Nature-based Carbon Removal Verification

Lead Participant: Treeconomy Ltd

Abstract

* This project will provide a robust and quantitative assessment of nature-based carbon capture in the UK, and the requirements for scaleup of this method for meaningful climate change mitigation & adaptation
* We will build a quantitative model of tree carbon capture using a mix of historical data through the Woodland Carbon Code, drone-LiDAR surveys of existing woodlands, and satellite imagery.
* From this ecological & technological model we can design the appropriate financial model needed to increase afforestation by landowners and landowning businesses, similar to the success seen in the renewable energy sector with wind and solar in the UK.
* For background: the UK has set a legally binding 2050 Net Zero target. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) sets 5 year budgets and recommended actions to achieve this target. Currently, to reach net zero, the CCC recommends 30,000 hectares (ha) of trees are planted annually in the UK. However, only 13,400ha were planted in 2019\. There is clearly a tree-incentive problem, and after discussions with landowners, a large part of the problem is financial compensation. The overall outcome of the project will be an appropriate financially engineered solution to compensate landowners and businesses for the climate action, and enormously valuable public good, that they undertake by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It will provide a base for active impact investment into this sector, and place the UK as a leading technical expert in nature-based carbon capture & storage.
* The capture and storage of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is fundamental to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, as demonstrated in the IPCC special report (2018) and supported by their models. It is simply not possible to limit warming to this extent without carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, therefore there is an imperative to develop effective methods to do this. Indeed, there are less and less scenarios where limiting to 2 degrees celsius can be achieved without carbon removal.
* Nature-based methods for CO2 removal, such as planting trees and mangrove forests, can provide more than 1/3rd of the cost effective mitigation required between now and 2030\. Therefore, it makes financial sense to focus on this methods first. In order to do this in a scientifically robust manner, we need better and more scalable methods to attest and attribute carbon removal to these sites. Despite being called nature-based solutions, technology will still be required in order to ensure the necessary action is being taken - and that the action-takers are appropriately rewarded for their actions.
* This project will lay the groundwork for such a methodology, and seek to go further and build the financial and commercial basis for delivery. We will both; build the technical framework for calculation, design an effective financial solution, and consider the routes to market delivery.
* The outcome of this project should help landowners to 1) pay less 2) earn more, and 3) earn faster from afforestation projects.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Treeconomy Ltd £105,046 £ 84,037

Publications

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