Enabling Market Development

To facilitate implementation of carbon containment methods, the CC Lab is taking an active role in developing markets. The CC Lab does this by measuring and validating carbon containment methods, engaging existing carbon offsets markets, and by engaging entrepreneurs and providers of financial capital.

Measurement and Validation

The CC Lab is building screening-level assessment tools to apply these criteria to potential projects. In addition, the CC Lab is researching and refining measurement approaches to eventually assess the outcomes of projects that the CC Lab, or other organizations, deploy. The CC Lab works on the following cross-cutting measurement frameworks:

  • Life cycle environmental assessments to characterize the potential carbon balance of a project, as well as other important environmental impacts, such as water consumption.
  • Economic assessments to inform project design and feasibility, as well as to inform comparisons between projects on a per-ton removed basis.
  • Social impact assessments and the measurement of social and economic benefits from project interventions.
  • Measuring, attributing, and communicating the CC Lab’s impact across projects, and progress towards overarching goals.

The CC Lab is also currently investigating ways to improve the accuracy of measurement and accounting systems pertinent to carbon containment in nature-based systems, using “ton-year” accounting periods, rather than the 100-year time period commonly used in existing carbon offsets markets. The CC Lab expects that more accurate accounting can help markets better evaluate carbon containment opportunities and value them accordingly.

Contributing to the Evolution of Carbon Offset Markets

The CC Lab expects that voluntary and compliance carbon offset markets will eventually be critical sources for financing and deploying carbon containment solutions. In preparation, the CC Lab is researching carbon offsets markets, and is considering ways to influence markets to better value carbon containment at scale. It is critical for the CC Lab to understand how standard carbon offsets methodologies are developed and admitted to both compliance and voluntary markets. This knowledge helps inform how the CC Lab and partners develop, test, and verify project designs for carbon containment. In addition, the CC Lab will build relationships with key market participants that sponsor, develop, verify, and/or buy carbon offsets today, and those that will participate in these markets in the future.

The CC Lab has also supported the Yale Carbon Offsets Program, creating a strategy, selection criteria and due diligence procedure to select credible carbon offsets. These offsets help meet the University’s emissions reduction goals. In the summer of 2020, the CC Lab built a database of standard offsets methodologies prevalent in the U.S. and is now researching international markets and methodologies. In addition, carbon market providers, developers and brokers were interviewed to better understand how carbon offset methods and projects are developed, verified, and sold. With this information, the CC Lab mapped approval processes for key voluntary registries to help inform the CC Lab’s development of novel carbon containment methods and approaches to verification.

Engaging Entrepreneurs, Building Sustainable Business Models, Connecting to Financial Capital

Some of the key limiting factors to implementation of carbon containment thus far has been a lack of experienced high quality entrepreneurs, unclear business models given technical, regulatory, and market uncertainties, and a lack of financial capital required to deploy innovative ideas that may take many years to be market-ready.

The CC Lab is helping to fill this gap by attracting exceptional entrepreneurs and helping them build sustainable business models. The CC Lab is also leveraging the unique network of Yale University to engage and connect with sources of financial capital suitable of supporting carbon containment innovations at various stages of maturity.