This comment addresses the intentional exclusion of Indigenous nations from the United Nations and, consequently, from the UNFCCC and subsequent climate regime. It cautions of the adverse consequences that have resulted from such exclusion, both to the warming planet and to all its human residents. Critics say that the climate regime has fallen woefully short of reaching its goals. However, this comment suggests that including Indigenous nations in substantial international climate change conversations and decisions could result in yet-to-be-made progress toward reducing global warming. The permanent position status that the Inuit people hold on the Arctic Council, for example, helped empower them to envisage a unique solution to the impact climate change was having on their lives and take action in an international court to plant their idea in the international consciousness--that human rights and environmental rights are inextricably intertwined.

This comment posits that the clean development mechanism (“CDM”) is not inherently broken, but rather that carbon markets have been poorly deployed and can be reimagined to substantially address climate change. Including Indigenous experts with traditional ecological knowledge (“TEK”) on the expert committee mandated by the Paris Agreement and granting permanent position or voting status to Indigenous nations within the UN climate regime could bring alternate and lasting solutions in climate change. To illustrate how Indigenous philosophies might bear on reimagining carbon markets, the comment compares current carbon market implementation with how two different Indigenous philosophies might alter them such that they in fact operate to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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