In recent years, an unprecedented number of voluntary climate commitments have been made by a wide array of non-state and subnational actors. These voluntary climate actions have several aims, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience. Together, these actions can contribute significantly to the achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Yet, non-state and local actors’ environmental claims are often unsubstantiated. Some voluntary actions rely on the deployment of controversial carbon offsets or the use of debatable technologies (e.g., for carbon capture and storage). This raises questions of integrity and suspicions of greenwashing. Integrity is therefore key to realizing the promise of voluntary climate action by many actors, and to actually prevent and combat (the effects of) climate change.
The ACHIEVE research project will identify opportunities to strengthen and scale up voluntary climate action, with the aim of achieving a worldwide net-zero society by 2050. The project will:
- generate transformative and timely scientific insights into the role, effectiveness, and integrity of voluntary climate action (including carbon credits);
- assess the integrity and impacts of such action;
- analyse how policies and regulations and high-integrity voluntary climate action can strengthen each other;
- and use scientific findings to support the scaling up of high-integrity voluntary action
This will be achieved through a highly inter- and transdisciplinary consortium. From the start, the project will actively engage policymakers and other societal stakeholders in co-creating outcomes and mapping societal needs.