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Numbers to remember

Here are some numbers to help wrap your head around CO2 emissions:

What is the standard unit for carbon emissions and offsets?

The most commonly used unit for carbon emissions is 1 metric ton, also referred to as a tonne, equivalent to 1000 kilograms, or 2,204.6 lbs. One verified carbon unit, or VCU, equals one tonne of CO2.

How much CO2 is emitted worldwide per year?

In his recent book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Bill Gates states that 51 billion tons of CO2 are emitted annually. Some estimates are higher, and some are lower. Since we are fans of round numbers, we will go with 50 billion tonnes of CO2. Mr. Gates proposes that we seek to pursue CO2 mitigation strategies that can tackle 1% or more of the emissions (i.e., 500,000,000 tons or more).

How much CO2 does one American emit?

On average, each American emits 20 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to 4 tonnes per person for the rest of the world.

How much CO2 do cars emit?

A car that gets 20 mpg emits 1.0 lb of CO2 for every mile driven. Cars that get 25 mpg emit 0.9 lbs of CO2 per mile. The average American drives 13,500 miles per year, which amounts to about 6 tonnes of CO2 per year.

What percentage of CO2 emissions are due to deforestation?

Deforestation and forest degradation amount to 6-8% of CO2 emissions, mainly from the Amazon, Congo, and Indonesian rain forests, which act as massive carbon sinks.

What is TerraQuest’s Carbon Challenge goal?

TerraQuest Carbon Credit Challenges are available to any nonprofit, for-profit, or governmental organization in the USA. Our goal is to create fifty, 1,000,000 mile/10,000 tonne Carbon Challenges that amount to 50,000,000 miles of recorded track miles in exchange for 500,000 tonnes of CO2 offset before the end of 2021. An organization can partner with TerraQuest to host one or more of the 50 Carbon Challenges available. When users sync tracks recorded while moving under their own power to their TerraQuest account, they automatically earn carbon credits for each mile traveled. For example, for a 100-mile/tonne challenge, a user would receive 22.04 lbs of carbon credits/mile.

What do TerraQuest Carbon Challenges look like for consumers?

TerraQuest Carbon Challenges can be accessed via TerraQuest’s website or mobile app. The two layouts are very similar. Below we present the web version.

Carbon Challenges include the following information:

  • A brief description of the carbon challenge.
  • The number of carbon credits earned per mile in pounds. In this example, 1 metric ton of CO2 is offset for every 100 miles recorded while users move under their own power. Since 1 metric ton equals 1,000 kg, which equals 2,204.6 lbs, users earn 22.04 lbs of carbon credits per mile.
  • The user’s rank and the number of credits earned.
  • The start and end dates.
  • The value of the bonus area credits, if a bonus is included in the challenge. In this example, a user would earn a 220.4 lb bonus credit (or ten miles of credits) for starting in the yellow area centered on Mt. Crested Butte.
  • The challenge area map. Any portion of track that is recorded outside the blue contest polygon area would no earn carbon credits.
  • A leaderboard.

TerraQuest can power 1 or more Carbon Challenges for organizations and they can choose:

  • the start and end date
  • the ratio of miles to carbon credits earned in pounds
  • the boundaries of the challenge area
  • whether or not to include a bonus zone

How do people participate?

People participate by creating a TerraQuest account and recording tracks (while moving under their own power) that sync to their accounts. Users can record tracks using the TerraQuest app, Strava, Garmin, Fitbit, or any other device that records .gpx or .fit files that can be imported into the user’s profile.

How does TerraQuest provide end-to-end traceability for carbon credits?


TerraQuest utilizes UPCO2 Tokens to create Carbon Challenges for three reasons:

  • Retiring UPCO2 Tokens tangibly reduces carbon through verified REDD+ projects
  • End-to-end traceability
  • Fungibility

More people ask about the second reason, end-to-end traceability, than anything else.

Read on to see how it works.

The three basic layers of traceability

While a little oversimplistic, we focus on three key layers:

  • Etherium blockchain - immutably records carbon token transactions
  • Verra - independently registers the exchange of tokens for verified carbon units created by REDD+ certified projects and the retirement of carbon offsets.
  • TerraQuest - provides carbon offset transaction receipts

Each is discussed in more detail below.

Etherium blockchain

Anyone can view UPCO2 transactions in the Etherscan smart contract database. Carbon offsets are achieved by retiring Tokens recorded in the smart contract and tied to Verra metadata (i.e., the input data).


Carbon offset project serial numbers

Verra independently records the retirement of carbon credits in its registry. Shown above is the project name the project serial number, the same number recorded in the blockchain.

Carbon credit retirement record

By looking up the serial number in Verra that was supplied by the blockchain, we see that 50 credits were retired when the UPCO2 tokens were retired. The value of the tokens goes to UPCO2, the organization that purchased the carbon offsets from the project.

Carbon offset project description download links

In Verra, we can also look up which projects produced the Verified Carbon Units (VCUs - AKA carbon credits) purchased by UPCO2 when they created the tokens, in this case, the Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project. By clicking on the link, anyone can access a .pdf file download of the project.

TerraQuest carbon offset transaction record

Once UPCO2 adds wallet support for retiring tokens to its application programming interface, TerraQuest will provide users transaction records for their carbon credit offsets. (ETA June 2021).

TerraQuest Carbon Challenges add unique value to your carbon offset strategy

More and more organizations have committed themselves to climate action plans only to find that they have very few tangible levers to pull. Many are finding that it is impossible to eliminate their emissions or even meet their short-term offset goals. Therefore, an increasing number are turning to carbon credits to serve as a bridge to attain their carbon offset goals. However, all carbon credits are not equal. High-quality carbon credits are scarce. UPCO2 Tokens are only generated by REDD+ certified carbon offset projects; therefore, its legitimacy is assured.

More and more organizations are also finding that “sustainability” is no longer an option. Widespread marketing research shows that consumers have a more positive view of organizations taking action toward sustainability. However, if organizations are simply purchasing offsets, they could be missing out on vital opportunities to connect with their communities.

TerraQuest adds unique value to an organization’s carbon offset strategy by turning sustainability into communal climate action.

If your organization wants to take the lead on tackling climate change now, schedule an introductory appointment with us today.