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Climate-friendly agriculture and the clean development mechanism: an assessment of future prospects for agriculture and land use change in Latin America

Market solutions based on the trade of carbon offset credits remain a dominant feature in international climate change negotiations. This paper undertakes a preliminary assessment of potential of climate change mitigation projects by evaluating Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects related to agriculture and land use change in Latin America. Results suggest that potential benefits of carbon markets in the agriculture and forestry sectors are often overstated, with failures in the areas of additionality, project accountability and sustainable development. The data indicates that industrial agriculture, already a major driver of climate change, will benefit more from carbon markets than smallholder agriculture, raising concerns related to climate justice and sustainable development. The paper was presented at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing II held at Cornell University, United States, in October 2012.