News & Articles: Geographic Latin America

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Forest Footprint aims to Reward Companies that Save Trees

The Carbon Disclosure Project has arguably reduced greenhouse gas emissions by creating an incentive for companies to examine and disclose their carbon footprints – an act that often leads them to realize how easy and economical reductions can be. Can the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project do the same for deforestation?


Through Almir’s Eyes:
A Day In The Life Of A REDD Pioneer

In an effort to support their groundbreaking REDD project, the Amazonian Paiter-Surui People have been patrolling their forest in search of illegal loggers.  Last week, Chief Almir Surui and a small band of his fellow tribesmen received a tip about illegal logging on the territory.  Rachael Petersen accompanied them on the expedition and filed this report.


How Costa Rica and Chile are Leveraging Independent Carbon Standards to Get Ready for REDD

The United Nations and World Bank are spearheading efforts to help developing countries get ready for REDD, but many countries across Latin America are tapping a combination of World Bank donors and independent carbon standards to make sure they’re ready for REDD when it arrives. Costa Rica and Chile are among the most advanced. Here’s a look. 


Carbon Finance Unit Of The World
Bank Sees Initiatives Move Forward

The World Bank received good news recently with several of its climate initiatives moving into new phases starting with the first PoA in China to issue CERs along with 3,000 hectares of a valuable watershed reforested. Meanwhile, Costa Rica becomes the first country to access performance based payments through the Carbon Fund and developed nations funnel more funds toward the FCPF. 


Offset Providers Ink Deal over Landmark Forest Conservation Project In Acre, Brazil

Regional governments like Brazil’s Acre state are tweaking tools to monetize the climate benefits of statewide forest conservation – through actions that could one day subsume smaller, private forestry projects. Meanwhile on the ground, two carbon offset providers announced today a deal to support Acre’s first private project – planting a guidepost for the state as it re-imagines forest finance.       


Big REDD Week For Two Brazilian States

The Brazilian state of Mato Grosso this week enacted the law implementing its State System of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +), while the state of Acre was awarded $25 million for REDD+, partly in recognition of its two-year-old ecosystem services regime.

Indigenous Leader to NGOs:
No One Speaks For Us Or Thinks For Us

While a small contingent of indigenous leaders and NGOs were campaigning against REDD in California this week, many more were at a pan-Amazon meeting in Acre, Brazil focused on the impact of climate-change on indigenous people. Tashka Yawanawa is one of them, and sent this open letter from Brazil.


Colombia Mega Dam Will Destroy
Habitat for Threatened Birds

A recently discovered species of wren is under threat along with the endangered Military Macaw from the construction of what is expected to be Colombia’s largest power station. Bird conservationists voice their concern by offering a possible solution to prevent the dam from destroying the birds’ habitat as well as reminding Colombia’s government of the birds’ value to the local economy.


If Brazil Guts its Forest Code,
Will it Kill the Rural Economy?

If signed into law by President Dilma, Brazil’s newly-amended forest code will give farmers the right to chop down more trees than they’ve had at any time in the last 50 years.  That might, however, not bring the economic boom many are hoping for, as evidence suggests short-term economic gains will give way to long-term degradation and poverty.


20 Million Green Votes in Play on Eve of Brazilian Presidential Election

Marina Silva won’t be on the ballot when Brazil chooses its new president this weekend, but the 20 million people who voted for her are still out there, and the two remaining pro-industry candidates are scrambling to show their green cred.  Regardless of what happens on Sunday, this new Green constituency has changed the face of Brazilian politics forever.


Peruvians Hope Nested Approach Today Will Halt Deforestation Tomorrow

Peru needs at least a year to formulate its strategy for conserving forests in the fight against climate change, but a major highway project is set to slice into the heart of the country’s share of the Amazon today.  Private companies and environmental groups have responded with an accounting scheme designed to get carbon money flowing to protection long before a national scheme is in place.


Setting up Nest: Acre, Brazil, and the Future of REDD

Rainforest nations want to earn carbon credits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), but to do so they have to prove that forest destruction halted in one part of the country doesn’t just move to another part. The Brazilian state of Acre is experimenting with a “nested approach” that links individual projects with the state’s evolving strategy.


New Voluntary Carbon Platform Rooted In Colombian Forests

A consortium of Colombian banks and NGOs hopes to harness the power of REDD for a more broad-based ecosystem marketplace.  Like emerging market exchanges around the world, this one comes with its own education campaign – and it starts with trees. First in a series examining the emerging-market exchanges of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.


Indigenous Leaders Taking REDD Into Their Own Hands

Less than 2% of Brazil’s indigenous tribes have undertaken projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), but more than 40 indigenous leaders are now getting ready to change that.  In the process, they’re turning “free prior and informed consent” into more than just a vague concept – and perhaps providing a model for the rest of the world.


Payments for Ecosystem Services: Scaling Up and Down

More and more people are trying to save nature by making sure our economy recognizes the value of the carbon she holds, the water she filters, and the other economic services she provides For the schemes they build to work, however, they need to know when to go big and when to go small That will be a central theme of the upcoming Katoomba Meeting in Vietnam, as it already has been in Latin America.


