University of East Anglia
My Thesis' Abstract
Are carbon offset projects effective at delivering sustainable livelihood benefits in South Africa?
The legitimacy of the carbon offsetting has been fiercely criticised. Some scholars consider carbon offsetting an ethically and flawed policy approach that is neither a responsible nor a credible long-term strategy to deal with climate change. Nevertheless, some policy actors regard carbon offsetting schemes as a substantive and useful element of any regulatory or political solution to climate change, together with other alternatives to economic instruments, such as efficiency standards, carbon taxes and carbon accounting. My research takes a pragmatic analysis of carbon offset project implementation in South Africa. It has the objective to clarify the functioning of the local carbon offset market in South Africa, to examine current livelihoods of local people, their priorities and needs in affected project areas; to investigate what benefits (and costs) carbon offset projects offer to local communities; who receives these benefits (and costs) and how they are shared and distributed between different stakeholders. The research will analyse how the notional provision of sustainable livelihood benefits in carbon offset projects might be better ‘mainstreamed’ in order to contribute towards sustainable adaptation to climate change in South Africa.