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This Week In V-Carbon: Kindred Spirits

The Gold Standard draws from forestry aficionados CarbonFix and Forest Stewardship Council, while ERA Carbon Offsets joins hands with Offsetters and Carbon Credit Corporation in anticipation of the Western Climate Initiative market. The American Carbon Registry approves world’s first methodology for deltaic wetland restoration, and blue carbon gets further demystified with Duke. 

The Gold Standard draws from forestry aficionados CarbonFix and Forest Stewardship Council, while ERA Carbon Offsets joins hands with Offsetters and Carbon Credit Corporation in anticipation of the Western Climate Initiative market. The American Carbon Registry approves world’s first methodology for deltaic wetland restoration, and blue carbon gets further demystified with Duke.  

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

21 September 2012 | Two major acquisitions this week sought to tap into synergies among major carbon offset suppliers and standards in the voluntary carbon marketplace – motivated partly by opportunities in the compliance landscape.

The Gold Standard, historically focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency, has acquired the CarbonFix standard and signed an MOU with the Forest Stewardship Council in order to support its expansion into land use and forestry. In a market that otherwise continues to proliferate new standards for project certification, the Gold Standard’s move represents the first effort of its kind to begin consolidating demand and expertise under one brand. An Ecosystem Marketplace article dives into the Gold Standard’s move to diversify, how it reflects the CDM’s shift toward land use based projects in developing countries – and corresponding demand for a landscape approach that encompasses multiple project types.

Ecosystem Marketplace also provides coverage on ERA Carbon Offsets’ impending acquisition of Offsetters and Carbon Credit Corporation, as the three Canadian project developers look to consolidate their expertise and supply offsets for the emerging Western Climate Initiative program. In preparation for California’s cap-and-trade scheme, Finite Carbon registered an improved forest management (IFM) project under the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) in Maine, reportedly the nation’s first compliance-grade IFM project located outside California.

 

As other early movers seek a place in California’s market (details on the Nov 14 auction now available here), California regulators are defending the scheme’s design against industry protests and continuing to discuss whether to approve additional offset project types in order to deal with the projected undersupply of credits. Potential project types on the table include fertilizer management, avoided deforestation, coal mine methane capture, and rice management.

 

On the Mississippi River delta, the American Carbon Registry (ACR) approved the world’s first methodology for deltaic wetland restoration. Ecosystem Marketplace covers the methodology and pilot project with commentary from Sarah Mack of Tierra Resources, an environmental consulting firm based in New Orleans that developed the methodology. On the east coast, researchers at Duke University shine light on the economic impacts of losing coastal-marine ecosystems, otherwise known as blue carbon. Ecosystem Marketplace covers it here.

 
Zooming out, the Carbon Disclosure Project recently released its 2012 Global 500 Climate Change Report, ranking corporate disclosure and performance on emissions reductions. The report says that while some companies are active on climate change, few are setting sufficient targets or making the investments required to ensure their long-term resilience – largely reflecting regulatory uncertainty and the lack of a strong long-term price signal. Against the grain, a new report from the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency forecasts that by 2013, 33 countries and (sub-)regions (e.g. California) will have some level of carbon tax or emissions trading scheme.

 

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V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

The gold fix

On Tuesday, the Gold Standard announced it has acquired the CarbonFix standard to integrate into a (literally) greener Gold Standard version 3.0. Insofar as the Gold Standard for carbon offsets has focused on projects that deliver energy-efficient technology while CarbonFix has focused on tree-planting projects, the acquisition represents the first effort of its kind to begin consolidating demand and expertise under one brand – in a market that otherwise continues to proliferate new standards for project certification. The Gold Standard also announced an MOU with its sibling Forest Stewardship Council, which will see the two organizations leverage their respective approaches to social and environmental safeguards and carbon certification. Ecosystem Marketplace provides coverage.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace article
Read GS-CarbonFix press release
Read GS-FSC press release

ERA, CCC, & Offsetters tie the knot

ERA Carbon Offsets announced this week it has entered into two non-binding letters of intent to acquire shares in two Vancouver-based project developers – Offsetters, which specializes in clean tech carbon offsets – and Carbon Credit Corporation, which specializes in land-based carbon offsets. An Ecosystem Marketplace article explores the impetus behind the merger as the three suppliers tap into synergies and prep for the emerging Western Climate Initiative program. ERA is also conducting a private placement financing of Cdn $220,000 and plans to appoint James Tansey (Offsetters’ CEO) as ERA’s CEO post-acquisition and financing, in place of Duncan Manson.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace article
Read press release

