News & Articles: Geographic Asia

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Forest Footprint aims to Reward Companies that Save Trees

The Carbon Disclosure Project has arguably reduced greenhouse gas emissions by creating an incentive for companies to examine and disclose their carbon footprints – an act that often leads them to realize how easy and economical reductions can be. Can the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project do the same for deforestation?


ADB Water Boss Courts Private
Buyers For Chinese Water Markets

On the opening day of the 18th Katoomba meeting in Beijing, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Water Resources Specialist, Zhang Qingfeng, offers an update on new trends in Chinese eco-compensation– including early steps towards encouraging private-sector investments in China’s natural infrastructure.


The Unappreciated Eco-Entrepreneur

We’ve all heard how China’s voracious economic growth is destroying its air, water, and forests – but few know of the country’s burgeoning market-based response, which aims to halt environmental degradation by incorporating the value of nature’s services into the production process.  EM parent Forest Trends has published an exhaustive inventory of these efforts.


China Uses Market-Like Mechanisms To
Promote Reforestation Of Sloping Lands

Rapid expansion of agriculture has led to the destruction of forested hills critical for regulating water flows. China’s expansion has been bigger and faster than most, and so are its problems. But the notoriously top-down government has responded with a centrally funded yet incredibly decentralized, flexible, and locally-administered solution.


The Business Of Climate-
Adaptation: Keeping It Fair

Climate change will disrupt the global economy in ways none of us really know, and companies that properly adapt to it will survive and perhaps even thrive. But the tools for profiting currently lie in the countries that created the mess – not those that will suffer. Here’s how the Higher Ground Foundation and others hope to level the playing field.


Carbon Finance Unit Of The World
Bank Sees Initiatives Move Forward

The World Bank received good news recently with several of its climate initiatives moving into new phases starting with the first PoA in China to issue CERs along with 3,000 hectares of a valuable watershed reforested. Meanwhile, Costa Rica becomes the first country to access performance based payments through the Carbon Fund and developed nations funnel more funds toward the FCPF. 


Community Carbon Pools Help
Vietnamese Villagers Get Ready For REDD+

Forest communities stand to benefit tremendously from REDD+, but only if tenure rights are incorporated into the decision-making process and benefits are shared across the community. That’s why Fauna & Flora International is piloting Community Carbon Pools across Asia. Here’s a look at how the program works in Vietnam.    


Vietnam Goes For Flexibility In
Nested Approach To REDD+

Vietnam’s REDD+ National Action Plan gives it plenty of flexibility in designing a nested approach to REDD+, and a recent report looks at three pilot projects in Dien Bien Province, Kon Tum Province and Lam Dong Province. All demonstrate both the opportunities and complexities of REDD+.


Forests or Agriculture: Not Necessarily
An All Or Nothing Trade-Off

In order to measure the impact and success of climate change mitigation actions in terms of forestry and agriculture, researchers at CIFOR first weigh three options- the potential of emissions reductions, economic risks and implementation expenses. They find the best mitigation action is an integrated approach between land-use, land-use change and forestry.


Powerful Forest Friends Deliver Indonesian Approval of Landmark REDD Project

The Rimba Raya REDD Project is on again – one year after being put on ice when Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry promised half the project’s territory to a palm oil company. That decision has now been reversed, and the project is set to preserve an orangutan habitat the size of Singapore, generating millions of dollars in carbon income for local communities along the way.


Can Micronesia Save Its
Reefs By Fixing Its Ridges?

Micronesia’s 2,100 islands and atolls are mere specs on the ocean upon which they depend, but activities on land are destroying the marine habitat that supports them. That’s prompted several environmental organizations to ask whether payments for ecosystem services can promote harmony among competing interests on land, sea, and stream.


Ecosystem Marketplace Guide To Doha Side Events

 As our Ecosystem Marketplace team prepares to join the (albeit downsized) mass of avid climate talk followers to Doha, we set out to find the “must attend” events – and bring them to you. Take a look below for our hand-picked list of promising events during COP 18, including where and when you can find the Forest Trends team in action!


Massive Ugandan Experiment Asks: Does PES Really Promote Sustainable Land Use?

Most take it as a given that payments for ecosystem services promote good land stewardship, but do they really? A massive project in Uganda aims to answer that by dividing 1400 households into two groups, each of which is being trained in sustainable land use, but only one of which is getting payments.


China Uses Eco-Compensation
to Combat Water Shortages

As China expands economically, one of the largest resource constraints is clean drinking water, a problem being addressed in part by “eco-compensation.”  Now the central government is developing a nation Eco-Compensation ordinance.  A new paper out today details recommendations on what this new ordinance should look like.


Indonesia Bets on REDD With new Moratorium, but can it Deliver?

Indonesia has banned logging in primary forests and dredging in peatlands to unlock up to $1 billion in seed funding from the government of Norway that could help the country earn billions more by saving tropical rainforests and capturing carbon in trees.  To earn a shot at that less-than-certain income, however, it will have to forego guaranteed billions from logging, pulp, and palm oil.


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.


