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🌳 "Using Drones to Reforest at Scale & Offer Carbon Offsets"

Tech4Climate

Photo by Jason Blackeye / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Guillaume De Dorlodot
Guest: Grant Canary | Founder & CEO | DroneSeed
Category: 🌳 Carbon Capture | Reforestation

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:39] GD: “DroneSeed is on a mission to make reforestation scaleable and mitigate the worst effects of climate change. To do this, they are using heavy lift drone swarms to reforest after wildfires. DroneSeed has also recently acquired subsidiary Silvaseed, which has expanded to be the largest private seed bank on the west coast. The company is now a one-stop-shop for reforestation, providing seed, seedlings, aerial seeding, and financing via carbon credits.”

[15:20] GC: “My objective is that people have an idea around the offset market [as] not binary. […] I would give people the idea […] of thinking about currency, dollars or euros being good or bad, they can be used to facilitate criminal transactions, but they can also be used for humanitarian aid. So it's really more of a tool or accounting, it's […] calling accounting good or bad. So offsets very much can be used the same way. And so there's different offsets that have different values to society in the sense of what is the duration of their impact? What's their what's their permanence? Or how much value are they adding, what's the additionality?”

[16:17] GC: “We're really excited to be doing one of the first five projects in generating offsets for reforestation. We do reforestation after wildfires, so very clearly additional. And what we've been seeing is that normally, you would think [that] forest burns, forest regrows, it's no problem. It used to be. 9 times out of 10 that was the case. But now we're seeing the size and severity in the US and elsewhere of the fires [and] how many acres have burned each year, [that] the 10 year rolling average has gone up significantly, from around 2 million acres to about 7 million acres. And that is about the size of the state of New Jersey extra burning each year. And so now we're starting to see natural generation drop to every 6 out of 10 times […] [or] every 4 times out of 10 […], depending on the species, depending on the ecosystems.”

[17:32] GC: “Nearly all, like 99.99% of projects that are offsets in the past have been easements on existing stands of trees. And this has come from an abundance of caution about not wanting to be seen as greenwashing, so the carbon is stored and the trees are old and mature. And that's good, it protects those trees. But what is not doing is paying for reforestation, because under the same methodologies, you had to wait 25 years for the trees to grow, then you could get your offsets, but you had to pay all the upfront costs. Meanwhile, you're competing with 25 years of compounded interest, which is all of a sudden, very expensive. So nobody, virtually, did that.”

[18:13] GC: “We're now seeing with Climate Action Reserve, that they have a very robust program […] and their whole goal is to basically create a trustworthy, transparent system. […] What they do is they […] look at all the prior work that's been done in timber and say, how many 2x4s am I going to get off this acre of land. […] Let's substitute out two by fours with tons of carbon and we'll create a projection of how many tons of carbon will be removed by a species or multiple species in a region. And then we can make it really conservative on what the forecast will be for the next 100 years. […] And so we can now make that projection of how many tons are going to be removed for the next 100 years.”

[24:06] GC: “Refinitiv […], an analyst group […] [made] an assessment [that the] 2020 market size [for carbon offsets] was $270+ billion. That's compliance and voluntary. Fast forward to […] 2021 […] you're looking at $800+ billion, and that's tremendous year on year growth. And the 270 number had already increased significantly from where we're at in 2019.”

[32:51] GC: “Why [is] there so little automation in reforestation? Today, it's humans carrying 40 pound bags of trees, on their hips, and then utilizing a shovel. And they're superheroes. They burn the caloric equivalent of running two marathons every day. […] That seems really inefficient and there's a high churn for people to be doing this work, because people just get physically exhausted. […] And that's really where we started with the drones.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 1 hr | 🗓️ 03/17/2022
✅ Time saved: 58 min

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