Cassava starch production is a large industry in Thailand. It serves many purposes and is among other things used for food, animal feed and industrial purposes. As with all production, it however has its downsides. The main one being that the industrial process generates large amounts of wastewater, which emits methane when stored in open lagoons, as is the norm.
GoClimate and its members have contributed to the Gold Standard project CYY Biopower Wastewater Treatment Plant in Thailand. By installing a closed anaerobic system, the methane emissions (a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2) are captured. Methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – only twelve years, compared to up to hundreds for CO2 – so cuts in methane will limit temperature increase faster than cuts to carbon dioxide.
The captured methane is reused as biogas. The biogas can be used both as thermal oil replacement in the starch manufacturing process and also for generating clean energy for own use and sale to the grid. The emissions of the potent methane are avoided, and the energy sourced from the burning of fossil fuels is displaced.
As all Gold Standard certified projects, this project is also socially sustainable. The project has significantly improved local air and water quality and the carbon revenue it generates provides jobs for locals, while also supporting social and educational activities. The clean wastewater is used to irrigate nearby fields and allows fish farming, enabling local communities to increase their income.
The SDGs and the numbers
The project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals number 6,7,8 and 13.
97,000 tonnes of CO2 are mitigated annually, on average. Based on that the world average CO2 emissions per person was 4.9 tonnes (2019), this corresponds to reducing the CO2 emissions from nearly 20,000 people each year.
India is the world’s fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide. With its rapid population growth, energy demands continue to increase. This is why GoClimate has chosen to support a large-scale solar plant – the Gold Standard certified Greenko Renewable Energy Project, in Madhya Pradesh in central India.
India is heavily dependent on fossil fuels where coal is the largest source of energy. It stands for 70% of the country’s energy. For the climate, a shift towards more renewable energy is crucial.
The solar plant in numbers
With its annual average production of 328,000 MWh, the Greenko project has the capacity to supply nearly 400,000 people in India with clean energy every year. The solar plant could in other words generate enough electricity to cater for a middle sized city.
Each year, 308,000 tonnes CO2e on average are mitigated. In 2020 (a year incused by the pandemic) the CO2 emissions per capita in the world were 4.62 tonnes. This means that the climate benefits from the solar plant are equal to avoiding the emissions caused by nearly 70,000 people.
How the location of the solar plant is chosen
This large scale solar plant generates green electricity that goes directly to the Indian grid. The Gold Standard certificate is a hallmark and an insurance that the location for the solar panels is carefully chosen. They are often installed in desert-like environments where there is a lot of radiation from the sun and little vegetation, where the panels do not negatively affect the local ecosystem. No forests shall be cut down to make space for a solar plant, neither shall arable land be used.
New jobs in the local community
When a project of this scale is to be built in a small village, it is fundamental that they develop a good relationship with the local community. All Gold Standard certified projects have a grievance mechanism which enables community members to register and voice concerns.
On top of the project’s climate benefits, this project contributes towards the local economy through the creation of 12 jobs and has conducted 6 trainings to educate staff.
GoClimate is happy to have contributed to reducing over 1,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions together with its members. This has been done through supporting the Gold Standard WWF Meigu High Efficient Cook Stove Project. The project is located in the Shaanxi Province in the Central China mountains. It contributes to decreasing deforestation and protecting a giant panda habitat. In addition, the local community benefits from improvement in health and time savings.
How is it done?
The project is based on a process of reconstructing inefficient built-in stoves for cooking and heating into being 70% more efficient. As the thermal efficiency is improved, the new cookstoves use substantially less woodfuel. Another benefit is the chimney that filters out toxic smoke.
The project operates in the Ningshan County towns of Huangguan, Xingchang and Simudi. Theses towns are near Huangguanshan Nature Reserve in Ningshan County in the Shaanxi Province. Due to the inconvenient traffic and the weak power supply system and high electricity price, there is no other power solution to replace the wood consumption. Making the use more efficient is of utmost importance.
For the planet
Not only is the climate helped by the 1,000 tonnes CO2e mitigated as less wood needs to be collected and burnt, but the deforestation pressures on the local giant panda habitat are eased. For decades, the deep mountain communities of Shaanxi’s Ningshan County in Central China have collected their woodfuel from the nearby Huangguanshan Nature Reserve. To lessen deforestation is important. Forests help keep our climate stable and regulate our water supply, in addition to providing home to many species. The crucial giant panda habitat is currently threatened and violated, harming the rare pandas and other wildlife. Despite reports on the giant panda population slowly increasing, it remains one of the rarest, most vulnerable bears in the world. Habitat preservation is therefor key. Along with the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity is one of the current and most severe threats to the planet.
Gains for the local community
Every year, indoor air pollution causes many deaths. Women and children being the ones most involved or exposed to this environment are worst affected. The project has the potential to make everyday life a little bit safer for the local community through decreased indoor toxic smoke.
Furthermore, time is freed up for local residents to focus on more productive tasks, like working for income. The chopping and collecting of woodfuel is done faster, when less is needed.
Ulubelu Unit 3-4 geothermal power plant, located on Indonesian island Sumatra, generates clean electricity going straight into the grid.
