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CATF applauds White House joint policy statement on voluntary carbon markets and calls for strict oversight

May 29, 2024 Work Area: Land Systems

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the White House issued a joint policy statement and principles on high-integrity voluntary carbon markets (VCMs), underscoring the U.S. government’s commitment to establishing robust standards. The statement outlines principles for high-quality carbon credits, actions registries can take to ensure the integrity of their credits, and guidance for corporations on the responsible use of carbon offsets. The statement rightly points out that while VCMs provide an opportunity to channel private capital into emissions reductions and removals, additional action is needed to ensure these markets achieve their intended climate benefits. 

“Federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have a critical role to play in creating robust regulations to protect the credibility and liquidity of these markets,” said Kathy Fallon, Director of the Land Systems program at Clean Air Task Force (CATF). “While articulating voluntary principles is useful for market actors, the federal government should take every opportunity to implement strict safeguards around the issuance and use of carbon credits. This includes the USDA establishing stringent standards for crediting protocols recommended to landowners, the CFTC setting strong standards for carbon credits sold on regulated exchanges, and the SEC enforcing comprehensive corporate disclosure requirements,” added Fallon. 

“We applaud the administration for acknowledging the need for additional guardrails in voluntary carbon credit markets, but to ensure their integrity, additional clarity around key features like permanence and baseline requirements are essential,” said Rebecca Sanders-DeMott, Research Fellow in the Land Systems Program at CATF. “It’s critical that stakeholders have definitions that are both precise and verifiable.”

CATF has submitted comments to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) and the  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the need for high-quality carbon credits, including detailed public reporting requirements, independent third-party verification, and open-access databases that are updated regularly. CATF also plans to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in response to their request for information on the Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Program.  

In addition to the establishment of robust guardrails to ensure intended climate benefits in the voluntary carbon market, CATF sees the need for both private entities and the federal government to create incentives for projects that help remove carbon or reduce carbon emissions but don’t meet the strict standards for carbon credits used to offset fossil fuel emissions. Distinguishing between the two will both benefit the integrity of VCMs and drive down emissions, and CATF looks forward to continuing its collaboration with federal agencies on these critical issues. 

Contatto con la stampa

Natalie Volk, Communications Manager, [email protected], +1 703-785-9580

Circa Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With more than 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit and follow @cleanaircatf. 

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