credit trading combats global warming by putting a cost on polluting
the air. Tradable "carbon credits" were created by international
treaty (the Kyoto Protocol) that aims to lower global greenhouse gas
(GHG) levels, by setting county-specific limits for GHG emissions. Countries
(and companies in them) that emit high levels of GHGs must either lower
their emissions to the required limits, or they can offset them by buying
carbon credits. One source of carbon credits is from conservation ("GHG
reduction") projects that mitigate climate change by sequestering
credit negotations typically involve large organizations, so money
from carbon credit sales rarely supports conservation at the local
level- where most environmental destruction occurs. Micro
Carbon Trading is an innovative project in which local commmunities
can engage in carbon trading to receive money for their conservation
efforts. SELVA acts as the mediator through which local groups can
market their conservation projects and sell carbon credits on the
carbon trading is based on the carbon market, which is one of the fastest
growing and most stable markets internationally. It is one of the most
economically-sound models for conservation, as it pays for itself by
providing fiscal incentives for people to conserve their environments.
Micro carbon trading simultaneously fights global warming, protects
ecosystems, and alleviates poverty.
are developing three models for micro carbon trading, which we plan
to expand in the future. Read about our first projects below.
forests reduces release of GHGs that results from deforestation and
the burning of forests. The biomass of standing trees translates to
carbon credits with value on the international market. Carbon credits
give a quantifiable value to forests that local people can market. Money
received from carbon credit sales halts deforestation and biodiversity
loss by paying people to preserve their forests.
* We are
working with the indigenous community of Porvenir, of the Bajo Paraguá Territorio
Comunitario de Origen (TCO) in Bolivia, to protect an indigenous titled
tropical dry forest that faces imminent logging threats.
of Georgia (UGA) River Basin Center and Bio/Ag Engineering
is a simple technology where carbon-based waste is combusted at
in the absence of oxygen. Products
include a form of elemental carbon, called biochar, which is an effective
soil amendment that significantly increases plant growth (photosynthesis),
thereby removing GHGs from the atmosphere. Other products of pyrolysis
include gases that can be burned to produce electricity or refined
into useful industrial products. Pyrolysis greatly reduces carbon
dioxide emissions from the burning of waste and effectively sequesters
carbon (in biochar) for thousands of years. We intend to develop the
significant potential pyrolysis has for the sale of carbon credits
on the international market. Pyrolysis can be scaled to many uses,
from small villages to components of city waste treatment.
At UGA we plan to collaborate on a pyrolysis unit that will burn
large stores of coal to generate electricity for the campus without
GHG emissions. Resulting biochar will be used to restore degraded
lands in the southeast "poverty belt."
* We plan to collaborate with UGA in bringing a pyrolysis unit to the
ecological research station in San Luis, Costa Rica to treat small
town waste as part of an initiative to make the Monteverde Cloud Forest
Reserve "carbon neutral."
* In Ecuador we plan to collaborate with local planners in placing a
larger unit outside of Quito, to see if it can deal with the waste of
a larger city.
Project collaborator: Maquipucuna Foundation,
Bamboo has been used as a wood substitute for
millennia in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Because it is a
grass, bamboo grows rapidly and can be harvested repeatedly. It has
good hardness and structural strength and can be substituted for
construction wood. Bamboo can be grown on degraded lands, and because
productivity is high, a small land area can easily provide sufficient
material for a poor rural family to build and maintain their house.
At present the local and international markets for bamboo as a wood
substitute is large and growing. Bamboo has become one of the preferred
parquet flooring materials (http://www.plyboo.com/); it is used in clothing
(rayon fibers are being made out of bamboo), construction of high end
bicycles (http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm), furniture, and in
construction (http:www.guaduabamboocostarica.com). Large diameter bamboo
native to Latin America contributes to GHG reduction because unusually
large amounts of carbon are stored in the tuber roots. Bamboo is thus
a good candidate for carbon credit sales.
* In Ecuador,
the Maquipucuna Foundation has a rural housing bamboo initiative called "Earth-Wise Houses," which
we plan to help expand through the sale of carbon credits. Objectives
of the program are to mitigate global warming, create local income
through the sale of bamboo, provide an alternative to cutting
forests, and restore native bamboo habitats deforested in agricultural