Experts are looking at how to help manage Scotland’s growing natural capital dilemma, as investor interest in acquiring land for carbon offsetting continues to grow.
Ordered by the Scottish Land Commission, the latest Land Lines discussion papers analyse the current state of Scotland’s carbon market and offer suggestions for ensuring major changes to land us have positive environmental outcomes and land owners and developers collaborate with local communities.
The authors say Scotland cannot afford to allow a small number of actors to make the key decisions about natural capital which will affect everyone in the country for decades to come.
The papers conclude that pre-emptive policy interventions are need to ensure that carbon markets make a positive contribution to the just transition to net zero.
The ‘Land Lines’ papers were written by Economics Professor, Sir Dieter Helm CBE of Oxford University, and University of Glasgow School of Law’s Dr Jill Robbie and Dr Giedre Jokubauskaite.
Natural capital is the renewable and non-renewable stocks of natural assets, including geology, soil, air, water, and plants and animals that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people.
Adopting a natural capital approach enables us to understand the role of our natural environment, alongside its intrinsic value, as an asset that underpins and enhances our economy and society.
Hamish Trench, Chief Executive of the Scottish Land Commission, said: “The new papers are incredibly helpful in stimulating the debate surrounding the land and carbon market within Scotland.
“Through commissioning leading experts in the field to draft these papers, the reports show there is much to be learned from considering wider legal and economic principles to help shape Scotland’s approach to harnessing the value of carbon and natural capital effectively.”
He added: “We’re hoping these papers, combined with online events, will give the public a better understanding of the issues facing Scotland’s land and spark important discussions.
“Land plays a role in every aspect of everyday Scotland and part of our role is to stimulate and inform discussion on how we make the most of it.”