Initiatives and Courses
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Building Capacity to Measure Carbon

The Carbon Institute is an international academic partnership committed to training the next generation of climate leaders. Countries' national academic institutions are the best places to build endogenous capacity to train government and private sector professionals in robust greenhouse gas measurements and management. We help our partners build and deliver powerful, nationally-tailored curricula in advanced carbon accounting, using the best practices in active learning and faculty development, and international accounting guidelines.
Our premier initiative helps tropical countries measure, model and manage their terrestrial carbon. This work provides advanced training and supports universities and colleges in the US, China, Indonesia, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo develop their own academic platforms for teaching terrestrial carbon accounting. The University of California San Diego extension accredited and ran the first ever advanced Certificate in Terrestrial Carbon Accounting, and a full report is here. More than 150 applicants vied for 25 spots. Given the high demand, The Carbon Institute turned to helping world class international academic partners design, run, and accredit their own academic programs in terrestrial carbon accounting. Other initiatives of The Carbon Institute include the Sky Changers program and carbon management research.

Classes and Courses

All Carbon Institute curriculum is developed with the guidance of country stakeholders to emphasize active learning and solve pressing national needs, and to enhance local teaching capacity making our courses more sustainable and nationally-owned. This approach allows The Carbon Institute to be both scalable and nationally-specific. The Carbon Institute has identified six areas of coursework fundamental to an effective terrestrial carbon accounting program: policy context, remote sensing, data collection, IPCC Guidelines and land classifications, statistics, and reporting and communication of results. These components cover the entire sweep of carbon management, from data collection and reporting, to using greenhouse gas inventories as a springboard for measurable mitigation.
  • Continuous: Courses through the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute
    Courses through the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute are offered on an on-going basis. GHGMI's 541 IPCC: Forestry and Other Land Uses course provides the only comprehensive instruction and is used as a tool in the Carbon Institute's in-country academic partnerships. Information about other courses, including registering for classes, can be found here
  • Policy Context
    The policy context courses provide learners with an understanding of how terrestrial carbon accounting will be applied, including recent UNFCCC guidance for REDD+ and NDCs.
  • Remote Sensing
    The remote sensing courses train learners to use Geographic Information Systems to determine activity data, with a focus on developing skills with QGIS, Global Forest Watch, Google Earth Engine, and other open source materials. 
  • Data Collection
    The data collection courses teach forestry field methods and the evaluation and generation of emissions factors. 
  • IPCC Guidelines
    The IPCC Guidelines courses provide instruction in the rigorous 2006 IPCC Guidelines, the most up-to-date technical guidance for measuring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of terrestrial carbon fluxes, with a focus on land classifications. The Carbon Institute uses GHGMI's IPCC 541: Forests and Other Land Use e-course as a basis for learners to engage beyond the classroom, as the only comprehensive and instructionally-rich material on the rigorous IPCC Guidelines.
  • Terrestrial Carbon Statistics
    The courses in applied statistics for terrestrial carbon accounting, are focused particularly on uncertainty and error propagation, teaching the IPCC guidance on statistics and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Methodological Guidance (Monte Carlo simulations). R Code software packages are used to provide learners with a powerful open-source statistics package.
  • Applying and Communicating Results
    The courses in applying, reporting, and communication of terrestrial carbon analysis results provide guidance on reporting to the UNFCCC, as well as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and others, with an emphasis on streamlining the reporting process.
  • 2015-2016: TCA Certificate in Cameroon
    This partnership with CRESA Forêt-Bois at the University of Dschang in Cameroon is developing a certificate in terrestrial carbon accounting. A week-long course in 2015 is being followed up with a mentoring trip in May 2016 to provide learner-guided instruction and to develop institutional capacity for further iterations of the course.  This in-country project is supported by the United States Forest Service.
  • October 2014: Policy Context for Terrestrial Carbon
    This 3.5 day course was hosted with CCROM in Bogor Indonesia in the fall of 2014 for 35 local and provincial professionals. Further information can be found here. If you are interested in hosting a similar course, please contact either Anup Joshi or John Niles.
  • 2013: Advanced Certificate in Terrestrial Carbon Accounting
    This 4-week course was accredited by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and included six combined classes: Policy Contexts for Terrestrial Carbon (BIOL-40285); Measuring Terrestrial Carbon Change, Modeling Using GIS, Remote Sensing, and Activity Data (BIOL-40286); Classifying Forest and Land Cover (BIOL-40287); Terrestrial Carbon Accounting Data Collection & Evaluation (BIOL-40288); Statistics for Terrestrial Carbon: Data Aggregation, Uncertainty Analyses & Error Propagation (BIOL-40289); and Applying and Communicating Analysis Results (BIOL-40290). Post-certificate evaluations showed that 100% of the participants were satisfied with the overall program content, the Course Director, and their overall University of California experience. Program participants also had a high level of satisfaction with the individual instructors, and the average ranking by program participants for all 8 instructors was 4.4 out of 5.0 (highest satisfaction).

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