Carbon Markets, Forests and Rights

An Introductory Series for Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples are experiencing a rush of interest in their lands and territories from actors involved in carbon markets. Many indigenous communities have expressed that to make informed decisions about how to engage with carbon markets, they need accessible information about what these markets are, and how participating in them may affect their rights.

In response to this demand for information, the Global Justice Clinic and the Forest Peoples Programme have developed a series of introductory materials about carbon markets. The materials were initially developed for GJC partner the South Rupununi District Council in Guyana and have been adapted for a global audience.

The explainer materials can be read in any order:

  • Explainer 1 introduces key concepts that are essential background to understanding carbon markets. It introduces what climate change is, what the carbon cycle and carbon dioxide is, and the link between carbon dioxide, forests and climate change. 
  • Explainer 2 outlines what carbon markets and carbon credits are, and provides a brief introduction to why these markets are developing and how they function
  • Explainer 3 focuses on indigenous peoples’ rights and carbon markets. It highlights some of the particular risks that carbon markets pose to indigenous peoples and communities. It also highlights key questions communities should ask themselves as they consider how to engage with or respond to carbon markets
  • Explainer 4 provides an overview of the key environmental critiques and concerns around carbon markets
  • Explainer 5 provides a short introduction to ART-TREES. ART-TRESS is an institution and standard that is involved in ‘certifying’ carbon credits and that is gaining a lot of attention internationally.