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ESRAG Carbon Offset Fund

Help create ESRAG’s Carbon Offset Fund!

by Karen Kendrick-Hands, ESRAG Board Member       
Have you ever felt guilty about the carbon footprint of the air travel you undertake for Rotary? Have you ever bought carbon offsets with your airline ticket, and wished that Rotary offered an offset program that kept your money within The Rotary Foundation (TRF)? Wouldn’t it be great if these funds could be earmarked to fund Rotarians’ environmental sustainability projects? 
ESRAG’s found a way to do this!  We’re writing to ask your help in designing an ESRAG-administered Donor Advised Fund within TRF.  All funds, net of a 1% administration fee, would be designated to support mitigation projects that would reduce emissions or sequester legacy carbon. 
These projects would be developed and implemented within Rotary to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and the harm they are causing to communities worldwide. 
We need to develop a team of volunteers with expertise to research and make evidence-based decisions around the following topics.  Can you help us determine: 
1. What Rotary Activities –such as air travel – should be eligible for this offset?
2. Should we use the ICAO Carbon calculator
3. What is an appropriate price per ton of carbon emissions? 
4. What kinds of Rotary projects should ESRAG support with its Carbon Offsets Fund? 
5. What are the standards for deciding which kinds of projects are eligible?
6. What sort of application and evaluation process will we need? 
7. How do we verify that the work has been done, and document that it has actually reduced emissions or sequestered carbon? 
8. TRF guidelines require a Donor Advised Fund to have an opening deposit of $10,000 US.  How will ESRAG raise the initial opening amount?
9. Donor Advised Funds are a creation of US Tax law, for which US donors may be eligible for tax benefits.  While non-US donors may contribute to a US Donor Advised Fund, they do not receive any tax benefits.  Are there comparable mechanisms for residents of other countries to donate to TRF and receive local tax benefits?
As you can see, a relatively straightforward concept raises many questions.  If you would like to help us answer them, and develop an ESRAG Carbon Offset Fund, please email me. We will host an exploratory ZOOM call the first week in November.