News & Articles: Geographic Oceania

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Australia Pushes Toward Emissions Trading

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.

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Doubts Persist About Australia’s Climate Policy Shift Ahead Of First Emissions Reduction Auction

Australia drew the ire of the environmental community when it backed away from its carbon pricing program last year and established a nearly AU$2.6 billion Emissions Reduction Fund in its place. With the first auction coming up this week, critical issues still need to be resolved, including whether the funding will be sufficient to incentivize new emissions reduction projects.

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This Week In V-Carbon News…

Australia topped the news last week with the repeal of its carbon tax, South Korean ministers called for a delay in its carbon price, and New Zealand is considering shelving its program later this year. But voluntary buyers aren’t taking a vacation this summer with announcements from Chevrolet, Disney, and others.

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Carbon Partnership: Breaking New Ground

Although New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme was the first in the world to accept forestry offsets, many local forestry projects are ineligible for the program, forcing them to turn to the voluntary carbon markets where demand for offsets is limited. Consultancy Carbon Partnership explains the challenges facing Kiwi forest carbon projects within the context of its Rarakau project.

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This Week in Biodiversity: Australia’s Got Some Good News, and Some Bad News…

Australia streamlines biodiversity offsets at the state level in New South Wales, but the national Biodiversity Fund will be defunded to the tune of $231 million as a side effect of the country moving to a floating carbon price. Meanwhile, wetlands are on everyone’s mind in the Gulf of Mexico, and a new crowdfunding platform is launched.

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Carbon Market Sees Long Game in AU “Link and Scrap” Decision

In the long run, Australia’s move to link its ETS with the EU ETS in 2015 and scrap its price floor could usher in a liquid international carbon market. The short term is more nebulous, despite provisions to bolster demand for the domestic Carbon Farming Initiative. Can the new policy sufficiently navigate carbon price risk and political uncertainty? 

What Australia’s Link and Scrap
Could Mean for Domestic Carbon Farming

 A group of land industry organizations are claiming the new ecosystem service based forest planning rule is in violation of several pieces of land management legislation. Because of what they believe to be a governmental overreach, they have filed a lawsuit against the US Forest Service. 29 August 2012 When the US Forest Service updated […]

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Suing to Stop Climate Change

While governments drag their feet on climate change, to what extent can nuisance lawsuits and other types of legal actions fill the gap?  FIELD hosts a climate justice panel discussion.

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On the Blog: Is Papua New Guinea too Risky for the Carbon Market?

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare has reportedly denounced voluntary carbon schemes as being too risky.  The message, however, is not posted on Somare’s web page, and the voluntary programs he’s denouncing were never verified to any recognized standard. Yes, all markets are risky — but which ones is he referring to, and who really bears the risk?

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Australians Think Locally, but Will They Be Allowed to Act?

Broad but not deep, Australia’s new mandatory cap-and-trade regime limits the emissions of industries responsible for 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions.  Those limits, however, are weak compared to those of most developed countries, and critics say the law actually prevents voluntary offsets from being used to incentivize deeper cuts.

 
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Methodologies Tame Forest Carbon Jungle

As forests convert carbon dioxide in the air to carbon stored in woods, leaves and roots, a range of organizations are, in turn, working to convert forests into carbon offsets. The ‘exchange rate’ of this conversion — or the amount of value brought by intervention — is determined by specific standards’ methodologies, which are technical, but critical, tools shaping the rules of the game.

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UN Aims to Streamline Cost of Developing Forestry Offset Projects

It’s expensive to develop carbon offset projects that reduce emissions by capturing carbon in trees, and one reason is that every project has to develop its own methodologies for measuring results. The UNFCCC is asking for help in streamlining that process.

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EKO-ECO: the Ecosystem Services Blog

When Ecosystem Marketplace launched in 2005, the idea of preserving nature by incorporating its value into our economic system was mostly an academic exercise. Today, it’s the cornerstone of a fast-moving and innovative branch of finance. To keep our readers up-to-speed on the latest developments, EM and EKO Asset Management Partners have launched the EKO-ECO blog.

