World leaders at the COP26 climate summit this month promised to end deforestation by 2030. But significant challenges to achieving the goal remain to be overcome. The Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits, based at the University of Cambridge, this week launched with the goal to build a decentralized marketplace of verifiable carbon credits to support global reforestation efforts.

Fast facts

  • The center brings together an interdisciplinary group spanning the university’s department of computer science, zoology and plant sciences and is currently working on building a prototype of a decentralized carbon credit marketplace where purchasers “can confidently and directly fund trusted nature-based projects.”
  • The marketplace will be built on the Tezos blockchain and use a combination of artificial intelligence and satellite sensing technology.
  • “Current accreditation systems that measure and report the value of carbon and related benefits like biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction rendered by NbS [nature-based solutions] are costly, slow and inaccurate,” said center director Anil Madhavapeddy in a statement. “These systems have undermined trust in NbS carbon credits. What is needed is a decentralised marketplace where purchasers of carbon credits can confidently and directly fund trusted nature-based projects. And that’s the gap the centre is aiming to fill.”