EM Podcast: Planting Empowerment (and Spreading the Wealth)

Project developer Planting Empowerment earns carbon credits by leasing – rather than buying – degraded forest so that local owners can share more fully in the benefits of restoration.  Maria Bendana speaks with co-founder Chris Meyer about the future of REDD, the challenges of small-scale restoration, and the benefits of leaving forests in local hands.


Brazilian Tribe Solidifies Claim on Carbon

Indigenous people around the world hope to earn carbon credits by preserving rainforests and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).  For that to happen, however, they have to prove they own the rights to carbon credits from trees they save and manage.  Brazil’s Suruí tribe appears to have just done that, making it easier for other tribes to do the same.


Green Resources Is First to Achieve Validation for Tree-Planting under VCS

Norwegian forestry and carbon offset group Green Resources last week became the first carbon offset project developer to register a reforestation project under the Voluntary Carbon Standard’s guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use. This week, a second project was also verified – and plenty of others are sure to follow.


Andrew Mitchell: Forest Utility Meter Man

Andrew Mitchell’s Global Canopy Programme has helped people around the world understand the role that rainforests play in regulating the environment and promoting rainfall well beyond their boundaries.  Now he’s trying to see beyond carbon and REDD by promoting a concept he calls "Proactive Investment in Natural Capital" (PINC).


John Reid: Teaching Ecologists the Economics of Nature

Conservationists can protect nature by demonstrating the value of ecosystem services and showing which development projects deliver the most benefits at the lowest environmental cost.  John Reid’s Conservation Strategy Fund is equipping environmentalists around the world with the requisite economics know-how and showing them how to communicate findings to decision-makers.


Yasuni’s Means Won’t Achieve its Ends

The government of Ecuador has offered to avoid drilling for oil in the biodiversity-rich Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) concession of its Yasuni National Park in exchange for a carbon payment equal to just half the income the country would earn if it fired up the drills. Practitioners say it’s an intriguing idea – but one that misses the mark.


Methodologies Tame Forest Carbon Jungle

As forests convert carbon dioxide in the air to carbon stored in woods, leaves and roots, a range of organizations are, in turn, working to convert forests into carbon offsets. The ‘exchange rate’ of this conversion — or the amount of value brought by intervention — is determined by specific standards’ methodologies, which are technical, but critical, tools shaping the rules of the game.


UN Aims to Streamline Cost of Developing Forestry Offset Projects

It’s expensive to develop carbon offset projects that reduce emissions by capturing carbon in trees, and one reason is that every project has to develop its own methodologies for measuring results. The UNFCCC is asking for help in streamlining that process.


EM Cheat Sheet: The Additionality Debate

If you want to sell carbon offsets in exchange for action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, you first have to prove that the money you’re earning is what makes the action you’re taking possible. That, in a nutshell, is "additionality" – a simple concept, but one that’s proving difficult to put into practice.


EKO-ECO: the Ecosystem Services Blog

When Ecosystem Marketplace launched in 2005, the idea of preserving nature by incorporating its value into our economic system was mostly an academic exercise. Today, it’s the cornerstone of a fast-moving and innovative branch of finance. To keep our readers up-to-speed on the latest developments, EM and EKO Asset Management Partners have launched the EKO-ECO blog.


Bonn Talks Open with REDD Agenda

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the UN bodies charged with mapping out the role of forestry offsets in a post-Kyoto climate-change regime are meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week and next to continue the process of hammering out their differences. The groups will meet at least three more times before gathering in Copenhagen at the end of the year.


Cows, Cars, and Politics: Environmental Finance in Brazil

With just over a half-year to go before a new global climate-change accord is slated to be reached in Copenhagen, advocates of forestry offsets are keeping a close eye on Brazil. Environmental Economist Carlos Eduardo Young of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro knows that turf better than most. EM Audio caught up to him on the fringes of Katoomba XIV in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.


Water Trading: Costa Ricans Keep It Simple

New York City and the Costa Rican Paradise of Heredia each embarked on pioneering efforts to harvest the power of markets to protect their water supplies. While much has been made of New York City and its solution, few have heard of Heredia – much less how it handles its water. Yet the Costa Rican example offers a case study of what payments for ecosystem services can achieve in developing nations.


Brazilian States Seek Direct Access To International Climate Finance

Farmers, indigenous tribes, and environmental NGOs across Brazil say they need direct payments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) if they are going to help halt climate change, but the federal government remains opposed. Can a new declaration of consensus promote change at the top?


REDD Turns Amber in Bonn and Brazil

UN negotiators meeting in Bonn, Germany, made progress on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), while delegates to the Katoomba Meeting in Cuiabá, Brazil, broadly endorsed the use of REDD financing to save the Amazon Rainforest. Ecosystem Marketplace examines the best coverage of both proceedings.


