Glossary

A Chat About Sustainability

A Chat About Sustainability

A Chat About Sustainability


by Kendall Bedford, Project Manager | March 31, 2021


Background

This blog flourished while two ClimeCo colleagues sat down to enjoy a virtual cup of joe while discussing a topic that inspires them – Sustainability.

Long-time Project Manager (and part-time master’s student), Kendall Bedford, and her team leader, Emily Damon, VP of Sustainability, Policy and Advisory discussed what they love about sustainability and what they see in the marketplace. Their responses have been edited for conciseness and clarity.



A Journey in Sustainability

To some, “Sustainability” can be a loaded word due to its multiple definitions and implications in the business world. For myself, it simply implies an opportunity to ensure longevity within our society for our peers, our planet, and our work. As a young professional and master’s student, these topics are meaningful to me. Through the work I am currently doing at ClimeCo, and Sustainability’s intersection with Business, which I am studying at UPenn, I hope to become a future leader in this space and help to unite various priorities and people while working to create real progress under a shared goal.

Today, I am speaking to a leader who is impacting the sustainability field, and one I am lucky to call my teammate, Emily Damon. Below, Emily and I discuss her previous work in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) space and why she continues to enjoy it, the challenges she encounters, and how this space has evolved and will continue to change over time.

Kendall: So, let’s start off with you telling me a little bit about yourself and why you chose to build a career in the sustainability field.

Emily:  I suppose the short answer is … *laughs* …frisbee. I played competitive ultimate frisbee for most of my life, and I chose my college so that I could play for one of the best women’s teams. Then I chose my major based on my teammates. Many of them were majoring in Earth Systems, an interdisciplinary degree with a focus on climate change. I liked science and cared about climate change, so I gave that a try. I ended up liking the engineering approach to climate change even more, so I shifted over partway through. I have stayed in this field because I’m making an impact, learning new things, and working with teams. The daily work gives me a steady drip of optimism for the future.

Kendall:  I completely get that. As someone who is in school for this subject now, it’s nice preparing to work in an evolving field! You’ve been working in this space for a significant amount of time, how has your perspective on ESG work changed?

Emily:  When I finished my degree, I felt that the solutions for climate change were clear. Over time, I have come to appreciate that seeing the optimal solution is only half the battle. Getting very-human business mechanisms to change is hard, slow, and important work. It can feel sluggish, but I think it’s the kind of change that sticks around.

Kendall:  What about the field itself – how have you seen that develop over time? Do you think the changes have been for the better?

Emily:  When I first started out doing this work, I was often supporting a smaller, independent sustainability department within organizations. Within the last 4-5 years, their ties to the rest of the company, especially to the C-Suite, have grown significantly. I think that’s a wonderful thing! It acknowledges that the drivers for sustainability are more significant, and the benefits of pursuing sustainability are more obvious.

Kendall:  I love that! Buy-in from executive leadership and company board members is something we discuss in class all the time; it’s so important because it offers credibility to the work the sustainability teams are doing and can even help garner more support from stakeholders.

Emily:  You know, without the ties to the C-Suite, smaller teams could sometimes be more nimble, at least when it came to things like measuring impacts, reporting, and making small commitments. But the connections to the leadership became essential when those sustainability teams were ready to change the organization’s behavior and needed funding for projects. As connections to leadership strengthen, processes change and new governance takes shape. It can sometimes seem as if things have slowed down, but it’s usually just a phase of growing pains. It’s an interesting dynamic! *laughs*

Kendall:  When it comes to sustainability and communication, especially now that you get to work with more organizations with a higher-level team, there are many different definitions for sustainability floating around, and it can be a “triggering” term for some. How do you level the playing field and communicate sustainability (the idea) to your teams and clients?

Emily:  I start with a very broad definition and with the understanding that any company I’m working with probably has its own, so I’m flexible. ESG is what I see typically falling under a company’s sustainability umbrella. To me, it’s a logical review of everything a company touches. So, what are our impacts on the planet (E) and on people (S), and how have we set up our structures and processes to ensure we can be improving those impacts (G)?

Kendall:  That being said, something I’ve heard is that it’s a bit harder for companies to wrap their head around certain aspects of ESG work. In your experience, what has been the hardest concept for a business to learn about and improve on?

Emily:  This is one with a lot of variety. It’s a common story to get on the phone with someone who started out working in an environmental role and then had a sustainability role pushed their way. That trajectory can leave companies with a blind spot regarding stakeholder’s “S” and “G” expectations.

