Verra refutes UC Berkeley study on clean cookstove methodologies, which reviews Clean Development Mechanism; firm claims it no longer registers carbon projects that use CDM for energy efficiency measures in thermal applications of non-renewable biomass

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January 26, 2024 (press release) –

WASHINGTON – January 23, 2024 | Today, a paper from University of California, Berkeley, researchers looking at clean cookstove methodologies was published in the journal Nature Sustainability. At Verra, we welcome thoughtful and balanced critiques, particularly from academic researchers. However, it is critical to note the serious substantive concerns about this research raised by other academic professionals and experts, as detailed in a September 2023 open letter (external).

From a Verra perspective, this research paper doesn’t apply to our specific projects as it only reviews Gold Standard and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodologies. While Verra allows CDM methodologies in the Verified Carbon Standard Program, we no longer register projects that use CDM methodology AMS-II.G.: Energy efficiency measures in thermal applications of non-renewable biomass exclusively. All CDM methodologies must be used in conjunction with VMR0006 Energy Efficiency and Fuel Switch Measures in Thermal Applications.

As the paper correctly identifies, cookstove carbon offset projects can – and do – progress multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In line with our repeated efforts to improve our methodologies and our broader mission to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change, Verra is currently developing a new cookstoves methodology.

The Methodology for Improved Cookstoves and Other Distributed Thermal Energy Generation Units (M0174) will replace VMR0006, and will provide a high-integrity approach to quantifying emission reductions from the introduction of improved cookstoves and other thermal energy generation units (e.g., dryers, ovens, and heaters) in households, communities, institutions, and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. It includes several updates that reflect current best practices of project design and implementation in distributed thermal energy generation, and it also incorporates streamlined monitoring approaches such as direct measurement techniques (e.g., stove use monitors, fuel weight sensors, electricity meters) and updated default values for various ex ante parameters.

Carbon finance is critical for the implementation and sustenance of improved cookstove projects, which provide access to sophisticated cooking methods, along with a range of other sustainable development benefits, to disadvantaged communities. Verra is committed to supporting the development of the clean cooking sector globally by establishing and overseeing credible and robust standards, certification processes, and methodologies.

We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure real action is implemented as quickly as possible.

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Verra is a global leader helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges. As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods, and protect natural resources by working with the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards programs and tools that credibly, transparently, and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits.

 

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Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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