News & Articles


Waters Of The United States
Part Three: The Rapanos Decision

In 2006, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia jettisoned two centuries of legal precedent to redefine “Waters of the United States” as only being rivers, streams, and lakes. It’s a definition that left 98 percent of the country’s waters unprotected by federal federal agencies, but was largely ignored – until Donald Trump ordered the EPA to make it the law of the land.


Verified Carbon Standard Changes Name To Verra

As carbon standards like the Verified Carbon Standard and the Gold Standard expand their coverage to compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals, old names often no longer apply. To reflect that, the Verified Carbon Standard, which began as the Voluntary Carbon Standard, has now changed its name to “Verra”.


Waters Of The United States
Part Two: Wetlands In The Clean Water Act

Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, but it was slowly amended and refined. By 2000, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency had settled on clear definitions of what constitutes “waters of the United States”. Not everyone, however, agreed with them.


Why Are 11 US States Suing The EPA And Army Corps Over Water Quality?

Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman filed suit against the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to block the Trump administration’s suspension of guidance on clean water. In this three-part series, we examine the convoluted history of water regulation in the United States


Twenty Percent Of US Climate Emissions Come From Fossil Fuel Exploration On Public Land

Shareholders are gradually demanding more corporate disclosure on climate risk, and which Mike Bloomberg’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures says is the greatest threat to financial stability. Now the Wilderness Society is demanding that same transparency from the US Department of Interior, which overseas federal public lands, and where, the Society says, oil and gas companies are generating 20 percent of US emissions.

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)

Europeans Move To Isolate US On Trade If Trump Pulls Out Of Paris Agreement

From the moment Donald Trump won the election as President of the United States, analysts warned that any effort to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement would isolate him and his country in global trade talks. Now, as the president sticks to his 2020 pull-out date, trade isolation is becoming a very real – and even probable – possibility.

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How Do You Measure Compliance With Sustainable Development Goals?
Answer By March 4

Billions of dollars in finance are now tied to the UN’s Stainable Development Goals, but how do you measure compliance? The Verified Carbon Standard is asking for public comments on project requirements it’s developing for a framework of sustainability criteria called the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).


Lawmakers From Nine States Now Cooperating On Carbon Price Legislation

While the Trump administration purges all mention of climate change at the federal level, state legislators from eight US states have introduced bills calling for a price on carbon, and a ninth state has bills in the drafting stage while three states have bills in the works.

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Applying Carbon Standards To Sustainable Development Goals

Carbon standards provide a science-based way of establishing the climate impact of any given carbon offset project, and now standards providers are bringing that same rigor to the Sustainable Development Goals. In the coming week, we’ll explore two such efforts and how they can be applied beyond carbon markets to help investors, activists, and companies compare their progress towards sustainable development.


Conservationists See Amazon Highway As Big Issue In 2018

After a decade of lower and lower rates of deforestation, the Amazon forest is again under threat. Scientists say a new development project could become a contentions issue in 2018 as an expanded highway slices the forest in half.


Let’s Make 2018 The Year We Rise Up And Regenerate!

Industrial farming requires massive inputs of nitrogen and other fertilizers, yet still depletes soil, while labor-intensive practices like agroforestry and organic farming can actually restore it. But can regenerative agriculture be scaled up to feed the world? Yes, argues Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International.


The Ecological Restoration Industry Goes to Washington

The $25 billion US ecological restoration industry is heading into 2018 with an ambitious agenda. In a few weeks, industry leaders will convene in Washington, DC for a policy conference that aims to position restoration right at the center of responses to the country’s mounting infrastructure and environmental resilience challenges.

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How The Rise Of Gourmet Chocolate Can Lift The Fortunes Of Small Farmers

Chocolate is a global commodity, but the cacao it’s made from comes in different varieties of varying quality. As consumers discover the subtle flavors of single-source cocoa, this company is working to make sure that demand lifts the fortunes of small producers around the world.


Now On Bionic Planet: 2017 Year In Review

This past year was a turbulent one, with Donald Trump doing everything in his power to dismantle the federal US environmental protection apparatus, and most media finding themselves too enthralled with the Trump Show to focus on climate change and its solutions. Still, here’s a look back at the stories that stood out in the year past.


Chilean Concert Promoter Cuts Emissions By Turning Turbines

When Latin Americans offset their greenhouse-gas emissions, they usually do so by purchasing offsets generated by saving or restoring forests. But the producers of Lollapalooza Chile and other major events are bucking the trend by partnering with a hydropower plant – albeit one that doesn’t create reservoirs and does support indigenous people.


