15 January 2009

WRI Becomes Pioneer in Global Carbon-Offset Market

World Resources Institute, January 8, 2009

The World Resources Institute is now one of the first U.S.-based organizations to purchase Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the global compliance market established by the Kyoto Protocol.

Since CERs are used by countries to meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, under which the scarcity of CERs is tightly controlled, they are generally much more expensive than offsets purchased in voluntary markets.

“A robust compliance market is necessary to fight global warming,” said Manish Bapna, WRI’s managing director. “Our offset purchases are part of a ‘walk the talk’ ethic that we have at WRI. They also afford a number of learning opportunities for the organization.”

Carbon offsets are used by governments and organizations seeking to counter their greenhouse gas emissions from sources like building energy use and employee transportation. The purchase of offsets will fund projects that would otherwise not move forward, often in developing countries, and will lead to an overall global reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Because the U.S. is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, and because offsets under the Kyoto Protocol are more expensive, most U.S.-based organizations that offset their emissions of carbon dioxide look to voluntary markets for offset credits. In contrast, the global CER market was established by the compliance-based “Clean Development Mechanism” under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The offsets purchased by WRI are tied to the emissions reductions that have been achieved by specific projects. One is a landfill gas project in Nanjing, China, and the other is a wind power project in Tamil Nadu, India. WRI’s offsets were procured through EcoSecurities Group PLC, an independent project developer that specializes in sourcing, developing, and trading emission reduction credits.

“EcoSecurities is extremely pleased to provide WRI with CERs to neutralize its 2007 carbon emissions. It is extremely encouraging that an organization of WRI’s stature sees the merit in being one of the first U.S. based companies to purchase compliance market carbon offsets,” said Sonia Medina, U.S. country director at EcoSecurities.

In addition to the new CER purchase, WRI has long used other methods to help limit its carbon footprint. In September of last year, WRI and the American Psychological Association opened a green roof at their building in Washington, D.C. to help improve energy and water efficiency. In 2007, WRI’s office expansion was certified “gold” under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard.

A detailed report of WRI’s CO2 inventories for 2006 and 2007 can be found at:http://www.wri.org/publication/co2-inventory-report.

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