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On World Wetlands Day: The Allure And Elusiveness Of Mangroves As Carbon Sinks

Wetlands, and especially mangrove forests, sequester far more carbon per square mile than do tropical forests, and they also provide shelter for fish, protect the coast from storm surges, and keep coral reefs alive. On World Wetlands day, we examine the unappreciated value of these critical ecosystems.

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Enemies Of The Forest Beware: The Whole World Is Watching

There are plenty of satellites keeping electronic eyes on forests, but the high-resolution ones don’t fly that often and the ones that fly often can’t see so good. But a new platform combines sophisticated algorithms and high-speed computing with the power of crowdsourcing to provide near real-time monitoring of all the world’s forests.

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Latin American Katoomba Meetings Aim To Turbocharge Climate Talks

This is the 20th year that climate negotiators meeting under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are meeting to try and end global warming, and Peru will host this year’s talks. As a run-up, it’s also hosting the 20th Katoomba Meeting in April – one of two Katoombas taking place in Latin America this year. Here’s a preview of these two meetings and how we’ll be covering them.

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Higher Ed To Get Cleaner, More Efficient, With Boost From Chevrolet

Chevrolet has been one of the most active and prominent buyers of carbon credits in the voluntary market in recent years. Now a potentially game-changing new program financed by the automaker aims to reward US-based colleges and universities for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects undertaken via a new methodology under the Verified Carbon Standard.

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Writing About Food Security?
Say It With Pictograms!

Food security is a critical yet complex issue, and CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) has issued a new set of pictograms designed to help people who need to communicate the issue do so with pictures.

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Opinion: The Value of Ecosystem Services Valuations

It’s a fact that human life relies on the natural world but figuring out how to measure this dependency is difficult. Tundi Agardy, a marine conservation expert and the director of Forest Trends’ Marine Ecosystem Services Program, discusses her views on the benefits and dangers of ecosystem services valuations. 

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Water Is A Top Three Global Risk, Says World Economic Forum

While water risk was ranked third among the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk 2014 report, at least three of the study’s top 10 risks are directly related to water problems like pollution and scarcity prompting report authors to argue these risks reach further than originally thought and must be solved through public-private collaboration.

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Forest, Ag Projects Can Combine Adaptation And Mitigation: CIFOR Study

Forestry and agricultural projects have numerous opportunities to link adaptation and mitigation benefits, sometimes without even realizing or aiming for it. In particular, projects certified to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCB) have surpassed all other projects in achieving such synergies, according to a new report.

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REDD Reference Levels Share Stage With Broader Land-Use Issues In Warsaw

Negotiators meeting in Warsaw this week will focus on the critical issue of establishing reference levels for projects that reduce emissions by protecting endangered rainforest. That will clear the path for more REDD funding, even as side events and informal meetings begin to look at broader agricultural issues that are expected to play a larger role in talks to come.

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Demand For Forest Carbon Offsets Rises As Forestland Under Carbon Management Grows

Covering New Ground, Ecosystem Marketplace’s new State of the Forest Carbon Markets report launched today in London. Among the findings in this year’s report include market growth by 9% and a growing interest from the business community in payment schemes that protect forests. Also in 2012, the amount of forest conserved by carbon finance grew to 26.5 million hectares. 

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Why And How To Invest In Forested Landscapes

The United States faces an infrastructure crisis that will only get worse as climate change takes hold. Last month, the World Resources Institute, together with Earth Economics and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, published a detailed examination of the science, the finance, and the business case for meeting the challenge with new investments in forests and green infrastructure.

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This Week In Forest Carbon:
State Of The Forest Carbon Markets Returns!

Ecosystem Marketplace’s annual State of the Forest Carbon Markets report is due out November 6 and with it the latest findings on forest carbon projects’ structure, standards and finance. Focus points include the changing dynamics of forest finance and global market activity. Join Ecosystem Marketplace in London for a presentation on these findings. RSVP today!