Δ on the delta

The American Carbon Registry (ACR) has just approved the deltaic wetland restoration methodology, which enables project developers to draw from carbon credit revenues in their efforts to restore the Gulf of Mexico’s disappearing coastal wetlands, Louisiana’s first line of defense against hurricanes. Developed by New Orleans-based Tierra Resources and funded by Entergy, the methodology is modular and credits a wide range of restoration techniques, including reforestation and hydrologic management techniques like wetlands assimilation. An EM article discusses the new methodology and St. Charles Parish pilot project with Sarah Mack, founder and CEO of Tierra.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace article
Read press release

To the tune of blue carbon blues

A seminal Duke University study quantifies the large amounts of carbon sequestered by coastal ecosystems – and the even greater amounts of carbon that are lost when these ecosystems are destroyed. An EM article discusses the study’s findings and the outlook for blue carbon project development in terms of financial viability and technical capacity. While more research is needed to account for regional conversion rates of mangroves (and other specifics), economic incentives for blue carbon conservation initiatives are already in the pipeline. Next month, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is scheduled to release its Wetlands Restoration and Conservation methodology.

Read Ecosystem Marketplace article
Read Duke study

Finite and beyond

Last week, forest sink developer Finite Carbon registered the Farm Cove Forest Carbon Project on behalf of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, a community-based land trust in Maine. The 19,118-acre project was registered with the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) as an IFM project under Forest Project Protocol 3.2. The project received an initial issuance of nearly 200,000 compliance-eligible offsets, expected to have a value of over $2 million upon conversion to California’s ARB program. The project is reportedly the nation’s first compliance-grade IFM project outside California.

Read press release

BC gets Cheak-y

 

The Government of British Columbia has officially approved the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) project in principle, leaving CCF partners to hammer out final details and go through the accreditation process. CCF is the first forest to seek carbon credit revenue on leased Crown land. In consultation with Ecotrust Canda, the CCF is also the first forest in the province to develop an ecosystem-based management (EBM) plan, and will tap into Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The final version of the plan is currently out for public review, and forest sink developer Living Carbon has been tasked with calculating the quantity of carbon offsets that can be sold from the project. The Whistler municipality has agreed to voluntarily buy $52,000 in offsets from the CCF once it is accredited.

 

Read more

Mango for Mango

On Wednesday, mid-flight, the CEO of the South African state-owned Mango announced that the low-cost carrier has launched a 10-year plan to become Africa’s first carbon neutral airline. Aside from measuring its carbon footprint and making reductions, Mango plans to offset remaining emissions through a unique partnership with the South African Mango Growers Association and the Subtropical Fruit Association. Together, the partners plan to embark on a five-year agricultural development and offset programme, with a focus on generating voluntary carbon credits.

Read more

CF Partners dips into voluntary space

London-based investment manager CF Partners recently launched Arctix Sustainable Solutions, going beyond mandatory carbon trading to offer voluntary emission reduction products and services in an effort to boost company sales. Arctix’s current portfolio of VERs includes sustainable forestry preservation in Brazil (VCS), wastewater methane treatment in Indonesia and wind in China (pre-CDM VCS), and wind in Turkey and Lifestraw water filters in Kenya (Gold Standard). Arctix is a member of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA).

Read more

There’s a front door, a back door, and a Sandor

This week, the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) named Richard Sandor as the recipient of the 2012 WFE Award of Excellence in recognition of his innovations in financial futures and environmental financial products. On the environment, in the 1990s he chaired the CBOT’s Clean Air Committee, which developed the first spot and futures markets for SO2 emissions allowances and oversaw the annual allowance auctions conducted on the US EPA’s behalf. In 1998 Sandor founded Environmental Financial Products (EFP), which incubated the Climate Exchange family – among the exchanges, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE), and the European Climate Exchange (ECX).

Read press release

Greenie of the year

Steve Fieldus from Dubbo, Australia runs 11 bulk haulage trucks that collectively emit over 4,000 tCO2e annually. He also has a tattoo of his favorite truck on his bicep. His company, Transforce Bulk Haulage Pty Ltd, is now reportedly the world’s only carbon neutral fleet. This week, Fieldus completed the last requirements for certification under the National Carbon Offset Standard, a voluntary program run by Low Carbon Australia. What emissions Fieldus could not reduce, he cancelled out by purchasing offsets from a project in Africa on the voluntary market. “I wanted to buy offsets from Australian farmers – especially soil carbon offsets, but they aren’t available yet. Hopefully next year,” he said.

Read more

Feeding emissions into the shredder

Office supplies products distributor GoECOlife has renewed its commitment to carbon neutral products for a third consecutive year, certifying over 35 products as carbon neutral though the CarbonFree Product Certification Program (jointly offered by Carbonfund.org and NSF International). In addition to using energy-saving technology, GoECOlife offset the remaining carbon footprint of its products by supporting Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.

