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Waters Of The United States
Part Four: Writing The New Rule

The Trump administration wants to “repeal and replace” a rule for defining which waterways are and are not protected by the Clean Water Act, and environmentalists say Trump’s proposal would leave 80 percent of all US waters unprotected. In this fourth installment of a five-part series, we see how the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers forged the current rule over four arduous years.

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Gorsuch Brings Distrust Of Government Agencies To The Supreme Court

Dozens of climate and conservation initiatives are now working their way through the US court system, and some are destined to land in the Supreme Court. That means Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s high-court nominee, could play a major role in determining US policy. His environmental record is thin, but he’s expressed a clear distrust of government agencies.


Conservation Markets Are Trending Upward

This month’s Carbon Chronicle showcases Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report, which reveals steep growth in private investments for conservation. Meanwhile, South Pole Group acquired an Australian carbon offset business growing its global sustainability presence, and an Alaska Native group gets active in California’s carbon market.


Investors Put Over $8B Into Conservation: Can It Continue In The Trump Era?

Private investment in conservation grew 62% in the last two years but it’s still a drop in the bucket considering the size of capital markets. Mandates enforcing protections for nature can help these investments grow, but the United States’ current political administration appears more interested in unraveling environmental regulation than enforcing it.


How Climate Change Might Hijack President Trump’s Infrastructure Vision

US President Donald Trump wants to launch an infrastructure building binge, and he even says he’ll “expedite” important projects by eliminating environmental checks. Without proper climate planning, however, the administration could find itself spending all of its available resources fixing broken, inundated or degraded public assets.


Surui And Yawanawa Etch Their Past Into The Future

The Yawanawa and Surui indigenous tribes of the Brazilian Amazon are in the midst of a renaissance that involves reclaiming their lands and cultural identities. And in an effort to set the record straight on their own unique story, the peoples recently published two books documenting their histories in their own words.


New Guidance Pushes Transparency, Collaboration To Scrub Forest Loss From Palm Oil Supply Chains

Palm oil, the huge commodity hidden in products on just about every aisle of the grocery store, is driving deforestation in some of the world’s most biodiverse and carbon-rich forests, but it doesn’t have to be this way, environmental groups say. And today, some of those groups are launching reporting guidance pushing raw transparency to help companies take the deforestation out of their palm oil purchases.


Endangered Species: How Environmental Rollback Could Hit Forest Owners Hard

President Donald Trump plans to revive the rural economy by rolling back environmental regulations, but his policies could cost farmers and forest owners dearly. Here’s a look at some of the farmer-friendly environmental initiatives that could end up on the endangered list – if they aren’t there already.


Register Now: Webinars On Conservation Investments Report Happening This Week

Ecosystem Marketplace is hosting two webinars showcasing findings from its latest report, State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016. The report reveals significant growth in the field as more private sector actors are realizing the financial value of investments in clean water, biodiversity and food and fiber production.

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How US Land Owners Can Tap Carbon Markets In Trump Era

US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a massive rollback of federal environmental regulations, ostensibly in the name of prosperity. Carbon markets, however, have progressed despite lack of federal action, helping California reduce emissions in a booming economy. Here is why that’s good news for owners of private forests.


Conservationists Embrace New Environmental Tool: Water Leasing

Farms have long swapped water rights among themselves or with urban areas, but new research out last month reveals conservationists are now leveraging these tools for environmental purposes – such as leasing irrigation rights but using the water to replenish the watershed to restore habitat for endangered species and help secure clean water for communities.


Why Paris And China Trump Trump On Climate

Chinese President Xi Jinping made headlines around the world when he moved to fill the leadership gap on trade and commerce that opened in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. But Xi also spoke on climate change, and he’s far from alone. Here’s why events in the United States aren’t likely to derail progress on climate any time soon.


Climate, Cooperation, and Trade Dominate Davos Economic Forum

US Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have kicked off the 47th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders from business and government aim to stem the rising tide of populist sentiment and forge global cooperation on climate change.


Why Did Conservation Investors Leave $3 Billion On the Table Last Year?

Conservation Investments aim to generate both a financial return and a verifiable environmental benefit, and impact investors funneled more than $8.2 billion into them between 2004 and 2015. They also, however, left $3.1 billion on the table. Could small farmers generate the returns they’re looking for?


Private Investment In Conservation Reaches $8.2 Billion

Conservation investing is on the rise and experienced dramatic growth after 2013 as total committed private capital climbed from $5 billion to just over $8 billion, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report, State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016. It’s recognition of forests, wetlands and reefs as smart investments, authors say, and signals growing interest among even mainstream investors.


Companies, Investors Pledge Climate Action, Encourage Low-Carbon Policy

The “Low-Carbon USA” movement continues to gain traction as over 600 private sector entities including well-known consumer giants such as Nike and IKEA recently reaffirmed their commitment to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. The group is also urging the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump to advance low-carbon policies and investments.


2016: How Investors Shined A Bright Light On Big Climate Risks In Corporate Supply Chains

Private sector engagement on sustainable supply chains and reducing deforestation was in ample supply in 2016 as the world started to mobilize behind the Paris Climate Agreement. However, greenwashing and unfulfilled corporate pledges remain valid concerns as the 2020 deadline for many companies looms ever closer, and much remains to be done.

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2016: A Good Year For Rainforest People, But Hazards Ahead

North America’s Sioux People caught the attention of the world this year by defending their drinking water at Standing Rock, North Dakota; but indigenous people have been defending Mother Earth for centuries, and the Sioux weren’t the only ones to make gains in 2016.


2016: The World Learns The Value Of Water

As drought, flooding and pollution made headlines year-round in 2016, some experts and organization pushed for a return to the basics, solutions that mimicked nature or protected water at its source, while also developing innovative new finance models to fund the mounting costs water management requires.


2016: The Year Biodiversity Got Back On The Climate Map

In 2016, proponents of mainstreaming biodiversity pushed for further integration during international talks and elsewhere while new research found serious declines in global biodiversity. But user-friendly maps, also published this year, revealed that markets dealing in wetlands and endangered animals are growing and have been growing for some time signaling their potential to help reverse the dismal trends on wildlife loss.


2016 Quietly Ushered In A New Global Era In Climate And Land Use

After years of negotiations, the global climate community has aligned behind efforts to protect and restore forests, which has enormous potential for fighting climate change. Here, Jason Funk of the Center for Carbon Removal explains how 2016, while not a year of high-profile decision-making, may still be a year for the history books.

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Some See Opportunity In Zinke Pick For Interior, Conservationists Stress Restoration Economy

Conservationists have roundly slammed most of US President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, but the nod to Ryan Zinke for Secretary of Interior is something of a mixed bag. Some working in species conservation are focusing on the economic benefits derived from ecosystem markets in order to promote securing a proper balance between ecosystems and the environment.


Close To $25 Billion Spent To Secure Green Infrastructure Worldwide In 2015

As the global water crisis mounts, countries, cities and businesses funneled billions of dollars into market-based investments that conserve and restore forests, mangroves, wetlands and grasslands to secure reliable and clean water, says Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report tracking watershed investments, released today.


Is this Man’s ‘Nutrient Farm’ the Mitigation Bank of Tomorrow?

Veteran Chicago hydrologist Don Hey has been arguing for decades that his region could slash its water control costs by taking better care of swamps and floodplains. Local politicians are finally listening – and supporting him on a massive market-based wetland restoration effort that could help ratchet up the scale of mitigation banking across the United States.


As Investors Push Climate Risk Into Limelight, Deforestation Follows

Corporate exposure to “forest risk commodities” like soy and timber is murky and opaque, but new research shows it could top $900 billion per year. Now, as institutional investors push companies in all sectors to come clean on their climate-change liabilities and exposure, their impacts on forests could become clearer as well.


Register Now: Limited Slots For Thursday Water Webinar

In China, Peru, the United States and elsewhere, nature-based interventions to manage water supplies is on the rise, and governments, companies and water providers are establishing some innovative ways to finance it. Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest State of Watershed Investment report tracks global payments for green infrastructure for water, and report authors will present key findings during a December 15th launch webinar.


Tillerson For Secretary Of State Adds Another Layer Of Uncertainty To US Role In Climate Talks

Rex Tillerson heads up the world’s largest publicly owned oil and gas company and, as the President-Elect’s choice for secretary of state, may lead the United States in climate change negotiations over the next four years. Tillerson’s record on climate action is a mixed bag, and policy experts say backtracking on the Paris Agreement would have adverse effects on the Trump administration’s international goals.

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Of Milk And Money, Part One: How Agroforestry Is Reshaping The Kenyan Countryside

Consumer-facing companies like Danone and Mars have pledged to slash their greenhouse-gas emissions, in part by purging deforestation from their supply chains – a process that requires helping hundreds of thousands of farmers change the way they grow their crops. In this series, we’ll take a deep dive into the Kenyan milk market, and see how the revival of agroforestry is restoring soils – and may slow climate change.


In Pruitt EPA Pick, Some Fear Short Shrift For Restoration Economy

Environmentalists across the political spectrum have exhibited everything from anger to puzzlement over US President-Elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency. Some in the restoration economy, like those in renewable energies, say the move could hobble a vibrant part of the US economy.


Trump Inheriting Healthy System of Environmental Markets, New Data Shows

US President-Elect Donald Trump is inheriting a healthy system of ecosystem markets, thanks in part to measures implemented by the Obama administration, but the exact growth has been difficult to quantify and understand. A new “Atlas of Ecosystem Markets” aims to change that by distilling data from several sources into a clear, simple, mapping tool for regulators, researchers, and users.


The Trillion-Dollar Deforestation Time Bomb And How To Defuse It

Two new reports show that global corporations are both victims and perpetrators of deforestation. One report shows they could lose nearly $1 trillion per year if current trends continue. The other shows that nearly 60% of the roughly 250 companies most responsible for deforestation have no viable strategy for fixing the problem.


