Announcing G3MS 2.4

September 13th, 2011

Last night the team at Carbon Planet pushed out a significant update to the G3MS carbon accounting suite.

g3ms 2.4 screen report example

New features include

  • All Australian emissions factors have been updated to include the latest versions, as published by the Australian federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

    One of the great features of G3MS is that you can choose to perform calculations using historical emissions factors; allowing year-on-year analysis that highlights the impact of the changes you have instituted over the years. We now include the official 2011 factors.

  • Improved reporting.

    Any assessing company using G3MS to produce carbon emissions assessments for their clients can now generate a full set of ‘RAW’ reports, including output of all data to Microsoft Excel. Clients can also now generate simple ’snapshot’ reports too.

  • We’ve also fixed a number of small bugs, closed off some issues and improved the quality of our error reporting.

G3MS’ customers can access the new features immediately, and the new emissions factors will also mean that the web calculators that drive Carbon Planet’s offset shop, and users of the G3MS Lite small-business carbon accounting suite, now take advantage of the latest official figures. Similarly third-party web calculators such as Jon Dee’s 10% Challenge will benefit from this update.

For more on G3MS see You can also follow @G3MS on Twitter and find us on Facebook. — DS

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G3MS Carbon Accounting Suite upgraded

August 1st, 2011

Over the weekend Carbon Planet released an upgrade to its G3MS carbon accounting suite. G3MS is a fully functional multi-user, trans-corporate carbon accounting system, designed for both large corporate use, as a tool for accounting firms and sustainability consultants, and, in the form of G3MS Lite, a small business carbon accounting tool. G3MS’s carbon calculations engine also powers various third-party web based carbon calculators such as Jon Dee’s awesome 10% Challenge’s household emissions calculator.

This release, to version 2.3.2, is mostly about performance improvements with some smarter caching of user interface elements and other usability tweaks. Under the hood here have been many optimisations including a transition to Carbon Planet’s new centralised Single Sign on system.

G3MS’ customers will find that the new version, which they can access immediately, offers a number of subtle improvements without breaking what was already working well for them. I hope they enjoy the improvements.

For more on G3MS see

You can also follow @G3MS on Twitter, as well as Facebook. — DS

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Australia's Carbon Pricing Scheme has been announced

July 10th, 2011

At noon today AEST Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard announced the details of her government’s carbon pollution pricing scheme, saying “The science is in, we know that our climate is changing.” Here’s the main points.

  • A starting price of $23 per tonne of ‘carbon pollution’ (measured as CO2 equivalent) to be paid by the 500 heaviest emitters and increasing by 2.5% over and above normal inflation, followed by a move to an emissions trading scheme in 2015,
  • AU$9.2 billion of this money will go to assist many of the businesses and workers impacted by the plan,
  • There will be tax cuts and pension increases to protect people from the inevitable price gouging by the major polluters, with a leap in the tax-free income threshold from $6k to $18k,
  • AU$1.2 billion Clean Technology Program intended to drive energy efficiency in manufacturing and to support research and development,
  • The closure of Australia’s most polluting electricity generators, to be replaced with gas-fired units by 2020,
  • A $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation with a mission to to finance new clean energy technology,
  • An Australian Renewable Energy Agency (AREnA) to manage $3.2 billion in clean energy investment,
  • A target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020,
  • and agriculture to be excluded from paying the carbon price in the immediate term.

All in all this is a massive leap forward for Australia with an emissions reduction trajectory being locked in at 5% reductions on 2000 figures by 2020, building up to n 80% reduction on 2000 figures by 2050. While personally I would have liked to see a more aggressive trajectory, with 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and complete decarbonisation of the economy by 2050, the political realities in Australia simply ruled this out.

The full details are available on — DS

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Taking a 'Systems Approach' to forest carbon accounting methodology could reduce annual emissions by up to 5%

April 5th, 2011

Following on from my last post, Carbon Planet has made its own formal announcement of the VCSA approval of its IFM LtPF forestry carbon accounting methodology. The announcement goes into considerable detail about some of the specifics. What I am impressed by is that the methodology takes a ’systems view’ approach, and as a result is a far more comprehensive forest carbon accounting methodology than has ever previously been developed in this sector.

