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Why Ecotrust Canada is going to COP26

Attending COP26 to put global climate finance into nature – using the Ethereum blockchain

Why Ecotrust Canada is going to COP26

By Denby McDonnell, Program Manager, Climate Innovation

Communities in BC, Canada, and around the world are fighting to protect the last stands of old growth forests. Indigenous nations are asserting their rights, demanding that governments halt old growth logging. These forests — indispensable for carbon storage, biodiversity, clean water and air, and cultural value — are among the last ancient forests in the world. For too long resource-dependent communities have faced a lack of economic alternatives to old growth logging. That’s why we are going to COP26 — to build a pathway for international climate finance to protect forests, benefit local and Indigenous communities, and contribute to Canada’s commitments to beat the climate crisis.

At COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference happening in early November, countries will decide on how to implement Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and create a global carbon market to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). A global carbon market will incentivize greater climate ambition by allowing countries to issue and exchange carbon credits. This market will connect opportunities to reduce GHGs, like Indigenous forest stewardship, with the capital and demand to make it happen. Adding global carbon market demand to the oscillating voluntary, provincial, and federal demand gives real projects on the ground a better chance of durable success. As one of the world’s top ten emitters, Canada has a long way to go to reach net zero emissions. A global carbon market will help Canada reach its climate targets through increased government investment in carbon projects, while increased global demand among other large emitters will stimulate financing opportunities for carbon projects in Canada.

Besides the negotiations on carbon market mechanisms and implementing Article 6, countries will also discuss the role of nature-based solutions, including forests, agriculture, and ecosystems, in the Paris Agreement implementation strategy. We need to leverage nature to achieve net-zero emissions, utilizing finance tools, such as carbon offset projects that improve forest management and avoid deforestation, to help us reduce emissions while creating benefits to biodiversity and communities.

Ecotrust Canada has partnered with Blockchain for Climate Foundation to build the BITMO Platform to help implement Article 6 and create a global carbon market using blockchain technology. The BITMO Platform enables the issuance and exchange of carbon credits (what we call a BITMO) as a token on the Ethereum blockchain. Each token, equivalent to one tonne of CO2 equivalent, is embedded with all pertinent carbon credit data. For a global carbon market to reflect real emissions reductions, the accounting infrastructure needs to ensure integrity and transparency. The BITMO Platform makes all relevant data publicly available, and trades are settled immediately when exchanged, avoiding double counting of emissions reductions, to help achieve our climate goals.

We believe communities, forests, and blockchain can work together to address the global climate crisis.

As countries adopt the BITMO Platform and speed the path toward an effective global carbon market, Canada achieves a powerful new mechanism to enable protection of old growth forests and improved forest management. Indigenous communities could achieve their priorities on the landscape while obtaining revenue for stewardship and carbon storage. The BITMO Platform shows how climate finance can be directed to enhance what we value, while tackling the climate emergency and fostering global cooperation. Ecotrust Canada is attending COP26 to support forest-dependent and Indigenous communities around the world — who are already most affected by the climate crisis — and create new economic opportunities for communities to manage carbon resources through global climate finance.

[Published Oct. 27, 2021]