NMT - Carbon Damage Mitigation

NENO MACADAMIA TRUST

Carbon Damage Mitigation

Food security and global CO2 levels are both very serious issues facing the world today. NMT's Carbon Calculator enables you to purchase certificates to help address these issues.
 
We produce Carbon Damage Mitigation Certificates (CDMC's) which directly fund smallholder macadamia agroforestry in Malawi. We survey smallholder farmer macadamia trees which are allocated to a mass of CO2 recorded in a certificate you purchase. The certificate is allocated for a period of one year during which time the trees sequester atmospheric CO2.

The finance combines carbon sequestration and improving food security in Malawi based on nut trees planted and maintained primarily as a sustainable food source.


What is a CDMC?

A CDMC (a Carbon Damage Mitigation Certificate) links the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by a producer with an absorber of CO2. It registers the mass of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere with a process that absorbs an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. The NMT Carbon Calculator calculates a mass of CO2 emitted by a CDMC purchaser and registers it with a known number of macadamia trees that have been planted by smallholders in Malawi. The cost of the CDMC directly funds the farmers who plant and maintain annually surveyed trees that are registered as absorbing an equivalent mass of the emitted CO2.

The trees have an average absorption rate of CO2 per year and a CDMC remains valid for a year before it is retired. The purpose is to provide a strong link between those using CO2 such that macadamia farmers can receive direct funding for the trees they plant AND maintain annually. The CO2 sequestration by the trees needs to continue for 25 years to be effective. The primary purpose of the trees is for food security which then increases the security of the tree for a minimum 25 year lifespan. In Malawi the trees are also viewed as a pension crop investment, even for young farmers which increases the 25 year security of the tree.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, CO2

Carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up about 0.04% of the Earth's atmosphere.

A very important property of atmospheric CO2 is its absorption of infrared radiation from the Earth's surface. This absorbs heat energy from the Earth which would otherwise escape into space - known as the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases, such as CO2, are important for preventing the Earth cooling from heat radiation losses but also if atmospheric concentrations are too high cause an increase of Earth's temperature. Each greenhouse gas has an index known as the Global Warming Potential (GWP) indicating how significantly it contributes to insulating the Earth from heat loss. CO2 has the standard GWP = 1.

Graphs

Current atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas CO2 are now high, resulting in the rising temperatures being measured on Earth. The figures shown here indicate this.

When looking at this data it is important to note that the temperature trend has a time lag behind the CO2 trend. It is not visible in Figure 4 because of the huge time scale (800,000 years). Also to note Figure 3 indicates a strong correlation between CO2 levels and temperature but it is statistical and not an exact one-to-one match.

These sets of clear, independent and long-term data show that serious action and response to deal with CO2 and green house gas emissions are required. Increasing biodiverse tree coverage to sequester CO2, whilst also addressing food security issues with agroforestry is one of the many required activities.

CO2 Emissions

It is well established that many human activities emit large volumes of CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere. Hence it is possible to adjust human activity to reduce and compensate for CO2 emissions from human activity. A significant area of human activity that generates CO2 emission involves trees around all parts of the globe. Deforestation and the removal of trees increases the emission of CO2 whilst also reducing the absorption of CO2 which occurs when trees grow building up wood mass by the fundamental process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis basically converts water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into a carbon chain (n CH2) and oxygen (O2). The absorption of CO2 is known as sequestration.

CO2 sequestration by trees

Because trees produce oxygen and sequester CO2 the removal of trees and deforestation increases the problem of CO2 emission. The Neno Macadamia Trust is focusing on building and promoting agroforestry as a way to reverse deforestation and also mitigate CO2 emission damage. Agroforestry is the use of trees to provide food but the trees also sequester (absorb) CO2. NMT specifically promotes and enables macadamia agroforestry in Malawi with the primary benefit being food security, especially for smallholder farmers.

Carbon sequestration through agroforestry is not quite the same as sequestration through general reforestation programs because the trees are in a closer, more direct relationship with those who plant and maintain the trees. The tree itself, its structure and mass of sequestered CO2 require ongoing maintenance because of the food security it provides, rather than simply its sequestered carbon mass.

Important secondary benefits are improving the sustainability of the environment: locally for the soil in particular and globally in terms of CO2 sequestration. It can be described as Climate Smart Macadamia Agroforestry (CSMA).

Carbon offsetting and Carbon Damage Mitigation Certificates

NMT is building a way of funding CSMA in Malawi by providing carbon offsetting for people in developed countries to purchase carbon damage mitigation certificates (CDMC's) that directly support smallholder farmers who are actively planting and sustaining healthy macadamia trees. NMT is working with a UK academic organisation called Profs Who Fly as well as individuals who can purchase CDMC's via the recently developed NMT Carbon Calculator.

Early stages of the work are providing NMT with a small quota of high value CDMC's linked to CO2 sequestering macadamia trees in various parts of Malawi. CDMC's purchased directly fund the smallholder farmers which enables them and the co-operatives which they work within to invest in further macadamia agroforestry within their smallholder communities. This is enabled by the close working relationship between NMT in the UK and HIMACUL (The Highland Macadamia Cooperative Union Limited in Malawi).

CO2 sequestration by macadamia trees

The quality of macadamia tree CO2 sequestration is high because the lifetime and health of the trees are connected to the food security that they provide for the smallholder farmers. NMT is currently selling the carbon offset value at £30 per tonne of CO2 (tCO2). NMT Carbon Damage Mitigation pricing has been based on the 2018 U.K. Government BEIS analysis and data. UK Government BEIS updated short-term traded carbon values and Table 1 of the 2018 PDF. The trees linked to our certificates are well maintained by farmers because they provide food security. The ongoing maintenance improves the security, health and growth of the trees for many years, providing effective carbon sequestration. CDMC's that are purchased from NMT provide funding direct to the farmers who work to maintain the trees over many years.

Since 2017 NMT has carried out annual tree surveys which directly link trees to each CDMC that is purchased. The surveys also monitor tree health and farming conditions. The financial support and encouragement for the smallholder communities helps develop and extend agroforestry to address the food security and environmental issues that these communities face.

The NMT Carbon Calculator

The NMT Carbon Calculator enables a purchaser to calculate a mass of CO2 emission based on:

  • general citizen CO2 emissions;
  • air flights;
  • number of miles driven by a vehicle;
  • fuel used for domestic heating.

The mass of CO2 calculated is then allocated to macadamia trees planted by smallholder farmers in Malawi which sequester the CO2. NMT prices the CO2 at £30 / tCO2. The calculator provides full results of tonnes of CO2 emitted as a function of distance flown from an extensive set of international airports, or from vehicle fuel consumption and mileage information.

The purchaser can then buy the uniquely valued CDMC via the calculator. A monthly payment option for an annual specified amount of CO2 can also be purchased.


Keep up-to-date with how we are working to build food security in Malawi

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