Avoidance & Removal Carbon Projects

Cool Effect
4 min readJun 2, 2022


At Cool Effect, we talk a lot about what we call “The Good on the Ground” — that is, the local community benefits of quality carbon projects — a lot, because it’s an extremely important part of our standards for Carbon Done Correctly. But even when prioritizing the community benefits of carbon projects, it’s extremely important to remember that at the end of the day, a carbon project needs to actually reduce harmful greenhouse gases in a verified, measurable way.

The primary goal of any carbon project should be to reduce emissions in any way possible — and as quickly as possible. While it’s important that we leverage new innovations and technological advances in the fight against climate change, we don’t have time to wait and hope Silicon Valley will swoop in with a magic solution. We need real options that can have a real impact now.

One of the key data points outlined in a recent IPCC report stated that in order to reach net zero by 2050, we should focus on “..equitably conserving 30 to 50 percent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats,” because we can all benefit from nature’s existing ability to absorb and store carbon.

Nature-based carbon solutions like the ones proposed by the IPCC typically fall into two types of carbon project classifications: avoidance and removal.

Avoidance offsets are generated by activities that prevent emissions from ever reaching the atmosphere through actions like stopping the conversion of grasslands to croplands or reducing the amount of wood used as fuel. Removal offsets are generated through activities that actively remove carbon from the atmosphere, like planting trees.

Cool Effect believes that we need all types of solutions. It is more important to select carbon offsets are a scientifically verified, additional and truly permanent reductions which you will find on our platform. Each carbon project we represent is unique, requires teams of people to ensure quality and efficacy, and meets our criteria of Carbon Done Correctly. All verifiably reduce carbon, support local communities, and help make a real impact in the fight against climate change.

Watering the West

America’s West is no stranger to some of climate change’s worst impacts. Droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather events have become commonplace thanks to our increased emissions — and this project is actively doing something about it.

“Forests along America’s west coast experience extensive harvesting due to the demands of the lumber market, despite their value to America’s west-coast water supply. Poorly managed forests are more susceptible to wildfires, and as climate change increases droughts, these two natural disasters form a vicious cycle. These forests provide habitat to a diverse range of species and contribute to water supply and air quality and are of particular importance to protect and manage properly. Projects like Klamath East Improved Forest Management play a unique role by protecting the forests and sustainably meeting the future market demand for resources.” — Sid Yadav, Director of Project Research

By actively managing and protecting nearly 500,000 acres of land in the Klamath National Forest, this project not only ensures that one of America’s most biologically diverse regions will remain protected, its 120 watersheds will remain pristine, and, as the California Air Resources board said, it will provide “direct environmental benefits for the state.” Protecting existing carbon removal assets — also known as trees and marshes — while working to increase the amount of carbon absorbing biomass in the area are ideal ways to ensure an effective, sustainable, and scalable carbon project.

Take a Hike

Our country’s west coast isn’t the only region that can benefit from improved forest management practices — in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, 5,686 acres of forest have been set aside with set goals of improving its resiliency, protecting the nearby water supply, providing an educational and research platform, and protecting local wildlife.

“This area is a high priority for conservation because of the development pressure and value of the hardwood timber in the area. This area also has historic significance and research value. The forest restoration practices are tailored to suit the trees and habitats to not only maximize carbon sequestration but to benefit the flora and fauna.” — Sid Yadav, Director of Project Research

Prior to the existence of this project, this region was prime real estate for the timber industry, but now it’s scheduled to sequester a total of 480,000 tonnes of CO2 in just its first 20 years of the project. By tailoring their forest management practices in a way designed to optimize carbon sequestration while also protecting this amazingly diverse ecosystem, locals can enjoy the land while also enjoying the impact a well-managed forest can have in the fight against rising emissions.

Grass is Greener

Forests aren’t the only solution, but don’t worry — we can definitely see the grasslands for the trees. Native grasslands are considered one of the most endangered ecosystems around and they all contain a tremendous amount of carbon sequestered right below their surface, which is where it belongs.

Unfortunately, as recently as 2019, an estimated 2.6m acres of grassland — an area larger than Yellowstone National Park — was plowed up, primarily for cropland. Recent studies show that tillage for cropland expansion has released as much carbon dioxide into the air as 31 million cars each year, and that conserving grasslands could prevent almost three times as many carbon emissions as conserving forests.

Similar to trees, grasslands sequester millions of tonnes of CO2 deep into the ground through their extensive root structures. When grasslands are converted to farmland instead of remaining protected, the CO2 is then released back into the atmosphere.

That’s why the 16,000 acres this project protects in Montana are so important. Not only does it protect this crucial carbon storing land, their purchase agreement means that it can do so in perpetuity by economically incentivizing local farmers and landowners to protect land, supporting them with carbon offset sales in order to incentivize them to keep their land in its original, carbon-sequestering state. It helps contribute to The Good on the Ground by ensuring that CO2 stays IN the ground, where it belongs.

Carbon projects that focus on natural avoidance and removal techniques may not feel as flashy as other more technologically advanced approaches, but their importance cannot be overstated. The types of projects listed above are all essential tools that will help us make an impact on our net-zero goals.



Cool Effect

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