October 27, 2023

Carbon registries: A closer look

What role do carbon registries play in the fight against climate change?
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Carbon registries play an important role in the fight against climate change by helping monitor, verify, and validate emissions reduction projects. These registries ensure transparency, accountability, and the issuance of carbon credits, which incentivize sustainable practices.

Behind the scenes, carbon registries maintain the chain of ownership for carbon credits, ensuring that each credit's journey is transparent and accountable. This involves tracking the issuance of carbon credits to their rightful owners, whether they are project developers or corporations investing in emissions reduction. Beyond issuance, registries also play a critical role in monitoring the retirement of these credits. As carbon credits are retired, it signifies that their carbon-reducing impact has been realized, creating a tangible link between emissions reduction and credit retirement. This entire process helps maintain the credibility of carbon credits, making them an effective tool in incentivizing and rewarding sustainable practices that contribute to our global climate goals.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the leading registries and their contributions to environmental responsibility and progress toward a greener and more sustainable world.

1. Verra:

  • Purpose: Verra primarily aims to provide a standardized and rigorous framework for validating and verifying greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. Its core purpose is to ensure the environmental integrity and effectiveness of carbon credit projects. Verra maintains two major standards: the Verified Carbon Units (VCU) and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard. These standards ensure that carbon credit projects are not only effective in reducing emissions but also bring about positive impacts on communities and biodiversity.
  • Areas of Focus: Verra covers a broad spectrum of project types, with a notable focus on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) projects. It also certifies projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable land use.

2. Gold Standard:

  • Purpose: The Gold Standard not only focuses on reducing carbon emissions but also emphasizes environmental and social co-benefits. Its primary purpose is to certify projects that not only reduce emissions but also deliver sustainable development benefits to local communities and regions.
  • Areas of Focus: The Gold Standard covers a wide range of project types, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, afforestation, and reforestation projects. It places a strong emphasis on projects that address energy poverty, clean water access, and poverty reduction.

3. ACR (American Carbon Registry):

  • Purpose: ACR is dedicated to providing a platform for the registration and verification of high-quality carbon offset projects. Its primary purpose is to facilitate emissions reductions in various sectors while maintaining transparency and environmental integrity.
  • Areas of Focus: ACR's areas of focus encompass forestry, agriculture, renewable energy, methane capture, and waste management projects. It is known for its rigorous standards and its contributions to the growth of voluntary carbon markets.

4. CAR (Climate Action Reserve):

  • Purpose: CAR, like ACR, focuses on providing a platform for registering and verifying greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. Its core purpose is to stimulate climate action at regional and national levels, particularly in the United States.
  • Areas of Focus: CAR covers a wide range of project types, including forestry, livestock, and waste management. It plays a significant role in promoting and verifying emissions reductions in the North American context.

5. Plan Vivo:

  • Purpose: Plan Vivo is unique in its emphasis on community-based, small-scale projects that promote sustainable land use and forestry practices. Its primary purpose is to empower local communities and conserve biodiversity while mitigating climate change.
  • Areas of Focus: Plan Vivo's areas of focus include reforestation, agroforestry, and sustainable land management projects. It prioritizes the social and environmental aspects of carbon credit projects.

6. Puro.earth

  • Purpose: Puro.earth leads the charge in carbon removal by harnessing the potential of biochar. Biochar is a resilient carbon-rich substance created through pyrolysis, making it highly resistant to decomposition. Puro's primary purpose is to champion the use of biochar to sequester carbon for over a century.
  • Areas of Focus: Puro introduced the first biochar carbon removal crediting methodology in 2019. Under the Puro Standard, they issue CO₂ Removal Certificates (CORCs) to carbon removal suppliers through the Puro Registry. This allows climate-conscious companies to offset their emissions and bolster their sustainability efforts. 

Each of these carbon registries serves as a unique and essential pillar in the global fight against climate change. With distinct purposes and specific areas of focus, they collectively contribute to the worldwide effort to combat the pressing environmental challenges we face today. 

Understanding their individual purposes and areas of focus is not just informative; it's the compass that guides stakeholders in the carbon market to make informed decisions and drive sustainability forward. In the hands of these registries, the journey toward a more sustainable and climate-resilient future becomes tangible, where the combined efforts of countless individuals and organizations align to create positive environmental and social change on a global scale.

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