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This Week In Water: A Good Month For Green Infrastructure

The past month saw movement in the green infrastructure space with an assessment on green infrastructure valuation tools and a $50 million fund slated to implement natural infrastructure upgrades in Chicago. Also this month, two papers from Forest Trends offering thoughts on the social impact assessment of investments in watershed services programs.

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A Changing Climate: Implications For Business

A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and an European initiative working to curb climate change has produced a summary of the IPCC’s report that came out last week and confirmed man’s influence on the changing climate. Directed at the business community, the summary is perhaps more easily readable than the report while remaining scientifically accurate.

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This Week In V-Carbon: Cooking Up New Solutions

A new report written by Ecosystem Marketplace for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) highlights the growing role of carbon finance in driving clean cookstove distribution in developing countries around the world. More than half of the clean efficient stoves distributed in 2012 were financed in part by carbon offset. Cookstoves were also the third most popular offset project on the voluntary market in 2012.

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Clinton Announces Doubling of Cookstove Distribution, Buoyed by Carbon Markets

Carbon offsets financed half of the 8 million clean or efficient stoves distributed in 2012, as high offset prices and corporate demand to enable stove projects drove $167.3 million into the sector. This from a new report by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace tracking progress among partners of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

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Figueres Calls For Action As IPCC Reaffirms Man’s Role In Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today has confirmed that human influence has played a big part in warming temperatures and urges the global community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the situation from getting worse. The UNFCCC supports this saying the world has made significant progress and has the technology and funds to scale up their efforts.

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Can Financing Mechanisms Bridge The REDD+ Money Gap?

Private-sector REDD projects have proactively saved roughly 20 million hectares of endangered forest, and the number is growing. Public-sector buyers, however, are putting their money into programs that don’t yet exist, and true compliance buyers are years away. Here’s a look at two discussion papers focusing on new financing mechanisms that might help bridge the gap.

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Understanding Carbon Accounting Under The UN Framework Convention

Before the world can harness carbon finance to save endangered forests, it needs to agree on two things: how to scientifically measure the amount of carbon that goes into and out of trees, soils, and grasses; and how to politically account for those measurements. That’s a central focus of talks this week in Warsaw, and was the subject of a course that the University of California at San Diego and WWF launched earlier this year.

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A Six-Step Approach To Determining
What Can And What Cannot Be Offset

Little guidance is provided on the complex issue of biodiversity offsetting and considering which impacts are offsetable. That is why a group of thought leaders from the biodiversity space have outlined an offsetability evaluation process that determines the success and appropriateness of specific offsets.  The process was recently presented in a webinar.

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Building A More Resilient Gulf

Tierra Resources’ new carbon methodology could help close the financing gap for wetlands restorations projects on the Louisiana Gulf Coast, offering an extra push for private landowners. Entergy, the major utility in the region, sees more than one reason to be involved.

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This Week in Forest Carbon: Lessons From Vietnam

A new Forest Trends brief compares and contrasts case studies from two villages in Vietnam to highlight the implications of illegal logging on REDD+ and FLEGT as well as the role of community participation and land tenure agreements in forest governance. Meanwhile the Ecosystem Marketplace Carbon Program gears up for its final round of data collection in preparation for the 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report.

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Peru Will Look For Global Commitment
On Climate Change During COP 20

It has recently been determined that the 20th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC will take place in Lima, Peru with Peru aiming for a global agreement on mitigating the impact of climate change as well as advancing adaptation strategies based on environmental compensation and natural infrastructure that will aid developing countries struggling with the effects of climate change. 

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This Week In Forest Carbon:
President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Includes REDD+

This week, President Barack Obama announced his decision to create new pollution standards for power plants. In addition to limiting greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters, the president’s Climate Plan also addresses the role of domestic forests in mitigating climate change as well as REDD and the administration’s commitment to reducing global land-use-related emissions.

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Facts On Ground Contradict BC Auditor General

When British Columbia’s Office of the Auditor General dismissed the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Darkwoods Carbon Project as not being “credible”, it did so in part because it said most private land in the region is managed sustainably, and that a commercial buyer would have done the same. That contention, like most of the OAG’s analysis, is wrong.

