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.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.