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Opinion: The Pope Is Right On Climate, Wrong On Offsets

Pope Francis fears that companies may use carbon offsets to buy their way out of their environmental responsibilities, but the evidence tells a different story. While some bad actors surely abuse the mechanism, most companies that use offsets do so to reduce emissions far beyond their own base of operations. Here are the numbers.

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Why Do Mainstream Media Always Seem To Get REDD Wrong?

28 October 2013 | The American Tea Party hates Obamacare. They hate it with a visceral passion because it’s a government program that may – just may – succeed where the private sector failed. Such a success would invalidate basic Tea Party tenets, so they fight it with everything they have: a few rational points […]

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How Carbon Markets Save Lives And Slash Pollution

Carbon markets are supporting the transition to clean cookstove societies by helping to finance their distribution in parts of the world where traditional stoves infect the local people with health conditions and premature deaths. Clean cookstoves prevent millions of tons of carbon dioxide from being dispersed into the air while providing an efficient and clean cooking method for the locals.

REDD+ Fact Sheet

NOTE: We cobbled this together from old "State of Forest Carbon Markets" reports. It is not a definitive primer, and we will update it over the coming weeks.

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George Shultz Calls for GOP “Climate Insurance Policy”

Former US Secretary of State George Shultz has long been a lonely (but not lone) proponent of climate action within the Republican Party. Bill Shireman of Future 500 says that Shultz’s proposal could win support among young Republicans, leading to a climate solution that the right and left can both agree on.

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Restoration vs. Renewable Energy: Amateurism Doesn’t Pay

Good land stewardship and energy efficiency both support our economy, but governments don’t pay nearly as much attention to the economic benefits of investment in environmental restoration as they do to investments in energy efficiency. Damon Hess of Sitka Technology argues that they should.

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Can NAMAs Overcome The CDM

The Clean Development Mechanism has failed to live up to its potential, and many now look to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to succeed where the CDM failed. Carbon Market Watch says that NAMA proponents can learn plenty from the CDM’s successes and its failures.

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REDD+ Finance: Where Next?

Over the past six weeks, Forest Trends’ REDDX and ODI’s Climate Funds Update have been exploring the state of REDD+ finance with input from Transparency International, the Tropical Forest Group, Ecosystem Marketplace and UNEP Finance Initiative. Here’s how these organizations can work together in the future to shine more light on this critical process.

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REDD+ Finance:
Private Lessons For The Public Sphere

Governments have pledged billions of dollars to programs designed to slow climate change by saving endangered rainforests, but the real results to date have come from the private sector and civil society. Here’s a brief look at what policymakers designing tomorrow’s public-sector programs can learn from today’s private-sector projects.

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Why Disney, BP And Rio Tinto
Are Exploring Ecosystem Services

Sissel Waage of BSR (Business of Social Responsibility) discusses reasons why ecosystem services thinking is on the rise as the number of governments investing in ecosystem services initiatives and companies incorporating their environmental impacts into existing business models continue to grow.

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Habitat Banking In Spain:
Moving Towards The Future

Spain has a shortage of public funds for nature and an overabundance of environmentally valuable land in private hands. It could, therefore, benefit greatly from conservation banking if the legal landscape can be adapted to recognize it. Here’s a look at the landscape and its pitfalls.

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A Critical Moment To Harness Green
Infrastructure To Secure Clean Water

The 18th Katoomba Meeting begins Thursday in Beijing, and will focus on the interaction between forests and water. Todd Gartner of WRI says it couldn’t come at a better time. Here he explains the benefits of investing in natural ecosystems rather than gray infrastructure to treat our water.

 
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Game Changer: The Mitigation Analyst Tool

The National Mitigation Banking Association (NMBA) has a new tool in the works that swiftly turns mounds of data into high quality information that bankers can use when assessing the mitigation industry. The tool will be available on smartphones, tablets and computers and is available only to NMBA members.  

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Dear President Obama: For Clean Air,
Do We Dial 111, Boxer, Or Waxman?

The EPA is slated to pass regulations on power plants this year under the Clean Air Act, while Senators Boxer and Waxman work to inject a carbon price back on to the federal agenda. Here are a few reflections on the undercurrent of discussion on how tradable mechanisms for climate mitigation might figure into federal GHG regulations down the line.

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Banking on Change: Rethinking Wetland Mitigation in the State of New York

Wetland Mitigation Banking has proven to be one of the most environmentally effective and economically efficient ways of  compensating for wetland and stream loss. T.J. Mascia and Charlotte Brett say the water-rich state of New York should be a hotbed of mitigation banking activity – but isn’t. Here’s their diagnosis and prescription.

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Stacking And Unstacking:
The Conservation And The Conversation

To build ecosystem markets, we’ve tended to break holistic nature into incomplete but measurable chunks of nature – and then we wonder why it’s difficult to bundle those chunks into something holistic. Maybe instead of stacking existing credits, we should be creating more holistic instruments.

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Engaging With Indigenous
Peoples On REDD+

Over 30 representatives of Indigenous Peoples worldwide have gathered at a Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s (FCPF) workshop on REDD+ which, Benoit Bosquet of the FCPF says was less focused on the possible worrying impacts and more on how Indigenous communities can benefit and become active participants in the REDD+ process.

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Five Early Lessons In Mobilizing
The Private Sector For Climate Finance

Although there is currently little information available on how public finance has mobilized private support for climate finance, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)  aims to change that starting with an online database that reviews the private climate finance investments of four developed nations. Here, Shelagh Whitley, a research fellow at ODI, provides an overview of the resource’s early findings. 

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Through Almir’s Eyes:
A Day In The Life Of A REDD Pioneer

In an effort to support their groundbreaking REDD project, the Amazonian Paiter-Surui People have been patrolling their forest in search of illegal loggers.  Last week, Chief Almir Surui and a small band of his fellow tribesmen received a tip about illegal logging on the territory.  Rachael Petersen accompanied them on the expedition and filed this report.

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Will Biodiversity Proponents
Embrace Business in 2013?

Last year’s Biodiversity COP once again failed to engage the private sector on any meaningful level, let alone embrace market-based financing mechanisms for addressing habitat loss – largely because the private sector, as the leading destroyer of habitat, is largely seen as the enemy in all this. Failure to engage, however, is not a solution, says Joost Bakker of the Global Nature Fund.

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Legitimate REDD Players Should Welcome
Brazilian Action Against Carbon Cowboys

Legitimate carbon projects have long been wrongfully tarnished by the actions of bad players acting outside the recognized carbon community. Now Reuters reports that the Brazilian government is taking action against one alleged “cowboy” – a move that should be embraced by everyone trying to do REDD right.

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From REDD To Landscape Thinking:
How To Proceed

COP 18 may have laid the groundwork for further discussions about an integrated approach to landscapes that would connect the different sectors, like forests and agriculture, for the well-being of both people and the planet, but the way forward is hardly clear.

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600-Strong Coalition Says No REDD Campaign Is Way Off-Target

The Amazon Working Group, which, represents roughly 600 social movement organizations across the Amazon Basin, has made a rare public denunciation of a recent anti-REDD campaign underway in California. The small group of NGOs who launched that campaign, the coalition says, simply haven’t done their homework

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We Have To Fight For Truth, Even If
It Is Against Our Own Desires And Vanities

Jose Carmelio Niinawa heads the Hunikui Federation in Acre, Brazil, and says California’s new REDD regime has stalled the process of demarcating indigenous lands there. Tashka Yawanawa, Chief of the Yawanawa People, says that if anyone is slowing the demarcation process, it’s the state’s ravenous agriculture and mining interests.

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Depletion, Disease and Drought:
An Ecologist’s Take On This Year’s Election

Leading ecologist Steven Apfelbaum observes the upcoming presidential election noting three critical issues, soil nutrient depletion, prolonged severe weather and drought, and epidemic diseases, which have disastrous potential if not properly addressed. Apfelbaum examines the cause and solution for these fundamental issues.   

Indigenous Leader to NGOs:
No One Speaks For Us Or Thinks For Us

While a small contingent of indigenous leaders and NGOs were campaigning against REDD in California this week, many more were at a pan-Amazon meeting in Acre, Brazil focused on the impact of climate-change on indigenous people. Tashka Yawanawa is one of them, and sent this open letter from Brazil.

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Welcome To The UN’s
Secret Climate Adaptation Summit

The UN CBD bi-annual summit in India this month isn’t receiving anywhere near the media attention climate change conferences receive, which is unfortunate because the meeting is centered on adaptation strategies to a warmer planet.  And several of the meeting’s topics, like REDD+ and environmental finance, are directly related to climate change.       

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California Policy Makers Must Hear
Variety Of Indigenous Voices

More and more indigenous groups are contemplating the use of REDD credits, but a small coalition of NGOs have headed to California this week to argue for leaving the mechanism out of the state’s new carbon-reduction program.  Steve Schwartzman of EDF says the board needs a weigh all sides before making its decison.

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Latest Climate Signs Should
Jolt Leaders Into Global Action

Although climate change has seemingly disappeared from the global political agenda, the CDKN offers four recent pieces of evidence that show we’re not far away from disaster that includes rising economic costs and lowest levels of Arctic summer sea ice ever. The authors also discuss necessary drivers for the world’s leaders to act on climate change.

We Must Embrace Technology If The Private Sector Is To Embrace REDD

The REDD financing mechanism aims to leverage private-sector funding for the conservation and sustainable management of tropical rainforests, but it won’t achieve meaningful scale unless it becomes simpler and more reliable.  Technological advancements in remote sensing and geographic information systems are now advanced enough to help.

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We Must Embrace Technology If
The Private Sector Is To Embrace REDD

The REDD financing mechanism aims to leverage private-sector funding for the conservation and sustainable management of tropical rainforests, but it won’t achieve meaningful scale unless it becomes simpler and more reliable.  Technological advancements in remote sensing and geographic information systems are now advanced enough to help.

