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.
Science warns us that, with the advent of climate change, we need to prepare more and more for hurricanes like Harvey and Irma. That means building up the systems that protect our coasts, manage our water, and regulate our climate. Some of those systems will be made of steel and concrete, but others will be made of trees and sand.
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.
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.
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.
The US Environmental Protection Agency is legally obligated to protect the country from climate change, and a coalition of Democratic attorneys general says EPA boss Scott Pruitt not only violated his promise to recuse himself from matters involving the Clean Power Plan, but provided “legally incorrect” advice to governors when he told them to ignore its deadlines.
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.
Father Silvio Brosegihini knew nothing of marketing or logistics when he founded the Chankuap Foundation in 1996, but that didn’t stop him from helping the indigenous Achuar and Shuar people develop a sustainable cosmetics industry built on the oils of rare plants.
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.
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.
As major global greenhouse gas emitters, U.S. states have the economic heft and legislative authority to move the United States toward much lower emissions and cleaner energy, despite the Trump administration’s impotence and obstructionism at the federal level. While many have done so in the last decade, some remain stuck in the high-emitting past, as this analysis from the World Resources Institute shows.
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.
Impact investors have poured more than $8 billion into projects that support sustainable land management, and now more money is also finding its way into sustainable fishing. This month, a new partnership providing equity to sustainable small-scale fishing-related enterprises in Philippines and Indonesia, has made its first investment in a Filipino fishing processing and exporting group.
JP Morgan Chase aims to funnel a staggering $200 billion into sustainability efforts by 2025, primarily by supporting wind and solar projects around the world; but a sustainable economy needs more than just renewable energy. It needs healthy forests, farms, and fields; and the bank has a history of supporting the restoration economy that supports these.
While the Trump is dominating American media, a group of 25 Republican and 25 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have quietly joined the Climate Solutions Caucus, which aims to forge climate solutions that work across ideological divides.
Earlier this year, a group of prominent senior Republican leaders, including former Secretary of State James A. Baker and former Secretary of State George P. Schultz, proposed a national carbon tax as a “conservative climate solution.” Now two prominent Democrats have presented their proposal. Will a price on carbon emerge as a pivotal issue in the mid-term elections?
The public can now comment on a decision by the Trump administration to repeal a rule that would protect 60 percent of stream miles and the drinking water of one in three Americans.
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.
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?
Two environmental NGOs recently sent letters to four major banks warning that they were financing a company that intended to destroy forests. What one of those banks – namely HSBC – did next is both encouraging and enlightening.
War-torn countries need money, but illegal timber purchases often end up fueling warlords and accelerating conflict. A new analysis shows that European countries are importing more and more timber from 35 countries listed as fragile and conflict-related, and that much of that timber could be illegally-harvested.
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.
These days, everything from coffee to cornflakes has somebody’s stamp of approval, letting you know its ingredients have been sustainably harvested or that its producers have been treated fairly. But what do these standards mean? Here’s a quick look at four (soon to be three) of the most popular.
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.
Peruvian cuisine is the ultimate fusion of the indigenous and the exogenous, and it’s sparked a demand for exotic and diverse fruits and vegetables. Here’s how the region of Caserio Pimental – Peru’s pepper district – is meeting part of that demand with agroforestry and sustainable farming.
Countries around the world are implementing new laws and developing new mechanisms to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, while while several organizations have filed civil suits to force government action. But one mechanism has been sorely under-utilized: namely, prosecuting climate scofflaws as criminals under laws that already exist, argues Reinhold Gallmetzer of the International Criminal Court.
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.
Only by leveraging private finance can we approach the scale of capital needed to address climate and conservation challenges. California, through its work to mitigate dairy methane emissions, is poised to demonstrate how to generate that leverage, says Peter Weisberg, Senior Portfolio Manager for The Climate Trust.
