As the world grapples with the challenges presented by climate change, more and more governments, corporations, schools and NGOs are pursuing steps to reduce their carbon footprints. The first step in that journey is measuring current greenhouse gas emissions. Winrock can establish that important baseline measurement by taking a thorough inventory of an organization’s energy use — a process that helps identify effective strategies to reduce emissions.
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Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.
Mitigating the impact of climate change requires tapping the power of markets. Winrock propels that approach by facilitating carbon offset trading and developing scientifically rigorous methodologies to measure and verify reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Asia’s forests are a critical economic and environmental resource for its people. Yet logging, farming and other human activities are accelerating deforestation at an alarming rate. This USAID-funded program developed a regional approach that promotes sustainable land use and establishes financial incentives for preserving critical forestland.
Indonesia has become the largest palm oil producer in the world, making the industry a vital cog in the nation’s economy. Additional economic and environmental benefits are possible if the liquid waste generated during the palm oil production process is used to make renewable biogas. The USAID-funded Capacity for Indonesian Reduction of Carbon in Land Use and Energy (CIRCLE) program helps the owners of palm oil mills produce renewable energy and improve the overall sustainability of their facilities.
Winrock provides ongoing technical support to the owners of rubber plantations in Guatemala to implement greenhouse gas friendly practices and to help assess their possible participation in climate change mitigation markets.
This program works to accelerate Vietnam’s transition to climate-resilient, low-emissions development by working collaboratively with policymakers, communities, and civil society. The USAID funded Vietnam Forests and Deltas program supports adoption of land use practices that slow, stop, and reverse emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through better land use and economic planning and improved funding that incentivizes sustainable practices. By helping local leaders plan for weather and climate risks, the program also increases the resilience of people, places, and livelihoods in Vietnam’s Red River and Mekong Delta regions.
To reduce and reverse the loss of valuable forestland and biodiversity, Colombia is developing a national strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, also known as REDD. This program aids that effort by providing technical assistance to accurately account for emissions reductions that result from conservation and by facilitating the participation of communities and the private sector.
A lot of field work is necessary to truly understand the role of forests in climate change — both the benefits of preserving them and the impact of cutting them down. As part of a NASA-funded initiative, Winrock is spearheading the planning, collection and analysis of data to understand the impacts of selective logging on carbon stocks in the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo.
The problem of deforestation in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon, is well-known. Nike is working with Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) on a unique way to raise funds to support reforestation. Through this initiative, Nike sells the carbon offsets issued to the company from ACR and donates the proceeds to protect and replant Brazilian forests.
The demand for palm oil has provided vital economic opportunities to many Indonesians. At the same time, the conversion of forests and drainage of peatland to create palm oil plantations is a leading source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Winrock has designed two scalable and replicable pilot projects that demonstrate the feasibility of improving the management of peatland areas currently devoted to palm oil production — an approach that would reduce emissions while increasing long-term sustainability.
There is a measurable impact on greenhouse gas emissions when forests are cut down and replaced with plantations. As a contributor to the High Carbon Stock Study, a sustainability initiative launched by growers, traders and other stakeholders in the palm oil industry, Winrock reviews existing tools and equations used to measure the impact of turning forests into palm oil plantations.
Transitioning land from forest or grassland to cultivation for biofuels has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Renewable Fuel Standard 2 rulemaking process, Winrock is responsible for evaluating and analyzing the emissions implications of land conversion taking place around the world as a result of increased demand for biofuels
Because forests have the capacity to store carbon, land management is a critical tool to address climate change. Fact-based decision making relies on accurate measurement of forest carbon. Winrock has conducted field training and developed a measurement methodology and manual that is being to create the biomass equations necessary to measure forest carbon stocks in Laos. These equations will be used in the country’s National Forest Inventory.
The government of Liberia has embraced Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as a tool to improve the management of its forests and capture climate finance opportunities that reward conservation. Winrock is assisting the government in its development of a REDD Readiness Program. In particular, Winrock provides training and technical assistance to develop estimates of both historical greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and expected future emissions in the absence of improved land use management. This information will then be used to demonstrate emissions reductions that result from improved land management.
Chile is investigating the role its forests should play in reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. With funding supplied by the World Bank, this program provides technical support to Chile’s National Forestry Commission as it formulates an emissions reduction program.
Heavily forested Guyana is at the forefront of global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) efforts. In particular, the South American nation has signed an agreement with the government of Norway that financially rewards Guyana for protecting its forests from development. This program enhances the agreement’s transparency and credibility by providing monitoring, reporting and verification services. Winrock has been working with Guyana since 2010 to design its approaches to account for past emissions from forests as well as emissions reductions achieved through REDD programs. These accounting approaches have enabled Guyana to receive performance payments from Norway.
Indonesia boasts the third-largest expanse of tropical forests in the world. Sustainably managing this unique economic and ecological resource is important to both the economic well-being of many Indonesians and a world community increasingly focused on climate change. As a partnering organization in this USAID-funded project implemented by Tetra Tech, Winrock’s role is to provide Indonesian government officials and the private sector with mapping, monitoring and other tools that clearly outline the impact of their development and conservation choices.
There is a high level of interest in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Colombia. Winrock is helping to develop a document to provide guidance to project developers and other stakeholders to ensure that their activities can be efficiently and effectively incorporated (also known as “nested”) into governmental REDD+ initiatives.
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