1 Carbon Neutral ity Protocol for Costa Rica Protocolo de la neutralidad de c arbon o p ara Costa Rica Kayla Parker Instituto Monte Verde/ Mt. Holyoke College Professor Carlos Guindon April 14 , 2014 Abstract Costa Rica is seeking to become the firs t carbon neutral country by 2021 . As part of this goal, businesses and organization that operate in Costa Rica will be required to produce GHG inventories or face monetary penalties. T he original goal of thi s project was to produce a complete greenhouse gas GHG inventory , as defined by the international standards of ISO 14064, of the organic coffee farm known as La Bella Tica locate d in Alto San Luis, Costa Rica. After extens ive research, it was found that the specific equations for calculating GHG emissions are not readily available to the public and a complete report was not possible . This report seeks to fill the information gap, and provide an overview of the sta ndards as well as the process for obtaining certification for carbon neutrality in Costa Rica . Re sumen Costa Rica estÃ¡ tratando de convertirse en el primer paÃs carbÃ³n neutral para el aÃ±o 2021 . Como parte de este obj etivo, se requerirÃa que las empresas y organizaciones que operan en Costa Rica para producir inventarios de GEI o enfrentarse a sanciones monetarias. El objetivo original de este proyecto era producir un inventario completo de GEI, segÃºn la definiciÃ³n de los estÃ¡ndares internacionales de la ISO 14064, de la finca de cafÃ© orgÃ¡nico conocido como La Bella Tica ubicada en Alto San Luis, Costa Rica. DespuÃ©s de una extensa investigaciÃ³n, se encontrÃ³ que las ecuaciones especÃficas para el cÃ¡lculo de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero no estÃ¡n fÃ¡cilmente disponibles para el pÃºblico y un informe completo no fue posible. Este informe trata de llenar el vacÃo de informaciÃ³n, y proporcionar una visiÃ³n general de las normas, asÃ como el proceso para obtener la certificaciÃ³n de carbono neutral. Introduction Climate change is a global issue that has consequences for all of humanity. It is an issue that needs to be approached with a sense of urgency. In the latest report 2013 on climate change by the Intergo vernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC, studies found that ocean surface temperatures are rising and artic ice sheets are losing mass IPCC, 2013 . The report also found
2 that the largest contribution to climate change is Â€the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2Â IPCC, 2013 . Reduction in the release of CO2 and other gases that contribute to the carbon content in the atmosphere are imperative to reducing the effects of climate change. The international community has demonstrated itsÂ‚ commitment to addressing the issue . Actions have mostly included setting and achieving emission reduction targets. The Kyoto Proto co l, which entered into force February 16 , 2005 is an international agreemen t by which signing parties commit to i nternationally binding emission reduction targets Â€ Kyoto ProtocolÂ . Costa Rica has signed and ratified the Protocol , demonstrating its commitment to reducing carbon emissions Â€ Kyoto ProtocolÂ . Costa Rica has also t aken this commitment a step further by setting even higher national goals, which include total carbon neutrality. In February of 2007, Energy and Environment Minister Roberto Dobles revealed Costa RicaÂ‚s plan to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021, the tri centennial anniversary of independence Vargas , 2007 . The plan includes, but is not limited to , switching all of Costa RicaÂ‚s energy production to renewable sources and purchas ing carbon offsets in the national or international market V argas , 2007 . New Costa Rican laws would put a tax on carbon emissions for businesses Vargas, 2007 . The protocol f or determining carbon equivalent emissions for businesses and institutions is b ased off of an international standard created in March of 2006 by the International Organization for Standardization ISO Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â. The ISO 14064 has three parts, the first requires establishing a baseline year for GHG emissions for the business or institution Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â . The second requires quantifying and reporting of emission reduction activities Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â . The third standard calls for a trained e ngineer or internal entity to confi rm that the baseline year GHG emission calculations are accurate within 5% Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 3Â . If they are not, then the proc ess must begin again, with the baseline year re calculated. It is fin ancially beneficially for businesses to c reate GHG inventories
