News Articles

REDD Talks Make Their Mark

On Earth Day, stakeholders from non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and both the public and private sector gathered to discuss REDD+ and US & international climate change policy. An array of speakers presented the environmental and social benefits of carbon finance as well as forest carbon projects currently underway, seeking to highlight the role of corporate business in addressing deforestation in tropical forests.

On Earth Day, stakeholders from non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and both the public and private sector gathered to discuss REDD+ and US & international climate change policy. An array of speakers presented the environmental and social benefits of carbon finance as well as forest carbon projects currently underway, seeking to highlight the role of corporate business in addressing deforestation in tropical forests.

This article was originally published in the V-Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.

2013 Earth Day Recap: Let’s Talk REDD+

1 May 2013 | The handout for the first ever  REDD+ Talks event featured a poem that described the planet’s unraveling resources and closed with the line,  “What did you do once you knew?

Intentionally or not, each of the event’s speakers answered the question, describing their personal or professional relationship with the avoided deforestation projects-turned-policy.

“Mama Mercy”, Kenyan Kasigau Corridor community leader, stepped up at home to communicate the environmental, health and social benefits of carbon finance to her community. Jared Blumenfeld, coming to the event from a REDD+ protest at the California State Capital, says his agency is working to connect the dots between health and climate – and ultimately REDD.

 

Microsoft’s Tamara “T.J.” DiCaprio levied a tax on over a dozen divisions within Microsoft,  raising internal revenues to support communities like Mama Mercy’s, and forest protection in Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey forests. Puma built a brand around sustainable products, manufacturing a subset of its brand at factories in Kasigau to provide an employment alternative to deforestation. Offset supplier The CarbonNeutral Company says its clients have invested close to $9 million in forest carbon projects in recent years.

 

Allianz representative Martin Ewald described how the insurance giant took a stake in Wildlife Works to support project development, and has invested over EUR1.3 billion in REDD+-, wind- and solar-driven mitigation over time. And California Air Resources Board’s Jason Gray says the state adopted a provision to explore the use of international REDD credits – to support just this type of impact.

 

These speakers – also including Ecosystem Marketplace,  BSR  and others – were among the voices of REDD+ Talks. Presenters spent Earth Day not planting a tree or joining a march, but instead huddled in a room in Sausalito, California, telling the corporate world on the other side of the video camera lens about the development of and challenges to private projects addressing deforestation in the world’s oft-threatened tropical forest regions.  

 

Hosted by project developer Wildlife Works, CSR Wire and the Code REDD Campaign, videos of the presentation will soon be available on the  REDD+ Talks website  for public viewing – after being distributed to CSR Wire’s entire corporate subscriber list. Stay tuned to Ecosystem Marketplace for a link to these videos, and keep reading for the latest on other developments in the world of voluntary offsetting.

 

Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, we are deep in report-writing mode in order to bring you this year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report. If you have not yet responded with data and wish to participate in the survey, please notify  Daphne Yin.

 

A special thanks to those organizations that have contributed complete responses to our 2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets survey, most recently including:  Armajaro,  The Climate Trust,  co2balance, CoolClimate Holding, Evolution Markets, Pangolin Associates, UpEnergy, Verus Carbon Neutral, Wildlife Works, and Yesil Fikir.

 

 

We’d also like to give a big thanks to those organizations that have signed up to sponsor the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report – most recently, this includes  BP Target Neutral,  Climate Change Capital  (Bunge),  ClimateCare,  South Pole Carbon, and the  United Nations Foundation.

