The centre will support 12 PhD and postdoctoral fellows carrying out research into related areasGeran de Klerk/Unsplash

A new Cambridge research centre hopes to create a decentralised carbon credits marketplace that will allow purchasers to fund nature-based projects.

Carbon credits are permits that allow companies to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As carbon emissions are limited by governments, some companies want more credits than their allocation, whilst others have excess credits which they can sell to other companies, thereby creating a market-driven incentive to reduce carbon emissions.

The Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits (4C) launched earlier this month and is based in the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute and the Department of Computer Science and Technology.

It is hoped that the Cambridge Centre’s marketplace will increase the efficacy of nature-based solutions to climate change by directing funding into projects such as reforestation initiatives.

The Centre will also support 12 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows carrying out research into areas of economics, computer science and environmental science linked to the project.

Explaining the need for the Centre’s marketplace project, Centre Director Dr Anil Madhavapeddy said: “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.”


Mountain View

Climate activists unite in Cambridge for Global Day of Action

He continued: “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.”

Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute called the centre a “ground-breaking initiative” while Professor of Zoology Andrew Balmford reflected on the significance of the centre against the backdrop of COP26: “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.

He went on: “The new Centre has a significant role to play in supporting crucial research to develop new, trusted mechanisms to support reforestation projects.”