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Greenpeace: Protecting The People, Not The Polluters

This is a response from Greenpeace to Dr. Daniel Nepstad’s critique of Greenpeace’s report, Outsourcing Hot Air, that criticized a carbon finance program initiated by California and involving other subnational entities. Read Dr. Nepstad’s critique here.       

Greenpeace Report Threatens
Climate Change Mitigation And Tropical Forests

Dr. Daniel Nepstad, a scientist and member of the California REDD Offsets Working Group, responds to a recent Greenpeace report that criticizes a climate change prevention initiative claiming it will at best have a neutral impact on the atmosphere. Nepstad says if this initiative survive to implementation, it will recognize and reward nations with high deforestation for lowering their rates.   

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Colombia Mega Dam Will Destroy
Habitat for Threatened Birds

A recently discovered species of wren is under threat along with the endangered Military Macaw from the construction of what is expected to be Colombia’s largest power station. Bird conservationists voice their concern by offering a possible solution to prevent the dam from destroying the birds’ habitat as well as reminding Colombia’s government of the birds’ value to the local economy.

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Nature Has Values, And Markets Can Be Governed

The many initiatives launched all over the world that compensate farmers for keeping forests standing and for practicing sustainable farming are evidence that the world has responded well to payments for ecosystem services. But for these schemes to be fully merged into mainstream use, more market regulation and guidance will need to come from the government.

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To Achieve Scale,
REDD Must Embrace Satellite Technology

The world has agreed that tropical rainforests need protection, so the multi-billion dollar REDD+ program is on its way. The challenge is its practical implementation. DMCii’s Prof. Jim Lynch explains why satellite surveying could do for the 21st century carbon trading economy what seismic surveys did for 20th century oil and gas.

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Does the Ecosystem Markets Metaphor Blind us to Ecosystem Complexity?

Ecosystem markets aim to preserve nature in part by recognizing the value of ecosystem services – such as water filtration, flood control, and carbon sequestration.  But does the market metaphor create the illusion of simple solutions?  UC Berkley Professor of Energy and Resources Richard Norgaard argues this week on the Ecosystem Commons that it does just that.

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A Look at the Links Between Water, Food Security, and Ecosystems

The theme of this year’s World Water Day, water and food security, calls our attention to growing – and interlinked – pressures on agriculture, livelihoods, and ecosystems. Here, we offer a brief introduction to the water and food security challenge and some innovative solutions.

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Navigating the Durban Daze

Year-end climate talks are still two weeks away, and already the array of panels, speakers and workshops is dizzying, Ecosystem Marketplace offers up this list of the COP 17 side events we’ll be attending/covering/watching through our news coverage and blog.

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Infrastructure: From Shades of Grey to Shades of Green

US President Barack Obama has called for a massive increase in spending to revive our crumblng built infrastructure, but he’s so far failed to mention the equally threatened and far more basic "green infrastructure" that provides our air, water, and food. Ricardo Bayon argues that a little bit of strategic investment here can go a long, long way.

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How Should Congress Amend the Farm Bill?

Through the Farm Bill, the U.S Department of Agriculture spends roughly $20 billion per year on payments to farmers, with about $5 billion of that delivered through the conservation title.  How should Congress amend the Farm Bill so that payments have a greater ecological impact?  Join the discussion on Ecosystem Commons until September 20.

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Cap-and-Trade Beats Slash-and-Shirk Any Day

Nobody wants a regulatory apparatus that is bloated, inefficient, and opaque, but most of us do want clean air, clean water, and a sustainable economy.  Ecosystem markets can support all of these goals in a way that’s lean, efficient, and transparent – something that self-described “fiscal conservatives” should be championing.  So, why aren’t they?

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What Can a Deal in Durban Deliver?

Though COP 17 may not be happening until November, the recent negotiations in Bonn may give clues about what might be achieved in Durban.  Chris Spence of the IISD takes a look at what happened in Bonn and the sort of outcome can be expected in Durban.

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What’s Wrong With Brazil?

In the two decades since the brutal murder of Chico Mendez, Brazil’s green movement has become a serious political force in the country, and deforestatoin was on the decline.  Then, last year, deforestation surged surged as politicians set their sights on the 75-year-old Código Florestal (Forest Code).  Now, with assaults on anti-logging activists on the rise, Steve Schwartzman of EDF asks: is Brazil moving forward or backward?

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Mississippi Learning:
Flood the Plains and Spare the Disaster?

This month’s flooding along the Mississippi River has introduced the term spillway into common vernacular as more and more of these reservoirs are flooded to stave off disaster It wasn’t that long ago, however, that natural wetlands did what spillways do today and they did it better, cheaper, and with more style It’s time to bring some of them back, and mitigation banking can help.

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Roundtable Hopes Inclusiveness Will Lead to Cohesion in New Zealand and Australia

Cash-strapped governments around the world are turning to mechanisms that preserve endangered species by incorporating the cost of habitat destruction into the cost of development. The Environmental Law Roundtable of Australia and New Zealand is building policy from the ground-up by making sure everyone is involved.