LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters Point Carbon) – The first series of “micro” initiatives targeting emissions reductions in the poorest corners of the world were approved to start receiving voluntary carbon offsets last week, the project’s developers said.
Swiss-based certifier The Gold Standard registered the scheme to distribute small batches of low-carbon cookstoves to impoverished areas of Rwanda, the first so-called ‘micro programme of activities’ (Micro-PoA) to be approved to receive voluntary carbon credits, Taunton, UK-based co2balance said.
Unlike traditional carbon-cutting projects, PoAs group several emission reduction activities, making smaller emission cutting schemes, like cookstoves, cheaper to fund.
Micro-PoAs target even smaller clusters of emissions reductions, each limited to a maximum 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually.
Current rules prevent Micro-PoAs from earning credits under Kyoto Protocol carbon finance mechanisms unless their emissions reductions are audited by a third party, a process than can significantly add to costs, co2balance said.
This is why it decided to have Gold Standard audit the initiative under the voluntary market, where carbon credits are worth exponentially more than the current 0.65-euro market rate for Kyoto offsets.
Co2balance’s project, which was co-developed by Australia-based climate finance firm Climate Corporation, will distribute around 30,000 energy-efficient stoves by the end of 2015 to dissuade families from cooking over wood-burning stoves, thus cutting household fuel costs while reducing air pollution and deforestation rates locally.
The stoves are expected to reduce the equivalent of around 840,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next seven years – cuts that can be translated into voluntary credits dubbed VERs and sold to companies or individuals looking to cut their carbon footprint.
Suzanne Longworth, operations director at co2balance, said Micro-PoAs were attractive because companies can participate in them more easily and they can be scaled up quickly without having to go through long funding processes.
The Rwandan initiative is partnered with another to rehabilitate boreholes into clean water wells in Uganda, luring families away from burning fuel to boil their drinking water.
That venture is expected to reduce a further 210,000 tonnes of CO2e over the same timeframe, Longworth added.