Carbon Markets and Biochar: An Offset Buyers Perspective
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Carbon Markets and Biochar: An Offset Buyers Perspective North American Biochar Conference August 10th, 2009. Peter Weisberg Offset Project Analyst [email protected] 503-238-1915. Outline. Theory of offsets How offsets could support biochar projects

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Carbon Markets and Biochar: An Offset Buyers Perspective North American Biochar Conference

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Carbon Markets and Biochar: An Offset Buyers Perspective

North American Biochar Conference

August 10th, 2009

Peter Weisberg

Offset Project Analyst

[email protected]

503-238-1915


Outline

  • Theory of offsets

  • How offsets could support biochar projects

  • Current funding from The Climate Trust


Source: The McKinsey Quarterly. 2007. “A cost curve for greenhouse gas reductions.”


Sequestration and Carbon Markets

  • Very little sequestration thus far:

    • No soils

    • Only reforestation/afforestation with temporary credits


US Offset Market

  • Trends

    • Fossil fuels will likely be capped

    • Favor domestic projects over international projects

  • Destroying methane emissions

    • Dairy digesters

    • Landfill gas capture

    • Wastewater treatment plants

    • Coal mine methane

  • Sequestration

    • Forestry

      • Afforestation/Reforestation

      • Improved Forest Management

      • Avoided Conversion/Deforestation

    • Soil Management

    • Biochar?


Outline

  • Theory of offsets

  • How offsets could support biochar projects

  • Current funding from The Climate Trust


$ = CO2 Sequestered x Price

  • Low Quality US Projects

    • Chicago Climate Exchange: $2-$4

  • High Quality US Projects

    • Voluntary Carbon Standard: $4-$9

    • California Climate Action Registry: $5-$11

  • Mature International Markets

    • EU Emissions Trading Scheme: $10-$40

  • Projections for Early US Market

    • Markey-Waxman Bill : $10-$15


Currently Available Methodologies

  • Avoidance of methane production from biomass decay through controlled pyrolysis

  • Small scale

  • No credit for carbon sequestration

  • Char must be “biologically inert”

    • Volatile C/Fixed C ratio lower than 50%


Next Step: Sequestered Carbon

Carbon Gold methodology for proposed to the Voluntary Carbon Standard


Unresolved Methodology Issues

  • Recalcitrance

    • Guarantee 100 years of permanent sequestration

    • Carbon Gold: Volatile C/Fixed C ratio lower than 50%

  • Erosion

    • What happens to char that erodes out of the soils?


Unresolved Methodology Issues

  • Ownership – Three entities with valid ownership claims

    • Feedstock owner

    • Pyrolysis plant

    • Soil owner/Farmer using char

  • Can only be claimed once


Unresolved Methodology Issues

  • No environmental harm

    • Heavy metals

    • Criteria air pollutants

    • Microbe health


Unresolved Methodology Issues

  • Environmental impact

    • Heavy metals

    • Criteria air pollutants

    • Microbe health

    • Carbon already in soil


Resolved Issue: Waste Feedstocks

  • Leakage

    • Changes in emissions outside the project itself

  • Direct: Biomass fuel unavailable

  • Indirect: displace current farm land for biochar feedstock plantations  land use change

  • Carbon Gold: “biomass that would otherwise have been left to decay or been burned in an uncontrolled manner”


Outline

  • Theory of offsets

  • How offsets could support biochar projects

  • Current funding from The Climate Trust


  • 3 Programs

    • Oregon Program

    • Smart Energy

    • Colorado Carbon Fund

  • 16 projects, $8.8 million in funding, 2.6 million tons of CO2offset

  • Non-profit

    • - Laboratory for innovative offset projects


Project Development Timeline

Upfront Payment

Proposal

Contract

Negotiation

Annual

Monitoring

Due

Diligence

Commercial

Operation

Annual payment

“upon delivery”


Peter Weisberg

Offset Project Analyst

[email protected]

503-238-1915 x 207


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