The onset of global climate change presents a unique paradox: it simultaneously presents an abstract challenge, which unfolds over the course of decades, as well as a real, tangible threat whose effects are starting to be felt throughout the world. One of the more challenging problems that arises is that individuals and businesses, to entire municipalities, want to confront their contributions to a problem that is much larger than themselves but don’t know how. As a result, the past few decades have seen an efflorescence of individuals and businesses that desire to mitigate their contributions to the greater whole of climate change, and are searching for solutions. Until recently, a major obstacle to any sort of broad change was a lack of resources dedicated to allowing these groups to understand the impact that they have on the environment, and then offering the tools to meaningfully contribute to fixing it.
One such program dedicated to this issue is the Colorado Carbon Fund (CCF)—a unique initiative of the State of Colorado that allows individuals, businesses, and government agencies to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through unique initiatives and outreach programs, it allows consumers to directly invest in carbon reduction and carbon offset programs within Colorado. Previous projects include a wide variety of methods to tackle current emissions — from solar powered water heaters and organic waste composting to methane capture projects at various landfills. One popular method of donation allows citizens who offset over half of their vehicle’s annual emissions to purchase a “Carbon Neutral Colorado” license plate — a custom light-blue variation of the standard Colorado plate.
The CCF first began in 2007 as a “key component in the State of Colorado’s Climate Action Plan”. It began as a collaborative project between the Governor’s Energy Office (now the Colorado Energy Office) and the Climate Trust, a non-profit based in Portland, Oregon, aimed to advance four main objectives in Colorado:
- Develop a funding source for clean energy and climate mitigation projects;
- Provide direct investment towards Colorado-based projects;
- Support the State’s Climate Action Plan in mitigating the effects of climate change;
- Provide high-quality offsets for individuals, businesses, and government agencies seeking to mitigate their carbon footprints.
Administration of the CCF is now under the guidance of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a non-profit situated here in Colorado that has an unparalleled reputation as a leader in sustainability implementation and reshaping environmental practices.
Moving forward, NCS plans to take the model that CCF has traditionally used—incorporating individual and business initiative towards carbon offsets—and apply it to broader sustainability projects that would benefit areas throughout the state. Working within the scope of projects that NCS has taken on in the past, this vision forward takes on issues as diverse but interconnected as soil and grassland management, bio-sequestration, and holistic land management—all of which would be focused on keeping sustainability and offset or other climate benefit projects hyper-local in scope and scale.
Offsetting and reducing carbon emissions has always had a certain intangibility associated with it, and we hope to build upon the unique work of the Colorado Carbon Fund to both continue to improve areas throughout Colorado and to advance ourselves as a continuing leader in sustainability. Building upon this rich tradition already present in the state, we see a great future of collaboration between Natural Capitalism Solutions and the Colorado Carbon Fund.
Please contact Peter Krahenbuhl for any inquiries.