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Bonn Talks Open with REDD Agenda

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the UN bodies charged with mapping out the role of forestry offsets in a post-Kyoto climate-change regime are meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week and next to continue the process of hammering out their differences. The groups will meet at least three more times before gathering in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

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The Matrix: Mapping Ecosystem Service Markets

The once-radical concept of saving the environment by documenting the economic value of environmental services and then getting industry to pay is finally catching on – but how is one to keep track of all the new methodologies and concepts? The Ecosystem Marketplace presents The Matrix, a new tool for surveying the ecosystem services landscape.

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Payments for Ecosystem Services: Download the Primer

Payments for Ecosystem Services encourage entities that benefit from ecosystem services to pay for maintaining those ecosystems – but how? At the Biodiversity Conference (COP 9) in Bonn, Germany, Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have jointly unveiled a nuts-and-bolts primer designed to answer that question.

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Biodiversity Banking: A Primer

Mitigation Banking makes it possible for real estate developers to turn biodiversity into an asset instead of a liability – which ultimately makes it possible to preserve that biodiversity across the United States. But how do such mechanisms work? And what challenges do they face? The Worldwatch Institute’s 2008 State of the World Report tackles these and other issues – excerpted here in Ecosystem Marketplace.

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Painting the Town REDD: Merrill Lynch Inks Massive Voluntary Forest Deal

In a major demonstration of confidence in the viability of voluntary carbon offsets as a strategic investment, Merrill Lynch is raising equity for a 100-million-ton, for-profit avoided deforestation project in Aceh, Indonesia. Tellingly for the future of the forestry market, the decision to take the plunge had more to do with the cultural and biodiversity benefits than with the carbon itself. The Ecosystem Marketplace examines the deal and its significance.

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Analysis: Why saving the world’s rainforests is good for the climate and the US economy

The 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 13) is more than a month behind us, but plenty of debate lies ahead as advocates and opponents of using forestry to combat climate change air their opinions in the lead up to COP 14 later this year in Poland and COP 15 next year in Denmark. Jeff Horowitz and Robert O’Sullivan of Avoided Deforestation Partners take stock of the Bali Roadmap and what it means for avoided deforestation.

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Cool Kyoto country generates internal heat

Australia's ruling Coalition government and their leader, Prime Minister John Howard, won a fourth straight election victory on October 9. The conventional wisdom holds this is bad news for climate change and for Australia's participation in the Kyoto Protocol. But the electoral campaign, as well as changing attitudes from businesses and farmers, have meant that the issue of climate change has remained very much at the forefront of the national political agenda. Don't be surprised if emissions trading takes root on what is seemingly infertile soil. The Ecosystem Marketplace digs a bit deeper.

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Forest Sequestration enters Carbon Market Down Under

In Late 2004, Australia's CO2 Group Ltd. became the first company in the world to receive accreditation for the sale of forest-based carbon sequestration credits in a functioning GHG emissions markets. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look at the transaction and asks how it fits in with similar attempts to deal with the issue of forest-based sequestration worldwide.

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Maori farmers look to environmental markets in New Zealand

In the midst of New Zealand's urbanizing economy, indigenous Maori landowners are looking to environmental markets and conservation easements to help maintain their livelihood and culture in the rural hill-country of New Zealand's North Island. The Ecosystem Marketplace spotlights the challenges and opportunities associated with paying for ecosystem services on communal lands.

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Water Tops Environmental Concerns Worldwide: Survey

A new survey released this week at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, shows that water pollution and a shortage of fresh water top the list as the most important water-related issues worldwide.

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Betting on Markets: Australia's Five-Million Dollar Experiment with Market-Based Instruments

Australia launched the National Market-based Instruments Pilots Program two years ago with a five million dollar investment in eleven pilot projects designed to explore the utility of market-based conservation mechanisms on agricultural land. This appears to be moving Australia and its farmers ever closer to a brand of agriculture that might just save the planet, as well as feed it. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look.

