Thursday, February 14, 2008
Most of us are convinced now that anthropomorphic climate change is based on sound, virtually unassailable science, that all but a few climate scientists agree with that assessment, that the questions to be answered now are:
- how quickly and by what means to reduce GHG emissions,
- what the inescapable impacts are of the GHG emissions already in the atmosphere and liable to be added to the atmosphere before we achieve carbon neutrality,
- how to undertake the task of adapting to the impacts that are liable to occur in the next century or so.
This time last year ExxonMobil waged a campaign with bloggers to convince us that they recognized the reality of anthropogenic global warming and were serious about solutions.
Most of us are also aware of the intense disinformation campaign that was waged by the Bush administration and others with respect to climate change science. That campaign continues.
John Mashey, a Bell Lab /Silicon Valley computer scientist provided me with a copy of his analysis of the recent salvos lobbed with respect to the Oreskes documentation of a "scientific consensus." It is of general enough interest that I provide the introduction to his analysis and his author information below. Although Mashey's tone is harsh and I haven't had an opportunity to verify all of his information, I have checked enough to believe that it is accurate.
The part of his paper that stirs my ire is the information about Frontiers of Freedom's Center for Science and Public Policy, which he indicates is a denialist organization funded (at least in part) by ExxonMobil. I looked up ExxonMobil's contributions to "Public Information and Policy Research" for 2006, when supposed ExxonMobil was not in the business of funding denialist nonsense. Well, there it is, $180,000 to Frontiers of Freedom and its CSPP. That's more than they gave to Brookings ($135,000), Asia Society ($90,000), Council on Foreign Relations ($110,000) or most of the legitimate organizations to which they contribute. I can't say they lied last year, but I can say they deliberately misled me.
Take a look at the CSPP website. If that's not denialist nonsense, I don't know what is!
For the last two or three years, I've been purchasing TerraPass and Carbon Fund carbon offset products. The obvious question is "when will the cost of offsets start rising?" since the cheap offsets should be exhausted at some point and marginal offset costs should rise. So far, its really cheap to buy offsets. The problem for most of us is the bewildering plethora of certifications, auditors, etc. Wouldn't it be better to establish a national standard for certifying carbon offsets so that those of us who chose to go carbon neutral in this manner know that we're accomplishing our goal. Here's the current portfolio info from TerraPass. I'd be interested in comments about these projects, certifications, other carbon offset providers, or the carbon offset concept in general. I hope that Willamette University, my home school, will go carbon neutral soon.
Projects we support
See how your TerraPass purchase goes into action
When you buy a carbon offset from TerraPass, your money supports clean energy and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
TerraPass funds three different project types: clean energy produced by wind power; farm power which makes good use of animal wastes; and landfill gas capture, which reduces the impact of our own wastes.
Stakeholder comment periods
in 2008, TerraPass has made a commitment to a 30-day comment period on
any new projects we are considering for our portfolio. Check the latest
projects under consideration on our Project feedback page.
You want to be sure your money is well-spent, and we want you to have confidence in TerraPass. To ensure we meet your expectations, we've adopted industry-leading business practices.
All TerraPass projects are verified by an independent accredited organization according to a published offset standard. All verifications include site visits, audits of the project data and project monitoring equipment and practices relative to the standard used. A full project portfolio, including amounts purchased, is published on our web site each year after our independent audit is complete.
Project Standards and Requirements
Every project is conducted and verified according to one of the following appropriate standards: Voluntary Carbon Standard 2007, Green-e Climate, Chicago Climate Exchange Offset Protocols, California Climate Action Registry, EPA Climate Leaders, ISO 14064-2, and Gold Standard. TerraPass publishes the standard to be used for each project on our website when we solicit comments for new projects, and in our annual project portfolio.
Every 2008 TerraPass will be fulfilled with verified emission reductions from vintage year 2008; these projects must have started operating no earlier than January 1, 2002. As we consider new projects, we publish the project name and location on our web site and invite public comments.
Each TerraPass comes with a Product Content Label, which identifies the amount of carbon emission reductions purchased, our project types, locations, and business practices.
To ensure maximum transparency and accountability, every TerraPass offset purchase and marketing claim is verified in an annual audit conducted or overseen by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), creator of Green-e, the nation's leading renewable energy certification program. These audits verify our purchases and help to ensure transparency and accountability.
TerraPass stands behind its products with a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are dissatisfied with your TerraPass purchase for any reason, you can return it within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.
TerraPass project portfolio
To ensure maximum transparency and accountability, every TerraPass offset purchase and marketing claim is verified in an annual audit conducted or overseen by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), creator of Green-e, the nation's leading renewable energy certification program. The audit covers several aspect of our business:
- Purchase history. Do we actually buy the necessary amount of carbon offsets on behalf of our customers? To ensure that we do, CRS examines our customer records and offset purchase contracts.
- Offset quality. Do we adhere to the quality metrics that we say we support? CRS examines our carbon offset portfolio to ensure that it meets our stated standards.
