Piloting to Continue Under Article 6 Despite COP28 Failure

Steve Zwick

Negotiators at year-end climate talks in Dubai achieved agreement on the need to transition away from fossil fuels, but they failed to move forward with guidance on forging international cooperation under Article 6.

13 December 2023 | DUBAI | Countries say they will continue piloting cross-border cooperation under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement despite a failure by negotiators to agree on guidance for operationalizing that paragraph and its companion, Article 6.4.

Article 6 governs international carbon credits.

Within it, Article 6.2 provides a framework for countries to cooperate bilaterally or multilaterally, while Article 6.4 provides a centralized mechanism administered by the United Nations. Article 6.8 covers non-market transfers.

Coming into the talks, expectations were high for progress under Article 6.2 and low for Article 6.4, but they would have to pass as a package to operationalize the mechanism. Countries had been piloting cross-border cooperation under 6.2 for several years, and scores of them had already established designated national agencies for engaging 6.4.

“Article 6 is mentioned as an instrument to accelerate work under the Global Stocktake decision,” said Jos Cozijnsen, a former negotiator for the Dutch government now acting as policy advisor to the Climate Neutral Group.

“This would mean that Article 6.2 pilot deals can continue,” he said. “They do not need further guidance, and the Voluntary Carbon Market will keep playing a role in helping host countries meet their targets because no corresponding adjustment is needed.”

The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) issued a statement condemning the “politicization” of the carbon markets, explicitly citing efforts by the European Union and others to relegate policy discussions, including on the role of REDD+ in Article 6.4, to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

“The Article 6.4 Supervisory Body should not be micro-managed by SBSTA,” they said in a statement.

“The delay of the Article 6.4 mechanism is not a victory for environmental integrity,” added Andrea Bonzanni, IETA’s International Policy Director. “It is a victory for the anti-market agenda.”

IETA also reiterated that Article 6.2 can continue to be implemented without further guidance from the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).

“Market-based cooperative approaches would have benefitted from an Agreed Electronic Format for reporting and clearer rules on the authorization of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes, but this is not essential,” they said.

Although piloting can continue, there is doubt over whether international carbon credits (ICCs) transferred from government to government will be recognized under the Paris Agreement. Voluntary transactions retain their current status as exempt from corresponding adjustments.

Negotiations on Article 6.2 backslid over disagreements on how much centralized oversight the UN should extend to bilateral and multilateral hubs.

US delegates expressed frustration with efforts by the European Union and others to impose more prescriptive rules on Article 6.2 than had previously been agreed.

Previous Coverage

COP28 Update: Progress Towards Agreement on Avoidance Under Article 6.4, but Backsliding in 6.2

African Countries Mobilize for Carbon Markets Despite Article 6 Deadlock

Analysis: Article 6.4 Talks Have Stalled in Dubai. Here’s What’s At Stake

What to Watch for Voluntary Carbon and Article 6 at COP 28

Bionic Planet Podcast

Steve Zwick is a freelance writer and produces the Bionic Planet podcast. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Ecosystem Marketplace, and prior to that he covered European business for Time Magazine and Fortune Magazine and produced the award-winning program Money Talks on Deutsche Welle Radio in Bonn, Germany.

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