Qualifying Factors of High Quality Carbon Projects

Additionality – the emission reduction benefits from a project are beyond what would occur in a business as usual scenario. For instance, wetland restoration required as mitigation for drainage of other wetlands is not eligible, since regulations already mandate this restoration.    

Leakage – unanticipated increases and decreases in greenhouse gas emissions directly resulting from the project, typically outside the project boundaries. For example, trees are cleared for agriculture, causing emissions to increase, to compensate for the loss of production on acres reforested as part of a carbon project.

Co-benefits – besides reducing emissions, projects should ideally improve local communities and increase ecosystem values such as wildlife habitat, provide protection for rare and endangered plants and animals, improve water quality and enhance flood protection. Click here to learn more about the co-benefits of carbon sequestration in the Northern Great Plains.

Permanence - carbon and other greenhouse gases must remain sequestered or permenently stored in order to provide meaningful greenhouse gas mitigation. A perpetual conservation easement that prohibits development and disruptive land uses provides the needed legal protection to permanently protect terrestrial carbon stocks.