In the last few years, tropical forests have shifted from being our greatest carbon sinks to being a net source of greenhouse gas emissions. The news comes as 250 organizations – ranging from environmental NGOs to governments and major corporations – have identified 10 time-tested activities that can be scaled up to purge deforestation from four key supply chains.
Indonesia sometimes generates 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions from deforestation, and the country’s federal government is powerless to reverse it. That’s because true power in the land of a thousand islands lies with hundreds of regents, or “bopatis”, who are driving one of the world’s most calamitous environmental disasters.
Many countries have ended deforestation domestically, only to import it from other countries through lax regulation. Now six Asian countries have joined the 28 Member States of the European Union, the United States, and Australia in vowing to prevent timber harvested illegally from finding its way into their domestic markets.
Donald Trump says he’s saving jobs and money canceling Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, but Trump’s actions will stifle a vibrant, clean energy sector to win points from a dirty and dying sliver of the economy.
The UN’s Green Climate Fund closed out the year by approving 11 new projects designed to help developing countries mitigate and and adapt to climate change, including an historic $500 million to save forests.
Hundreds of companies have pledged to slash greenhouse-gas emissions and purge deforestation from their supply chains, but most are struggling to meet their commitments. Those that succeed have done so by establishing sustainability as a core goal and then looking for innovative ways of achieving it. Here are three components of any innovation strategy.
The UN’s Green Climate Fund closed out the year by approving 11 new projects designed to help developing countries mitigate and and adapt to climate change. Here is a rundown of the projects.
We talk a lot about the “green economy”, but what exactly does that mean? The Green Economy Coalition defines it as “an economy that provides prosperity for all within the ecological limits of the planet”, and it has provided this handy primer that breaks it into five broad themes.
The Yanawawa people of Brazil have have resisted the temptation to chop their forest, choosing instead to conserve and manage it sustainably at great cost to themselves. Now they’ve joined the Brazilian state of Acre and the German government in a fascinating experiment to see if their plan can have a verifiable, measurable impact on the forest. A new short film brings you into their world.
British Telecoms giant BT Group says it will slash its greenhouse gas emissions a staggering 87 percent by 2030, and it will do so by embracing new technologies. Food giant Mars says it will slash its emissions 67 percent by 2050, and it will do so by restructuring its commodity supply chain. Both say they’ll probably hit their targets, and both say it’s because their targets are science-based. But what does that mean?
Impact investors have funneled more than $100 billion into projects designed to make money by doing good, and $8 billion of that flowed into projects that improve the way we manage land. AlphaSource Advisors has been in the impact space for over a decade, and they’ve learned a few things along the way.
New York Climate Week wraps up on Sunday, and we’ve been covering it mostly from afar this year. Here’s a quick look at some of the most promising land-use stories we’ve seen to-date. It’s by no means a complete list, so feel free to let us know if we’ve missed anything.
The United Nations General Assembly is convening in New York this week, and so are hundreds of leaders from the business and conservation communities – communities that traditionally battled over the world’s forests, but that increasingly find common cause in their preservation. Here’s what to watch.
As Florida recovers from Hurricane Irma and wildfires ravage the Pacific Northwest, the number of extreme weather events has topped 400 per year. That’s quadruple the rate of 1970, and scientists overwhelmingly attribute the rise to climate change. US Environmental Protection Administrator Scott Pruitt, however, says now is not the time to discuss such matters. Here’s why he’s wrong, and what we can do to set things right.
Science warns us that, with the advent of climate change, we need to prepare more and more for hurricanes like Harvey and Irma. That means building up the systems that protect our coasts, manage our water, and regulate our climate. Some of those systems will be made of steel and concrete, but others will be made of trees and sand.
Peru is losing more than 80,000 hectares of Amazon forest every year, mostly because small farmers are chopping it to meet our own ravenous appetites for beef, soy, and timber. In the process, they’re generating about half the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions. The country has vowed to change that, and here’s one way they can do so by helping small farmers improve the way they manage their land.
