EDF Releases the Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) Crediting Handbook

New introductory reference book provides clear and impartial guidance on creating carbon credits for natural climate solutions

February 1, 2024
Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 (240) 480-1545, rcontreras@edf.org

In an effort to reduce confusion surrounding the carbon market for natural climate solutions, Environmental Defense Fund has today released the Natural Climate Solutions Crediting Handbook.

The Handbook is meant to be used as an introductory reference book to guide readers through the main considerations necessary to unlock the potential of high-integrity NCS crediting. If done right, NCS crediting can equitably enhance global climate mitigation efforts at the ambitious scale needed to meet the urgent climate challenge. The Handbook aims to be a key tool to aid decision making for those who need to understand the NCS landscape – whether as potential buyers, generators, sellers, or regulators of NCS credits and markets.

Suzi Kerr, EDF’s Chief Economist, said: “Nature is one of our greatest weapons against the climate crisis. But confusion and controversy has surrounded the role and efficacy of natural climate solutions credits. This hampers financing for high- integrity programs that seek to conserve the world’s ecosystems for their ability to absorb and store carbon, and to protect the livelihoods of those who steward these rich natural resources. We developed the NCS Crediting Handbook to bring clarity to complex and controversial topics in the design, generation and use of credits, and guide decision-making for the creation, financing and purchase of high-integrity NCS credits.”

NCS refer to actions that reduce or remove emissions through conservation, restoration and sustainable management of nature. NCS activities can take place in tropical forests, temperate forests, agricultural lands, grasslands, peatlands, and coastal and marine ecosystems.

As NCS crediting is still a relatively new space for climate action, the NCS Crediting Handbook aims to help address uncertainties by illustrating how NCS crediting can work, how the supply of high- integrity NCS credits might be scaled up to meet global goals, and where legitimate ongoing debates remain.

An accompanying set of issue briefs, published separately, take a deeper, more technical look at select topics from the Handbook. Three briefs covering crediting fundamentals, the design of carbon crediting agreements, and equity considerations, have been published so far, with additional briefs to be published on an ongoing basis.

“While we must move fast to unlock the potential power of NCS at scale to address the climate crisis, we also must not rush blindly,” said Kerr. “We hope that those who use the Natural Climate Solutions Crediting Handbook will be empowered to make more informed decisions about the NCS credit market, and to pursue further information where interest is piqued.”

For more information about the NCS Crediting Handbook and Briefing Series, see our blog post on EDF’s Climate411 and visit edf.org/natural-climate-solutions-handbook

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund