I hope this message finds you well. From major advances in South America, to fantastic news out of California, it is an exciting time at the VCS. I wanted to take just a few moments of your time to bring you up to speed on what has been an incredibly busy few months.
California Early Action Recognition
As you may have already heard, we have recently been recognized as an Early Action Offset Program by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), which is an important first step to transitioning current VCUs into Compliance Offset Credits, for use in the California Cap-and-Trade system.
As an Early Action Offset Program, VCS methodologies can potentially be approved by ARB, which would then allow credits from projects using those methodologies to be converted to Compliance Offset Credits. First on the list for ARB’s consideration are the VCS mine methane methodologies. To that end, ARB is currently seeking public comments on its proposed mine methane protocol. I would encourage you to offer your thoughts.
It’s Program Update Time
In just a few weeks, we will be releasing our annual 2013 Program Update. This update will include a number of new updates to key program functions such as the methodology approval process. We will also be issuing several documents that will complete the VCS requirements for Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) programs.
Just as importantly, the Program Update will be setting out how we will be working to build closer relationships with each of our VVBs to help them do their jobs more efficiently, and to ensure they continue to learn and incorporate new VCS requirements effectively.
JNR Catching on in South America
Following up our Brazilian JNR technical workshop in June, in the coming weeks we’ll be hosting two additional workshops in Peru to assist governments there in implementing REDD+ policies and programs that work best for them. So far, there are seven ongoing JNR pilots located around the world, with VCS currently engaging in talks with more than a dozen other jurisdictions.
New Staff & New VCS Phone Number
It is with great excitement that we have welcomed four individuals to the VCS team during the past few months. To begin, I am thrilled to welcome Toby Janson-Smith to the VCS team as our new AFOLU Director. Toby has been the Chair of the VCS AFOLU Steering Committee for several years now and his coming on board full time will enable us to further strengthen our AFOLU work. On the program team, Elizabeth Silverstein and Andrew Beauchamp are now working closely with project developers and VVBs to ensure that they get the assistance they need. Last, but not least, we’ll be welcoming a new office manager, Kathy Przybylski, to VCS later this month.
With such a growing staff, we’ve also needed to upgrade our phone system here in Washington. So please update your address books with the following number: 1-202-480-2282, which is the general switchboard number. Each U.S. based staff member will have a new phone number as well, so please update your address book once you receive an email from them – the new number will be in the email signature at the bottom of the email.
I again want to thank you for all you do for the VCS. With convention season now in full swing, if I haven’t had the chance to speak with you personally, I look forward to catching up with you at one of the remaining carbon forums, or at COP later this year.