Kendall:  What do you recommend to those who find themselves in this position?

Emily:  Even when companies have things like great employee training programs or hiring practices designed to increase workforce diversity, these initiatives aren’t always linked with the sustainability program. One thing that can often help a company in this position is a materiality assessment, a structured process for looking at a wide range of possible sustainability topics and determining the company’s priorities based on a diverse set of stakeholder perspectives.

Kendall:  Why do you think ClimeCo is uniquely positioned to participate in this kind of work?

Emily:  Oh, I think ClimeCo is in an amazing position to help companies with sustainability! Companies have a lot that they need to be doing right now, from communicating their progress or measuring their impacts to creating new strategies and executing them across the ESG space. What’s unique to ClimeCo is that we can support companies through more of these steps than other firms can. We have teams that advise, measure, and communicate, but also teams that can execute by developing emission reduction projects or transacting environmental commodities. It’s a natural progression! Many companies are doing each of those things, but none do all three as well as we do.

Closing Thoughts

In the classroom and at the office, Sustainability has been an almost constant discussion subject for me within the past year. In speaking with Emily, not only was I able to validate some of my suspicions about how broad-reaching and impactful the ESG field can be, but I was able to confirm my beliefs about the exciting work I have gotten to do at ClimeCo.  In my (almost) four years of working here, the idea of “we can do it all, and do it well” has rung true. Even more so now, I am exceptionally excited about everything that the team, and Emily with her expertise and passion, will be able to accomplish in this space.

To find out more about the ClimeCo’s Sustainability, Policy and Advisory team’s great work, please contact us by visiting, www.climeco.com.


About the Author

Kendall Bedford started off at ClimeCo in 2017 specializing in managing the data associated with ClimeCo’s extensive network of biogas destruction projects. She now dedicates her expertise to the team in the form of assisting with Sustainability consulting work and working closely with the environmental crediting process. She is currently pursuing a dual degree Master’s in Environmental Studies and MBA at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Creating Carbon Offsets – It Starts With A Methodology

Creating Carbon Offsets – It Starts With A Methodology

Creating Carbon Offsets – It Starts With A Methodology


by David Priddy, VP of Business Development | February 24, 2021


With the continued push by businesses in recent years to establish more stringent sustainability goals with lower GHG thresholds, there’s been a corresponding rush by corporations, project developers, technology providers, and charitable foundations to implement emission reduction solutions to help meet this growing demand.  This has led to a plethora of innovative ideas and concepts from entities seeking to utilize carbon financing to bring their ideas to life.  As a leader in the carbon emission reduction and sequestration space, ClimeCo will frequently field requests on how to implement these ideas to generate and sell carbon offsets, which incentivizes continued investment in project activities that deliver emission reductions.  But after listening to entities pitch their ideas, the question that I most often hear is:  “Can we create carbon offsets?”  Well, the answer to that question can depend on many factors, but it all starts with an appropriate methodology.


Carbon Offset Methodologies

A carbon offset methodology is a framework document that defines the quantification and parameters that are required to generate carbon offsets throughout the life of a project. It establishes the project’s baseline, identifies qualifying practice changes to reduce carbon, and defines the monitoring requirements necessary to ensure that the reductions are real, quantifiable, verifiable, and additional to what would have happened in the absence of the project.

There are seemingly as many different offset methodologies available today as there are carbon reduction project ideas, but continuous innovation in this space keeps challenging that theory.  Voluntary registries, along with those carbon compliance programs that allow for the use of offsets, generally utilize their own protocols and methodologies.  In the North American voluntary market, we primarily work with three voluntary offset registries:  The Climate Action Reserve (CAR), American Carbon Registry (ACR), and Verra; these three registries offer more than 100 established methodologies.  Most of these existing methodologies can be classified into one of several primary categories, including industrial, agricultural, energy efficiency, waste, transportation, and renewable energy; however, the requirements for a particular methodology are usually written for a specific project activity, such that there is little room for interpretation or variance.  This often results in the need to modify an existing methodology or create a new one to support a proposed project’s activities if those activities do not precisely fit the parameters of an existing methodology.


