The California Air Resources Board is moving to invalidate more than 230,000 ozone-depleting substances offsets generated at an Arkansas facility. Although the ARB invalidated a relatively small fraction of the 4.3 million ODS offsets being investigated, one of the project developers believes the regulators’ interpretation of the rules to be incorrect and will seek a reversal before a final decision is made.
Today, multiple federal agencies recognized Virginia’s nutrient trading program as a natural, cost-efficient and effective approach to improving water quality in the heavily polluted Chesapeake Bay watershed. Federal recognition of the program also indicates potential for more involvement in environmental markets at the national level.
The US government may have averted another shutdown, but it didn’t find the money to even decide if the sage grouse is endangered. Private-sector conservationists say they may have a solution.
Washington D.C.’s Stormwater Retention Credit (SRC) trading program hit a milestone this month. D.C.’s District Department of the Environment approved the first trade of the program-11, 013 SRCs worth $25,000. The program allows property owners who voluntarily implement green infrastructure that reduces stormwater runoff to earn credits and generate revenue.
The debate over voluntary conservation practices arises again as the FWS proposes a draft policy that allows landowners to earn credits for voluntarily conserving at-risk wildlife. On a separate note, a study attempts to build a protocol for natural capital accounting in Canada and a white paper looks at using performance-based approaches in the recently passed US Farm Bill.
A power company in Germany can use forest-carbon from Brazil to offset emissions because carbon offsets are standardized units, but an American city that damages the habitat of endangered species in Arizona has no such option – in part because habitat is as varied and localized as land itself. Frank Vorhies says VCAs are part of the solution.
A new draft policy issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service grants credits to all types of landowners for practicing conservation for wildlife not yet listed under the ESA. The credits generated can be redeemed only after the species becomes listed, which is already leading certain parties to question the effectiveness of the conservation being practiced.
The Verified Carbon Standard does compliance in California (and beyond?), corporate buyers have lots of love for the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project, and CO2EXCHANGE offers another option on the web for your offset purchasing predilections.
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) has received the full blessing of California regulators to pre-screen coal mine methane and other types of offset projects for the state’s regulated carbon trading program. However, the VCS hopes to take its participation in the California program even further by helping regulators pursue international REDD offsets using the VCS jurisdictional approach.
One year ago this month, the infamous Rim Fire started burning in northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It raged for two full months and destroyed hundreds of homes and ecosystem services. Then something peculiar happened: the fire slowed when it hit the more naturally-managed Yosemite forest, offering one more key to help us manage our forests in a changing climate.
California regulators overseeing the state’s cap-and-trade program now have one more reason to recognize offsets generated by saving endangered rainforest in Latin America. On Monday, they learned that the destruction of trees in the Amazon rainforest will probably slash rainfall in the United States, depriving drought-choked California of even more drinking water.
New guidance from the Center for Biological Diversity aims to integrate biodiversity safeguards into sustainability standards while a study finds REDD+ isn’t delivering the positive outcome for wildlife as originally thought. Also, Ecosystem Marketplace continues to unfold its series on saving Indonesia’s forests and orangutan habitat from palm oil development.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to encourage voluntary proactive conservation with a proposed policy that will issue credits to both public and private landowning entities for conservation activities that benefit at-risk wildlife. The draft policy will be published tomorrow in the Federal Register.
US President Barack Obama continued to roll out his Climate Action Plan this week by addressing the League of Conservation Voters. In the address, he mocked climate-science deniers, touted renewable energy, and warned environmentalists against ignoring the potential costs of reducing emissions. He also defended the Clean Water Act – an act that succeeds by addressing the exact issues he warned against ignoring.
Carbon market participants mulled findings from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report at a presentation in Washington DC. Although overall volume declined as certain offset projects transitioned into regulated markets, the participants were buoyed by the momentum in favor of projects that have strong benefits beyond just emission reductions.
Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report took center stage this week. Panelists playing various roles in the marketplace came together in Washington, DC to discuss findings from the report – and where we go from here. Meanwhile, FIFA scored big with its commitment to a sustainable World Cup, and NASA will try again to launch its Orbiting Carbon Observatory.
