Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Climatesmart™ Program Makes Largest Purchase of Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions in California Enters Into Contracts With The Conservation Fund and Sempervirens Fund to Offset 214,000 Metric Tons of Customers’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Release Date: February 26, 2008
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s ClimateSmart™ program today announced the largest investments in verifiable greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions under California’s rigorous forest carbon sequestration project protocols. With these landmark purchases, PG&E’s ClimateSmart program will purchase 214,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions, including 200,000 metric tons from The Conservation Fund’s Garcia River Forest, located on California’s North Coast, and 14,000 metric tons from Sempervirens Fund’s Lompico Headwaters Forest, located in Santa Cruz County.
“These investments mark a major milestone in the use of high quality forest sequestration offsets as an effective mechanism to address climate change,” said Nancy McFadden, senior vice president of public affairs for PG&E. “We’re honored to be making these purchases on behalf of our ClimateSmart customers. Through their commitment to the environment, we’ve been able to sequester a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions and protect some of California’s most precious resources.”
PG&E’s ClimateSmart program is a voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction program that allows customers to balance out the greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by the energy they use, making their energy use “climate neutral.” To date, more than 17,500 customers have enrolled in PG&E’s ClimateSmart program.
With today’s agreements, PG&E will now turn those enrollments into investments in forestry projects that will sequester greenhouse gas emissions. Following an extensive competitive bidding process, PG&E selected these projects because they met the stringent verification protocols set both by the California Climate Action Registry and PG&E. PG&E will permanently retire the reductions on behalf of its enrolled ClimateSmart customers – thereby deriving no benefit from the offset purchases.
“Protecting our forests is one of many solutions required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Gary Gero, interim president of the California Climate Action Registry. “We commend PG&E for its ongoing environmental leadership and for taking on the challenge to fund real, transparent and verifiable carbon emission reduction projects.”
“Voluntary carbon storage projects like the Garcia River and Lompico Headwaters illustrate the important role California forests and forest landowners can play in helping the state achieve its ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas reductions to 1990 levels by 2020,” said Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). “By purchasing offsets that are verifiable under CARB-approved protocols, PG&E has demonstrated that corporations can make progressive decisions about investing in real, measurable reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
The selected projects, owned and operated by The Conservation Fund and the Sempervirens Fund, are located in redwood forests on the North Coast of California and the Santa Cruz Mountains – both coastal redwood forests, which have the highest carbon density per acre in the world.
The Conservation Fund’s Garcia River project, which is managed in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, was recently among the first to be verified by the California Climate Action Registry. The Nature Conservancy also holds the conservation easement on Garcia, which protects the property from development. Sempervirens Fund’s Lompico Forest project is in the process of seeking verification from the Registry.
“The Conservation Fund’s sustainable management of the Garcia River Forest captures more than 77,000 tons of carbon emissions annually, which is the equivalent of taking more than 14,000 cars off the road every year,” said Chris Kelly, California Program Director of The Conservation Fund. “We look forward to working with PG&E’s ClimateSmart program to develop and demonstrate projects that can help them continue to set the standard for forest based climate change solutions.”
“Sempervirens was proud to be selected by ClimateSmart’s competitive process,” said Brian Steen, executive director of Sempervirens Fund, California’s oldest land conservancy. “PG&E's commitment to offsetting its ClimateSmart customers’ greenhouse gas emissions through the preservation of redwood forests means we will be able to preserve more threatened forest lands for environmental and public benefit.”
As more customers enroll in the ClimateSmart program in the next two years, PG&E will seek more GHG reductions through even more projects. Using the competitive bidding process, PG&E plans to invest ClimateSmart funds in a range of innovative projects, such as livestock manure management projects that capture methane gas from dairy farms and conserving and restoring California's native forests. Through the first three years of the program, ClimateSmart has set a goal to invest in projects that yield 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide reductions or more.
PG&E enrolled as the first participant in ClimateSmart by committing more than $1.5 million of shareholder funding over the next three years to make the energy use in the company’s offices, service centers, maintenance facilities and other company buildings completely climate neutral. When a customer enrolls in ClimateSmart, PG&E will calculate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the customer’s electricity and gas usage. For the average residential customer, PG&E estimates the cost will be less than $5 per month.
PG&E proudly provides its customers with among the cleanest energy in the nation. On average, more than 50 percent of the energy delivered to its electric customers is carbon free and the company is well on its way to exceeding 20 percent renewables under contract or delivered by 2010. Through its leading energy efficiency and demand response programs, the company has helped prevent more than 135 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, while saving its customers nearly $22 billion.
For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s ClimateSmart program, please visit our website at www.pge.com/climatesmart.