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Forest Carbon in Climate Change Supermarket: Is India Prepared to Sail?
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1  TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi


Market-based mechanisms have evolved to internalize the negative externalities of excessive greenhouse gas emissions. Several market-based instruments have been developed to facilitate effective mitigation of climate change through voluntary and regulatory measures. A number of such instruments are expected to hit the carbon markets with the take-off of the new global deal on climate change- The Paris Agreement, along with other planned and potential regional, national and sub-national regimes to address the problem of climate change. With the possibility of inter-linking the carbon market segments in times to come, we see a complex picture of the existing carbon markets turning into a future supermarket. India is a leading country in terms of registered clean development mechanism (CDM) projects in afforestation and reforestation (AR) sector, however, the basket of projects developed so far is not versatile in terms of coverage of carbon pools, greenhouse gases and intervention types. We explore the potential of India becoming a leading party in forest-based carbon supermarkets in the backdrop of: (i) existing capacities, such as robust monitoring set-up, (ii) commitments of forest restoration, such as forest-related goal in nationally determined contributions, (iii) actions taken, such as Green India Mission, and (iv) the enabling conditions, such as CAMPA and Forest Rights Act. We discuss the extent to which the institutional set-up in the country is prepared for taking up the new and emerging market-based mechanisms in carbon forestry. We triangulated existing literature, on-ground observations from two registered AR CDM projects being implemented in Kashi and Mahoba forest divisions in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and the expert interviews. We list out the constraints and gaps in India’s readiness to identify and embrace the opportunity of being a top player in the upcoming climate change supermarket in the context of forest restoration.

Keywords: Carbon Markets; CDM; Paris Agreement; Forest Carbon