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The Tumultuous Truth Behind The Destruction Of Indonesia’s Forests

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.

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The Green Economy: A Primer

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.

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“Stewards Of The Forest”: New Film Shines Light On Indigenous Life Plans

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.

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How Science Can Make Sense Of Sustainability Strategy

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?

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Seven Lessons From A Decade Of Impact Investing

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.

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Now Is ABSOLUTELY The Right Time To Talk About Climate Change

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.

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To Save Peru’s Forests, Support Its Small Farmers

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.

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Remembering The Day Milton Friedman “Endorsed” A Price On Carbon

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.

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Brazilian Indigenous Leaders Turn Up Heat On Catholic Organization

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.

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How The Restoration Economy Can Help Us Withstand The Next Hurricane Harvey

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.

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact agreed to under the Obama administration, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Leading Scientists, Lawyers Challenge Trump On Social Cost Of Carbon

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.

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A Missed Opportunity in California’s Climate ‘Victory’

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.

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How Brazil And Indonesia Can Meet The Climate Challenge

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.

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How The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Can Quietly Change Global Business

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.

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Payments For Ecosystem Services Work: Study

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?

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Can Europe Tap The Private Sector To Protect Its Environment?

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.

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Andrew Mitchell: Forest Utility Meter Man

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.

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One Month On, Innovate4Climate Continues To Yield Stories

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.

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Can This Swiss Feed Supplement Do For Cows What Tesla Is Doing For Cars?

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.

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US Farms And Rural Communities Lose Big If Trump Pulls Out Of Paris Agreement

US President Donald Trump is expected to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement today – ostensibly to save jobs. Unfortunately, he’ll be killing more jobs than he saves, and mostly in parts of the country that can least afford to lose them – namely, those parts that propelled him into the White House.

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Unlocking Carbon Market Potential In a Post-Paris World

Activity in the voluntary markets in 2016 pushed us over the 1 billion tonnes transacted mark, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s newly released State of Voluntary Carbon Markets 2017. Expect more market-based data next month as partners introduce a Europe-focused initiative. Meanwhile, the BioCarbon Fund announces new finance for Ethiopia’s REDD+ project and Australian tour buses go carbon neutral.

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Climate Hangs Over Trump Like Sword Of Damocles Ahead of G-7

The Trump Show has once again mopped up media attention that should be going to issues more important but less entertaining – like the flurry of mid-year talks designed to turbocharge national commitments to end climate change. They began in Bonn on the 8th of May, continue next week in Barcelona, and culminate next Friday with Trump’s arrival in the Sicilian town of Taormina.

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The Dutch Government Is Piloting A Voluntary Carbon Program, And It’s Not Alone

Countries that vowed to slash their greenhouse-gas emissions under the Paris Agreement are now supposed to be looking for ways to slash them even deeper, and the Dutch government says it will “Bring Paris Home” by actively supporting home-grown voluntary carbon projects. It’s a program with precedent – and promise.

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China, India To Beat Climate Pledges As Trump Drags US Backwards

The Paris Climate Agreement lets countries set their own emission-reduction targets and then encourages a “race to the top” as countries learn from each other and incrementally improve their self-set targets. China and India – two coal-rich countries that long kept climate scientists up at night – are beating their initial targets and have room to improve.

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How To Track Climate Legislation Around The World

One hundred and forty-four countries have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, and 143 of them say they’ll stay in it – even if Donald Trump pulls the United States out. But staying in and delivering what you stayed in to do are two different things. One way to track progress is to track laws, and a newly-updated database makes it surprisingly easy – and fun – to do.

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World Bank Climate Boss Wants To “Activate Trillionaire Investments” Under Paris Agreement

UN Negotiators are gathering this week and next in Bonn, Germany to move the Paris Agreement forward. After that, the World Bank is hosting a one-week meeting in Barcelona called “Innovate4Climate”, which is designed to get money flowing towards the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement. World Bank boss James Close says the aims and objectives are nothing short of massive.

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Will New French President Keep Pledge To Hire US Climate Workers?

The United States has always been a leader in green technologies, despite the best efforts of the Bush and now Trump administrations to undermine them. During the French Presidential election, eventual winner Emmanuel Macron made a direct and audacious appeal to US climate workers. Will he keep it?

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If Trump Bails On Paris Agreement, At Least He’ll Be Out Of The Way

Climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn, Germany, the next two weeks to move the Paris Climate Agreement forward – even as Republicans in the United States seem intent on moving it backward. Most countries say they want the US to stay in the agreement, but there’s reason to believe it will be better off without us.

