April/May 2017 Newsletter
We saw it coming, and yet Trump’s decision to pull out of the landmark Paris Agreement was nevertheless deeply disheartening. While we were dismayed by the decision, we are no less motivated to keep working towards climate action. We stand with countries, states, cities, organisations and corporations worldwide that have signaled their commitment to stick with the Paris Agreement and continue to find ways of addressing climate change. Indeed, on the same day as Trump’s announcement, Colombia published what we think is a far-reaching and incredibly innovative decree setting out how companies subject to a US$5/tonCO2e tax on fuels can reduce their tax liability by surrendering high-quality carbon offsets. This is just one of what we hope (and expect) to be many examples of countries and others taking the lead in forging solutions to fight climate change.
For VCS, supporting the Paris Agreement means continuing to provide frameworks that catalyze investment in activities that reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It also means providing frameworks that will work in the context of a fully functioning Paris Agreement, which will require that we continue to make sure our projects and programs deliver measurable results and also deal with some of the challenges we see coming forward, including the need to address double counting and claiming.
More than anything, we see Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris Agreement as a call to continue the work we are already doing, and we look forward to working with all of you to push for more ambition and innovation in tackling climate change.
Colombia Drives Innovation and Carbon Markets
On 1 June 2017, the same day that Trump shortsightedly pulled the US out of the Paris Accord, Colombia demonstrated leadership in approving an innovative measure that allows high quality carbon credits to be used against the carbon tax they released in December. Unlike other proposals where the use of carbon credits is limited, Colombia allows entities to offset 100% of their tax liability, which of course could provide a huge boost to projects generating credible GHG emission reductions. For more information, including details on key criteria, read our post. If you have any questions about the Colombia carbon tax and how carbon offsets can be used to comply, please let us know.
Innovate 4 Climate
Our team had a busy time at the newly renamed Innovate 4 Climate conference. Formerly the Carbon Expo, this event has always been an opportunity to get some welcome facetime with our stakeholders and peers, but this year featured many new faces and an increased emphasis on financing. Held in Barcelona, the conference was marked by optimism and a packed schedule of meetings. Double-counting post-2020, aligning climate work with the Sustainable Development Goals, and new blockchain technology were all hot topics this year. We seeded a few new ideas at this year’s event and are looking forward to rolling out the fruits of those conversations in the months to come.
Calling all Project Proponents
We’ve updated the VCS database to include space for photographs on our project pages so that the database can be a better platform for showcasing our wide variety of projects. We’ve got the platform, but we still need the photographs. If you are a VCS project proponent, please send us a few of your best project pictures (along with any relevant copyright and use restrictions). Thank you and we look forward to seeing your pictures.
CORSIA and Double Counting
We’ve previously explored how ICAO’s CORSIA has the potential to shape future carbon markets. In this follow up post, we look at the role it could play in addressing double counting. Because early action under ICAO’s CORSIA could happen before official UNFCCC rules are finalized, it will be important to have rules to avoid double counting. Read the full post for details.
Forthcoming CCB and VCS Program Update
Coming out this June, this round of program updates will feature substantial changes to CCB Program documents that align them with VCS Program documents, streamlining submission for project proponents. We will also provide new CCB standardized templates to support reporting. Updates to VCS Program documents will involve several smaller tweaks that support our users, streamline use of the standard, and/or support the integrity of the standard. More details on our website.
ICAT Spotlight Story
We are slated to release draft methodological guidance from the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency this summer. As one of the 10 guidance components, the Transformational Change Guidance will help define what we mean when we say “transformational change.” With limited time and resources and the enormous climate change facing us, country leaders cannot afford to enact policies that don’t fundamentally shift emissions and sustainable development outcomes. The Transformational Change Guidance will support policy makers in defining policies that have the greatest potential to promote decarbonisation and sustainable development. Read the full post on ICAT’s site.
CCB and VCS Program Projects Open for Public Comment
A host of projects is now open through late June or early July for public comment. VCS projects open for public comment include a mangrove reforestation and restoration project in Myanmar and two wind projects in India, in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. A combined VCS and CCB project reducing deforestation and assisting with local land tenure in Cambodia is also open for comment. Finally, three projects are undergoing a public comment period for the CCB Program. One reforestation project in the Atlantic Forest region of Bahia, Brazil and two avoided deforestation projects, both in Acre, Brazil, one providing medical education and the other providing dental kits in addition to forest protection work. Please provide your comments by following the links above.
VCS in the Media
Verified Carbon Standard
The VCS Program is the world’s leading voluntary program for the certification of GHG emission reduction projects