 

—The Editors

For comments or questions, please email: vcarbonnews@ecosystemmarketplace.com


V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

I’m a PC and the carbon tax was my idea

TJ DiCaprio, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability, announced Microsoft’s new wave of offset purchases at last week’s REDD+ Talks in California. Microsoft has chosen to partner with The CarbonNeutral Company to invest in carbon reduction projects that preserve forests and wildlife while generating jobs and funding education. Projects supported include Terra Global Capital’s VCS/CCB-verified Oddar Meanchey REDD+ project in Cambodia. A new Ecosystem Marketplace article takes a closer look into the technology giant’s thinking behind its carbon offsetting strategy as part of its goal to strengthen its own operations while supporting work in developing countries.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article

 

A feminine touch

Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) recently showcased a new standard it plans to bring to market, premised on empowering women through carbon offset and renewable energy project development. The standard gives women control over carbon credit revenues, affording them the opportunity to invest in poverty-alleviating measures like education and healthcare. Certification requires projects to receive a score of 51+ points across six elements: assets, income, health, food security, time and leadership. To date, the Asian Development Bank has financed pilot projects in Cambodia (biogas digesters), Laos (improved cookstoves), and Vietnam (waste management).

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article

 

The Darkwoods documents

British Columbia’s Auditor General recently said the Nature Conservancy of Canada had issued carbon credits by exaggerating the number of trees that its VCS-verified Darkwoods Carbon Project had saved. Ecosystem Marketplace has produced a series of articles on the issue, unearthing key documents and insights through interviews with individuals involved on the project, the lead auditor himself, timberland consultants, and a competing property bidder. The latest article looks into whether offsets were essential to NCC’s decision to buy the Darkwoods property, whether the Darkwoods project meets the regulatory surplus test, and the differences in the baseline as set by the project developer compared to that used by the auditor.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace coverage (Part 1)
   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace coverage (Part 2)

 

It’s a small world after all

Leading voluntary market players from across North America convened recently at the American Carbon Registry’s (ACR) annual awards ceremony. The Walt Disney Company and General Motors earned kudos for both buying carbon offsets from ACR-validated projects developed by the National Forest Foundation. As part of its Chevrolet Carbon Reduction Initiative, GM is backing the restoration of Colorado’s San Juan National Forest, while Disney is backing the reforestation of California’s Angeles National Forest. ACR awarded its Innovation Award to Entergy and Tierra Resources for their pioneering methodology that credits wetland restoration in the Mississippi Delta.

   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article

 

Finding the path through the forest

Last week, the very first REDD+ Talks took place in California to bolster awareness of the role that the private sector can play in scaling up action on climate change through REDD+ investments, featuring speakers from Ecosystem Marketplace, Wildlife Works, Code REDD, Puma, Microsoft, and other organizations. Videos of the presentation will soon be available on the REDD+ Talks website for public viewing. Sissel Waage – Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at BSR and one of the event speakers – also blogged her two cents on the underlying pitch on why the private sector should consider REDD+ a worthwhile investment.  

   – Read blog post
   – Read more about the REDD Talks

 

Nature and nurture

A survey conducted a few years ago established healthcare costs as a major reason why family forest owners sold off land to be subdivided for development purposes. In light of these findings, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and PacificSource Health Plans are piloting a new initiative called the Forest Health-Human Health Initiative, through which investors buy American Carbon Registry-certified carbon credits, with proceeds returned to landowners in the form of healthcare funds to their ATreeMT card. Unlike other healthcare debit cards, the ATreeMT does not require participation in any health insurance policy or employer-provided health insurance plan.

   – Read more

 

Turkish delight

The Gold Standard Foundation and Turkey’s Municipality of Sakarya recently signed an agreement to collaborate on making Sakarya the first Gold Standard City in the country, with seed funding from the UNDP Small Grants Programme in Turkey. Under its Cities Programme, the Gold Standard has been crafting a framework for the monitoring, reporting and verification of mitigation activities in urban programmes. Apart from Sakarya, other cities in China, South Asia, and the Middle East are also in the midst of signing up for the programme.

