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Project Updates

Low Emission Urban Transportation in
Latin America and the Caribbean


SIG Senior Scientist Scott Muller (above, left) helped organize and lead a workshop on Low Emission Urban Transportation in Latin America and the Caribbean last month in Lima, Peru.


For the full story, see Scott's blog post at the Climate & Development Knowledge Network. Photo courtesy Libelula.com.pe.


Low-risk Bioenergy Can Be A Critical Climate Solution

SIG scientists Thomas Buchholz, John Gunn, and David Saah (also of the University of San Francisco) collaborated with Emily McGlynn of The Earth Partners and Brian Kittler of the Pinchot Institute to publish an opinion piece at the Ecosystem Marketplace. The piece highlights the potential climate and ecosystem benefits of low-risk bioenergy feedstocks that include biomass waste that otherwise decay in a landfill, forest residues that would otherwise be burned in piles in the field, and byproducts such as sawdust and wood chips from timber processing.


The full opinion piece can be found at the Ecosystem Marketplace.


See also, "Carbon Dioxide Emissions Calculations for Forest Biomass Energy Projects are Dependent Upon Regionally-Specific Conditions" for a related piece.


New Partnership Allows Remote Alaskan Villages to Mitigate Climate Change and Protect Forests

January 13, 2015

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Native Alaskan villages will be soon be able to fight climate change while protecting native forests, thanks to a new partnership between the Maine-based National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC) and the Alaska Carbon Exchange (ACE).


The partnership will develop verified carbon offsets from Alaska Native Corporation lands using state-of-the-art technology to quantify the carbon stocks on the remote tundra and forests of Alaska. The technical work will be led by the Spatial Informatics Group-Natural Assets Laboratory (SIG-NAL), a non-profit research organization with offices in Maine and California.


The NICC is a non‐profit program of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council. ACE is a program of the Alaska Village Initiatives, which facilitates economic development in rural Alaska.


Alaska Village Initiatives Executive Director, Charles Parker said the following about the partnership, “Alaska’s rural communities have been feeling the negative effects of climate change for years. With the Alaska Carbon Exchange we are looking to address this issue with a program which protects our traditions and culture, revives our rural economy, and helps protect and renew our land. Our land has sustained us for generations, and with programs like these it can continue to sustain us for generations to come.”


John Gunn, Executive Director for SIG‐NAL said that “Measuring and monitoring above‐ground carbon stocks can be costly and logistically challenging in remote landscapes. We’re excited to have this opportunity to test new approaches that will help remote villages gain access to global carbon offset markets.”


The Program Director for NICC, Erick Giles, said “We are honored for the opportunity to sustain indigenous communities and protect forest ecosystems. We believe this partnership with ACE will flourish and become a model of innovation that transforms environmental markets in Indian Country.”


The carbon credits will likely be sold in the voluntary carbon market, where organizations purchase the credits to reduce environmental impacts. NativeEnergy, a leading carbon project developer and retailer, believes the carbon credits generated by the ACE program will be very attractive to their credit buyers. “NativeEnergy’s first initiatives were renewable energy projects on tribal land. Our clients want to support Native American tribal efforts to protect their land and culture. The environmental benefits generated give us the mechanism to make the connection,” says Jeff Bernicke, CEO of NativeEnergy.


More information about the National Indian Carbon Coalition can be found at www.indiancarbon.org.



REVIEWS: July 2013 Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Independent Science Panel Concludes Review


The HFQLG Independent Science Panel Congressional Review include SIG and SIG-NAL members Dave Saah, John Gunn, and David Ganz (now of LEAF and Winrock Int.). The Panel was convened by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation to review the implementation of the landmark HFQLG Pilot Project on the Plumas, Lassen, and Tahoe National Forests in the Sierra Nevada region of northern California. The review began in 2007 and concluded recently with a series of interviews in March and a draft report submitted to the US Forest Service at the end of May. The final report will be submitted to Congress in July. For more information on the HFQLG Pilot Project, click here.


VISITS: April 2013
SIG Senior Scientist visits Kenya and Uganda


Dr. Thomas Buchholz made visits to Kenya and Uganda in April 2013 as part of a regional biomass-based rural electrification effort. His visit was intended to energize a future collaboration with the newly established Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development (CERESD) at Strathmore University, and to develop a larger support network for the private sector investing in the renewable energy East Africa.


During the trip, Dr. Buchholz gave a guest lecture at Strathmore University and made a field trip to tea plantations in Kericho with a high bioenergy potential. Field visits also included an innovative bamboo bioenergy plantation in the Aberdare Range and meetings with local bioenergy technology providers. The Ugandan portion of the trip was highlighted by meetings with Pamoja Cleantech AB, a for profit social enterprise based in Stockholm that is managing a small-scale (10 kW) biomass gasification pilot project in rural Uganda. The company has developed an innovative and unique business plan for installation of up to 60 similar units in different locations in Uganda. By the end of 2014 the company will maintain and operate 6 gasification units in the range of 10-40 kW. During his visit, Dr. Buchholz discussed the current status and next steps (including the siting and design of a biomass plantation and implementation of a sustainability assessment and monitoring framework) concerning the pilot system with Pamoja Cleantech AB with local staff and representatives of the international office in Sweden. Dr. Buchholz also met with faculty at Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda) and gave guest lectures to graduate students.


See: Buchholz, Thomas, Izael Da Silva, and John Furtado. "Power from wood gasifiers in Uganda: a 250 kW and 10 kW case study." Proceedings of the ICE-Energy 165.4 (2012): 181-196.



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