A group of leading Republicans, including former secretaries of State and Treasury, have called for a carbon tax on fossil fuels, and they even had a meeting last week with President Trump, whose own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also advocated a carbon tax while running Exxon. The president himself hasn’t weighed in on the issue, and Congressional Republicans don’t seem enthused, but it’s a proposal we should all be reading.
This month’s Carbon Chronicle showcases Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report, which reveals steep growth in private investments for conservation. Meanwhile, South Pole Group acquired an Australian carbon offset business growing its global sustainability presence, and an Alaska Native group gets active in California’s carbon market.
President Donald Trump plans to revive the rural economy by rolling back environmental regulations, but his policies could cost farmers and forest owners dearly. Here’s a look at some of the farmer-friendly environmental initiatives that could end up on the endangered list – if they aren’t there already.
US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a massive rollback of federal environmental regulations, ostensibly in the name of prosperity. Carbon markets, however, have progressed despite lack of federal action, helping California reduce emissions in a booming economy. Here is why that’s good news for owners of private forests.
Ecosystem Marketplace published more than 200 stories last year, and most of those focused on forests or forest carbon finance. Today we wind down the year-end retrospectives with a look at the pivotal stories in forests and forest carbon.
Consumer-facing companies like Danone and Mars have pledged to slash their greenhouse-gas emissions, in part by purging deforestation from their supply chains – a process that requires helping hundreds of thousands of farmers change the way they grow their crops. In this series, we’ll take a deep dive into the Kenyan milk market, and see how the revival of agroforestry is restoring soils – and may slow climate change.
When Donald Trump won the US presidential election, climate optimists said US cities and states would fill any leadership gaps that opened at the federal level. Now six US states have agreed to track and disclose greenhouse gas emissions under the Global Compact of States and Regions, and to meet the Paris Agreement targets.
During UN climate talks on Wednesday, business leaders stressed the importance of aligning business and policy goals in order to deliver the best results for both sectors. The business community also reaffirmed their pledge to reduce emissions and meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, and called on global political leaders to do the same.
What does the election of Donald Trump mean for climate policy? For now hope is shifting to individual US states and the corporate sector within the US. Internationally, the Obama administration has proven adept at “leading from behind”, and some see Canada or the European Union filling that gap.
The Paris Climate Agreement created a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in part by funneling money into programs that promote better management of forests, farms and fields. Negotiators will refine that agreement in Marrakesh this week and next, but it won’t mean a thing if businesses are welcomed – or cajoled – into the process, and in a big way.
While it isn’t without policy uncertainty, the relative stability of California’s carbon cap and trade scheme has strengthened both compliance and voluntary carbon markets, says The Climate Trust’s Dick Kempka. Here, he explains the program’s positive effect, and pushes for more states and regions in the US to adopt cap and trade in order to meet national climate change goals.
Year-end climate talks begin on November 7, and the latest State of Forest Carbon Finance Report, to be released Wednesday, documents a massive uptick in forest-carbon finance – an uptick that still falls far short of the amount needed to end deforestation, which pumps 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere yearly. Join us to learn how the Paris Agreement might change this equation.
On Thursday, 65 countries representing 83% of international aviation agreed to cap their greenhouse-gas emissions from international flights at 2020 levels from 2021 onward – in part by forcing airlines to offset emissions above that threshold, perhaps by funding programs that save forests and support sustainable agriculture around the world. A final decision on offset types, however, isn’t expected until 2018
Carbon pricing and the social cost of carbon have traditionally been isolated from each other but recent developments on SCC at both the federal and state level stand to significantly impact market-based carbon prices. Here, longtime environmental economist Mark Trexler explains the situation and how the two appear to be on something of a collision course.
Nature-rich Colombia aims to accelerate its efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by encouraging the use of voluntary carbon markets to save endangered forests. Tomorrow, the country’s voluntary carbon exchange will execute its first transactions, with cap-and-trade possibly following down the road.
Ecosystem Marketplace research consistently shows wide price variance across projects and project types, and for reasons that often seem elusive. Claire Willers of the Gold Standard attributes the differences to a variety of factors, from degree of rigor to project location to economies of scale and overall quality.
