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This Week In V-Carbon:
Blue Carbon In The Gulf

Louisiana-based energy giant Entergy’s acknowledges the need to protect the infrastructure that serves its customers around  the Gulf of Mexico, which makes wetland restoration – and its ability to curb damage from hurricanes – a priority. The company has invested $150,000 in a methodology that allows landowners to earn carbon offsets from wetland restoration activities, with plans to purchase offsets from the methodology’s first pilot project.

Louisiana-based energy giant Entergy’s acknowledges the need to protect the infrastructure that serves its customers around  the Gulf of Mexico, which makes wetland restoration – and its ability to curb damage from hurricanes – a priority. The company has invested $150,000 in a methodology that allows landowners to earn carbon offsets from wetland restoration activities, with plans to purchase offsets from the methodology’s first pilot project.

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

5 August 2013 | Last September, the American Carbon Registry (ACR) approved the very first methodology that allows landowners to earn carbon offsets from deltaic wetland restoration projects – a major milestone for blue carbon as an emerging project type in the voluntary carbon market, and a testament to the potential for carbon finance to touch upon both mitigation and adaptation benefits.

The methodology, developed by folks from Tierra Resources and Louisiana State University, has found a strong advocate in Entergy, a utility with an urgent need to protect the infrastructure that serves its 2.8 million customers around the Gulf of Mexico. The Louisiana coast has reportedly been losing land equivalent to a football field every 38 minutes.

“We’re uniquely at risk due to the geographic location of our company and our customers,” says Brent Dorsey, director of corporate environmental programs at Entergy. “Every few years, taking a direct hit from a hurricane is difficult to recover from. Our customers can’t afford for us to keep rebuilding the system.”

In addition to having invested $150,000 in the methodology itself, Entergy plans to purchase some of the carbon offsets produced by the methodology’s first pilot project, which is located just west of New Orleans. The Luling project diverts treated municipal wastewater into a 950-acre wetland that has been threatened by subsidence and saltwater intrusion, effectively turning municipal wastewater into wetland food.

Building upon its track record of supporting carbon offset projects through its Environmental Initiatives Fund, Entergy is now working to get other private sector actors interested in leveraging carbon finance for wetland restoration. Tierra Resources’ newest pilot project is a wetland planting initiative with energy corporation ConocoPhillips, one of the largest owners of private wetland in the United States.

If blue carbon projects were to eventually cover 1 million acres in the Gulf (a quarter of the projected full potential), Tierra Resources estimates that carbon finance could leverage $5 billion to $15 billion for wetlands restoration based on modeling using an offset price of $12-25/tCO2e.

Further west, Tierra Resources is pushing for the wetlands methodology to be picked up by California’s compliance cap-and-trade program, which could provide steadier demand at higher prices.

Read the full story here, Part II in Ecosystem Marketplace’s new three-part series on the economics of ecosystem protection along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.

These and other stories from the voluntary carbon marketplace are summarized below, so keep reading! Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, we are preparing to transition from data collection to report-writing mode in order to bring you this year’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets report. If you have not yet responded with data and wish to participate in the survey, please notify Daphne Yin. We also are continuing to collect data describing clean cookstove projects , to inform a dedicated cookstoves report to come out later this summer. Respondents to either survey can choose to be publicly recognized alongside a link to your website – and no individual data points are publicly reported.

These and other stories from the voluntary carbon marketplace are summarized below, so keep reading! And if you value what you read in this news brief, consider supporting Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program as a Supporting Subscriber.

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V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

The coast is unclear

On the heels of a new lawsuit filed in Louisiana against 100 oil and gas players for damages caused by degraded coastal lands, Ecosystem Marketplace is working on a new three-part series of articles on the economics of ecosystem protection along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Part I dives into the lawsuit. Part Two of the series, just published, looks at Tierra Resources’ new ACR-certified offset methodology – the very first methodology for emission reductions from deltaic wetland restoration – and explains why Entergy, the major utility in the region, has embraced the project. Also stay tuned for Part Three, slated to come out next week, which will take a broader look at Entergy’s efforts to identify and address climate-related risks.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace series, Part I
Read Ecosystem Marketplace series, Part II


Cooking up a storm

This year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report showed that carbon markets are funneling more and more money into projects that distribute low-carbon cookstoves, transacting $65.3 million or 5.8 MtCO2e in offsets from cookstove projects in 2012, a 54% increase in value from the year prior. The average price, $11.3/tCO2e, fell slightly from the year before but is still significantly higher than the $5.9/tCO2e average price across all project types. A recent Ecosystem Marketplace article explains how StovePlus – a new initiative developed by GERES – seeks to propel the adoption of these offset projects even further, with an eye toward contributing to the dissemination of two million improved cookstoves by 2017 in Southeast Asia and West Africa.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace article
Read 2013 SOVCM report


