Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Role of Carbon Offsets in Climate Policy: Theory and Practice

A call for papers for a conference at Cornell on the role of carbon offsets in climate policy.

Verification, leakage and permanence are important obstacles to the effective use of carbon offsets and this is an important policy issue.

I have my doubts on how effective carbon offsets will be given these difficulties. the post below on fraud in the EU carbon trading market gives pause for thought.

This is a timely conference. The forestry and agricultural sectors in the US in particular have powerful friends and the distributional impact will be important - unless this is fully understood there may be unintended consequences.


The Role of Carbon Offsets in Climate Policy: Theory and Practice [PDF]

A Conference at Cornell University, May 13-15, 2011

It is now recognized that Carbon Offsets should play a major role in Climate Policy, by providing cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequestering carbon. However, there are many challenges associated with the production of offsets, including its verification, as well as issues related to additionality, leakage and permanence. At the same time, there is also a need to guide the design of public policies that will regulate the market for carbon offsets.

Yet the challenges of implementing carbon offsets and the role that carbon offsets can play in climate policy is under-researched:

(i) There is insufficient theoretical work that integrates the various challenges associated with the production of offsets – leakage, additionality, permanence - in a unified framework; the potential interactions between these challenges need to be analyzed in depth;

(ii) There is limited empirical evidence of the magnitudes of leakage and additionality associated with various carbon offset projects for different countries;

(iii)There is virtually no work on the effectiveness of various public policies that regulate the market for carbon offsets, through standards (e.g. quality or quantity limits), or other ‘mechanism-design’ type policies;

(iv)The interactions between cap-and-trade systems, voluntary consumption of offsets, and the production of carbon offsets needs to be better understood. Specifically, potential unintended emissions or welfare consequences need to be identified and measured. And the voluntary consumption of offsets remains under researched;

(v) The distributional impacts associated with the production of carbon offsets needs to be better understood, especially for the agriculture and forestry sectors.

With this background, Cornell University will host a major international conference
– “The Role of Carbon Offsets in Climate Policy: Theory and Practice” – May 13-15, 2011. The conference organizers are Antonio Bento and Ravi Kanbur of the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University.

The conference will discuss theoretical, empirical and policy-oriented papers. The suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the issues (i)-(v) highlighted above.

The organizers invite the submission of completed papers or substantive abstracts (3-5 pages) by December 15, 2010. Submissions should be sent electronically to Decisions will be communicated by January 15, 2011.
Participants who can use their own funds to cover part or all of the cost of their participation are requested to do so. The conference will provide accommodation and economy class travel for one presenter per paper accepted for those who do not have funding. Please indicate with your submission what funding you need.


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