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This Week In Forest Carbon News…

FIFA has pledged to offset direct carbon emissions from the World Cup just as Brazil became the first country to submit its national data on emissions reductions achieved by avoided deforestation—the first step in allowing large-scale REDD funding to flow. In other news, China’s carbon markets are inching into forestry, with one afforestation project awaiting validation.

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

 

19 June 2014 | Forget Annex I and II; this month we’re all about Groups A through H as the world’s finest fíºtbol players battle it out in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian locales. And of course, we’re paying special attention to Group G, which stands for (reduced) greenhouse gases, our Senior Carbon Associate Gloria Gonzalez, Germany and, most importantly, GOALLLLLLL.

But don’t think we’re too distracted by World Cup matches to bring you the news. In fact, we didn’t even have to switch our Google feeds off of FIFA to find something related to carbon offsets: the International Federation of Association Football has pledged to offsets all direct emissions from the World Cup, estimated at 59,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e), and Brazil has encouraged private companies to purchase and donate offsets to help reduce some of the 1.4 million tCO2e or so indirect emissions from the tournament, mainly caused by plane travel. So far, 11 companies – including the Brazilian subsidiaries of Solvay S.A., ArcelorMitall, and Bunge Limited – have stepped up to the plate, purchasing 420,500 tCO2e, covering about a third of the World Cup’s total emissions.

In an interview with Ecosystem Marketplace, Mariama Vendramini, Finance and Commercial Director of Brazilian project developer Biofí­lica, talked about how the World Cup, paired with last year’s major transaction between the Surui avoided deforestation (REDD) project in Brazil and cosmetics giant Natura, are helping to increase the visibility of corporate offsetting in Brazil. Her predictions?

“Demand will rise as public awareness grows with examples such as the World Cup’s, Natura’s and other companies’ activities on the voluntary market. And it has a shifting potential with a push from the to-be-established Paris agreement…” Vendramini said, referring to the 2015 negotiations in Paris to lock down a global climate agreement. “We are already seeing the development of local mechanisms to price carbon that are popping up around the world, pushed by this trend.”

Indeed, a new, interactive supply-and-demand graph for REDD reveals that demand looks very different depending on which emerging compliance markets accept REDD offsets. In general, as new climate legislation emerges around the world, policymakers are grappling with whether and how to roll offsets from tree planting, improved forest management and avoided land conversion into emissions reductions programs. Many of the major players are moving forward cautiously.

For instance, though China didn’t make the cut for the World Cup, they’re certainly making cuts in emissions with six new subnational carbon markets that allow companies to purchase offsets to cover 5-10% of their compliance obligations. Forest offsets are so far playing a small role in China’s markets: Of about 70 projects seeking validation as China Certified Emissions Reductions as of February 2014, only one was forestry. So far, forestry offsets are allowed in the province of Hubei and will likely be allowed in the city of Chongqing, but not in the other five markets.

The voluntary carbon markets, however, are not facing the same restrictions around forestry projects, and these project types – in particular REDD – are gaining market share as corporate buyers seek to offset emissions while also supporting biodiversity or local livelihoods.

A special Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace event in Washington DC on Tuesday, June 24 from 4:30-6:00 EDT will outline these and other findings from our State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report. Co-authors Molly Peters-Stanley and Gloria Gonzalez will first discuss key trends on the voluntary carbon market. Then, Forest Trends President and CEO Michael Jenkins will moderate a panel of three carbon market participants: Christian Dannecker, Director of Forestry at South Pole Group; Brian McFarland, Director of Carbon Projects and Origination at Carbonfund.org; and Hans Wegner, Chief Sustainability Officer at National Geographic Society. It is sure to be a lively discussion, and we hope you will join us.

To register for the event, please RSVP with full contact details to bmccarthy@ecosystemmarketplace.com by June 19. Space is limited. If you are unable to attend in person, register for the live webstream.

More stories from the forest carbon marketplace are summarized below, so keep reading!

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

 

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at general@forestcarbonportal.com.


News

INTERNATIONAL POLICY

Brazil breaks the tape

Brazil is the first country across the finish line in terms of submitting its national data on emissions reductions achieved by avoided deforestation to the United Nations (UN). The data will be used to establish a benchmark for future emissions reductions, as outlined in the REDD Rulebook decided at the 19th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2013. The Rulebook is the first step in allowing large-scale REDD funding to flow. Brazil’s Amazon Fund will see a $1 billion injection through 2015 through a bilateral agreement with Norway.

NATIONAL STRATEGY AND CAPACITY

All in favor said aye

On June 6, Peru’s National Congress passed the country’s groundbreaking Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) Law by a vote of 83 to 0, with no abstentions. The law “will give an adequate legal framework to those voluntary agreements that have already been registered among citizens, to ensure the provision of goods and services that nature provides us,” according to the Ministry of Environment’s press release (translated from Spanish). One example of voluntary PES in Peru is the company Seguros El Pací­fico’s agreement to purchase offsets from the conservation of the Tambopata forest in Madre de Dios.

You live and learn

Vanuatu, an archipelago of more than 80 islands, has been receiving funding from a 4.9-euro million regional program for Pacific Island countries through Germany’s International Climate Initiative. The country has a single REDD+ pilot project being implemented by NGO Live and Learn, but readiness funding is already being put to use in conducting a forest inventory for the archipelago’s largest island, Santo, to be completed over the next two months. “The funding will already benefit Vanuatu by improving forest management,” said Bjoern Hecht from Germany’s Agency for International Cooperation. “If the credits come later on or not, doesn’t even matter as long as you implement the current preparation funding really well.”

Reddy, set…

Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources last week unveiled a new monitoring and reporting system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation – a prerequisite for participating in REDD under the UN framework. The country was one of 10 in Africa that received funding, $40,000, from the Congo Basin Forest Fund, to develop the reporting system. Rwanda’s forests cover 700,000 hectares, less than 30% of the country. Donat Nsabimana, an expert who helped create Rwanda’s REDD+ plan, said implementing it will cost $6 million over three years while the government has so far put up $2 million.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Go Blue!

The Forestland Group and Blue Source last week announced the issuance of 1.7 million forest carbon offsets for California’s cap-and-trade carbon market. The emissions reductions come from 220,000 acres stretching over seven counties in Michigan’s stunning Upper Peninsula, as part of the Blue Source Bishop Improved Forest Management project. It is the largest project registered to California’s program to date. “We are excited to have completed a project of this scale which we believe provides important proof that commercial timberland operators practicing sustainable forestry can participate and thrive within the California market,” said Roger Williams, President of Blue Source. In a positive sign for the market, the development cycle for California-eligible forest carbon projects is shortening, Williams noted.

Taking nothing for granted

In an interview on our Forest Carbon Portal, Chandler Van Voorhis, Managing Partner of project developer GreenTrees, reflected on the price drop for forestry projects on the voluntary market, which is partly due to an influx of livestock methane offsets in US markets. “What it means is that we in the forestry industry have to do a better job of communicating the value proposition of why our credits and not landfill methane,” he said. “While it’s obvious to us, we need to make it more apparent to the buyer.” GreenTrees is partnering with Norfolk Southern through its Trees for Trains program to plant six million trees in the Mississippi Delta over five years, reducing more than a million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Pay Day for Nepal

Sixteen community forest user committees in Nepal have received 5.9 million rupees (close to $10,000 US dollars) for a REDD+ project that has been underway since 2009. The project, located in the Kayar Khola watershed, has avoided the emission of 5,650 tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e). Sixty percent of its revenue flowed to Dalits, the poor and indigenous communities dependent on forests, with some of the money spent on poverty alleviation measures, such as purchasing buffalo calves. The project concluded in 2013, but could resume if the Nepalese government devises a carbon trade strategy, according to the project coordinator.

 

FINANCE AND ECONOMICS

A big if

The Global Canopy Programme and the United States Agency for International Development’s Forest Carbon, Markets and Communities (FCMC) program last week launched an interactive supply and demand graph, available on the REDD desk here. A few clicks on the graph create drastically different scenarios through 2020 depending on whether new REDD projects are registered, whether offsets are issued retroactively, which compliance markets accept REDD offsets, and whether demand on those markets is low-, mid-, or high-range. The most optimistic scenario, according to the report authors? That “demand could significantly exceed the estimated credit supply” if we reach an international climate agreement in 2015 that allows for REDD+ to start promptly. The study behind the graph is available here.

Coming soon

The UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF), through which developed countries have pledged $100 billion per year by 2020, agreed at its May board hearing on the six essential items that will enable its capitalization, at an amount of at least $10 billion. The GCF is a mix of private and public funding that could give a significant boost to REDD+. The first meetings with potential contributors to the fund will be held in late June. Analyst Stephen Leonard provides an overview of the board’s decisions here.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Tropical Mountain high

Mountain forest ecosystems store 40% more carbon than is usually calculated worldwide, according to a study recently published in Biogeosciences. Looking at more than 90 studies of above-ground carbon storage, researchers found that the land surface area of mountainous forests had been low-balled, not taking into account the slope. Estimating carbon storage in mountain rainforests is difficult because of treacherous terrain, and because they are often shrouded in clouds, muddying satellite imagery. “Hopefully our study will inspire forest carbon projects in the mountains,” said Dominick Spracklen, the lead author.


Whoopsy Daisy

Researchers working around Daisy Lake in Canada found that deforestation can reduce the amount of leaf litter falling into rivers and lakes, affecting the size of freshwater fish. Up to 70% of the carbon in some fish came from forests instead of aquatic ecosystems, according to the study, published in Nature Communications. And what fish eat, we eat. Freshwater fish make up 6% of annual protein supply for humans and are the major source of protein for families in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines, according to the study author.

HUMAN DIMENSION

Savvy underdogs

Ixtlí¡n in Oaxaca, Mexico is way ahead of the (climate) game: Over the course of a generation, the Zapotec community formed a tree-farming association that transformed their economy, giving them street lights, a bus service, and schools where students reach education levels twice the state’s average – and they are now relocating pine trees to higher altitudes based on temperature rise projections. The community would like to access carbon finance, but Mexico’s climate change and REDD laws have not yet been downscaled. “The inhabitants of regions such as Ixtlí¡n are knowledgeable about the land, because of their history and their needs, and they are the ones who can have the best influence in carrying out environmental rulemaking,” said Congresswoman Yesenia Nolasco of Oaxaca.

STANDARDS AND METHODOLOGY

Hey (bam)boo

Is bamboo a hero or a villain to forests? While some bamboo plantations put pressure on existing forests, companies such as EcoPlanet Bamboo are proving that plantations established on degraded land that undergo environmental and social certifications can provide an important alternative to timber for large purchasers such as IKEA, Kimberly Clark and Costco – and overcome some of the hurdles of reforestation that relies on carbon finance. The Gold Standard’s inclusion of bamboo reforestation in its Afforestation/Reforestation requirements aims to promote safeguards and guide good practices so that more carbon finance can flow to bamboo forests. The Forest Stewardship Council will also allow bamboo plantations to be certified on top of the Gold Standard designation.

Not dumbing farming down

The Gold Standard’s Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) requirements are now open for public comment through July 15. The goals of the program, which falls under the standard’s Land Use and Forests sector, are to ensure food security, build resilience to climate change impacts, and sequester carbon or avoid GHG emissions due to land conversion for agriculture. Fairtrade International was a partner in developing the requirements and there will be a Fairtrade certification process for Gold Standard offsets. The CSA requirements can be downloaded here and comments may be submitted via PDF to Daniel.bachmann@goldstandard.org.

Picky Kiwis

In an interview on our Forest Carbon Portal, Sean Weaver, Principal at the Carbon Partnership, opened up about the challenges faced by the consultancy’s Rarakau project. The 1,000-hectare project in New Zealand is part of a larger program to protect indigenous forests that existed before 1990 and therefore do not qualify for the country’s compliance markets. Rarakau is verified under the ISO14064-2 carbon standard since the Carbon Partnership could not afford Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) verification for a new methodology – a price tag of around $100,000 for auditing costs, according to Weaver. But many buyers have been demanding VCS or bust. “The headwinds are fairly strong for trying to engage in the carbon market from a demand side,” he said.

