Glossary

The “Individual” in the Context of Global Emissions

The “Individual” in the Context of Global Emissions

The “Individual” in the Context of Global Emissions

A closer look at global GHG accounting from a Canadian perspective.

A BBC article I recently read ”took stock” of where we are in the progression of climate change [1]. One visual stood out to me which showed the top ten global emitters as a percentage of the country’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (see below). This is not the first time I have seen a chart like this, nor did the results surprise me; China leading the way at 26.6%, followed by the US at 13.1%, and Canada somewhere near the bottom at 1.6% of total global emissions.

In Canada, there currently is considerable debate around climate policy; several provinces have launched court challenges against the federal backstop program (read ClimeCo’s News Hit on the federal backstop for background information on the program). In these debates, the statistic for Canada has been cited repeatedly. It commonly raises the question, “Why should Canada “do more” when it contributes so little to global emissions?”

The 1.6% number lends itself to the conclusion that “we” are not the real problem and efforts to reduce Canada’s emissions may not even make a small dent in total global emissions. However, recent reflections on some of my own lifestyle choices and the environmental impact of those choices made me stop and ask myself whether this conclusion is reasonable and if this 1.6% number is representative of how the world works. In the words of Peter Stockland, which he wrote in an opinion article for JWN Energy, “because if the point of citing any particular number is not its accuracy, but its ease of being remembered by those one seeks to persuade about species extinction, then we’re simply dealing with the grim science of cynical political marketing [2].”

Chart courtesy of BBC News

There is misalignment between reported emissions and their true representative impact because methods utilized to account and report national-level emissions do not capture emissions associated with imported consumer products; GHG accounting begins and ends at national borders. Several Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, Canada included, have outsourced much of their GHG intensive industries. Therefore, when a national inventory exercise is completed, the emissions associated with the manufacturing and shipping of those products are not captured or reported.

Canadians enjoy a wonderfully high standard of living, due in part to having access to a variety of low-cost products imported from countries where goods can be manufactured more economically. Per Statistics Canada, Canada imports more than it exports; In March of 2019, tradingeconomics.com reported that Canada’s purchases of imported consumer goods reached a record $10.9 billion.  So, the question then becomes: Is it fair to use a number, like 1.6%, that may not accurately represent the true impact of our way of life as the standard for changing it?

National versus global GHG accounting is an ever more important issue and one of the challenges that we face as we come closer to negotiating the details in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and as countries finalize or work towards achieving their National Determined Contributions (NDC’s). If we are to begin global trading of emissions reductions in the form of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMO’s), then we need to ensure that accurate and fair global GHG accounting and reporting mechanisms are in place. This is a hard exercise, the solutions of which are extremely complex. However, it is also a very worthy exercise; approximately half of all NDC’s that have been submitted indicate a preference or intention to use international market-based mechanisms (i.e. emissions trading) to meet their reductions (see IETA, April 2019). 

We need to reflect on how we are representing the various contributors to climate change and how optics really matter in the conversation. Sometimes the most accurate answer to a problem is not the most popular – which is to say that we all really need to change our consumer habits to make a difference in global emissions; emissions are ultimately driven by consumerism. This is a huge challenge, to say the least; personally, I enjoy living in a single-detached home, our family drives two large gasoline vehicles, we shop at big box stores and usually don’t pay particular attention to where a product is from when we make a purchasing decision, we buy single-use items for birthday parties and other occasions, we throw away food that we have not consumed before the use-by date, and we go for coffee and use single-use cups, even while we have a drawer full of reusable mugs at home. I don’t think our experience differs significantly from other Canadians. It is hard to change behavior. While, ideally, production may one day be decoupled from GHG emissions, we are not there yet.

On the other hand, my family is trying hard to be better stewards of the environment.  We try to turn off the lights when we leave a room, try to remember to use reusable grocery bags, participate in our city’s composting and recycling programs, try to make our home more energy-efficient, try to eat less meat, and opt to offset our emissions when presented the choice. At the end of the day, will these small behavior changes be enough to offset our other consumer habits? Are these small behavior changes just stepping-stones to the bigger, more transformative changes that are being called for?

I am proud to say that as an employee of ClimeCo, my own personal carbon footprint is mitigated as part of a company-wide initiative. I truly believe that offsetting our personal emissions is one way that we can help to drive those transformative changes.  An offset purchase is like an investment in a clean energy or emission reduction project; the more people that invest, the more projects that can be collectively built. Historically, there have been significant barriers that have prevented individuals from participating in the offset market in a meaningful way, but technological advances (i.e. blockchain) are making it ever more likely that one day soon, the emissions associated with every purchase we make can be mitigated at the point of sale.  

So, what is the solution for more representative national GHG accounting and reporting? How do we get to a number that accurately represents and captures all the emissions that the people of a nation actually generate through their lifestyle choices? Honestly, I don’t think our accounting methods are the problem. Instead of changing them, we need to remove the finger-pointing from the climate change debate and look inwards to hold ourselves accountable – because, after all, we are all in this together.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46384067

[2] https://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2019/5/opinion-reasoned-skepticism-about-climate-change-healthy/

About the Author

Jessica Campbell has significant experience with policy developers and has gained valuable expertise in provincial (AB) climate change policy as well as in landfill and manure diversion/anaerobic digestion (biogas, RNG) offset protocols. She holds a Master of Science with a specialization in sustainable energy development (SEDV) from the University of Calgary. Jess is a registered environmental professional in training (EPt) with ECO Canada.

