Archives for category: Policy

I wrote the article below titled Incentivizing Investment in Climate Change Infrastructure for Triple Pundit.triple-pundit

However you frame the environmental challenges ahead of us, the need for investment in new infrastructure is staggering. Credit Suisse, World Wildlife Fund and McKinsey estimate that “to meet the need for conservation funding, investable cash flows from conservation projects need to be at least 20-30 times greater than they are today. “ The World Economic Forum reports $5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually by 2020 to build the infrastructure needed to mitigate catastrophic climate change. Much of this investment is additional—meaning it faces new risks and, without intervention, it will not otherwise occur.

Given this context, it’s essential for the public sector to use its limited dollars in a way that mitigates risks and attracts private capital to needed infrastructure investments.

Read the rest of this entry »

 I wrote the article below titled California is a Model for Climate Policy for Sustainable Business Oregon:

Sustainable Business Oregon

Recent action from the Obama administration requires states to act on climate change. In light of the challenges of the new climate goals outlined in the President’s Clean Power Plan, other states might be wise to consider the subtleties of California’s climate policy, which could provide an excellent framework to follow.

To bypass the current stagnation in our political system, a new strategy to craft policy that mitigates catastrophic climate change is emerging in the United States. International negotiations drone on—attempting to settle on a timeline under which future agreements could come to terms. The conversation in Congress, amazingly, continues to focus on whether or not action is needed at all. Yet over the last three months, the Obama Administration has ditched these broken processes and taken a leadership role where it can. And it’s making an impact.

Read the rest of this entry »

I filed these comments with the California Air Resource Board after their preliminary determination to invalidate credits generated by the Clean Harbors facility that destroyed ozone depleting substances. After the California Air Resource Board moved forward with a smaller invalidation, Ecosystem Marketplace’s Despite Market Outcry, California Voids Some Carbon Offsets article quoted me:

“It’s not good news, but I don’t think it’s market-destroying news either,” said Peter Weisberg, Program Manager, The Climate Trust….The ARB should consider alternatives to buyers’ liability such as a buffer account to cover these types of losses, Krausse, Weisberg and other stakeholders suggested. Quebec – the Canadian province partnering with California on carbon trading via the Western Climate Initiative – established a buffer pool that sets aside 4% of offsets to cover reversals or invalidations. In discussions with Oregon and Washington, which are both considering options to comply with upcoming federal carbon regulations, Weisberg has encouraged them to follow Quebec’s model or the approach of voluntary standards in ensuring offset integrity rather than California’s approach. However, he also noted that there are potential solutions to the risk created by California’s buyers’ liability provisions, including insurance policies designed specifically to cover the invalidation risk. “It’s definitely an unfortunate risk,” he said. But “we still think this is a risk that can be managed.”

I wrote the article below for The Climate Trust’s newsletter:

California’s suite of climate policies create two distinct environmental markets: a cap-and-trade market for allowances and offsets, and a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) market for LCFS credits. Both generate significant revenues for dairy digesters, but, according to recent informal discussions, the Air Resource Board has decided that biogas projects cannot sell both at the same time. Dairy digesters whose biogas is used as transportation fuel therefore need to determine which market offers the most value. This analysis is trickier than it first appears.

Carbon Intensity LCFS graphic

Prices for both offsets and LCFS credits are reported with the same units, dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent reduction ($/mtCO2e). The baseline from which each reduction is calculated, however, is different. Offsets are based on the methane emissions that would have occurred if the dairy had not installed a digester. LCFS credits, on the other hand, are based on the reduction from the LCFS’s annual carbon intensity target. The same dairy digester project will therefore generate a very different number of offset and LCFS credits. To determine which market offers the most value, projects need to calculate how many of each credit they could generate.

Read the rest of this entry »

To provide background material to the attendees of an aggregation workshop, I synthesized our 142-page report into a 25-page background paper. The paper is on-line here. Distilling complicated concepts is my favorite work, and I’m particularly proud of this paper.

As part of our contract with the Electric Power Research Institute, we organized a workshop for project developers, financiers, policy makers and large emitters to discuss methods of aggregating greenhouse gas offsets.

Presentations from the workshop, mine as well as work from the Delta Institute, Carbon Credit Solutions, Finite Carbon, New Forests, IETA, Impact Carbon, DNV, the CDM Executive Board, ACR and CAR, are on-line here.

Under contract for the Electric Power Research Institute, Sheldon Zakreski and I wrote “Aggregation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets: Benefits, Existing Methods and Key Challenges.”

Aggregation groups together geographically or temporally dispersed projects to streamline the process of qualifying and quantifying those projects as offsets. For carbon markets to scale up their impact and include small and medium sized projects, aggregation is essential.

I wrote Chapter 2 “Importance of Aggregation,” Chapter 3 “Challenges to Aggregation,” Chapter 4 “Programmatic Approaches to Aggregation,” Chapter 8 “Lessons Learned” and the case studies on Cool NRG, Sadia, and the North Dakota Farmers Union

For the last four months I have been writing a report for the Electric Power Research Institute evaluating methods of aggregating greenhouse gas offset projects. I was honored to present the preliminary findings at the Chicago meeting of the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. Below is my presentation. Hopefully the report will be made public and I will be able to post more here.