PUBLICATIONS

Now we’re talking

A new Summary for Policymakers, Understanding Land Use in the UNFCCC, aims to transform what has “come to be seen as an arcane and complex subject, impenetrable to the average person and even to skilled negotiators” (according to the authors’ email) into a digestible 12-pager. The summary explains requirements for reporting land use emissions and removals, the difference between land- and activity-based approaches, the role of natural disturbances, and more.

Getting tenure

A new report by FCMC, Tenure Rights, Human Rights and REDD+: Knowledge, Skills and Tools for Effective Results, presents a framework for identifying and asserting tenure and human rights associated with forests and land use. The report includes a helpful graphic for ‘unpacking the bundle of forest rights’ and understanding dispute resolution. It also highlights case studies of successful assertion of customary land title, such as the Saramaka People vs. Suriname case which came before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

What’s in your gene pool?

The first-ever State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals that half of the forest species regularly used by countries are threatened. About 2,400 tree species are actively managed – representing about a third of the 8,000 species used frequently by people but only 3% of total tree species in the world. Genetic diversity is important because it allows humans to breed plants for desired traits such as fruit size, oil composition, pulp production or size.

JOBS

Director, SHARP Program – Proforest

Based in Oxford, United Kingdom, the Director of the Smallholder Acceleration and REDD+ Programme (SHARP) will lead a new multi-stakeholder partnership which works with the private sector to support sustainable smallholder development while improving livelihoods, minimizing deforestation and improving food security. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in a related discipline and extensive experience of project management. Fluency in English is required; a second language (French, Portuguese, Spanish or Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia) would be desirable.

Read more about the position here

Scientist, Governance of Furniture Value Chains – Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Scientist will facilitate and identify strategic opportunities for research with impacts on governance of furniture value chains across selected landscapes in Southeast Asia and lead participatory research on policy, institutions and business models. The successful candidate will have a PhD in forestry or natural resource management with a strong background in participatory action research, no less than seven years of relevant work experience in governance research, and experience working in Southeast Asia. Fluency in Bahasa Indonesian and English is required; knowledge of one other language from the Southeast Asia region is desirable.

Read more about the position here

Advancement Director – Dogwood Alliance

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the Advancement Director will develop and execute strategies to advance Dogwood’s mission of protecting millions of acres of forests in the Southern US by transforming the way corporations, landowners and communities value them. The ideal candidate will have excellent staff, team and budget management skills, executive-level experience management successful major gifts/sales, and a passion for the mission of Dogwood Alliance.

Read more about the position here

Global Programmes Manager – The Gold Standard Foundation

Based at a home office in the UK with frequent travel to London, the Global Programmes Manager will act as the central point for a range of The Gold Standard Foundation’s technical and project delivery activities, including coordinating the Technical Advisory Committee and representing the Foundation at external events. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience in project management, outstanding stakeholder management skills, and the ability to work independently and meet deadlines.

Read more about the position here

Program Fellow, Sustainable Finance – The Moore Foundation

Based in Palo Alto, California, the Program Fellow will play a major part in helping to refine and shape the Moore Foundation’s approach, providing solid knowledge of the sustainable finance field and key emerging trends. The Foundation’s Environmental Conservation Program is currently exploring sustainable agriculture that reduces deforestation, among other topics. A bachelor’s degree is required; MBA, JD, or Masters/PhD in Finance, Economics or another relevant discipline is preferred, plus seven years of professional experience.

Read more about the position here

Program Assistant, Verification – The Climate Registry

Based in Los Angeles or New York City, The Program Assistant for Verification Services will help with the day-to-day operation of The Climate Registry’s voluntary and mandatory verification programs to ensure the collection of high-quality GHG data. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related technical degree and one to two years of professional experience, as well as an interest in working in the field of climate change, corporate environmental management, and/or air quality issues.

Read more about the position here

ABOUT THE FOREST CARBON PORTAL

The Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a bi-weekly news brief, feature articles, a calendar of events, a searchable member directory, a jobs board, a library of tools and resources. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, an international database of projects including those in the pipeline. Projects are described with consistent ‘nutrition labels’ and allow viewers to contact project developers.

ABOUT THE ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

 


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