Carbon Markets, Public Interest and Landownership in Scotland

Robbie, J. and Jokubauskaite, G. (2022) Carbon Markets, Public Interest and Landownership in Scotland. Discussion Paper. Scottish Land Commission.

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Summary: Voluntary carbon markets enable businesses to offset the CO2 emissions that they cannot avoid otherwise by buying ‘carbon units’ from other market participants. The Scottish Government considers carbon markets a key component of achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2045. The Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code are two existing standards through which verified carbon units can be created and sold. These codes aim to trigger widespread woodland creation and peatland restoration in order to sequester carbon or reduce emissions by providing additional income streams to landowners and developers. The implementation of carbon markets in Scotland has led to a range of concerns. Many of these concerns are connected to the context that landownership is unequally distributed in Scotland and communities have been historically excluded from decision-making about land. This discussion paper examines three emerging issues of concern in relation to the operation of carbon markets. These issues are environmental impacts of carbon markets, inclusion in decision-making and distribution of benefits of carbon trading. In doing this, the discussion paper analyses the broader social and environmental effects of the operation of carbon markets against the complex policy framework regarding land in Scotland. The final section of this discussion paper considers possible models of regulation and provides recommendations for the regulation of carbon markets in the public interest. These recommendations seek to ensure that carbon markets have positive environmental outcomes, that landowners and developers collaborate with local communities, and that partnerships are implemented which deliver community benefits. Such policy interventions are necessary to safeguard a just transition to a net zero society

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Discussion Paper)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robbie, Dr Jill and Jokubauskaite, Dr Giedre
Authors: Robbie, J., and Jokubauskaite, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Publisher:Scottish Land Commission
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