In November 2022, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, the Bezos Earth Fund, and The Rockefeller Foundation (referred to as “The Partners”) announced the Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA), an independent initiative to finance the deployment of clean power and the retirement of fossil fuel assets in developing countries.
The ETA will seek to align with evolving best-practice standards, such as those of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), and the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM).
The Energy Transition Accelerator will generate carbon credits through a new type of high-quality carbon standard. Five percent of the value of all offsets generated through the ETA carbon standard will be dedicated to international support for adaptation.
In January 2023, the ETA partners announced six principles that will guide the initiative:
- Near-term: Promoting ambitious efforts by countries and companies to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) now, in this critical decade.
- Inclusive: Advancing programs that deliver on broader sustainable development goals, including expanded energy access and poverty alleviation, and that are underpinned by strong transparency and social, environmental, and other just transition safeguards.
- Comprehensive: Supporting ambitious power sector-wide energy transition strategies that accelerate the deployment of renewable power and the retirement of fossil fuel assets.
- High-integrity: Ensuring strong environmental integrity by offering payments only for GHG reductions that are based on and verified to a robust standard and by seeking strong alignment with best practices for the pursuit of global net zero GHGs, including for private sector net zero strategies and the use of carbon credits.
- Supplemental: Incentivizing new private-sector climate finance for mitigation and adaptation that augments, not substitutes for, other sources of public, private, multilateral, and philanthropic finance and companies’ continued investments in deep emissions reductions within their own value chains.
- Transitional: Helping, on a time-limited basis, to kickstart the energy transition by rewarding accelerated power sector decarbonization and by providing an option for companies to responsibly use the resulting verified GHG emission reductions to reinforce science aligned progress toward global net zero GHGs.
A core team of experts and institutions have been working on the design of the ETA, with lead coordination provided by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
A High-Level Consultative Group (HLCG) has also been formed to provide input on the ETA. The HLCG includes leading experts across a wide range of regions and constituencies representing civil society organizations, standard-setting initiatives, private sector coalitions, and intergovernmental bodies.
The ETA will provide broader opportunities for stakeholders to provide input, including briefings and listening sessions, and the release of draft elements of the ETA methodology for public comment.
In February 2023, the ETA partners held the first meeting of the HLCG. HLCG participants were invited to provide input on a preliminary ETA framework, which would include a jurisdictional-scale carbon crediting standard, a coalition of private sector and sovereign government buyers, a set of developing country host jurisdictions, criteria to ensure environmental integrity in the generation and use of credits, and just transition provisions addressing needs such as job creation, worker training, revenue sharing, and energy access.
Winrock International is collaborating with the ETA partners to develop a jurisdictional-scale crediting standard. Winrock International is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that implements a portfolio of more than 100 agriculture, environment, and social development projects in over 40 countries. Through its wholly-owned nonprofit subsidiary Environmental Resources Trust (ERT), Winrock International oversees two of the world’s leading carbon crediting programs, the American Carbon Registry (ACR) and the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART). Both issue credits for use in global regulated and voluntary carbon markets.
In parallel with development of the crediting standard, the ETA partners are working to create a coalition of private sector and sovereign government buyers that will make advance commitments to purchase carbon credits meeting the new standard. Agreed terms will establish participation criteria for buyers and for their use of credits acquired through the ETA.