Rumble in the jungle

A recent Ecosystem Marketplace article delves into researcher Greenomics’ accusations regarding the Rimba Raya Conservation Project in Indonesia. Greenomics claimed that the Rimba Raya Conservation Project had not secured proper land tenure and had overstated the amount of forest it saved. However, after a brief analysis of project documents, Ecosystem Marketplace found the Greenomics claims to be inaccurate. The Indonesian organization selectively referenced government documents and did not differentiate between the project’s accounting area and its management zone, leading to a discrepancy in the size of the forestplot. Furthermore, Greenomics disregarded the state’s park boundary change which occurred after the Rimba Raya Conservation Project had already protected that land area.

 

Infinite Earth, the project developer behind Rimba Raya, itself refuted Greenomics claims and confirmed that while the total project management area is 64,000 hectares, only 47,000 hectares are generating carbon credits, contrary to Greenomics’ previous assertion. The project only recently garnered approval in May and is projected to offset 131 MtCO2e over 30 years.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace article
Read more from Mongabay


Green-e expands its portfolio

US-based retailer TerraPass has just received a stamp of approval on its carbon offset product from Green-e Climate – North America’s leading independent certification program for carbon offsets sold on the retail market. The newly approved “TerraPass Green-e Climate Certified Carbon Offsets product” sources offsets from landfill gas projects in Pennsylvania and Illinois and a wind offset project located in Oklahoma, all of which are registered with and verified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This new addition to the list of affiliated Green-e products comes just after Green-e Climate also okayed offsets generated under the American Carbon Registry (ACR) for use in Green-e Climate certified offset products.

Read press release


Dry state dips its toes overseas

Down in Texas, Austin College has partnered with US-based offset supplier NativeEnergy to offset the travel emissions associated with one of the college’s primary study abroad programs. Under the initiative, faculty and students have the option to buy offsets to cancel out the emissions from their trips to destinations like Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Greece. Their support has so far been targeted toward HelpBuild Gold Standard-verified offsets from NativeEnergy’s Kenya Clean Water project, which distributes water filters to households in rural Kenya. The initiative is also intended to help meet the college’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.

Read more


In the wrong place at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority may have uncovered some new unscrupulous actors working in the voluntary carbon markets, this week launching a High Court action against 14 firms and individuals allegedly responsible for operating illegal collective investment schemes that fraudulently market land and carbon credits. The firms in question include Reforestation Projects, also known as Capital Carbon Credits, which offers investments in carbon offsets purportedly generated from land in Sierra Leone, Brazil, and Australia. Last year, a number of boiler rooms were shut down in the UK after an investigation by the UK’s Insolvency Service.

Read more


Greening the green

The organizers of the RBC Canadian Open aimed to make this year’s tournament – held this past week in Ontario and dominated by Brandt Snedeker – one of the Professional Golfers Association’s greenest tournaments by going carbon neutral. To offset all electricity used at the event, the RBC Canadian Open purchased carbon offsets through RBC’s carbon emissions trading group in RBC Capital Markets, environmental attributes from renewable energy firm Bullfrog Power (certified by Environmental Canada’s EcoLogoM program) covering wind power and hydro power, and natural gas derived from landfill methane using environmental standards as defined by ICF International.

Read press release
Read more from Inside Halton


A new pitch for diners and travelers

US-based offset retailer Carbonfund.org has launched a creative tree-planting campaign where individuals can purchase offsets in exchange for free dining points and enter sweepstakes to win a Caribbean vacation by liking the Carbonfund page on Facebook. Carbonfund.org-supported forestry projects include the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Reforestation Initiative (being developed to the American Carbon Registry) in the United States and the PURUS Protection of Tropical Forest and Biodiversity Project, reportedly the first REDD+ project in Acre, Brazil to receive certification from both the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (currently validated).

Read more


Climate North America

Friends but not soul mates

This week, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator to share their experiences of operating carbon markets. Any linkage of the Californian and Australian emissions trading schemes is still off the table according to Nichols, however, in part due to the uncertainty of the future of the Australian system, as well as the significantly different approaches taken by each system. Unlike Australia, California has not allowed the use of international Kyoto units. Its offsets can currently only be developed from US domestic projects, though the ARB is currently considering whether to add international REDD credits to the mix of permitted offsets.

