Month: January 2021

2021: Resolutions for Action

Resolutions for Action

As I reflect on 2020 and our goals for the new year, I’m humbled by the enormity of the challenges we face. During his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden’s remarks noted cascading crises, including “A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis.” Throughout the past year, 3Degrees has been on our own journey to bring these issues to light.

Leadership through a global pandemic

When I’d imagined potential challenges I might encounter as CEO of 3Degrees, supporting employees through a global pandemic wasn’t one of them. Yet, here we are… working to keep employees safe and supported, including the pandemic transition to a 100% remote workforce. 3Degrees’ value of respect for our employees drove our decision to bolster the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) of partial paid time off for employees who qualified. We not only allowed employees who had exhausted Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off to use FFCRA, we also ensured that anyone who took the time off received full pay. The realities of the global pandemic, ongoing racial injustices, and remote work have affected everyone in different ways. Like many leaders, I’ve been looking for ideas for how to best support our employees as they navigate these overlapping crises. Case in point: we made the decision to close business from December 24 – January 1 to provide an opportunity for employees to recharge and rejuvenate. It was one concrete action we could take to support our hardworking team.

Our role in addressing systemic racism

I am reminded of the devastating impacts of systemic racism in the wake of the killings of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.

We — as organizations and as individuals — must recognize, address, and dismantle systemic racism.

Over the past year, we have been creating our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) action plan, establishing an accountability team, and overhauling our recruitment process. During a recent meeting of our internal DEI Accountability Team, we engaged in a frank discussion about where we see progress and where we’re still falling short. As we reflect on how to prioritize action, I draw upon insights from Erasing Institutional Bias: How to Create Systemic Change for Organizational Inclusion by Dr. Tiffany Jana and Ashley Diaz Mejias, a book recommended by our employee-led DEI Business Resource Group. I remain committed to transparency and will continue to provide updates on 3Degrees’ progress and lessons learned as we dig into this work.

A new dawn for climate action

The catastrophic reality of climate change is becoming poignantly and terrifyingly clear. Last fall, many of our employees experienced evacuation orders related to wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington. The historic size and spread of these wildfires was a frightening reminder about the impacts of climate change, and one that hit very close to home. Unfortunately, the U.S., the second largest emitter of GHG emissions on the world, continues to lag in our climate action efforts. While overall U.S. emissions fell below 1990 levels for the first time in three decades, these reductions reflect the pandemic’s economic and human toll, not significant structural changes in the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy, as noted by Rhodium’s recent report. However, last week, I got a boost of optimism when President Biden took action to recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord hours after taking office. With this renewed sense of urgency around climate action, we are more committed than ever to partnering with organizations that are establishing bold plans to achieve net zero emissions. 

As we close the first month of 2021, I am hopeful that all three of these critical issues are now a national (as well as global) priority.

If I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that we need the collective power of everyone — government, businesses, and individuals — to address these cascading crises.

Empathy, self-examination, and commitment to do better has come through during an incredibly trying year. Our resolutions for the new year include harnessing those qualities to lead us through to a brighter future. What steps are you taking to tackle the challenges ahead?

Transportation Decarbonization Solutions (video)

Transportation Decarbonization Solutions

Adam Capage, VP of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs discusses available pathways, incentives, and key considerations for organizations looking to address their transportation emissions. 

Watch the video

Conserving a Cold-water Lifeline for Salmon on California’s Redwood Coast

Project type: Improved forest management

Emission reduction type: Carbon removals

Standard: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), an Oregon-based non-profit conservation organization, has purchased 47,097-acres along Blue Creek in Northern California and is working to use carbon finance to transfer the forested property back to the Yurok Tribe. Today, 14,790 acres are conserved as a “salmon sanctuary” with protection from harvesting. The other 32,307 acres are managed as a tribal “community forest” with limited sustainable harvesting. WRC has also placed a carbon project on nearly 15,000-acres of the property. As the project area recovers from industrial management, the California Air Resources Board Forestry Protocol will credit the project exclusively for new carbon growth, meaning all the carbon credits generated can be considered carbon removals.

Saving Blue Creek, Lifeline of the Klamath River from Western Rivers Conservancy on Vimeo.

Project type: Improved forest management

Emission reduction type: Carbon removals

Standard: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), an Oregon-based non-profit conservation organization, has purchased 47,097-acres along Blue Creek in Northern California and is working to use carbon finance to transfer the forested property back to the Yurok Tribe. Today, 14,790 acres are conserved as a “salmon sanctuary” with protection from harvesting. The other 32,307 acres are managed as a tribal “community forest” with limited sustainable harvesting. WRC has also placed a carbon project on nearly 15,000-acres of the property. As the project area recovers from industrial management, the California Air Resources Board Forestry Protocol will credit the project exclusively for new carbon growth, meaning all the carbon credits generated can be considered carbon removals.

Saving Blue Creek, Lifeline of the Klamath River from Western Rivers Conservancy on Vimeo.

CO-BENEFITS

Environmental:

Habitat preservation

The project protects Blue Creek, where the riparian and upland areas provide outstanding habitat for rare and imperiled animals like marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, California condor, and Humboldt marten. Blue Creek also acts as a cold-water lifeline for salmon in the Klamath watershed. The Klamath was once the third largest producer of salmon on the West Coast, but faces many significant threats today. Salmon and steelhead are impacted by high water temperatures resulting from low summer flows. For returning fish on their journey inland from the Pacific Ocean, Blue Creek is the first cold-water refuge they encounter and this project ensures its long-term protection. Blue Creek’s cold water allows salmon and steelhead to lower their body temperature by as much as eight degrees, making this tributary critical to their survival.

Social:

Repatriation of indigenous lands

WRC is using carbon revenue to pay for the purchase of the property, implement restoration work and ultimately transfer the land back to the Yurok Tribe. Carbon and sustainable timber revenue generated by the property will support the Yurok Tribe over the long-term. Currently, 80% of the tribe lives below the poverty line. Conserving this property will help spur an economic revitalization by offering new sustainable management job opportunities in an economically depressed area. Carbon finance enables the return of ancestral lands to the Yurok, who–before this project–only retained five percent of the original reservation promised to the tribe in 1855.

To learn more about the Western Rivers Blue Creek project and how your organization can support this initiative and address its GHG emissions with verified emissions reductions, Get in Touch.

Photos courtesy of Western Rivers Conservancy

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Smart Energy Decisions: Addressing Residual Emissions on the Path to Net Zero

Smart Energy Decisions Forum

As more organizations commit to net zero targets, it has become increasingly important for them to develop plans to address their residual emissions – the emissions that remain after implementing strategies to reduce all internal emissions as quickly as possible. But it’s not always straightforward to determine all the options available or what approach will make the most sense for your organization. 

At the winter 2020 Renewable Energy Sourcing Forum, Stephanie Harris, Director, Carbon Markets at 3Degrees joined Smart Energy Decisions’ Debra Chanil to discuss potential pathways for addressing residual emissions and how companies should think about getting started or continuing on this journey. Watch the video to learn more.

Watch the video

Addressing Residual Emissions on the Path to Net Zero from Smart Energy Decisions on Vimeo.