Carbon offset usage in the first compliance period of California’s Cap-and-Trade program

Carbon offset usage in the first compliance period of California’s Cap-and-Trade program

Here’s a visual analysis of carbon offset usage in the first compliance period of California’s Cap-and-Trade program.


A special note from our Board Chair

A special note from our Board Chair

It is bittersweet to share with all of our friends and colleagues that Gary Gero will be retiring as president of the Reserve at the end of this year and will then continue serving the organization in a senior advisory role. He was at the helm when the organization transitioned from the California Climate Action Registry, and he’s led the organization’s growth into the leading offset project registry in North America. Today, the Reserve’s standards and integrity are internationally recognized and its work is integrated into the world’s most comprehensive cap-and-trade program. It was Gary’s leadership that helped earn this reputation and success. In his own actions, he exemplified everything the Reserve strives to achieve – integrity, transparency and passion for addressing climate change. We could not have found a stronger, more fitting leader to make the Reserve what it is today and put it in a position for an even greater future.

I am confident that I speak on behalf of the Board members and the staff when I say we are all honored to have worked with such an inspiring, passionate leader and we know he will bring that same energy to his future endeavors. I hope you will join us in wishing him the best of luck and thanking him for his invaluable contributions to the growth of the Reserve, the offsets market and successful efforts to address climate change.

Linda Adams
Chair, Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors


Making an Impact through Composting

Making an Impact through Composting

IMG_2372 composting

Food waste is a serious and mounting problem.  Approximately 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes to waste.  According to the U.S. EPA, 37.06 million tons of food waste went to the landfill in 2013. Not only is this tremendously wasteful but it’s also tremendously damaging to our environment. When food waste breaks down in landfills, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that has a global warming potential 23 times greater than carbon dioxide.  That means it’s 23 times more destructive to the atmosphere.

The Reserve’s Organic Waste Composting Protocol aims at diverting food waste and food-soiled paper from municipal sources and grocery stores that is headed towards landfills.  Projects registered under this protocol – and all Reserve protocols – go above and beyond business as usual practices. That means that without the protocol and a market for carbon offsets, food waste from these projects would have most likely gone to the landfill. So far, the Reserve has issued 428,562 offset credits to composting projects, which is the equivalent to removing 90,224 cars from the road for an entire year.  Plus, using the compost created from organic waste composting projects improves soil health and reduces the need for applying fertilizers and pesticides.

A large percentage of food waste comes from sources like grocery stores, farms and restaurants, but consumers also contribute to the problem.  This means there’s also tremendous potential to reap environmental benefits from composting at an individual level. Read about our staff’s adventures in composting below!

Jennifer W:
In Seattle, which is the city I call home, residences and commercial properties have been required to divert food waste from the garbage since January 1, 2015.  Prior to implementing this city ordinance, Seattle sent approximately 100,000 tons of food waste to the landfill annually. Seattle Public Utilities estimates this new law will divert 38,000 tons of that food waste.  Plus, it will help the city achieve its goal of recycling and composting 60 percent of its waste this year.  To enforce this, residents will be fined $1 and businesses will be fined up to $50 for each violation of dumping food waste into their garbage starting January 1, 2016.

Cedar Grove, a local company, is one of two companies that turns the city’s food waste, food-soiled paper, paper towels, napkins and compostable food containers into compost. The compost is sold for professional and consumer use. And, until Seattle passed its city ordinance requiring composting, Cedar Grove had a project under the Reserve’s Organic Waste Composting Protocol. It’s satisfying knowing that you helped produce the compost that you can buy at the store.

Seattle is one of only a few cities that requires composting.  But composting doesn’t have to occur if it’s just mandated by law.  If more municipalities offered composting, the practice could become a way of life for more people and make a significant impact on methane emissions, not to mention all of the other benefits that come along with composting.

