Exelon Corporation has announced a $1.5 million grant to the Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) division of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago as part of a partnership to protect tropical forests in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador and improve the measurement of carbon offsets.
The grant will support ECCo's continued efforts to conduct rapid biological inventories of tropical forests in the Andean foothills and Amazon lowlands — the first step in identifying areas with high biological diversity and uniqueness for conservation, such as Peru's Cordillera Azul National Park. The team will work to protect intact forests and ensure that they are secured for the long-term with science-based management. The effort will involve neighboring villages and help improve the local quality of life.
The partnership is part of Exelon 2020: A Low-Carbon Roadmap, the company's plan to reduce, offset, or displace 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020. This amount is more than the company's current annual carbon footprint and equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off the road. As part of the partnership, Exelon and ECCo will test voluntary avoided-deforestation methodologies for identifying carbon offsets.
In addition, the partnership will work to educate families and communities about renewable energy sources. The company will match Field Museum visitors' contributions to the Take One Step program up to $200,000 over the next two years. The program invites visitors to purchase credits to offset the carbon emissions generated by an average trip to the museum.
"As one of the nation's largest utilities, Exelon is taking aggressive steps to be an industry leader in addressing climate change," said John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon. "By partnering with the Field Museum, we can identify forests and habitats for long-term protection to prevent the emission of significant quantities of carbon. As a corollary, Exelon will gain valuable experience in developing carbon offset projects."