Project frequently asked questions
Q: Is carbon finance available upfront before my project begins reducing emissions?
A: Paying for carbon credits upfront exposes The Climate Trust to the risk that the commodity we purchase (new carbon reductions) may underperform or never be delivered. We prefer to structure our agreements to pay for emission reductions after they have been monitored and verified. Monitoring and verification normally occur annually, so carbon payments provide an annual revenue stream for a project.
There are some exceptional cases in which The Climate Trust will pay for emission reductions that are projected to occur but have not yet been monitored and verified. In these cases, no more than 20% of the overall payment expected to a project will be made upfront, with at least 80% of the payments still made after credits have been monitored and verified.
Q: What price do you pay?
The Climate Trust purchases credits at prices that are competitive with other high quality U.S.-based carbon projects such as those certified under the Climate Action Reserve. We recommend the following sources for U.S. carbon pricing information:
Q: What vintages of carbon credits do you purchase?
Each carbon credit represents an emission reduction that occurred in a specific year, which is called the vintage of the credit. The Climate Trust rarely purchases vintages or credits for emission reductions that occurred in the past, because the majority of our programs are designed to fund new projects. Instead, The Climate Trust contracts through an emission reduction purchase agreement to purchase future vintages.
When working with forestry projects that typically have a very long crediting period (100 years or more), The Climate Trust is interested in negotiating emission reduction purchase agreements which commit to purchasing carbon credits up to 2030.
Q: Is there a minimum size for projects?
Generally projects must reduce 50,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent over their lifetime in order to merit the monitoring and verification costs associated with monetizing carbon credits.
Q: What happens after an emission reduction purchase agreement is signed?
A: Developers monitor the carbon reductions of their projects throughout the life of the project. Third parties annually verify that this monitoring was conducted according to the monitoring plan approved by The Climate Trust. Each year, The Climate Trust receives a document that verifies the carbon reductions resulting from a project. Upon receiving this verification report, we consider the carbon credits we have contracted to purchase to be “delivered.”
Q: What is carbon finance?
A: The Climate Trust purchases the exclusive rights to metric tons of carbon dioxide that are reduced as a result of new projects that reduce energy usage, process carbon emissions, or sequester carbon in forests and soils. In order to fund a project, we must determine that carbon financing is essential to a project's implementation. Projects that meet this criterion are considered “additional” because they would not have happened without carbon financing. By making a project financially viable, we claim credit for generated carbon credits, which would not have occurred without carbon financing.
Q: How can I assess the value of my project's carbon asset?
A: An emission reduction purchase agreement sets a price to be paid for each metric ton of carbon dioxide reduced, avoided, or sequestered by a project. The carbon asset is equal to the carbon dioxide emissions reduced by a project over its lifetime multiplied by the price to be paid for these reductions.
Carbon Asset = Reduction (metric tons of CO2) x Price ( $ / metric tons of CO2)
The carbon asset alone is rarely enough to finance an entire project. Most carbon projects require a combination of grants, loans, and tax credits, with carbon payments as one essential revenue stream of the project.
Q: What resources are available to help me make a proposal to The Climate Trust?
- The first step in applying for offset funding from The Climate Trust is to fill out a Project Information Note. This three-page form allows project developers to briefly describe their project, request funding, present the additionality case, and quantify the project’s emission reductions. We provide the following tools and resources to guide and help offset funding applicants fill out this document:
- Additionality Guidelines - Applicants should review our three additionality tests to inform the presentation of their project's additionality case.
- Baseline Guidelines - We provide information to help applicants develop their own project baseline, which is the existing or projected greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of the project.
- Conversion Metrics - We provide conversion tables for carbon project calculations.
- Other Resources - We provide a glossary of terms and other tools for applicants.
Q: What is the process for proposing a project to The Climate Trust?
- Step 1: Contact Peter Weisberg (firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-238-1915 x207) to discuss to viability of a project.
- Step 2: Project developer submits a short Project Information Note.
- Step 3: The Climate Trust staff reviews this proposal. If a project looks viable and of interest, The Climate Trust requests the project developer to submit a more detailed and comprehensive Project Information Document.
What is The Climate Trust’s process for reviewing a project?
- Step 1: Staff completes project review, due diligence, and risk assessment. Upon staff recommendation of a project, staff will call a Programs Committee meeting.
- Step 2: Staff presents the project concept to the Programs Committee, which reviews whether the project meets The Climate Trust carbon credit purchasing guidelines. Staff seeks approval from Programs Committee to negotiate an emission reduction purchase agreement (ERPA) or other contract.
- Step 3: Staff negotiates an emission reduction purchase agreement or other contract with the project developer.
- Step 4: Staff presents the specific details of the project and the proposed agreement to the Board of Directors. The Board approves or rejects the agreement.
- Step 5: The Climate Trust President signs the agreement.