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Verra's New VM0048 Methodology — Explainer Part II

This article aims to explain in simple terms how Verra’s updated methodology for REDD+ projects might impact your potential to receive carbon credits. The simplified diagrams are created to illustrate the basic concepts of the methodology, though they may differ from specific technical details.


Understanding the old and new methodologies

To grasp Verra’s latest REDD+ methodology, it helps to first understand the old methodology and its limitations. To gain a foundational understanding, have a read of our first explainer on VM0048 here.


In the past, REDD+ methodologies (like VM0006, VM0007, VM0015) focused on individual projects. The carbon model and key metrics affecting credit issuance (such as the deforestation baseline) were measured based on a reference region surrounding your project.


degraded-land

This approach had inherent issues. Expert carbon modellers would draw reference regions that not only fit the guidelines, but also maximised credit issuance. They did this by including areas with higher deforestation risk, which allowed developers to claim more credits and generate more revenue.


Introduction of VM0048 Jurisdictional Baseline

The new VM0048 methodology changes this by focusing on a larger jurisdictional area instead of individual projects. Now, the total credit issuance is determined for the entire jurisdiction and then allocated to individual projects within that jurisdiction using an algorithm.



Risk map algorithm

A risk map algorithm assigns a future deforestation risk score to each pixel based on the past deforestation trend within the jurisdiction. These scores are summed to determine the total baseline deforestation for the jurisdiction. The baseline deforestation can be converted to baseline emissions using standard conversion factors. The credits your project receives are based on the effectiveness of the project to reduce the baseline emission within the project area.

  • Allocation: Jurisdiction credits = X amount. Project credits within the jurisdiction = part of X.


This means a jurisdiction cannot issue more credits to projects than its total allocated amount.


remote-sensing-carbon

Impact on REDD+ Credits


So, what does this mean for REDD+ credits?


  1. Risk Calculation: With deforestation risk now assessed over a larger jurisdictional area, the risk will be calculated more conservatively. This is expected to lead to a decrease in the issuance of credits overall (see the peer-reviewed research by our technical team for more details).

  2. Credit Calculation Changes: The new methodology changes how REDD+ credits are calculated so fundamentally that it's still unclear how it will affect the credits issued under the old system. We’ll cover this topic in more detail in a future post.



Unsure about your credit issuance? Reach out for an independent carbon due diligence assessment on your project today.


Nika.eco are carbon modelling specialists. It is our core business to deeply understand carbon methodologies before we can even begin to design algorithms and employ machine learning to automate highly complex modelling calculations. Reach out if you require carbon due diligence services or looking for a Technical Partner on your projects.

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