UNDP develops open-source software to manage carbon credits


New Delhi: United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) has developed an open-source software which allows countries to effectively manage national data and processes for trading carbon credits.

The software, called the “National Carbon Registry” has recently been accredited as a digital public good (DPG).

“As a DPG, the registry uses open-source code, which allows countries to replicate and adapt the information to fit their own needs and contexts” said UNDP.

“To achieve our ambitious Global Goals for the planet, we need to take an open and informed approach to digital technology that promotes integration and collaboration between different sectors and actors. We must also consider how we can work together to build digital public infrastructure (DPI) that is safe, sustainable, and inclusive for all,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said.

Carbon credits, also known as carbon offsets, are permits that allow the owner to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

One credit permits the emission of one ton of carbon dioxide or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases. The ultimate goal of carbon credits is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

As noted, a carbon credit represents the right to emit greenhouse gases equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, that is the equivalent of a 2,400-mile drive in terms of carbon dioxide emissions

The registry follows national and international best practices based on inputs from countries and is a result of ongoing work by the Digital4Climate (D4C) Working Group, which includes UNDP, the World Bank, the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) among others.

“Developing carbon markets is an investment in our sustainable future. Digital market infrastructure will be critical to scale-up high integrity, transparent carbon markets that can be used by countries to increase the level of climate action and ambition. This is why the World Bank’s Climate Warehouse programme is working closely with our partners on the implementation of this open-source carbon registry platform,” commented Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank.

“This initiative is a valuable opportunity for countries to work together towards a shared good with potential benefits beyond the open-source registry system. We look forward to engaging with the evolution of ideas and testing of approaches that can inform the arrangements of any country implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement,” said Mr. James Grabert, Director of Mitigation Division at UNFCCC.

Effective climate action requires concerted and sufficient investment. Developing countries will need more than US$6 trillion by 2030 to finance their climate action goals (as listed in their Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs).

Carbon finance is key for the implementation of the NDCs, and the Paris Agreement enables the use of market mechanisms through provisions in Article 6.

For this reason, interest in carbon markets is growing around the world, with 83 percent of NDCs stating the intent to make use of international market mechanisms to reduce GHG emissions.

However, until now, there has not been an open-source software that allowed countries to start their own national registry to issue and manage carbon credits.


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