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Friday, December 9, 2022

Scientists develop space tech platform to track carbon in trees

A non-profit, CTREES, is launching the first ever digital platform for calculating the carbon in every tree on the planet, with complete accuracy.

Sassan Saatchi
Dr. Sassan Saatchi, a senior scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and head of CTREES

Launching at COP27, the new platform offers high-accuracy, AI-enabled satellite data products that allow countries, jurisdictions, the private sector, and civil society to measure, report, and verify (MRV) both carbon emissions and removals from all types of forests.

CTREES’ global dataset provides a nearly real-time picture of the carbon implications of forest conservation and restoration at the local, national, and global level, ensuring results from efforts to reach global climate targets can be accurately reported.

CTREES says it will also support stakeholders engaged in the carbon market, including investors, project developers, and regulators, who continue to grapple with questions over the true carbon emissions reduction potential of forest investments and how to accurately account for the carbon which is traded. To date, poor carbon accounting practices have accelerated concerns around transparency and integrity.

Led by Dr. Sassan Saatchi, a senior scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a team of scientists and data engineers in the U.S., Brazil, Denmark, and France, CTREES is built on more than 20 years of research and development at the world’s leading universities and space agencies.

“The transition to carbon neutrality requires accurate accounting. To truly evaluate the benefits of carbon reduction efforts, market and policy actors need a global state-of-the-art system for measuring and monitoring,” said Dr. Saatchi. “Until now, this technology hasn’t been available to carbon markets, and only on a limited basis to climate policymakers. CTREES is committed to an open-source approach that will ultimately build trust in carbon markets worldwide.”

Speaking on the value of CTREES for the market, Dr. Lee White, Gabon’s Minister for Forests, Sea, the Environment and Climate Change, states: “As we transition to a post-Glasgow regulated market for REDD+ or net sequestration, it is critical we have high quality, independent measurements, based on the best science, to ensure that we have the transparency and integrity we need and markets are confident that they are getting exactly what they pay for.”

CTREES has already developed national and jurisdictional forest carbon data and will launch the digital platform at COP27 on its website by November 2022.

Powered by philanthropy, CTREES will provide operational data for project-level assessments of forest carbon starting from early 2023.

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