Mangrove forests are excellent at storing carbon particularly in their soil. Learn how the Reserve’s Mexico Forest Protocol is supporting mangrove restoration & protection! – via Ecosystem Marketplace

Mangrove forests are excellent at storing carbon particularly in their soil. Learn how the Reserve’s Mexico Forest Protocol is supporting mangrove restoration & protection! – via Ecosystem Marketplace


Draft Mexico Landfill Protocol Version 2.0 available for public comment

Draft Mexico Landfill Protocol Version 2.0 available for public comment


Infographic – Growing Carbon & Community Solutions with Mangroves

Infographic – Growing Carbon & Community Solutions with Mangroves

Protegiendo Uno de los Bosques más Distintivos y Valiosos del Mundo

Protegiendo Uno de los Bosques más Distintivos y Valiosos del Mundo

¿Qué son los bosques de manglar?

Los bosques de manglar son únicos y distintivos. Se encuentran en las costas de las regiones tropical y subtropical y prosperan en aguas salinas donde otros árboles no pueden sobrevivir. Sus gruesas raíces aéreas se entretejen de formas complejas, haciéndolos parecer como si estuvieran parados sobre el agua. Sus raíces también ralentizan el flujo del agua lo que permite la recolección de sedimentos. Es por estas características que los bosques de manglar son protectores y proveedores naturales. Los manglares estabilizan el litoral, reducen la erosión y proveen un hábitat crítico para muchos organismos.

¿Por qué son fundamentales para combatir el cambio climático?

Los manglares son excelentes reservorios de carbono y, realmente, se encuentran entre los ecosistemas más densos en carbono y pueden secuestrar hasta cuatro veces lo que capturan las selvas. La mayor parte del carbono se almacena en el suelo que se sedimenta bajo los árboles mangle.

Adicionalmente, los manglares son clave para la protección contra los impactos actuales del cambio climático al estabilizar la línea de costa y reducir la erosión causada por tormentas, corrientes y mareas.

¿Cuáles son las amenazas que enfrentan los manglares?

Desafortunadamente, los bosques de manglar más importantes del mundo enfrentan numerosos problemas. De hecho, el Museo Americano de Historia Natural (AMNH, por sus siglas en inglés) describe a los manglares como “uno de los hábitats más amenazados del mundo”. Menos del 50 por ciento de los manglares del mundo se encontraban intactos hacia finales del siglo XX, y de aquellos que prevalecen, la mitad se encuentran en malas condiciones.

Las fuerzas que amenazan a los manglares son:

  • La conversión de áreas de humedal a estanques artificiales para la industria de la acuacultura. El agua es desviada de los manglares y eventualmente se contamina con químicos, antibióticos y desechos orgánicos.
  • La conversión y destrucción de manglares para uso agrícola.
  • El desplazamiento y daño de los bosques de manglar para el desarrollo costero de puertos, muelles, edificaciones, campos de golf y marinas.
  • La tala por parte de las industrias madereras y de carbón.
  • Clima extremo, temperaturas más cálidas del aire y del agua, aumento de la variabilidad e intensidad de las lluvias, salinidad de los océanos y otros impactos causados por el cambio climático.
  • Turismo irresponsable.

La Reserva de Acción Climática recientemente registró el primer proyecto de compensación de manglar bajo su programa, el cual también es el primero de su clase en México. ¿Cuáles son los detalles del proyecto?

El Proyecto “Manglares San Crisanto” / “San Crisanto Mangroves” fue registrado con el Protocolo Forestal para México de la Climate Action Reserve v1.5. Este proyecto es el primero en su clase en México. Incluye tres periodos de reporte y emitió 10,368 CRTs. Un estimado de 47,908 toneladas de CO2 han sido removidas por este proyecto.

El Protocolo Forestal para México de la Reserva fomenta la protección, el manejo mejorado y la restauración de manglares mediante la emisión de créditos de compensación por actividades de secuestro de emisiones adicionales a la línea base. Las comunidades que siguen el protocolo reciben incentivos económicos y recursos que garanticen que estos ecosistemas costeros provean mayores beneficios a las comunidades locales así como a la biodiversidad, construcción de una mayor resiliencia a los impactos del cambio climático y almacenamiento de carbono para beneficio del clima a nivel global.

