This week WRI posted its latest CO2 Emissions Inventory report, the latest report that documents the organization’s CO2 emissions and efforts to reduce them. In keeping with WRI’s mission and efforts to “walk the talk,” we’ve been documenting and reporting our emissions for every year since 2000.
Here are some of the highlights from this year’s report:
Offsets are activities or projects that reduce or sequester greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions outside organizational boundaries. Since 2000, part of WRI’s institutional CO2 commitment is to achieve a “net zero” emissions balance, meaning that we offset the emissions that we cannot eliminate by purchasing offsets.
The offset market consists of a highly diverse array of products. You can often choose not only the type but the location of the project generating the credits. In addition, there are both voluntary markets and “compliance” markets: e.g., offsets available under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol that may be used to meet legally binding obligations.
2007 is the first year in which WRI met its “net zero” target using Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) purchased in the CDM market. Consequently, WRI is currently one of the very few U.S. organizations to voluntarily offset its emissions via the CDM. This decision comes after an extensive re-evaluation of our organization’s approach to offsetting emissions. We concluded from that assessment that CERs purchased from a compliance market are more consistent with WRI’s institutional goals and mission. Our 2007 CERs come from a landfill gas to energy project in Nanjing, China and a wind power project in Tamil Nadu, India.
Here is a brief summary of WRI’s rationale:
The price difference between CERs and offsets in voluntary markets is not insignificant. At the time of purchase, CERs cost about $30 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent, compared to about $4-16 per ton recently for offsets in voluntary markets. Nonetheless, WRI’s desire to support the global compliance market through our purchasing decisions, as well as to support projects in specific regions that are important to our work, outweighed the higher cost.
Finally, WRI’s decision should not be taken as a renunciation of voluntary markets. We did not evaluate any particular offset providers as part of this decision, and there are a multitude of sound offset projects in both voluntary and compliance markets. We encourage each organization looking to offset its emissions to do its own research and support offset projects and markets that are consistent with its goals and objectives.