”The methodology is the only IFM-LtPF methodology that calculates the impact of logging operations on greenhouse gas emissions in addition to the forest degradation itself,” said Dr Williams. “The methodology also includes calculations for the greenhouse gas impact of the forest conservation project itself, in the form of emissions from project implementation and monitoring.”

Carbon Planet’s methodology adopts a systems approach to assess the physical, biological, and biochemical processes that occur during timber harvesting. This is a significantly more comprehensive approach than the alternative “carbon stock change” method because, in addition to the forest degradation due to the removal of harvested trees, emissions due to damage to the non-harvested trees surrounding the harvested trees (“residual stand damage”) are also accounted for.

“Ultimately, for the people who own the forest, the more complete the methodology, the more accurate the calculations, and the more carbon credits can be issued.” Dr Williams said.

My sincere hope is that our IFM LtPF methodology is used far-and-wide to underpin a wholesale change in the way forest products are priced and to underpin massive reductions in annual deforestation rates. Certainly, looking at our own pipeline of projects that have been in development for years now but awaiting the methodology’s approval, and knowing how many other REDD project developers there are out there who have also been waiting for the approval of a methodology such as ours, it ought to unlock literally billions of tonnes of GHG emissions reduction per year.

Consider some back-of-the-envelope numbers:

  1. The world emits roughly 60 billion excess tonnes of CO2e per annum.
  2. Deforestation (much of which is sanctioned logging) accounts for roughly 20% of that, ie 12 billion tonnes CO2e.
  3. If you assume that, of that, sanctioned logging makes up half of that, and half of those forests are tropical (very low-ball estimates,) that's a possible 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions reduction per year that could in theory be attributed to projects based on this methodology,or around 5% of the world's total annual emissions.

It’s enough to offset all the concrete production in the world, or all the world’s international shipping, or the whole airline industry (and then some).

To be responsible for 5% of the world’s emissions was one of the goals we set ourselves when Carbon Planet got started. It was a big hairy audacious goal indeed when we agreed on it. But now, years later, we’ve developed technologies like our first approved forest carbon accounting methodology, and our awesome G3MS carbon accounting system, which is being used by accountants, and emissions management consultants to develop emissions reduction strategies for large and small businesses, and our Operation: Coolenation junior climate science education programme having won awards and being adopted by primary schools, meaning that, for future-kids the science behind global warming will be utterly uncontroversial.

What’s exciting is I can see this goal actually being achievable.

Ultimately I believe that a zero-carbon lifestyle will be a better, nicer, sustainable future for everyone. — DS

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VCSA Approves Carbon Planet's Methodology

March 30th, 2011

Carbon Planet is very excited to announce that the VCSA has approved our carbon accounting methodology for estimating the GHG reductions that come with transitioning a logged forest to a protected forest.

Why is this important?

Deforestation and land degradation contributes close to 1/5th of the world’s excess greenhouse gas emissions. Under business-as-usual the world loses a massive amount of tropical rainforest in particular every year. There are many drivers of deforestation but overwhelmingly the main driver is poverty and subsistence forest-resource dependance. Forest peoples of the world tend to be poor, tend to be exploited, and tend to earn money by ripping up their forests. REDD projects propose a mechanism, currently being run under the auspices of the VCSA, to pay forest peoples to maintain their forests using revenues derived from the sale of carbon credits called VCUs, rather than log them for short-term profits.

Until now there has been no accurate and approved way to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that come with taking a forest that is being logged, and turning it into a protected forest; a major stumbling block to project developers everywhere. Without an approved methodology there can be no project, and thus no VCUs and thus no money.

Carbon Planet’s methodology, (See The VCSA for more info,) was developed over a three year period and was designed to be highly flexible in terms of forest types, and yet highly accurate, and presented in a clear and informative manner. It clears a massive hurdle that the forest carbon market has been facing, and we fully expect to see an increasing number of quality forest carbon projects start formal development.

In its official announcement of Carbon Planet’s ‘IFM LtPF’ methodology, the VCSA makes the point:

“This offers a flexible new approach for financing projects that reduce logging in forested areas,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli. “Using carbon finance as an alternative source of income provides an important incentive for more sustainable forest management practices.”

I believe it is no idle boast to suggest that the launch of Carbon Planet’s methodology marks a great day for the forests, and forest peoples of the world.

