Today, issuing credits for a forest carbon project can take years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. With new platforms, carbon credit issuance could take only days at a fraction of the cost. Pachama envisions a future of high-integrity, transparent carbon crediting at the speed and scale the planet demands. This modern future will bring more high-quality projects to the market, allow businesses to make more informed carbon investment decisions, and drive more funding to the communities restoring and protecting the land.
Here are 4 solutions Pachama is developing to modernize the market:
Satellite observations and automated credit calculations
Despite remarkable advances in satellites and machine learning, carbon credit calculations today rely on costly and labor-intensive methods. Project developers send crews to the field to conduct carbon inventories by hand. These crews measure the height and diameter of trees in plots randomly sited throughout the project. Each tree’s carbon is then estimated based on its height and diameter, and though rules vary by registry, nearly all allow significant room to adjust calculations on a project-by-project basis.
Rather than collecting data by hand and relying on human calculations, Pachama uses satellite data and artificial intelligence to observe reality on the ground and automate credit calculations. We’re building remote-sensing-based machine learning models to estimate forest carbon, evaluate deforestation risk, and monitor forest cover change over time. We recently released a Pachama Research Brief summarizing the initial results of our baseline validation work.
Digital Measurement, Reporting and Verification
Carbon credit issuance traditionally relies on manual field measurements, PDF files, and spreadsheets that are prone to human error and often rely on strong assumptions. Each forest carbon project can require 2+ years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete the arduous process of issuing credits. With new digital platforms, measurement and documentation can be produced in a matter of days at a fraction of the cost, enabling more funds to be directed toward on-the-ground developers and local communities.
To implement our measurement technologies and scale nature-based carbon markets with integrity, Pachama is working to build a Digital Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (DMRV) platform. We recently announced an exciting pilot program with Verra, which is the first of its kind for forest carbon. It is critical that market stakeholders come together to make carbon markets work, and we’re hopeful that recent programs like this will lead to significant progress.
Rigorous Evaluation of Project Quality
Each project on our marketplace is carefully vetted by Pachama's forest scientists and technology to ensure that we are surfacing only the highest quality projects. To date, we’ve evaluated over 150 forest carbon projects across four major registries, and fewer than 30% have met our stringent criteria.
In September, we released the second iteration of our Project Evaluation Criteria, which raises our quality bar even higher. Harnessing the latest advancements in remote sensing and scientific research, our Evaluation Criteria includes a series of quality checks that every project must meet in order to be offered on our marketplace, including accurate carbon crediting and clear additionality.
The Next Generation of Nature-Based Projects
Having spent the last several years evaluating forest carbon projects, we recognize there simply aren’t enough quality projects to move at the pace the planet demands. So now we’re applying our technology every step of the way to create impactful forest carbon projects that will stand the test of time.
Pachama Originals represents a portfolio of technology-enabled reforestation and forest conservation projects developed by Pachama with local partners. What’s different about this new generation of nature-based projects is the focus on integrity and transparency enabled by Pachama’s leading technology, as well as Originals’ innovative financial model and the opportunity for deep local engagement to deliver lasting climate, biodiversity, and community impact.
Pachama is committed to transparency, and we plan to make our research and technology accessible as we learn and progress. In the coming months, we hope to share more in-depth baseline and carbon mapping research.
The world’s forests not only sequester gigatons of carbon but also protect biodiversity and support livelihoods for local communities. If properly designed, the market for forest carbon can be a critical climate solution. But this requires driving net deforestation to zero and reforesting an area roughly 10 times the size of France (Girardin, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.2017; Griscom, PNAS ,2020; Griscom, R. Soc., 2020).
Pachama hopes to work together with scientists, policy experts, forest communities, non-profits, and corporations to solve this global challenge.
Very interesting! Bringing transparency in this world more than needed at the moment let's hope that Pachama can lead the way 🍃
It's awesome to see that Pachama is working with a carbon project in Louisiana. The state is on the front line of climate change, and the state is home to many of North America's bird species!