Natural climate solutions crediting handbook and briefing series

A handbook and technical briefs to advance effective and ethical crediting of natural climate solutions

Scaling up natural climate solutions, or NCS, could help us reach climate goals while providing social and economic co-benefits. NCS refers to activities that protect or enhance forest, marine and agricultural ecosystems and preserve their ability to remove or sequester carbon.

The Natural Climate Solutions Crediting Handbook and Briefing Series will guide readers through the main considerations necessary to unlock the potential of high-integrity NCS crediting to equitably enhance global climate mitigation efforts at the ambitious scale needed to meet the urgent climate challenge.

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Equity Considerations on the Demand Side of NCS Crediting

Significant equity considerations arise around both the generation and use of emissions reductions associated with Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) carbon credits. This paper focuses on the demand side, referring to the use of carbon credits generated through NCS for compliance with regulatory obligations or to meet voluntary commitments.

Authors: Julia Ilhardt, Nina Randazzo, Fern Uennatornwaranggoon and Devyani Singh

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View of trees in forest looking up

Advancing Effective and Equitable Crediting for Natural Climate Solutions: An Introduction

The first briefing note in the series introduces some of the main considerations necessary to ensure the integrity, efficacy and equity of NCS crediting systems. It explains NCS crediting fundamentals while acknowledging and framing central misconceptions and complexities within the NCS crediting space, and illustrates the unique near-term role that NCS can play in climate mitigation efforts.

Authors: Devyani Singh, Britta Dosch, Christine Gerbode, Suzi Kerr, Julia Paltseva, Doria Gordon, Eric Holst, Kristin Kleisner, Gökçe Akin-Olçum, Jason Funk

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Overhead snapshot of forest filled with trees alongside a lake with the reflection of clouds in sky

Mitigating Credit Transaction Risk Through Contract Design

The second briefing note in the series discusses the specific design of NCS carbon credit agreements, also known as emission reduction purchase agreements (ERPA), with a focus on identifying risks embedded in these transactions and opportunities for managing those risks.

Authors: Alexander Golub, Clayton Munnings, Alicia Robinson, Julia Ilhardt, Devyani Singh, Suzi Kerr and Christine Gerbode

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Well-designed NCS crediting programs can unlock opportunities

The opportunities offered by NCS crediting for climate change mitigation are enormous, but successful implementation requires carefully designed mechanisms that provide appropriate incentives for all actors, an understanding of distributional and procedural consequences, and the establishment of an enabling institutional environment for high-integrity, large-scale programs. NCS crediting activities must include criteria that ensures an equitable distribution of benefits and appropriate identification of responsibilities, does not contribute to social or environmental harm, and pays particular regard to those groups who have historically been excluded from relevant decision-making processes.

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Helping stakeholders understand the NCS marketplace

Potential NCS credit producers and buyers face roadblocks to engaging in the NCS space because of the complexities surrounding NCS crediting and the lack of scalable models or examples of successful crediting programs.

Addressing conflicting guidance, increasing confidence in high-integrity NCS credits and providing proof points in the marketplace are necessary steps to demonstrate that NCS crediting represents a real, scalable, low-risk opportunity to protect natural ecosystems, reduce emissions, and support social and economic benefits for Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

EDF’s NCS Crediting Handbook and Briefing Series will:

  • Reduce confusion by providing clear explanations of the many interacting aspects of an effective and high-integrity carbon crediting system that can be tailored to different contexts.
  • Provide technical solutions to some controversial aspects of existing crediting schemes.
  • Help focus informed debate on issues that are unavoidably political, lacking one clear answer but impact groups differently, or on heavily complex issues that can only be resolved with subjective judgments.

NCS Crediting Briefing Series

The NCS Briefing Series will cover key issues involved in using NCS crediting as a climate change mitigation tool. The briefs will tackle issues, considerations and trade-offs related to generating, trading and using NCS credits. They will ultimately provide the content for a Handbook on NCS crediting. Topics in the series will include achieving large-scale high-integrity crediting; ensuring equity as credits are created, traded, and used; facilitating and governing trades; and financing the mitigation activities that underly the credits.