Historic Agreement at Katoomba Meeting

Governors from the Brazilian, Peruvian, and Bolivian states across which the Amazon Rainforest spreads participated in an unprecedented panel discussion in Mato Grasso at the 14th Katoomba Meeting there, and were told by Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc that schemes promoting payments for ecosystem services are the Rainforest’s best hope survival.


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.


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.


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.


A Brief Tour of Brazilian Payments for Ecosystem Services

Brazil is home to more than four million plant and animal species – and, it seems, nearly as many laws and mechanisms for preserving the environment. That’s one reason the next Katoomba Meeting is taking place in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. Leading up to that event, Ecosystem Marketplace is examining Payments for Ecosystem Services in Latin America.


Zapalinam: Connecting Cities and Watersheds in Mexico

The people of Saltillo, Mexico, voluntarily pay to support the watershed of the surrounding mountains – and with it, their own drinking water. Ecoystem Marketplace examines this innovative Payments for Watershed Services (PWS) scheme. Third in a series leading up to the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Mato Grasso, Brazil.


How to Save the Amazon Rainforest

Everyone agrees the tropical rainforests are worth more alive than dead, but our economic and political systems still fail to reflect that, with devastating results. Earlier this month, Rhett Butler of took stock of the emerging market mechanisms for protecting the world’s largest rainforests. His findings are reproduced in Ecosystem Marketplace.


Social Carbon Joins the Party

Brazilian NGO Ecológica has been promoting the social benefits of carbon projects since long before "non-carbon" attributes became fashionable. Now, with voluntary carbon offset projects being judged (and priced) as much for their impact on local communities as for their impact on carbon emissions, they’re taking their methodology global by teaming up with international market players and joining the gaggle of standards with links to registries.


The Matrix: Mapping Ecosystem Service Markets

The once-radical concept of saving the environment by documenting the economic value of environmental services and then getting industry to pay is finally catching on – but how is one to keep track of all the new methodologies and concepts? The Ecosystem Marketplace presents The Matrix, a new tool for surveying the ecosystem services landscape.


Payments for Ecosystem Services: Download the Primer

Payments for Ecosystem Services encourage entities that benefit from ecosystem services to pay for maintaining those ecosystems – but how? At the Biodiversity Conference (COP 9) in Bonn, Germany, Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have jointly unveiled a nuts-and-bolts primer designed to answer that question.


Water Trading: The Basics

Water trading has been hailed as the "next carbon", and schemes for valuing and trading both water usage and water "inputs" are proliferating across North and South America, Asia, and Africa. The Ecosystem Marketplace reviews the fundamentals of this promising ecosystem market.


Biodiversity Banking: A Primer

Mitigation Banking makes it possible for real estate developers to turn biodiversity into an asset instead of a liability – which ultimately makes it possible to preserve that biodiversity across the United States. But how do such mechanisms work? And what challenges do they face? The Worldwatch Institute’s 2008 State of the World Report tackles these and other issues – excerpted here in Ecosystem Marketplace.


Analysis: Why saving the world’s rainforests is good for the climate and the US economy

The 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 13) is more than a month behind us, but plenty of debate lies ahead as advocates and opponents of using forestry to combat climate change air their opinions in the lead up to COP 14 later this year in Poland and COP 15 next year in Denmark. Jeff Horowitz and Robert O’Sullivan of Avoided Deforestation Partners take stock of the Bali Roadmap and what it means for avoided deforestation.


Mbaracay: Lessons in Avoiding Deforestation

Nearly two decades ago, a small Paraguayan NGO teamed up with a global environmental NGO and a mid-sized American energy provider to save a chunk of rainforest from the sawmills by offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. The Ecosystem Marketplace revisits one of the world’s first carbon offset projects: the Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve. Second in a three-part series.

Bovespa Incorporates Environmental Projects in Exchange

Bovespa president, Raymundo Magliano Filho, announced on 03/07, at a Bovespa event attended by Achim Steiner, executive director of the Programa das Naµes Unidas para o Meio Ambiente (PNUMA – United Nations’ Environment Program), that, as of April, Bolsa de Valores Sociais (BVS – Social Values Exchange) will enhance its performance to also include environmental projects as well. Accordingly, BVS will be renamed Bolsa de Valores Sociais & Ambientais (BVS&A – Social & Environmental Values Exchange). Founded in 2003 and maintained by Bovespa, BVS has raised funds for educational projects undertaken by Brazilian NGOs.


Scolel Puts a Human Face on Carbon Finance

As the world begins to pay more attention to the voluntary carbon market, The Ecosystem Marketplace spotlights a pioneering project in Southern Mexico that has been using a sustainable development model to produce—and sell—carbon offsets for over ten years.


Horses for Courses

Despite its considerable advantages, Mexico has been slower than other Latin American countries to sign purchase agreements for carbon via the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In March, however, Mexico signed its first emission reductions purchase agreement. At the same time, a local NGO recently sold forestry carbon credits into the voluntary carbon market. The Ecosystem Marketplace looks at what these two deals might tell us about Mexico, the CDM, and the implications of carbon markets for communities in developing countries.