American Carbon Registry Presents Annual Awards to Celebrate Outstanding Environmental Achievements
Last night, the American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, hosted its annual gala reception to recognize and thank its members and partners. ACR Director John Kadyszewski welcomed guests and presented highlights from the year. He described the awards to be presented to recognize outstanding environmental achievements including the individual Climate Leadership award, as well as corporate awards based on ACR’s guiding principles of innovation, quality and excellence.
Kadyszewski presented ACR’s Climate Leadership award to Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in recognition of his career-long dedication to natural resource conservation. As Governor of Iowa, Vilsack created a comprehensive program to encourage private landowners to implement conservation practices showing that you could have clean air, clean water enhanced wildlife habitat and positive economic outcomes. He took the lead in the Governor’s Ethanol Coalition making Iowa a national leader in alternative energy and renewable fuels. Most recently as Secretary of Agriculture he has helped farmers, ranchers and forest landowners mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change through a host of programs focused on incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support resiliency on working lands as well as to increase investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, advanced biofuels and other cutting edge industries that reduce fossil fuel consumption, create jobs and protect the environment. The tangible result of his accomplishments is a U.S. agriculture sector that can be held up as a model for the world in terms of food and energy security, rural economic benefit and environmental stewardship.
"I am honored to accept this award from the American Carbon Registry on behalf of the real climate leaders--America's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” said Secretary Vilsack. “They are responding to climate change and more severe weather as they have other challenges, with resilience, innovation and a commitment to stewardship for future generations. USDA is proud to support agricultural producers and forest landowners as they continue to implement strategies that reduce carbon emissions and strengthen our agriculture and clean energy economies."
Round Valley Indian Tribes and White Mountain Apache Tribe were honored with the ACR Commitment to Quality award for using high quality forest carbon offset projects registered under the California Air Resources Board’s rigorous offset program to advance the higher purpose of reinforcing tribal values. The sale of the carbon offsets from the projects offers a significant revenue stream for the tribes, promoting economic development, financial independence and security, and conservation of their forests for future generations.
Round Valley’s 5,550-acre Improved Forest Management Project on the tribe’s northern California reservation has been issued over 540,000 ARB Offset Credits, which can be used by regulated entities towards their emissions reduction obligation under the California Cap-and-Trade program.
Joe Dukepoo, Round Valley Tribal Councilman who also served as the Round Valley Indian Tribes Vice-President during the development of the project, said “We are proud to be a leading tribe in the innovative carbon market that reinforces our goal of sustainable forestry to maintain levels of wildlife, native plants, fish, clean water, and reduced fire threats. This project also is in line with the tribes’ mission to ensure that our future generations enjoy the benefits of a healthy forest.”
White Mountain Apache Tribe’s 89,000 acre Improved Forest Management Project on the Fort Apache reservation in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona was listed on ACR, has completed verification and is expected to earn ARB Offset Credits in the coming months.
"We are extremely proud of the fact that our legacy of holistic, culturally sensitive, and sustainable management of our forest lands has allowed us to pursue such an incredibly complex, yet rewarding project,” stated Jonathan Brooks, the Tribal Forestry Director and carbon project manager. “The project not only helps combat the threat of climate change and global warming, but also provides the Tribe with economic benefits which are secondary to the ecological, cultural, and spiritual benefits that we have always realized from our prized forest lands."
The Innovation award went to the four entities that developed a first-of-a-kind carbon offset methodology to quantify emissions reductions from the application of compost to rangelands: Terra Global Capital, Environmental Defense Fund, Marin Carbon Project and Silver Lab at U.C. Berkeley. The methodology was developed by Terra Global Capital with support from the other awardees and was funded by USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grant program, which aims to stimulate the adoption of innovative approaches to environmental stewardship in the agriculture sector.
Restoration of rangelands with perennial grasses to increase forage production and soil carbon sequestration improves water holding capacity and increases the resiliency of the grazing system. Rangelands in the West are currently under pressure of conversion to urban development and croplands. Finding new revenue streams for ranchers helps keep them on the ranch and preserves and enhances these valuable natural areas. The methodology gives ranchers a link to carbon finance to support improved stewardship.
“We are honored to be recognized by ACR for our work. Emission reductions from range and pasture lands provide a valuable climate change mitigation opportunity, and the ACR compost protocol is one key component of developing economic benefits for production of these environmental assets”, said Founder, Managing Director Terra Global Capital.
The ACR Corporate Excellence award was presented to four companies for their work to voluntarily accelerate reductions in long-haul trucking fleet GHG emissions: IdleAir, Truckers Carbon Exchange, Marten Transport and Crete Carrie Corporation. The emissions reduction potential from the use of anti-idling technology and fleet efficiency in long-haul transport is enormous, estimated at over 650 million tons CO2 by 2021 in the U.S. alone. The adoption rates of these technologies are very low, however, due to up-front installation costs. Carbon markets provide the opportunity to fund the initial investments by offering a path to monetization of the environmental benefits.
IdleAir’s Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) technology provides long-haul truck drivers an alternative to idling their engines while resting, providing the ability to shut down their engines and still maintain a comfortable cabin temperature, sustain vehicle battery charge and power electronics such as televisions and laptops. TSE provides other benefits such as cleaner air with the reduction of black carbon and soot emitted from diesel engines, reduced noise pollution, local job creation, and an increased tax base for the local economy. And drivers benefit from improved sleeping conditions without the noise, vibration and exhaust fumes from idling and are therefore better rested and safer on the road. In its ten years of operation, IdleAir has mitigated over 600,000 tons of GHG emissions and over one billion pounds of aggregate emissions while avoiding the use of 60 million gallons of diesel fuel.
"IdleAir is grateful to have ACR recognize our work within the trucking industry to improve the quality of life for truck drivers while protecting the environment, stated Ethan Garber, IdleAir President and CEO. “Carbon finance has been a critical ingredient in growing our business which uses off-peak domestic grid power as a substitute for diesel idling. We are excited to partner with ACR in developing international TSE standards that can help to accelerate the export of IdleAir solutions with both grid and renewable power sources outside of the USA."
Truckers Carbon Exchange (TCO2X) has broken new ground for the development of carbon offsets in the U.S. trucking industry, a major user of carbon-based fuels. During 2014, TCO2X led the successful development of innovative projects in this area working with two of the industry’s premiere companies; Crete Carrier Corp in Lincoln NE and Marten Transport in Mondovi WI. These trucking companies have demonstrated a commitment to improve efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the trucking industry through pioneering the use of new and innovative technologies throughout their fleets. By linking these efficiency improvements to their benefits in carbon reduction, the projects have demonstrated how the carbon markets can be used to fund carbon emission reductions in the trucking industry.
“Trucking is a tough and competitive business. It is very capital-intensive and operates on low margins. Each trucking company must constantly make trade-offs between capital costs and efficiency. These projects have shown that carbon markets can be used to help fund the capital costs of technologies to improve efficiency,” noted Truckers Carbon Exchange founder and trucking industry veteran Thomas Rushfeldt. “Both Crete and Marten have committed to re-invest all net proceeds from the sale of carbon offsets into additional efficiency measures further reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. I would like to thank the American Carbon Registry (ACR) and Element Markets for their help and guidance throughout the development of these exciting new projects in a totally new industry.”