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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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Your Donut Is Killing Our Forests, Here’s How To Make It Stop

We all consume palm oil every day – in our soaps, our snacks, and our gas tanks – and much of it comes at the expense of peat forests, which means we’re pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. A new consumer scorecard can help you stop it. Here’s how. 

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Clean Cooking Loan Fund Wants To Loan You Money, But You Must Apply By May 1

Clean cookstoves save lives and forests. They’re also increasingly being paid for by carbon finance, but carbon projects with their own up-front costs. Now the Clean Cooking Loan Fund wants to lower the barrier to entry by financing the certification costs of cookstove projects using carbon finance. The deadline is May 1. Here’s who qualifies and how to apply.

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Brazil Sees Promise, But Need For New Funding Source For REDD

Cosmetics giant Natura and a few other forward-thinking companies in Brazil have taken the leap into the voluntary carbon market to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, but the number and size of transactions is still small. There is plenty of room for more voluntary transactions in Brazil, experts say, particularly if a finance mechanism currently being developed can sustain REDD initiatives until a new international climate agreement takes hold in 2020.

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This Week In Water: Nature And The Nexus

Ecosystem Marketplace is gearing up for the 2014 State of Watershed Payments report. The report will cover the water energy food nexus and watershed investments among other topics. Meanwhile, EM is also preparing for Katoomba XX in Lima Peru where discussions will focus on aligning climate policy with other commitments that support resilient ecosystems and societies.

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REDD Bonds For Brazil And The World

REDD finance is one of many pay-for-performance mechanisms designed to jump-start climate-safe agriculture across the developing world, but it’s emerging slowly and uncertainly. REDD+ Bonds, however, can help states and other sub-national jurisdictions harness tomorrow’s funding today. Here’s how.

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This Week In Forest Carbon News…

The Donuts, Deodorant, Deforestation scorecard is letting consumers know which products are leading to peat forest destruction, and companies are taking note, with Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondolez, Nestlé, and Unilever as well as major suppliers Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar making commitments to source deforestation-free palm oil.

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Event Marks World’s First Interstate Water Quality Trading Project

The Ohio River Basin Trading Project is the world’s only interstate water quality trading program and on  March 11, the Electric Power Research Institute, which created the initiative, will host an event to showcase the project’s first water nutrient credits. 

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UK’s Woodland Carbon Code Hangs “For Sale” Sign For Future Offsets

Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2013 report tracked a miniscule number of forestry offsets transacted under the UK’s Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) program in 2012. That could change now that the WCC has started listing future offsets available for sale on the Markit Registry.

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Althelia Climate Fund Dives Headfirst Into Kenya Project With Wildlife Works

The Althelia Climate Fund last month made its long-awaited first investment in REDD+: a $10 million commitment to support REDD+ in Kenya’s Taita Hills, adjacent to the historic Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. Mike Korchinsky, CEO and founder of project developer Wildlife Works, tells Gloria Gonzalez how the deal came together and how this project differs from its previous efforts.

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Palm Oil: From Plantation To Peanut Butter

Palm oil is found in hundreds of products but it’s virtually unheard of by the average consumer despite its production destroying huge swaths of forest in tropical places like Indonesia and Malaysia. But the Union of Concerned Scientists is trying to help change that by promoting awareness as a key step in achieving deforestation-free palm oil development.    

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This Week In V-Carbon: Driving Down New Paths

Automaker Chevrolet’s announcement about a new carbon offset program aimed at US colleges and universities capped off a particularly busy week. The Verified Carbon Standard launched a new tool for estimating leakage in reduced emissions from REDD+ programs and the California Air Resources Board reaffirmed its commitment to considering international sector-based offsets such as REDD.

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Should Governments Buy Carbon Offsets To Bail Out Conservation Projects?

REDD+ projects are progressing even as uncertainty surrounds how this transition to later phases will be financed. ForestsClimateChange, an information hub on global climate issues, asks a group of individuals working within the forestry realm who should step up. Here is an introduction to the debate.

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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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Singapore Taps Voluntary Carbon Market With Energy-Efficient Projects

High-tech Singapore has been slow to embrace the voluntary carbon markets, but two in-country projects just sold carbon credits to fund massive upgrades to green LED lightbulbs and improved cooling systems. Ecoinvest Services, the offset retailer, is now looking for interested buyers. 

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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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Let’s Take Impact
Investing To The Masses

Impact investing is already driving social change in small ways, but it has the potential to completely change the way we address societal challenges. Here’s how we can tap existing financial products and services to scale up in a meaningful way.

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This Week In Water: Companies Manage Risk At Its Source

Ecosystem Marketplace’s briefing for the business community on water risk, published this month, provides the sector with nature-based solutions to their water challenges while citing companies that have already met with success using this approach. Preparations are underway for two upcoming Katoomba events-one in Brazil in March and the other in Peru in April. 

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What Stories Will Impact
People And The Planet In 2014?

The coming year could be a good one for the environment, with China cleaning its air, palm olil moving towards sustainability, and the world at large finally starting to get a handle on climate change. These are some of the more optimistic projections from the World Resources Institute (WRI) as it identifies what it believes will be the top stories of 2014.

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New Paper Offers Guidance On Wetland Mitigation Banking Risks

Wetland mitigation banking is a growing industry in the US but its complexities run deep and as of right now, it lacks a proper analysis evaluating the risk facing both bankers and regulators.  But two industry analysts are making progress with a paper offering guidance on market risks. Here is a brief summary of the 22 risks the authors discuss. 

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Companies Understand Climate Risk, But Regulatory Uncertainty Is Stifling Action

Most companies around the world understand that climate change poses a serious risk to their operations, but they say a lack of regulatory direction is preventing them from taking action. Meanwhile, few of them really know how much deforestation they have in their supply chains, according to the Climate Disclosure Project.

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This Week In Biodiversity: Sorting Out Federal Policy On Mitigation

The Department of Interior seeks a department-wide strategy to mitigation while the conservation banking industry argues over a controversial plan that includes a special 4(d) rule for lesser prairie chicken conservation.  Also, Ecosystem Marketplace released a briefing offering guidance to the private sector on nature-based investments. 

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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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This Week In Forest Carbon…

We take a look back at the forest carbon highlights in 2013, a year of supply-side success and demand-side growing pains. In this newsletter, our expert readers offer their predictions for the New Year, including continued momentum on landscape approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the prominence of forestry in the upcoming international climate negotiations in Lima.

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Macmillan: Low-Carbon Courage

Publisher Macmillan isn’t looking for a pat on the back for their sustainability efforts; with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 65% by 2019, they’re after more “courageous action” on climate change. Purchasing high-quality offsets fits carefully into the picture, and the company looks for “symmetry,” investing in projects near their supply chain.

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The Threat Beyond The Factory Walls: What Businesses Are Missing About Water Risk

Less than 5% of all companies have acted on the impact that landscape-level water disruptions can have on their bottom line. The few companies that have, however, are developing solutions that can be used to head off water shortages around the world. A new Ecosystem Marketplace report examines what works, what doesn’t, and why.

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The Most Important Climate Change Question: How Will Investors React?

While the ideas of green infrastructure and sustainability are becoming more prominent, there is little talk of how the hedge fund space will affect efforts to transition to a clean environment. Here, Thomas H. Stoner Jr. and Peter Backlund of the Butterfly Project, a collaborative organization aimed at decarbonizing economies, discuss the possible impacts of hedge fund trading activities.   

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2013: The Year In Biodiversity And Wetlands

The year is winding down and the top stories of 2013 in biodiversity and wetlands may be the biggest headlines of 2014 as many of them remain unresolved. The lawsuits in Louisiana over their coastal wetlands are ongoing as is the decision over how best to conserve the dwindling prairie chicken.  Here’s a look back.      

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2013: The Year In Biodiversity And Wetlands

The year is winding down and the top stories of 2013 in biodiversity and wetlands may be the biggest headlines of 2014 as many of them remain unresolved. The lawsuits in Louisiana over their coastal wetlands are ongoing, as is the decision over how best to conserve the dwindling prairie chicken.  Here’s a look back.      

2013: The Year In Voluntary Carbon

Major corporations continue to support voluntary carbon offset projects – especially those with good stories behind them – and 2013 ended with the encouraging news that dozens of companies are establishing an internal carbon price for use in their business planning. But will that be enough to prevent the current projects from backsliding?

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Deutsche Post DHL: Neutral If You Choose

Deutsche Post DHL is a major player in the logistics industry which means it’s also a big contributor to global carbon emissions. To account for its environmental impact, the business has initiated an emissions reductions program based on carbon offsets and efficiency that will cover the company’s large indirect sources of emissions.    

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Pricing Carbon Not Just A Fad, Says CDP

Establishing an internal carbon price is becoming standard operating practice, with 29 of the top global corporations disclosing a price on carbon pollution in the latest reports to the CDP. If more companies actually want to implement an internal carbon fee, technology giant Microsoft has some sound advice on exactly how to do it.

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Interface: Making Carpets Cool

When modular carpet maker Interface decided to make a carpet that was carbon-neutral, they wanted to cover the whole lifecycle of the product – including the years people spent vacuuming it. To do that, they became an early user of carbon offsets, and today they’re one of the biggest. Here’s their story.

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Can Conservation Banking Save The Prairie Chicken?

Its habitat fragmented and shrinking, the Lesser Prairie Chicken has seen its numbers plunge from more than 34,000 at the beginning of last year to less than 18,000 in August. Here’s how a massive mitigation banking effort aims to save the bird by preserving and re-creating large swaths of contiguous prairie to achieve a sustainable, landscape level outcome for the species. 

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Why Is Amazon Deforestation Climbing?

The rise in deforestation in the Amazon over the past year threatens to reverse progress made in the region that has been the largest single contribution to curbing climate change. The news and information source, Mongabay, offers some solutions saying the recent increase has to do with a lack of incentives flowing to farmers.   

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Green for Green: The Buyers That Stand Behind Forest Carbon

Carbon finance is helping conserve an area larger than all the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but all that progress could disappear if no one steps up to buy the offsets being generated.  In this series, Ecosystem Marketplace digs into the demand side of forest carbon. Who are the buyers? What motivates them? How do they go about investing in forests?

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This Week In Water: Business Overlooking Supply Chain, Watershed Risk

The Carbon Disclosure Project’s Global Water Report 2013 reports more disclosure from companies than ever but also warns businesses are still not accounting for risks at the watershed level.  Meanwhile the Ecosystem Marketplace water team is putting together a briefing for business on watershed investments.

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US, UK, Norway Launch Next-Stage REDD Finance Mechanism Under World Bank

Norway, the US, and the UK on Wednesday said they would direct $280 million of their funding for REDD+ into jurisdictional efforts designed to ensure that results-based money flows to projects that promote sustainable agriculture – and in a way that encourages the involvement of major corporates.

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Dutch Platform Turns Landscapes Talk Into REDD Reality

The REDD theme in Warsaw this week was “landscapes” – paying not only to save forests, but to do so by protecting biodiversity and supporting communities. That’s where private conservation finance has been heading for years, and now a coalition of Netherlands-based corporates and the Dutch government has launched an initiative that makes it explicit.

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This Week In V-Carbon:
UN Negotiators Consider “Nesting” of Current Forest Carbon Projects

Project developers responding to our just-released 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report estimated that they could deliver 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the next five years. However, demand on this scale would have to come from compliance markets – markets that hinge on methodologies currently being hashed out in Warsaw.

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California Issues First Forest Carbon Offsets

The California Air Resources Board issued its first forest carbon offsets to two projects, Willits Woods and the Farm Cove. Both projects were early adopters to the forest protocol and both use improved forest management techniques to sequester carbon.  Companies that must reduce their emissions under California’s cap-and-trade system may use offsets for up to 8% of their requirements.

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This Week In Forest Carbon: State Of The Forest Carbon Markets Report Launched!

Key findings from Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2013 report, which was published last week, includes market growth by 9% while the global average price for forestry offsets decreased. However, it was still higher than prices paid by voluntary buyers across all offset project types. The report tracked forest carbon management over a land area larger than Ecuador. 

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Carbon Markets Protect Area Greater Than The Congo’s Forests Combined

Combining the numbers from Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest Forest Carbon Markets report, which identifies 168 conservation projects under carbon management that protects over 25 million hectares of forest, with the business sector’s rising interest in REDD and other forest carbon initiatives indicate incentives-based schemes for conservation are working.

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This Week In Biodiversity: Ramping Up Candidate Species Conservation Incentives

New developments in the species banking sector from a case study on developing a market for gopher tortoise habitat credits to approval of a five-state incentives-based plan for the lesser-prairie chicken. Meanwhile, the debate continues over if biodiversity offsets should be permitted in the UK. And remember to support Ecosystem Marketplace with a donation to the Forest Trends campaign in the Social Entrepreneurs Challenge.

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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.