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Meet A Farmer: Justina Gutiérrez Muños

December 23rd, 2019

Offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

Justina Gutiérrez Muños is a 59-year-old resident of Mansico, near the town of Somoto in northwestern Nicaragua. She has lived in Mansico her entire life, has been farming since she was 12, and lives on her family’s farm with her brothers, mother, and her mother’s grandchildren.

Her family grows corn, beans, and sorghum as well as raises chickens. When the harvest is good the family earns income from the surplus crops, but when harvests are bad they’re only able to feed themselves and collect seeds for the following season.

On a typical day, Justina wakes up early to oversee crops’ progress and to manage field workers. She likes to be on the farm on the weekend too because it is a nice atmosphere with all of the trees, especially if it’s a beautiful day.

Justina learned about Taking Root’s CommuniTree project from her neighbor Aura Estela. She was extremely motivated to participate, because she has always liked to work with plants. During the 2019 season, her family planted 5,000 trees!

The newly-planted tree species on her farm provide many benefits and comprise Genizaro, Mandagual, Pochote, Madero Negro y la caoba. These trees help to preserve water not only for her family, but also for their neighbors and wider community. The trees improve the temperature of the farm (and the planet as well!). They provide wood, shade, better soil, and protection against erosion. For these reasons, and simply because she appreciates the trees’ beauty, Justina wants to plant even more next year. She’s also proud and competitive about her reforestation plots, and wants hers to be one of the best.

Justina and her family use their earnings – which come from the CommuniTree project’s substantial and direct sharing of carbon offset revenues -– for both planting and caring for the trees and for making farm improvements such as irrigation. In this way, their carbon income supports many activities that improve their farm and hence their livelihoods and resilience!

Learn more about the CommuniTree project at https://COTAP.org/Nicaragua and offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

COTAP’s Open Letter To George Monbiot

October 23rd, 2019

To: George Monbiot

Subject:  Plan Vivo and your “Climate Solutions Allies” duplicity

Hello George –

Greetings from the Plan Vivo stakeholder event in Edinburgh!  It was in fact kicked off with the truly excellent video w/you and Greta Thunberg.

I’m seeing that Plan Vivo is on your Natural Climate Solutions allies page (https://www.naturalclimate.solutions/our-allies).

As you know, the PV network has restored landscapes, improved livelihoods, and generated 3.5 million tonnes in emissions reductions, primarily through avoided deforestation and tree planting.  These emission reduction units are carbon offsets.  Several of your other listed allies are also involved in this form of carbon finance, which is one among many valid tools.

I actually agree with many of your points about offsetting, and COTAP makes efforts to ensure it’s properly framed and contextualized.  One of those efforts was arranging for two of our partner project leaders to appear in this recently released Climate One podcast (https://www.climateone.org/audio/carbon-offsets-privileged-pollution).  On a related note, here’s another piece we’ve recently facilitated https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/449828-americans-deserve-better-coverage-of-carbon-finance.

As you suspect, I’m getting in touch to point out that your current position on offsets and your Natural Climate Solutions allies page are at odds.  The truth – borne out by Plan Vivo for over a quarter century now – is that offsetting, done properly, and natural climate solutions walk hand-in-hand on a regular basis.  As they say, “where there is a difference of opinion, there is room for enlightenment.”

You cannot have it both ways – appropriating only your preferred attributes of Plan Vivo and similar entities, while also completely trashing offsetting – and also continue to go unchecked.

Sincerely,

Tim Whitley

COTAP

New Pricing & Projects – Effective January 1st, 2020 (December 1st, 2019 for Benevity donors)

October 16th, 2019

Important news!  This page is still being updated, please check back in the coming weeks for additional information…

