Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

International project will help reduce effects of climate change

An international project is setting up the world's first carbon measuring and modelling system that will be used to help mitigate the effects of climate change, boost carbon trading and verify whether carbon-offsetting initiatives really work.

The two-year 'Carbon benefits...
International project will help reduce effects of climate change
An international project is setting up the world's first carbon measuring and modelling system that will be used to help mitigate the effects of climate change, boost carbon trading and verify whether carbon-offsetting initiatives really work.

The two-year 'Carbon benefits' project has USD 9.16 million (EUR 6.7 million) of funding from the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Environment Programme. The UK's University of East Anglia, two universities in the US and the World Wildlife Foundation are among the many partners involved in the project, which is developing Web-based systems to be used for measuring, monitoring and modelling the amounts of carbon and greenhouse gases produced and stored in soil and vegetation.

'Carbon benefits' will also study the huge potential for storing carbon in soil and vegetation by measuring the carbon-storage potential of agricultural land and forests. Using land in this way could also potentially help to alleviate poverty.

Currently, much more information is needed on the process of climate change, how it affects the land and how the potential for land to be used for carbon storage could be improved. In addition to creating a 'tool box' of best-practice land-management options, the project will also produce estimates that could be used for 'carbon trading markets' - a system whereby farmers, landowners and rural communities could be paid by nations that want to offset their carbon emissions.

'We need to be able to track the change in carbon levels above and below ground, but at the moment there is no standardised, cost-effective and simple method to do this,' said Professor Michael Stocking of the Overseas Development Group at the University of East Anglia.

'A system is needed that that can be applied to and measure the carbon impact of all types of projects, whether they are encouraging small-scale enterprises such as furniture making and carving or planting forests and crops. Natural resource management projects claim to have carbon benefits, and organisations need to be able to demonstrate how their investments achieve global environment benefits.'

The project will enable farmers and forest managers to understand the carbon content of their land and the impact their activities have on this. It will also help them to take measures to lower their impact using selective agricultural and forestry options.

'This research will develop a tool to help us to understand what the carbon impacts of our activities are on greenhouse gas emissions and on sequestration [capturing carbon dioxide and injecting it underground for long-term storage] by vegetation and the soil,' said Professor Stocking. 'Agriculture has the biggest potential for capturing and storing carbon, thus reducing climate change. It will also enable organisations to establish whether carbon-offsetting schemes are a success, which would hopefully then act as an incentive to do more.'

Source: University of East Anglia

Related information

Record Number: 30817 / Last updated on: 2009-05-20
Category: Other
Provider: EC