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The Five Keys to Constructing Successful Water-Quality Schemes

Scores of water quality trading schemes are up and running around the world, and the World Resources Institute has published a 16-page study designed to identify what works, what doesn’t, and why. Mindy Selman is the lead author, and Ecosystem Marketplace caught up with her in Washington.

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Australians Revving Up to Bank on the Bush

After a long period for public comment, New South Wales' legislation concerning biobanking is due out soon. The Ecosystem Marketplace listens in on what people are saying about Australia's new Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme.

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Forest Sequestration enters Carbon Market Down Under

In Late 2004, Australia's CO2 Group Ltd. became the first company in the world to receive accreditation for the sale of forest-based carbon sequestration credits in a functioning GHG emissions markets. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look at the transaction and asks how it fits in with similar attempts to deal with the issue of forest-based sequestration worldwide.

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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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EM Cheat Sheet: The Biochar Debate

Land-use practices – including forestry and agriculture – are responsible for nearly 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is why accounting for land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) is a key point of contention in climate-change talks leading up to December’s Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ecosystem Marketplace summarizes the latest findings.

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Matching the Landscape

Australia's national approach to natural resource management emphasizes regional responsibility and community decision making. The Ecosystem Marketplace explores how this has opened the door for more innovative thinking around market-based conservation.

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Australia: A Pioneer in Sustainable Emissions Trading

The Hunter River Valley has long been one of Australia's most productive regions — supporting numerous coal mines, huge electricity generators, and much of the country's agriculture. In the 1990s, the varied business owners who depend on the Hunter River for their livelihood came into conflict with one another when industrial discharges into the river made it too salty for fish and farms alike. By going with the river's flow and against the grain of traditional command-and-control conservation, the Hunter River Valley came up with a unique market-based approach to solving the problem in 1995. A decade on, the Ecosystem Marketplace considers what has made the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme (HRSTS) a success.

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Blog Update: New REDD Text Thursday!

With just four weeks of negotiating time scheduled before the year-end Climate Conference in Copenhagen, negotiators are scrambling to trim the 300-page negotiating text for a post-Kyoto accord down to a more manageable 80. Tony La Vina, who is overseeing the portion of negotiations dealing with reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), has taken matters into his own hands.

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Kyoto Carbon Markets Bring New Value to the Green Slopes of New Zealand

The government of New Zealand is hoping carbon markets can help tackle a number of environmental problems affecting the green islands' mountainous terrain. The Ecosystem Marketplace discovers how the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative is introducing "carbon farming" to rural land management.

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Voluntary Carbon Market Doubles in Size

Volume on the world’s voluntary carbon markets surged from 65 million tonnes in 2007 to 123 million tonnes in 2008, according to the most recent State of the Voluntary Carbon Market. The real news, however, isn’t the numbers – but the drivers. Ecosystem Marketplace asked market participants what the report means for them – and for the environment at large.

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Sustainable Fisheries

As fisheries worldwide continue to collapse, governments are increasingly turning to market-based mechanisms to ensure their conservation. One such approach is the use of so-called Individual transferable quotas (ITQs). Since New Zealand has experimented with quota systems more than any other country, the Ecosystem Marketplace considers what the Kiwis have learned about the pluses and minuses of this market-based approach to fishery management.

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Origin Energy Ramps Up Australian Voluntary Carbon Market

Origin Energy has launched the Carbon Reduction Scheme in Australia to provide businesses with an accredited and verified carbon offsetting framework. The Ecosystem Marketplace discovers why this energy retailer is taking an interest in the voluntary carbon market.

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Environmentalists, Financiers Commemorate Decade of Forest Trends

Former US Vice President Al Gore and a diverse group of conservationists, indigenous people, financiers, policy-makers, and civil servants met in Washington, DC, at the end of April to commemorate the first decade of Forest Trends, which was launched in 1999 to help preserve the world’s ecosystems by fostering an understanding of nature’s true value to our global economy.

