Sitges Meeting 2012: Emission Compensation

REFRESH is concerned with the impacts that climate and other changes will have on freshwater ecosystems and how the management of freshwaters can be adapted to account for these potential impacts. REFRESH recognises that, with emissions of greenhouse gases expected to rise until at least the middle of the century, any stabilisation is likely to be at significantly higher levels than present. As well as examining what practical adaptation and mitigation steps can be taken to minimise the adverse effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems over the next 50 years, REFRESH also needs to consider how the project's activities contributes to emissions and therefore to climate change.

Many of the partners involved have institutional strategies to reduce their carbon footprints. However, looking specifically at REFRESH, annual project meetings represent one of the main, tangible activities that producing a significant carbon footprint as they involve the many people travelling over long distances, many of them by air. To reduce the carbon footprint of REFRESH, a carbon offsetting component was included in the registration fee for the third project meeting in Sitges, Spain. A local company was tasked with calculating, managing, offsetting and communicating the carbon footprint of the meeting. The carbon footprint was determined using a questionnaire completed by participants which enabled the cost required to offset our emissions to be calculated accurately. This was summarised in a carbon footprint report.

The meeting generated 44.752 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, mainly as a result of travelling and accommodation. This was offset by investment in high quality reduction projects. Two projects benefited from the REFRESH compensation;

  • BiofuelCeramic Facility Fuel Switching Project - this comprises three small ceramic businesses (GuaraĆ­, Itabira and Santa Izabel ceramics) situated in the ItaboraĆ­ municipality, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They produce structural ceramic products such as bricks, to be sold in the regional market. The companies use a more sustainable form of production, replacing the heavy oils generally used, by renewable biomass to generate thermal energy for the ceramic kilns. The biomass comes from sawdust and wood residues from areas of reforestation.
  • Hydroelectric DamBabilonia Hydroelectric Project (Mini Hydroelectric project in Honduras) - this project consists of a small run-of-river hydroelectric projects with 4MW of installed capacity. It is built along the Babilonia River, in a mountainous area with no direct road access in El Ocotal Municipality, Department of Olancho, Honduras. The main rationale of the project activity is to avoid the construction of new thermal power plants by generating electricity through sustainable, clean and secure means, using hydropower resources. Besides reducing the dependency on fossil fuels, this project will trigger local development. The project includes supply of electricity to nearby villages, provision of training in crop cultivation for local populations, construction of schools, a police station, and a mobile dental health unit for school children.

View the Emmission compensation certificate for the REFRESH Meeting at Sitges