 
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Documents Back Nature Conservancy Over BC Auditor General On Darkwoods

Two weeks ago, British Columbia’s Auditor General said the Nature Conservancy of Canada had issued bogus carbon credits by exaggerating the number of trees its Darkwoods Carbon Project had saved. We’ve been shining the bright light of transparency on its findings, and none of them look as good in the sun as they did in the dark.

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Canadian Carbon Audit Report Delayed Amid Charges Of Bias And Overreach

The Speaker of British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly on Tuesday delayed the release of a "performance audit" on the province’s Carbon-Neutral Government program after letters were leaked showing widespread anger over the way the audit was being conducted. Here’s a look at the audit, the actors, and the issues.

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In Our World:
Food, Water And Mining

The International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) has collected key environmental news stories that include Brazil’s rejection of gold mining at an Amazon dam site while farmers in India are producing record amounts of rice without herbicide and GM seeds as well as reports on sea-level rise and pollution related disease increases, in their latest post. 

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In Our World: A Global
Wrap Of Economy And Ecology

Mainstream news and science publications have been digging deeper and deeper into concepts central to environmental finance, and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) recently began identifying some of the best coverage in this sphere. Here’s the first of these installments.

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Low-Flying Eyes In The Green, Green Sky

Remote sensing is a critical but expensive tool for verifying and validating the impact of land-use improvement projects, especially when using airplanes and other low-flying machines. Environmental consultant Steve Apfelbaum, however, says he’s found a way to deliver cost-effective surveillance using 1970s technology.

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Remote Sensing: A Primer

Nearly all types of environmental finance – whether mitigation banking, payments for watershed services, or REDD – involve some form of remote sensing. But this catch-all phrase encompasses scores of practices using radar, lidar, and infrared technology from satellites, airplanes, and blimps. Here’s how they all fit together.

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How Two Different Studies
Found Consensus On Emissions
From Tropical Deforestation

When researchers from two separate institutions measured carbon emissions from deforestation using different techniques, they came to the same number: 3.0 gigatons per year from 2000 through 2005.  This could help end a long-standing debate and give policymakers the clear benchmark they need for establishing future targets.

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REDD+ And The Future Of
Climate-Safe Agriculture

REDD+ emerged from the Doha climate talks well ahead of overall negotiations, despite disagreement over how to verify and validate emission-reductions. Indeed, REDD and LULUCF appear to be evolving into a larger mechanism that incorporates climate-safe agriculture as well, according to REDD-plus facilitator Tony La Viña, who co-authored this analysis on the eve of the Doha conference.

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Watershed Payments Topped
$8.17 Billion In 2011

Today marks the release of Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of Watershed Payments 2012 report and with it some significant findings that include China leading the world in watershed investments and a US $2 billion increase on the protection of watersheds as a method to ensure safe water supplies as well as the number of water initiatives has doubled since 2008.

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Soil Carbon Lands Market Opportunities
Through New Offset Methodology

The Verified Carbon Standard recently approved The Earth Partners’ soil carbon methodology for use on agricultural offset projects. The methodology, while new to the carbon markets, is grounded on decades’ worth of USDA science – with the capacity to cover most ecosystems and land types. The science is there. The challenge, as always, is scaling up.

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Should Israel Embrace Biodiversity Financing Programs?

Israel’s biodiversity is under threat from a list of sources that include urbanization, water scarcity and habitat loss. To beat this threat, a group of scientists, government officials, market experts and others are examining biodiversity financing programs from around the world to implement in Israel that will improve conservation.

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Valuing the Arc: Five-Year Experiment Draws to a Close

The downward flow of water from the Eastern Arc Mountains of Africa generates up to half of Tanzania’s power and provides much of Dar es Salaam’s drinking water. As agriculture moves up the slopes, however, it destroys the natural ecosystems that support the ancient catchments.  A five-year effort to value those ecosystem services wraps up this month.