Of course, a better solution to stemming food waste is to not waste food in the first place by doing simple activities like not purchasing too much food, eating leftovers, using food scraps and properly storing food.  There is much to discuss in this area.  So much, in fact, that it could be another blog post…

Craig E:
I have been composting my food waste for about 15 years, including in Arlington, VA and now in LA. It has never been required, but I have found it an easy practice to undertake. My composting habits between Arlington and LA have been very different. In Arlington it was a more typical composting style that led to great soil I could add to my garden. In LA I didn’t want to have to worry about adding moisture to my composting operation so I converted a large green yard waste bin into my composting container. I am not sure how it happened, but my composting bin never needs turning and rarely needs emptying. The reason is a voracious population of grub worms that have taken over my composting bin and reduce everything in it to a lovely organic black slime. Anything that does not get eaten by my two teenagers or three dogs makes its way to the composting bin.

I have noticed that there is often confusion between recycling and composting that, frankly, can defeat the purpose of both. The confusion can happen among even those of us who are very environmentally aware. In our LA office, we do not have a way to compost, and compostable, food-containing items have found their way into the blue recycling bin. Yes, I know the materials are often recyclable, but if any materials thrown into a recycling bin are soiled by food, LA will discard those items as trash and not recycle them. That may not seem to make sense, but soiled materials (even if made out of recyclable material) foul recycling operations. So it’s important to always be mindful of the difference between recycling and composting and remember to either clean containers before throwing them into the blue recycling bin or toss them into the trash to avoid contaminating the entire recycling bin. Otherwise, we end up doing harm instead of good.


New policies released concerning assessment of regulatory compliance and risk factors for water quality violations at livestock facilities

New policies released concerning assessment of regulatory compliance and risk factors for water quality violations at livestock facilities


Revised Program Manual is now available

Revised Program Manual is now available


Internationally recognized climate change expert Craig Ebert joins Climate Action Reserve as VP of Policy

Internationally recognized climate change expert Craig Ebert joins Climate Action Reserve as VP of Policy

Ebert brings veteran voice and experience to the Reserve’s core work and upcoming initiatives

LOS ANGELES, CA – Environment and energy expert Craig Ebert has joined the Climate Action Reserve as VP of Policy. During his career, he has helped create the foundations for international, national and state policies to address climate change, including pioneering efforts on carbon accounting principles. Craig also has been a key technical advisor during the development of landmark international climate change agreements and one of the key architects behind the construction of national GHG inventories. He joins the Climate Action Reserve, an environmental nonprofit organization and North America’s premier carbon offset registry, after advising the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and nearly 34 years at ICF, a top-ranked environmental consulting firm.

“I am thrilled to announce Craig Ebert has joined the Reserve team. He has been a very influential voice in the shaping of carbon accounting principles and policies and an instrumental figure in applying those principles and policies in the real world. The way his work intersects with the Reserve’s makes him a natural fit for the vice president role. Additionally, his specific expertise and experience will strongly support the growth of the Reserve and our upcoming initiatives,” said Gary Gero, President of the Reserve.

Craig has deep roots in environmental policy and methodologies. He served as the technical director of Estimation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which was adopted by the IPCC as its GHG Inventory Programme. He directed the development of the official U.S. national GHG inventory, beginning with the country’s very first inventory, to meet commitments under the UNFCCC. Craig supported U.S. negotiations on international climate change agreements, including negotiations leading up to the creation and signing of the Kyoto Protocol, and also helped develop the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) provisions under the protocol. Other work with market mechanisms and emissions reductions has included support of emissions offset methodologies under the CDM and support of California’s cap-and-trade program under AB 32.

As VP of Policy at the Reserve, Craig will be responsible for overseeing the development of offset project protocols, developing climate change policies and programs for the Reserve and leading the launch of new initiatives.

“I am excited to be joining the Reserve at this important juncture in international action on climate change. The Reserve’s stellar reputation and cutting edge work offers an enormous opportunity to continue my work towards avoiding dangerous human impacts on our global climate,” said Craig. “There is a tremendous amount of work to be done, and the Reserve is well-positioned to bring robust, concrete solutions to the global transformation to a low carbon economy.”


