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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.


California Moves With Chinese Provinces On Climate

The United States and China made headlines last year with their Climate Pact, but significant collaboration had already occurred at the subnational levels. Both California and several of China’s provinces launched emissions trading systems (ETS) in 2013, and they have been working together ever since. Now, a new report highlights the latest accomplishments and partnerships.


Industrialized Countries To Start Unveiling Climate-Change Strategies In March

On Wednesday, the European Union will unveil its post-2020 climate-change strategy, presaging a month when most industrialized nations are expected to upload their strategies to the United Nations web site. By the end of June, every country in the world should have offered its own Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution to the climate challenge, and by October we’ll know how they all fit together.


Study Sees $1.6 Billion For Blue Carbon In Louisiana Wetlands

As Louisiana’s wetlands and mangroves retreat, the low-lying state becomes more and more susceptible to hurricanes and other coastal disruptions. Fortunately, mangrove forests also pull massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the ocean floor. A new study says that carbon finance could provide up to $1.6 billion for wetland restoration in that state.


Ontario Inches Towards Carbon Pricing, Explores Ag And Forestry Offsets

The Canadian province of Ontario looks poised to follow the lead of other jurisdictions in Canada and in the United States by implementing a carbon pricing program, with provincial regulators asking for opinions on what type of program should be implemented. Also on the list is a possible role for the agriculture and forestry sectors, as regulators seek advice for their potential inclusion as carbon offsets.


Water, Energy, Food: Nexus Thinking Catches On, But Nexus Spending Lags

The tremendous demand human society has for water, food and energy is only expected to increase. And as sectors search for ways to apply integrated solutions that address the needs of all three sectors, they are too often leaving out a critical component – nature – says Ecosystem Marketplace’s most recent report on watershed investments.


2015: The Year Biodiversity And Sustainable Development Finally Tie The Knot?

Decision-makers in the biodiversity space are positioning conservation to take center stage during the upcoming negotiations on the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Late last year, they presented the UN Secretary with key decisions regarding integrating biodiversity into sustainable development that were made during the most recent biodiversity talks.


Indigenous Leaders Call Foul On Once-Revered Catholic Organization

Brazil’s Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples (CIMI) has arguably done more than any other single organization to help indigenous people demarcate their lands, but many indigenous leaders say their onetime protector has become paternalistic and possessive. Last week, after CIMI attacked the Surui Forest Carbon Project, indigenous leaders took to Facebook and launched a campaign that could go all the way to the Vatican.


This Week In Biodiversity: Congress Enters The Sage-Grouse Battle

Congress became an official participant in the greater sage-grouse debate when its latest spending bill blocked funding for an Endangered Species Act listing for the bird. Reaction to the decision has been mixed with conservationists and agency officials indicating the voluntary incentives and the state level conservation plans as solid means to protect the grouse without a federal listing status.


California Regulators Bump Rice Offsets, Forestry Updates To 2015

California once again delayed the potential adoption of a new offset protocol for rice cultivation projects, as well as proposed updates to its forest protocol, to 2015 as stakeholders urged regulators to go back to the drawing board on a few particular elements. Meanwhile, regulators took some flak for the market uncertainty created by their recent invalidation of ozone-depleting substances offsets.


Indigenous Leaders Call Foul On Once-Revered Catholic Organization

Brazil’s Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples (CIMI) has arguably done more than any other single organization to help indigenous people demarcate their lands, but many indigenous leaders say their onetime protector has become paternalistic and possessive. Last week, after CIMI attacked the Surui Forest Carbon Project, indigenous leaders took to Facebook – and launched a campaign that could go all the way to the Vatican.


This Week In V-Carbon: The Lima Call For Climate Action

The climate community went to Peru and left with the Lima Call for Climate Action, the Green Climate Fund finally found a fraction of its funding and carbon dioxide fades into obscurity like a childhood celebrity.