Ten years ago, Swiss psychologist Bertrand Piccard vowed to fly around the world in a solar-powered airplane – not just to do it, but to show that it could be done, and to inspire others to seek new solutions to the climate challenge. Last year he succeeded, and now he plans to find and help fund 1000 climate-change solutions.
In a full-page ad targeted to businesses through the Wall Street Journal, leaders from physicist Stephen Hawking to industrialist Ratan Tata have endorsed a US carbon tax. It’s a new blast of support for an idea that first emerged in February of this year.
With the Trump administration leaving the federal government essentially neutered on climate change as hurricane season gets underway, this annual meeting of mayors is set to assume an unusually high profile. Mayors from more than 250 cities will meet to discuss climate, crime, and other issues.
Marks & Spencer has been recognized as one of the most sustainable retailers on the planet, second only to Finland’s much smaller Kesko OYJ, but the company – and other sustainable enterprises like Unilever and Tesco – are tiny drops in the ocean of our modern and still unsustainable economy. Can their joint efforts improve the global ecosystem in which they operate?
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.
The people of San Roque de Cumbaza live in a region of environmental splendor but economic scarcity – and many once feared they’d have to abandon their traditions and their territory to make a living wage. Then, into their midst came a banker on a vision quest. What he saw changed his life and helped them to change theirs.
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but the benefits of mitigation banking aren’t as self-evident. Now, the sector’s leading trade association is changing its name to the “Ecological Restoration Business Association”, while a new organization will focus exclusively on the mitigation banking sector.
A coalition of seven state Attorneys General have charged the federal Environmental Protection Agency EPA with violating federal law by failing to issue a safety finding on a common pesticide they say harms children’s neurological development.
While US President Donald Trump did announce his intention to pull the nation out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier today, climate practitioners are already expressing optimism and faith in China, Europe and leaders at the state level to step up and carry on with already-laid plans to decarbonize.
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.
US President Donald Trump has officially begun the process of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement – even as business leaders outside the Koch/DeVos/Coors vortex call for steep emission-reductions. Here’s why that might not be such a bad thing.
Addressing stormwater runoff and other water-related challenges is getting insanely expensive, which is why cost-effective green interventions are on the rise. This month’s Water Log features several efforts aiming to showcase innovative and nature-based water financing ideas. It also highlights a new project aiding nature-based businesses and a potential nutrient market in California’s East Bay.
Ecosystem Marketplace tracked its 1 billionth voluntary carbon offset, while members of the International Emissions Trading Association vowed to counter the rising tide of populism with words and actions at last week’s Innovate4Climate in Barcelona. Here are highlights from two key reports released last week.
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.
Organic farmers and other environmental entrepreneurs are a romantic lot, but they don’t have the opportunities for training and finance that providers of solar and wind technologies do. That’s set to change with the launch of ECOSTAR, a university-business hub that links the world of markets to that of ecosystem services science. The project launches on June 15th with a call for nature-based start-ups interested in learning the ropes.
Nearly 60 percent of all countries either include or plan to include carbon pricing in their national climate action plans, and a new platform launched by the World Bank and Ecofys aims to track carbon prices in government-run pricing initiatives.
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.
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.
Ten years ago, UK retailer Marks & Spencer launched “Plan A” – a massive effort to completely restructure its operations and become the world’s most sustainable retailer. It’s close to succeeding, if it hasn’t already, but one man can’t stop a tidal wave, and the hard part is getting others on board.
Seven years ago, indigenous people were seldom seen and even more seldom heard at global climate talks. Today, they’re actively involved in talks, with organizations like AIDESEP and COICA ensuring that indigenous practices are a part of forest-related solutions implemented under the Paris Climate Agreement.
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.
Ecosystem Marketplace is wrapping up data collection for its State of Biodiversity Markets report with a final flash poll offering anyone who’s interested a chance to weigh in on the future of biodiversity offsets. In other news, carbon market practitioners eye wetland restoration and rewilding initiatives in Europe get a loan.