Higher temperatures and moister air lead to wetter and more intense hurricanes like Harvey and Irma, which will cost us hundreds of billions of dollars to recover from. While these tragedies are still front-and-center, let’s look back what happened when the University of Chicago resurrected its most famous economist to see how he proposed dealing with environmental catastrophes.
Prominent leaders from nine indigenous peoples of the Amazon say the Acre State branch of Brazil’s powerful Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) is intentionally sabotaging a program that has enabled them to save their forests. In an open letter dated July 31, 2017, they called on prominent Catholic organizations to investigate CIMI Acre. Here is the full text of that letter.
The US Environmental Protection Agency is legally obligated to protect the country from climate change, and a coalition of Democratic attorneys general says EPA boss Scott Pruitt not only violated his promise to recuse himself from matters involving the Clean Power Plan, but provided “legally incorrect” advice to governors when he told them to ignore its deadlines.
Hurricane Harvey reminded us just how vulnerable low-lying cities like Houston are in a climate-changed world – especially when we degrade the living ecosystems that regulate floods and absorb greenhouse gasses. Fortunately, we have plenty of tools we can use to develop the “green infrastructure” needed to help us navigate the new reality of life in the Anthropocene.
Father Silvio Brosegihini knew nothing of marketing or logistics when he founded the Chankuap Foundation in 1996, but that didn’t stop him from helping the indigenous Achuar and Shuar people develop a sustainable cosmetics industry built on the oils of rare plants.
Earlier this year, President Trump’s executive order on energy independence instructed federal agencies to individually monetize climate damages rather than use the existing central estimate of $50 per ton of carbon dioxide. Now a new publication by prominent economists and lawyers argues that the current value is the “best estimate” of climate change’s costs.
California extended its cap-and-trade program through 2030, but the the extension will make it harder for forest owners – especially those outside California – to earn carbon offsets after 2021. That’s bad for landowners and could raise the cost of compliance for industrial emitters, writes Mik McKee of The Climate Trust.
As major global greenhouse gas emitters, U.S. states have the economic heft and legislative authority to move the United States toward much lower emissions and cleaner energy, despite the Trump administration’s impotence and obstructionism at the federal level. While many have done so in the last decade, some remain stuck in the high-emitting past, as this analysis from the World Resources Institute shows.
Tropical deforestation accelerates climate change, and 40 percent of it happens in two countries: Brazil and Indonesia. Governments, NGOs, and businesses, meanwhile, have launched dozens of efforts to correct this – but those efforts will only succeed if they work together. Here’s how to make that happen.
Impact investors have poured more than $8 billion into projects that support sustainable land management, and now more money is also finding its way into sustainable fishing. This month, a new partnership providing equity to sustainable small-scale fishing-related enterprises in Philippines and Indonesia, has made its first investment in a Filipino fishing processing and exporting group.
JP Morgan Chase aims to funnel a staggering $200 billion into sustainability efforts by 2025, primarily by supporting wind and solar projects around the world; but a sustainable economy needs more than just renewable energy. It needs healthy forests, farms, and fields; and the bank has a history of supporting the restoration economy that supports these.
While the Trump is dominating American media, a group of 25 Republican and 25 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have quietly joined the Climate Solutions Caucus, which aims to forge climate solutions that work across ideological divides.
Earlier this year, a group of prominent senior Republican leaders, including former Secretary of State James A. Baker and former Secretary of State George P. Schultz, proposed a national carbon tax as a “conservative climate solution.” Now two prominent Democrats have presented their proposal. Will a price on carbon emerge as a pivotal issue in the mid-term elections?
The public can now comment on a decision by the Trump administration to repeal a rule that would protect 60 percent of stream miles and the drinking water of one in three Americans.
Forest carbon projects tap carbon markets to save and restore forests, and they work because carbon dioxide emissions are easy to quantify. But what about all those other good things forests do – like fortifying soil, replenishing groundwater, and boosting farmer incomes? That’s where the UN Sustainable Development Goals come in.
Payments for Ecosystem Services have always seemed like a good idea, and evidence is growing that they work. The latest comes from a Northwestern University study involving forest owners in 120 villages in western Uganda. Half were given cash rewards if they kept their forest intact, and half weren’t. Guess which group took better care of their forest?
