Improving Arguments for Local Carbon Rights: The Case of Forest-Based Sequestration

Clare Heyward*, Dominic Lenzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Land-based climate mitigation schemes such as REDD+ imply the creation of ‘rights to carbon’ for actions that enhance carbon sinks. In many cases, the legal and normative foundations of such rights are unclear. This article focuses on special rights on the basis of improvement. Considering improvement in relation to carbon sinks requires asking what it means to ‘improve’ an environmental resource. Our answer departs in two significant respects from the standard conception of improvement, namely by reconceiving action in relation to ecosystem services, and accordingly, making the case for a counterfactual baseline to be used to compare an improved and unimproved state. Our modifications potentially allow for a variety of agents to claim special carbon rights on the basis of beneficial interactions with land-based carbon sinks. We give three archetypical examples of agents who may claim pro tanto special rights to carbon based on their interaction with carbon sinks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 20 Nov 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving Arguments for Local Carbon Rights: The Case of Forest-Based Sequestration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this