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The return of carbon offsetting? The discursive legitimation of new market arrangements in the Paris climate regime

Blum, Mareike, Eva Lövbrand. 2019. The return of carbon offsetting? The discursive legitimation of new market arrangements in the Paris climate regime. Earth System Governance Journal. Volume 2.

Abstract

The current commitments under the Paris Agreement are not enough to achieve the 1,5 °C target. Even if states comply with their national targets, temperatures will increase between 2.4 °C and 3.8 °C; in average 3 °C (CAT, 2018). Hence, governments and international organizations hope that non-state actors help to close the ambition gap. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides a “new home” for the carbon offsetting community at the interface of public and private climate action. As the negotiations continue, we can expect multiple storylines that offer competing interpretations of what counts as promising market governance. Private standard-setters are taking part in these debates and are considered as frontrunners in enabling ambitious offsetting practices. This paper examines the discursive legitimation of the Gold Standard in light of the emerging narratives about new market arrangements under Article 6. Rather than pre-defining legitimacy requirements, our study draws attention to the discursive sources of (de)legitimation.

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