Updated Pricing


  • Effective January 1st 2020, pricing will be US$15.00 per tonne, with projects receiving US$13.50 per tonne.  COTAP’s margin will be 10% instead of 9.09%.
  • For online donations and checks received on or before December 31st 2019 – existing pricing, margins, monthly/€/£ options, and project allocations will remain in effect until December 31st.
  • If, after December 31st, out-of-date portions of our website result in funds received at our old pricing, your acknowledgement will reflect the new pricing.  If that is not acceptable to you, email us at donate at cotap dot org and your donation will be refunded.
  • This new pricing is effective for funds received by COTAP on or after January 1st.  For indirect channels where COTAP receives donations from an intermediary in the month following the month in which the donation was actually made, this price change is effective December 1, 2019.  For Benevity, our largest indirect channel, COTAP receives donations 3 weeks after the end of the month during which donations are made.  This means that COTAP’s updated pricing will be applied to donations made via Benevity beginning December 1st.
  • For recurring monthly plans, existing plans will be discontinued and monthly Cotappers will need to sign up for the new plan after January 1st.
  • There will be minimum offsetting levels (which are to be determined) for both one-time and monthly donations.
  • Updated pricing in € and £ is to be determined.  As before, €/£ pricing is subject to change and is more “padded” in terms of margins to allow for fluctuations in currency exchange rates.  Projects will still receive US$13.50 per tonne.

Updated Project Portfolio


  • We’re in the process of adding at least 3 projects effective January 1st, at which time offsetting to “all projects” will be evenly allocated across the updated project portfolio, even if the new projects’ profile pages are still under construction at that time.
  • Similar to pricing, this new portfolio allocation applies to funds received by COTAP on or after January 1st, and thus applies to donations made through intermediary channels (primarily Benevity) beginning January 1st.
  • All new projects will be registered under the Plan Vivo Carbon Standard, which requires that project organizers share at least 60% of carbon revenues with local communities.
  • These projects will also have their own donation pages for Cotappers who wish to support a specific project.

What’s NOT Changing


  • COTAP is still 100% tax-deductible for U.S. residents.
  • Cotappers are still creating the world’s highest percentage of community income per dollar.  Specifically, that’s 54%+.  This is the $13.50 projects will receive from COTAP multiplied by Plan Vivo’s 60%+ carbon revenue sharing requirement, divided by COTAP’s overall price of $15.00.  $13.50 x 60% = $8.10.  $8.10/$15.00 = 54%.
  • 100% of employer matching funds still goes towards COTAP’s operations and expansion.
  • COTAP’s margin still covers PayPal and Stripe processing fees.
  • Donations which are 1) anonymous and 2) have no explicit offsetting designation also go towards COTAP’s operations and expansion.

Rationale for Updated Pricing, and Other Thoughts…


  • It’s about time!  We haven’t touched our overall pricing, also referred to as our donation rate per tonne, since we launched in 2011.  To put this in perspective, if we had increased prices by a modest 5.33% each year, $9.90 per tonne would now be $15.00 per tonne.  Finance nerds out there refer to this 5.33% as the compound annual growth rate or “CAGR.”
  • Many projects which we support also have other buyers, and they are frequently able to command US$13.50 per tonne, or higher.  Projects have finite supply and they choose whom they do business with, and when… and so COTAP needs to increase its pricing in order to be a competitive source of funding.
  • Even after the increase, COTAP still has “middle of the road” pricing.  We’ve never sought to be the cheapest option out there, nor the most expensive.  Our goal is income creation for the poor through substantial and direct sharing of carbon revenues.  We continue to strive to be the best option worldwide for those who are interested in maximizing poverty alleviation per tonne and/or poverty alleviation per dollar.
  • Yes, Cotappers will technically be offsetting fewer tonnes for the same dollar amount… but they’ll also be creating more income and alleviating more poverty for every tonne that they offset!
  • Demand for offsets in general is going up!

Trees for Global Benefits featured in Christian Science Monitor

May 21st, 2019

COTAP partner Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project was featured in a piece by Christopher Bendana and Ryan Lenora Brown titled “Cash for trees: Homegrown carbon offset program bears fruit.

Meet A Farmer: Winfred Musimenta

May 20th, 2019


We’re pleased to share this interview with Winfred Musimenta, the head teacher at the Rumuri Primary School. The school has been enrolled in our partner Ecotrust’s Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) community carbon project since 2011. A mother of five who’s been with the school since 2014, Winfred discusses how the school got introduced to TGB, the types of trees which have been planted, and the benefits which they provide.

Winfred also discusses how Ecotrust’s long-term support (from carbon offset revenues!) is instrumental in establishing and maintaining the plantings. The Rumuri school is located in Rubirizi, in the far southwestern corner of Uganda near Queen Elizabeth National Park and the DRC border.