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September 15, 2022

The Merge + GR15 Mitigation and Offset Partners: This is Simply the Beginning

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“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. “ — Chinese proverb

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. “ — Chinese proverb


Gitcoin is excited to collaborate with our Carbon Offset and Mitigation Partners to celebrate the Ethereum Merge — an unprecedented event that will decrease the energy consumption of the Ethereum blockchain by an estimated 99.95%. This is arguably the biggest single reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions from any industry in modern history. Some estimate this is equivalent to removing all emissions created annually by the entire country of Sweden every year.

To mark this momentous transition, we’ve joined with Toucan, KlimaDAO, Nori, Regen Network, Helios and Zero Labs to offset and mitigate the carbon emissions fromthe last couple years of Gitcoin’s grants rounds and more than halfway to the total emissions to date. Each of these partners has been kind enough to donate offsets, carbon removals, or renewable energy credits in order to facilitate our move towards greater sustainability.

There are many diverse ways to remove, offset and mitigate carbon emissions, and each has a valuable role to play in Gitcoin’s efforts to move towards being climate positive. Gitcoin’s Mitigation and Offset Partners represent a variety of these approaches: Helios and Zero Labs use solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to mitigate emissions while Toucan, KlimaDAO, Nori and Regen Network employ different types of carbon offsets.

Gitcoin’s Mitigation and Offset Partners represent a variety of these approaches: Helios and Zero Labs use solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to mitigate emissions while Toucan, KlimaDAO, Nori and Regen Network employ different types of carbon offsets.

Some projects like Toucan and KlimaDAO use carbon credits from sources like VERA or Gold Standard and tokenize them and bring them on chain. Other projects, like Nori, are focused on working directly with farmers and others to issue new carbon credits which are immediately retired upon purchase

KlimaDAO provides protocol-owned liquidity for a variety of carbon credits to ensure broad access to the on-chain carbon ecosystem, as well as tooling for retiring different carbon credits and tracking retirement activity against climate pledges.

Part of our goal with this process is to highlight the range of approaches taken and give our community members a better understanding of how all of these projects are trying to help increase the validity, transparency and verification of carbon offsets and other forms of mitigation.

Toucan Offsets GR14 & First Half GR15 With Nature-Based Carbon Credits

Toucan connects the voluntary carbon market to Web3. For each credit bridged, one Tokenized CO2 token is deposited.

Toucan not only contributed $5000 to the GR15 Climate Solutions Cause Round matching pool, but is also contributing offsets for the emissions of GR14 and GR15 up until the merge, with nature-based carbon credits from the Indonesian Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve Project. They’ve developed a methodology to estimate the emissions of GR14 & 15, and will commemorate the offsetting by gifting Gitcoin a unique retirement NFT.

Toucan is building technology to move carbon credits onto blockchains, unlocking innovation and financing for meaningful climate action at scale. Offsetting carbon credits on-chain and via Toucan infrastructure is fast (it takes minutes instead of months), can be done autonomously and therefore trustlessly, and comes with publicly verifiable proof (the retirement transaction hash). It is also possible to independently browse and choose the exact project to offset with, instead of relying on a third party (which would traditionally be a carbon broker) to source a matching climate project.

Additionally, using web3 carbon marketplaces cuts out the middlemen who take ~50% of a carbon credit’s values in fees, making it significantly cheaper than buying/selling credits via brokers.

Klima Retires Carbon Credits from Wind, Hydro & Forest Projects to Help Gitcoin Kickstart Climate-Positive Journey

KlimaDAO facilitates the on-chain carbon market and makes retiring high-impact carbon credits easier by using KlimaDAO’s permissionless retirement aggregator.

