Valuing Beyond-Mitigation Benefits
The carbon market is a solid foundation to value ecosystem restoration, species conservation, and community resilience.
As The Climate Trust concludes its series highlighting the beyond-climate mitigation benefits of nature-based carbon offset projects and prepares for a summer break (Scorchers will resume in September), it is important to underscore one of the most profound impacts being made by the carbon market: for the first time in history, capitalism is beginning to shift towards valuing and financially supporting ecosystems on a wide-reaching scale.
Throughout our nature-based benefits mini-series, Climate Trust staff have articulated the myriad ways that carbon offset projects go beyond simple GHG emissions reductions to protect and restore damaged ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. The carbon market is providing an excellent foundation upon which to build a market-based framework to accurately value and support ecosystem restoration, species adaptation, and community resilience.
There is a clear willingness to pay for ecosystem and community benefits. Nature-based projects receive a price premium above other credit types of at least 35%. However, this premium is often inadequate to appropriately value ecosystem and community co-benefits and it is difficult to discern the magnitude and value of these benefits between individual projects. More precise quantification and description of the beyond-mitigation benefits of carbon projects will enable more nuanced project-specific pricing and ultimately encourage the development of projects specifically focused on ecosystem restoration, species conservation, and community resilience.
Valuing and funding ecosystem and community resilience and adaptation as well as GHG mitigation is the work of this decade. We should build upon the solid foundation of the carbon market to bring investments to ecosystems and climate-vulnerable communities.