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One trillion trees to save the planet ? - Redefining Energy podcast

image credit: Credit: FT
Laurent Segalen's picture
CEO Megawatt-X

Laurent is a Franco-British financier, founder of Megawatt-X, the London-based global platform for Renewable Energy Assets. For the past twenty years, Laurent has been trading and managing...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Aug 17, 2020
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In Episode 32 of the Redefining Energy podcast, Gerard Reid and Laurent Segalen try to figure out if planting a  trillion trees will really save the planet… or if it is even doable? Turning Biodiversity, Carbon Sequestration and Forestry into a financial asset is quite complex. To make a sense of the new concept of Natural Capital, we have invited Christian Del Valle, co-founder of Althelia Climate Fund.

For the past decade, Christian has developed and managed the largest Conservation, Biodiversity and Carbon Sequestration Fund in the World. In 2019, he successfully sold it to French bank Natixis.

If intentions are clear and wonderful, execution proves to be a long and winding road. So, are we going to save the Planet by planting 1 trillion trees? Christian shares to the keys to success through a journey from the Amazon forest to Sumatra via the Congo basin.

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 17, 2020

Turning Biodiversity, Carbon Sequestration and Forestry into a financial asset is quite complex

Even framing it this way is fascinating-- I'd long thought the efforts to reforest land and tap into the real power of trees was more of a governmental role and not one controlled by typical financial mechanisms, but obviously that's a naive view of it all. Thanks for sharing, Laurent!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 18, 2020

Laurent, the first step is not to plant new trees, but to stop cutting them down. You'll never be able to replace biomass as fast as it's being burned.

U.S. Forests Are Being Clear-Cut to Supply Biomass Energy Industry, Report Finds

"Forests in the U.S. Southeast are being devastated by demand for wood pellets to power biomass energy plants in Europe and Japan, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Dogwood Alliance, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

According to the report, mature, native hardwood forests in places like North Carolina, Virginia, and along the Gulf Coast are being clear-cut, with whole treesand other large-diameter wood then trucked to processing mills run by Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet producer. These pellets, the report said, are then being shipped to power plants such as Drax Power Station in the United Kingdom, Ørsted biomass facilities in Denmark, and increasingly to generating stations in Japan. Forests in the U.S. Southeast are being logged at four times the rate as those in the Amazon, according to the UN’s biodiversity report released last month."

As many suspected all along, the last thing the Sustainability Industry wants is sustainability - there's no money in it.

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on Aug 18, 2020

I wish I had time for all the lectures offered by all the experts. The Minnesota Agricultural Utilization Research Institute has some wonderful meetings regarding this subject I should attend. But I'm far too busy keeping trees from growing into or crashing on to my very modest house.

If you have water, sunlight, a few nutrients, and warmth, you get biomass. Period. CO2 will find it. Animal life will follow, period.

Some people plant corn and beans and call themselves farmers. Some plant milkweed and give monarch butterflies a chance (or many, many other life friendly efforts).

All your accounting statistics mean nothing to me. Quantum photochemistry means the world to me. I'm glad there are others much more skilled than me at the Stanford University Center for Quantum Molecular Design (etc.) changing the bioenergy / carbon sequestration options.

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