Methodology Development

To ensure the integrity of carbon offsets, credible methodologies employ best practices based on the ISO 14064 standard, providing guidelines for quantifying, monitoring, reporting, and verifying GHG emissions and reductions.  These standards require that each project conducted under a methodology is calculated in a way that is relevant, complete, consistent, accurate, and transparent, and meets the aforementioned key crediting criteria (real, quantifiable, verifiable, and additional).  Therefore, the development of a new methodology requires a significant amount of input from the scientific community and various stakeholders, including industry groups, NGOs, and the legal and environmental justice communities.  The process can be lengthy and will typically include an individual proponent or group that authors the draft methodology, the formation of a stakeholder working group that provides technical and legal review, and a public comment period.  In our experience, it is quite common for a methodology development effort to take at least 12 months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to complete. 


Lessons Learned

The ClimeCo team has been involved in developing several project methodologies, either as an author/co-author or by serving on a working group.  Our experience ranges from methodologies focused on industrial gases, such as the destruction of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and the abatement of nitrous oxide (N2O) from Nitric Acid and Adipic Acid production, to avoided methane emissions from organic waste composting and agricultural methane destruction.  We are also working with clients on the development of some new methodologies that hold significant promise.  Through all of this, we have learned that the process is best served by a collaborative and transparent effort between the project proponent and the registry that balances scientific integrity, conservativeness, and financial viability to ensure a robust, practical, and defensible methodology.


The Bottom Line

As companies continue to ratchet down on their GHG commitments, the voluntary carbon market is poised for significant growth.  Buyers in this market have become increasingly savvy; they are demanding more from the offset projects they support, including a sharper focus on those that align with their businesses and produce various co-benefits.  This opens opportunities for creative thinking and project innovation in areas that existing offset methodologies may not serve.  To maximize the potential for success, a project owner/proponent should align themselves with an experienced consultant like ClimeCo to guide them through this process.


About the Author

Dave Priddy is ClimeCo’s Vice President of Business Development.  He has more than 30 years of experience in the environmental management field and is responsible for the firm’s strategic market initiatives and the evaluation of new project opportunities.  David holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

 

Five Ways To Reduce Your Household Emissions

Five Ways To Reduce Your Household Emissions

Five Ways To Reduce Your Household Emissions


by Danielle A. Pingitore, Marketing Specialist | January 27, 2021


Our homes played a significant role in our lives during 2020, and it seems that the trend is continuing into 2021. Although it has been a challenging year for many, some positives were derived from it. Many of us have transitioned into working from our homes, acquiring new hobbies, and revisiting old ones, spending quality time with ourselves and our immediate families, connecting with mother nature, and genuinely doing our best to find joy in slowing down.


Although we are lowering our costs and energy use by cutting back or eliminating our commute to work and the need for office space, we are merely displacing some of it by spending so much time at home and ensuring we are comfortable. Our households are significant environmental polluters, especially now that we are under a global pandemic. Many of the polluters in our homes are costly and play a key role in our carbon footprint. Below is a chart that breaks down the top 5 household energy users with their estimated related costs per year, kilowatt-hours used, and pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. 

*The information in the below chart is collected from the US Energy Information Administration.

Top 5 Household Energy Users



Five Easy Ways to Save

Several factors contribute to the amount of energy individual households use, such as climate and geographic location, type of home, the type/amount/efficiency of energy-consuming devices, duration of use, and how many people occupy the household.


Of course, if you are a homeowner, there are significant energy and cost-saving changes you can make to your home, such as reinsulating, winterizing, or replacing old units. However, there are also smaller changes that both homeowners and renters can take advantage of. Below, we break down five easy ways to reduce your household emissions.



1. Smart Thermostat/Programming Thermostat

Smart thermostats are growing in popularity. Not only do they make it possible to adjust your heating and cooling system settings from virtually anywhere using your computer, tablet, or mobile phone, but additionally, they generate significant energy and cost-saving benefits. Since energy use is a primary polluter, adjusting or programming your smart thermostat while asleep, at work, on vacation, or away from home can dramatically minimize your environmental impact and reap cost-saving benefits of up to 10% per year.

We understand that not all homes have a heating or cooling system easily programmable or operated with a smart thermostat. If your home uses alternative sources, such as a heat pump, electric resistance heating, steam heat, or radiant floor heating, there are still options for cutting down your energy use and utility bills. You can find additional information on these systems and your options here.

2. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerators are one of the main energy-hogging appliances in our homes. Reducing the energy used to keep it running efficiently is simple, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will result in savings on your electric bill.

The best option to save energy when it has to do with your refrigerator is to clean the coils. This task can reduce the amount of energy it uses to keep your food fresh and cold by up to 30 percent!

Keeping your fridge and freezer clean and organized is an additional way to cut back on energy and cost. Try to be mindful that your fridge and freezer are neither jam-packed so that air can circulate adequately, nor empty, so there is something to retain the cold when the door is open.

