This will change within the Zero account
New climate protection contribution: With the Zero account, we will finance all-embracing solutions to combat the climate crisis.
The 3 pillars of the Zero climate protection contribution
As a Zero customer, you will support all-embracing solutions to combat the climate crisis. With impact projects in three important areas:
You protect ecosystems in South Africa with long-term renaturation of healthy habitats.
You enable new CO2 storage facilities by supporting innovative technologies.
You support important work on a climate political level to get green energy and other sustainable technologies off the ground.
To do this, we will be working primarily with the following organizations over the next few months:
Spekboom in South Africa - Protection of ecosystems
As a Zero community we are supporting the restoring of the original habitat in the global south, to strengthen the biodiversity and to absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere.
The Eastern Cape landscape has dried out due to intensive agriculture and long periods of drought. To transform these areas into healthy land again we plant seedlings of a native succulent. The project aims to create several biodiversity and wildlife corridors to restore the original habitat and biodiversity in the area.
Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) aka elephant bush is a small succulent tree that is native to the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Common to semi-arid thickets, it is a resilient plant that is remarkably tolerant of drought conditions and rocky soils. It can grow up to 5 meters tall, creating a micro climate that is conducive to biodiversity restoration. Its roots are soil binding which prevents soil erosion, and its leaves help regenerate soils due to their nutritive content.
The location of the Spekboom Restoration South Africa is a 1,456-hectare farm within the plant’s native range in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region. This farm largely consists of degraded grazing lands with a smaller portion of low productivity agricultural lands situated around the upper reaches of the New Year’s River, which flows through the property.
The area consists of approximately 1,200 ha of land suitable for the planting and restoration with native Spekboom, representing 3 million trees of new plantings during a two-year planting schedule, followed by three years of maintenance. At that time, the spekboom plants will be well-established, and in the following years the landscape will be restored into a biodiverse thicket ecosystem placed in permanent protection for conservation purposes. Continued monitoring and reporting occur, and periodic verifications of the GHG emission removals.
In addition to the ecological aspects, the project also has a social impact. We can create over 24 full-time jobs and another 24 seasonal jobs in an area with an unemployment rate of over 75%.
Carbon Collectors - Innovative technologies
As the Zero community, we are supporting a regional vegetable carbon project that can be used to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and bind it in the soil in the long term.
To ensure we meet the target of 1.5 degrees in Germany too, we need to make use of many different levers when dealing with our CO2 emissions. One of these is supporting innovative technologies for binding unavoidable CO2 emissions. This is exactly the approach taken by Carbon Collectors’ regional project in Northern Germany. Through a special procedure, CO2 is stored in the long term in the form of vegetable carbon and introduced to the soil as a source of moisture and nutrients. This allows CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. The first facility for climate farming and regenerative agriculture is based in Lüneburger Heide, about 30 minutes south of Hamburg and will be taken into service at the end of 2022. Here, vegetable carbon is added to the soil on a space measuring 10-20 hectares.
The technique used to produce vegetable carbon on the model farm is called pyrolysis. Here, vegetable carbon is produced out of organic waste – such as wood or plant cuttings – by ‘baking’ the organic biomass in low-oxygen environments at temperatures of between 380°C and 1,000°C. As a result of this process, a part of the carbon turns to vegetable carbon. The energy needed for this is met by carbonising the waste material. The process generates heat, so that fossil energies can be replaced. Once in the soil, the bulk of the carbon contained in the vegetable carbon will then be stored over thousands of years.
As well as the climate effect, the vegetable carbon improves the soil and allows a layer of humus to form, which is able to store water and nutrients effectively. This in turn helps to create a healthy habitat for microorganisms that reduces nitrate pollution and soil acidification. Vegetable carbon therefore has a positive effect on soil quality and, in addition to its important function as a natural binding agent for CO2, can help to make agriculture more resilient when it is added to arable land.
This is the first regionally concentrated climate project to be supported by the Tomorrow community. One tonne of vegetable carbon can bind 2.57 tonnes of CO2 after the deduction of the emissions that are generated during the process.
Clean Air Taskforce - Political change
As the Zero community, we are supporting important work at climate-policy level that aims to promote green energies and other sustainable technologies and, in turn, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To counter the climate crisis resolutely, it is necessary to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This means focusing in particular on the main perpetrators. These include the global energy sector, which accounts for some 70% of emissions – with demand for energy continuing to grow. Globally active charity organisation Clean Air Task Force works to meet this challenge on an ecological, financial and even social level.
The organisation, which is active across the globe and has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, is one of the pioneers of the global environmental and climate movement. Since the 1990s, it has been working to bring about political and technological change, which in turn will help to reduce the CO₂ emissions caused by electricity generation, fossil energies, transport and industry. Or, in a nutshell: to decarbonise business. It does this by carrying out fact and science-based political educational work, running large-scale campaigns and initiating studies. Here, the focus is always on finding solutions.
The organisation aims to bring about a number of things: A common knowledge base with a view to helping people understand the climate crisis facing us all and to establishing a scope of action against it. A change in technologies, to make the entire range of carbon-free options – such as advanced renewable energies, zero-carbon fuels and advanced geothermal energies – available at affordable costs. A change in business models in order to offer modular, producible energy solutions that can be used quickly anywhere. And a change in policymaking to improve the political conditions for promoting new technologies and systems and to keep the aim of reaching zero net emissions by the middle of the century realistic. After all, the best climate models all agree: carbon capture technologies will be of decisive importance for reducing emissions from industrial plants and from the atmosphere.
The Zero community wants to support Clean Air Task Force’s efforts in Europe. Specifically, we want to help it in its work for an EU-wide policy for reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and switching to a more environmentally friendly energy system in Europe.