Access to justice for victims of the international carbon offset industry

Kylie Elise Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


International carbon offset schemes allow industrialized countries and private entities to offset domestic greenhouse gas emissions by financing climate change mitigation projects in the developing world Large multinational corporations profit from the sale of surplus credits and carbon derivatives on the international carbon market. The Clean Development Mechanism is a compliance-offset scheme established by the Kyoto Protocol and administered by the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board Despite the mechanism ~ stated objective that projects contribute to sustainable development, corporate investors pursue low-cost emission reductions while imposing a range of environmental and socioeconomic costs on developing countries. Poorly implemented projects damage local biodiversity and displace vulnerable communities. In spite of these concerns, the parties to the Kyoto Protocol are currently considering the proposal for a Clean Development Mechanism appeals procedure. The proposal, if implemented in its current form, would favor project developers by allowing them to appeal adverse decisions of the Executive Board. This Article presents an empirical critique of the Clean Development Mechanism `s regulatory framework, focusing on access to information, public participation, environmental impact assessment, and access to justice. It argues for strengthened procedural requirements that would boost the mechanism `s contribution to sustainable development and would enable non-governmental organizations to adequately scrutinize projects. The parties to the Kyoto Protocol should also grant local stakeholders and non-governmental organizations standing to appeal the registration of projects and the issuance of carbon credits to the impending Clean Development Mechanism Appellate Body. Without such reforms, the United Nations will continue to subsidize the destruction of biological diversity and the marginalization of the poorest communities in the developing world in the name of climate change mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-1031
Number of pages65
JournalEcology Law Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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