Unlocking potential: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2017

As of 2016, offsets equivalent to 1.1 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (BtCO2e) have been transacted voluntarily – through sales to governments, companies,
and individuals as well as intermediary brokers – according to the latest annual State of Voluntary Carbon Markets report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, released at the Innovate4Climate conference in Barcelona. Entitled “Unlocking Potential,” the new report finds that voluntary buyers in 2016 paid $191.3 million (M) to offset 63.4 million metric tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2e) – about as much greenhouse gases as Massachusetts emits in a year. Concerned citizens, corporations, and sub-national governments moved ahead with their battle against climate change by purchasing voluntary carbon offsets from projects that reduce emissions through forest protection, renewable energy, and other means. Still, transaction volumes on the voluntary markets shrank 24% from 2015 to 2016, and demand did not meet supply of these offsets, as 56.2 MtCO2e were left unsold in project developer’s portfolios – some from previous years.