COP26: Carbon Markets (Article 6) Need Robust Rules, say NGOs

Environmental integrity, avoidance of double counting, and transparent, high-quality climate mitigation from all sectors are critical for rules guiding international emissions trading

October 28, 2021
Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 (240) 480-1545

Some of the world’s largest environmental organizations and a multi-sector business association are urging countries to agree to strong rules at COP26 for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which provides a framework for countries to cooperatively use carbon markets to meet and exceed their international emissions reduction targets, while promoting sustainable development and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Research shows carbon markets can support more ambitious emissions reductions and unlock much-needed financing, but only if they’re backed by strong rules that ensure environmental integrity and carbon credit quality.

In the “Call for a Robust Article 6 Outcome in Glasgow,” Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, International Emissions Trading Association and The Nature Conservancy say: “Cooperative approaches under Article 6 can help countries go faster and farther towards a safe climate future, but only if countries design these tools properly.” 

The organizations urge countries to “finalize high-integrity rules for Article 6 that provide governments and private actors the clarity they need to accelerate investments towards achievement of the Paris Agreement’s ambitious goals.”

Specifically, they call for strong rules on Article 6 that:

  • Prevent all forms of double counting of mitigation toward the achievement of Paris Agreement temperature goals.
  • Facilitate high-quality mitigation across all sectors.
  • Ensure comprehensive reporting and transparency. 

Below are quotes from organization leaders:

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund: “”We’re in the race of our lives against climate change. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the world needs to rapidly drive emissions down and investment up. Well-designed international carbon markets can nearly double currently planned emissions cuts at no additional cost, while helping to channel investment to developing countries. At COP26, countries need to establish credible rules for high-integrity international carbon markets that contribute to global efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.”

Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International: “These goals are embodied in the Paris Agreement and the cooperative mechanisms in Article 6 — which outlines how countries can cooperate on the vital task of reducing carbon emissions — but the rules are incomplete. We must all come away from COP26 with a complete rulebook that is clear, coherent with the current global carbon budget, and equitable to developing countries. We had a chance to do this at the last year COP in Madrid and failed. If this COP ends without finalized rules on Article 6 — strong and clear rules that allow carbon trading across all sectors — it’s not unfair to say this COP will have been a failure.” 

Dirk Forrister, President and CEO of IETA: “Robust guidance on Article 6 is necessary to harness the potential of markets and deliver mitigation and adaptation actions with greater economic efficiency. A cooperative approach to the implementation of nationally determined contributions using Article 6 will greatly reduce the cost of emissions reduction and allow for higher ambition. The private sector needs clear rules to accelerate investment and contribute to the ambition goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Jennifer Morris, TNC: “Article 6 can unlock investments on a scale needed to stabilize temperature increases at 1.5 degrees C – but only if implemented with strong environmental rules. We urge climate negotiators gathered in Glasgow to agree on and lay the foundation of solid carbon markets both to accelerate action to combat climate change and to deliver much-needed co-benefits for nature and people.”

See EDF’s events at COP 26 in Glasgow and online:

# # #

One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund ( creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 2.5 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund