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Soil Carbon in Africa: Potentials and Pitfalls

Imagine a world where African farmers raise their standard of living by shifting towards sustainable agriculture that mitigates climate change – while cashing in on this shift via ecosystem service payments. If you can’t imagine it, drop in on the real deal: in the Kiambu District of Central Kenya, where a groundbreaking pilot project is testing new financing mechanisms that capture carbon in soil.

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Where Chocolate Meets Carbon: One Peruvian Project Finds The Sweet Spot

The Althelia Climate Fund’s $7 million investment in the Madre de Dios region of Peru aims to support 1,100 farmers on sustainable cocoa production and protect a biodiverse national reserve. It’s a marriage of avoided deforestation and sustainable commodity production that is projected to pay off in more ways than one.

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The Climate Trust: Blazing The Oregon Carbon Trail

When Oregon-based The Climate Trust (TCT) was tasked with identifying and securing offsets back in 1997, there were precious few to find. This challenge shaped the organization as it stands today: TCT continues to trailblaze with new methodologies and innovative financing solutions, including a potential green bond to fund carbon offset projects.

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Climate Plans and the Role of Land Use: A Running Tab

As countries submit their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions – commitments known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs – ahead of this year’s international climate negotiations, the role of forests and land use in this agreement is still developing. This article will be updated often to offer summaries of how land use is included (or not) in INDCs as they are submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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US Climate Action Plan Steers Clear of Global Market Mechanisms

The United States published its eagerly anticipated national climate action plan to the United Nations web site on Tuesday, highlighting an economy-wide target of reducing greenhouse gases by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 – a target that will not be reached through the use of international carbon market mechanisms. The plan, known as its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), also lays out the country’s carbon accounting approach for the land sector.

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Countries Lag In Signing Green Climate Fund Contribution Agreements

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was celebrated at last year’s international climate negotiations for securing more than $10 billion worth of pledges from developed and developing countries. But only four countries whose commitments total $80 million have actually signed contribution agreements ahead of an April 30 deadline, raising uncertainty over when the GCF will be able to start spending money on projects.

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Mexico Becomes First Developing Country To Post Climate Action Plan

Mexico on Friday became the first developing country to upload its proposed national climate action plan, known as its "Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution" (INDC) to the United Nations web site. The draft proposal foresees emissions peaking by 2026, and it comes on the heels of Norway’s submission on Thursday. The United States is expected to submit its proposal this week.

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The Tolo River Community Project: The Importance Of Inclusion

Four years ago, the Tolo River People of Colombia voted to use carbon finance to save their forest. That decision, however, came after three years of debate, and it presaged an even longer process of development and implementation. Here’s how the Tolo River people built their REDD project and prepared to sell offsets.

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WRI Launches New Tool For Tracking And Comparing National Climate Plans

As with any bureaucratic process, submitting the INDCs (Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions ) to the UN has been tied up in delays, extensions and some fudging. But earlier this week, the World Resources Institute launched the CAIT Paris Contributions Map to translate the submissions from wonkspeak into plain language, and also to map them in a way that will help us all keep score.

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This Week In V-Carbon: A Little Myth Busting

A new Ecosystem Marketplace report set out to determine how carbon offsetting fits into corporate carbon strategies and found that 14% of businesses disclosing climate change information purchased offsets. Among many significant findings, the report dispels the myth that companies buying carbon offsets do so to avoid making climate commitments.

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Commodity Roundtables: Green Gatekeepers Or Dirty Doormen?

It’s been a decade since the first commodity roundtables brought producers of soy, palm, and other crops together with environmental organizations. The results have been less than stellar, but the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil recently disciplined 100 members for failure to comply with paperwork requirements. Critics say that’s a nice beginning, but we still have far to go.

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New Site Tracks Corporate Action on Deforestation

In the past year, there has been a serious surge in big corporations pledging to deforestation-free commodities. To track companies’ movement on these pledges, Ecosystem Marketplace in collaboration with CDP and WWF is launching a new platform called Supply Change that tracks private sector action against commitments. This new interactive tool launched today.

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Marks & Spencer: Cooking Its Way To A Cleaner Future

Motivated by an ambitious sustainability plan, British retailer Marks and Spencer has become one of the biggest voluntary buyers of carbon offsets, according to a new Ecosystem Marketplace report. But the company is going beyond greening its own operations, making a commitment to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to raise awareness of clean cooking, including within its supply chain.

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Jurisdictional REDD: Getting To Scale

Forest-carbon projects are now conserving as much forested land as you’ll find in all of Malaysia. It’s a stunning achievement, but one that needs to get big fast if we’re to make a dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, jurisdictions like the Brazilian state of Acre are developing "jurisdictional REDD" programs to do just that.

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Why Denver Spends Water Fees On Trees

Five years ago, Denver teamed up with the US Forest Service to funnel money it collects from water fees into forest restoration that will protect the city’s water supply. Ecosystem Marketplace covered the program’s launch in 2010 and checked back in for World Water Day to find the partnership is making significant progress treating more forestland at a lower than expected cost

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Myanmar Kills Forests To Plant Farms, Then Forgets To Farm

The four-year-old government of Myanmar came in with a big promise to boost the economy, in part by ramping up agricultural production. But so far, all it’s ramped up is deforestation – destroying some of the most biodiverse land in the world, and then not even planting the farms it had planned to develop.

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This Week In Forest Carbon: Tax Revenue Builds Big PES Scheme In India

For the first time ever, India is including forest cover in its tax allocation formula earmarking $6 billion for results-based forest conservation-more than any other nation in the world. This means state government’s portion of tax revenue is partially dependent on how much forestland it has maintained.

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Corporate Carbon Offset Buyers Go The Extra Mile In Fighting Climate Change

Companies that include offset purchases as part of a carbon management strategy are also taking concrete action to address climate change through energy efficiency, green product design, and other means, according to a new Ecosystem Marketplace report. American automaker General Motors, British bank Barclays, and Brazilian cosmetics company Natura Cosméticos are among the top voluntary carbon offset buyers.

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This Week In Biodiversity: EM Tracks the Co-Financing Unicorn to the Gulf

It was a good month for conservation finance as a study on the potential of wetland carbon offsets in Louisiana found that the state’s blue carbon could be worth between $540 million and $1.6 billion over a five year period. And in California, farmers may be able to leverage finance from both the carbon market and a habitat exchange.

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How Fine Italian Leather Drives Illegal Deforestation

The European Union is a global leader in combating climate change, but those fine Italian leather jackets often come from cows raised on land that had been rainforest just a few years ago. Indeed, new research shows that European consumers are driving illegal deforestation around the world.

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What Do A Seed And A Website Have To Do With Stopping Climate Change?

Sustainably produced forest products have the potential to mitigate climate change, preserve biodiversity and enhance local livelihoods. But their value is underappreciated. Now, an online network called CanopyBridge, which brings together the sustainable sellers with interested buyers, is bringing these products to global markets.

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This Week In V-Carbon: Taking Stock of California’s Progress

In the two years since the implementation of California’s carbon market, the state’s Gross Domestic Product grew 2% while emissions in capped sectors dropped 3.8%. Across the pond, China has taken note. The nation is working closely with the Golden State through a number of partnerships-perhaps the most prominent being between the Air Resources Board and its Chinese counterpart known as the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

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US Gulf Coast Prime For Wetlands Restoration: Study

Louisiana’s disappearing coastlines are propelling renewed efforts to preserve the areas that can be saved before it’s too late. A new study finds the carbon markets could potentially contribute up to $1.6 billion toward this effort, if the offsets generated by wetlands restoration projects are eventually welcomed into the compliance markets.

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California Moves With Chinese Provinces On Climate

The United States and China made headlines last year with their Climate Pact, but significant collaboration had already occurred at the subnational levels. Both California and several of China’s provinces launched emissions trading systems (ETS) in 2013, and they have been working together ever since. Now, a new report highlights the latest accomplishments and partnerships.

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Coalition Of 600 Defends Paiter-Surui, Questions Reporting Of Critics

The Amazon Working Group, a grassroots network of 600 associations representing smallholder farms, fishermen, rubber-tappers, and indigenous people, on Friday became the latest association of forest people to criticize Brazil’s powerful Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), which it accuses of fomenting division among indigenous people to undermine projects it disagrees with, including Surui REDD.

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Ontario Inches Towards Carbon Pricing, Explores Ag And Forestry Offsets

The Canadian province of Ontario looks poised to follow the lead of other jurisdictions in Canada and in the United States by implementing a carbon pricing program, with provincial regulators asking for opinions on what type of program should be implemented. Also on the list is a possible role for the agriculture and forestry sectors, as regulators seek advice for their potential inclusion as carbon offsets.

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Colorado Shrinks The Risk Of Wildfire With Investments In Watershed Services

The severity and frequency of wildfires has regions like the US West scrambling for solutions. New research presented during a webinar shows Colorado is taking advantage of the watershed investment approach as more water providers in the state adopt Denver’s celebrated investments in watershed services project that simultaneously protects the city’s water supply and reduces wildfire risk.

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This Week In V-Carbon: Yet Another 2014 Ranking

Ecosystem Marketplace readers don’t get to vote for the Oscar nominees that will be announced later this week, but you all had plenty to say about the most significant developments in the global carbon markets in 2014. Top picks included the US-China deal, California’s link to Quebec and more

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Gold Standard Announces Marion Verles As New CEO

13 January 2015 | The Gold Standard Foundation, experts in climate and sustainable development activities, today announced the appointment of Marion Verles as the new CEO effective from 1st February 2015. Marion brings more than a decade of relevant industry experience to her new role having previously been the Founder and Executive Director of Nexus Carbon […]

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This Week In V-Carbon: Yet Another 2014 Ranking

Ecosystem Marketplace readers don’t get to vote for the Oscar nominees that will be announced later this week, but you all had plenty to say about the most significant developments in the global carbon markets in 2014. Top picks included the US-China deal, California’s link to Quebec and more…

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2014: The Year For Nature-Based Solutions?

As the constraint on natural resources increases, the public and private sector are becoming more receptive to holistic nature-based solutions to address infrastructure and other challenges. Ecosystem Marketplace noticed particular growth in this area as it looks back over the year.

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This Week In V-Carbon: The Lima Call For Climate Action

The climate community went to Peru and left with the Lima Call for Climate Action, the Green Climate Fund finally found a fraction of its funding and carbon dioxide fades into obscurity like a childhood celebrity.

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Washington State To Pursue Cap-and-Trade Program

Washington state’s governor proposed a new cap-and-trade program that will look remarkably familiar to those involved in California’s program and could pave the way for further collaboration between the Evergreen and Golden states.

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This Week In Forest Carbon: Lima Call For Action Undergoes Surgery

The Lima Call for Action set a procedure for countries to submit their contributions to fighting climate change, but the guidance on how to include land-use is thin so far. In other news, private investors have committed $365 million to restore 20 million hectares in Latin America and the Caribbean, a REDD+ pilot in Tanzania is stalling as it waits on a second phase of investment and an airplane laser-beamed an Alaskan forest to measure its carbon.

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“Beyond Carbon” Benefits The Talk Of The Forest Carbon Markets

Though demand for forest carbon offsets grew 17% in 2013, market participants recognize the need to scale up faster in order to curb emissions from deforestation and land-use change. Attendees at Ecosystem Marketplace’s launch of the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 at the World Bank last Friday discussed the policy developments that could guide growth and how the certification of co-benefits could shape demand

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Flood Disaster in the Amazon: A Fight Against Climate Change Gets Personal

On the eve of climate talks in Lima, unprecedented torrential rains have pushed rivers to historic levels in the Amazon Ranforest, driving indigenous people from their homes to higher land. Among those impacted are the Yawanaw¡ of Brazil, who have been at the forefront of seeking innovative solutions to combat climate change.

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Playing It SAFE: Integrating Energy Into Humanitarian Initiatives

Aid agencies have always given priority to helping people meet their “basic needs” of food, water, shelter and clothing, but one crucial element is often missing from the list: energy. Needed for cooking, lighting, heating, and power, it’s finally starting to get the attention it deserves within the humanitarian community.

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VCS, CCB To Cooperate On Standards

In a nod to the rising attention paid to the community and biodiversity outcomes of carbon offset projects, the Verified Carbon Standard, the leading carbon standard on the voluntary carbon market, assumed the day-to-day management of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard today. Dozens of project developers already use the standards together, and the organizations aim to streamline the process.

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This Week In V-Carbon: China-US Climate Deal Sets Stage For COP 20

The recent deal between China and the US on cutting greenhouse gas emissions could send a strong signal to the upcoming UNFCCC conference that is meant to pave the way for a new international climate agreement. In other news, Ecosystem Marketplace launched a series exploring clean cookstove efforts funded by carbon finance.

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On Eve of Climate Talks in Lima, Assassinations of Indigenous Leaders Loom Large

The murder of four indigenous leaders in September thrust deforestation into the limelight ahead of year-end climate talks, which are set to begin in less than two weeks in Lima. The daughter of one of those leaders the 57th “Defender of the Environment murdered in Peru since 2002 was honored yesterday with the Alexander Soros Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Environmental and Human Rights Activism.

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Forest, Ag Project Developers See Opportunity, Concern In California ODS Offset Invalidation

United States-based forest carbon project developers see potential for increased demand for their offsets as a direct result of California regulators’ decision to invalidate some ozone-depleting substances (ODS) offsets. But they also sympathize with their ODS counterparts over the way the regulators arrived at their decision to invalidate the offsets and expressed concern their projects could face similar scrutiny.

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This Week in Biodiversity: Impact Investors Still Kicking the Tires for Mit Banks

Locating finance for conservation is a challenge inspiring some creative approaches. A recent report released hard figures on the emerging conservation impact investment market finding significant potential particularly from the private sector. And an ongoing initiative attempts to scale up biodiversity funding with market mechanisms.

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Carbon Conservation: From Giant Pandas to Swiss Grocer

The giant panda featured in the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) logo gives the organization enduring brand recognition. But these animals are struggling to exist, with only 1,600 currently living in the wild in China, in increasingly smaller swathes of territory thanks to encroaching human activity.

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Despite Market Outcry, California Voids Some Carbon Offsets

California regulators are sticking to their guns by invalidating 88,955 offsets for ozone-depleting substances from one project despite public uproar from a diverse group of carbon market stakeholders. Offsets from another project set for invalidation dodged a bullet when the regulators determined the offsets were not generated during the period the destruction facility was allegedly out of compliance with its federal permit.