Africa: UK Ministry Offsets Annual Air Travel Emissions with African CDM Project

press release

London — The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), a global partnership that facilitates financing for sustainable energy projects, and LLC, (CO2e), a leading broker within the global carbon markets, announced today their joint facilitation of a unique deal to offset carbon emissions generated from annual air travel by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2004.The deal is a first for REEEP within its newly established voluntary carbon offset facility for governments (REEEP Voluntary Carbon Offset Mechanism or 'VCO'); a first carbon offset transaction involving a governmental organisation through this mechanism, and a first for CO2e sourcing Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) for the European voluntary sector.In this unique transaction of the REEEP VCO, carbon emissions from the UK FCO's air travel will be offset by a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in South Africa.  Offsetting carbon helps finance the growth of renewable energy in the developing countries.  The UK government is the first government to offset air travel via the REEEP mechanism.  Earlier this year, REEEP was contracted by the FCO to manage the process of offsetting all its aviation emissions – over 38,000 tonnes of carbon and other high altitude emissions generated by the air travel of FCO Ministers and staff based in the UK in 2004.

REEEP awarded CO2e the opportunity to facilitate the offset transaction having selected them based on their experience and flexibility to arrange the deal.  The REEEP VCO provides a solid project selection procedure where in cooperation with REEEP, NGOs, CO2e and the respective government, the most appropriate and highest quality projects are selected for offsetting. Carbon credits were then purchased from South African wind developer, Genesis Eco-Energy (Pty) Ltd., for the first major travel offset programme by a government department.

The UK recently announced that it is also developing a Government Carbon Offsetting Fund (GCOF) to meet the Government's commitment to offset carbon dioxide emissions arising from official and Ministerial air travel from April 2006. This commitment was made by Prime Minister Tony Blair as part of the wider UK Sustainable Development Strategy, which was launched in March 2005. The Fund will deliver 255,000CERs by May 2009. UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said, "Climate security is economic security. All governments should act to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions."Steve Drummond, Managing Director at CO2e said, "We're delighted to have the opportunity to work with REEEP and the UK government who are placing climate change at the heart of their policies.  Reducing carbon emissions is the key to mitigating climate change and by acting now we could dramatically reduce the effect of climate change on our planet.""It's an exciting marketplace when you consider the need for power in South Africa and our need for financing" said Davin Chown, Chief Operations Officer of Genesis Eco-Energy.  "The sale of carbon credits to the UK will help provide us with financing for our wind project and will raise help raise awareness for further projects within the developing world and particularly Southern Africa."

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