Projects

Ethical Offsets and Carbon Finance For Development

Carbon finance  has the potential act as a powerful catalyst in changing consumption behavior, supporting the conversion to a low carbon infrastructure, providing innovative solutions that improve lives while reducing emissions in the poorest areas of the world, and financing a host of ecosystem services projects that protect both forests and communities.  But these “high bar” projects are poorly served by existing carbon finance mechanisms. Instead, derivitization and commoditization of carbon reduction initiatives — so that their carbon credits can trade on emerging financial/carbon exchanges or sold as interchangeable generic units — is leading to a lowest common denominator price-based mindset. This has had severe and negative consequences for the use of carbon finance as a way to advance more progressive mission-based projects with ecological, biodiversity, health, sustainable community development, and other socially focused co-benefits.

Some of our projects include:

Efficient Cookstoves 

According to the world health organization, roughly 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels in open fires and leaky stoves. This produces high levels of indoor air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants – up to 100 times higher than acceptable levels. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the stoves.

Fuel gathering consumes considerable time for women and children, limiting other activities and taking children away from school. Non-renewable harvesting of biomass also contributes to deforestation (and climate change.) More efficient cook stoves relieve pressure on forests, while reducing health issues, and freeing up time spend gathering fuel, by drastically reducing fuel needs. But cook stove usage is very localized, and new technology must meet the needs of the users and be culturally appropriate, or it will fail to be used over the long term.

There are a number of initiatives that use VCS, Gold Standard, and other carbon credits to support the manufacturing, distribution, and training programs necessary for the growth of the efficient cookstove sector. This developing world “low tech – clean tech” approach has significant benefits to both people and the planet. Through the global cook stove fund, we support a portfolio of these initiatives.

Plan Vivo Forestry

Plan Vivo projects in Uganda, Mexico, and other locations enable thousands of smallholder farming families to make a modest income by preserving and expanding local forests, and find sources of income which allow them to sustainably use their land. The farmers are establishing tree plantations on land previously used as pasture, growing timber and fruit interspersed with corn and coffee crops, and restoring degraded forest land to return it to a healthy habitat for wildlife and a valuable watershed to prevent erosion.

Each farmer draws up his or her own work plan – called a “Plan Vivo” – which is unique to their land and its conditions. The plan describes what areas will be restored, what types of trees will be planted, and what the environmental benefits will be. Farmers begin the projects without any financial aid, with technical support from local nonprofit organizations. Once established, financing is available and the projects are monitored for efficacy. Without financial support for these sustainable efforts, desperation for food and necessities will lead the residents to sell off the land for cattle grazing or large-scale intensive farming.

Low Income Energy Retrofits (Credible Carbon) 

Through the Credible Carbon Program,  projects fund solar water heaters, compact fluorescent lighting, solar cookers, better fuels and electricity generation for several low income household communities in South Africa including Welbedacht (KwaZulu-Natal) , Kuyasa (Khayelitsha), and Cato Manor (Umuthi Mayche). These alternative energy supplies are more cost-effective, reduce grid-electricity consumption in the face of an unreliable, dirty energy supply, and decrease emission of greenhouse gases, while also improving the quality of life for residents.

Feedback has been very positive. Resident Mbali Ntuli commented: “The biggest difference is when there is no electricity I can still have warm water.” Other residents appreciate the money saved on electricity bills. One young boy mentioned that he loves his solar hot water heater because he no longer has to get up at 4am to collect wood for the fire. Conversion kits are sold at 50% of their cost to interested households, who make their payments via microfinancing with a monthly repayment schedule. Funding from carbon credits and other sources (including USAID) makes up the difference, and pays for ongoing equipment.

You can see all of our projects and directly support them by making offset donations via our online partner at the www. ClimatePath.org website.

conversion to a low carbon infrastructure, providing innovative solutions that improve lives while reducing emissions in the poorest areas of the world, and financing a host of ecosystem services projects that protect both forests and communities. But these “high bar” projects are poorly served by existing carbon finance mechanisms. Instead, derivitization and commoditization of carbon reduction initiatives — so that their carbon credits can trade on emerging financial/carbon exchanges or sold as interchangeable generic units — is leading to a lowest common denominator price-based mindset. This has had severe and negative consequences for the use of carbon finance as a way to advance more progressive mission-based projects with ecological, biodiversity, health, sustainable community development, and other socially focused co-benefits. It has also created a tremendous public skepticism about the efficacy of carbon offset mechanisms:This funding has the potential act as a powerful catalyst in changing consumption behavior, supporting the conversion to a low carbon infrastructure, providing innovative solutions that improve lives while reducing emissions in the poorest areas of the world, and financing a host of ecosystem services projects that protect both forests and communities. But these “high bar” projects are poorly served by existing carbon finance mechanisms. Instead, derivitization and commoditization of carbon reduction initiatives — so that their carbon credits can trade on emerging financial/carbon exchanges or sold as interchangeable generic units — is leading to a lowest common denominator price-based mindset. This has had severe and negative consequences for the use of carbon finance as a way to advance more progressive mission-based projects with ecological, biodiversity, health, sustainable community development, and other socially focused co-benefits. It has also created a tremendous public skepticism about the efficacy of carbon offset mechanisms:
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