New Cambridge-built Decentralized Carbon Credit Marketplace
- World leaders at COP26 have agreed to end deforestation by 2030, but there are deep challenges remaining about how to fund and verify progress towards this goal.
- The Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits (4C), built on the energy-efficient Tezos blockchain, will use a combination of AI and satellite sensing to build a decentralised marketplace of verifiable carbon credits.
- The initiative seeks to tackle challenges around the purchase of carbon credits to advance nature-based solutions (NbS) to preserve biodiversity.
World leaders at COP26 have agreed to end deforestation by 2030, but there are deep challenges remaining about how to fund and verify progress towards this goal.
To improve funding techniques for nature-based solutions (NbS) that help reach the COP26 goals, the Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits (4C) will use a combination of AI and satellite sensing to build a decentralised marketplace for verifiable carbon credits.
This marketplace is being built on Tezos. The choice for Tezos came naturally due to its low energy consumption which is in line with the Centre’s vision to support a sustainable future through technology.
Additionally, Tezos’ decentralized nature and battle proven and functional tech, combined with the ability to evolve in a swift and forkless manner, are qualities that do not remain unnoticed.
To solve the carbon emission problem, several solutions are at hand. Nature-based solutions, particularly forests, have a vital role to play in mitigating the worst effects of climate change.
Forests naturally remove carbon out of the atmosphere and a global programme of well-executed nature-based solutions (NbS) to sequester several gigatons of carbon each year and protect biodiversity. However, current NbS projects are hampered by chronic underfunding.
A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas (tCO2e).
In cryptocurrency, we see the term carbon offset occur a lot. Whenever you see this term appear, you will be reminded to the fact that these carbon offset solutions will be able to get a carbon credit certificate through the Tezos-based carbon credit marketplace created by the Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits.
Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits
Centre Director, Dr Anil Madhavapeddy stated:
“Current accreditation systems that measure and report the value of carbon and related benefits like biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction rendered by NbS are costly, slow and inaccurate.
These systems have undermined trust in NbS carbon credits. What is needed is a decentralised marketplace where purchasers of carbon credits can confidently and directly fund trusted nature-based projects. And that’s the gap the Centre is aiming to fill.”
The Centre will support 12 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and investment to prototype a scalable, trusted NbS marketplace.
Researchers funded from the Centre will come from the Departments of Computer Science and Technology, Zoology, and Plant Sciences, as well as from the Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence for the study of Environment Risk.
Professor David Coomes, Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, said:
“Conservation strategies are increasingly broadening to include large datasets, remote sensing technologies and computational approaches. The Centre for Carbon Credits is a ground-breaking initiative that will bring together computer scientists and conservation scientists in a new way.”
Andrew Balmford, Professor of Zoology, said:
“The recent announcement at COP26 of the new commitment to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 demonstrates the crucial role forests play in carbon capture and the health of our planet.
The new Centre has a significant role to play in supporting crucial research to develop new, trusted mechanisms to support reforestation projects.”
Speaking on the collaborative nature of the Centre, Professor Ann Copestake, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Technology, said:
“In the last few years, we’ve been expanding our emphasis on the use of computer science techniques and technologies to help address the climate emergency and the crisis in biodiversity.
We are delighted to be bringing our research strengths together with the expertise in environmental science across the University of Cambridge.
We hope the work resulting from this interdisciplinary collaboration will lay the foundation for tangible solutions to some of the environmental challenges facing the world.”
Learn more about the Centre for Carbon Credits (4C)