Unpacking my thoughts after the Carbon Unbound conference
Great blog. Especially agree with your kind and wise comments near the end about how the participants in this broad endeavor are good people with good intentions. Let's support all of them. Yes, there are challenges ahead. And yes - we can overcome them. Onward.
Great insights! Hope I can come to one of these in the future!
Hi Robert. I'm sorry I missed you at the conference.
I have two different takeaway from yours.
1. The issue of MRV is an industry problem, not a buyer's problem. Elsewhere, I used the example of a gold sale. When you pay me $1 million for a bar of gold, I hand over the bar (big, 15 kg bar :)) along with a certificate of analysis from a reputable, independent party guaranteeing that it is 99.9% pure gold. It strikes me that the same would be expected for a spot sale of carbon: it should come with a certificate guaranteeing the validity of the claim. However, if the sale is part of a long-term contract, it would be fine to have the certificate issued from my own lab, as long as it conforms to established industry standards for QA/QC and is audited regularly (just like the lab I operated in my previous business), with occasional verification sampling done by a reputable, independent third party. As suggested by Phil Moss during a panel discussion, a threshold of validity must be met for offsets to be acceptable.
2. I have a different take with regards to demand and the scarcity of buyers. I deal with mining and I see a wide range of efforts to decarbonize the industry. A few companies have led the way - notably Rio Tinto and BHP - while others are barely getting started. I know of one major with several worldwide operations that recently appointed only two people to their decarbonization team. However, the industry requirements for offsets will be huge: I estimate it at 200-300 MT/yr. With total volumes of 0.5-5 MT/yr for each company, there is no interest in listening to suppliers of Kg/yr offsets. Miners are talking with us and others, are getting projects started, but they won't come look for small-scale suppliers.