The Paris Climate Agreement won’t take effect until next year at the earliest, but thousands of companies are already restructuring their businesses to reduce emissions, while hundreds of them are using voluntary carbon offsets to drive emissions down even further. Here’s a look at some of the biggest companies stepping up for the climate and how they do it.
Earlier this week, the US Executive Office issued final guidance instructing all federal agencies to fully consider global warming and its impacts when making decisions and implementing activities. The guidance’s clear mention of land-based mitigation measures leads some practitioners to see market opportunity.
Liberia has built a lasting peace by implementing land reforms that stifled the forces of conflict and paved the way for carbon finance to support sustainable agriculture. Now Colombia hopes to mimic that success with a peace plan of its own – one that harnesses the forest-protection provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement to overhaul its agriculture sector.
Peru has long been among the more innovative countries in dealing with the consequences of climate change, and last week policymakers there approved critical tools that can open the door for public and private investment in forests, water and biodiversity conservation.
The Australian states and territories are collectively pushing a national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme despite active resistance from the Commonwealth government. The Ecosystem Marketplace considers the potential implications of implementing the world's first state-based National Emissions Trading Scheme.
A growing number of leading businesses are thinking long-term about climate change and adopting comprehensive strategies for reducing their carbon footprints, says a new report from Ecosystem Marketplace, out this week. The report, which surveyed companies purchasing carbon offsets, finds that several companies are offsetting to address their unavoidable emissions.
A new report from Ecosystem Marketplace, published today, reveals companies are engaging in carbon markets as one part of larger emissions reduction strategies that include energy efficiency measures among other improvements. Here, Forest Trends’ Will Tucker explores eight common misconceptions associated with carbon offsets.
From a carbon accounting perspective, most greenhouse gas emissions from international passenger flights don’t exist, because outside the European Economic Area they aren’t charged to any nation. In October, the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization will announce a plan to change that, and Arjun Patney of the American Carbon Registry offers this primer.
Eight years after the state of Colorado launched a private/public voluntary carbon offset program that encourages low-emission driving, the Colorado-based Natural Capitalism Solutions is taking the wheel and intends to steer the Colorado Carbon Fund toward projects that mitigate climate while delivering social and economic benefits.
Carbon project developers have high hopes for the Sustainable Development Goals, which they hope will provide a clear benchmark for the non-carbon “co-benefits” that so many have worked so hard to create. But for the SDGs to catch on, we will need buy-in across all sectors: private, public, and non-governmental. Here is why it should happen.
2015 was a paradoxical year for voluntary carbon offsets, with average prices reaching an all-time low of $3.30 per ton even as volume rose 10% and prices for new offsets more than doubled to $7.20. Meanwhile, companies began exploring new ways of using offsets to reduce emissions internally. Confused? Join our Wednesday webinar for a deep dive into the findings of the “State of Voluntary Carbon Markets” report.
Cocoa is Ghana’s largest cash crop, but it faces an uncertain future as farmers burn through land and devour forests. The government hopes to fix that by using REDD+ finance to promote sustainable agriculture, provide insurance, and help those who embrace sustainable farming to sell their products.
Prices for voluntary carbon offsets plunged to a record low in 2015, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” report, but market participants see the Paris Agreement and a flurry of tangential initiatives lifting prices in 2016.
The vast majority of economists advocate putting a price on carbon, and most people generally argue that a higher price will drive down emissions the fastest. But focusing on price first, instead of efficient emission reductions, could do more harm than good, argues Sheldon Zakreski, Director of Carbon Compliance for The Climate Trust.
Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2016 report tracked a 10% increase over 2014. The report launched May 26 at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany and the findings demonstrate how individuals, corporations and state and national governments are using voluntary carbon markets to ramp up their own climate action as the world forged an international agreement on climate change.
When the smoke cleared in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park after the 2003 Cedar Fire, almost every tree across 25,000 acres had been killed. Park managers waited a few years but saw no regrowth, so they did something somewhat unprecedented under California State Parks operations: they took matters into their own hands. With an influx of carbon finance from private sector partners, the Cuyamaca forest carbon project is now poised to issue its first offsets – but it’s been quite a waiting game.
Nearly every economist agrees that we can best slash greenhouse-gas emissions by charging emitters for the damage they create – but how do we know what to charge? Scientists currently estimate damages based only on what they know for sure, but the scary stuff is in what they don’t know, says Gernot Wagner, co-author of the book “Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet”.