Shots Fired At Indigenous Leader Who Documented Illegal Logging In Brazilian Amazon

Brazilian authorities are investigating an apparent assassination attempt against indigenous leader Narayni Surui and his wife, award-winning teacher Elisângela Dell-Armelina Surui. The couple were fired on while entering the indigenous territory after members of the Paiter-Surui ejected illegal loggers from the territory.


Fact-Checking CIFOR On Indigenous Rights

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has been a staunch supporter of indigenous rights, but their recent report on indigenous rights and carbon finance gets a lot of very basic facts wrong, argues Chris Meyer of the Environmental Defense Fund.


Seeing REDD: Why The European Union Needs To Embrace Forest Carbon Finance

We can’t beat climate change without saving the world’s forests, and tropical forest countries are ready to do their part, but they can’t fix the mess without help from the countries whose imports are driving the deforestation. The Paris Agreement offers several mechanisms for using carbon finance to save forests, and the European Union has a moral obligation to use them, argue two former climate negotiators.


The Grand Experiment To Save Appalachia’s Forests

The Southeastern United States produces 12 percent of the world’s wood, pulp, and paper – fueling an economic engine that’s pulverizing forests faster than it’s restoring them. Here’s how environmental NGOs like the Dogwood Alliance are teaming up with retail giants like Staples to try and prevent that engine from overheating.


In Bonn, Progress On Markets Hampered By Gridlock On Everything Else

Climate negotiators spent the last two weeks in Bonn sketching out the roadmap for achieving the ambitions laid out in Paris. It’s the kind of tedious work that doesn’t generate headlines, but it’s what can be the difference from reaching your destination and ending up in a ditch.


At Bonn Climate Talks, A Breakthrough On Agriculture

Farmers have always been leery of climate commitments, in part because they feared they’d end up subjected to unrealistic burdens. Under the Paris Agreement, however, a consensus on climate-safe agriculture emerged, setting off a cycle of talks that resulted in negotiators agreeing to a more streamlined process moving forward – one that could unleash billions of dollars going forward.


Jerry Brown, Mike Bloomberg Unveil Phase One Of “America’s Pledge On Climate”

Twenty US states have pledged to make sure the United States keeps its Paris Agreement pledge to reduce emissions 28 percent, as have more than 50 major cities and 60 major corporations, representing a $10 trillion economy. Today, California Governor Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg unveiled the plan for getting there.


Will Brazil Sacrifice Forests To Bail Out Backers Of Corruption-Riddled Dams?

As of 2020, international airlines will be mandated to offset large parts of their greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a mandate that could pump tens of billions of dollars into protecting the Brazilian Amazon, but the country’s Brazil’s climate negotiators would rather favor scandal-plagued national power company Eletrobrás and Amazon mega-hydroelectric projects.


Despite Trump, The Paris Agreement Continues To Evolve At Bonn/Fiji Climate Talks

This year’s climate talks may not be as glamorous or high-profile as the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that adopted the historic Paris Agreement two years ago, but the agenda for COP23 that starts Monday in Bonn is packed with key issues that need to be resolved to fully implement the Agreement.


How Saving Forests Can Meet Climate Challenge

Forests hold 40 percent more carbon than all the known fossil fuel deposits worldwide — nearly five times more carbon than can be added to the atmosphere without exceeding the Paris Agreement’s 2°C goal, according to a new paper.


It’s Time For The UK To Explore Conservation Finance

Our natural world and climate are experiencing catastrophic change, largely because it’s more profitable to destroy ecosystems than to conserve them. We can begin to redress this imbalance by using conservation finance to support opportunities that protect ecosystems and generate some form of return. Here’s how that can work in the UK.

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How Nature Can Get Us 37 Percent Of The Way To The Paris Climate Target

Forests, farms, and fields can absorb massive amounts of greenhouse gasses, while unhealthy ones emit emit them. Now a new study says that nature can offer up to 37 percent of the solution for keeping global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius or below — making it more critical than ever to fix the financing systems that are degrading our land.


10 Keys To Slashing Deforestation In Just Two Years

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.


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.


Six Asian Countries Take Steps to Regulate Imports of Illegal Timber Products

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.


3-Point Plan For Balancing Your Innovation Portfolio

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 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.


“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.


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?


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.


A Few Of The Bright Spots At Climate Week So Far

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.