News

Global Climate Justice and COTAP

October 2nd, 2014


As seen on COTAP’s car magnets and postcard flyers, the tagline we’ve chosen is “Global Climate Justice.” Here’s why.

What “Global Climate Justice” Means to Us


The world’s most economically vulnerable people:

  • Did not cause climate change.
  • Are most likely to experience, and least equipped to handle, the worst effects of climate change.
  • Must be included in climate change solutions, including carbon projects which provide significant and direct financial benefits to them.
  • Must be empowered to adapt to climate change.

People who offset through COTAP, or “Cotappers,” promote Global Climate Justice by creating significant, supplemental income for smallholder farming communities in areas where incomes are less than $2 per day. Cotappers help the poor adapt to climate change by funding the planting, restoration, and protection of forests which increase food security, reduce erosion, protect and enhance biodiversity and watersheds, provide shade, and serve as critical hydrological sponges.

Visualizing Global Climate Injustice with The Carbon Map


Click on the below image to open The Carbon Map, which visually conveys how our countries fit into the climate change picture in terms of responsibility and risk. Click on Wealth (under Background), then Historical (under Responsibility), and then People at Risk and Poverty (under Vulnerability), refreshing each time to get a sense of the United States’ (and that of developed countries in general) relative role.



It’s clear that developed countries caused (and continue to cause) climate change and the global poor did not. We’ve got a lot more money to fix the problem, and they’re more likely to experience the worst effects of climate change. At a minimum, we owe it to them to clean up after ourselves, and to compensate them for helping us do it.

Climate Justice Is Also About Keeping Carbon In The Ground


COTAP and voluntary carbon offsetting in general are just one piece of a greater Climate Justice picture. We owe it not only to the world’s poor, but also to ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren to take all possible actions to avoid and reduce future carbon emissions. That primarily means keeping as much carbon as possible in the ground in the first place, as explained in this 9 minute film called “Carbon.”

But How Do We Do That?


From the above clip, we see there’s five times more burnable carbon in the ground than we can afford to burn – about 2,500 gigatonnes vs. 500 gigatonnes, respectively. At that scale, only government-level policy intervention can attack this problem’s root cause of excessive carbon demand. The proven policy intervention is to put a price on the pollutants causing the problem. Economist and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains the need for a carbon price and elected leaders who’ll take action:

A lot of Mr. Reich’s logic applies to what Cotappers already do – they’re voluntarily “taxing” their emissions (but actually getting a tax write-off!), and – in the process – learning how to reduce and why we need to advocate for cleaner energy and smart climate policy. Cotappers’ average voluntary price on CO2 is $9.90 per tonne.

The People’s Climate March


Government action is what an estimated 400,000 people marched for in New York City on September 21st, 2014 ahead of the UN Climate Summit. Click on the image below to see the Flickr gallery of the many Climate Justice organizations and initiatives represented at the People’s Climate March, the largest climate march in history.

A system-wide price on carbon will certainly happen, but it will take some time. Meanwhile, there are many things you can do, and COTAP’s one of them. Even after a price on carbon is in place, it’ll coexist with voluntary carbon offsetting. That’s because if your energy is taxed, if you use the energy and create CO2 pollution anyway, and if the tax funds aren’t used to remove your emissions from the atmosphere, then your carbon trash is essentially still out on the curb. That’ll still be an injustice, and you’ll still have tools to correct it.

COTAP Featured by Years of Living Dangerously

September 22nd, 2014


We’re pleased to announce that COTAP is a featured solution in multiple categories of the “What We Can Do” section on Years of Living Dangerously’s new website!

Years of Living Dangerously is an Emmy-winning, 9-part Showtime documentary television series focusing on climate change. It premiered on April 13, 2014, and features correspondents such as Harrison Ford, Jessica Alba, Matt Damon, Lesley Stahl, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Don Cheadle.

Meet A Farmer: Fyson Mphanda

August 14th, 2014


Fyson Mphanda

Community: Kayeka village, Dowa district, Malawi
Vintage(s) planted: 2010
Number of trees planted: Approximately 600 trees: 400 trees for 2 hectares of dispersed inter-planting and 200 trees for 6 100-meter segmenets of boundary plantings.
Carbon benefit created by Fyson: 193 tonnes of CO2
Earnings to date: $507
Total expected earnings: $845 (over 10 years, based on successful maintenance of plantings)

In 2008, Fyson Mphanda joined the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope Project in order to protect his land from climate change and improve his 6-member family’s access to forest resources such as firewood. Since 2008, Fyson has planted 600 meters of trees in boundary planting and two hectares of dispersed systematic inter-planting (DSI), which will absorb more than 190 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. Boundary planting, used by producers’ farms to define field boundaries, has many benefits, including the preservation of biodiversity, the conservation of soil, and the protection of fenced area from livestock and wind damage. DSI is a system of inter-planting trees with arable crops to improve soil fertility over time, but its short term benefits include the provision of firewood, timber, traditional medicine, and increased crop yields.

Fyson has used the supplemental income from carbon credit sales to purchase a cow for his family. The manure from the cow is used as an agricultural input, an ox-drawn cart facilitates transportation, and hiring his cow to others in his community further increases his income. In addition, the trees that he had planted provide him and his family with firewood and timber, so his wife no longer needs to walk long distances to collect them. Fyson says that through the Trees of Hope project, he has been able to increase his knowledge based around the benefits of forestry systems and practice better management of nurseries and tree-based land use systems.

Learn more about the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope Project at COTAP.org/Malawi. Create income for farmers like Fyson Mphanda by calculating and offsetting your CO2 emissions here.

COTAP mentioned in Rolling Stone

June 10th, 2014


In this interview with Rolling Stone Brazil, Ziggy Marley discusses his new album, his partnering with COTAP to offset his tour’s CO2 emissions, and his father’s legacy.

COTAP in SiliconBeat / San Jose Mercury News

May 15th, 2014

mercury-news-silicon-beatMay 15, 2014

SiliconBeat, the tech blog of The San Jose Mercury News, covered the news that Ziggy Marley is offsetting the carbon footprint of his Fly Rasta tour with COTAP.  Read the article here.