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FAQ - Carbon Neutral Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

What does the project consist of?

The project consists of making the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal carbon neutral. The project will also be a pilot for producing a guide and training events for all festivals wishing to reduce their climate footprint.

Who are the project partners?

  • The Festival de Jazz International de Montréal, which acts as a pilot case for the project.
  • Rio Tinto Alcan, which is paying for the carbon offsets.
  • The Fonds d’action québécois pour le développement durable (Quebec Action Fund for Sustainable Development), which is financing the development of a calculation methodology and of a guide for other festivals.
  • Planetair, which will provide the carbon offsets, produce the guide, and which will train other festival staff.

What is the Festival offsetting?

The Festival will be offsetting the entirety of its operations, including:

  • Artists travel to the Festival and local transportation;
  • Year-round business travel by Festival organizers;
  • Staff commuting to the Festival site;
  • Generators;
  • Festival vehicle use;
  • Electricity consumption; and
  • Artists accommodation.

How many climate-damaging emissions will be offset?

The objective of this project is to establish the Festival’s emissions. Preliminary estimates based on 2007 data indicate that emissions will be approximately 2000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This is equivalent to the per capita emissions of some 87 Canadians over the course of a full year.

What about Festival participants and suppliers?

For a long time, the Festival has been encouraging its more than 2 million participants to use public transportation to get to the Festival site. The Festival is planning to promote individual offsetting among its spectators and addressing climate change among its suppliers in the future.

What is carbon neutrality?

It is impossible to reduce our carbon emissions to zero, no matter how hard we try. Carbon neutraly is defined as calculating total climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions from an event, organization or business, reducing them where possible, and then balancing the remaining emissions by purchasing high quality carbon offsets.

What is carbon offsetting?

A ton of CO2 emitted anywhere in the world has the same impact on our climate. In practice this means that we can offset emissions we cannot reduce ourselves by financing emission reductions elsewhere. These emission reductions are obtained through renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. This approach is central to the Kyoto Protocol.

What is a carbon credit?

A carbon credit is a document confirming that one ton of climate-damaging emissions has been reduced.

How can we know offsets are real?

In order to generate a carbon credit, emission reducing projects have to comply with strict standards, be third party verified and be approved by a recognized international or national authority. Each credit must be traceable to one project in a given year. It is the only guarantee that emissions have been reduced. Credits can then be traded on the market or retired.

Who supports carbon offsetting?

A number of the most influential environmental NGOs support offsetting, including Conservation International, the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, NRDC, the Pembina Institute, and WWF, among many others. Offsetting is also a key mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. Companies and organizations that use voluntary offsetting include, Dell, Edelman Canada, the FIFA World Cup of Soccer 2006, Fortis, Google, HSBC, NewsCorp, Swiss Re, and the World Bank.

Where will the offset money go?

The money will go to Planetair, a Montréal-based non-profit supplier of high-quality carbon offsets. Planetair has committed to invest 80% of the funds it receives in Gold Standard-certified emissions reductions projects. All of Planetair’s projects are managed by myclimate, consistently ranked among the top offset suppliers in the world. Project examples include the following:

Wind Energy in Antisarana, Madagascar (Gold Standard VER)

We are co-financing the first-ever wind park in Madagascar, in the northern community of Antisarana. The community currently gets is electricity from a diesel generator. Due to the high oil prices and the resulting high cost of electricity, demand for firewood in the community has risen dramatically, threatening the local forests. The six wind generators reduce this pressure by creating stable electricity prices, while improving air quality. The windmills will enable a reduced dependence on diesel as a source of electricity. Parts of the windmills are manufactured locally, transferring technology and creating employment. As a result of this project, our Madagascan project partner is planning to install similar windmills elsewhere in the region.

Micro-hydropower in Salido Kecil, Indonesia (Gold Standard VER)

This project on the island of Sumatra is providing renewable energy to a rural region. An obsolete hydropower plant is being renovated and brought to its full capacity. In addition to the project’s climate benefits realized through the substitution of diesel generated power, the project improves the economic, social and ecological situation in the region. Power cuts due to inadequate capacity are extremely common in rural Indonesia. The restored plant allows the local population to benefit from a more stable supply - a vital requirement for the local economy. The construction and operation of the facility also create employment. The plant has no additional impact on the environment, as it is built upon existing infrastructure.

What are gold standard offsets?

Not all offsets are created equal. The Gold Standard is widely considered to be the highest standard in the world for carbon offsets. Only offsets from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects qualify for the Gold Standard, as these projects encourage a shift away from fossil fuel use and carry inherently low environmental risks. The Gold Standard also ensures that projects carrying its label bring socio-economic dividends and contribute to local sustainable development in poor communities. The Gold standard is fair trade carbon.

The Gold Standard is an independent quality certification supported by over 50 nongovernmental organizations worldwide, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, the Pembina Institute and WWF. It is administered by the Gold Standard Foundation, an independent foundation based in Switzerland.

Who is Planetair?

Founded in 2005, Planetair, a not-for-profit program, is Canada’s first provider of Gold Standard carbon offsets, as well as Canada’s first bilingual, pan-Canadian offsetter. Planetair specializes in providing high-quality offsets, pioneering offset quality as its overriding mission in Canada. Planetair exclusively invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and does not fund carbon sinks. As a result of its efforts, Planetair has been ranked the top supplier in Canada by carboncatalog.org for the quality of its offsets and the transparency of its services. We guarantee that at least 80% of our offset revenue will go directly to the projects, placing us among the most costefficient offset providers. We are the exclusive Canadian representative of myclimate, regularly ranked among the foremost offset suppliers in the world.

We are proud to count among our clients some of Canada’s leading environmental figures and organizations, including Al Gore’s Climate Project Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre. We have further worked with institutional clients such as BC Hydro, Bell Canada, Concordia University, Deloitte, Desjardins, Dundee Wealth Management, Edelman, Grand & Toy, the Montreal Climate Exchange, NATIONAL Public Relations, Nissan Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Quebec Congress Center, the Toronto Congress Centre, and the University of Sherbrooke.

Planetair is a program of the Unisféra International Center, a non-profit sustainable development think tank, with experience working for the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, among others.