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Land Sector and Removals: Workstream Update

Land Sector and Removals Standard and Guidance Publication Quarter 1 2025

GHG Protocol’s Land Sector and Removals team is nearing the completion of the standard development process and is excited to announce that the Land Sector and Removals Standard and accompanying Guidance will be finalized in 2024 and publicly released in Quarter 1 2025.  

At the beginning of this process, the GHG Protocol Secretariat originally conceived of the Land Sector and Removals work being encompassed in one Guidance document. In response to stakeholder feedback, the Secretariat has decided to develop both a concise Standard, which includes all terms and definitions, requirements, and key recommendations and a more comprehensive Guidance document, which contains further details on implementation, including calculation guidance, examples and case studies.  

The Standard and Guidance released in Quarter 1 2025 will be released as version 1.0 and will not include references to forest carbon accounting, which is still being discussed as described below. Version 1.1, which will include the forest carbon accounting resolution, is anticipated to be released later in 2025.

Technical Working Group and Advisory Council Revision Process: 2023-2024 Overview

Through the Land Sector and Removals Standard development process, 42 key issues were surfaced by the Pilot Test Group, Review Group and Technical Working Groups on the 2022 draft Guidance. In June 2023, GHG Protocol divided those key issues to be addressed by 11 subgroups. Between June and September of 2023, the Secretariat convened 11 Technical Working Group sub-groups to address the open questions and concerns associated with these topics. These groups met to resolve remaining questions over a series of 20 calls and a four-day in-person workshop in Washington, DC in September 2023.

Coming out of the September workshop, the Technical Working Group agreed on a proposal where they reached a resolution on 88% of the issues with 4 unresolved issues to take to the Advisory Committee for further discussions: 1. Assurance, 2. Right to report, 3. Land tracking metrics and leakage and 4. Forest carbon accounting. The Secretariat finalized the proposal for revising the Guidance and presented the proposal to the TWG in November. The Secretariat incorporated the TWG feedback into a proposal for the Advisory Committee’s consideration, which included the TWG resolution on resolved issues (and any dissenting opinions) and discussion of the four unresolved issues.

The Advisory Committee then convened from January to May 2024 to discuss the full proposal and unresolved issues and reached a full resolution on two of the four issues, and a partial resolution on a third.

The first two issues, assurance and right to report, were resolved at the January 2024 Advisory Council meeting. The Advisory Committee was convened again in March 2024 to discuss the remaining two issues (land tracking metrics and forest carbon accounting). During the March 2024 meeting, the Secretariat and Advisory Committee partially resolved issue 3 (land tracking metrics and leakage) but there remained unresolved questions regarding leakage quantification, which is still being discussed and finalized with the Advisory Committee.

The remaining unresolved issue, regarding forest carbon accounting, required additional consideration due to lack of consensus within the Advisory Committee and within scientific literature. The Land Sector and Removal Advisory Committee approved a proposal to resolve this issue via a separate process under GHG Protocol’s new Independent Standards Board. The Secretariat anticipates that this issue will be resolved by early 2025.


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