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Australia Pushes Toward Emissions Trading

The Australian states and territories are collectively pushing a national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme despite active resistance from the Commonwealth government. The Ecosystem Marketplace considers the potential implications of implementing the world's first state-based National Emissions Trading Scheme.

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VCS, CCB To Cooperate On Standards

In a nod to the rising attention paid to the community and biodiversity outcomes of carbon offset projects, the Verified Carbon Standard, the leading carbon standard on the voluntary carbon market, assumed the day-to-day management of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard today. Dozens of project developers already use the standards together, and the organizations aim to streamline the process.

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Forest, Ag Project Developers See Opportunity, Concern In California ODS Offset Invalidation

United States-based forest carbon project developers see potential for increased demand for their offsets as a direct result of California regulators’ decision to invalidate some ozone-depleting substances (ODS) offsets. But they also sympathize with their ODS counterparts over the way the regulators arrived at their decision to invalidate the offsets and expressed concern their projects could face similar scrutiny.

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Despite Market Outcry, California Voids Some Carbon Offsets

California regulators are sticking to their guns by invalidating 88,955 offsets for ozone-depleting substances from one project despite public uproar from a diverse group of carbon market stakeholders. Offsets from another project set for invalidation dodged a bullet when the regulators determined the offsets were not generated during the period the destruction facility was allegedly out of compliance with its federal permit.

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Cookstove Distribution Soars; Carbon Finance Now Top Funding Source

The latest results from a global initiative to track the clean stove and fuels market found an all-time high of 14.3 million improved cookstoves distributed in 2013, a 75% jump from the previous year. And in good news for carbon developers pricing remains strong, with the overall price rising a modest 5% to $10.4 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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Carbon, Cookstoves, And Kids

Bringing clean cookstoves to Honduras, a country where more than half of rural households struggle with extreme poverty, was no easy task. Proyecto Mirador’s founders initially relied on the generosity of friends and family to build the cookstoves program, but tapped into the carbon markets to take it to the next level.

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Filling In The Information Gap On Market Based Instruments For Biodiversity Conservation

Market based tools like economic incentives and offsets may be a key way to finance biodiversity conservation but the little clarity and certainty surrounding their success rates causes policymakers to overlook them. The INVALUABLE project says it can change that by providing the necessary data. Project researchers presented their latest findings at a COP 12 side event.

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Study Sees Sustainable Ag Driving Surge In Ecosystem Investing

More than 23 billion profit-seeking dollars flowed into ecosystem-friendly investments over the past five years, but less than $2 billion of that came from the private sector. Most of that $2 billion, however, went into sustainable food and fiber a sector that’s been growing at 26% a year and looks set to surge by at least $5.5 billion through 2018. In fact, $1.5 billion has already been raised, a new survey finds.

This Week In Forest Carbon: Half Of Tropical Deforestation Comes From Illegal Activities

A new study published by Forest Trends finds that 49% of tropical deforestation since the turn of the millennium has been due to illegal land conversion for commercial agriculture. Fighting illicit activity in tropical forests can be dangerous and sometimes even fatal. Forest Carbon News also covers a recent photo report that documents Ka’apor warriors in Brazil capturing illegal loggers.

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Green Climate Fund Passes $10 Billion Threshold

Today, Belgium helped the Green Climate Fund reach its $10 billion goal with a $60 million contribution. Because far more funds are needed to address the enormous challenge that is climate change, reaching the $10 billion mark is as much a symbolic achievement as it is financial, analysts say.

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This Week In Biodiversity: A Pre-Listed Species Credit Policy Stirs Debate

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.

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Verified Conservation Areas:
A Real-Estate Market For Biodiversity?

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.

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This Week In V-Carbon…

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.

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World Bank Initiative Moves Talk On Water Energy Nexus To Action

Moving from talking about the interlinked thinking behind the water-energy nexus to implementing its approach is a tricky transition. World Bank Economist Diego Rodriguez says the new Thirsty Energy initiative aims to do just that, however, by providing governments with the necessary tools and guidance.

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Results-Based Finance: Breakthrough Or Backslide?

Everyone loves “results-based finance” – at least in the abstract – because everyone likes to get what they paid for. Quantifying those results and packaging them for buyers, however, has proven elusive once you get beyond payments for ecosystem services. Here’s a look back on the evolution of results-based finance.

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Wrestling With Orangutans: The Genesis Of The Rimba-Raya REDD Project

In 2007, businessman Todd Lemons had a hunch that anthropologist Birute Galdikas could help him rewrite the rules of conservation finance and save the Seruyan Forest. He followed that hunch to Borneo, where the two embarked on a five-year ordeal that would take them from the swamps of Kalimantan to the pinnacles of Indonesian society.

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Biodiversity Backers Continue Push For Convergence In June

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.

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Examples, Dialogue And Clearer Policy Needed In Biodiversity Offsetting

Highlights including video footage from last month’s conference on ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity, which brought together a multitude of sectors to discuss avoiding, minimizing, restoring and offsetting biodiversity loss, are now available. The event, held at the London Zoo and hosted by BBOP, was the first of its kind.

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Todd Lemons: Ecosystem Entrepreneur

When Todd Lemons showed up on Birutė Galdikas’s doorstep in 2007, she had no idea who he was or why he’d come all the way to the island of Borneo on a hunch. They ended up forging a partnership that created the Rimba Raya REDD project, saved the Seruyan Forest, and provided a template for others to follow suit.

