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The ARB specified that these activities included planting and harvesting, among others, but not external activities such as transportation of logs to mills.
However, the document raised many more questions than it answered for some stakeholders.
“We think that’s not necessary and a bit of an overreach and should be corrected,” he said.
While not able to address the specific issues raised by Williams and others, the ARB has committed to providing additional clarity in Frequently Asked Questions documents on this topic as warranted, an ARB spokesman said.
The ARB attempted to provide some clarity in a February guidance document, including by defining the scope of the invalidation with regard to each eligible project type.
For forestry projects, for example, the ARB specified that the invalidation provisions would come into play if there were any violations of environmental, health and safety requirements associated with activities within the project area that directly affect carbon stocks.
It’s fine, but it’s not the most efficient way to go.
“The invalidation risk in practice to date has really been very, very small,” said Greg Arnold, Managing Partner of CE2 Capital Partners.
“We’re supportive of the invalidation rule,” said Brian Shillinglaw, Associate Director, Investments and Operations, Carbon Investments & Policy for developer New Forests. However, there is an extreme lack of clarity as to the scope of that risk.” Under the ARB’s current guidelines, for example, an entire reporting period worth of offsets can be invalidated due to a violation lasting only a single day.
This creates particular challenges for forestry projects as the majority of the value of offsets derived from those offsets could be generated during the first reporting period, putting the entire project in jeopardy, Williams said.
“What we do know is that there will be further invalidations, but we don’t know when they will be and we don’t know which projects,” he said.
The ARB’s decision to invoke the so-called buyers’ liability provisions was blamed for a lack of liquidity in the offsets market.