KlimaDAO is helping Gitcoin kick off their climate-positive journey with a mix of specific wind, hydro and forest preservation projects retired from $BCT and $NBO - plus a shareable pledge page to showcase this initiative. KlimaDAO plans to provide credits from 3 distinct projects sourced from two carbon pools (Toucan's BCT and C3's NBO):

1. Pacajai REDD+, 2014 or 2017 vintage (NBO): Preserving the Amazon rainforest in Brazil with substantial co-benefits.

Image Source, Verra Registry

2. Gujarat Wind Power, 2020 vintage (BCT): Installation of renewable energy in India.

Image Source, Verra Registry

3. Song Ong Hydropower Project (BCT): Installation of a hydroelectric plant in Vietnam. Verra Registry

These projects were identified using the pool pages on KlimaDAO's tokenized carbon dashboard.

KlimaDAO retires these credits via their retirement aggregator interface for convenience and simplicity - it takes you straight from a common input token like USDC directly to retirement in a single transaction, and supports a variety of carbon pools from multiple bridges.

Regen Network Donates 150 tons of Carbon to Help Gitcoin Offset GR15

Regen Network offers a suite of digital carbon credits with ecological co-benefits.

Regen Network is donating 150 tonnes of carbon toward helping offset GR15 using City Forest Credits (CFC). CFC urban forest projects in Regen Marketplace have direct impacts on 20 million Americans in urban communities. CFC is the US national standard for carbon emission reductions through urban forest preservation and carbon removal through urban tree canopy reforestation.

Regen Network’s blockchain infrastructure is the origination system for natively blockchain nature-based credits, catalyzing regenerative finance solutions to the climate crisis. Regen Marketplace makes it possible to define, manage, mint, and sell tokenized carbon and other ecological assets. It is a neutral, sovereign appchain to serve the demands of the growing climate impact movement and market for nature-based carbon and ecological assets.

Regen Marketplace makes it possible to define, manage, mint, and sell carbon and other ecological assets natively on the blockchain. Entities striving to meet their climate commitments are encouraged to purchase and retire tokenized credits for carbon offsetting purposes, effectively removing carbon dioxide and other GHG from the atmosphere. Blockchain protocols and dApps are encouraged to package and export tokenized carbon for DeFi or consumer climate impact apps.

As Regen Network onboards more partners to participate in the growing ecosystem of climate impact champions, like Moss.Earth, Open Earth Foundation, Earthbanc, ERA Brazil, Shamba Protocol, and Terra Genesis International, the protocol hopes to gain mainstream participation in the end-to-end lifecycle of seamlessly designing, tokenizing, and purchasing carbon credits to retire them for climate change impacts. Over 20 partners are currently designing new ecological assets within Regen Marketplace, giving consumers access to a climate-positive economic system.

Helios Contributes Renewable Energy Certificates Toward GR15

Helios is using web3 to create new solar financing mechanisms so that everyone can be part of the clean energy climate solution.

Helios will contribute RECs from their solar installations in Pune and Kerala, India, offsetting emissions using the same installations funded by the community back in GR13.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) represent 1 megawatt of electricity generated by renewable means (ie solar, wind, hydro). Unlike a carbon credit, RECs directly address the carbon problem by reducing emissions at the source, rather than counting it after the fact.

Helios is a DeFi protocol that connects the trillions of dollars locked in crypto to profitable solar projects in dire need of funding, accelerating the transition to clean energy in regions like India, Africa, and Latin America. By bridging solar investment to the crypto economy, Helios enables anyone anywhere to make a real difference in the fight against climate change.

Nori contributes 100 Nori Carbon Removal Tonnes to GR15

Nori is a carbon removal marketplace focused on addressing past emissions.

Nori will contribute 100 carbon removal tonnes to Gitcoin’s GR15. These carbon removal offsets address existing carbon emissions and thus have the ability to reverse climate change.

Nori is a blockchain carbon removal marketplace exclusively focused on carbon removal offsets, which address past emissions, as opposed to reduction and avoidance offsets, which aim to reduce or eliminate future emissions.

Caption: Carbon removals are the only way to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere to reverse climate change.

