First project comment period a success

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Six weeks ago we asked the TerraPass community for comments on our new candidate projects, a first for the U.S. carbon market. Seven projects have now gone through the process, and all of them successfully “passed” this step. They will receive support from TerraPass.

TerraPass values transparency, so we’ve published a full summary and response to the comments we received. It’s rather detailed, and it includes a number of new steps we plan to take in response to community feedback.

Participation in the comment period was well above expectations. We’re impressed. We received 17 comments, several of them lengthy and all of them well thought out. Thank you to all who wrote in. Your attention will help improve TerraPass and our climate change-fighting projects. These comments will also be featured in the documents filed under the new Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), satisfying this standard’s requirement for stakeholder involvement.

Being meta-nerds, we decided that we needed some comments on the comments. So we reached out to a colleague Michael Gillenwater, Dean of the Greenhouse Gas Management institute. Here’s what he had to say:

I was impressed with TerraPass’ new comment period. The volume of comments is similar to those we received running federal stakeholder processes, and it is clear that both the TerraPass community and TerraPass staff are taking the process seriously. Overall, its a nice step forward for the voluntary carbon market.

Cool!

Finally, what use is the stakeholder comment period if it doesn’t move the ball forward? I’m happy to announce that the comments have led to substantive process changes at TerraPass:

  • We had several well-informed comments about documenting both the environmental benefits and costs of a particular project. As a result of these comments, TerraPass will address more fully any environmental drawbacks of our projects when we publish our Project Information Reports.
  • Two commenters worried that successful landfill gas projects could discourage landfills from creating composting programs. We agree, and have committed to emphasize the importance of composting at each of our landfill programs.

You can read more about the comments and the specifics of our process changes in the report. For those that didn’t get a chance to write in, we expect to run about twenty projects through the comment system this year, so stay tuned for you chance to help.

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tom

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  1. Erik - March 26, 2008

    I agree that this is a concrete step forward, but just to be clear, stakeholder consultations – usually far more rigorous than what Terrapass just undertook – are a standard part of carbon finance industry practice worldwide. The US is significantly behind the rest of the world in terms of protocols surrounding high quality carbon finance projects, and if Terrapass intends to keep up with the rest of the world, far more of this type of work will be required. Terrapass should consider this a first step in adhering to universally accepted offset standards, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard or the Voluntary Gold Standard. However, I’m glad to see that Terrapass is beginning to take these issues more seriously.

  2. Tom Arnold - March 26, 2008

    Erik:
    Thanks for your comments. You are right that this is part of our adoption of the Voluntary Carbon Standard as noted in the post, and that you will see much more of this in the future. Although the US is slow to adopt the project specific approach, we’re glad to be leading the way.