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Soil Carbon in Africa: Potentials and Pitfalls

Imagine a world where African farmers raise their standard of living by shifting towards sustainable agriculture that mitigates climate change – while cashing in on this shift via ecosystem service payments. If you can’t imagine it, drop in on the real deal: in the Kiambu District of Central Kenya, where a groundbreaking pilot project is testing new financing mechanisms that capture carbon in soil.

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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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This Week In Forest Carbon: Blue Carbon Floats To Attention

Over the last five years, coalitions such as The Blue Carbon Initiative, which aims to develop financial incentives and policy mechanisms for restoring and conserving blue carbon ecosystems, have emerged rapidly. The group released a manual for measuring blue carbon stocks last month and hopes that the guide will be used in emerging carbon methodologies, as well as IPCC accounting.

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The Ecosystem That Is Disappearing Faster Than Any Other on Earth

The third installment in our Crowdrise series looks closely at the ecosystem of mangroves. These salt-adapted trees lining our coasts are often overlooked despite their economic, social and ecological importance. Forest Trends is one of several organizations worldwide that has taken notice of the mangrove’s plight initiating a data-collection project to help prevent further damage.

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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.

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Zombies, Aliens, And The IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered another clear, concise, and science-based analysis of the climate challenge this weekend. Chock-full of dire warnings and hopeful solutions, it reminds us again that we can fix this mess, even as evidence mounts that we won’t.

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Staring Down the California Drought: Looking at Solutions to Our Water Crisis

Natural infrastructure and watershed investments could serve as valuable solutions to the ongoing droughts happening in California and elsewhere. The latest article in our Crowdrise series looks at nature-based solutions to the global water crisis drawing on findings from the State of Watershed Investments 2014 report.

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Bunge Jumps into Deforestation-Free Palm Oil with a Splash

On Monday, the global agribusiness and food production company Bunge released a commitment to source deforestation-free and peat-free palm oil. The commitment, while not perfect, represents progress in pursuit of palm oil that does not contribute to deforestation.

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COP 12 Indicates More Funds, Capacity Building Needed For Biodiversity

Resource mobilization was a key issue in last week’s biodiversity talks as the Convention on Biological Diversity estimated much more finance needs to flow to biodiversity conservation in order to achieve the Aichi Targets. Here, Maggie Comstock of Conservation International provides an analysis and overview of COP 12.

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Governments Vow To Double Biodiversity Finance And Expand Protection Of Oceans

lobal biodiversity talks have wrapped up in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with a pledge to double financial flows to biodiversity protection by 2015 and to expand coverage of the world’s oceans. Cities and sub-national governments also expressed growing support for global biodiversity protection measures.

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China’s Grand Carbon Trading Experiment Experiences Highs And Lows

China’s pilot carbon trading markets will likely serve as the basis for a planned national emissions trading system that will become by far the largest in the world. But these experiments have experienced challenges, including ensuring that regulated companies actually comply with the regulations, and key lessons learned from their operation to date should be applied to ensure a national program successfully addresses China’s rising carbon problem.

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2007: The Year Indonesia Went REDD (Sort Of)

Indonesia’s federal government has embarked on the most ambitious REDD program of any major forested nation, but it’s not easy to implement such a program in a land of a thousand islands spread across two million square kilometers. Here’s a look back on the early days of REDD in Indonesia and around the world

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This Week In Forest Carbon: A Blast From The Past

Indonesia’s federal government has embarked on the most ambitious REDD program of any major forested nation, but it’s not easy to implement such a program in a land of a thousand islands spread across two million square kilometers. Ecosystem Marketplace’s fifth installment of the REDD in Indonesia series takes a look at the early days of REDD, back in 2007.

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We Killed Off Half of Animal Life in Four Decades. Now What?

The future of the proposed rule clarifying jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act is still unclear as its public comment period is once again extended. Meanwhile, a World Wildlife Fund study sadly finds humans are responsible for half of wildlife loss in the last 40 years and the world is far from reaching the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020.

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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

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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.

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Ghost Of Milton Friedman Materializes In Chicago, Endorses A Price On Carbon

Climate scientists agree that we’re changing the climate in dangerous ways, and economists say we can slow the mess with a price on carbon. Last week, the University of Chicago resurrected its most famous economist to find out what he’d do, and the result is a fascinating, informative, and even entertaining dialectic on the economics of pollution and the art of communicating with ideologues

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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.

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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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

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Amazon Leader Tashka Yawanaw¡ to Highlight Indigenous Issues At TED Talks

6 October 2014 | As a boy, Tashka Yawanaw¡ watched as the culture of his people was nearly wiped out by outsiders. Now, he is the chief of those people, the Yawanaw¡, of the Acre region of Brazil, and Tuesday he will be a speaker at one of the largest conferences in the world, TEDGlobal 2014. […]

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With Lima Talks Over, Attention Shifts To Country Initiatives

The Lima Climate Talks wrapped up early Sunday morning with a bare-bones agreement on what constitutes a valid Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution (INDC) and a roadmap to year-end talks in 2015 that will begin with bottom-up proposals from countries and hopefully end with a convergence in Paris. With so little detail on INDCs, countries will have to step up individually by March.

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TNC and CH2M Hill Bring Green Infrastructure to a City Near You

The private sector doubled their investment in watershed health during 2013 to $41 million, according to findings from the State of Watershed Investments 2014 Executive Summary-out this month. In other news, the Water Benefit Standard launched at World Water Week and the first ever transaction of Stormwater Retention Credits occurred in Washington D.C.

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Role Of Carbon Markets Still Evolving In Run-Up To Peru Climate Talks

Less than three months ahead of the next round of international climate negotiations, it is still unclear what the potential role of the carbon markets is going to look like in a future agreement or even if carbon markets will be mentioned in the document. But if there is a role for markets, it will be built on the individual climate plans the countries bring to the table.

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DDOE Approves Trade For First Of Its Kind Stormwater Retention Credit Trading Program

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.

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Global Leaders Pledge $1 Billion To End Deforestation By 2030

A coalition of government, business, civil society and indigenous leaders have joined forces for a historic pledge to end deforestation by 2030. But it’s not just an empty promise as the parties have committed a total of $1 billion to get this ambitious effort off the ground.

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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: Did The Endangered Species Act Just Get Gutted?

In Australia, New South Wales’ biodiversity offset policy receives a mixed bag of feedback. Conservationists in the US are unhappy with an interpretation of a phrase within the US Endangered Species Act and organizers of next year’s annual National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference are accepting presentation submissions.

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Fifteen Years Of Warnings Were Ignored Before Recent Ash¡ninka Assassinations

Last week’s assassination of Peruvian indigenous leader Edwin Chota and three other indigenous leaders took much of the world by surprise, but Ash¡ninka leaders and human rights campaigners active along the Peru/Brazil border had been warning of the danger that illegal loggers posed since 1999.

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Water Benefit Standard Launches at World Water Week

The Gold Standard Foundation’s Water Benefit Standard launches today at World Water Week. The Standard, initiated through an innovative public private partnership, uses the results-based finance approach from the carbon world to generate long-term funding for water projects that also deliver socio-economic benefits.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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This Week In Forest Carbon News…

Ecosystem Marketplace’s carbon team is in the final stages of data collection for the upcoming forest carbon markets report. Meanwhile, a local Colombian community attempts to use the REDD mechanism (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) to preserve its rainforest.