Read more

Climate North America

Cummins comes on board

Since the Western Climate Initiative’s (WCI) former Executive Director Anita M. Burke stepped down in August, the organization has chosen Patrick Cummins to serve as interim Executive Director. Cummins will be responsible for managing organizational and operational activities to ensure that WCI effectively delivers the administrative and technical support required by participating jurisdictions. Cummins currently serves as WCI’s Project Manager and Director of Air Quality Programs for the Western Governors’ Association. Over the past 25 years, Cummins has worked on environmental and energy issues at the federal, state, and local levels.

 

Not your grandmother’s vintage auction

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) recently released an auction notice for the California scheme’s first auction on November 14. The auction, scheduled for 10am – 1pm PT, will offer 21,804,539 year 2013 current vintage allowances and 39,450,000 year 2015 future vintage allowances. The number of allowances listed for the auction is a minimum and may increase depending on any additional consignments of allowances. The auction will be conducted using a web-based auction platform, with bids submitted in a single-round, sealed-bid auction format. Current and future vintage allowances will be sold in separate auctions, with the current vintage auction taking place first.

Read auction notice

Big banks gunshy

With 10 weeks to go until California’s first auction, major banks are weighing whether to wade into California’s new market, which experts believe could grow into a $40 billion annual market by 2020, but one also stuffed with risk. Most brand-name investment banks have kept their distance, jaded by the troubled European carbon market. Some banks, however hope their European experience will give them a leg up in California. “Some banks are staying away because they keep hearing that cap and trade is dead,” said Jeff King of Canada-based Scotiabank, the most active bank in the market so far. “It’s taken a long time but it’s really just taking root in North America now. The issue isn’t going away.”

Read more

Undersupply, oversupply

 

By the upcoming California scheme’s third phase (2018-2020), the market will be 67% or 134 MtCO2 short of offsets, according to the American Carbon Registry (ACR). ACR has said that adoption of its three protocols for pneumatic valve, coal mine methane capture, and rice management projects could reportedly help close the supply gap by adding 7 million credits. California regulators, however, banned use of pneumatic valve credits in July. If regulators approved those three protocols, there would still be a 35% shortfall by 2020. Regulators are also weighing whether to approve fertilizer management and avoided deforestation projects under the program.

 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – an indirect model for California – is experiencing the opposite problem. Earlier this month, the nine RGGI states sold 24.6 million carbon emission allowances at a minimum bid price of $1.93/tCO2, selling just 65% of permits offered. All 22 bidders were driven by compliance purposes, while non-compliance entities played a larger role in previous auctions. Power plants covered by RGGI emitted just 114 MtCO2 on average during RGGI’s first three-year period (compared to the 171 MtCO2 cap). This led to an oversupply of RGGI allowances, limiting demand for permits. RGGI states are slated to recommend changes this year, which could include tightening RGGI’s emissions cap.

 

Read on Cali undersupply
Read on RGGI oversupply

Kyoto & Beyond

Happy silver birthday, Montreal Protocol

Well, something’s working. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer celebrated its 25th anniversary on September 16, reportedly the most successful treaty in UN history for achieving universal ratification and meeting its targets ahead of schedule. The Protocol has enabled reductions of over 98% of the world’s production and consumption of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The Protocol also oversaw global phase-out of chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) by 2010. Reduced production and use of ODS has yielded a net reduction of about 25 BtCO2e between 1990 and 2000. Direct health care savings in the US is estimated at $4.2 trillion. Globally, the Protocol is estimated to have prevented 19 million more cases of non-melanoma cancer, 1.5 million more cases of melanoma cancer, and 130 million more cases of eye cataracts.

Read more

Green Power Play: Renewable Energy

Emissions reductions by any other name…

As India scales up investment in renewable energy as a part of its National Action Plan for Climate Change, it is exploring a range of incentives outside of the carbon market, including renewable energy credits (RECs), feed-in tariffs (FITs), accelerated depreciation benefits, tax holidays, generation-based incentives and capital subsidies. A new report by Bridge to India expects more stringent compliance requirements around renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) to bolster energy users’ demand for RECs, predicting the exchange of roughly 480 million RECs in India by 2016, with the lion’s share of RPOs being filled using solar RECs. The report expects RECs to trade somewhere between €34 and €62 after 2017. As with other countries engaged in the REC market like Russia and the US, the balance of investment in RECs versus carbon credits in India will depend largely upon the outcome of international negotiations and the global carbon price going forward.

Read more from PV Magazine
Read Bridge to India report

Featured Jobs

Associate – Climate Action Reserve

Based in Los Angeles, the associate will be responsible for maintaining, implementing, and updating existing protocols and assisting in the development of new project protocols. Candidates should have a BA/BS in natural/environmental science, engineering, public policy, economics, or related field, with 1-2 years’ work/internship experience, and experience in GHG emissions measurement and verification.

Read more about the position here

Climate Change & Land Use Consultant – Climate Focus

Based in Washington, DC or Amsterdam, the consultant will conduct research and analysis on REDD+ policy and projects, help prepare advice for clients, contribute to project due diligence, and participate in outreach and acquisition. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s with 3 years’ experience in forestry, forest policy, or the carbon markets; or a Master’s with a demonstrated interest in land use and climate change.

Read more about the position here

Carbon Sourcing Associate – The CarbonNeutral Company

Based in London, the associate will be responsible for carbon project screening and due diligence, preparing project descriptions and collateral with the marketing team, evaluating project methodologies, tracking project deliveries, and liaising with the sales team to identify carbon requirements. Candidates should have a BS in engineering or environmental science (Master’s preferred), with prior experience working with carbon standards through origin, screening, PDD writing, and audit.

Read more about the position here

Research Analyst – Impact Carbon

Based in San Francisco or East Africa (e.g., Uganda, Kenya, or Rwanda), the analyst will lead field research, analysis, and publishing of study results, managing impact assessment initiatives for both carbon offset projects and behavioral research. Candidates should have strong research, analytical, and writing experience, ideally with an advanced degree in science, engineering, environmental or energy sciences.

Read more about the position here

Senior Programme Officer, Climate Policy – WWF

Based in New Delhi, the officer will assist in implementing WWF India’s initiatives with a focus on climate policy, provide research report, and assist in technical and financial reporting for climate policy/climate change projects. Candidates should have a Master’s in climate policy, environmental science, economics or related field, with 4+ years’ experience in climate change.

Read more about the position here

Research Associate, Climate Policy – Institute for Sustainable Resources

Based in London, the associate will undertake research, dissemination, and coordination activities related to the CECILIA2050 project (Choosing Efficient Combinations of Policy Instruments for Low-Carbon Development and Innovation to Achieve Europe’s 2050 Climate Targets), as well as support for the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. Candidates should have a higher social or natural science degree relevant to climate policy.

Read more about the position here

Recruitment Policy Director, EU Affairs – IETA

Based in Brussels, the director will be responsible for running a small office of IETA in Brussels, developing and implementing policy initiatives and advocacy related to carbon market and international trading. Candidates should have EU citizenship, with 3+ years’ relevant work experience.

Read more about the position here

Market Research Officer – IFC

 

Based in Washington, DC, the officer will support the Climate Business Department with industry, market, and company research in support of climate business development strategies, analyze IFC portfolio and pipeline data, and pitch in on research and writing support for reports and presentations. Candidates should have a Master’s from a strong institution, with 5+ years’ technical/commercial experience in climate-related sectors.

 

Read more

Climate Change Policy Specialist – Wildlife Conservation Society

Based in New York, the specialist will support the Climate Change Mitigation program in WCS Global Initiatives in three main areas of work: 1) management of existing and prospective market REDD+ projects; 2) program development; and 3) policy and legal work on REDD. Candidates should have a Master’s or commensurate work experience in forestry, PES, economics, business, or related field.

Read more about the position here

Research Fellow – The Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy
Based in Wuppertal, Germany, the candidate will contribute to research projects on the international carbon market, pitch in on acquisition of third-party funding, and help with communication and cultivation of contacts with climate policy stakeholders. Candidates should have a Master’s in economics, political or environmental sciences or related subject.

Read more about the position here

Head of Environmental Sustainability – University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, the head will act as the Trust’s strategic and operational lead for the sustainability agenda, leading on implementing specific actions outlined with the Trust’s Carbon Reduction Plan. Candidates should have a relevant Master’s degree or equivalent, with specialist knowledge in areas associated with the sustainability agenda.

Read more about the position here

Assurance Manager – Ernst & Young

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the manager will provide guidance in the delivery of climate change and sustainability services, with a focus on complex and/or specialized issues within Assurance and/or technical sustainability reporting and advisory capacities. Candidates should have a degree in accounting, engineering, environmental science, or related field with 3+ years’ experience in a sustainability position dealing with GHG, CSR verification, or CSR reporting advisory experience for a public accounting firm or consulting practice.

Read more about the position here

Chief Strategy Officer – Groundswell

Based in Washington, DC, the officer will manage external facing communications, execute a blended-revenue strategy that balances philanthropic and public sector resources with social investment and earned revenue, develop revenue-bearing partnerships, and lead efforts around the organization’s growth strategy at the intersection of clean energy and community development. Candidates should have 3+ years’ experience with staff management, proven success with direct external donor/investors, raising capital, and building private sector partnerships.

Read more about the position here


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