MRV and Land Regeneration: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

MRV (Measurement, Reporting, and Verification) is essential for large-scale, long-term land regeneration. But few know what it is, how it works, or why we need it. That needs to change.

  • MRV is a multi-step process which measures the lowered greenhouse gas emissions resulting from an eco-friendly activity over a period of time. Those findings get reported to an accredited third party, and the third party verifies the report so that the results can be certified and carbon credits issued.

MRV has evolved over the years, and to continue having a positive impact, it will need to keep evolving.

MRV’s Current Use In Land Regeneration

MRV can be used for a lot of things, and some of the most exciting are land regeneration projects, like:

  • Farming: farmers sequester carbon by improving soil health, reducing tilling, and planting more diverse crops
  • Forest management, which includes reforestation efforts, wildfire protection, and reduction of deforestation

And though the potential is massive and results have been promising, there are challenges, too.

Challenges with MRV

The biggest challenges with MRV are the things closest to its purpose: measurement and verification.

Providing data and tracking outcomes for mitigation activities isn’t as easy as you’d hope.

For example, most MRV projects require the sequestered carbon to remain out of the atmosphere for 100 years. And measuring that kind of permanence has proven difficult. Carbon can easily be rereleased due to soil erosion, fires, or deforestation. And 100 years is a long time for a regulatory agency to monitor the project.

Plus, the concept of “additionality” makes it difficult to provide data with accuracy.

  • To prove additionality, reporters need to prove that the carbon removal wouldn’t have happened without the mitigation activity. Since food production and supply chains are so complex, this can be hard for stakeholders to do.

Who’s involved and investing?

The kinds of organizations and companies that have stakes in the success and development of MRV are vast. For example,

  • The United States government recently invested $3 billion dollars in agricultural climate-smart projects
  • Other huge stakeholders span the agricultural industry and make up what’s called the Agri Carbon Market. Visit this link for a rundown on many of the major players, which includes major corporations like Google, Meta, Pepsico, General Mills, Nestle, and Kellogs, plus a host of farmer tools, web3 infrastructure, crypto traders and more.

These stakeholders must collaborate to:

  • Provide data
  • Implement new projects
  • Track outcomes

And they must do all this while minding the financial burdens and timelines for the projects they hold a stake in, too.

The future of MRV is bright

Ideally, all this testing and discovering the possibilities of MRV is leading towards more:

  • Collaboration
  • Better regulation and tracking
  • True land-based climate mitigation

Finding better ways to account for additionality and permanence while improving the precision of our carbon accounting is the key to MRV making the difference it was designed to make.

  • Something that promises to improve the precision and effectiveness is digital Measurement, Reporting, and Verification. Manual methods to measure, report, and verify emissions can cost a lot of time and money, but we’re on the path to digital technologies that could radically improve MRV. The World Bank is already giving this a try in Uganda.

Though the program has some challenges to overcome, it will be an important part of our climate solution tapestry!

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