Read more


Kyoto & Beyond

Fees-able alternative scrapped

Last week, the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board considered a proposal to reduce administrative fees for project developers but ultimately decided to keep them in place. Project developers requesting more than 20,000 carbon credits a year currently pay a fee of $0.20 per unit, not exactly cheap when market rates for carbon remain below the cost of generating offsets. However, recognizing that this fee revenue is vital to funding the UN’s climate arm, instead of scrapping the fees, the UN will use the money to maintain and create regional centers in order to support project development in Africa, the Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Read more


CDM finds new places to call home

As part of its efforts to revitalize the Clean Development Mechanism, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is planning to launch two new offices in Bogota, Colombia and Manila, Philippines in hopes to promote trading in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The two new centers will complement existing regional centers in Africa and the Caribbean, where the UNFCCC also entered new partnerships this past year with Caribbean nonprofit Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation in Grenada; Banque Ouest Africaine de Developpement in Lomé, Togo, and the East African Development Bank in Kampala, Uganda.

Read more about Bogota and Manila
Read more about Grenada
Read more about Lomé and Kampala


Carbon Finance

Tracking REDD+ tracking

With REDD+ projects and activities spanning the past five years and counting, REDD+ has seen billions of dollars committed to its cause around the globe. Tracking the deployment and flow of this finance is challenging. Several initiatives focus on tracking REDD+ finance at different scales and often use slightly different definitions and data sources – which can consequently produce a variety of numbers when counting REDD+.

 

To promote harmonization and to build up a more comprehensive picture of the state of REDD+ finance, Forest Trends’ REDDX and the Overseas Development Institute’s Climate Funds Update have just launched the first two articles of a collaborative series that explains existing REDD+ finance tracking projects – including Forest Trends’ own new REDDX expenditures tracking initiative (Spanish version here) – while identifying niches and possible cross-over areas to directly support more comprehensive assessments of REDD+ policy and finance gaps and needs.

Read REDD+ Finance series, Part I: Who’s Counting?
Read REDD+ Finance series, Part II: What You See Isn’t Always What You Get

Featured Jobs

Carbon Programmer Manager – Atmosfair

Based in Nigeria, the manager will be responsible for tasks revolving around the coordination and monitoring of cookstove distribution, as well as for managing public relations for the firm’s CDM Gold Standard Programme of Activities in-country. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s, 3-5 years’ experience in end user technologies and/or supply chain management with proven success.

Read more about the position here


Local myclimate Expert (LOME) – myclimate

Based in Kampala, the Local myclimate Expert will manage projects, build capacity and identify new projects relating to household technologies such as Improved Cooking Stoves and Water Purification Technologies. Candidates should have a degree in engineering, renewable energy, environmental sciences or related field and 2-5 years’ experience of work in related fields, preferably carbon markets.

Read more about the position here


Two Positions – Terra Global Capital
Terra Global Capital is looking to fill two positions in its California office. The Natural Resource Climate Change Project Manager will support the carbon development process for international forest and land-use carbon projects and jurisdictional programs. Candidates should have a degree in environmental science, natural resource management, or other relevant field and a minimum of 5 years’ experience in environmental consulting or finance and 2 years’ experience in climate change mitigation. Read more about the position here.

 

 

The AFOLU Carbon Quantification and Development Senior Specialist will review technical aspects of AFOLU carbon projects and provide guidance to project developers. Candidates should have a PhD in applied natural sciences and a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience in environmental consulting and 2 years’ experience with carbon projects. Read more about the position here.

 


Knowledge Management Platform Manager – Forest Carbon Asia

Based in Vientiane, the Knowledge Management Platform Manager will work closely with the Executive Director and support staff to manage Forest Carbon Asia’s Regional Knowledge Management Platform. Candidates should have a degree/expertise in forestry, natural resources or a related field and experience working in and familiarity with the Asian region.

Read more about the position here


Project Director, Conservation Investments – The Nature Conservancy

Based in California, the Project Director will support TNC’s California work in conservation finance, conservation assets and environmental economics. Candidates should have a BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in a private sector environment or with a leading conservation organization or government entity.

Read more about the position here


Executive Director – The Climate Trust

Based in Oregon, the Executive Director will be expected to bring a new vision and voice to successfully position The Climate Trust as a necessary leader in the national transition to a low-carbon economy. Candidates should have a minimum of 10 years as a senior executive in an environmental or energy-related organization — ideally with a combination of both nonprofit and for-profit experience.

Read more about the position here


GHG Program Research Volunteer – Center for Resource Solutions

Based in California, the GHG Program Research Volunteer will involve research into and evaluation of program requirements, program performance, changes and trends in project registration, and changes in the stances of other organizations toward projects/credits from different greenhouse gas (GHG) programs and rationales behind these changes. Candidates should have carbon market experience, preferably specific experience with the CDM and/or VCS programs (e.g. research/academic, project development, project validation or verification), along with strong writing and communications skills.

Read more about the position here





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