Additionality & Baselines
Additionality and accurate baseline setting have proven to be critical challenges to carbon crediting quality to date. Credited removals can only be considered high quality if they would not have occurred without the carbon removal payments. Baselines against which removals are estimated should be set conservatively to minimize risk of over-crediting.
High-quality projects have a low risk of stored carbon being re-released into the atmosphere either through voluntary (intentional) or involuntary (extreme weather events or other exogenous biotic or abiotic factors) reversal events. For a project to be judged durable by CD, it must have a low risk of loss for around half a century, have measures in place to minimize that risk, and account for that risk in its carbon estimates including the effects of climate change.
High-quality projects have only minimal risk of displacing activities that cause greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the project site to another site (including international), and account for any displacement in a conservative manner.
Carbon accounting method
High-quality projects quantify and monitor net carbon removal using repeatable and verifiable methods. Monitoring net removals requires accounting for all meaningful GHG fluxes associated with the project. In addition, all solutions must estimate project-specific uncertainty in removal estimates and do so in a conservative manner (to more likely underestimate than overestimate removals).
Do No Harm
A high-quality solution must have a low risk of any material negative impacts on the surrounding ecosystems (including biodiversity, water, etc.) and local communities.