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Thank you for participating in the 2015 Climate CoLab Transportation contest, and for the time you spent in creating and revising your entry.
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2015 Climate CoLab Judges
-This is an interesting proposal but perhaps needs more refinement. For example, what incentives do benefactors have to pay for others as compared to improving the efficiency and thus reducing CO2 in their own operation. Also, the 40% share of work related air travel to total air travel seems high.
-This well presented, reasonably novel and well argued. The primary issues is that it still not entirely clear to me though that there would be enough income to support the concept though. I haven't been convinced of the business model.
I also have some reservations about some of the virtual interactions proposed, such as remotely controlled telepresence robots, and excursions together.
This concept may need to wait until the ICAO MBM becomes clearer, to see if it could leverage some funding through that.
SUBJECT: Your proposal has been selected as a Semi-Finalist!
Your proposal, Beyond Getting There -- Offsetting air travel emissions through virtual networks in the Transportation contest, has been selected to advance to the Semi-Finalists round.
You will be able to revise your proposal and add new collaborators if you wish, from July 1st until July 14, 2015 at 23:59pm Eastern Time.
Judges' feedback are posted under the "Evaluation" tab of your proposal. Please incorporate this feedback in your revisions, or your proposal may not be advanced to the Finalists round. We ask you to also summarize the changes that you made in the comment section of the Evaluation tab.
At the revision deadline listed below, your proposal will be locked and considered in final form. The Judges will undergo another round of evaluation to ensure that Semi-Finalist proposals have addressed the feedback given, and select which proposals will continue to the Finalists round. Finalists are eligible for the contest’s Judges Choice award, as well as for public voting to select the contest’s Popular Choice award.
Thank you for your great work and again, congratulations!
2015 Climate CoLab Judges
We think this is a very interesting idea, and we like the idea of linking this to carbon offsetting. It is also very well presented. Thank you. There are a few questions though.
We could not find anything about the incentive for companies to participate in the proposed scheme. What fraction of air travel is work related (30?) and to what extent can these trips be replaced, as telecommunication means cannot substitute confidence-building personal meetings. How to make sure that telecommunication means are not used to generate more links and more travel later on? And if you make sure somehow, wouldn't it hurt the company? All these questions need to be addressed.
Do you have evidence to indicate that the revenue from offsetting will be sufficient? To what extent is offsetting used today, and to what extent would your idea attract offsetting revenue away from other offsetting schemes? Is voluntary offsetting enough, or are you relying on offsetting required by regulation. Specifically, you may want to consider this in the context of the ICAO Market Based Measures that are under development (to be discussed at the next General Assembly (2016) and implemented by 2020). This may provide added opportunities for revenue.
You may want to talk a little more to how you will deal with upgrading the technology, which is likely to be expensive, and may need to happen relatively often, as the technology improves. Quantifying how much travel is saved by each company may also be a challenge.
Finally, one other benefit that you don't mention is from people's value of time - with no "travel time" for virtual meetings, there would be less loss of productivity etc.
This is an interesting and well thought out proposal to support and quantify reduced business air travel.
The primary issue is basing this on a carbon-offsetting system which by definition cannot be credibly considered as such. It is very difficult to prove a baseline of travel for the adopters and "demonstrate" avoidance.
It would be much more plausible to consider this as a travel offset idea where ones air miles are going towards helping another organization to reduce travel.
Rethinking the approach along these lines may make it a harder sell but at least it would be truthful to what it is capable of doing.
Stacy Rebich Hespanha
Jul 14, 2015
Thank you for the insightful and useful comments. They were very helpful in focusing my attention on the elements of the idea that needed to be clarified or rethought. I have used your suggestions and comments from others who reviewed to make the following changes: -- I have added more details regarding incentives that will motivate different groups and organizations — now referred to as pioneers and benefactors —- to participate in the BGT program. For benefactors, this change included adding descriptions for how the program would function under both voluntary and compliance scenarios. -- References to the program as an carbon offset program have been removed and replaced with more detailed descriptions of how costs and benefits will be accrued by and transferred between collaborating pioneers and benefactors. -- More information was added to clarify how travel reductions would be measured — in brief, with respect to business-as-usual projections of travel demand. The proposed measures of travel reduction are not based on usage time for virtual interaction systems. -- Davies and Armsworth (2010) estimate of up to 40% of all travel for work-related purposes was used to quantify the amount of professional travel undertaken. -- Space constraints made it difficult to provide much detail about how the program would impact existing carbon offsetting projects, but differences in cost and value between the BGT travel reductions and typical forest planting or renewable energy projects are discussed briefly. -- Savings in time and productivity possible through adoption of virtual interaction systems are mentioned in the section on other key benefits. -- I have provided as many details as possible regarding levels of revenue generation. The first stage of program implementation is purposely described as a pilot phase during which precise estimates of costs and revenues can be generated based on in-progress network construction and operation. Travel reductions achieved through the program are expected to cost more (per metric ton CO2e emission avoided) than the current market price for voluntary offsets. Because the program will have the secondary effect of reducing demand for air travel, the proposal contains brief discussions of how resulting travel reductions could be marketed as a ‘premium’ emission reduction products. To control the cost passed on to benefactors, pioneer organizations will agree to dedicate a portion of their travel cost savings to supporting, maintaining, and upgrading the systems. -- I have also restructured the proposal presentation to make the most important and innovative components of the idea more salient. Thanks again for your feedback. Best wishes, Stacy