The first major round of climate talks since the signing of the Paris Agreement have kicked off in Bonn, Germany, with the aim of developing the “rule book” that contains the nitty-gritty for implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the climate challenge.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a contract to develop what it says is the most advanced satellite ever deployed for measuring the carbon content of tropical rainforests. Named, appropriately enough, “Biomass”, the satellite will launch in 2021 and is explicitly designed to support REDD+. The ESA says it will provide more accurate measurements of carbon content than even ground-truthing now provides.
Representatives from roughly 130 governments are converging on New York city today to sign the Paris Agreement that was reached in December, and the We Mean Business Coalition says that implementing that agreement will unleash more than $13 trillion in new investment – or $100 billion for everyone who signs. That’s just one reason this year’s Earth Day is completely different from all those that came before.
More than 120 heads of government are expected to converge on New York City to formally sign the Paris Agreement today, bringing it into effect as soon as 55 of them put their names on the list. A core component of that agreement is the ability to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions – an argument that’s taken for granted in some circles but dismissed in others. Here’s why we dismiss that argument at our own risk.
The World Bank’s new five-year forest plan is a clear continuation of its evolving strategy to save forests by both commercializing activities that depend on them and supporting activities that take pressure off of them, but it makes that double-pronged approach explicit and promises to deliver by shifting its focus away from isolated projects and towards programs more carefully incorporated into national strategies.
The Great Transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy has begun, and this week it forced the world’s largest publicly-traded coal producer into bankruptcy – a win for the climate, but one that comes at the expense of some groups more than others. Here’s how a national price on carbon can both speed the transition and ensure it doesn’t leave coal country behind.
Aviation emissions aren’t currently covered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and developing countries have vehemently opposed efforts to impose a price on carbon emitted by flights. Now, however, a coalition of environmental NGOs, including Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends, says airlines can slash their emissions by using the UNFCCC framework to save forests.
Two years after the REDD Offsets Working Group, California’s Air Resources Board seems to be getting serious about incorporating international avoided deforestation offsets into its cap-and-trade program. There’s been a flurry of activity on the subject, ranging from presentations and workshops to technical papers, leaving some to think REDD will be added in time for the program’s third compliance period in 2018.
The International Energy Agency recently reported that energy-related emissions have “decoupled” from economic growth over the last two years, and it turns out that nearly two dozen countries have done the same, according to Nate Aden of the World Resources Institute. The countries ranged from Austria to Uzbekistan and include Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Consumer giants Unilever and Marks & Spencer last year vowed to source raw materials from jurisdictions that “pursue comprehensive forest climate programmes” like the one the Brazilian state of Pará launched in 2011. Here’s how the state got ahead of the curve, and what it means for deforestation in the Amazon.
Kenya can earn nearly $200 million per year and slash its greenhouse-gas emissions by using carbon finance to improve its forest management, modernize its charcoal production, and disseminate clean-burning cookstoves, according to a new report issued jointly by the Kenyan government and the United Nations Environment Program.
Ecosystem Marketplace launched its latest report researching the co-benefits of forest carbon projects, finding biodiversity conservation, job creation, gender empowerment and clean water among the many non-carbon pros. Report authors will present the findings during a webinar on Wednesday.
Carbon offset project developers have traditionally targeted high-volume corporate buyers looking to reduce massive carbon footprints, but the universe of enlightened corporations has proven limited. A small but growing number of marketers are now selling to individuals and small businesses, where volumes are lower but margins are high – and so is appreciation.
Wetlands, and especially mangrove forests, sequester far more carbon per square mile than do tropical forests, and they also provide shelter for fish, protect the coast from storm surges, and keep coral reefs alive. On World Wetlands day, we examine the unappreciated value of these critical ecosystems.
Each January we ask carbon market participants to make predictions about the coming year, and we publish them in our free biweekly newsletter, The Carbon Chronicle. This year, we received such a flood of responses that we could only publish a few excerpts in the newsletter. But not to fear – the full list is here:
Both markets and forests found their place in the Paris Climate Accord, capping a tumultuous year that saw a new “bottom-up” approach to the climate crisis deliver something that no one hates and many even seem to love. In all this tumult, what were the top carbon market stories of 2015? Here’s your chance to let us know what you think.