Human rights are not getting the attention they deserve in Article 6. In the latest draft that has been shared, all references to human rights have been removed from the text. Ironically, the government of Chile, this year’s COP organizer country, has been accused of violating human rights during the last weeks’ protests.
Article 6 will regulate carbon markets during the Paris Agreement. The new deal will replace the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a carbon market that operated under the Kyoto Protocol that has highly criticized. Among other issues, the CDM was accused of supporting initiatives that caused violation of human rights.
“This should have the first thing to be discussed,” said Said Karina Penha from Brazilian NGO Engajamundo. “Decision-makers come here using [human rights] to try to get more funding, but in practice they don’t include that in their deals,” added Kinda Silva, also from Engajamundo.
A paradigmatic example is Sasan’s coal-powered fire power plant (yes, carbon credits were awarded for building a coal plant and that’s something that also needs to be solved). An investigation by Carbon Market Watch concluded that, among other things, the building of the plant caused communities to be displaced, labor standards were disregarded and ground water in the area was polluted.
Despite all the problems that the CDM had, carbon markets are still considered a very cost-effective tool to increase climate ambition – provided new regulations are put in place. Observers agree that learning from past mistakes is key to having a successful new system. Negotiators should take note.