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Forests, Farms, and the Global Carbon Sink: It’s Happening

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we need carbon sinks if we’re to meet the climate challenge, and farmers have the ability to turn forests, fields, and farms into just that. Unfortunately, they’ve been slow to embrace the global apparatuses for meeting the climate challenge, until now. Here’s how that changed, and why it matters.

Struggling To Meet Climate Targets, Ireland Contemplates Higher Carbon Tax

7 August 2018 | Two months ago, the Climate Action Network ranked Ireland as the second-worst climate performer in the European Union, behind only Poland (which, ironically, is hosting year-end climate talks for the third time in December). Since then, lawmnakers have introduced a bill to divest all fossil-fuel holdings, which amount to EUR 318 […]

Environmental NGOs Gear Up to Defend Compensatory Mitigation

27 July 2018 | For decades, the US government has, under some circumstances, let mining companies and other land developers use compensatory mitigation to “offset” their damage to the habitat of endangered species by restoring an area of equal or greater environmental value. It’s a practice that balanced economy with ecology and supported a restoration […]

Accountability Framework Initiative Releases Draft Of Core Principles, Invites Feedback

26 July 2018 | Nearly 500 leading companies have pledged to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains, and the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA 2020) recently found that these pledges are, in fact, changing the ways the world produces, procures, and distributes products like soybeans, oil palm, beef & leather, and pulp & paper. It also, however, […]

World’s First Nature-Based Accelerator Graduates Initial Cohort Of Start-Ups

19 July 2018 | The ECOSTAR Nature-Accelerator graduated its first cohort of nature-based startups today, concluding with a Demo Day at which the startups will pitch their business ideas to private and public investors. The event will be held at the world’s oldest botanical garden, in Padua, Italy–a fitting location for the world’s first startup […]

Will Incoming EPA Boss Andrew Wheeler Destroy The Restoration Economy?

11 July 2018 | US Environmental Protection Agency boss Scott Pruitt may be gone, but his replacement, Andrew Wheeler is just as friendly to the coal sector as Pruitt was – and just as unfriendly to the $25 billion “restoration economy” that directly employs 126,000 people and supports 95,000 other jobs. That’s more jobs than logging, more […]

With Pruitt And Kennedy Gone, What Happens To The Clean Water Rule?

This is the fifth installment in a five-part series. You can find the first installment here. 5 July 2018 | US Environmental Protection Agency boss Scott Pruitt is gone – not because of his environmental malfeasance, but because his $43,000 phone booth, his $100,000 trip to Disneyland, and his attempts to get his wife a lucrative job […]

IKEA Is Latest Company To Gain Approval For Science-Based Climate Targets

22 June 2018 | Global furniture giant IKEA Group has promised to reduce the climate footprint of its products 70 percent by 2030, and now it can back that claim up after becoming the 113th company to see its emission-reduction strategy approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative. The initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations […]

Europeans Agree On 32 Percent Renewables Target And Phaseout Of Palm Oil For Transport By 2030

14 June 2-18 | The European Parliament sparked protests across Indonesia and Malaysia last year when it proposed banning the use of palm oil for biofuel from 2021 onward under amendments to the European Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo each lambasted the proposal as “discriminatory” because […]

Supreme Court Says Tribal Treaty Rights Require Salmon Passage to Sea

14 June 2018 | This week, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that said the Washington state government must remove barriers to salmon migration in rivers to uphold the treaty rights of Washington tribes to fish. In Washington, and other parts of the Northwest, tribes retained treaty rights to hunt, fish, and access […]

Renewable Energy Boom Not So Kind To Southern US Forests

Stretching across the southeastern U.S., wetland forests provide ecosystem services totaling $500 billion, according to a 2018 report by environmental watchdog group Dogwood Alliance. Today, America’s natural wetland forests exist in pockets, covering just a fraction of their former range. However, even in their depleted state, they provide crucial services. These highly biodiverse ecosystems are […]

A First Look at ECOSTAR’s Nature-Based Startup Portfolio

23 May 2018 | When Alessandro Leonardi began his graduate degree in forestry a decade ago at the University of Padova in Italy, forestry students rarely came near a business school classroom – courses in business administration, finance, or marketing weren’t part of the curriculum. In 2011, after completing his degree, Leonardi and some fellow […]

Mid-Year Climate Talks Wrap Up With Agreement On Agriculture, Eyes On Bangkok

Mid-year climate talks have wrapped up in the former German capitol of Bonn with no negotiating text for year-end talks in Poland (COP 24), but continued agreement to fast-track the activities on agriculture. Negotiators added an extra week of talks for September in Bangkok, Thailand to develop a negotiating text for COP 24. On the bright side, […]

Have Chinese Companies Finally Joined The Sustainability Bandwagon?

21 April 2018 |  Forty years ago, China’s once-vast forests were on the brink of extinction, but then the country stopped chopping trees and started planting them – a staggering 66 billion of them since 1978. This year alone, it will plant enough trees to cover all of Ireland. Critics, however, say companies have merely “exported” […]

How To Stop Your Khakis From Killing Forests

Most shoes are made of leather, while more and more shirts are made of cellulosic fibers derived from wood. Companies around the world are chopping down forests to make these products, accelerating climate change in the process. Here’s what some companies are doing to slow the process, and how you can support them.

In Chiapas, Farmers Plant Trees To Boost Yields

Mexico aims to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in part by improving the health of its forests, farms, and fields. The Scolel’te project has been doing that for decades, and provides a template for national strategies.

Waters Of The United States
Part Four: Writing The New Rule

The Trump administration wants to “repeal and replace” a rule for defining which waterways are and are not protected by the Clean Water Act, and environmentalists say Trump’s proposal would leave 80 percent of all US waters unprotected. In this fourth installment of a five-part series, we see how the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers forged the current rule over four arduous years.

Can New Principles Drive Money Into Sustainable Fishing?

Seafood is a hot commodity, but current fishing practices are depleting ocean stocks faster than they can regenerate. Much of the investment flows driving those practices come from government agencies whose interests should be longer term, and new guidelines aim to direct them, as well as private flows, into more sustainable practices.

Can The World Bank Model Show Us How to De-Risk U.S. Environmental Markets?

Most environmental markets exist to help regulated entities like electric companies and mining groups meet requirements established by law. If those laws are changed or challenged, prices can swing violently. Here’s how the World Bank has mitigated risk around the world, sparking similar endeavors in the United States.

The Dirt On Soil Carbon

Healthy topsoil teems with life, and on this planet, that means carbon. But as we churn through topsoil, we release carbon into the air, where it becomes carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. and lots of it: nearly 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide over the last 200 years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here’s how carbon finance is helping to reverse that trend.

Finance To Protect Tropical Forests: Not Just One Silver Bullet

Carbon finance is measured in billions of dollars, while global supply chains are measured in trillions, but the former can still be used to leverage the latter. Looking at the case of Brazil, a new report lays out how an integrated financing strategy for the protection of tropical forests can make the money work harder and go further.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.