A Response to Verra’s Decision on Tonne-Year Accounting
Dr. Jennifer Jenkins
Dr. Jennifer Jenkins
22 June, 2022 min read

*Update on 11/10/22: See our updated Methodology for Harvest Deferral based upon feedback from the Verra Tonne-Year Accounting and methodology comment periods.

Today, Verra shared its most recent update to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and unfortunately, tonne-year accounting was not included in that update. At NCX, we are firm believers in the ability of tonne-year accounting to unlock immediacy, scale, and accountability in climate action, so we are of course disappointed in Verra’s delay. However, we are very pleased to see the increased awareness and discussion about tonne-year accounting and short-term crediting that Verra’s proposal has kicked off. 

Society continues to set new record highs for the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Nearly all climate scientists and concerned citizens agree that we need swift, aggressive action to remove CO2 from the atmosphere this decade. But clearly we don’t all agree on precisely how to achieve this. What is clear is that without innovation to increase the scale and integrity of nature-based climate solutions, our 2030 goals will be impossible to reach.

Time matters. The ability to quantify and credit the impact of carbon storage in single year increments – through tonne-year accounting – allows us to account for time in carbon programs. This is especially important for nature based offsets because natural systems are dynamic and can’t truly guarantee permanence. Crediting carbon storage one year at a time also unlocks shorter term contracts, which opens up carbon market participation to millions of landowners. Tonne-year accounting also enables ex-post crediting– we can reasonably measure delivered impact and then issue payments and credits in one year increments that are fair for the climate, for landowners, and carbon buyers. Read more about tonne-year accounting.

We’ve heard from many stakeholders who believe, as we do, that tonne-year accounting can enable powerful new ways of incentivizing climate impact. We thank Verra for facilitating this conversation, and we appreciate the feedback from the individuals and groups that commented on Verra’s consultation on this topic. 

Our scientists are reviewing the comments submitted to Verra on tonne-year accounting. We look forward to considering this feedback as we continue to develop our own program and we will publish a more in-depth response in the coming days.

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about the author

Dr. Jennifer Jenkins

Dr. Jennifer Jenkins

Chief Sustainability Officer
Dr. Jennifer Jenkins is the Chief Sustainability Officer at NCX. She is broadly responsible for environmental stewardship and stakeholder engagement, and working with the team to ensure that the methodologies and systems used by the company are of the highest caliber and impeccable quality. With a technical background in carbon cycling and ecosystem science, Dr. Jenkins brings more than 25 years of experience on matters at the intersection of forests and climate across government, academia, and the private sector. Prior to her role at NCX, Dr. Jenkins served as Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva, the world’s largest producer of sustainable wood pellets. In 2007, Dr. Jenkins was part of the IPCC team that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with former Vice President Al Gore for their collaborative efforts on climate change. Dr. Jenkins earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem science and natural resources from the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Business Administration from the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, a Master of Forest Science from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Arts in biology and environmental studies from Dartmouth College.