Liverpool City Council has signed a ground-breaking contract with an eco-digital company, the Poseidon Foundation, in a bid to become the world’s first “carbon positive” city by 2020. By becoming "carbon positive", the city aims to be removing more carbon from the atmosphere each year than it emits, an approach comparable to the "Net Positive" trend that is gaining prominence among business leaders.
The partnership will use cutting-edge blockchain technology to enhance transparency by supporting conservation projects in regions of the global south, thereby allowing individuals, organisations and governments to alleviate or even overcompensate for their carbon footprint.
Launched in June 2017, the Poseidon Foundation is a Malta-based foundation which has enjoyed considerable success after running a pilot with Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Store in Soho, London in May 2018.
The new technology will be trialled over the next twelve months. Liverpool Council hopes it will facilitate its ambitious climate goals, including its bid to become the world’s first carbon positive city authority this year. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson stressed how the scheme could help engage with big emitters, such as Liverpool airport and the cruise industry. Alongside these ambitions the City Council is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
Does this signal that blockchain-based carbon accounting can breathe new life into carbon offsetting schemes by providing greater transparency? If the trial succeeds, will we see more cities follow Liverpool’s example?
More deeply, how will this carbon offsetting scheme differ from others that have been tainted by allegations of “carbon colonialism” and the question of who owns the world’s carbon sinks? Is there a risk such schemes could further encourage continued unsustainable overconsumption in affluent societies, or are they a vital way of connecting high-carbon lifestyles to the world’s carbon sinks?