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This Week In Forest Carbon News…

Forestry and land use projects took home 45% market share on the voluntary carbon market in 2013, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report. Buyers such as National Geographic and Getafe are attracted to forest carbon projects because of their many benefits beyond emissions reductions. Getafe, a Spanish soccer club, is currently asking its fans to choose among three forest carbon projects in Latin America to offset its carbon footprint.

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This Week In Water: Yorkshire Water Accounts for NatCap Impacts

Natural capital accounting receives another boost as a UK water utility becomes the first of its kind to develop an environmental profit & loss account. Payments for ecosystem services (PES) received a boost as well, with passage of Peru’s PES law establishing a framework for compensation regarding ecosystem services.

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Voluntary Carbon Market Stalls, But Buyers See Silver Lining

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.

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This Week In V-Carbon News…

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.

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Biof­lica: Futbol Shines Light On Brazil’s Forests

As fútbol fans tune in for the World Cup, host country Brazil’s emissions have also been in the spotlight. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) pledged to offset all direct emissions from the event, while local companies and foreign visitors alike have been encouraged to offset their impact. Local project developer, Mariama Vendramini of Biofílica, says this represents one of several initiatives that has helped increase domestic interest in forestry offsets.

This Week In Biodiversity: Global Summit On No Net Loss In London

Natural capital accounting is generating a lot of attention lately with a new report warning companies of the perils of ignoring natural capital risk while the World Bank-led WAVES initiative is noting some advancements in the space. And BBOP is back from the London Zoo with feedback on the no net loss of biodiversity summit.

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Carbon Market Participants: We Must Raise Awareness, Spark Private-Sector Demand

Companies selling carbon offsets to corporate buyers welcome governments’ growing role as a source of offset demand itself, as seen in the “State of Voluntary Carbon Markets” report launched last week – but say that effective public climate policies, not demand, are what’s needed to jump-start markets, and that the voluntary carbon sector itself must be more creative on the messaging front.

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The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Interlinked Solutions For Interlinked Challenges

We can’t prevent global shortages of drinking water while providing enough food and energy to meet the needs of a growing population in a climate-constrained world if we don’t understand the linkages between water, energy and food security. Here’s a look at how our demands for energy, food and water all drive each other, and how we can prevent them from driving in the wrong direction.

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GreenTrees: Going The Extra Mile

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.

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Offset Invalidation Rules Tested In California Cap-and-Trade

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.

This Week In Water: Breaking Down Nexus Silos

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.

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EcoPlanet Bamboo: Thinking Long-Term

EcoPlanet Bamboo yesterday announced that its Nicaragua bamboo projects successfully verified their first carbon offsets. These projects are expected to reduce 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) over their 20-year lifetime. This milestone came after a patient process of navigating the voluntary carbon markets and – as Troy Wiseman explains in the interview below – is part of the company’s truly long-term vision for triple bottom line profitability.

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This Week In V-Carbon News…

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace has released the initial findings from our annual report, State of the Voluntary Carbon Market 2014. In other news, the Gold Standard has quantified the value of the co-benefits and the CDP reports that US corporations consider climate change risks to be more urgent than just a few years ago.

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Corporate Buyers Stick with Voluntary Carbon Offsetting in Transitional Year

It was a topsy-turvy year in voluntary carbon, with some volume migrating to California’s cap-and-trade market and new government entities coming in on the buy side. Through it all, most corporate buyers who used offsets in the past continued to do so, but newcomers were hard to find. Here’s a preview of our latest "State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets" report.

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Environmental Credit Corp: California, Here We Come!

Environmental Credit Corp (ECC) was busy in 2013 developing emissions reduction projects that received a total of more than one million tonnes from California’s regulated carbon market. But Derek Six, ECC’s CEO/CFO, spoke to Gloria Gonzalez about growing interest in a new charismatic project type that could be added to California’s program in the future.

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The BioCarbon Group: Playing Both Sides

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.

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This Week In Forest Carbon News…

In an exclusive interview with Ecosystem Marketplace, Heru Prasetyo, who took the helm of Indonesia’s new REDD+ Management Agency in December, talks about Indonesia’s plan to move palm production to degraded land, why REDD+ is the new oil, and everything in between. And in other news, teen activists won’t rest until the Girl Scouts ensure its cookies are deforestation-free.

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Chevrolet: Driving In The Voluntary Carbon Market’s Fast Lane

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.

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This Week In V-Carbon: Countdown to Carbon Expo in Cologne

The 2014 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report is set to launch on May 28th at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany. Join us to hear the latest trends gathered from a global pool of offset suppliers and other experts. Meanwhile, in the news, Russia announced plans to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, possibly featuring a voluntary offsetting component, while South Africa has rolled voluntary standards into its carbon tax.

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Gold Standard Says It Can Now Value The Co-Benefits Of Your Carbon Buck

The Gold Standard has always claimed that the social and environmental “co-benefits” of its certified carbon mitigation projects are key in obtaining above-average offset pricing. Now it claims to have the numbers to back that up – which it hopes will strengthen the value proposition for voluntary offset buyers while influencing policy discussions at the global scale.

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This Week In Biodiversity: NMEBC Coverage, No Net Loss And New Finance

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. 

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This Week In Forest Carbon News…

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.

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Voices From Denver: Mitigation Bankers Discuss New Measures And Role Of NGOs

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.