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New Forests Pty. Limited embraces independence, seeks a revolution

On July 1, 2005, Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG), the world's largest Timberland Investment Management Organization ("TIMO"), announced the sale of its Australia-based New Forests Program in a management buy-out to David Brand, the director of the business. The Ecosystem Marketplace finds out how Brand hopes to use his new company–New Forests Pty Limited–to revolutionize ecosystem markets (and the world), one institutional investor at a time.

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Bonn ‘Informals’ Dedicate New REDD+ Subgroup

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and sloppy agriculture accounts for another 18%. Improving land-use practices could thus be one of the quickest and easiest ways to slow global warming – if the world can agree on ways of measuring and paying for these improvements. That’s a central theme of informal talks this week in Bonn, Germany.

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US-Based Voluntary Offset Projects: Coming of Age?

There seems to be ever growing market demand for carbon neutral services in the United States. But with voluntary carbon offsets under attack, can America's fledgling market deliver the kinds of high-quality offsets that sophisticated global players demand? The Ecosystem Marketplace examines the issues framing the debate in the US market.

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Carbon Volume up, but Reform Needed to Ensure Enviro Benefits: World Bank

Anyone looking to earn carbon credits by funding clean development projects has to prove that the carbon income made the project possible. This is “addititionality” in a nutshell, and it's a cornerstone of carbon finance. The World Bank's State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2009, however, says that existing tools for proving additionality are clunky and counterproductive.

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New Zealand's Billion-dollar Question

When New Zealand's Labour government signed on to the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, policy projections suggested that the country would meet its emissions targets with ease, allowing it to sell surplus 'credits' into the global carbon market at considerable gain. Not so, say revised reports issued by New Zealand's Climate Change Office this year. Due to a stronger than expected economy and some fine print concerning the inclusion of forest sinks in the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand now finds itself facing a Kyoto debt as large as half a billion dollars (NZ). Ecosystem Marketplace considers whether the Kiwis will jump ship or stay the course.

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Bonn Talks Close With Clarity on Land Use

The Bonn climate talks haven’t achieved the kind of progress that generates headlines, but they have come up with an extremely clear summary of all proposals related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) as well as movement towards a consensus on how to account for other land-use issues. Unfortunately, that consensus will probably not be achieved in time for the next commitment period.

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Green Wall Street in Time Zone One

Leading businesses in New Zealand are pushing for the country to develop a platform that will be the hub of carbon trading in Asia Pacific. The Ecosystem Marketplace explores the possibility of a Green Wall Street in time zone one.

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Speaking for the Trees

Alongside the burgeoning compliance market in carbon reductions spawned by ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the voluntary market–made up of everyone from large corporations to interested individuals–continues to grow as efforts to combat climate change become increasingly well known. The Ecosystem Marketplace tracks the profusion of programs and companies reducing greenhouse gas emissions and selling carbon dioxide offsets on the voluntary market.

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Are Forests Like a Bag of Beans?

A last-minute decision to put Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) on the roadmap for future climate change talks opens the door to innovative financing schemes to reduce deforestation. Such schemes have long been advocated by investment banks and traders – who are expected to play an ever larger role in framing future climate change mitigation mechanisms. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a closer look. (First of two parts)

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EM Podcast: Making Biodiversity Offsets Work

The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) has published an exhaustive library of resources four years in the making and designed to support progress in the fight to save biodiversity by embedding its value in our economic system. EM Audio speaks with BBOP Director Kerry ten Kate.

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Halting the Plunder Down Under

Real innovation sometimes arises from tweaking a model, not designing it from scratch. The Ecosystem Marketplace follows the path of an American conservation model across the ocean to New South Wales and discovers how the ever-innovative Aussies are adapting mitigation banking to suit their needs.

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More Corporations Seek Solutions to Global Water Crisis

More and more corporations have come to realize that their economic survival relies on nature, and a growing number are investigating market-based tools for meeting the looming global water challenge. Many of these tools are on display at World Water Week, which runs through Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden.