Verra Adopts Stronger Carbon Offset Standards For Forest Projects

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

Verra, a non-profit that sets the standards used to assess carbon reduction projects and certifies their effectiveness, announced that it has strengthened its forest preservation and restoration standard, updating it based on their ten years of experience in evaluating projects and on the latest science.  They are the leading organization that measures greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals and issues carbon offset credits for use in global voluntary and compliance markets.  Verra has applied the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) to 1,687 projects that have helped cut down 582 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.  These new updates will allow Verra to integrate project activities with government-led efforts that can play to the strengths of each.

Why this Matters:  We cannot hold warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius without nature based solutions such as preserving existing forests and restoring others.  Certification by Verra is crucial to ensure the benefits are real rather than just on paper.  As Verra CEO David Antonioli explained, “…Carbon markets are well-positioned to be an important solution to climate change, and our role as a standard-setter means we need to ensure that the available carbon finance is channeled to activities on the ground that demonstrably reduce deforestation and strengthen forest restoration activities.”

Solidified Standards

Verra’s certification program makes it possible for projects to turn their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and removals into tradable carbon credits. The  Verra Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program is the world’s largest voluntary GHG program.   Verra also now provides the Verra Registry , which was launched in 2020, and provides to the public information on certified projects, credits issued and retired units, and thus makes it possible to buy and sell carbon offset units. The registry makes available all the information and documentation relating to Verra projects and credits.

Verra chief program officer Naomi Swickard added: “Saving the world’s forests is critically important, not only in the fight against climate change, but also because of the communities and biodiversity they sustain.”  Verra is providing new infrastructures to align projects with national accounting and incorporate new understandings of “leakage,” which suggests that deforestation in one area can affect deforestation in another. Verra also plans to shed light on the definitions of rights to emission reductions, particularly important to indigenous forest communities.

Verra will also strengthen project carbon “buffers,” an insurance policy where each project puts some of its carbon offset credits to a buffer. The buffer can be used if a fire or other disaster causes carbon from forests to escape into the atmosphere.  Verra hopes that these changes can lead to reduced emissions from deforestation and forest conservation, as well as projects that directly protect forests, like buildings fire lines to protect against wildfires, and guarding the forest to stop illegal logging. 

To Go Deeper: Read all about carbon offsets and their verification here.

Up Next

Giant Sequoias Threatened by California Fires 

Giant Sequoias Threatened by California Fires 

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The giant sequoia trees in California’s Sequoia National Park are over 1,000 years old and could live another 2,000 years, but climate change-fueled fires are killing them. The trees can usually withstand the flames, but the intensity of recent fires has been overpowering. Last year’s Castle Fire killed up […]

Continue Reading 385 words
Amazonian Communities Urge International Action & Amazon.com Invests in Restoration

Amazonian Communities Urge International Action & Amazon.com Invests in Restoration

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As wildfires and deforestation grip the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous communities are urging world governments to pledge to protect 80% of the forest by 2025. The groups launched their campaign at a biodiversity conference in France, where experts from around the world are laying the groundwork for the UN’s delayed […]

Continue Reading 441 words
30% of Earth’s Tree Species Nearly Extinct

30% of Earth’s Tree Species Nearly Extinct

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer   A new assessment found that at least 30% of the world’s 60,000 tree species are nearing extinction in the wild. The number of tree species threatened— 17,500— is twice that of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles combined.  Why this Matters: Trees are crucial to maintaining the earth’s ecosystems. Trees not […]

Continue Reading 274 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.