Since its founding in 2017, Nori has developed and deployed their first carbon removal methodology—soil carbon sequestration—which is the source of the Nori Carbon Removal Tonnes (NRTs). Nori’s carbon removal offsets are currently sourced by working with regenerative farmers who sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their soils. The carbon amounts are measured and verified by independent third parties: Soil Metrics and Aster Global. In the future, Nori will develop new carbon removal methodologies beyond soil carbon. To date, Nori has removed over 117K tonnes of carbon while paying out over $1.8M to regenerative farmers.

Nori ensures immediate retirement of these carbon removals on-chain so that they can never be re-sold, eliminating the double-counting problems that have plagued the carbon offsets industry in the past.

View Gitcoin’s Certificate for 100 Nori Carbon Removal Tonnes.

Nori provides the financial infrastructure to encourage carbon removal at scale while advancing new carbon removal methodologies. You can visit Nori’s website to learn more about how Nori Carbon Removal Tonnes (NRTs) are created, and to see the current state of the carbon removal Registry.

Zero Labs Contributes Tokenized RECs to Enable Decarbonization of the First Half of GR15

Zero Labs embeds renewable energy into any digital process and software, forging a sustainable future with Programmable Decarbonization.

Utilizing Renewable Energy Credits (RECS) and Green NFTs, Zero Labs assigned Gitcoin’s energy consumption (for the first half of GR15) to a global distribution of RECs, in this case from Europe (France) and form Canada:

1. 115 MWh produced in 2022 from a France Wind Turbine

2. 115 MWh produced from Nov 2021- to Feb 2022 from a Canadian Hydropower plant

The consumption is then matched with Green NFTs fractions from their tokenized RECs. These RECs have a “bi-directional link” that mutually connect the information visible on off-chain redemption statements provided by legacy Registries and Zero Labs’ on-chain certificates.

Zero Labs builds radically accessible and transparent tools that make it easy for anyone anywhere to buy renewable energy and prove it on a blockchain. They do this by:

  1. Tokenizing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and turning them into non-visual NFTs that can be fractionalized to the Watt-hour level.
  2. Building a simple web2 API that abstracts away the complexities of working with energy and web3 NFTs, enabling any developer in the world to integrate web3 tech into their projects.
  3. Building human readable Green Proofs on top that allow anyone to both tell the story of their impact and to verify the actual data without a PhD in blockchain explorer analytics.

These digital RECs become the programmable building blocks that enable businesses and individuals worldwide to automatically integrate decarbonization into their operations and everyday lives.

Advantages of the Zero Labs Solution:
  • 🎯because the data is based on electric metre, RECs are deterministic and faster to get than any other type of impact certificates
  • ⚖️The Zero Labs’ tokenization protocol uses the industry’s best practices and plugs into REC Registries; this makes the process digital, faster, easier and more accessible to anyone
  • 🍰Fractions = 🔍higher resolution, both in space and time, to match any electric consumption with provable green energy
  • 🤖Programmable = automatic = if everyone embedded renewable energy into their digital processes, we would not have to think about it, climate-action would just happen
  • This is a UX for the planet and one you can adopt in your business today

Together with our Carbon Offset and Mitigation Partners, we acknowledge that the Ethereum Merge is just the beginning of the potential good that can be accomplished with this public open source technology. We pledge to continue to collaborate to address the urgent climate crisis and improve the health, security and well-being of our planet and all living beings.

We hope these actions will encourage organizations that may have been interested in the real world use cases of web3 technology but may have hesitated to explore what is possible will now take a second look. Together we can all play a role in charting a path forward for the responsible use of this innovative technology. You can join the movement to offset Ethereum’s historical carbon footprint by joining the Merge4Climate Discord and adding your name to the Sign on Statement congratulating the decentralized team of over 100 developers who have contributed to making “the merge” a reality.

- Team Gitcoin

Thank you to Coleen and Ben for co-creating this piece.

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