   – Read press release

 

Into the carbon Delta

In commemoration of Earth Month, Delta Airlines and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are teaming up to match customers’ carbon offsets contributions up to $25,000. Purchased offsets will help to conserve tropical forest and wildlife habitat in Belize through TNC’s VCS-verified Rio Bravo Project. Through Delta’s offset program, travelers can buy and retire offsets year-round at $15/tCO2e. Delta’s commitment to carbon offsets began in 2007 with its Tensas River Basin Project, validated to VCS, which reforested much of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Delta customers and Delta Airlines bought a combined total of 4,472 tCO2e of carbon offsets in the last year.  

   – Read press release

 

Stoked on white earth

Following Europe’s ban on CDM credits from non-LDC countries, the voluntary carbon markets have increased in relevance for project developers in Mexico. One project well underway is U’yo’olche’s Gold Standard certified improved cookstoves initiative in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, done in partnership with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature. Launched in 2006, the initiative originally distributed Patsari stoves, a popular cookstove model in Mexico but one that depended on locally scarce clay. The organization has since adapted the stove and created a new model called Tíºumben K’í³oben, constructed with local white earth, prickly pear cactus juice, lime and corn husks. Over 2,000 cookstoves have been distributed, half based on this new model.

   – Read more

 

Conservation conversations

 

New York-based marketing firm Conversation recently announced the launch of a modern new website for the International Blue Carbon Initiative, a joint effort by Conservation International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Education, Social, and Cultural Organization. The site is intended to provide a centralized clearinghouse for all things blue carbon, including a database of blue carbon field projects and the latest news, reports, papers on the issue.

 

   – Visit thebluecarboninitiative.org
   – Read press release

 

Comic relief

The BioCarbon Partners (BCP) Trust’s Community Engagement Team has found its own fresh communications approach to increasing community awareness in Africa regarding REDD+ project activities. A comic, donated to BCP by Naomi Fearn, explains REDD+, climate change and deforestation in a form that allows all community stakeholders—even the illiterate—to understand and engage in REDD+ activities “in their own way and on their own time.” To date, BCP reports having sensitized 86% of stakeholders within the project area for its Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project in Zambia. The project is currently undergoing validation under the CCBA standard. Please note that the comic may be distributed/shared but not used for commercial purposes without BCP’s written consent.

   – Read comic
   – Read about the project

 

See you at the (AU)ction!

The price of gold may be dropping worldwide, but what about carbon credits certified to the Gold Standard? On the last Wednesday of each month, Gold Standard project developers can now bid at a reversed auction to have credits from their projects sold to buyers. Under the Climex platform’s “Collective Purchase Auction” system, demand from various buyers is bundled together to accommodate larger-volume project bids; the bulk of buyers participating in these auctions are hunting for 500-10,000 VERs.  The winning project is the one that enters the lowest price. This auction format intends to provide buyers economies of scale, and sellers a transparent, secure route to market with settlement within 24 hours.

   – Read announcement

 

Lesson your emissions

VCS has just released a new clean energy methodology for public comment. The Campus Clean Energy Efficiency Methodology, developed by the Climate Neutral Business Network, provides a framework to quantify GHG emission reductions achieved through gains in energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment in K-12 schools or on existing college campuses in the United States. Qualifying campuses and schools can develop projects using campus-wide stationary 1 and scope 2 electricity-based GHG reductions, or individual LEED certified buildings’ scope 1 and 2 energy based GHG Reductions. Comments are welcome through May 21.

   – Read about the methodology

 

Reduce & Retire: The Latest on Carbon Neutral

Uncaging Victoria’s animal spirits

Carbon neutrality seems contagious in Australia’s state of Victoria: on the heels of the City of Melbourne achieving carbon neutrality, three zoos in-state have also gone carbon neutral. Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, and Healesville Sanctuary – all part of the Zoos Victoria network  –  achieved carbon neutrality through clean energy measures and the purchase of carbon offsets recognized under the Australian government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). Zoos Victoria sourced offsets through Climate Friendly in support of Forest Alive’s VCS-verified Tasmanian Native Forest Protection Project, Face the Future’s VCS-verified Borneo Rainforest Rehabilitation Project, and a project in Peru.

