In the recent assessment by the UN Climate Science Panel, experts highlighted the potential benefits of natural solutions to combating global warming, particularly land-based mitigation.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says that even if current national climate commitments are met, they will not effectively limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.
The world is facing at least 2.2 degrees Celsius, if not more, without taking drastic action, the report said.
While fossil fuels are identified as the main culprit, there is consensus that a properly managed land use sector, which includes agriculture and forestry, can help reduce emissions and remove and store carbon dioxide.
The land use sector contributes about 25 percent of emissions but could contribute twice as much to mitigate emissions.
By restoring land and employing integrated land management techniques, scientists say, the ever-increasing trajectory of global warming will be reduced while benefiting biodiversity and ecosystems.
Restoring degraded land—an estimated 25 percent of the world’s land area—is no easy task.
This is where the Open Forest Protocol (OFP), an innovative blockchain-based open-source platform, wants to make a big difference and close gaps that currently make accurate and transparent measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) a challenge.
The web-based application aims to provide small farmers, land users, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments and other stakeholders with the ability to measure and verify carbon on their land so they can recoup outcome-based payments.
Using blockchain creates a transparent and secure means of storing information that cannot be altered or altered.
“It’s intended to be a community-based project where different groups of people can see the data. When they are then validated by the community, they are taken into a blockchain system, so the data is transparent,” OPF founder Frederic Fournier said during an interview on the sidelines of the UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow last year.
“That’s the first step — the second step of the project is that we then actually upgrade the MRV capacity to give those projects that don’t have access access to government funding.”
The ultimate goal is to create a standardized system for creating carbon credits to be traded on voluntary emissions markets based on MRVs, he said, adding that accuracy is crucial if credits are to be traded or exchanged to offset government or corporate emissions .
Demand is expected to grow exponentially as countries and companies scramble to offset their emissions as they try to meet targets.
Currently, reforestation efforts are often hampered by a lack of data accuracy, making it difficult to determine whether they reflect the true status of trees in the landscape.
Last month, OFP, a partner of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), signed a pact with Ivory Coast to work with local communities and an NGO to sustainably reforest and restore 5,067 hectares of degraded forest land in the Gorké- forest region.
It is one of 15 projects involved so far.
Users can monitor the web interface on a dashboard with a list of projects, assign field workers to a specific project, review the data once it is collected on site, and review it again. Data can then be sent via the dashboard for validation within the blockchain community – the third party that powers it.
“This is a different approach,” said Radoslav Dragov, who is responsible for business development and fundraising at OFP. “It’s a community-based, open-source, low-cost approach that makes it a game changer — we’re trying to break down the silos and create something that really leverages new technology and can empower people around the world to plant trees, what.” good for the environment, but they should get something in return.”
“It is important to note that this approach does not preclude considering the value of forests as natural assets in addition to the carbon and climate extension,” Fournier added.
Most reforestation projects are currently unable to receive carbon funding if they are smaller than 1,200 hectares based on analysis of all previous Verra reports and discussions with projects attempting to become Verra certified, say Dragov and Fournier, who hope through OFP tree planting happening will lead to more carbon funding, which in turn will lead to more plantings.
“Nature-based solutions can reduce emissions by 33 percent,” said Fournier. “Of course, nature-based solutions are not the only thing, but they are certainly one of the best ways we can tackle climate change.”
The company, with 25 employees, is headquartered in Geneva but also has an office in Austin, Texas and is expanding its presence in Nairobi.
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