Countering Illegal And Unsustainable Activities With REDD+ In Panama

The UN-REDD program recently launched a series of videos exploring REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) in Panama, Ecuador and Paraguay. In Panama, the situation of poverty and unsustainable development and agriculture could be greatly improved with REDD activities, UN-REDD says


California May Void Some Carbon Offsets After Investigation

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.


Fixing Water By Fixing Land: What Works And What Doesn’t

All around the world, from Lima to Dar es Salaam, cities are looking to keep their water flowing by nurturing the watersheds that feed their rivers and streams. Now The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Law Institute have taken stock of what works and what doesn’t. Here’s a look at their latest guidance on watershed restoration.


Virginia’s Nutrient Trading Program Aims To Clean Up The Chesapeake Bay

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.


Successful Green Pledges Hinge On Procurement Agents And Consumers

Executives around the world are trying to woo customers by going green embarking on a trail that companies like paper giant Domtar blazed a decade ago. But it’s consumers whose choices will ripple up the production chain, through procurement to finance. Here’s how that process works and why good intentions will come to naught if consumers don’t step up


Avoided Deforestation Could Land On Green Climate Fund’s Fast Track

The Green Climate Fund gained momentum during the international climate negotiations here in Lima, Peru, surpassing the $10 billion mark and securing landmark financial commitments from both developed and developing countries. Now the race begins to assess and finance the first projects, including possibly REDD+, ahead of the Paris climate talks in December 2015.


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.


This Week In Forest Carbon News…

Thirteen governors from rainforest states signed the Rio Branco Declaration, a commitment to cut deforestation 80% by 2020, if funding for avoided deforestation (REDD) materializes. Brazil, the country receiving the most performance-based payments from climate funder Norway, has successfully prevented the clearing of 6.2 million hectares of forest between 2007 and 2013, but many other countries are on the edge of deforesting… or not. The Indonesian government, for instance, has commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions but also plans to clear 14 million hectares of degraded forest by 2020. Other countries, such as Ghana and South Korea, recently made strides forward in their REDD readiness processes.


VCS Sees REDD In California Carbon

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.


California Wildfires Kill More Than Trees, And That May Help Us Prevent Them In The Future

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.


Stunning High-Resolution Map reveals Secrets Of Peru’s Forests

A colorful map of Peru’s landscape has been drawn from research assessing the nation’s aboveground carbon stock. The map portrays carbon density with different colors allowing viewers to see the diversity of Peru’s land in a whole new way and also see the value in preserving its ecosystems.


Does Brazilian Deforestation Drive Drought In The United States?

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.


This Week In V-Carbon News…

Australia topped the news last week with the repeal of its carbon tax, South Korean ministers called for a delay in its carbon price, and New Zealand is considering shelving its program later this year. But voluntary buyers aren’t taking a vacation this summer with announcements from Chevrolet, Disney, and others.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Barack Obama And The Rationale
For Ecosystem Service Markets

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.


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.


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.

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.

This Week In V-Carbon News…

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.


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.


China Lets Carbon Programs Blossom, But Will They Take Root?

China’s sub-national pilot carbon trading programs have been proliferating across the country, and these programs have all carved out a role for carbon offsets and would allow them to be traded across borders. Now comes the arduous tasks of building a national registry to facilitate those transactions and of promoting liquidity to reduce volatility.


Carbon Partnership: Breaking New Ground

Although New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme was the first in the world to accept forestry offsets, many local forestry projects are ineligible for the program, forcing them to turn to the voluntary carbon markets where demand for offsets is limited. Consultancy Carbon Partnership explains the challenges facing Kiwi forest carbon projects within the context of its Rarakau project.


Peruvian Congress Passes Historic Ecosystem Services Law

Six years in the making, Peru’s new Ecosystem Services Law passed on Thursday, providing a comprehensive legal framework for the sticky issue of payments for ecosystem services (PES). It is one of the most advanced pieces of legislation of its type, but had been stuck in committee for five years. Here is the latest from Lima.


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.


US Federal Government Throws Its Weight Behind REDD

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.


This Week In Forest Carbon News…

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.