Carbon standards and methodologies




Carbon standards set out the principles and general modalities and procedures for the validation and registration of project, program or jurisdictional activities and the verification and certification of their greenhouse gas mitigation benefits  under a determined standards program with the aim of generating carbon credits. Such standards also provide guidance on how carbon credits are generated, registered and accounted for. Examples of such programs are the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol,  VERRA (previously Verified Carbon Standard), the Gold Standard and the American Carbon Registry (ACR).

Standards serve as the basis for the development – usually by project proponents – of baseline and monitoring methodologies, which describe the specific steps to be carried out in order to, among other things, determine the project scope and boundaries, estimate its baseline, demonstrate its additionality, estimate and account for leakage and monitor and calculate the project´s emission reductions. Once approved following the procedures established by the standards program to this end, a methodology can be used by any project that complies with its applicability conditions.

Consultancy services offered:

The consultancy services I provide with regards to carbon standards and methodologies include the following:

  • Design of carbon standards: Development of requirements and procedures to ensure the environmental integrity of a standards program or parts of it.
  • Development of baseline and monitoring methodologies and methodological tools: Development of methodologies for any sector and existing standard based on the best available data and internationally recognized methods (i.e. the IPCC). Development of standard tools for specific methodology elements, for instance, for the identification, estimation and accounting of non-permanence and leakage.
  • Development of guidance documents:  Elaboration of guidance documents to facilitate the correct understanding and application of the standard´s requirements by project developers and auditors (validators and verifiers).
  • Validation of proposed methodologies: Assessment of methodologies against the requirements set out by the standard´s requirements.
  • Carbon accounting: Design of carbon accounting schemes to ensure the accurate and complete contabilization of emissions and emission reductions in a determined context, for instance accross scales (“nested” approaches), standards programs or initiatives.


Main articles, documents and books publicly available related to this subject:


guidance for jnr

VCS Guidance for Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ Program Design

Prepared by Robert O’Sullivan, Manuel Estrada, Leslie Durschinger, and Mark Lambert, FCMC / Terra Global Capital and VCS staff.




analyzing REDD+ CIFOR


Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices

Estrada, M. and Joseph, S. Chapter “Baselines and monitoring in local REDD+ projects”. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia Authors:Angelsen, A.; Brockhaus, M.; Sunderlin, W.D.; Verchot, L.V. (eds). 2012.



standards and methods available for project level REDD+


Standards and methods available for estimating project-level REDD+ carbon benefits. Reference guide for project developers

Estrada, M. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Bogor, Indonesia. 2011.




pathways for implementing REDD+


Pathways for Implementing REDD+ Experiences from Carbon Markets and Communities 

Chapter: The ‘Nested Approach’ to REDD+: How could it be Implemented? Lucio Pedroni, Manuel Estrada, Mariano Colini Cenamo. UNEP Risø Centre. Perspectives Series 2010.



climate change and forests book


Climate Change and Forests – Emerging Policy and Market Opportunities

Chapter: “Creating Incentives for Avoiding Further Deforestation: The Nested Approach”. Charlotte Streck, Lucio Pedroni, Manuel Estrada and Michael Dutschke. Edited by Charlotte Streck, Robert O´Sullivan, Toby Jason-Smith and Richard Tarasofsky. Published by Brookings Institution Press and Chatham House. 2008.


A full list of publications is available here.