The US Department of Agriculture has awarded offset fund The Climate Trust a $1 million grant to kickstart its first investment fund to finance biogas, forestry and grassland conservation projects.
The Trust plans to use the cash to leverage a further $4 million in private capital and offer developers cash to develop 4-12 projects in return for carbon credits that could be eligible in the voluntary or compliance markets.
“This significant award from the USDA is a key ingredient in our plans to leverage our existing programs to attract private capital and amplify our impact,” said Peter Weisberg, program director for The Climate Trust, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Collectively, these projects could make a big climate impact,” he said.
The Climate Trust estimates investments from the fund in will result in the reduction of 800,000 tonnes of CO2e over ten years, managing more than 20,000 acres of land more sustainably.
If successful, the Trust plans to increase the fund to $200 million with the potential to reduce 40 million tonnes CO2e over ten years, it said.
Traditional investors and lenders have so far been unwilling to provide upfront financing based on a payback of carbon credits.
The government hopes to develop the fund into a new source of cash for farmers, ranchers and forest owners to conserve their lands and demonstrate to the investment community that emerging environmental markets can be used to finance such projects.
The Department’s award was made on Sep. 15, when it also awarded green group EDF a $960,000 grant to develop fertilizer offset protocols.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org