PORTLAND, Ore. – The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University announced today that PacifiCorp and The Nature Conservancy are among the partners winning the inaugural Roy Family Award for the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project in Bolivia. PacifiCorp operates in six western states as Pacific Power and Utah Power.
As one of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the world, the Noel Kempff partnership reduces emissions of greenhouse gases by preventing deforestation from logging and other land uses. The other project partners are American Electric Power (AEP), British Petroleum (BP), the Government of Bolivia, FundaciÃ³n Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN).
The first-ever Roy Family Award ceremony will take place in Cambridge, Mass., on April 3, 2003. The award recognizes an outstanding effort by public and private sector organizations working together to protect our environment or preserve uniquely valuable natural resources.
“As a power company, we continually seek ways to reduce the environmental impact of electric generation and usage,” explained Judi Johansen, PacifiCorp president and CEO. “The Noel Kempff project has tangible benefits that go beyond carbon offsets. It promotes biodiversity, preserves forests, provides community development funds and secures an important piece of Bolivia’s natural heritage.”
With an initial investment of $9.6 million in 1997, the project partners purchased and retired the logging rights on 2 million acres of forestland adjacent to one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world – Bolivia’s Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. The purchase effectively doubled the park’s size. In addition, an endowment fund was established to ensure that it be protected and well-managed in perpetuity. The project should prevent the emission of 7 million tons of carbon (or more than 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide) during its 30 years.
According to The Nature Conservancy, deforestation accounts for 25 percent of annual carbon dioxide emissions. When trees are cut and burned they release significant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Conversely, healthy, standing forests absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. They serve as one of the few means of removing the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.
“Seven years ago, when the Conservancy brought together all of these dedicated partners, we were confident we could truly make a difference,” said Steve McCormick, the Nature Conservancy’s president. “Today, this partnership is proving that a well-designed forest conservation and management project can benefit the environment and local communities.”
Carbon sequestration isn’t the only aim of Noel Kempff’s partners. The partners have worked to cultivate economic development opportunities and improve the quality of life in the local communities. That meant introducing alternative options for sustainable livelihoods and improving the management of natural resources. The project partners also allocated resources to the five communities on the park’s edge. Funding supports revolving loan funds for micro-enterprises, health care and education programs, improvements in the water and transportation infrastructure, and legal assistance to indigenous people seeking land title.
“PacifiCorp has worked to offset its CO2 emissions since the early 1990s,” explained Bill Edmonds, PacifiCorp’s environmental policy director. “We are addressing concerns about climate change by reducing our emission rate (CO2/mwh) through commitments to build additional renewable generation and new gas resources.”
Edmonds pointed to PacifiCorp’s recently published Integrated Resource Plan, which calls for adding 1,400 MW of new wind resources in the next 10 years. The company also funded the reforestation of 1,100 acres of Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine in Washington and Oregon, which absorb or sequester additional CO 2.
In addition, the company is working with The Nature Conservancy to preserve more than 153,000 acres of endangered rainforest in Belize. The project includes developing a sustainable forestry program, while preventing the release of about 8.8 million tons of CO2.
About the Roy Family Award
The Roy Family Award was established by the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government to recognize public-private partnerships that have attained exemplary achievements in the area of environmental protection and natural resources conservation. The Award is given to specific projects that demonstrate leadership, innovation, strategic planning, community focus, sustainability, and could be replicated in other geographic or programmatic areas. The biannual award is being given for the first time in 2003.
More than 1.5 million customers look to PacifiCorp for reliable, efficient electrical service. PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Wyoming, Washington and California; and as Utah Power in Utah and Idaho. As one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, PacifiCorp generates about 8,000 megawatts of energy from coal, hydro, gas-fired combustion turbines, geothermal and renewable wind power. The company’s new plan seeks to add 1,400 MW of renewable resources, including new wind, into its generation portfolio during the next 10 years. PacifiCorp’s green pricing program is ranked third in the nation for customer participation by the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, log on to http://www.pacificorp.com
John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
“The Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project is a voluntary greenhouse gas mitigation joint implementation pilot project that seeks to demonstrate the use and protection of carbon sinks as a credible, measurable and verifiable climate change strategy. The Project also seeks to demonstrate an optimal balance between greenhouse gas mitigation, park protection and sustainable micro-enterprise development.” – UNDP Report on Innovative Forest Financing Options.