3. Showerhead Swap

Standard showerheads use about 2.5 gallons of water per minute.  Of course, there is the option of either taking a bath or limiting your shower’s length to cut down on your water bill and the energy used to heat the water. However, a quick and easy switch to install a low-flow showerhead is most effective.

A common misconception is that these showerheads do not have the same water pressure and temperature capabilities as a standard showerhead; however, this misconception is merely untrue. With the use of technology developed over the years, you can now have a satisfying shower experience while saving money, thousands of gallons of water each year, and being kinder to our planet.

Pro-tip: Look for the WaterSense label when shopping for a new showerhead.

4.  Using Cold Water for Laundry

You can cut your laundry’s energy use in half by making the effortless switch to cold water instead of using warm or hot. There are plenty of cold-water detergents available to ensure your wash is sanitized effectively if that is concerning.

Bonus: Cold water will prevent your clothing’s color from fading so quickly, and you will see the saving’s in your bill, just like the tips previously mentioned.

5.  Weather Stripping & Insulation for Attic/Crawl Space Hatches

As anyone with an attic or crawl space knows, there is typically a direct pathway for cold or hot air to naturally travel into the occupied areas of your home, which in turn leads to energy loss. Although this upgrade to reducing household emissions might not be as simple as tips 1-4, it is still relatively easy and effective in minimizing wasted energy and saving money.

The attic hatch is a panel in the dry-walled ceiling, often located in your home’s closet or hallway. To learn more about how to install weather stripping insulation in your home, click here.

Additional Tips

A great way to be part of the solution to a cleaner and greener planet is by carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting is the act of compensating for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the purchase and application of certificates representing an equivalent amount of GHGs voluntarily reduced by another entity that has invested in carbon reduction sequestration projects. Each carbon offset represents one metric ton (approximately 2,205 lbs.) of carbon dioxide reduced. By calculating your household emissions, you will better understand what you are emitting into the Earth’s atmosphere. By purchasing offsets to mitigate your footprint, you can support a project of your liking, reach your sustainability goals, and be part of the fight against climate change. Learn more about how to calculate and offset your carbon footprint by visiting ClimeCo Green.

Making these small changes in your lifestyle can significantly impact your savings account and, more importantly, our beautiful home, planet earth. Start by creating a list, placing each item in order of priority, and checking off each one until you reach your personal goal of reducing your household emissions.

 


About the Author

Danielle A. Pingitore has 10+ years of experience in sales and marketing and is enjoying the challenges of the carbon market. Dani holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a Certificate of Recognition in Advertising through Kutztown University. Dani loves music and enjoys attending concerts and festivals, traveling, river tubing, cycling, working out, and spending time with loved ones.

Check out Dani’s other blog, Carbon Consciousness & The Live Music Experience, by clicking here.

*Data in tables provided by EarthUP

 

How Has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Think About Corporate Emissions?

How Has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Think About Corporate Emissions?

How Has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Think About Corporate Emissions?


by Derek Six, Chief Business Officer | October 22nd, 2020


Like many companies with office-based employees, ClimeCo has mostly had its staff working remotely over the past six months.  Over the next year, I suspect many firms will have some employees return to the office, but I think there will be a portion of office jobs that will permanently telecommute.  Both employers and employees have discovered that it is possible to be productive at home, and that the time saved from commuting is a valuable resource.  With more employees working from home now than before, I started to think about what carbon footprints may look like for companies and how this has likely changed since their employees have shifted from company facilities to off-site locations.


Emissions in 2020 vs. 2019

For many years, ClimeCo has committed to reducing its emissions as much as practical and to offset the rest each year.  I am guessing that when we perform our emissions accounting for 2020, the total will be substantially lower than in 2019.  Most of this will result from reduced travel to conferences and sales meetings, but a part of this will also be due to the lower use of electricity and natural gas at our office locations.  I think other companies will find the same when they do their accounting for 2020 – less energy used on-site; reduced heating and cooling costs; reduced purchases of office, breakroom, and bathroom supplies; and less spent on office space maintenance.

For companies that do extensive GHG reporting, this may bring cheers: “Look how much we reduced our emissions in 2020!”.  But is that true?  Or did we shift these same emissions to the homes of our employees?

Computers, monitors, lights, and coffee makers are buzzing between 9 and 5 each weekday at telecommuters’ homes across the country.  What responsibility do companies have for these employee emissions?  Even in “normal” times, should companies think more about employee emissions and employee health and sustainability issues than they previously have?  Could companies make a more significant impact by leveraging their size and scale to address employee sustainability issues at home?


