How to get carbon credits? A methodology overview for soil carbon sequestration

At AgroCares, we develop innovative soil testing solutions and we see rising interest for Carbon monitoring in the context of carbon sequestration programs. These programs follow different methodologies and are funded thanks to carbon credits. How do they get carbon credits ? Below is a methodology overview for soil carbon sequestration.

What are carbon credits?  

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. Carbon credits are bought by organizations or individuals that emit greenhouse gases and want or need to compensate their emissions. Carbon credits are sold by organizations that can prove they have sequestrated carbon in a certain way: either directly in trees or soil, or indirectly by reducing existing emissions. These transactions occur on carbon credit markets as described in the below figure.

Certification and valorization

The value or quality of a carbon credit depends on both the general market price for carbon credits and the validation process to certify that carbon sequestration occurred. Carbon credits are issued by carbon sequestration projects that are certified under a certain standard. A Standard organization builds methodologies to validate carbon sequestration activities. Each standard develops different methodologies for different geographical regions or activities, and each methodology refers to different protocols. Below is a selection of important and recognized standards, methodologies and protocols focusing on soil organic carbon sequestration.

How to turn carbon sequestration into money?

If you are implementing carbon sequestrating activities, you need to be able to prove the outcome of your activities. This can be done under different methodologies in order to be certified by a recognized standard. For carbon sequestration in soils, most standards refer to Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) stocks as the main indicator to measure. SOC stocks calculation requires the estimation of the SOC content, bulk density, and depth of the field or the considered layer. With most standards it is possible to estimate SOC stocks with prediction models that use a baseline study and reference data from past similar activities. However, the closer you are from direct SOC content measurement the lower is the uncertainty of the measurement and the more credit you can claim.

At AgroCares, we developped a Scanner that measures on-the-spot SOC content in soils and is compatible with all standards.

Interested in measuring Soil Organic Carbon? Check out our new Carbon Monitor application here and contact our team at info@agrocares.com to get a demo. 

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