Land-Based Mitigation Strategies and Their Implications for Local Communities in the Global South
Land-based carbon mitigation strategies are receiving considerable interest for their potential to sink carbon or provide sources of alterative clean energy. The actors and agencies in this sector are many and include corporations seeking to offset their carbon emissions, experts who design and implement measurement protocols, national governments who facilitate carbon offset programs, conservation agencies who work with governments and local communities to set land aside for conservation and carbon sinks, and members of local communities who seek to gain revenue from their land conservation practices. This paper focuses on the possible implications of nature-based solutions (NbS) on local communities and is based on a review of the available scholarly literature, grey literature, and reporting on the topic emerging from international news agencies. The power dynamics in these offset programs reveal huge gaps between global corporate interests and those of rural, mostly Global South communities. Governance, benefit sharing, distributive and procedural justice, and complex land dynamics emerge as key themes requiring attention in order to make land-based mitigation strategies fairer and more equitable to local communities who may live on and manage the lands on which carbon offsetting is proposed. Findings in this paper conclude that a more holistic approach to planning, design, and implementation of land-based carbon mitigation strategies is essential for achieving both equity and environmental benefits beyond just carbon.