Making a Bigger Impact

Stephen Bay, CEO of EarthUP, Inc., and Stacy Smedley, Skanska’s Director of Sustainability, recently introduced me to a new concept which they call “Scope 4 Emissions”.  For those of you unfamiliar with GHG reporting, companies typically have considered the following 3 Scopes described in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:

  • Scope 1 – Direct Emissions: on-site fuel combustion, transport fuels for fleet vehicles, air conditioning leaks, etc., things that are under the direct control of the facility

  • Scope 2 – Indirect Emissions: purchased electricity, heat, and steam

  • Scope 3 – Other Indirect Emissions: business travel, waste, water use, purchased goods, services, etc.

Stacy and Stephen suggest that Scope 4 would include emissions from employee energy use, employee waste, and employee commuting.

Why is their concept of Scope 4 emissions compelling to me?  In times of COVID-19 telecommuting, the answer is easy – companies should take responsibility for the shifted emissions resulting from employees working from home.  But even in more “normal” times, I think there is still a compelling argument to do this.  Companies could make a significant impact on global emissions by assisting the employees to address household emissions.  A thoughtful strategy for doing this could include helping employees improve indoor air quality in their homes, reduce their energy bills and waste, as well as improve their quality of life, all while saving them money.

Many companies have found that reducing their corporate emissions by just a little bit is pretty easy and generally profitable, as simple solutions like installing programmable thermostats and more efficient lighting in the office can save them a lot of money; however, as the reduction goals become more ambitious, solutions tend to become more challenging.  Why not widen the net, so to speak, to allow companies to impact employees’ lives significantly?  Wouldn’t this lead to improved employee retention, reduced employee healthcare costs, and increased employee satisfaction and productivity?

For me, taking some responsibility for emissions of telecommuting employees is arguably necessary for any company committed to accurate GHG reporting, but taking additional responsibility for their employee emissions may be good business.

About the Author

Derek Six serves as Chief Business Officer at ClimeCo, where he leads the company’s cross-cutting business functions, as well as the firm’s ODS management program and private equity fund. He holds an MBA in investment management and portfolio analysis from Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business.

A Balanced Approach

A Balanced Approach

A Balanced Approach


by William Flederbach, President & CEO | September 30, 2020


Life is about balance.
Our fight against climate change must also be balanced.

At ClimeCo, we balance our investments on all types of projects that mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  From sequestering carbon with nature-based solutions (NBS) like grassland preservation, reforestation, and mangrove re-establishment, to destroying it at manufacturing sites before it ever gets emitted into the atmosphere, we strive for a balanced approach to addressing climate change. 

Our first focus as a company is on destroying GHGs before they ever have a chance to be emitted into the atmosphere.  This results in a permanent, non-reversible reduction that offers assurances to our clients.  So why is this approach to climate change not as popular in the marketplace?  Why does the market prefer to sequester GHGs from the atmosphere after they have already been emitted than trying to prevent them from making it that far in the first place?  Imagine how much easier it would be to knock it out at its origin than to chase it down later.  To us, the proper approach requires a balance of both – destroying the GHG molecules before they are emitted to the atmosphere and then sequestering any unavoidable emissions that occur.

 

The Facts

The USEPA publishes world-wide sources of GHG emissions by major economic sector.  The USEPA reported that destructive patterns of land use account for 24 percent of human-caused GHG emissions (See Figure 1).  Of this, deforestation and forest degradation account for 17 percent of global GHG emissions. 

 

Figure 1 – Sources of GHG Emissions (USEPA)


At the same time, studies by the Global Carbon Project revealed that 45% of the GHGs emitted to the atmosphere are retained there, with only 55% being sequestered by land and oceans (See Figure 2).

 

Figure 2 – Fate of Carbon Emissions (Global Carbon Project)


Since nearly half of all GHGs will remain in the atmosphere for long periods of time, never to be sequestered, this supports the absolute need for a balanced approach: stop what you can from entering the atmosphere while increasing land-based solutions to enhance sequestration for the rest.  It’s that simple… right?

 

Nature-Based Solutions

NBS has become the buzz phrase recently but these practices, such as proper forest stewardship and regenerative agriculture, are not new and have been in place at some level for decades.  In fact, at the heart of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which was founded in 2003, was the Continuous Conservation Tillage and Conversion to Grassland protocol.  I grew up in the country where farmers would rotate crops between corn and soybeans, and we understood this helped to keep the soil healthy (not to mention its positive impact on our corn maze adventures!).  Now, this solid farming stewardship is considered fundamental to regenerative agriculture.