Biodiversity Convention Continues To Look To Mainstreaming To Halt Global Decline

For practitioners working in the biodiversity conservation space, the global biodiversity talks getting underway in Mexico will be one of implementation and for figuring out the tools and methods to save the world’s flora and fauna rather than for eye-catching political decisions and commitments. Participants agree that one method to save biodiversity, mainstreaming conservation, will dominate the talks.


Which US States Are Already Honoring The Paris Climate Agreement?

When Donald Trump won the US presidential election, climate optimists said US cities and states would fill any leadership gaps that opened at the federal level. Now six US states have agreed to track and disclose greenhouse gas emissions under the Global Compact of States and Regions, and to meet the Paris Agreement targets.


Can “Radical Transparency” Save Forests And Slow Climate Change?

If a Trump presidency neuters the US federal government’s efforts to combat climate change, as many expect, then “non-state” actors like cities and companies – as well as consumers and watchdogs – must fill the gap. A new platform called “Trase” aims to help, by introducing “radical transparency” to global supply chains.


A Path Forward for Forests And The Planet

Over 100 nations identify forest conservation and restoration as part of their strategy to fight climate change, something Forest Trends’ founding President and CEO Michael Jenkins considers a major milestone. And as 2016 winds down, Jenkins reflects on the 17 year history of Forest Trends, the progress the organization has made and the work that it still intends to do.


Stay The Course With Environmental Markets Benefitting Business And Rural Landowners

The 30 year old marketplace for ecological assets, recently valued at $100 billion, may be changing the face of real estate in the United States. A long-time market analyst says these changes fit perfectly with streamlined government programs catering to rural America, business and industry – constituencies poised to realize both revenue opportunities and higher property values derived from eco-assets.

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Bridging The Rural-Urban Divide With Collaborative Landscape Management Tools

Real social and economic dislocation led nearly half of US voters to reject the political establishment and elect Donald Trump as the nation’s next president despite racist and xenophobic rhetroic, says EcoAgriculture Partners’ Sara Scherr. Here, she reflects on what the results mean for those working in sustainable agriculture landscapes domestically and abroad.


Now on Bionic Planet: Voices From Marrakesh

Two weeks after the US presidential election, the US role in the Paris Climate Agreement remains foggy. While few expect the US to continue its leadership role in the fight to slow climate change, many believe a Trump administration will treat the Agreement with benign neglect rather than kick up a storm trying to withdraw from the deal. Here is an audio mosaic distilled from interviews we conducted during the talks.


Swedish Court Rules Myanmar “Green Book” Inadequate For EU Importers

In a first-of-its-kind case, Swedish Administrative Courts ruled certification through the Myanmar Forest Products Merchans’ Federation did not prove that wood imported into Sweden was harvested legally. The ruling has a host of implications for timber regulation in the European Union, and likely will raise the bar in the United States regarding Due Diligence on imported timber, Forest Trends’ Jade Saunders explains.


$5.5 Million Investment For The Climate Trust Seeds Carbon Investment Fund

The Climate Trust recently secured a $5.5 million Program-Related Investment to seed its carbon investment fund, which launched earlier this year with funding from a Conservation Innovation Grant. With this funding secured, the group is now ready to invest in US-based carbon offset projects.


Post-Hurricane Matthew: How Can We Restore Waterways To Better Protect Communities?

The large floodplains and broad vegetated buffers of a stream restoration site near Raleigh, North Carolina significantly reduced flooding when Hurricane Matthew tore through the state. As the frequency of extreme weather events is only expected to rise, developing with nature in mind is increasingly critical, says Environmental Defense Fund’s Paxton Ramsdell.


Forest Tracking Tools More Important Than Ever

A new online tool charts a commodities’ journey from production to consumption, and can aid companies and practitioners’ efforts to cleanse deforestation from supply chains. The sector is calling for more transparency tools as it faces greater policy uncertainty with the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.


Investors See Rockier Road To Low-Carbon Economy Under Trump, But No Dead End

Climate talks are continuing here in Marrakesh, with world leaders vowing to either reach out to the new US administration or continue without them. Investors, meanwhile say the business case for renewables and sustainable agriculture remains strong, but corporate leadership on climate remains elusive.


Peru’s Amarakaeri People Learn To Have Their Nuts And Sell Them, Too

The indigenous people of Peru’s Amarakaeri Communal Reserve are conserving 400,000 hectares of forest while also feeding their families – in part by sustainably harvesting Brazil nuts. To do so, however, they’ll have to forge relationships with trusted suppliers outside the territory and also find the sweet spot where they harvest enough to make a living but not so much that they deplete the ecosystem.


In Marrakesh, Amarakaeri People Say REDD+ And Rights Must Go Together

The indigenous people within the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve live along the border between Brazil and Peru, and they also act as a buffer between uncontacted people of the Amazon and the outside world. At climate talks in Marrakesh, they reiterated their openness to forest carbon projects that support their way of life – but only if that support is assured.

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How To Keep An Eye On Commodity Companies At The Marrakesh Climate Talks

The Paris Climate Agreement created a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in part by funneling money into programs that promote better management of forests, farms and fields. Negotiators will refine that agreement in Marrakesh this week and next, but it won’t mean a thing if businesses are welcomed – or cajoled – into the process, and in a big way.