Puro.earth is the world’s first and leading carbon crediting program focused on engineered carbon removals. Each CORC represents one metric ton of net-removed carbon dioxide locked away in a long-term storage. When we launched the Puro Standard to accelerate the carbon removal industry in 2019, the minimum storage durability was set to 50 years. At the time, when even the need for carbon removal was debated, the working group felt that 50 years was an ambitious goal.
In 2022, the market is no longer debating if carbon removals are needed. The IPCC stated in its latest report that carbon removal from the atmosphere is now “unavoidable”, and the Paris Agreement states that we must achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions and removals in the second half of this century. Three years since Puro’s launch the emerging carbon removal market has changed dramatically. Now that there is wide consensus by almost every organization and government that removals are needed to reach the Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal, the focus has shifted to the durability of the removals. The scientific community is converging at 100 years durability as the minimum storage time and the geological permanence of 10.000 years as the ideal goal.
Why 100 years?
It has become critical that the storage employed is sufficiently durable to convincingly compensate for fossil emissions. To undo the effect of fossil emissions it is necessary to use long-lived removal storages of over 100 years for compensation. This like-for-like thinking is widely advocated for by the Oxford Net Zero and other scientists (Allen 2020, Worthington 2021, Fankhauser 2022, Mitchell-Larson 2022). The minimum 100-year storage durability is also aligned with the IPCC 100-year time horizon for global warming potentials (GWP100) for inventory and reporting purposes (IPCC AR5 2014).
Therefore, it is time to announce that we are raising our ambition. From January 2023, the minimum threshold for carbon removal durability of the Puro Standard CORC will be 100 years.
Buyer confidence in the CORC
Buyers can be assured they get policy-relevant carbon removal when they purchase any type of CORC, always guaranteed to represent at least 100 years of carbon removed and stored. The Puro.earth carbon crediting program ensures that for each CORC:
It's important to note that the CORC credit durability does not imply that at year 100 all the carbon sequestered reverts to the atmosphere. On the contrary, most removed carbon is expected to remain sequestered for centuries. The contracted durability is the minimum amount of time for which Puro Standard provides reasonable assurance of non-reversal. To achieve this, we use Pre-Issuance Deduction equivalent of the expected degradation or reversal of the storage during the contracted 100 years or 1000+ years period. Thus, separate risk of reversal buffer is not needed.
What about carbon removals of 1 to 99 year durability?
Carbon removal methods with a storage of lower than 100-year durability play a significant role in the sustainable transformation. Among them are bio-based construction materials and soil amendments. These materials are produced from sustainably managed forests and recycled biomass, and maintain the carbon sequestered within a storage media, such as soil, timber, or insulation in buildings, with a very low likelihood of reversal. This cycle makes them undeniably carbon removal pathways. Therefore, climate claims made with CORC retirements based on those methodologies continue to be valid within their contracted durability time frame of 50 or 20 years.
This credit category is currently elaborated on in the European Union by the commission in their initiative for Certification of Carbon Removals. We will follow closely the report planned for November 30th, 2022. The future position of this lower-durability removal credits within the Puro Standard will be guided by the EU certification rules.
Growing demand for 100 years minimum durability
Puro.earth’s mission is to mobilize the world’s economy to reward carbon net-negative emissions, enabling companies to procure a carbon removal service carried out by another actor. Creating demand for durable 100-year carbon removal credits today will send the market a signal to increase supply. The demand signal will drive a virtuous growth cycle: more investments, more supply, lower costs, more carbon dioxide removed.
For investors, the strong demand signal means opportunities in a long-term growing market to invest in and ensure returns. Removal projects make interesting investment targets as stand-alone activities or integrated with other co-products/co-benefits. It is critical that investment in the ramp-up of technologies that enable long-lived storage begins now so that sufficient capabilities exist in mid-century.
Many companies have joined our platform as suppliers and many more as buyers of CORCs, which has undoubtedly helped our collective climate fight and sequestered to storages hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 that otherwise would have remained in the atmosphere.
This is just the beginning, but we are ready to write a new chapter for humanity together with those companies and the ones yet to join the carbon removal ecosystem. Climate change is real. It is “The Challenge” of our generation. Together we can tackle it head on!
Marianne Tikkanen, Head of Carbon Crediting Program, and Antti Vihavainen, CEO
Co-founders of Puro.earth
IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014 (AR5 Chapter 08 p. 73-79) https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessmentreport/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter08_FINAL.pdf
Allen, M. and others (2020). Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting. University of Oxford, https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-09-29-oxford-launches-new-principles-credible-carbon-offsetting
Worthington B et al (2021) Net-zero to net-negative: a guide for leaders on carbon removal. https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Net_Zero_to_Net_Negative_A_Guide_for_Leaders_on_Carbon_Removal_2021.pdf
Fankhauser S et al (2022) The meaning of net zero and how to get it right. Nat Clim Change 12:15–21 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01245-w
Mitchell-Larson E et al (2022) Prosets: a new financing instrument to deliver a durable net zero transition
Certification of carbon removals – EU initiative
If you, like us, think that removals are unavoidable and the only way to restore the balance of CO2 in our atmosphere, join us. Visit our suppliers who are already producing CORCs and visit our Pre-CORC suppliers, projects that need offtake agreements to start or expand operations.
If you are a supplier who wants to be issued CORCs or Pre-CORCs contact us here.