¿Quién puede desarrollar un proyecto de compensación con manglares bajo el Protocolo Forestal para México de la Climate Action Reserve?

Las comunidades costeras mexicana que requieran respaldo para conservar sus bosques de manglar

Acerca de Climate Action Reserve o Reserva de Acción Climática

La Reserva de Acción Climática es el registro de compensación más experimentado, confiable y eficiente para servir a los mercados de carbono. Con raíces profundas en California y un alcance en toda América del Norte, la Reserva fomenta acciones para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero y trabaja para garantizar el beneficio ambiental, la integridad y la transparencia en las soluciones basadas en el mercado para abordar el cambio climático global. Opera el registro acreditado más grande para el mercado de cumplimiento de California y ha desempeñado un papel integral en el desarrollo y la administración del programa de límites máximos y comercio (cap-and-trade) del estado. Para el mercado voluntario, la Reserva establece estándares de alta calidad para los proyectos de compensación de carbono, supervisa los organismos independientes de verificación de terceros y emite y rastrea la transacción de créditos de carbono (Toneladas de Reserva Climática o CRT, por sus siglas en inglés) generados a partir de dichos proyectos en un sistema transparente y de acceso público. El programa de la Reserva promueve beneficios ambientales y de salud inmediatos para las comunidades locales y aporta credibilidad y valor al mercado de carbono. La Reserva de Acción Climática es una organización privada sin fines de lucro 501(c)(3) con sede en Los Ángeles, California. Para obtener más información, visite www.climateactionreserve.org.


Protecting One of the World’s Most Distinctive and Valuable Forests

Protecting One of the World’s Most Distinctive and Valuable Forests

What are mangrove forests?

Mangrove forests are unique and distinct. They are found around tropical and subtropical shorelines and thrive in those salty waters, where other trees cannot survive. Their thick prop roots are twisted and complex, making them appear to stand above the water. Their roots also slow down water flow and allow sediment to collect. Because of these characteristics, mangrove forests are natural protectors and providers. They stabilize coastlines, reduce erosion and provide critical habitat for organisms.

Why are they critical to addressing climate change?

Mangrove forests are excellent at storing carbon. And, actually, they are among the most carbon-dense ecosystems and can sequester four times more carbon than rainforests. Much of the carbon is stored in the soil collected beneath the mangrove trees.

Additionally, mangrove forests are critical for protecting against the current impacts of climate change by stabilizing coastlines and reducing erosion from storms, currents and tides.

What threats do mangrove forests face?

Unfortunately, numerous issues are facing the world’s critical mangrove forests. In fact, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) describes mangroves as “among the most threatened habitats in the world.” Less than 50 percent of the world’s mangrove forests were intact at the end of the 20th century, and of those that remain, half are in poor condition.

Forces threatening mangrove forests include:

  • The conversion of wetland areas to artificial ponds by the aquaculture industry. Water is diverted away from the mangrove forests and waters are contaminated by chemicals, antibiotics and organic waste.
  • The conversion and destruction of mangrove forests for agricultural use.
  • The displacement of and damage to mangrove forests for coastal development of ports, docks, buildings, golf courses and marinas.
  • The logging of mangrove forests by charcoal and lumber industries.
  • Extreme weather, warmer air and water temperatures, increasing variability and intensity of rainfall, ocean salinity and other impacts caused by climate change.
  • Irresponsible tourism.

The Climate Action Reserve recently registered the first mangrove offset project under its program and the first of its kind in Mexico. What are the project details?

The Manglares San Crisanto/San Crisanto Mangroves project was registered with the Climate Action Reserve under the Mexico Forest Protocol v1.5. The project is the first of its kind in Mexico. It includes three reporting periods, and 10,368 CRTs were issued. An estimated 47,908 tonnes CO2 have been removed by the project.

The Reserve’s Mexico Forest Protocol encourages the protection, improved management and restoration of mangrove forests through the issuance of offset credits for additional emissions sequestration activities above the baseline. Communities following the protocol receive economic incentives and resources to ensure that these coastal ecosystems provide greater benefits for surrounding communities and biodiversity, build greater resilience to the impacts of climate change and store more carbon to benefit the global climate.

What is the significance of the San Crisanto Mangroves project?

It’s important to reiterate that the San Crisanto Mangroves project is the first of its kind in Mexico and also the first mangrove project registered with the Climate Action Reserve. The project is pioneering and demonstrates the ability of mangrove forests to become viable offset projects and support local communities.

