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:
- The world emits roughly 60 billion excess tonnes of CO2e per annum.
- Deforestation (much of which is sanctioned logging) accounts for roughly 20% of that, ie 12 billion tonnes CO2e.
- 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