For decades, public and private entities have been exploring the use of project-based approaches to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and thus combat climate change. GHG mitigation projects have been used as a means to contribute to financing activities in many sectors going from renewable energies to forest protection, and have been part of country and corporate strategies to comply with emission reduction targets or to contribute to the attainment of Social Corporate Responsibility objectives.
In the context of the UNFCCC, project-based approaches have been explored since 1995 through the Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ) pilot phase, and became a compliance tool under the Kyoto Protocol through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) under Article 6 of the Protocol. To date, the CDM represents the only avenue for developing countries to participate in the regulated carbon market created by the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, project and program-based approaches may also be carried out under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, although the specific features and rules of the mechanisms established by such article are still being negotiated.
Mitigation projects have also been carried out outside the regulated framework provided by the UNFCCC as part of voluntary carbon markets. These markets are mainly driven by the interest of governments, private companies, individuals and NGOs to, for example, further their CSR and sustainability goals, offset their carbon footprint or comply with voluntary mitigation targets. Projects in this markets are usually developed under voluntary standards programs such as those established by VERRA (previously Verified Carbon Standard), the Gold Standard and the American Carbon Registry (ACR).
In the case of REDD+, projects, programs and jurisdictions taking part in the voluntary carbon market act in parallel with – and sometimes, nested into – national and subnational approaches participating in results-based payments programs.
Consultancy services offered:
Based on my experience working on carbon mitigation projects in various sectors, I provide the following consultancy services:
- Feasibility studies: Assessment of the potential of a project idea to be eligible under a determined program in the regulated or voluntary markets, taking into account, among other things, its additionality arguments and available baseline information. Economic feasibility analysis considering the mitigation potential of the project and the market prices per ton of carbon credits.
- Identification of standards and methodologies: Evaluation of the most suitable standards and methodologies for a project idea considering its main features (sector, size, context, specific activities) and objectives. If necessary, modification of existing methodologies to fit the proposed project.
- Development of project baselines: Construction of project baselines following the selected methodology and based on available information.
- Elaboration of project documents: Preparation of project documents, going from Project Idea Notes (the document used to describe a project idea thar serves as the basis to assess its feasibility) to those required by the different programs to validate and register a project, such as Project Design Documents (for the CDM) and Project Descriptions (for VERRA).
Main articles, documents and books related to these topics:
Integrating Ecology and Poverty Reduction
Estrada, M. and Corbera, E., 2012. The potential of carbon offsetting projects in the forestry sector for poverty reduction in developing countries. A: De Clerck, F., Ingram, J.C., Rumbaitis del Rio, C. (eds).
How do regulated and voluntary carbon offset schemes compare?
Corbera, Esteve , Estrada, Manuel and Brown, Katrina (2009), Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, 6: 1, 25 — 50.
UNFCCC negotiations (pre-Kyoto to COP-9): what the process says about the politics of CDM-sinks
Emily Boyd, Esteve Corbera, Manuel Estrada. Accepted: 20 March 2008 / Published online: 18 April 2008. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008.
The politics of afforestation and reforestation activities at COP-9 and SB-20
Emily Boyd, Esteve Corbera, María Gutiérrez, Manuel Estrada. Tyndall Briefing Note No. 12, 2004.
A full list of publications is available here.