Two environmental NGOs recently sent letters to four major banks warning that they were financing a company that intended to destroy forests. What one of those banks – namely HSBC – did next is both encouraging and enlightening.
War-torn countries need money, but illegal timber purchases often end up fueling warlords and accelerating conflict. A new analysis shows that European countries are importing more and more timber from 35 countries listed as fragile and conflict-related, and that much of that timber could be illegally-harvested.
The European Commission has set some of the most ambitions environmental targets on the planet, but states have struggled to achieve them. Fortunately, the Commission and member states have also created an impressive set of mechanisms for getting users and polluters to pay for restoration. Now they just have to teach people to use them.
These days, everything from coffee to cornflakes has somebody’s stamp of approval, letting you know its ingredients have been sustainably harvested or that its producers have been treated fairly. But what do these standards mean? Here’s a quick look at four (soon to be three) of the most popular.
Andrew Mitchell’s Global Canopy Programme has helped people around the world understand the role that rainforests play in regulating the environment and promoting rainfall well beyond their boundaries. Now, as a senior adviser to impact investment group Ecosphere Plus, he’s helping to funnel investment dollars into conservation projects around the world.
Peruvian cuisine is the ultimate fusion of the indigenous and the exogenous, and it’s sparked a demand for exotic and diverse fruits and vegetables. Here’s how the region of Caserio Pimental – Peru’s pepper district – is meeting part of that demand with agroforestry and sustainable farming.
Countries around the world are implementing new laws and developing new mechanisms to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, while while several organizations have filed civil suits to force government action. But one mechanism has been sorely under-utilized: namely, prosecuting climate scofflaws as criminals under laws that already exist, argues Reinhold Gallmetzer of the International Criminal Court.
Ecosystem Marketplace participated in last month’s Innovate4Climate Summit as a media partner, and it proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. Here are some of the stories we generated from that event – and a look at those to come.
Only by leveraging private finance can we approach the scale of capital needed to address climate and conservation challenges. California, through its work to mitigate dairy methane emissions, is poised to demonstrate how to generate that leverage, says Peter Weisberg, Senior Portfolio Manager for The Climate Trust.
Ten years ago, Swiss psychologist Bertrand Piccard vowed to fly around the world in a solar-powered airplane – not just to do it, but to show that it could be done, and to inspire others to seek new solutions to the climate challenge. Last year he succeeded, and now he plans to find and help fund 1000 climate-change solutions.
In a full-page ad targeted to businesses through the Wall Street Journal, leaders from physicist Stephen Hawking to industrialist Ratan Tata have endorsed a US carbon tax. It’s a new blast of support for an idea that first emerged in February of this year.
With the Trump administration leaving the federal government essentially neutered on climate change as hurricane season gets underway, this annual meeting of mayors is set to assume an unusually high profile. Mayors from more than 250 cities will meet to discuss climate, crime, and other issues.
Marks & Spencer has been recognized as one of the most sustainable retailers on the planet, second only to Finland’s much smaller Kesko OYJ, but the company – and other sustainable enterprises like Unilever and Tesco – are tiny drops in the ocean of our modern and still unsustainable economy. Can their joint efforts improve the global ecosystem in which they operate?
When Elon Musk started Tesla Motors in 2003, he didn’t aim to end our car culture – just to make it cleaner. Likewise, pescatarian businessman Michael Mathres doesn’t aim to end our global love of beef and milk – but with a new product called “Mootral” he does want to reduce their impact on climate change by cleaning up cow burps.
The people of San Roque de Cumbaza live in a region of environmental splendor but economic scarcity – and many once feared they’d have to abandon their traditions and their territory to make a living wage. Then, into their midst came a banker on a vision quest. What he saw changed his life and helped them to change theirs.
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but the benefits of mitigation banking aren’t as self-evident. Now, the sector’s leading trade association is changing its name to the “Ecological Restoration Business Association”, while a new organization will focus exclusively on the mitigation banking sector.
A coalition of seven state Attorneys General have charged the federal Environmental Protection Agency EPA with violating federal law by failing to issue a safety finding on a common pesticide they say harms children’s neurological development.