The Obama Administration last week released proposed rules for power plant emissions that are intended to be as flexible as possible while still being legally defensible. The news boosted allowance prices in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative while California and Quebec announced preparations for their first joint auction in November. Meanwhile, China is exploring ways to convert CDM offsets for use in their domestic emission trading systems.
Forest carbon projects sold to voluntary buyers were challenged in 2013 by stiff competition from cheaper offsets flooding the market. Chandler Van Voorhis, Managing Partner of project developer GreenTrees, thinks this is a short-term trend, but forest carbon project developers must still do a better job of selling the attractive attributes of their projects.
California regulators charged with ensuring the integrity of the state’s cap-and-trade program are reviewing emissions reductions generated at an Arkansas facility that may have been in violation of its federal permit. Transactions involving offsets generated by projects at the facility have ground to a halt until the “disruptive” review is complete, as the regulators could potentially invalidate the offsets.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) made a big splash in the carbon markets last week with the announcement that it will partially guarantee investments made by the Althelia Climate Fund for up to $133.8 million. But as agency officials made clear at the Carbon Expo conference in Germany, it’s no newcomer to the REDD space, having actively supported the development of projects in Colombia for years.
Early findings from our State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report show that REDD projects more than doubled their transaction volumes from 2012 to 22.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, at a $94 million value. REDD also got a boost last week when US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will guarantee the Althelia Climate Fund at $133.8 million.
Businesses embrace the water energy nexus with innovative water-saving techniques and energy efficient measures. D.C. based non-profit, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, highlighted companies’ success stories in a recent report and event that took place in May. In other news, H&M’s water stewardship efforts in China face new challenges and the US West continues to practice water cooperation.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) heeded calls to give state and regional cap-and-trade programs a compliance role in its proposed rules for reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants in the US. But the agency could not find a place for carbon offsets as a compliance mechanism in its proposal.
The BioCarbon Group is a major investor in cookstove and forestry emissions reduction projects for both the voluntary and regulated carbon markets in Europe and North America. Jason Patrick, Investment Director for the BioCarbon Group, talked with Gloria Gonzalez about a recent evolution in the corporate social responsibility world and its impact on the voluntary carbon markets.
Chevrolet remains one of the leading buyers of carbon offsets in the voluntary market as it closes in on a commitment to reduce its emissions by up to eight million tonnes of carbon. But David Tulauskas, director of sustainability for General Motors (GM), Chevrolet’s parent company, says the road does not end there.
Ecosystem Marketplace’s coverage of last week’s National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking conference includes a conversation with the incoming president of the National Mitigation Banking Association and a look at the Department of Interior’s new mitigation strategy. Outside of the conference, The Nature Conservancy and JP Morgan Chase launch an impact investment platform aiming to raise $1 billion for conservation projects.
The US state of Washington could soon put a price on carbon, joining its Pacific Coast neighbor California in taking a step that the federal government has so far failed to take to address carbon pollution. The details are still being worked out, but many experts see Washington working hard to ensure that its system is compatible with California’s.
Payments for reduced deforestation in Acre, Brazil have finally started to flow, four years after the state first passed its payment for ecosystem services law. In corporate news, major clothing brands H&M, Zara and Stella McCartney announced that they will find alternatives to fabrics sourced from endangered forests within three years. Personal products company Johnson & Johnson released a new palm oil sourcing policy to protect people and forests – a bold move considering the complexity of the company’s palm supply chain.
Thursday at the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference saw a lot of talk on species conservation specifically for the greater sage grouse and the recently listed lesser prairie chicken, with some disagreement over the best approach. Meanwhile, Ecosystem Marketplace chatted with new NMBA president Wayne White on the coming year.
The National Mitigation Banking & Ecosystem Banking Conference began in earnest on Wednesday with the annual meeting of the National Mitigation Banking Association (NMBA). Here’s a summary of the day’s proceedings.
Global demand for both water and energy is spiraling upward, with long-term implications for food security. Several private-sector initiatives have emerged to promote more coordination of energy and water issues, and this week the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation will offer insight into what works and what doesn’t.
The annual National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference begins today in Denver and runs through the end of the week, capping a turbulent year that saw the emergence of controversial voluntary mitigation programs and the deployment of a new mitigation strategy by the Department of the Interior. Here are some of the issues we’ll be following.
The California Air Resources Board approves a new offset protocol for coal mine methane. But market participants say there is still more to be done with land-based offsets. The United Nations faces criticism over the administrative budget for the Clean Development Mechanism, while China and Africa look for alternatives to finance certified emissions reduction projects.
After a series of false starts, California regulators have finally added a new type of emissions reduction project into their regulated carbon market: mine methane capture. They also approved a change that would make the buyers of emissions reductions from forestry projects responsible for replacing the offsets if the projects turn out to be problematic.
Ecosystem Marketplace will be on hand at this year’s National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference to take place in Denver providing analysis and summaries of daily sessions as well as Q&As with key actors from the mitigation industry.
In order to solve big picture issues like climate change and invasive species, the Department of Interior is scaling up its new approach to mitigation to a landscape level aiming to increase certainty in the process as well as improve conservation results. The Department’s report was released earlier this month.
California has adopted bold greenhouse gas reduction goals, and state regulators see emission reductions from carbon offset projects, including from agriculture and forestry projects, as a vital factor in achieving these goals. But bringing more of these types of projects into the state’s regulated carbon market is challenging because of the high costs involved.
Pacific Coast neighbors British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington have joined forces to take on the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region. But Oregon and Washington so far lack what some argue is a key element to any viable attack plan: a price on carbon pollution. Can they get there and can they flesh out an expanded role for carbon offsets?
While several from the mitigation banking space welcome the EPA and Corps’ proposed rule on clarifying waters protected under the Clean Water Act, the decision is far from final. On a separate policy front, the lesser prairie chicken has been listed under the ESA as threatened.
The voluntary carbon market has been the breeding ground for offset project types welcomed into California’s regulated carbon market, which many say will face a shortage of offsets in its second phase. Market participants, including an official at one of the largest publicly-owned utilities in the United States, say it is critical for California regulators to quickly welcome even more voluntary project types.
The California Air Resources Board stated publicly that the agency will continue considering allowing REDD offsets into its cap-and-trade program, which could provide key demand for Latin American supply. And lots of news on standards and methodology development this week.
Between now and August, we’ll be examining the economic benefits of coral reefs and financing mechanisms designed to help preserve them. Here’s a look at the other side of that equation: what it costs to maintain them, and the challenge of meeting that cost through conventional means.
The Yurok Indian tribe became the first organization to cross the finish line in getting forestry compliance offsets approved by California’s cap-and-trade program. And the first issuance was a big one, with the tribe receiving 836,619 offsets for an improved forest management project on tribal lands.
About 13 million hectares of tropical forests are being lost every year – despite the best efforts of many committed stakeholders. California could take efforts to combat this trend to the next level by allowing projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation to count as offsets in its carbon market, according to supporters of these projects. But is the US state ready to take that step?
Urban forestry helps keep US cities green and their air clean. For this, urban foresters can earn carbon offsets that reflect their pro-climate contributions. Though these offsets could be sold to voluntary buyers or even into California’s carbon market, urban forestry offset projects have been underutilized due to high costs and technicalities. The Climate Action Reserve is hoping to change that.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced they are listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act but landowners and oil and gas companies enrolled in approved voluntary conservation efforts will be exempt from ESA regulations under a special 4(d) rule.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a voluntary approach to conserving the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken. Proponents say a voluntary program will more easily adapt to climate change, but opponents say it lacks vigor and won’t really give the birds the protection they need.
On Monday, regulators from California’s Air Resources Board discussed a proposed protocol that, if approved in September, would accept offsets from methane-reducing rice projects into the state’s cap-and-trade program. The American Carbon Registry just listed the first rice project – expected to reduce 1,400 cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
Left for dead for years, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) soared to record heights after a major overhaul of the program gave market participants new confidence in its longevity. RGGI could receive another major boost if the US Environmental Protection Agency decides that the cap-and-trade program can be used for compliance with its upcoming greenhouse gas regulations for existing power plants.
Quebec’s first auction of carbon allowances last year was deemed a bit of a snooze-fest as buyers only snapped up about a third of available allowances, but demand soared in last week’s provincial auction following its linkage to California’s cap-and-trade system.