Finally, my heartfelt and personal thanks go out to Carbon Planet’s scientific team, present and past, who have laboured so hard, under at times highly adverse conditions, to get this work done. It’s been a hard road, cutting new ground (probably the wrong metaphor I know), and experiencing first hand the trials and tribulations of forest carbon project development, and you’ve pulled through it all with a fine piece of work. Well done all of you. You have a right to feel proud of this achievement. — DS

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Climate vs Weather

February 25th, 2011

One for all those people who don’t get the difference between climate and weather. — DS

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Bill Maher on Climate Change

February 7th, 2011

This is one of the most articulate rants I have yet heard on the topic of climate change. Maher nails it perfectly. Caution some strong language. — DS

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Introducing Operation: Coolenation

November 5th, 2010

Operation: Coolenation® is the primary school education resource that teaches the science of climate change to younger kids, and their teachers. In the video above, Operation: Coolenation programme manager, Pearl Tassell, introduces the programme.

Find out more from, or check out the facebook page or follow @coolenation on Twitter. — DS

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Carbon to take economy’s breath away by 2015

September 14th, 2010

Australian news service, Crikey has a story today Carbon to take economy’s breath away by 2015 which makes a very interesting point:

The Potsdam Institute research says that, if we are to have a reasonable chance of containing global warming to within 2 degrees, we only have a “budget” of 890 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is a fixed budget, because carbon stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. So what is important is how much we emit?—?not when we emit it. If we continue to burn fossil fuels in line with our current business-as-usual approach, then we use up our budgeted emissions by 2024!

To add insult to injury, the quantum of fossil fuels required to emit 890 billion tonnes of CO2 is equivalent to only 25% of proven, economically recoverable reserves. This means that, in theory, 75% of known proven and probable reserves have no economic value.

This has startling implications for investors because there will either be (a) some form of global action that will seek to limit warming to 2 degrees; or (b) no effective action, with the consequence being runaway climate change. These are the only two options we have. The first one severely devalues our fossil fuel reserves as we scramble to reconfigure global energy networks; and the second one, while possibly maintaining the market value of those reserves for longer, is like driving off the edge of a cliff.

There will be a cost associated with carbon emissions, that’s inevitable. There will be investments into emissions reduction programmes on as massive scale, funded via carbon credits. This is what they mean by “a price on carbon”, and its implications are littered with unknown unknowns. One great way for you to get your head around what the impacts might be is to work out how much your liabilities might be, that is, what your firm’s carbon footprint is.

If you are an Australian small business then check out G3MS Lite, Carbon Planet’s amazing greenhouse gas accounting system for small business. It’s only $99. — DS

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PM Gillard to 're-prosecute a price on carbon'.

September 11th, 2010

In her first speech as Australian Prime Minister, the nation’s first female Prime Minister vowed to re-prosecute the case for a price on Carbon..

This is very encouraging news. Since the Rudd Government decided to shy-away from its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, it has been punished in the polls for its perceived spinelessness. Prime Minister Gillard, who seized power this morning in what has been termed a ‘bloodless coup,’ went on to say:

It is my intention to lead a Government that does more to harness the wind, and the and new, emerging technologies. I will do this because I believe in climate change. I believe human beings contribute to climate change, and is is as disappointing to me, as it is to many millions of Australians, that we do not have a price on Carbon. And in the future, we will need one. But first we will need to establish a community consensus for action. If elected as Prime Minister I will re-prosecute the case for a Carbon price, at home, and abroad. I will do that as global economic conditions improve, and as our economy continues to strengthen.

This is is excellent to hear. The carbon industry in Australia has been hammered by the government’s reversal on the CPRS with hundreds of millions of dollars in value collapsing amongst Australia’s listed ‘carbon companies’, in parallel to the rest of the world. Carbon Planet has not been immune from this either. Right now the carbon markets are a place for the true believers.

A formal mechanism for putting a price on Carbon is vital. Moreover that mechanism should be predicated on funds going towards projects with a minimum of friction, but with the highest standards of oversight, assessment and carbon accounting. I believe what we need is harder targets that harden to 110% below 1990 levels by 2050, fewer exemptions, limited free permits that are phased out quickly, a sunset on coal mining (30% of the world’s emissions come from Australia’s coal.) I doubt that stretch-target is achievable, but it’s what we need. — DS

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