Verra, a leading organization working towards environmental conservation and climate change mitigation, has achieved two significant milestones in developing the latest REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) methodology. This draft publication includes guidelines and standards for measuring, reporting, and verifying emission reductions.
Milestone 1: Updated REDD Methodology Draft
The first milestone involves the release of the updated REDD methodology draft, which encompasses essential revisions to enhance the measurement and verification of emission reductions. The critical updates are as follows:
Exclusion of Wetlands from REDD Eligibility: Wetlands will no longer qualify as REDD projects. This decision aligns with preventing forest degradation and aims to focus solely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from deforestation.
Accelerated Project Renewals: Projects will be permitted to update to the next baseline validity period more expeditiously than required by the VCS v.4.4 (Verified Carbon Standard) standard. This flexibility aims to support ongoing efforts in tackling deforestation and climate change.
Transitioning from VM0009 to Updated Methodology: Specific provisions have been introduced for projects transitioning from the VM0009 methodology to the newly updated version. This facilitates a smooth and efficient shift, encouraging existing projects to adopt the improved guidelines.
The updated REDD methodology's primary goal is to reduce GHG emissions and prevent forest degradation. Setting clear standards and guidelines will aid stakeholders in planning new REDD projects or transitioning existing ones effectively.
Verra aims to finalize the consolidated version of the updated REDD methodology by the first Q4 of 2023.
Milestone 2: Commencement of Deforestation Activity Data Collection Process
The second milestone pertains to initiating the data collection process for deforestation activities. Verra has decided to adopt crowdsourcing as the primary means of gathering data on deforestation from various regions. Previously, data from other sources were used to estimate future deforestation. With this update, Verra ensures that forest conservation credits are issued based on Verra's VCS, incorporating more accurate and up-to-date data.
The specific objectives of this data collection process are:
Establishing Baseline Deforestation Measurements: A baseline will be confirmed by collecting data on deforestation activities. This serves as a reference point to gauge future progress and reductions in deforestation rates.
Understanding Current Deforestation Status: The data collected will provide insights into the present state of deforestation in specific areas, enabling informed decision-making and targeted conservation efforts.
Setting Reference Points for Future Measurements: The data collected will serve as reference points for measuring progress in reducing deforestation in the future.
Ultimately, the overarching goal is to protect forests from deforestation, which is critical in mitigating global warming and climate change.
As part of their plan, Verra aims to engage more than 40 regions in participating under the VCS to strengthen global efforts towards REDD and sustainable forest management.
In conclusion, these two critical milestones achieved by Verra mark significant progress in the advancement of REDD technology. The updated methodology and the adoption of crowdsourced deforestation data collection promise more effective and accurate strategies to conserve forests, mitigate climate change, and safeguard the planet for future generations. With these advancements, stakeholders and policymakers can make better-informed decisions to combat deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions effectively.