China Transacts First Panda Standard VERs

Answering China’s call for intensified emissions targets, the nation yesterday saw its first transaction of voluntary carbon credits piloted under the domestic Panda Standard. The credits – purchased from a bamboo reforestation project by a large Chinese real estate firm – signal Chinese companies’ willingness to pay for (literally) home grown carbon reductions.


Green Gold: How Carbon Finance can Help Mongolian Herders

Mongolia’s GDP is set to surge as mining interest move into the country in a big way, but its agriculture sector is suffering in the wake of unsustainable practices that use up topsoil and contribute to climate change. One program aims harness the carbon markets–and the mines–to promote sustainable herding and reduce carbon emissions.


Vietnam Leads Southeast Asia in Payments for Ecosystem Services

In just a few short years, Vietnam has begun ramping up one of the world’s most aggressive schemes designed to preserve nature by embedding its value in the economy.  Like Brazil, Vietnam’s programs are based on user fees with heavy government oversight, and they’re getting results.  You can find out more by tuning in to this week’s Katoomba Meeting in Hanoi.


Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program Teaming with Local Stakeholders in Vietnam

Like all countries, Vietnam is struggling to preserve nature in the face of economic growth.  Biodiversity offsets may provide one part of the solution, and will certainly be a hot topic at the Seventeenth Katoomba Meeting there on June 23 and 24.  Ecosystem Marketplace examines the legal status of biodiversity offsets in Vietnam and how the country hopes to get it right.


Asian Environmentalists to Explore Ecosystem Markets at Katoomba XVII

Cash-strapped governments around the world are experimenting with market-based schemes to preserve nature by recognizing its economic value.  In June, Hanoi will host the 17th Katoomba Meeting to explore the role that ecosystem markets can play in Southeast Asia.

First in a Series


Must We Make a Choice between Helping the Poor and Preserving the Environment?

Schemes that promote payments for ecosystem services (PES) should, in theory, reduce poverty while preserving the environment by rewarding the rural poor for acting as guardians of the ecosystem. Most PES schemes even list poverty reduction as an explicit goal; but will too much emphasis on helping the poor detract from the environmental benefits?


Methodologies Tame Forest Carbon Jungle

As forests convert carbon dioxide in the air to carbon stored in woods, leaves and roots, a range of organizations are, in turn, working to convert forests into carbon offsets. The ‘exchange rate’ of this conversion — or the amount of value brought by intervention — is determined by specific standards’ methodologies, which are technical, but critical, tools shaping the rules of the game.


UN Aims to Streamline Cost of Developing Forestry Offset Projects

It’s expensive to develop carbon offset projects that reduce emissions by capturing carbon in trees, and one reason is that every project has to develop its own methodologies for measuring results. The UNFCCC is asking for help in streamlining that process.


EM Cheat Sheet: The Additionality Debate

If you want to sell carbon offsets in exchange for action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, you first have to prove that the money you’re earning is what makes the action you’re taking possible. That, in a nutshell, is "additionality" – a simple concept, but one that’s proving difficult to put into practice.


EKO-ECO: the Ecosystem Services Blog

When Ecosystem Marketplace launched in 2005, the idea of preserving nature by incorporating its value into our economic system was mostly an academic exercise. Today, it’s the cornerstone of a fast-moving and innovative branch of finance. To keep our readers up-to-speed on the latest developments, EM and EKO Asset Management Partners have launched the EKO-ECO blog.


Bonn Talks Open with REDD Agenda

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the UN bodies charged with mapping out the role of forestry offsets in a post-Kyoto climate-change regime are meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week and next to continue the process of hammering out their differences. The groups will meet at least three more times before gathering in Copenhagen at the end of the year.


Malua Wildlife: Orangutans in the BioBank

Palm oil is a natural biofuel that also supports the economies of several developing nations, but growing it means chopping down the rainforests. That also means more carbon in the atmosphere, more global warming, and less habitat for countless endangered species. Now an innovative project in the Malaysian state of Sabah is betting that endangered species are worth more than palm.


Dorjee Sun: Rockin’ for REDD!

When not raiding illegal Indonesian logging operations with the Governor of Aceh or hanging ten off the Australian coast, Dorjee Sun is cutting carbon offset deals – among them the world’s largest avoided deforestation project to date. The Ecosystem Marketplace talks to one of the environmental movement’s true mavericks.


The Matrix: Mapping Ecosystem Service Markets

The once-radical concept of saving the environment by documenting the economic value of environmental services and then getting industry to pay is finally catching on – but how is one to keep track of all the new methodologies and concepts? The Ecosystem Marketplace presents The Matrix, a new tool for surveying the ecosystem services landscape.


Payments for Ecosystem Services: Download the Primer

Payments for Ecosystem Services encourage entities that benefit from ecosystem services to pay for maintaining those ecosystems – but how? At the Biodiversity Conference (COP 9) in Bonn, Germany, Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have jointly unveiled a nuts-and-bolts primer designed to answer that question.


