Verra – a nonprofit organization that operates standards in environmental and carbon markets, will unveil at COP28 a new methodology for issuing carbon credits from projects under the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries (REDD+) framework, as reported exclusively by Reuters.
The new methodology consolidates five of Verra’s current methodologies for REDD+ projects into one comprehensive framework. Under the new framework, Verra will provide data on a jurisdiction’s annual deforestation activity. The projects’ baseline will be calculated differently than before – it will be consistent with the way national and jurisdictional-level authorities calculate them.
A baseline of REDD+ projects represents the amount of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted if the project was not realized. If a baseline is set too high, then the amount of credits sold by the project is overestimated. Currently, project developers calculate their own baselines, using a “reference” region that is broadly similar to where the project is located.
One of the most common approaches to a baseline is creating a model of how much carbon would be sequestered and stored on the land over the next 100 years absent the project. The models are based on current and historical data and a variety of assumptions based on that data.
Under the new approach, project developers will use Verra’s data to calculate the emissions that would have taken place from deforestation in the absence of their project. Independent third-party auditors will verify the projects, and Verra will issue credits against the audited reports.
Apart from changes in the baseline, Verra will collect the data via new technologies that will ensure higher accuracy than before. The organization has partnered with a number of providers like CTrees, Arbonauts and Space Intelligence in the areas of satellites, drones, remote sensing and artificial intelligence. They are capable of measuring the amount of deforestation taking place in a project area.
The final version of the new methodology of Verra is expected to be released ahead of COP28 and aims for the new baselines to be set in more than 40 jurisdictions globally by the end of 2024.