This project – apart from producing clean electricity and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions – also contributes to Indonesia’s sustainable development. Indonesia needs to become less independent on fossil fuels, both when it comes to energy consumption and to export. It gives local employment opportunities and boosts the economy.
The great potential of geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy sourced from the Earth’s core, by using the heat stored in rocks and fluids. The difference between the temperature in the core and on the surface of the Earth drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy towards the surface, creating a source of renewable energy that is harmless to the planet
Geothermal energy is a very good way to complement other renewable energies, like wind and solar, because it offers a constant supply that is not dependent on the weather. It is therefore considered a baseload, or readily dispatchable power.Energy can be sourced at all hours and under almost any weather conditions, it is reliable, efficient, and cost efficient on a long term basis.
This kind of energy source holds a lot of potential but remains relatively undeveloped. This is due to both the high initial cost of geothermal exploration and also official Indonesian legislation, which until 2014 classed geothermal exploration as a mining activity prohibited from forest and conservation areas. In fact, about three quarters of the total final energy consumption in Indonesia in 2018 came from non-renewable sources. In addition, coal is Indonesia’s biggest export product, and there is a clear need for Indonesia to reduce the risks of relying on fossil fuel exports. Carbon sales is an important source of revenue, making projects such as Ulubelu Unit 3-4 fiscally viable, one of the reasons why we at GoClimate are so excited to be supporting this project!
The power plant
The Ulubelu Unit 3-4 geothermal power plant is located at the southern tip of Sumatra, in the Lampung province. Indonesia is home to roughly 40% of global geothermal resources. In South Sumatra, the potential of geothermal energy reaches up to 2,095 megawatts, equivalent to 10% of the country’s total geothermal energy.
The power plant has been developed by the company PGE. The capacity of Ulubelu Unit 3-4 is 2 x 55 MW. On average over 860 GWh of clean, renewable electricity is generated annually for Indonesia’s Sumatra Interconnected Grid.
So how is the heat from the centre of the earth turned into electricity? The way it works is that steam collected from the geothermal field is sent to the power plant. It gets separated from condensate and fed into steam turbine generator systems with a net capacity of 2 x 55 MW. Next, the condensate is collected and returned to the geothermal field to maintain groundwater supply. Electricity produced in this process is sold to state-owned electricity company, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), for distribution to the grid.
The benefits of this climate project
As well as producing clean electricity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Ulubelu Unit 3-4 geothermal power plant contributes to Indonesia’s sustainable development. The geothermal power plant diversifies Indonesia’s sources of electricity generation, helping to facilitate its low-carbon energy transition. By improving the operation of the existing geothermal field, the project increases community development, while local investment creates local employment opportunities and boosts the economy.
Some of the added values for the local community include the building of roads, in areas where the infrastructure was previously poor, and other community development projects, such as water supply, mosque improvements, and school upgrading.
A new report titled “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” from the IPCC was published this Monday, 28th Feb 2022. But why should we care about it? And what does it mean to us?
Let’s start by learning what the IPCC is
IPCC stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is an independent body of the UN that provides policymakers and the world with science around climate change and how it affects us. The panel reviews research of multiple scientists around the world assesses it, condenses it, and publishes it for people to understand where we are, what we are doing and what we need to do.
So, what does the report say? and why should I care?
The report hits closer and harder than other reports. It speaks about how people’s lives and the natural world can continue to be affected by a changing climate in different parts of the world and how we can respond to those impacts. It lets us know that we need to continue mobilizing, we need to work together, we need to cut emissions boldly and fast, and we need to adapt appropriately. One thing is left clear, we are experiencing climate change impacts today, the whole world will continue to feel them, and billions will feel them harder than others. And, how much and how fast we reduce emissions will determine how heavily we will be hit; “every small increase in warming will result in increased risks.” said the IPCC co-chair.
The report tells us what lies ahead if we continue as we are. We will face significant human losses, economic disruptance, loss of biodiversity, and more. It invites us to create a climate-resilient development where we reduce climate risks, reduce greenhouse emissions, enhance biodiversity and achieve the sustainable development goals.
Support projects that avoid the emission of greenhouse gases
Support others working to prevent emissions from going to the atmosphere through financial support. This will help reduce the amount of GHG in the atmosphere. You can also support projects that remove them from the atmosphere.
Engage your supply chain
Help create a snowball of action by inspiring your suppliers to reduce their emissions.
Engage with the local governments your offices are located in
Different local governments are taking action and need business allies to implement their ideas. Learn about what your local government is doing and engage with them
Climate change will not affect everyone in the world equally. Instead, already socially vulnerable communities will be the ones more affected. So we should work for a better future for everyone, not just a few.
Vote sustainably and hold your politicians accountable
As the ‘managers’ of our society, governments have a big role to play. Whoever is in the driving seat can make a big difference in how fast and well we adapt and reduce emissions. Think about this when deciding who to vote for and hold them accountable when in office. read more
Remarks from the report
Climate change affects people unequally. It will significantly affect Central and South America, parts of Africa, South Asia, the Artic, and Small Islands.
