A UK carbon market to catalyse Natural Climate Solutions
DELIVERING UK NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS THROUGH AN INCENTIVISED VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKET
The UK is uniquely placed to take an innovative approach to mitigating climate change. We have:
- A Climate Change Act with a target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.
- A draft Agriculture Bill emphasising delivery of environmental public goods.
- National targets to increase woodland cover, including by planting 11 million trees.
- A pending consultation to consider use of offset programmes in the transport sector.
A voluntary but incentivised domestic carbon market focussed on UK Natural Climate Solutions could contribute substantially to all of the above – and more. Tying the market to corporate residual emissions, and incentivising participation through support from UK government, would both leverage a new funding stream for Natural Climate Solutions, and rapidly deliver additional climate change mitigation in the UK.
This approach would also provide a low risk, low cost ‘learning and acceptance’ framework for a smooth transition to a future mandatory market-based measure to help the UK meet its legally binding mitigation targets. Similarly, it creates a test-bed for new, innovative mitigation methodologies, such as reducing methane emissions from livestock production.
An incentivised UK carbon market would:
- Support Natural Climate Solutions
- Minimise cost to the taxpayer of implementing existing UK climate and environment policy
- Leverage private sector funding for the delivery of environmental public goods
- Stimulate innovation, efficiency, and internal abatement effort in large corporates
- Create a low cost, low risk ‘learning and acceptance’ framework for non-compliance corporates in sectors which may transition to compliance through 2030
- Be highly attractive to UK corporates as an alternative to supporting international
mitigation activities and an opportunity for deeper engagement with stakeholders.
What are Natural Climate Solutions?
Natural Climate Solutions are approaches to mitigating climate change based on the natural ability of ecosystems to take up, sequester and store carbon. Reforestation, peatland restoration, and rewilding projects are all examples of Natural Climate Solutions. These solutions tackle climate change by reducing the emissions that result from damage to our natural ecosystems, and by promoting natural carbon removal from the atmosphere. Natural Climate Solutions could provide as much as a third of the greenhouse gas mitigation we require globally between now and 2030.