   – Read more

 

Cowichan cultivates community

Darkwoods controversy aside, other entities in British Columbia have continued to forge ahead on their carbon neutrality goals. The City of Duncan went carbon neutral for 2012 after purchasing 138 tCO2e from the Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM), an exchange overseen by Cowichan Energy Alternatives that allows municipalities to invest in carbon credits from their own communities. Duncan is the first municipality to participate in the CCM, with carbon credits purchased from local companies and the Cowichan Land Trust. Other governments within BC have also expressed interest in participating in the CCM.

   – Read more

 

Climate North America

A price on rice?

Prior to California Governor Jerry Brown’s approval of the proposal to link California’s cap-and-trade program to Quebec’s, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) declared its support to incorporate the first agricultural offset protocol into California’s program. Robert Parkhurst – Director of EDF’s agricultural offsets program and former policy lead for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s AB32 compliance strategies – believes offsets from rice farming would benefit California’s economy while allowing rice farmers to become a part of the climate change solution. “Agriculture is vital to making the California GHG market work and rice farmers are ready to provide offsets to the nearly 400 businesses that must comply… but they need the right signal to know that their efforts will be cost-effective and efficient,” says Parkhurst. “Adopting the rice offset protocol can be that sign.”

   – Read about Cali-Quebec linkage approval
   – Read about EDF’s case for rice

 

Audubonanza for the birds

Two weeks back, Blue Source and the National Audubon Society announced the registration of the Blue Source-Beidler Improved Forest Management (IFM) Project, the largest IFM project outside of California to be registered on the Climate Action Reserve to date. Located in South Carolina’s tidewater region, the project has registered 474,735 Climate Reserve Tonnes. “The registration of this project signifies continued momentum in the forest carbon market and the ability for the California regulatory program to enable a new brand of conservation finance,” said Roger Williams, Blue Source’s President.  Audubon is committed to protecting the project area’s old-growth trees and wildlife in perpetuity through a legally binding conservation easement.

   – Read press release

 

Alberta’s vision: 20/20 or 40/40?

The government of Alberta, Canada is floating a proposal to increase the provincial price on carbon. Under the status quo, large industrial polluters must cut carbon emissions intensity by 12% or pay a $15/tCO2e tax. The proposal would have polluters cut emissions intensity by 40% or pay $40/tCO2e. Alberta’s energy industry is pushing for a 20/20 carbon tax half as high, while others think the 40/40 plan would better help the province meet its 2008 emission reduction target of 50 MtCO2e by 2050.  FirstEnergy Capital has stated that if President Obama approves Keystone XL, the firm “would view such a trade-off (slightly higher costs versus much more security regarding heavy oil differentials and thus revenues in the longer term) as a net positive for oilsands producers.”

   – Read more from Calgary Herald
   – Read more from The Globe and Mail

 

Kyoto & Beyond

EU ETS on the operating table

Europe’s climate chief Connie Hedegaard intends to introduce structural reforms to the EU ETS, following the European Parliament’s vote against the backloading proposal intended to curb permit oversupply. Representatives from EU governments are set to discuss a proposal  on May 27. In place of backloading – which business groups thought would hurt the economy and others deemed a short-term fix – long-term structural reforms  could include  measures to restrict rights to carbon permits under the ETS, as well as measures to review the number of permits that firms receive for free. Even so, Point Carbon’s  Stig Schjí¸lset  said it was “very unlikely that any political intervention in the scheme will be agreed during the third phase from 2013 to 2020.”

 

 

Global Policy Update

The ripple effect

Assuming Australia’s one-way linkage with the EU ETS happens as planned in 2015, the price of Australian credits (ACUs) – expected to track the price of EUAs – reportedly could drop by over $20/tCO2e from its current $23/tCO2e if EUA prices were to remain at current levels. A  recent article discusses ways to avoid having Australia suffer a huge hit from the linkage by looking into the potential to defer linkage until 2018, use the auction process to inflate the ACU price, delay the auction of ACUs, or set tighter emissions caps.  

 

 

Drawing lessons from the EU ETS while diverging from the EU’s recent vote, Xie Zhunhua of China’s National Development and Reform Commission says China’s authorities will retain the power to remove allowances from China’s own prospective national market in the case of oversupply.  The Chinese government signaled that it will draft climate legislation within the next two years for a national carbon market (for potential 2020 launch). China’s first cap-and-trade pilot in  Shenzhen’s  will launch on June 17, while the remaining six pilots will likely launch this or next year.

 

 

Carbon Finance

Tapping into the REDD-X Files

Ecosystem Marketplace’s parent organization Forest Trends has just launched its new REDDX website in an effort to provide information that will help governments and other REDD+ stakeholders better assess where REDD+ finance is flowing (and where it isn’t).  “REDDX” is short for Forest Trends’ REDD+ Expenditures Tracking Initiative, which provides analysis of financial flows targeted at REDD+ activities in participating countries. The website initially covers REDD+ finance data from Ecuador, Brazil, Ghana, and Vietnam, and is slated to expand its coverage to other countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Colombia.  

   – Visit reddx.forest-trends.org

 

Featured Jobs

Two Positions – Impact Carbon

Based in Uganda, the  Monitoring and Evaluation Director  will be responsible for all monitoring, evaluation, and reporting related activities and will assist in managing program assessments and evaluations. Candidates should have a Master’s in a related discipline and 5+ years’ experience. Also based in Uganda, the  East Africa Regional Director  will lead the local strategic planning process to update and evolve Impact Carbon’s regional strategy and oversee the development of new programs and existing program growth. Candidates should have a 7+ years’ experience in senior management roles.

 

 

Intern, Climate and Energy Consulting – First Climate

 

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the Intern will support the First Climate team with advisory mandates in the field of climate policy and with energy usage and emission analysis of industrial companies. Candidates should have a degree in engineering, natural sciences or economics and have a strong interest in climate policy, industrial process, or renewable energy fields.

 

   – Read more about the position here

 

Two Positions – Verified Carbon Standard

VCS is looking to fill two positions in Washington, DC. The  Intern  will conduct research to identify VCS program requirements and organize existing VCS methodologies to ensure all methodologies are applied by program stakeholders in a consistent manner. Candidates should have a good knowledge of carbon markets, with relevant course experience and a demonstrated ability to research topics related to carbon accounting. The  Chief Program Officer  will lead and manage delivery of all strategic program initiatives, including work on the jurisdictional and nested REDD+ framework and the continued evolution and expansion of program scope. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s in environmental sciences and 8+ years’ business experience.

 

 

Project Analyst – The Climate Trust

 

Based in Portland, Oregon, the Project Analyst will manage and maintain a detailed project portfolio registry that tracks the financial and credit delivery status of contracted emission reductions projects and assist in the development of deliverables such as carbon project protocols. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s and 2+ years of experience.

 

   – Read more about the position here

 

Analyst – Climate Policy Initiative

Based in San Francisco, the Analyst will perform rigorous quantitative and qualitative evaluation of national and international climate and energy policies and research and track climate and energy policy developments in the U.S. and internationally. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s and some understanding of climate and energy policies.

   – Read more about the position here

 

Two Positions – World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute is looking to fill two positions in Washington, DC. The  Climate Finance Associate  will be responsible for research, analysis, and outreach associated with international climate-related financial flows and will author and publish new research on climate finance. Candidates should have a graduate degree in a relevant discipline and 7+ years’ experience. The  Objective Coordinator  will provide support to the GHG Protocol team on a variety of administrative and logistical tasks including financial management and events coordination and will be responsible for creating and managing project budgets. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s and 1+ years’ experience.

 

 

GHG Program Research Volunteer – Center for Resource Solutions

Based in San Francisco, the GHG Program Research Volunteer will re

Additional resources

Please see our Reprint Guidelines for details on republishing our articles.