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New State Of Voluntary Carbon Markets Report Set To Launch At Innovate4Climate

Innovate4Climate is two short weeks away, and Ecosystem Marketplace will be on-the-ground not only to cover key climate finance developments but to launch this year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report. Details are featured in the latest Carbon Chronicle, which also covers corporate efforts to achieve carbon neutrality and a big court ruling for California’s carbon market.

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Forest Footprint aims to Reward Companies that Save Trees

The Carbon Disclosure Project has arguably reduced greenhouse gas emissions by creating an incentive for companies to examine and disclose their carbon footprints – an act that often leads them to realize how easy and economical reductions can be. Can the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project do the same for deforestation?

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Can California Tap Carbon Markets To Save Its Delta (And Its Drinking Water)?

The inland marshes that provide half of California’s drinking water and support its massive agriculture sector are sinking into the ground and drowning in fertilizer running off from farms. They’re also emitting massive amounts of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. Here’s how that could be the key to their salvation.

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Message From Tashka Yawanawa On Importance of Indigenous Life Plans

The Yawanawa, an indigenous people living in the Brazilian Amazon, are on a journey toward sustainability and a way of life that economically supports them while maintaining their traditions and keeping the forest intact. Here, Tashka, chief of the Yawanawa, describes efforts to develop a Life Plan to carve out this sustainable existence – and why such efforts are critical not just for indigenous folks but the entire world.

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Carbon Offsetting: Buyers’ Guide 1.0

Donald Trump may have neutered the federal government’s ability to fight climate change, the world is still engaged in the fight, and you as an individual have plenty of options beyond switching to renewable energy and getting politically engaged. For one, you can support activities that reduce emissions elsewhere, which offsets those emissions you can’t eliminate. Here’s how.

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Cleansing Forest Loss From Supply Chains Easier Said Than Done

This month’s edition of the Carbon Chronicle features new research from Supply Change, which reveals that a growing number of companies are sharing their progress on their no deforestation commitments. Meanwhile, a British insurance company launched a new carbon offsetting program, and beef producers of Manitoba explore a carbon pricing policy.

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How Trump’s Budget Hits The Environment, Agency-By-Agency

US President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget deals the environment death by a thousand cuts scattered across at least seven and probably more agencies. Here is a list of the cuts we’ve identified so far, and an open invitation to let us know if we’ve missed anything or gotten anything wrong.

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Of Milk And Money, Part Five:
The Art Of The Conservation Deal

The Forest Trends Supply Change initiative has identified more than 100 companies that plan to include smallholder farmers in their sustainability efforts, but such inclusion is easier to conceive than to achieve. Here’s how Danone, Mars, and a handful of other companies are teaming up with regional NGOs to deliver on that promise.

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Note To Congress: Climate Change Is Real, And It’s Expensive

Two key committees of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on the “social cost of carbon” this week, but they ended up focusing more on the cost of fixing the mess than on the cost of letting it run rampant. Rachel Cleetus of the Union of Concerned Scientists explains why that’s a big mistake that could cost us all dearly.

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Of Milk and Money, Part Four: How Impact Investing Links Big Business And Small Farming

From 2010 through 2015, environmental NGO VI Agroforestry leveraged carbon finance to help 30,000 Kenyan farmers develop more sustainable practices. With millions of others still in poverty, however, the organization needed to scale up further, yet it was leery of taking on market risk to do so. Could a for-profit impact investment fund be the solution?

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Of Milk And Money, Part Three: Pitching The Neighbors, Planting The Trees

Makanda Khisa needed to recruit 60,000 farmers for the new Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project, and he knew that the early movers would set the tone for those to follow. Here’s how two of those early movers, Ignatius Sifuna Nabutola and Prisca Mayende, helped him get the project off the ground.

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Of Milk And Money, Part Two: Soil, Silage, And The Carbon Conundrum

Aggressive farming devours topsoil and depletes the naturally-occurring carbon and nitrogen, while agroforestry infuses those nutrients into the ground. In 2010, the environmental NGO VI Agroforestry embarked on a groundbreaking experiment to see if it could tap carbon markets to promote sustainable agriculture.

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Analysis: A Price On Carbon Is Neither Liberal Nor Conservative. It’s Just Practical

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.

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Conservation Markets Are Trending Upward

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.