For the San Crisanto community, the mangrove forest is central to the ejido and the community members’ way of life, which is deeply connected to the mangrove through fishing, coconut plantation, salt production, protection of native animals and sustainable tourism. Prior to developing the project, the community had lost waterflow to the mangrove forest, which resulted in the loss of fish, birds and biodiversity and the area was immensely deteriorated. While developing the project, the community realized that if the mangrove forest didn’t exist, their community wouldn’t exist. Their offset project provides them with continuity to their way of life.

Who might develop a mangrove offset project under the Climate Action Reserve’s Mexico Forest Protocol?

Mexican coastal communities needing support to preserve their mangrove forests.

For additional information and insights, check out our Carbon Connection podcast episode on mangroves and our infographic on the benefits of mangrove projects.


Keeping it 100 – Permanence in Carbon Offset Programs

Keeping it 100 – Permanence in Carbon Offset Programs

By Jennifer Weiss, Vice President, Communications and Business Outreach, Climate Action Reserve

(originally posted on CaliforniaCarbon.info)

Permanence is a key tenet of carbon offset programs. In order for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions to earn offset credits and have value in the carbon markets, the GHGs must be permanently reduced or sequestered. Permanence is defined as providing lasting benefits to the environment. For high quality offsets, permanence is defined as at least 100 years of GHG reduction or sequestration.

GHGs have different heat-absorbing abilities and stay in the atmosphere for different lengths of time. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a value that compares the heat-absorbing ability of GHGs relative to that of carbon dioxide. The IPCC calculates GWPs for GHG inventory purposes over several timeframes, with most policy applications using a 100-yr timeframe where values can range from 25 – 22,800 times that of carbon dioxide. High quality offset standards calculate carbon crediting utilizing a 100-year GWP. Therefore, allowing any program to subsequently protect the sequestered carbon for something less than 100 years is equivalent to awarding 100 years’ worth of climate benefits without a corresponding requirement to actually deliver 100 years’ worth of climate benefits.

Ensuring 100-year permanence in GHG reduction and sequestration projects

For GHG reduction and/or destruction projects, permanence is achieved through the installation and operation of technologies that enable the collection and destruction of GHGs. For example, methane collection and combustion systems at landfills consist of wells, pipes, blowers, caps and other technologies that enable or enhance the collection of landfill gas and convey it to a destruction technology, such as flares, turbines, reciprocating engines, fuel cells, boilers, heaters, or kilns, that permanently destroys the captured methane.

For sequestration-based GHG reduction projects, 100-year permanence is achieved by ensuring that the carbon associated with credited GHG projects remains stored for at least 100 years. Examples of nature-based sequestration projects include forest offset projects, in which trees are planted and/or managed to increase absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere and carbon storage in their biomass, and soil enrichment projects, in which soils gain carbon through the decomposition of newly added carbononaceous materials.

Nature-based sequestration projects face the potential for reversals if stored carbon is released back to the atmosphere. Unavoidable reversals result from uncontrollable natural agents such as fire, insects, disease outbreaks, and wind. Avoidable reversals result from controllable agents or human activities such as land conversion and over-harvesting.

In order to ensure the 100-year permanence of nature-based sequestration projects, the Reserve employs three mechanisms: (1) requiring projects to monitor and verify onsite carbon stocks for a period of 100 years following the issuance of any offsets. For example, if CRTs are issued to a forest project in year 99 following its start date, monitoring and verification activities must be maintained until year 199. (2) Requiring all Project Operators to sign a Project Implementation Agreement with the Reserve, which obligates Project Operators to retire CRTs to compensate for reversals of GHG reductions and removals. (3) Requiring contribution to a Buffer Pool to provide insurance against reversals of GHG reductions and removals due to unavoidable causes.

Two accounting approaches to 100-year permanence: tonne-tonne accounting and tonne-year accounting

The Reserve employs two accounting approaches to achieving 100-year permanence:

  1. Use tonne-tonne accounting (TTA) for any nature-based offset projects willing to commit to a 100-year permanence requirement. Under tonne-tonne accounting, a credit is issued for every additional tonne of GHG emissions that is sequestered permanently (defined as a period of 100 years) with required long-term monitoring during that timeframe.

