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Forest carbon offsets and carbon emissions trading: Problems of contracting

Gerrit van Kooten

Forest Policy and Economics, 2017, vol. 75, issue C, 83-88

Abstract: The process of monitoring and measuring the carbon fluxes associated with forestry is complex and costly, and the process is subject to asymmetric information, perverse incentives and inadequate institutions. The upshot is that any trade in forestry related carbon credits is likely to involve unwarranted acts of faith. This means that, since carbon credits are a de facto fiat currency, their exchange value is likely to be unstable. Contracting requires good governance, which is often lacking. Meanwhile, parties to a contract to provide offsets for sale in carbon markets have misaligned incentives in addition to asymmetric information. This leads to a principal-agent problem that delays successful contracting and quite often leads to incompatible claims regarding the creation of carbon offsets. At worse, it results in corruption.

Keywords: Forest carbon offsets; Contracts and asymmetric information; Principal-agent problem; Climate change mitigation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2016.12.006

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