Carbon reducing rainforest preserved in Africa
Wildlife Works Carbon LLC recently announced that effective Oct. 22 it has entered into an agreement to acquire Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc.’s 50 percent interest in Mai Ndombe, the Congo Basin’s first and largest forest conservation project that Reduces Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Prior to this agreement, Offsetters, through its subsidiary company ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc., and Wildlife Works were 50/50 joint venture partners in the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project.
Under the agreement, Wildlife Works will assume sole management of the project and the joint venture agreement will be terminated. Wildlife Works will own 100 percent of the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in partnership with the government of the DRC and the local forest community. Local project manager Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza will continue to manage the project under the new structure.
The 299,645 hectare Mai Ndombe REDD+ project, a former logging concession in the Bandundu Province, will avoid more than 175 million tons of CO2 emissions over the 30-year life of the project.
“The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project demonstrates the transformational power of REDD+ to conserve a vital forest while providing unprecedented green development for its citizens,” says Mike Korchinsky, CEO of Wildlife Works. “Success here advances a real opportunity to catalyze a massive scaling of REDD+ that can efficiently mitigate billions of tons of annual emissions.”
“As we looked to expand our REDD+ portfolio, it made sense for us to consider this project first, as we are acutely involved in its development and management already,” Korchinsky says.
Since 2011 when the project was established, the local forest community of 50,000 Congolese villagers have been receiving direct benefits from the project in the form of jobs, schools, health clinics, improved food security through better agronomy and redevelopment of robust native fish stocks, and capacity building of local NGOs and Community Based Organizations, all financed through transparent and equitable sharing of the carbon revenues.
“The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project was the result of a tremendous amount of diligent work and effort by the talented people within our company and by our project partners at Wildlife Works,” says Dr. James Tansey, CEO of Offsetters. “We are honored to have been part of the first REDD+ project in the Congo Basin, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we believe Mai Ndombe has helped establish a new paradigm for conservation using carbon as a tool to protect forests from deforestation and degradation.
“With their exclusive focus on REDD, there is no doubt that Wildlife Works is the best organization to grow Mai Ndombe from a project level, to a regional level program that helps conserve and protect millions of hectares of the world's most valuable rainforests. We will continue to celebrate these future milestones and successes with our colleagues at Wildlife Works. As we pass the reigns to Mike and his team, we also pass on our sincere appreciation to our on-the-ground DRC team, the DRC Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, and the communities of Mai Ndombe for their dedication in making Mai Ndombe REDD+ a reality.”
Mai Ndombe, the Congo Basin’s first and largest forest conservation project that Reduces Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The 299,645 hectare REDD+ project was a former logging concession in the Bandundu Province that will now avoid more than 175 million tons of CO2 emissions over the 30-year life of the project.
The project area is part of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest intact rainforest after the Amazon. It is part of the Ngiri-Tumba-Mai Ndombe wetland, recognized under the Ramsar Convention as the largest wetland of international importance in the world. It is home to a wide array of biodiversity including highly endangered forest elephants and bonobo chimpanzees, which have been driven away in increasing numbers due to logging and poaching activities. It is expected that the wildlife populations will be restored now that the project area is on a conservation trajectory.
The government of the DRC will receive a substantial portion of the project income to ensure that REDD+ represents a financially competitive alternative to logging Congo's rich forests. The local community of 50,000 people will also receive a substantial portion of the VER proceeds that go towards community elected projects such as school construction, agriculture intensification projects, mobile clinics and medical supplies. To date, more than fifty jobs have been created for local community members.
In 2012, the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project achieved verification and issuance of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and received Gold Level status from the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard (CCBA) for exceptional climate change adaptation and biodiversity benefits.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere