not until the 1970s did substantial debate occur. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol became the first environmentally focused, global, legally binding document. It has set limits on carbon emissions, officially defined the six greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC and SF6) and utilised three mechanisms (Emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation) to assist the market in financially viable emission reduction schemes. The voluntary carbon market emerged to fulfill the demand from organizations and businesses that wished to reduce their carbon emissions outside and beyond the compliance market.
Many organizations, especially in the US (74%), wish to buy carbon credits from forestry projects. The voluntary carbon market has taken the lead to meet this demand through the development of tools and methodologies for forestry carbon projects. This will permit project developers to certify their projects and sell carbon credits.
– To gain a greater understanding of the compliance and voluntary carbon market and in particular the forestry carbon market.
– To develop a tool to assist organizations, businesses and individuals to identify which carbon credit they should purchase.
– To develop a new standard with the best tools available in the market.
The standards analysed are Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCBS), CarbonFix, Plan Vivo, Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), California Climate Action Reserve (CCAR) and American Carbon Registry (ACR).
The criteria include: