It was a topsy-turvy year in voluntary carbon, with some volume migrating to California’s cap-and-trade market and new government entities coming in on the buy side. Through it all, most corporate buyers who used offsets in the past continued to do so, but newcomers were hard to find. Here’s a preview of our latest "State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets" report.
Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace has released the initial findings from our annual report, State of the Voluntary Carbon Market 2014. In other news, the Gold Standard has quantified the value of the co-benefits and the CDP reports that US corporations consider climate change risks to be more urgent than just a few years ago.
Environmental Credit Corp (ECC) was busy in 2013 developing emissions reduction projects that received a total of more than one million tonnes from California’s regulated carbon market. But Derek Six, ECC’s CEO/CFO, spoke to Gloria Gonzalez about growing interest in a new charismatic project type that could be added to California’s program in the future.
In an exclusive interview with Ecosystem Marketplace, Heru Prasetyo, who took the helm of Indonesia’s new REDD+ Management Agency in December, talks about Indonesia’s plan to move palm production to degraded land, why REDD+ is the new oil, and everything in between. And in other news, teen activists won’t rest until the Girl Scouts ensure its cookies are deforestation-free.
The 2014 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report is set to launch on May 28th at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany. Join us to hear the latest trends gathered from a global pool of offset suppliers and other experts. Meanwhile, in the news, Russia announced plans to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, possibly featuring a voluntary offsetting component, while South Africa has rolled voluntary standards into its carbon tax.
Ecosystem Marketplace’s coverage of last week’s National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking conference includes a conversation with the incoming president of the National Mitigation Banking Association and a look at the Department of Interior’s new mitigation strategy. Outside of the conference, The Nature Conservancy and JP Morgan Chase launch an impact investment platform aiming to raise $1 billion for conservation projects.
The US state of Washington could soon put a price on carbon, joining its Pacific Coast neighbor California in taking a step that the federal government has so far failed to take to address carbon pollution. The details are still being worked out, but many experts see Washington working hard to ensure that its system is compatible with California’s.
Payments for reduced deforestation in Acre, Brazil have finally started to flow, four years after the state first passed its payment for ecosystem services law. In corporate news, major clothing brands H&M, Zara and Stella McCartney announced that they will find alternatives to fabrics sourced from endangered forests within three years. Personal products company Johnson & Johnson released a new palm oil sourcing policy to protect people and forests – a bold move considering the complexity of the company’s palm supply chain.
Thursday at the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference saw a lot of talk on species conservation specifically for the greater sage grouse and the recently listed lesser prairie chicken, with some disagreement over the best approach. Meanwhile, Ecosystem Marketplace chatted with new NMBA president Wayne White on the coming year.
Global demand for both water and energy is spiraling upward, with long-term implications for food security. Several private-sector initiatives have emerged to promote more coordination of energy and water issues, and this week the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation will offer insight into what works and what doesn’t.
The California Air Resources Board approves a new offset protocol for coal mine methane. But market participants say there is still more to be done with land-based offsets. The United Nations faces criticism over the administrative budget for the Clean Development Mechanism, while China and Africa look for alternatives to finance certified emissions reduction projects.
After a series of false starts, California regulators have finally added a new type of emissions reduction project into their regulated carbon market: mine methane capture. They also approved a change that would make the buyers of emissions reductions from forestry projects responsible for replacing the offsets if the projects turn out to be problematic.
Ecosystem Marketplace will be on hand at this year’s National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference to take place in Denver providing analysis and summaries of daily sessions as well as Q&As with key actors from the mitigation industry.
Katoomba XX kicks off on Earth Day in Lima, Peru, and just in time – new UN Food and Agricultural Organization data shows that emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past half century. At the ninth meeting of the Carbon Fund, efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation did, however, make some headway, with Nepal’s, Ghana’s, Mexico’s, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s REDD+ proposals approved. This unlocks a potential $50 million to $70 million in financing for each country.
In order to solve big picture issues like climate change and invasive species, the Department of Interior is scaling up its new approach to mitigation to a landscape level aiming to increase certainty in the process as well as improve conservation results. The Department’s report was released earlier this month.
California has adopted bold greenhouse gas reduction goals, and state regulators see emission reductions from carbon offset projects, including from agriculture and forestry projects, as a vital factor in achieving these goals. But bringing more of these types of projects into the state’s regulated carbon market is challenging because of the high costs involved.
Peruvians have spent the last six years developing a comprehensive legal framework for the sticky issue of payments for ecosystem services (PES). The current bill is one of the most advanced pieces of legislation of its type, but it’s been stuck in committee for five years, and will remain so as the 20th Katoomba Meeting kicks off next week in Lima on Earth Day.
Pacific Coast neighbors British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington have joined forces to take on the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region. But Oregon and Washington so far lack what some argue is a key element to any viable attack plan: a price on carbon pollution. Can they get there and can they flesh out an expanded role for carbon offsets?
By saving their Manu National Park, Peruvians have engineered a biodiversity boom – just as more research shows that undisrupted and biodiversity-rich ecosystems recover more rapidly from disturbances brought on by climate change. Lauren Cooper of Nature Services Peru says this should put REDD front-and-center at year-end climate talks there.
While several from the mitigation banking space welcome the EPA and Corps’ proposed rule on clarifying waters protected under the Clean Water Act, the decision is far from final. On a separate policy front, the lesser prairie chicken has been listed under the ESA as threatened.
The voluntary carbon market has been the breeding ground for offset project types welcomed into California’s regulated carbon market, which many say will face a shortage of offsets in its second phase. Market participants, including an official at one of the largest publicly-owned utilities in the United States, say it is critical for California regulators to quickly welcome even more voluntary project types.
The California Air Resources Board stated publicly that the agency will continue considering allowing REDD offsets into its cap-and-trade program, which could provide key demand for Latin American supply. And lots of news on standards and methodology development this week.
The Yurok Indian tribe became the first organization to cross the finish line in getting forestry compliance offsets approved by California’s cap-and-trade program. And the first issuance was a big one, with the tribe receiving 836,619 offsets for an improved forest management project on tribal lands.
About 13 million hectares of tropical forests are being lost every year – despite the best efforts of many committed stakeholders. California could take efforts to combat this trend to the next level by allowing projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation to count as offsets in its carbon market, according to supporters of these projects. But is the US state ready to take that step?
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.
Urban forestry helps keep US cities green and their air clean. For this, urban foresters can earn carbon offsets that reflect their pro-climate contributions. Though these offsets could be sold to voluntary buyers or even into California’s carbon market, urban forestry offset projects have been underutilized due to high costs and technicalities. The Climate Action Reserve is hoping to change that.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced they are listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act but landowners and oil and gas companies enrolled in approved voluntary conservation efforts will be exempt from ESA regulations under a special 4(d) rule.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a voluntary approach to conserving the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken. Proponents say a voluntary program will more easily adapt to climate change, but opponents say it lacks vigor and won’t really give the birds the protection they need.
Do global efforts to pay developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation aid in the fight for community and indigenous rights, or impede it? The Fifteenth Dialogue on Forests, Governance & Climate Change, hosted by the Rights & Resources Institute, brought together a mix of voices – and they weren’t always in harmony.
On Monday, regulators from California’s Air Resources Board discussed a proposed protocol that, if approved in September, would accept offsets from methane-reducing rice projects into the state’s cap-and-trade program. The American Carbon Registry just listed the first rice project – expected to reduce 1,400 cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
Left for dead for years, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) soared to record heights after a major overhaul of the program gave market participants new confidence in its longevity. RGGI could receive another major boost if the US Environmental Protection Agency decides that the cap-and-trade program can be used for compliance with its upcoming greenhouse gas regulations for existing power plants.
With intersessional climate talks taking place in Bonn this week, the World Resources Institute discusses what is needed in the new international climate agreement focusing on the time frame on post-2020 emissions reductions.
Brazil aims to slash its greenhouse gas emissions 38% by 2020, with more than half of those reductions coming from an 80% reduction in Amazon deforestation. That makes REDD finance more important than ever – and bureaucratic deadlock more damaging. Amazon states say the whole process can be smoothed by splitting revenues and responsibilities 80/20 between the states and Brasilia.
Quebec’s first auction of carbon allowances last year was deemed a bit of a snooze-fest as buyers only snapped up about a third of available allowances, but demand soared in last week’s provincial auction following its linkage to California’s cap-and-trade system.
Unseasonal forest fires in Indonesia are causing respiratory problems and generating carbon emissions. The World Resources Institute uses the new Global Forest Watch tool to find out why and how these fires can be prevented.
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.
Ecosystem Marketplace is taking an up-close look at the landscapes approach to nature and conservation starting with two Katoomba Meetings this spring, which will help prompt cross-sector collaboration. Meanwhile, EM monitors landscapes thinking activities in Yorkshire, England and the US.
Private conservationists are managing over 26.5 million hectares of threatened forests worldwide in hopes of being paid to keep forest carbon emissions on lockdown. But these projects are in danger as insufficient demand for carbon offsets leaves them in financial limbo. One country – Indonesia – may have a solution, as the government contemplates voluntarily purchasing forestry offsets to catalyze domestic action.
A group of experts convened to address issues surrounding the upcoming climate conference in Peru at the Bogotá Regional Exchange hosted by Valorando Naturaleza and the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon. The Exchange took place February 27th and 28th.
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.
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.
Here is a brief summary of this week’s coverage from the Forest Carbon Portal
Market participants have been growing increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of offsets from projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) making it into California’s cap-and-trade program. But REDD credits may yet have a fighting chance, as officials with the California Air Resources Board confirmed that they will continue considering adding international sector-based offsets to the program.
The United Kingdom has expressed interest in the offsetting mechanism which could help the nation deliver on no net loss of biodiversity. BBOP’s upcoming webinar will discuss challenges and opportunities for an offsetting initiative specific to the UK’s coastal regions.
Not all habitat is created equal. Some also filters water, while some sequesters massive amounts of carbon. Yet anyone who tries to “sell” these values separately runs into a legal quagmire – one that’s the subject of a webinar Tuesday afternoon.
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.
There’s much for environmentalists to cheer for as the Super Bowl ends and the Olympic Games begin. The annual football fest is fighting for status as the greenest sporting event ever held in the New York metropolitan area, while the Sochi winter games plans to offset all of their direct emissions from the Olympics. In other news, the European Union might adopt a proposal to ban the use of the credits in its emissions trading system.
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.
After a year of stalling and deliberation, the US House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill. And despite some cuts to conservation programs and funding and no mention of ecosystem markets, it is being considered a win for the environment. One reason is the bill’s conservation rules on crop insurance premiums.
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.