    The common critique of this approach is that it is unrealistic and cannot be implemented at the scale needed, but 85% of the offset credits used in the California compliance market come from forestry projects that require a 100-year commitment, demonstrating that this approach is both technically correct and feasible at scale.

  2. Use tonne-year accounting (TYA) for any nature-based offset projects that utilize a permanence requirement of less than 100 years. TYA accounting essentially awards a pro-rated share of carbon credits for each successive year that carbon is sequestered. To over-simplify for illustrative purposes, under tonne-year accounting when employing 100-year GWPs for calculating environmental benefits, for each incremental year of successful carbon sequestration, the project would receive 1/100th of the environmental value. TYA assumes that for each year a tonne remains sequestered, 1/100th of the 100-year climate benefit is achieved and credits are awarded at a rate of one percent per tonne per year for the crediting period.

Whether employing tonne-tonne accounting or tonne-year accounting, GHG reductions and sequestration must rely on a 100-year timeframe in order for the market to be confident permanence is appropriately being safeguarded and for credibility when utilizing 100-year GWPs to calculate carbon crediting.


The Importance of Being Additional

The Importance of Being Additional

By Jennifer Weiss, Vice President, Communications and Business Outreach, Climate Action Reserve

(originally posted on CaliforniaCarbon.info)

In order for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions to earn offset credits, the GHG reductions must be real (have actually occurred), permanent (provide lasting benefits to the environment, often defined as 100-years of sequestration or reduction), verified (reductions are confirmed by an independent, accredited third party), enforceable (reductions are subject to penalties for non-compliance and reversal), and additional (reductions occurred because of the incentives associated with the carbon market and are above business as usual practices).

Additionality is a key tenet of a carbon offset project. Carbon offsets represent GHG reductions that have been achieved through voluntary implementation as a result of the financial incentives provided by the carbon market. By requiring that offsets are not generated for GHG reductions that would have occurred anyway and issued only for activities above business as usual, additionality provides value and credibility to carbon offsets and carbon markets.

So how can additionality be determined?

Performance standard vs individual project financial analysis

The Reserve employs the performance standard threshold to assess project additionality. Under the performance standard approach, research is conducted up front to determine common practice and activities above common practice. GHG reduction activities that fall within the “business as usual” class are presumed to be financially viable without access to GHG credits, meaning they are not additional. GHG reduction activities above and beyond business as usual activities are presumed to be additional. Benefits of employing a performance standard for offset programs include:

  • More streamlined, objective, and efficient: The development of a performance threshold is a data intensive endeavor, but once the threshold is established it provides a more streamlined, objective, and efficient means for determining project additionality than the financial examination of individual projects. If a project engages in GHG reduction activities pre-determined to be above business as usual, then the project is additional.

  • Rigorous, transparent, multi-stakeholder approach involving the public: Reserve protocols are developed under a rigorous, transparent, public, regulatory-quality process involving extensive research, multi-stakeholder workgroups, and public comment periods. The Reserve works with stakeholders to identify activities that achieve GHG reductions within a sector, research common practice, conduct field interviews regarding opportunities and obstacles for the GHG reduction activities, engage with scientists and thought-leaders regarding best available technologies and best environmental practices, and analyze existing and anticipated regulatory and legislative requirements to determine the business as usual or baseline conditions.

Project-level financial additionality assessments may seem like a valuable barrier analysis for proving the additionality of projects; in practice, requiring such assessments is counter-productive, for the following reasons:

  • Sensitive to assumptions: The practice of project level financial additionality assessments is subject to numerous assumptions by the project developer that can lead to different conclusions. Assumptions include variables such as capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, energy costs, inflation rates, targeted rates of return, perceived value of any credits, etc. Financial analysis of any potential project can be extremely sensitive to such assumptions.

    Rigorous financial analysis of any potential investment typically involves the development of a wide variety of sensitivity analyses that vary key assumptions to understand the risks underpinning any investment. Deciding which sensitivity analysis to select as one’s primary case is an art, not a science.

  • Administrative burden without benefits: Carbon offset programs that rely on financial examination of individual projects face a significant administrative burden for no tangible environmental benefit, thereby making participation in carbon markets even more inaccessible for the critical projects that sorely need carbon finance.

