German Emissions Trading Authority

Criteria and recommendations for peatland standards

The Germany Environment Agency commissioned an assessment of the voluntary carbon market, focusing particularly on peatland standards and other land-use approaches.

Currently, peatland and other soil carbon projects are rare, despite their enormous emission reduction potential. Millions of tons of CO2eq may be reduced globally each year through rewetting degraded organic soils, but project-based carbon finance approaches have not gained much attraction. The early regulated carbon markets were primarily shaped towards energy- and industry-focused projects. Voluntary carbon standards filled some of the gaps. They developed robust methodologies for various land sector interventions, e. g. for reducing emissions from deforestation or forest degradation and for rewetting peatlands.

The researchers firstly describe and analyse existing national and international standards for peatland projects. Among others, the most important international standards VERRA (formerly called VCS), the Peatland Carbon Code in UK, the Swiss max.moor, and the American Registry are included. Secondly, the study assesses the parameters of the standards, focusing on criteria like environmental integrity, double counting, ecosystem services, transparency and others. Finally, recommendations for an environmental sound international standard for the voluntary market are derived. On 03/05/2018, the preliminary results of the study were presented at a workshop. The documentation of this workshop (input paper and presentations) can be found here.


Workshop “Future of the Voluntary Carbon Markets in the Light of the Paris Agreement: Perspectives for Soil Carbon Projects”, 03/05/2018

Publication: Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from peatlands and forests

The study by the German Environment Agency looks into the political and economic options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions of peatlands and forests. It examines measures both at the international (UNFCCC) and EU level.

The options discussed include the establishment of a "peat hot spot" mechanism, the improvement of reporting and crediting framework, the establishment of separate commitment targets for LULUCF, aspects of linking trading systems, strategies to include LULUCF emissions at the EU level and voluntary market systems.

The study concludes with an evaluation of the different options according to certain criteria, including environmental compatibility, costs and political feasibility and with final recommendations for the federal government and the EU. Special attention is given to the option of developing a peat-market mechanism (PMM) and, in the EU context, to the inclusion of LULUCF emissions within the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) and the linking of transactions with the green moor investment programs under the ESD.


Study: Peatland climate protection fund

Despite the importance of peatlands for climate protection, experience is very limited so far as to how peatland and climate protection can systematically be linked. The aim of this study is to investigate whether, and how, national peatland climate protection projects can be supported on the carbon market via a fund model. How the voluntary market can be used for emission allowances is being considered in the study.


Workshop: Peatlands, forests and the climate architecture

In a two-year research project Silvestrum VoF and DUENE e.V. developed a mixture of possible political and economic control options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands and forests and analysed how each option could be implemented. The aim is to provide incentives for the development of the large emission reduction potential of peatlands and forests and incorporate the results into the ongoing climate negotiations.

We took the opportunity to meet the subsidiary bodies of the climate change negotiations (SBSTA 42) on 04/06/2015 to discuss the status of land use in the negotiations on the agreement from 2020. Some of the ambitious options and measures developed by the study were presented.

These include:

  • an international peat hot spot intervention mechanism
  • an improved accounting of greenhouse gases
  • separate accounting and commitment targets for emissions from land use
  • tackling improved linking of emissions trading systems and strategies, land-based emissions at EU level
  • voluntary initiatives
  • national actions for financing and know-how transfer of greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands in Europe


Workshop: Peatlands and Forests in the Climate Architecture, 04/06/2015 in Bonn

A project of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the German Environment Agency (UBA): Peatlands in the EU regulatory environment

This project identifies options for improving the framework conditions for the conservation of peatlands in the EU member states. Therefore it analyses inter alia results of case studies in Estonia and Poland.


Workshop: Peatlands in the EU regulatory context, 19/04/2016 in Brussels

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