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Canadians Explore REDD Potential for Indigenous Groups

Indigenous groups around the world stand to benefit from emerging carbon markets, but only if they have clear legal rights to carbon income and know how to harness those rights.  Two new studies highlight both the potential for gain and the lack of knowledge about how to take advantage of it.  The focus is Canada, but the lessons are universal.

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First-Ever African Soil-Carbon Deal Signed at Hague Investment Fair

Small-holder farmers in Kenya are changing their farming practices and earning carbon credits. This is a result of the first soil carbon project approved in Africa, which seeks to improve food security, help address climate change, and improve the lives and livelihoods of rural dwellers who today live in poverty.

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Climate Change to Slash Carbon Capacity of Forests: Study

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the ability of forests to extract carbon from the atmosphere is key to combating climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). A new study, however, says that just a slight increase in global temperatures could damage this ability.

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Seeing the Forest for the Carbon From Space

Brazil may lead the world in deforestation, but it’s also a leader in using technology to try and reverse the process. The next step is measuring the amount of carbon captured in trees and making sure it stays there. Ecosystem Marketplace examines the latest developments.

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Guaraqueaba: Where the Buffalo Roamed

If efforts to save the tropical rainforests by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) ever yield large-scale results, it will be in part because of demonstration projects like those in Brazil’s Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area. Ecosystem Marketplace takes stock of three projects launched over the past decade by two NGOs and three corporate donors in the GEPA.

Fifth in a series leading up to the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Mato Grasso, Brazil.

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Rio’s Atlantic Forest Fund: Spreading the Environmental Wealth

The Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO) is testing a new approach to disbursing funds collected under Brazil’s Environmental Compensation Law. Dubbed the "Atlantic Forest Fund", it’s is designed to create a massive pool of liquidity for all forms of environmental finance impacting protected areas in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

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Oregon Experiments with Mixed Credits

California and Oregon have long been friendly environmental policy rivals. California has set environmental standards in many areas, particularly air quality. Oregon wrote the first bottle bill, the first state land-use law, and the first state climate-change law. But on the species banking front, California dominates, 94 to 2. An innovative new multi-credit system being pioneered in the Willamette Valley could change the game.

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Picking up the REDD Tab

Brazil is at the forefront of a debate between those advocating the use of the carbon markets to save tropical rainforests, and others insisting that national and international funds should do the work. Ecosystem Marketplace looks south to find where the two camps are finding common ground. Second in a series leading up to the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Mato Grasso, Brazil.

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Wanted: Forest Carbon Projects for ForestCarbonPortal.com

Forestry advocates believe that halting the destruction of tropical rainforests is one of the easiest and most effective ways to slow global warming, and that’s led to a surge in development of projects designed to capture carbon in leaves, stalks, and bogs, but no centralized information hub for keeping track of all the activity – until now. Introducing: ForestCarbonPortal.com.

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New US Federal Office Puts Ecosystem Markets at Forefront of Resource Management

Ecosystem Marketplace has long envisioned a world in which farmers and ranchers are paid to save natural ecosystems that filter water, sequester carbon, and preserve wildlife – in addition to growing corn and hay. Now the US Department of Agriculture has taken a giant step towards realizing that vision as part of a massive realignment of the management of natural resources.

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SpeciesBanking.com: For All Your Species Needs!

Real estate developers use species banks to offset their damage to nature by paying for newly-protected habitat. It’s the ultimate "green" industry, and one worth nearly $400 million per year – despite the lack of a centralized information hub. The Ecosystem Marketplace hopes to bring the field into the 21st Century with SpeciesBanking.com.

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Talking Trees in Poznan: The Shape of Forests to Come

A slew of new tools, methodologies, and reports designed to support the markets for forest carbon were unveiled on Forest Day at the 14th UN Carbon Conference in Poznan – including initiatives from Avoided Deforestation Partners, the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance, and the Ecosystem Marketplace.