In recent years, the provision of economic incentives through carbon financing and carbon offsetting has been central to efforts at forest carbon mitigation. However, notwithstanding their potentially important roles in climate policy, forest carbon offsets face numerous barriers which have limited widespread implementation worldwide. This paper uses the case study of the Canadian province of British Columbia to explore the barriers associated with achieving widespread implementation of forest carbon offsets in the next several decades. Drawing on interviews with experts from government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and First Nations, six main barriers are identified and discussed: (1) deficiencies of carbon markets, (2) limited economic benefits, (3) uncertain climate effectiveness, (4) negative public opinion, (5) limited and uncertain property rights, and (6) governance issues. While respondents from different sectors agreed on various points, divergence was also observed, notably on the trade-off between generating environmentally sound offsets and promoting cost-effective ways to achieve mitigation. We discuss these differences in the context of the goals and objectives of different actors, and offer insights for understanding the uptake (or not) of carbon offset policies.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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