Protecting outstanding ecological diversity
The Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is located in eastern Bolivia and covers nearly 4 million acres of remote wilderness in the Amazon rainforest. The area encompasses five important ecosystems ranging from Amazonian rain forest, gallery forest and semi-deciduous tropical forest to flooded savanna and cerrado. A rich variety of grasses, orchids, and tree species bloom throughout the year. It is home to 130 species of mammals, including rare giant river otters, pink river dolphins, tapirs, and giant anteaters, as well as more than 620 species of birds. The diversity of the park’s flora and fauna make it an ideal natural area for biological research and an outstanding attraction for ecotourism activities.
“Rugged escarpments crowned by majestic waterfalls rise dramatically from virgin rain forest and blackwater lagoons, providing the setting for one of the greatest concentration of ecological diversity on Earth.” – The Nature Conservancy.
The Government of Bolivia recognized the importance of the area’s biodiversity when it designated it as a national park. The Government, however, lacked the resources to adequately protect the forests from the damages of logging and clearing for agriculture. The Nature Conservancy, AEP and FAN developed the idea for the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project (Project) and sought the financial support of industrial partners who were also interested in exploring forest conservation as a mechanism to manage their greenhouse gas emissions. BP and PacifiCorp responded to the call, and provided funding to expand the park by acquiring logging rights from timber companies on 2 million acres of forestland adjacent to the park. The funding was also used to create an endowment fund to protect the park in perpetuity. TNC and FAN raised $2.6 million of the project’s total cost of $9.6 million, with the remainder provided by the three industry investors.
Greenhouse gas mitigation
The project is estimated to avoid and sequester emissions of 6-8 millions tons of carbon or 18-24 million tons of carbon dioxide during its 30-year life. The carbon credits generated by park expansion area are shared between the Government of Bolivia (49 percent), and the industry sponsors (49 percent distributed equally between the three investors, with a 2 percent `bonus’ to AEP for its support during the project development phase).
Project participants can take credit only for carbon offsets that result from the avoidance, reduction or mitigation of emissions that are additional to those that would have happened without the project. If broadly recognized in the future, the climate benefit of the project may provide project partners with credits that can be traded or sold in a pollution credit-type market.
The project involves a number of research initiatives aimed at documenting and better understanding carbon sequestration through accurate measurements of the carbon captured within the project area. The monitoring and verification program was developed with assistance from one of the world’s foremost experts in the field, Winrock International. A Technical Advisory Panel oversees the measurement processes to assure the validity, thoroughness and precision of the carbon monitoring procedures.
The project partnership understood the necessity of gaining the support of the local people in order for the project to be successful. The project implemented educational programs on the importance of viable ecosystems, sustainable farming techniques and income production. The project also includes activities to foster the establishment of revolving loan funds for micro-enterprises such as heart-of-palm and mahogany plantings, agro-forestry projects, animal husbandry and small bakeries. Local residents are employed as park guards and forest technicians. Additional elements of community development include funding to enhance health care programs, build communication systems and transportation infrastructure, install drinking water and sanitary systems, and provide legal and technical assistance to help indigenous people obtain title to the lands on which they live. In an effort to increase park revenues, the project also provided enhancement of on-site facilities and improvement in marketing for the park’s eco-tourism program. Project funds also established Canopy Botanicals, a for-profit venture to develop and market sustainable products, including coffee, chocolate, and mushrooms. Any profits generated from Canopy are returned to the project to fund conservation and community development activities.
The primary partners include the Government of Bolivia, The Nature Conservancy, FAN, AEP, BP and PacifiCorp. FAN manages the day-to-day implementation of the project in Bolivia. A Board of Directors formed with representatives from each of the partners governs the project. The Board meets annually and ensures the overall success of the project. All partners remain in contact to discuss significant issues and revise strategies.
A diversity of interests converged for this project, producing benefits for each of the partners. The Bolivian government was able to enhance its conservation effort and substantially increase the resources available for the Park. The project helped to energize the Bolivian sustainable development agenda and Bolivia’s leadership role in the debate on global climate change. The local communities benefited from improvements in their quality of life and greater economic development opportunities, while also actively contributing to the preservation of the natural resources on which they depend. The private companies were able to explore new means of contributing to sustainable development and finding solutions to the problem of global climate change, and enhanced their reputation as leading corporate citizens. Finally, FAN and TNC received new means of achieving their conservation objectives for the Park, one of their priority areas.