Carbon rights in REDD+: Exploring the implications for poor and vulnerable people
One of the key questions that has arisen in the context of the REDD+ debate surrounds which actors have the right to exploit the benefits of GHG emissions reductions and removals in REDD+, and the associated rights to international payments. Because carbon is stored in trees and land, in many cases the answer will entail an understanding of rights over the resources and services they provide. These concepts are often included in the widely used but normally poorly defined term ‘carbon rights.’
This paper aims to address some of the confusion in understanding legal issues surrounding carbon rights. It also considers the implications for the rural poor in different contexts, given that they often have weak rights, an inability to enforce their rights, and that REDD+ legal systems could add a new layer of complexity to an already complicated legal landscape in many countries. Three main guiding questions underlie the issues that are explored:
1. What could constitute carbon rights?
2. Are carbon rights relevant in a REDD+ context, and if so, under what circumstances?
3. What are their implications for different
actors, and particularly the rural poor?