  • Market barriers, including lack of funding: A stark reality of climate mitigation is the fact that there are many market barriers to investing in high-quality projects, even if a project may appear economically viable in its own right. One of these well-documented barriers is lack of access to capital. There are trillions of dollars needed to bring these projects to fruition and international climate goals will not be reached if this significant group of projects is discouraged from climate finance.

  • Could still have questionable results: Specification of individual project level financial additionality was initially the primary requirement for any projects under the CDM. For a variety of reasons, there was enormous pushback from many quarters regarding the unworkability and unreasonableness of a project-level financial additionality standard. Throughout the CDM’s history there were numerous examples of the individual project level financial additionality requirement leading to questionable results.

The Climate Action Reserve has taken a standardized baseline approach to development of our protocols to address the question of financial additionality and take this aspect of project development out of the hands of project developers, who may have the incentive to select the financial scenario that best supports maximizing the quantity of credits (or receiving any credits at all). Our high quality credits represent the credibility, value, and efficiency of setting a high quality performance standard for GHG reduction activities.

When considering offsets and the processes under which they were developed and issued, it’s critical to look at the level of additionality and the method used to determine the additionality. Offset credits that are not additional are not true offset credits.


Mexico Forest Protocol Version 3.0 draft available for public comment

Mexico Forest Protocol Version 3.0 draft available for public comment


The Reserve has released a policy memo regarding the transition to GWP values from IPCC AR5 for all offset protocols.

The Reserve has released a policy memo regarding the transition to GWP values from IPCC AR5 for all offset protocols.


Tips for a climate-friendly summer

Tips for a climate-friendly summer

This summer is predicted to be a “summer of disasters” – with extreme heat, hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires. To combat the doom and gloom, here is a list of helpful ideas on how to have a climate-friendly summer:

Camp instead of staying at a hotel. Not only will you be closer to nature, but your vacation will have a lower energy and emissions profile.
Beat the heat by taking cooler showers.
Reducing showers to 10 minutes can help save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year.
Fans can cool a room up to 10 degrees! Consider open windows at night then closing them in the morning and turning on fans to keep rooms cool. They use much less power than traditional ACs!
If you have the space, plant trees! In urban areas, “heat islands” exist in spaces where no trees are planted, and in many places (like Los Angeles) organizations will give you up to 4 free trees to plant on your property.

Reduce electrical use during the day. Using natural lighting and using less electricity during peak hours can help reduce strain on the electrical grid and, in turn, cause less black outs, brown outs, and even wildfires.
Cover up with UV protection clothing, when possible, instead of wearing sunscreen. This can reduce chemical pollution and also reduces single-use plastics.
Stay hydrated in the heat with reusable water bottles!
Summer can be a good time to walk or bike commute.
Shop for the ultimate local produce by gardening! Gardening greens our environment via the addition of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and can improve air and soil quality. In addition to growing your own food and beautifying your space, gardening also supports local wildlife and pollinators.
Travel more sustainably: before you make a local trip to a neighboring town for a weekend activity or event, see if there are options to take a bus or train instead of driving. If that’s not an option, see if you can carpool!
For someone like me who is thrilled to put all my winter clothes away but am realizing none of my summer clothes from last year fit, I’m in need to go secondhand shopping for new summer digs! There are plenty of cool tank tops, summer dresses, shorts, you name it at thrift stores or your nearby Goodwill that are looking for new homes. Not only that, but you will save money by buying secondhand.
Hit up the farmers market instead of your national grocery chain: again, summer is the best time of year for fresh produce that is not as easy to come around in the winter months. Take advantage of local produce and farmers markets, which also connect you to your larger community and people in your neighborhood.
Summer BBQ food choices: we all look forward to BBQs, especially good ole 4th of July. This year instead of grilling up your typical cheeseburgers and hot dogs, try going without the meat! What do you think about vegetable stir fry? Did you know you can grill a pizza with fresh dough right on your grill? Try it out! You get extra bonus points for using reusable containers, utensils, and plates.
If you have the space in your backyard, put up a drying line and hang your wet clothes out from the washing machine. What better way to get that fresh scent into your clothing that people pay to do!
If you’re one of the 72 percent of Americans planning a summer trip, consider offsetting your vacation emissions! Many airlines offer the option to offset your flight emissions during checkout or you can use an online emissions calculator to determine the emissions from your transportation and energy use and find a reputable retailer to support emissions reductions in the sector and location of your choice.