3 to avoid being taxed in the future for carbon emissions that are not offset and they can potentially gain a market advantage by obtaining the carbon neutral certification status. In order for Costa Rica to become the first carbon neutral country, all businesses will have to undergo this assessment according to the standards set in the ISO 14064 Vargas, 2007 . With the deadline fast approaching, there is still a lack of clear, accessible infor mation on the process for meeting these standards. The goal of this study was to clarify the steps of the norms established in Costa Rica INTE 12 01 06 2011 , which include the steps of the ISO 14064 outlining the full process that businesses would have to go through to obtain certification of carbon neutrality and provide examples of the data needed to run the calculations to determine GHG emissions. The gases that are included in the Costa Rican inventory are CO2, SF6, CH4, N2O, HFCs and PFCs Segura , 2013 . Collectively, these gases are known as GHGs, as they contribute to the Â€greenhouse effectÂ in the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect refers to the process by which gases in the earthÂ‚s atmosphere, such as c arbon, absorb infrared radiation waves and re emit them in all directions , thus trapping heat energy in the atmosphere Â€ Kyoto ProtocolÂ . For my case study site, I selected La Bella Tica as it presents a u nique case due to the propertyÂ‚sÂ‚ use as a site for education and agricultural tourism. Thus the house the family lives in on the property is also the building where tourists are hosted and the product is sold. The GHG emissions report must include the energy used by the family for activi ties not related to the business because the house doubles as the physical place of business. For GHG emission calculations for Costa Rica, I suggest using the emission tables provided in the article Factores de EmisiÃ³n de Gases de Efecto Invernadero . These values have been calculated specifically for Costa Rica, and take into account the tropical climate. According to ISO 14064, all values for GHG emis sions are to be measured in ton es of CO2e Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â.
4 Methodology I conducted a literature review and consulted with organizations administering certifications for carbon neutrality in Costa Rica in order to determine the documentation and procedures necessary for this process. I then selected a local organization to use as a case study for applying the protocol. I planned on collecting m y data from the organic co ffee farm known as La Bella Tica located in Alto San Luis, Costa Rica. The farm mainly grows shade grown coffee for commercial sale, but other agricultur al pr oducts are produced and grown for consumpt ion by the family and visitors. To organize data collection, I suggest using the t able created and distributed by Climate Friendly Food, a UK based organization, as part of their Farm Carbon Calculator Appendix 1 . This table allows the user to collect data in the field and then input the data into an excel spreadsh eet, which preforms that calculations. There are no values available for free to the public for Costa Rica for all of the categories, but I was able to calculate values for a few data points. I have attached the full data chart provided by FCC as an example of th e type and scope of data that are needed in order to perform a complete inventory . Results Finca La Bella Tica was selected as my test site. I attempted to collect some of the necessary data for emission inventories from this farm through conversation with the owner, Oldemar. He seemed very interested in learning about the proce ss. I was unfortunately unable to collect any data , as the data requ ired Oldmar spend time rev iew ing receipts from the past year . The process of obtaining certification is long, and requires time and money. The first step is creating the base year GHG inventory Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â . Once the inve ntory is complete, the company is also asked to identify plans to reduce emissions Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â . Then, an e xternal source verifies the original assertion of emissions against their own data , which they collect independently . If there is a
5 discrepancy of over 5%, the baseline year is calculated again and verification begins again. All of these steps m ust meet the extensive standards of the ISO 14064. A certification company, such as the Instituto Nacional de TecnologÃas de la ComunicaciÃ³n INTECO is necessary to evaluate emission inventories. Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â Services from companies such as this one carry a fee based on the size of the business. A summary of the standards is as follows: As stated before, ISO 14064 has three major sections, each with their own criteria and goals. Part one makes up the bulk of the standards. The first section provides criteria for GHG inventories. The goal is to establish a baseline year for GHG emissions. The data can be collected for either one full calendar year or be collected for several previous years and then averaging the results. Part one has 8 major sections and 21 subsections. The three main points of this section are as follows: Â· Establishing invento ry boundaries, organizational vs. operational Â· Quantifying GHGs, in tonnes of CO2e Â· Reporting GHGs accurately Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â . Operational boundaries are activities that are directly controlled by the business that produce GHG s such as direct and indirect energy uses; they exist within the larger umbrella of the organizational boundaries. Organizational boundaries refer to the facilities controlled by the organization; these facilities might be part of completely different in dustries in the case of larger corporations. The same methodology must be applied to all parts of the organizational boundaries Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â. The GHG inventory should include both sources of GHGs activities that have a pos itive carbon output level and sinks the trapping of carbon or activities that produce a negative emission total. Emissions can be produced from direct and indirect sources. Indirect sources can be emissions from employees traveling to and from work in t heir personal vehicles, transportation of products, and even outsourced manufacturing. Direct
6 emissions can be energy directly used for everyday operation of facilities Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â. To review, part one requires the busin ess to establish a quantification methodology including establishing scope, operational and organizational boundaries, collecting data, and producing a final report of the completed inventory. Part two defines the standards for quantification and repor ting of emission reductions from activities. These activities could include actions such as switching company cars to hybrids or replacing old light bulbs with new LEDs in all facilities. These are separate from any carbon sinks that have already been incl uded in the initial calculations for part one Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 1Â. Part three includes the process for verifying results and obtaining certification. An internal or external source that has had the proper training can complete t he verification process. The evaluator collects their own set of data and compares it to the assertion or baseline year. The business will also be asked to explain their methodology choices and any omissions in their report. There is a materiality threshol d, which allows for a certain amount of data to be omitted, for determining if omissions are insignificant or significant Â€Indian Standard Greenhouse Gases Âƒ Part 3Â. After the assessment, verification and certification can proceed , and is done according to separate national standards. Discussion The ce rt i fic ation process is longer, and more complex than I expected. Although, the standards are thorough, which is beneficial for ensuring companies that obtain carbon neutral certification are taking into account all GHG emissions by the business or institution. It is also interesting that the ISO 14064 differentiates bet ween organizational and operational boundaries when creating GHG emission inventories. It would be difficult for small or medium sized businesses to take the time away from other projects to conduct the inventory. It might even be
7 ben e ficial for businesses to hire a person, who may or may not be affiliated with a certification company, to create the initial inventory because of the time involved in creating the report. Further studies could look to conduct a complete inventory. This baseline inventory could then potentially be used to obtain carbon neutral certification. In the broader picture, Costa RicaÂ‚s goal of becoming carbon neutral is a step that other nations in the world will even tually have to follow. Humanity cannot survive if the world continues on this upward trend of warming. Acknowledgements Carlos Guindon Âƒ For helping me with research and defining the scope of the project, and for trans lating. Ol demar Âƒ For being inter ested in the topic and providing the data used in this report. MVI Âƒ For providing facilities. Literature Cited Anon. 2014. Kyoto Protocol. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. "Indian Standards Greenhouse Gases Part 1." https://law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/S02/is.iso.14064.1.2006.pdf. "Indian Standards Greenhouse Gases Part 3." https://law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/S02/is.iso.14064.3.2006.pdf. IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of W orking Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Pan el on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G. K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midg ley eds.]. S egura , A. 2013. GuÃa MetodolÃ³gica: CÃ¡lculo del Inventario de Gases de Efecto Invernadero de Actividades y Eventos Corporativos. San JosÃ© . Vargas , A . 2007. PaÃs quiere ser primera naciÃ³n con balance neutro de carbono . La NaciÃ³n, San Jose.
8 Appendix Data Chart for Calculating GHG Emissions for Organic Farms in the UK Âƒ Farm Carbon Calculator http://www.cffcarboncalculator.org.uk/