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The World Bank: Blockchain and Post-2020 Climate Markets

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Since its adoption in December 2015 by the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 175 countries to date have ratified the Paris Agreement. These countries have made commitments Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in some cases contingent on financing by developed countries, to limit or reduce their Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a variety of measures including more significant deployment of renewable power, energy efficiency, land-use controls such as conservation of forests and grasslands, carbon pricing, and other measures compatible with each country’s national circumstances and capabilities.

Even with full ratification of the Agreement by all 197 signatories, the aggregate effect is projected only to slow the rate of GHG emissions growth from the 24 percent increase, between 1990 and 2010, to an anticipated increase between 2010 and 2030 of between 11 and 23 percent. To foster higher ambition and sustainable development, and also encourage large-scale financing towards the most effective mitigation measures, Article 6 of the Agreement recognizes that countries may engage in cooperative approaches, including the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) towards their individual NDC.

In this new, complex and diverse environment, this paper aims to examine emerging digital technologies and architectures that could be used to enhance and connect the heterogeneous climate actions across countries, thereby supporting post-2020 climate markets that facilitate the most cost-effective achievement of the highest possible ambition. Given the speed with which information technology, system architectures, domestic policy, and other relevant elements are developing, the roadmap laid out in this paper will likely continue to evolve significantly over the next few years.