Climate Action Reserve veteran Rachel Tornek takes leadership post as VP of Programs

Climate Action Reserve veteran Rachel Tornek takes leadership post as VP of Programs

Tornek builds on over a decade of helping guide the growth and strategic development of the Reserve

LOS ANGELES, CA – Greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting expert Rachel Tornek has assumed the role of VP of Programs for the Climate Action Reserve, an environmental nonprofit organization and North America’s premier carbon offset registry. For over 10 years, Rachel has helped guide the strategic growth of the organization and pioneered the creation of standards for reducing GHG emissions. She’s gained expertise in a number of sectors, including mining, local governments, waste industrial facilities and livestock operations. In her new role as VP of Programs, she oversees the reporting and verification of offset projects in the Reserve program and leads the organization’s work as an Offset Project Registry in California’s cap-and-trade program.

“Rachel has been instrumental in helping the Reserve become what it is today. Her contributions started with the California Climate Action Registry and have continued through the launch and expansion of the Climate Action Reserve. And her work speaks for itself. She is widely respected as an expert in greenhouse gas accounting. We are excited to have her continue building the organization through her new position,” said Gary Gero, President of the Reserve.

Throughout her tenure at the Reserve, Rachel has helped shape the organization’s strategic vision and establish its globally recognized programs in GHG accounting. Most recently, Rachel served as Policy Director, and in that capacity she planned and managed the development of new offset project protocols. Her work on the Policy team helped develop offset project standards that were adopted by California for use in its cap-and-trade program and helped pioneer new emissions reduction standards for industries like coal mining, ozone-depleting substances and nitric acid production. Additionally, Rachel led the development of the California Climate Action Registry Local Government Operation Protocol and supported hundreds of member organizations in creating company-wide GHG inventories.

“I am excited to take on this new role at such a pivotal time for both the Reserve and for climate action across the globe. I am proud of the model offset program we have created here and look forward to expanding upon that success as we move forward,” said Rachel.


Grassland Project Protocol Version 1.0 was adopted by the Reserve Board on July 22, 2015

Grassland Project Protocol Version 1.0 was adopted by the Reserve Board on July 22, 2015


Summer reading recommendations from distinguished climate leaders

Summer reading recommendations from distinguished climate leaders

It’s summertime! The days are longer and the living is easier. The perfect time to spend warm, lazy afternoons lost in a good book while lounging on a chaise longue, or hammock, or beach towel. For these precise moments, we thought you might want to get some reading recommendations from distinguished climate leaders. We asked a few of our good friends to share their favorite and most recommended books. We hope that these titles will inspire and enthuse your summer reading!

 

Climate leader Book recommendation

Len Hering
Rear Admiral (U.S. Navy, retired); Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Energy
Book most often recommended to friends: “The Power of Losing Control” by Joe Caruso. It was a game changer for me. As a type A personality this book changed my life and my leadership style. It caused me to reflect on what was possible and what simply was beyond my control, and not lose sleep over it.Book recently enjoyed and inspired by: I am a history nut and haven’t read a novel in years. I can’t get enough of how our founding fathers acted, thought and shaped our beginning. With all we heard about our Founding fathers and the role religion has played, I found the book “Founding Faith: Providence, Politics and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America” By Steven Waldman to be fascinating.

Favorite work of fiction or non-fiction: Again with all that is happening around the world much can be traced to the evils and mistakes of the past. If you want a good understand of why the Middle East is such a mess I would invite you to read “ A Peace to end all Peace” by David Fromkin is a must read.

Book planning to read this summer: “The Writings of Abraham Lincoln”. To say the least, Abe Lincoln is the most impressive and yet troubled president of our country’s past. I hope to learn more of how he managed to hold a country so divided that it was willing to sacrifice thousands of its own for a cause, and hold out for even greater end. Lincoln completes the journey our Founding Fathers were unable to make.