Today, there has been a renewed focus on at-scale reforestation efforts (such as ClimeCo’s partnership with Restore the Earth), grassland preservation and restoration, mangroves re-establishment, regenerative agriculture, and more.  These all play a critical role in combatting climate change.

 

Reversal Risks

California, under the Assembly Bill 32 Cap-and-Trade program, has issued over 151 million tonnes of carbon offsets (in the forestry sector) since its inception 8 years ago. The California Government Wildfire Report, states that, as of September 28, 2020, there have been over 8,100 fires this year that have consumed more than 3.7 million acres.  According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, as of September 13, 2020, CO2 emissions from wildfires have reached about 83 million metric tonnes.  That is the highest level recorded since recordkeepings began in 2003.  The forest fires on the west coast are certainly exacerbated by climate change, as they are being fueled by two common contributors – dryer conditions and stronger winds.  Unfortunately, this will only get worse in the years ahead.  It is a sad story that highlights natural reversal risks in fire-prone areas of the country.

In addition to wildfires and other natural disasters, the intentional and illegal reversal of forests also occurs within countries wrought with political risk and unclear land rights.  For example, one only needs to look to Brazil, where a horrific tale of illegal deforestation is occurring.  According to conservation groups, deforestation in this region has soared since the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, took office last year.  Numbers released by the Amazon Deforestation Satellite Monitoring Project, a high-resolution system operated by INPE that produces Brazil’s official deforestation data, showed that 10,100 km2 of forest were cleared between August 2018 and July 2019, a 34% increase from the previous year. Imagine being an investor in forest carbon offset projects in Brazil; would you feel comfortable that you had made a sound investment, an investment that was going to help combat climate change?

Do the risks of accidental or intentional reversal mean that we should not pursue forest or other very important NBS projects?  No, I would argue that these examples are more reason to invest in projects to enhance NBS carbon sequestration.  That said, when making your investments, understand thoroughly how the methodologies account for reversal risk, and be sure to identify both the geographical and political risks.

 

Permanent GHG Removal

Removing GHGs at the point of origin has always been a major focus for ClimeCo.  We like this approach because of the permanent, non-reversible solution it provides us in the fight against climate change.  To-date, ClimeCo has stopped over 20 million tonnes of CO2e from entering the atmosphere, and we are just getting ramped up!  Our expertise includes nitrous oxide abatement at nitric acid plants, ozone-depleting substance (ODS) destruction, methane capture and use, methane avoidance (composting), and more. These projects have no reversal risks and are of the highest quality.  ClimeCo has recently leveraged its N2O experience to lead the development of the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) Adipic Acid Protocol, which was approved by the CAR Board on September 30th.  This project type will abate an additional 5-10 million tonnes of CO2e annually in the United States.  Adipic acid is used to produce high performance plastics, including plastics contained in automobile airbags and light weight plastic in electric vehicles.  ClimeCo is also designing and building additional nitric acid (primarily used in fertilizer production) N2O abatement projects across North America.  We will soon exceed 15 million tonnes per year of CO2e abatement.

Imagine if these projects had not happened and this GHG loading had entered the atmosphere.  This would mean that, in the absence of ClimeCo’s efforts, to-date there would be an additional 20 million tonnes of CO2e in the atmosphere and, over the next decade, another 150 million tonnes or more impacting our climate.  If we were to rely only on sequestering, like as in a reforestation project, to reverse 170 million tonnes of CO2e, it would require in today’s marketplace a total of 850,000 acres at an average price of $12/tonne (forestry credit prices currently range from $8-15/tonne), resulting in a total cost of around $2,040,000,000.  By comparison, the same impact could be realized for far less cost with no reversal risk from ClimeCo’s GHG abatement technologies.  

So, my point is that there needs to be a balance of both permanent destruction of GHG molecules and sequestration in the marketplace for us to achieve our climate goals.  Relying on just one method will not get us there but finding the balance between the two can.

About the Author

William “Bill” Flederbach cofounded ClimeCo in 2009 and has grown the business rapidly over the past 10 years.  Before starting ClimeCo, Bill managed the air quality practice at O’Brien and Gere (OBG), and worked and managed the international carbon markets at MGM International and AgCert.  He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the Smeal College of Business at Penn State.