There is a small window for us to act; we must not miss it.
There is a tipping point for ecosystems and social systems from which we will not return if we reach them. If reached, it is possible we won’t be able to adapt.
We should prioritize adaptation. Finance has to be prioritized for it.
Maladaptation is a thing. We have implemented measures that falsely reduce risks and that emit greenhouse gases.
Improving social infrastructures such as health systems is part of adapting to climate change
Nature is our friend (it has always been, but let’s really take it in). Nature is key to adaptation and an essential component for keeping emissions in the ground.
Here you will find tips on how your tenant owners’ association can reduce its carbon footprint and energy consumption. In addition to having a lower climate footprint, it also makes your apartment block more attractive and resilient for the future.
Install solar panels. Depending on the location of the roof, this is an investment that can pay off in 10-15 years.
Install chargers for electric vehicles to allow for flat owners to buy electric cars.
Install geothermal heating. It can be both an environmental and economic win, depending on the conditions of your particular house.
Improve insulation to lower energy consumption
Introduce heat recovery in the ventilation system. .
Switch to LED lighting. A 20-year-old lighting system uses four times more energy than a new one.
Introduce sharing services like car and bike pools.
Make sure there are safe spaces to store bikes.
Introduce individual hot water metering. There are several exciting solutions being developed. Start-up company Labtrino has developed a flow meter that can be installed without a plumber.
Good news – we at GoClimate join forces with South Pole! The partnership will make it easier for us to avoid intermediaries when buying climate credits, giving us even better insight into the climate projects. The added benefit of getting access to their climate expertise and global network means we can do even more good things for the climate in the long run. This also means we get financing that allows us to better spread the word about the climate crisis and what climate actions are urgently needed to meet the Paris Agreement. And not least, it allows us to support more people and businesses to drive positive change for the climate. By joining forces with South Pole, we can accelerate the journey towards a more sustainable planet and have a much greater impact on slowing climate change, together.
Who are South Pole?
South Pole is an international leader in climate and environmental services, solutions and project development. It’s a value-driven social enterprise with a B-corp certification for some of its operations. In 2021 South Pole signed agreements to develop over sixty new carbon projects around the globe, with plans for again as many projects or more in 2022.
What happens now?
We will continue to work independently, with no changes in management, operations or company name. We have lots of ideas and thoughts that we can finally implement, watch this space!
The fashion industry is a cornerstone of our society, with new trends and styles coming into our closets every year. But what are the long-term impacts of our shopping sprees and wardrobe updates?
The clothing industry is a major contributor to climate change and pollution, particularly in the fast-fashion sector. The global fashion industry releases an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, a number that is expected to increase as our consumption of ready-made clothes increases.
The environmental impacts of clothes are rooted in every step of the industry, from production to wear to disposal. But can our t-shirts really affect the planet to such a great extent? Let’s take a look!
The Carbon Footprint of Our Clothes
When considering our carbon footprints, many of us overlook the impacts that our clothes have. Our small purchases add up quickly though, and with the global fashion industry reaching a value of $2.5 trillion, our clothes have an enormous impact!
The majority of fast-fashion is produced in developing nations, in factories that are severely under-regulated in their environmental impacts, and that are often coal-powered. Moreover, approximately 49% of fast-fashion is produced with synthetic material like polyester and spandex, which come from oils and fossil fuels.
Even clothes that are made of natural material (wool, cotton, etc.) have major carbon footprints. Cotton production alone uses 3.3 million acres of land and 16 billion cubic meters of water every year. The land used for material production is also a major contributor to global deforestation, with large swaths of rainforests cleared to make room for leather, cotton, and wool production.
Along with the severe impacts on climate change, the clothing industry also plays a key role in global pollution. With such a significant portion of our wardrobes made from synthetic material, our clothes have a major impact on the global plastic crisis.
At first glance, the plastic in our clothing may not seem like a major issue, but studies suggest that 35% of all microplastics in the world originate from our clothes. These microplastics break down and enter waterways when we wash our clothes, and fill the oceans with irreversible plastic pollution. This plastic even enters our food!
Clothing is obviously an essential part of our daily lives, so how do we reduce the environmental impacts of our wardrobe?
A key part of reducing our carbon footprint is an awareness of our consumption practices. Using tools like the Fashion Footprint Calculator can help us keep track of our personal impacts and help us stay up-to-date on sustainability practices, including:
– Identifying sustainable brands – Avoiding excessively washing our clothes – Best practices of clothing disposal
One of the best ways we can reduce our impact is by avoiding the unsustainable fast-fashion that makes up so much of the clothing industry, and instead opting for second-hand or sustainably-made clothes. When shopping second-hand isn’t an option, investing in good-quality clothes that don’t easily break down or need replacement can also significantly reduce our overall impact.
Look out for brands that are making moves in the right direction. For example, companies looking to improve their footprints can utilize quality testing to ensure long lasting, sustainable practices. These quality controls help reduce fabric and textile waste, and assure good-quality materials in every step of production.
By staying aware of our fashion’s footprint, we can keep our clothing choices sustainable and green.