Water Trading: The Basics

Water trading has been hailed as the "next carbon", and schemes for valuing and trading both water usage and water "inputs" are proliferating across North and South America, Asia, and Africa. The Ecosystem Marketplace reviews the fundamentals of this promising ecosystem market.


Biodiversity Banking: A Primer

Mitigation Banking makes it possible for real estate developers to turn biodiversity into an asset instead of a liability – which ultimately makes it possible to preserve that biodiversity across the United States. But how do such mechanisms work? And what challenges do they face? The Worldwatch Institute’s 2008 State of the World Report tackles these and other issues – excerpted here in Ecosystem Marketplace.


Painting the Town REDD: Merrill Lynch Inks Massive Voluntary Forest Deal

In a major demonstration of confidence in the viability of voluntary carbon offsets as a strategic investment, Merrill Lynch is raising equity for a 100-million-ton, for-profit avoided deforestation project in Aceh, Indonesia. Tellingly for the future of the forestry market, the decision to take the plunge had more to do with the cultural and biodiversity benefits than with the carbon itself. The Ecosystem Marketplace examines the deal and its significance.


2013: Survival or Extinction for the CDM?

In late January, the European Union unveiled a proposed two-pronged scheme for reducing greenhouse gas emissions once the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. The scheme is designed to bring the world on board a post-Kyoto emission reduction regime, but participants say it will kill off many clean development projects in poor countries and raise the cost of reducing emissions in Europe. The Ecosystem Marketplace examines the impact of these latest proposals on the future of the CDM.


Analysis: Why saving the world’s rainforests is good for the climate and the US economy

The 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 13) is more than a month behind us, but plenty of debate lies ahead as advocates and opponents of using forestry to combat climate change air their opinions in the lead up to COP 14 later this year in Poland and COP 15 next year in Denmark. Jeff Horowitz and Robert O’Sullivan of Avoided Deforestation Partners take stock of the Bali Roadmap and what it means for avoided deforestation.


Bringing Kyoto Back to Reality

The Eleventh Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently concluded in Montreal, Canada. The Ecosystem Marketplace asks Mira Inbar of Forest Trends what changes the meeting held for developing country communities interested in the land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector of the carbon market.


Environmentalists Clash Over Carbon Offsets

A spate of articles in the media recently focused on quality concerns in the voluntary carbon market. The Ecosystem Marketplace surveys the issues involved in the debate over voluntary carbon offsets


Bonn ‘Informals’ Dedicate New REDD+ Subgroup

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and sloppy agriculture accounts for another 18%. Improving land-use practices could thus be one of the quickest and easiest ways to slow global warming – if the world can agree on ways of measuring and paying for these improvements. That’s a central theme of informal talks this week in Bonn, Germany.


EU Emissions Trading Scheme turns One

On 1 January, 2006 the EU's pioneering carbon trading scheme turned one year old. It may not have saved the planet yet, but neither has it brought Europe's economy to its knees, as some believed it could. The Ecosystem Marketplace considers the scheme's impact thus far, and looks forward to the next 12 months.


EM Podcast: Making Biodiversity Offsets Work

The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) has published an exhaustive library of resources four years in the making and designed to support progress in the fight to save biodiversity by embedding its value in our economic system. EM Audio speaks with BBOP Director Kerry ten Kate.


Bonn Talks Close With Clarity on Land Use

The Bonn climate talks haven’t achieved the kind of progress that generates headlines, but they have come up with an extremely clear summary of all proposals related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) as well as movement towards a consensus on how to account for other land-use issues. Unfortunately, that consensus will probably not be achieved in time for the next commitment period.


PES in Southeast Asia: An Online Resource for Students and Practitioners

The 17th Katoomba Meeting in Hanoi helped crystallize local and global understanding of Vietnam’s evolving payments for ecosystem services regime. We’ve been sifting through the video to provide you with summaries of most presentations, and are in the process of uploading as audio-only with accompanying powerpoints for people who prefer listening over watching or who are in low-bandwidth areas.


East Meets West on Asia's New Auction Block

The first auctions of Certified Emission Reductions generated by Clean Development Mechanism projects were held at the end of 2005, in a joint operation by New Values (Climex) and Asia Carbon Global. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look at what happened at the auctions and considers what they bring to the field of emissions trading.


Developed and Developing Countries Split on Accounting for “Ecosystem Carbon”

Bad farming and forestry accounts for nearly 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and UNEP says the bulk of this could be eliminated by 2030 if we just treat our peatlands, forests, and farms better. But the land-use debate is only now gaining traction in climate-change talks, where negotiators from the developed and developing world have split on how to account for it.


US-Based Voluntary Offset Projects: Coming of Age?

There seems to be ever growing market demand for carbon neutral services in the United States. But with voluntary carbon offsets under attack, can America's fledgling market deliver the kinds of high-quality offsets that sophisticated global players demand? The Ecosystem Marketplace examines the issues framing the debate in the US market.


Grain for Green

Historically given short shrift due to the priority placed on agriculture and poverty alleviation, environmental conservation efforts in China may finally have front and center billing with China's Grain-for-Green program. The Ecosystem Marketplace investigates what this uber-ambitious program is all about.