Additionality, Permanence, and Leakage: Comparing Forest Carbon Offset Programs under the Clean Development Mechanism and the California Cap and Trade Program

Lu, Changfeng, Law - School of Law, University of Virginia
Cannon, Jonathan, LW-Law School Central, University of Virginia

Climate change has had increasingly severe effects over the last few decades. Market-based approaches, such as cap and trade programs, have been applied worldwide to combat climate change. To lower the cost of emission reductions still more, many cap and trade programs accept carbon offsets. My dissertation focuses on forest carbon offset programs because forests play a vital role in the world’s carbon cycle. My research compares the forest carbon offset programs under two separate compliance mechanisms, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the California Cap and Trade Program. I assess how each program treats the critical issues of additionality, permanence, and leakage. I aim to determine which program is more effective at addressing these issues and producing sound forest projects. Moreover, as carbon markets can be involved in larger environmental credit markets, my dissertation also analyzes the ways that these markets’ funding activities benefit soil, water, and wetlands, since carbon markets can interact with other environmental credit markets through credit stacking.

SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science)
Forest Carbon Offset, Additionality, Permanence, Leakage, Credit Stacking
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