News & Articles: Geographic Europe

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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


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.


EU ETS: Is the Bull out of Steam?

Recent weeks have seen the price of carbon dioxide allowances in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme rocket. In a follow-up to an article on the early collapse of carbon prices, Ecosystem Marketplace asks what's behind the recent bull run — and how much further it has to go.


Gourmet Carbon vs. Commodity Carbon

On December 6, 2006, the Ecosystem Marketplace co-hosted an open discussion on the voluntary carbon market with ABN-AMRO, Climate Change Capital, Earthscan, EcoSecurities, Generation Investment Management, and The Climate Group.


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.


Conservation and Biodiversity Banking

We are pleased to announce the release of Conservation and Biodiversity Banking: a Guide to Setting up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading Systems. Conservation and Biodiversity Banking is the first comprehensive book on species mitigation banking. It provides practical guidance, tools, case studies, analysis, and insights into endangered species banking in the United States and abroad, and serves a handbook for a broad audience including private landowners, complying industries, regulating agencies, policy makers, bank developers, and interested general public.


Ghost Forest Sells the Sizzle of REDD

Markets are supposed to be about cold, hard logic; but any salesman can tell you they are more often about scent, texture, heart, and soul.  A traveling exhibition of dead trees from the Ghanaian rainforest, on their way this month to Oxford, England, is helping people understand the majesty of these threatened giants – and, in the process, drumming up support for schemes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving trees.


New Carbon Index Leads to Derivatives Transaction

The launch of a new emissions allowance price index from London-based energy brokers could herald the beginning of more transparent derivatives markets attached to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). This –some think—could pave the way for the entry of large financial actors into the carbon market. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a closer look.


EM Cheat Sheet: The Biochar Debate

Land-use practices – including forestry and agriculture – are responsible for nearly 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is why accounting for land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) is a key point of contention in climate-change talks leading up to December’s Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ecosystem Marketplace summarizes the latest findings.


Not too big, not too small

As increasing numbers of Central and Eastern European countries join the European Union, an era of transition is afoot for rural landowners in the Danube River Basin. Hoping to lock in positive environmental changes, rather than negative ones, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is using the period of transition to promote payments for ecosystem services along one of Europe's most historic rivers. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look.


EU to Energy Providers: "No More Freebies"

The European Commission on Wednesday released its proposals for a new European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) that is sure to leave both industry and environmentalists dissatisfied. The biggest bombshell: emission allowances will no longer be distributed for free to the power sector (by far the biggest CO2 emitter) after the Kyoto Protocal expires in 2012. Other sectors will gradually have to pay for their allowances as well—unless their competitors are in non-Kyoto countries.


Comparing Apples & Oranges

The volume of voluntary carbon emission reduction credits has surged 1000% over the past two years and is set to double again by next year, but the challenge of constructing a global standard for all but the most pristine projects is proving difficult. The Ecosystem Marketplace discovers why finding a standard that keeps everyone happy is no easy task.


Voluntary Carbon Market Doubles in Size

Volume on the world’s voluntary carbon markets surged from 65 million tonnes in 2007 to 123 million tonnes in 2008, according to the most recent State of the Voluntary Carbon Market. The real news, however, isn’t the numbers – but the drivers. Ecosystem Marketplace asked market participants what the report means for them – and for the environment at large.


Climate-friendly Trade Sanctions?

In statements several weeks ago, a European Parliamentarian raised the spectre of Europe using trade sanctions to get the US and Australia back to the climate negotiating table. Is Europe kicking it up a notch or just blowing off steam? The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a look.


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


Blog Update: New REDD Text Thursday!

With just four weeks of negotiating time scheduled before the year-end Climate Conference in Copenhagen, negotiators are scrambling to trim the 300-page negotiating text for a post-Kyoto accord down to a more manageable 80. Tony La Vina, who is overseeing the portion of negotiations dealing with reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), has taken matters into his own hands.


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.


Environmentalists, Financiers Commemorate Decade of Forest Trends

Former US Vice President Al Gore and a diverse group of conservationists, indigenous people, financiers, policy-makers, and civil servants met in Washington, DC, at the end of April to commemorate the first decade of Forest Trends, which was launched in 1999 to help preserve the world’s ecosystems by fostering an understanding of nature’s true value to our global economy.


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.