Despite its relative small size, the voluntary offsetting market has positive results, reports the Forest Trends and Ecosystem marketplace. Over the past decade, nearly 1 billion carbon offsets have been purchased by companies, governments and individuals, spending almost $4.5 billion dollars.
Voluntary carbon offsetting can take on various forms such as an hydroelectric dam in Turkey, clean burning cook stove in South America, mangrove restoration in Africa or biogas digesters in Asia. For the last 10 years, despite many ups and downs, the voluntary carbon offsetting has shown its positive impact on the climate mitigation and adaptation.
The future of the voluntary carbon offsetting markets is directly linked to the decisions that will be taken in the next international negotiations, especially the COP21. Indeed, because carbon has no fixed price yet, the uncertainty compromises its credibility. The progressive actions of voluntary buyers can also inform and shape the international negotiations, as they have at the national and subnational levels.