It's about everything BUT the carbon

October updates from Carbon A List: a new paper, data science report, legal stuff, a rad comparison table, LCA conference, and a new podcast!

October has been a really busy month of making stuff happen at Carbon A List. Our mission is to help the world waste less time and money solving climate change. This month we had the great privilege to play advisor and strategist to those deploying catalytic capital and large farm groups advancing climate smart agriculture. Beyond these private services, plenty materialized that we can be public about. 

We appeared in our first academic publication! Our article The Good Is Never Perfect: Why the Current Flaws of Voluntary Carbon Markets Are Services, Not Barriers to Successful Climate Change Action was released in Frontiers in Climate. It’s a conversation starter for those deep into the world of market incentives to try to fix them and learn from their flaws. We purport that carbon markets will be most useful if we acknowledge that at some point in the future, they will be obsolete. This will be because all externalities will be baked into the entire global market and disincentives have corrected externalities. So the best we can do is treat these incentive structures as a sandbox for driving climate action. I am extremely grateful to have collaborated with Oliver Miltenberger and James Pittman on this.

Data scientists Leonardo Natale and Guillaume Le Fur produced a report on global models estimating soil organic carbon as one component of a summer project sponsored by Carbon A List. The report covers the state of models estimating global soil organic carbon stock change with a perspective on how to improve them. It was quite useful for ourselves in our exploration of doing our part supporting the improved characterization of climate interventions and hopefully others too. Thanks much to Gisel Booman & Sam Bennetts at Regen Network, Tim Tensen at TGI, and the Earth Shot labs community for the collaboration. 

It’s been a pleasure to get to work with Blake Atkerson, lawyer, fellow TechStars Alum, first employee of Aquaoso, and moonlighting Carbonalister. We produced a document “negotiating carbon credit agreements with your landlord” - it is a front end to a template that we are piloting to make the deal where they can get paid go through. Getting landlords and land operators aligned around financial incentives that drive climate impact is a major friction point. This is part of our on-going project development work to support projects that are financial incentives for planetary restoration. Is there anyone out there who needs inexpensive legal advice to make payments for ecosystem services happen? Get in touch with me, inquire within and tell a friend. We’ll save ya a bunch of cash with climate friendly legalese!  

As part of the advisement work we did for a large commodity organization, we produced the most comprehensive comparison table of Payments for Ecosystem Services in the United States for US Agriculture out there. 15 different programs made the cut. If somehow we missed one, let us know, and we will add it. Otherwise, check it out, tell a friend, and watch this video by Hope Sims explaining what’s in the table and how to use it. Feedback is welcome. The main stakeholder is the market enabler - anyone on the list or who works with programs on the list to help farmers.

I’ve also been refining what I’m going to say at the Environmental Tools for Improving Sustainability Decisions in Agriculture. My presentation is on Wednesday next week but the virtual conference goes from November 2-4. It’s on a nifty new conferencing platform called Socio and a pretty awesome line-up.

Actually, I’m burying the lead. Perhaps most importantly, I got to spend time in Wisconsin last week and anoint a new partner to the business, Dr. Nicholas Goeser. It’s been a delight working with Nick since March. We have alignment on values, strategy, and how we’re going to shake things up. Now we’re taking the company to the next level. Part of that includes launching a new podcast. Here’s the first episode before it releases more broadly. It’s a pilot. If you’re willing to provide feedback before we launch On The Climate Record further, I’m all ears.

The work we are part of cannot be done alone. Thanks to all who are, and will be in the future, fellow travelers in the journey of wasting less time and money solving climate change.