Ken Alex
Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown and the Director of the Office of Planning and Research
Book recently enjoyed and/or inspired by: “Signs Preceding the End of the World” by Yuri HerreraBook planning to read this summer: “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan

David Heurtel
Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Québec
Here are a couple of books I’m reading: “Cities for people” by Jan Gehl and “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” by Jon MeachamRecommendations and favorites: “The Plague” or “The Stranger” both by Albert Camus, and “The Dying Animal” by Philip Roth

Matt Rodriquez
Secretary for Environmental Protection, California Environmental Protection Agency
Book most often recommended to friends: I have fond memories of reading “Lincoln” by Gore Vidal. I have recommended it to friends through the years.Book recently enjoyed and/or inspired by: Recently, I enjoyed reading “The Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt. It’s a wonderful story about an interesting 15th century scholar who’s chance rediscovery of an early writing by the Roman philosopher Lucretious affected the development of western thought and culture.

At a different level, I enjoyed “The Long Ships,” a swashbuckling bit of historical fiction by Frans Bengtsson about Vikings during the 10th Century.

Favorite work of fiction or non-fiction: Fiction: I’ll admit to being a fan of Alexander Dumas and either “The Three Musketeers” or “The Count Monte Cristo.” Non-fiction: I recall many, many years ago reading “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing about Ernest Shackelton’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. More recently, I liked Ross King’s “The Judgment of Paris” about the birth on Impressionism.

Book planning to read this summer: I anticipate it will take most of the summer to finish “The Prize,” Daniel Yergin’s book on the history of the oil industry. Next on the list are either “Embarrassment of Riches,” the history of Dutch Culture in the 17th century, or Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire,” the third novel in his trilogy about the opium trade and its effect in India in the 19th century.


Hector de la Torre
Board Member, California Air Resources Board
Book most often recommended to friends: “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – A great example of Garcia Marquez’s magical realism, telling the multi-generational story of the Buendía family in Columbia. His writing is so matter-of-fact in describing events that are so fantastic that they seem entirely plausible, maybe because these are the events of everyday life – birth, love, life, death.Book recently enjoyed and/or inspired by: “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson – Historical fiction based in Berlin in the early 1930’s as Hitler consolidated his power within Germany. Told from the perspective of the US ambassador and his family as they tried to get an understanding of all that was taking place in the crosscurrent of politics and national interests, and then the more difficult question: what to do about it.

Favorite work of fiction or non-fiction: “Yertle the Turtle” by Dr. Seuss – Whenever I am asked to read to children in schools or libraries, I bring this book because it is a fun parable of totalitarianism and human rights.

Book planning to read this summer: “Three Who Made a Revolution” by Bertram Wolfe – Growing up in the Cold War and as an undergraduate and graduate student of international relations, the Soviet impact on foreign policy was a fundamental aspect of the post-war interaction between nations. The nature of the Soviet Union was shaped at the outset by its revolution and subsequent leadership. This book focuses on the personal histories and relationship between Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin in building the nascent Soviet Union – their founding fathers.


Wendy James
CEO, The Better World Group
I’d like to recommend “The Great Race – The Global Quest for the Car of the Future” by Levi Tilleman. It’s a really good read, almost an action thriller, about the auto industry’s competition for new technology and markets. But the best part is the credit given to the policy drivers put in place by California that have resulted in these advanced technology vehicles being brought to market.The other book I am enjoying, prompted by a recent trip to San Francisco at the request of my 20-year-old great nephew, is pure summer enjoyment (nothing to do with work.) It’s the photography of Jim Marshall, called “The Haight – Love, Rock, and Revolution” and tells the story of Haight Ashbury during the 60s and the Summer of Love. The photos are quite spectacular, and if I close my eyes….

infographic-favorite-books


Grassland Project Protocol Version 1.0 adopted by the Reserve Board on July 22, 2015

Grassland Project Protocol Version 1.0 adopted by the Reserve Board on July 22, 2015