Climate Forward

Climate Forward accelerates action on climate change by encouraging companies and organizations to proactively invest today in projects that mitigate future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Companies and organizations are encouraged to invest proactively in the development of a wide array of GHG mitigation projects. The intent of this program is to encourage a wide variety of innovative, creative investments in projects that will mitigate emissions from new types of economic activity (e.g., a new manufacturing facility, distribution center, housing development, construction project, etc.).

Under Climate Forward, the Climate Action Reserve approves standardized and conservative quantification methodologies for assessing the forecasted (ex-ante) emissions reductions of GHG reduction projects and issues credits for the mitigation measures. These forward-looking credits can then be used to mitigate the GHG emissions impact of future projects that a company or organization might undertake. Administration of the program reflects the integrity, transparency and rigor that the Reserve is globally recognized for.

Why It’s Needed

Urgency and magnitude of the need for climate action

The world is out of time to address climate change. In the most recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the world’s leading climate scientists underscore the need to transform the world economy at an unprecedented speed and scale in order to keep temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5C and avoid catastrophic environmental breakdown. The report describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, mass die-off of coral reefs, melting ice caps and glaciers, increased coastal flooding, intensifying droughts and poverty, and widespread evacuation of people from the tropics, among many other adverse impacts.

In the State of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which details climate-related vulnerabilities throughout the state and provides planning tools for effective and integrated climate action and adaptation, a similar conclusion was reached. The assessment paints an alarming picture for California’s future – with severe heat waves, wildfires, and sea level rise projected to become even more devastating and deadly. The report underscores the urgent need for more extensive and expansive climate action now by all countries.

Climate Forward builds upon the Reserve’s commitment to integrity and transparency in GHG emissions reduction accounting to expand the GHG mitigation market and achieve additional emissions reductions that are drastically needed to address climate change. The possibilities for innovative, creative mitigation activities under this program are endless. The program is designed to expand the scope of feasible GHG mitigation project types by encouraging third parties to submit their own methodologies for mitigation activities. This is a critical objective of the program—to allow companies and organizations to work with their stakeholders to decide the best approaches for mitigating the GHG impacts of any new investments. Methodologies and projects under the program are encouraged (but not required) to demonstrate that they expand the scope of GHG mitigation options currently available under existing incentive programs, such as existing offset protocols

Invest in flexible emissions reductions aligned with forward-looking climate mitigation needs

Companies, entities, or individuals seeking to address anticipated emissions may find that investing in emissions reductions is best aligned with their sustainability goals. By investing in mitigation actions that will produce a future stream of emissions reductions, the reductions of its operational emissions and its reductions investment can develop in parallel.

The program also allows for enormous flexibility in emissions reductions project types, scales, and locations. Any participating entity can choose a project type that aligns with its mission and vision, scale it to meet its emissions goals, and in the locations and communities that satisfies its priorities.