- Consumer protection. Do we publicly disclose the contents of every TerraPass purchase? CRS requires that we include a product content label with every TerraPass purchase, which is sort of like an ingredient list alerting customers to exactly what they're buying.
The project portfolio listings below are part of our audit submittals. We publish each year's full portfolio once it has been validated by our auditor.
2006 Project Portfolio
Total pounds of carbon reduced: 220,426,931
|TerraPass' 2006 emission reduction obligations were fulfilled from a portfolio of two-thirds greenhouse gas reductions from landfill gas capture and farm power; and one-third clean energy from wind power and landfill power. All projects met our quality criteria: independent verification, ongoing monitoring, and matched maturity. TerraPasses purchased in 2006 were fulfilled with reductions of vintage 2006. All clean energy projects & renewable energy credits were Green-e certified, and all other projects were conducted and verified according to the rules of the Chicago Climate Exchange. All projects in this portfolio are listed below.|
Complete 2006 Project Listing
|Project Name||Location||Type||Pounds of CO2 reductions||% of Total||Details|
|CrossRoads Landfill||Norridgewock, ME||Landfill gas capture||99,207,000||45||Methane-based carbon reductions verified to the Chicago Climate Exchange|
|Blue Canyon||Southwestern OK||Wind||33,465,828||15||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility||Ainsworth, NE||Wind||30,974,630||14||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Holsum Irish Dairy||Hilbert, WI||Farm power||16,743,937||8||Two-cell heated plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation|
|Bos & Herrema Dairies||Fair Oaks, IN||Farm power||14,109,440||6||Plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation and onsite use of solids.|
|Bavarian Landfill||Boone County, KY||Landfill power||10,714,356||5||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates generated from landfill gas|
|Garwin McNeilus wind farm||Dodge Center, MN||Wind||6,613,800||3||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Haubenschild Farms dairy||Princeton, MN||Farm power||3,086,440||1||Heated plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity and waste hot water used for onsite needs.|
|Tontitown Landfill||Tontitown, AR||Landfill gas capture||2,865,980||1||Methane-based carbon reductions verified to the Chicago Climate Exchange|
|Vander Haak Farms dairy||Lynden, WA||Farm power||2,645,520||1||Mixed plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation. Waste hot water used for onsite needs.|
2004-2005 Project Portfolio
2004-2005: Total pounds of carbon reduced: 43,719,334
|TerraPass' 2004-2005 emission reduction obligations were fulfilled from a portfolio of clean energy from wind power (32%), agricultural methane destruction connected with farm power (30%), landfill gas capture (22%), clean energy from landfill gas power (11%), and miscellaneous unspecified reductions from the Chicago Climate Exchange member portfolios (7%). All projects met our quality criteria: independent verification, ongoing monitoring, and reductions which occurred consistent with the timeframe of our external auditing cycle (in this case, late 2004 through 2005). All projects in this portfolio are listed below.|
Complete 2004-2005 Project Listing
|Project Name||Location||Type||Pounds of CO2 reductions||% of Total||Details|
|Tontitown Landfill||Tontitown, AR||Landfill gas capture||9,479,780||22||Methane-based carbon reductions|
|Haubenschild Farms dairy||Princeton, MN||Farm power||7,275,180||17||Heated plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity and waste hot water used for onsite needs|
|Vander Haak Farms dairy||Lynden, WA||Farm power||5,511,500||13||Mixed plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation. Waste hot water used for onsite needs|
|Garwin McNeilus wind farm||Dodge Center, MN||Wind power||5,024,283||11||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Catawba County landfill||Blackburn Landfill, Catawba County, NC||Landfill gas power||4,718,726||11||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility||Ainsworth, NE||Wind power||4,303,379||10||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Chicago Climate Exchange||U.S.||Unspecified||3,086,440||7||CCX member allowances purchased and retired|
|Mountain View I and II wind projects||San Gorgonio Pass, California||Wind power||2,957,846||7||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|Cabazon/Whitewater Hill wind projects||San Gorgonio Pass, California||Wind power||1,141,740||3||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates|
|High Winds Projects||Solano County, CA||Wind power||220,460||1||Green-e certified renewable energy certificates. Local sheep and barley farmers receive per-turbine lease payments|
American Bar Association
Cosponsored by Renewable Energy Resources Committee; International Environmental Law Committee; New York City Bar Association; the D.C. Bar; Pace Law School; National Association of Environmental Law Societies; American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
Presents the “Quick Teleconference” program
This program will not offer CLE credit.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
In response to the United States federal government’s failure to address emissions of greenhouse gases causing global climate change, a growing number of states, acting alone or through regional organizations, have initiated a wide variety of innovative programs to address the problem.
This program will provide an overview of these emerging state and regional efforts and examine how these might fit into a future federal program. Speakers will describe the bottom-up stakeholder-driven climate planning processes and some of the policy innovations developed by individual states. They will also examine the expanding role of The Climate Registry and attempts to develop regional goals and trading systems, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Western Governors’ and Midwestern Governors’ Climate Initiatives. Speakers will address how these programs might be integrated into a more comprehensive federal program.