Now that the climate summit in Glasgow is over, and world leaders are all flying home to their respective countries, we are left with a slightly bitter taste in our mouths.
At the top there is a lot of agreement about what to agree on, and a lot of plans and promises made, about carbon emissions, reducing coal use, financing for sustainability, but the list of actual deals is very low. Except for one, namely ending deforestation by 2030.
Nature-based solutions, especially forests, have an important role in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. And now, with a target date set, pressure is mounting from governments and communities to quickly launch a well-executed global program of nature-based solutions (NbS) to sequester several gigatons of carbon each year and protect biodiversity. However, the current NbS project is hampered by a chronic underfunding.
As the deep challenges of how to fund and verify progress towards this goal are considered, blockchain could once again be the answer.
new Cambridge Center to build a decentralized market for carbon credits and support global reforestation efforts, could be the progress the natural world needs. The center will bring together computer scientists and conservation scientists to get the job done.
Built on an energy efficient and self-scalable Proof of Stake blockchain Tezo, the Center will use a combination of AI and satellite sensing to build a decentralized marketplace of verifiable carbon credits.
Based in the Department of Computer Science and Technology, and the Institute for Conservation Research – the center has two main objectives: to support students and researchers in the relevant fields of computer science, environmental science and economics; and to create a decentralized marketplace where buyers of carbon credits can confidently and directly finance trusted nature-based projects.
The center will build a decentralized marketplace in Tezo blockchain because it operates sustainably, in line with the Center’s vision to support a sustainable future through technology. The aim of this market is to exponentially increase the number of real nature-based conservation and restoration projects by channeling funds to them through market-based instruments.
“Current accreditation systems that measure and report carbon values and associated benefits such as biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction provided by NbS are expensive, slow and inaccurate,” said Center Director Dr Anil Madhavapeddy. “This system has undermined confidence in NbS carbon credits. What is needed is a decentralized marketplace where buyers of carbon credits can confidently and directly finance trusted nature-based projects. And that’s the gap the Center wants to fill.”
Andrew Balmford, Professor of Zoology, said: “The recent announcement at COP26 of a new commitment to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 demonstrates the important role forests play in carbon capture and the health of our planet. This new center has an important role to play in supporting critical research to develop trusted new mechanisms to support reforestation projects.”
The center will support 12 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and invest in prototyping a scalable and trusted NbS marketplace. Researchers funded by the Center will come from the Departments of Computer Science and Technology, Zoology, and Plant Science, as well as from the Doctoral Training Center in Artificial Intelligence for Environmental Risk studies.