ClimeCo Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Contact: Danielle A. Pingitore, Marketing Coordinator
(484) 415‐0501 or dpingitore@climeco.com

ClimeCo Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

January 17, 2019 (BOYERTOWN, PA) – Ten years ago, when ClimeCo was first starting out, their goal was simple, to build real projects that reduced greenhouse gases while creating value for the environment and their customers. ClimeCo wanted to make a difference and have a positive impact on the world.

With a laser focus on creating scalable greenhouse gas abatement projects with their first industrial segment, fertilizer manufacturers, ClimeCo created a platform to support their growth over their past 10 years.

“Many from the fertilizer industry believed in what we were trying to do,” says William “Bill” Flederbach, President and founder of ClimeCo.  “They put their trust in us, even when we didn’t have a track record and they are still partnering with us 10 years later.”

ClimeCo has grown (mainly) through their relentless focus on identifying top talent at every level of their organization, but most importantly, the talent that shares their core values of honesty, teamwork, and passion for the business.  They have grown through the acquisition of Environmental Credit Corp. (ECC) in 2015, bringing on additional project types and amazing leadership. In 2017, they expanded into the Canadian market with the launch of ClimeCo Canada, which has allowed them to build a practice around another long-recruited market leader.

”Reflecting on the last ten years, the powerhouse of a team we’ve built, our innovative company culture, the incredible volumes of greenhouse gases we’ve reduced, our positioning as the leading producer of carbon credits within the Climate Action Reserve, and, of course, our wonderful clients—we are walking the talk,” says Flederbach.  “I am happy to be celebrating this anniversary with my team and our dedicated clients.”

ClimeCo is well positioned for continued growth as they are launching new partnerships and bringing additional capital to the market. ClimeCo’s three business units: Advisory and Policy, Project Development, and Transactional Services function closely together, bringing unparalleled services to our customers around North America and abroad.

To learn more about ClimeCo, see how you can be a part of this growing business or how your company can benefit, visit us at www.climeco.com.

ClimeCo Corporation is a respected project developer, advisor and trader of environmental commodity market products. Specialized expertise in regional criteria pollutant trading programs, California cap‐and‐trade, voluntary markets and project development and financing of internal CO2 abatement systems complement ClimeCo’s diverse commodity portfolio. Within the Climate Action Reserve, ClimeCo is the largest developer of U.S. GHG‐offset projects and producer of U.S. voluntary carbon offsets, managing projects that reduce more than four million tonnes of CO2e per year. For information, contact 484‐415‐0501 or nmarshall@climeco.com.

ClimeCo Launches Canadian Expansion and ClimeCo Canada, ULC

ClimeCo Launches Canadian Expansion and ClimeCo Canada, ULC

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Contact: Maria Finneran, Office Administrator
(484) 415‐0501 or mfinneran@climeco.com

ClimeCo Launches Canadian Expansion and ClimeCo Canada, ULC

January 23, 2017 (BOYERTOWN, PA) – ClimeCo Corporation (ClimeCo), recipient of the 2015 California Climate Action Reserve Project Developer of the Year award, announces the establishment of ClimeCo Canada, ULC, and the hire of Ms. Chelsea Bryant as Vice President of Canadian Operations, located in our new Calgary, Alberta office.

ClimeCo has maintained a strong presence within Alberta as a key advisor around the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) and the transaction of Alberta compliance instruments. ClimeCo is currently managing the largest offset project in the Province, which will generate approximately 700,000 tonnes of offsets in 2017 alone. In addition, ClimeCo has been expanding rapidly in the Ontario carbon market as a lead advisor, helping our clients to prepare for the Ontario cap‐and‐trade program in 2017 and for future linkage with California and Quebec in 2018. Recent progression of these environmental regulatory landscapes has accelerated the need for ClimeCo’s full‐time presence in Canada.

The Canadian office will be headed by Chelsea Bryant, Vice President of ClimeCo Canada, and will be headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Ms. Bryant’s most recent position was with TransCanada, a well‐recognized provider of energy infrastructure and power generation throughout North America. In her role at TransCanada, Ms. Bryant managed a large portfolio of environmental instruments and brought leadership not only to the Alberta market, but also to the joint California / Quebec and RGGI markets. As part of her previous role, Ms. Bryant has transacted over 6 million Alberta SGER eligible offsets and emission performance credits (EPCs) which, when combined with ClimeCo’s transactions, squarely puts ClimeCo as the leader in this market.

“This expansion earmarks an important milestone within ClimeCo’s continued growth”, commented ClimeCo Corporation President and CEO, Bill Flederbach. “Ms. Bryant’s experience in managing a diverse portfolio of environmental assets in North American markets, accompanied by her experience with and appreciation for the interconnection of regulatory market dynamics, policy movement and individual investment behavior, enables her to optimize opportunities for market participants that return significant compliance cost savings and encourages market participation.”

Ms. Bryant will elevate ClimeCo’s expansion into other jurisdictions of the Western Climate Initiative, including Toronto, Ontario, which is also slated for a second ClimeCo Canada, ULC office.

ClimeCo Corporation is a respected project developer, advisor and trader of environmental commodity market products. Specialized expertise in regional criteria pollutant trading programs, California cap-and-trade, voluntary markets, and project development and financing of internal CO2 abatement systems, complement ClimeCo’s diverse commodity portfolio. Within the Climate Action Reserve, ClimeCo is the largest developer of U.S. GHG-offset projects and producer of U.S. voluntary carbon offsets, managing projects that reduce more than four million tonnes of CO2e per year. For information, contact 484- 415-0501 or info@climeco.com.