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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?


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.


WWF Guide to Voluntary Carbon Standards

The voluntary carbon market has spawned more than twenty offset standards over the past year – enough to keep even the most diligent market participants feeling a bit overwhelmed. WWF has responded with a 105-page guide to the ten standards that have been around the longest, and the Ecosystem Marketplace takes stock of their efforts.


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.

Bovespa Incorporates Environmental Projects in Exchange

Bovespa president, Raymundo Magliano Filho, announced on 03/07, at a Bovespa event attended by Achim Steiner, executive director of the Programa das Naµes Unidas para o Meio Ambiente (PNUMA – United Nations’ Environment Program), that, as of April, Bolsa de Valores Sociais (BVS – Social Values Exchange) will enhance its performance to also include environmental projects as well. Accordingly, BVS will be renamed Bolsa de Valores Sociais & Ambientais (BVS&A – Social & Environmental Values Exchange). Founded in 2003 and maintained by Bovespa, BVS has raised funds for educational projects undertaken by Brazilian NGOs.


EU Carbon Prices Crash as Trading Begins

Barely four weeks after the launch of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the market has already gone through one collapse in the price of carbon allowances. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look at the EU ETS, its teething troubles, trading strategies, rain gods, and the weather in Scandinavia


World Bank Survey Raises Carbon Concerns

The World Bank's recent snapshot of the state of the carbon markets found rising volumes, underpinned by greater certainty. But, as the Ecosystem Marketplace finds, it also highlighted some concerns about the current shape of the Clean Development Mechanism.


South Pole Carbon Asset Management

Four years after a consortium of environmental NGOs set the "Gold Standard" bar for emission reduction projects, Switzerland-based South Pole Carbon Asset Management has cleared the hurdle. The Ecosystem Marketplace discovers how South Pole’s founders got where they are, and where they hope to be a year from now.


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.


Carbon Volume up, but Reform Needed to Ensure Enviro Benefits: World Bank

Anyone looking to earn carbon credits by funding clean development projects has to prove that the carbon income made the project possible. This is “addititionality” in a nutshell, and it's a cornerstone of carbon finance. The World Bank's State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2009, however, says that existing tools for proving additionality are clunky and counterproductive.


London gets Carbon-neutral Cabs

Recently, one of London's venerable black cab companies, Radio Taxi Group, announced that it will be offsetting its carbon emissions through forestry and energy projects around the world. The company is hoping that — as its large corporate customers come under pressure to reduce their emissions — having a "climate-friendly" cab service will give them an edge. The Ecosystem Marketplace looks at the assumptions and thinking that underpin this decision.


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.


Conservation You Can Bank On

The Ecosystem Marketplace recaps the gradual greening of the world's biggest banks, kicking off a series of articles about financial institutions' role in mainstreaming markets for ecosystem services.


EM Scientific Insights – Issue 2

The Ecosystem Marketplace is happy to announce the second in an ongoing series of reports about the science of ecosystem services. Interested in hearing what the scientists have to say? Watch this space for our regular update on what you should know about the latest reported findings in journals around the world.


Neutralizing the G8's Carbon

In an attempt to "walk the talk", the UK government has announced that during its presidency of the G8 group of industrialized countries this year, all G8 activities will be carbon neutral. To do this, the Brits will be financing a renewable energy project in Africa. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look and wonders: with rock stars and politicians going carbon neutral, could this be a sign of things to come?


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.


Green Goal: Soccer Enters the Carbon Markets

Organizers of the World Cup Soccer tournament are looking to a voluntary 100,000-ton carbon offset agreement to help them achieve their "Green Goal" for the world's most-watched sporting event. The Ecosystem Marketplace gets the details.


Kyoto's CDM: Frustration Mounts

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol is supposed to allow developed countries to help subsidize sustainable development, such as energy from renewable resources, in their less developed counterparts. In exchange, the developed countries get credits that can be used towards meeting their Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction commitment. It seems simple, virtuous and perhaps even elegant but, as the Ecosystem Marketplace discovers, the process of getting such a global system up and running has been far from smooth.


Kyoto by the Numbers

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently released its "GHG Data 2006" report on emissions in industrialized countries. The Ecosystem Marketplace breaks down the numbers to find out what the Kyoto Protocol has accomplished so far.


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.


Carbon Sinks and Emissions Trading: Room for Optimism?

On May 11, 2005, in Cologne, Germany, the Ecosystem Marketplace, in conjunction with its various partners, held the second in a series of "Katoomba Dialogues" on markets for ecosystem services. The dialogue, entitled "That Sinking Feeling; Carbon Sinks and Emissions Trading," highlighted the arguments both for and against the inclusion of forestry-related carbon sinks in emissions trading schemes. A number of interesting issues were raised during the discussion and the lively conversation ended, for the most part, on an optimistic note. Below is an edited transcript of the dialogue. The Ecosystem Marketplace will be holding more dialogues in the months and years to come; always around a contentious or controversial issue surrounding markets for ecosystem services.


Carbon Funds: In the Driver's Seat

The World Bank says that carbon funds are the leading providers of liquidity for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) offset projects around the world—but what exactly is a carbon fund, and how are they evolving? The Ecosystem Marketplace examines the issues.


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.

Carbon Trading Passes Crash Test

The Ecosystem Marketplace reports from the Carbon Expo in Cologne Germany, where the recent crash in carbon prices is the talk of the town.


European Carbon Funds: Building Momentum

As the European Emissions Trading System begins operation, companies are beginning to look at carbon funds as ways of meeting their regulatory responsibilities and managing risk. But as the Ecosystem Marketplace finds out, the public offerings are still thin and they are likely to be of little use until the second commitment period (2008-2012).


Getting Paid to Keep Trees Standing

On the surface, the upcoming meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change seems like an ocean of acronyms. The Ecosystem Marketplace finds out why this particular book might prove more interesting than its cover would suggest.


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.


Speaking for the Trees

Alongside the burgeoning compliance market in carbon reductions spawned by ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the voluntary market–made up of everyone from large corporations to interested individuals–continues to grow as efforts to combat climate change become increasingly well known. The Ecosystem Marketplace tracks the profusion of programs and companies reducing greenhouse gas emissions and selling carbon dioxide offsets on the voluntary market.


eBay Shoppers and Subsistence Farmers Meet on Virtual Ground

The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST) is a standout carbon project based on a mix of poverty alleviation and cutting edge technology. The Ecosystem Marketplace highlights TIST's efforts to make the world's carbon markets work for the rural poor and asks the curiously related question: Have eBay shoppers just stumbled across the sustainable development deal of a lifetime?


Are Pollination Services Being Left Bee-Hind?

Beekeepers nationwide are discovering hundreds of thousands of empty hives, with no hint of where the bees have gone. The Ecosystem Marketplace investigates the phenomenon and the increasingly sophisticated understanding of pollination services.


More Corporations Seek Solutions to Global Water Crisis

More and more corporations have come to realize that their economic survival relies on nature, and a growing number are investigating market-based tools for meeting the looming global water challenge. Many of these tools are on display at World Water Week, which runs through Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden.


After the Storm: Lower Caps, More Transparency?

The April-May European carbon market crash appeared to have delivered a body blow to prices for European carbon emissions expiring this year and next, but a mid-May rally brought prices for 2006-2007 into line with those for 2008-2012. Participants, meanwhile, are demanding greater transparency and legal clarity. The Ecosystem Marketplace looks at the EU ETS in the aftermath of the recent volatility in prices.


What makes energy Green? And can it be traded?

As oil prices rise, climate warnings pile-up, and fears over energy security mount, many are looking harder than ever at the future of renewable energy. But how can governments best encourage the use of "green" energy? The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look at what is being done in this regard around the world, focusing specifically on tradable renewable energy credits; a market some believe will one day become a bustling — and possibly even global — environmental market.


Voluntary Carbon Markets: A Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work

We are pleased to announce the release of Voluntary Carbon Markets: A Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work, by Ricardo Bayon and Amanda Hawn, Director and Editor, respectively, of the Ecosystem Marketplace, and Katherine Hamilton, the Ecosystem Marketplace's Carbon Projects Manager.


The Five Keys to Constructing Successful Water-Quality Schemes

Scores of water quality trading schemes are up and running around the world, and the World Resources Institute has published a 16-page study designed to identify what works, what doesn’t, and why. Mindy Selman is the lead author, and Ecosystem Marketplace caught up with her in Washington.


Redefining 'Wealth'

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) gathered ecologists, economists and a hearty alphabet soup's worth of non-profit organizations and environmental conventions for a meeting at the London School of Economics from October 10-12. Their task: weaving ecosystem services like water filtration, climate control and the benefits of biological diversity (pest control, crop pollination, nutrient cycling etc.) into the economics of sustainable development. The Ecosystem Marketplace spotlights UNEP's push to spread the new economy of nature in the developing world.


Australian Water Markets are Growing Up

As the carbon market matures into a multi-billion dollar affair, people are beginning to eye the concept of water trading more closely. Nowhere are people more interested in water trading's potential than in the big dry land down under. The Ecosystem Marketplace explores water trading in Australia.


Water Tops Environmental Concerns Worldwide: Survey

A new survey released this week at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, shows that water pollution and a shortage of fresh water top the list as the most important water-related issues worldwide.


China Leads Developing World in CDM Rush

The World Bank says sales of CER projects have helped developing countries raise billions for clean development projects and offset the equivalent of 374 million tons of CO2 in the past year and a half, with Europe and Japan accounting for 90% of the buying. The Ecosystem Marketplace reviews the findings.


ECX and IPE Begin Trading in Carbon Futures

Established emissions trading markets such as the US market in sulfur dioxide tend to generate large futures markets. Today (April 22, 2005), Europe saw trading in the first exchange-based carbon futures market linked to the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look at what happened.


Movement in Montreal

With the US staunchly refusing to get involved in any international climate regime that has mandatory emissions reductions, and developing countries hoping they can avoid mandatory targets themselves, hopes for progress at the latest UN climate change meeting in Montreal seem slim. But, as the Ecosystem Marketplace reports, ideas are circulating that could lay the foundations for progress.


Are Forests Like a Bag of Beans?

A last-minute decision to put Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) on the roadmap for future climate change talks opens the door to innovative financing schemes to reduce deforestation. Such schemes have long been advocated by investment banks and traders – who are expected to play an ever larger role in framing future climate change mitigation mechanisms. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a closer look. (First of two parts)


The Thin End of the Wedge?

The one-year old European Emissions Trading Scheme received its first annual report card on May 15, 2006. The Ecosystem Marketplace asks the experts to weigh in on the market's successes and failures in the wake of the report.