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This Week In Forest Carbon:
Two Steps Forward And One Step Back

Big steps were taken in the right direction these past couple of weeks, starting with a pledge from 33 major economies to support REDD+ developments and the release of the REDD+ Offset Working Group’s recommendations for counting REDD+ carbon credits in California’ cap-and-trade program. However, on the ground, Indonesia’s Ulu Masen forests may face logging threats due to a proposed spatial plan.


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




6 February 2013 Ecosystem Marketplace is pleased to announce an open call for organizations to contribute data to the State of the Forest Carbon Markets and State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 reports.


Access this year’s survey HERE

If your organization has developed forest carbon projects in either voluntary or compliance markets, we invite you to describe your project and any 2012 transactions. If you sold forest carbon offsets to voluntary buyers in 2012 but are not a project developer, we also welcome your response in the “2012 Transactions” survey section. 

 

Forest carbon project developers that provide project-level information by February 15th – whether or not you have transacted credits yet – can also choose to have their project profiled as the Forest Carbon Portal’s Featured Project. Once you create a login, you can return to and update your response until you’re ready to submit!

 

Forest project developers can choose their preferred level of confidentiality – from completely open (including transaction prices and volumes) to completely confidential. Individual names and contact information will not be published or given out to third parties without prior permission.

 

ABOUT THE REPORTS: In 2012, Ecosystem Marketplace published the third edition of the State of the Forest Carbon Markets report, offering deep insights and fundamental market data for this rapidly growing and historically significant sector. This report, and the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets reports, have been quickly adopted as carbon market benchmarks and are cited throughout the year by major news outlets, private- and public-sector decision makers, and other market players and observers.

 

Access the surveys HERE. We appreciate your assistance and look forward to working with you.

 

Contact: For questions regarding the survey, contact Daphne Yin, Carbon Program Associate, at dyin@ecosystemmarketplace.com. To financially support either report, contact Molly Peters-Stanley, Carbon Program Manager, at mpeters-stanley@ecosystemmarketplace.com. 

 

—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 

ROW-ing onto California’s Shore 

After two years of observation and analysis, the REDD+ Offset Working (ROW) Group and its panel of scientists, environmental experts and conservationists bring forth their draft recommendations for the inclusion of REDD+ carbon credits – from Brazil’s Acre and Mexico’s Chiapas – in California’s cap-and-trade scheme. The group’s suggestions are three-fold, covering program architecture, social and environmental safeguards, and legal and institutional matters. “The issues we tackled… are meant to provide clear guidance in creating quality jurisdictional programs that are ready for linkage with California today,” said panelist Gregory Asner. The recommendations will now undergo a comment period until the end of April, after which the finalized recommendations will be provided to the governors of California, Acre and Chiapas to await feedback. 

 

The Doha Aftermath

During a post-Doha panel hosted by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, McGuire Woods, and the International Emissions Trading Association, next steps for climate finance were discussed from the perspective of climate finance, climate assurance, and voluntary market experts. The panelists shed light on the need for efficient use of limited public funds and stronger investments on behalf of the private sector. The panel highlights the potential of the Green Climate Fund to provide mitigation and adaptation funding, while recognizing the still-present risks of carbon market participation. To aid in project-level risks, the panel mentions an array of tools that could be used, including pay-for-performance systems, direct purchase and top-up instruments. The panel concluded by identifying the parallel need for growing investments in adaptation alongside mitigation. Read more from this Ecosystem Marketplace event here.

 

I Pledge an Allegiance to REDD+

At the first GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit held earlier this month in London, policymakers from 33 of the world’s major economies agreed on a pledge to support REDD+. The pledge commits legislators to promote and move REDD+ forward in their own countries, facilitating the engagement of rural and indigenous communities in the schemes for sustainable development. The goal of the Summit was to speed up the development of climate change policy at the national level in order to increase the odds of the international community agreeing on a climate change treaty by 2015. 

 

Project Development

Another Acre Ace

The Acre-based Purus Project – developed by CarbonCo, LLC, a subsidiary of the Carbonfund.org Foundation – has just received dual validation from the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard, as well as landed its first contract to deliver carbon credits to The CarbonNeutral Company. Representatives from both the project developer and buyer noted the State of Acre's willingness to engage with market participants in early-stage project-level activities while the state irons out its jurisdictional REDD program – providing a positive indicator of the results that can potentially stem from collaborations between the private and public sector. Read more on this Ecosystem Marketplace exclusive at the Forest Carbon Portal here.

 

The MIGA Bubble 

The political risk insurance branch of the World Bank, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), recently announced it will be supporting an agribusiness project in Nicaragua which entails buying and converting degraded land into commercial bamboo plantations and additionally has proven to have a positive impact in the region’s economy. MIGA’s investment guarantees of $27 million support the equity investment by EcoPlanet Bamboo Group for up to 15 years against the risks of expropriation, war and civil disturbances. EPBG plans on establishing a pre-processing center for the production and sale of its FSC-certified bamboo fiber. The Group has also received dual validation under VCS – for an initial 816,000 tCO2 reduction – and CCBA. 

 

 

Sold to the folks from Germany!

ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. recently announced the first sale and delivery of 300,000 offsets from its Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in the DRC; the customer is Germany-based Forest Carbon Group AG. ERA and FCG have signed a three-year sale agreement with quarter-year deliveries of 100,000 offsets following, amounting to the release of 1.1 million offsets through the end of 2014. Throughout its thirty-year lifetime, the project – developed by ERA and Wildlife Works LLC – is slated to generate around 175 million offsets. It was also dually validated and verified by VCS and CCBA. ERA is also granting 275,000 incentive stock options to directors, officers, employees and consultants at an exercise price of $0.21, exercisable for a 5-year period.

 

Bearable Criticism

The Vancouver Sun raises questions over the Coastal First Nations’ improved forest management project in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, which critics say fails the additionality test for carbon emissions reductions. Among the arguments presented, Valerie Langer of Forest Ethics BC’s forest campaign says the First Nations should not receive credit for the protected areas (where carbon credits were reportedly not a part of the conversations that enabled area protection), but should for the new lighter-logging legislation for which their support was needed. Pacific Carbon Trust officials say they have no plans to buy credits from the project this year and next. As a result, the First Nations are looking to sell credits in the voluntary markets, with Vancouver-based Offsetters serving as marketer.

 

Lost in Transition 

Indonesia's Aceh province has hit a conservation wall. Its Ulu Masen forests were originally slated to become a 735,000-hectare preservation area, but a new spatial plan drawn up by Aceh's government fails to recognize Ulu Masen for conservation. Instead, the plan reportedly opens large areas of its lowland rainforests for mining and logging, making key protected areas vulnerable to deforestation, along with numerous endangered speciesNot to mention, Aceh is losing any opportunity to partake in the forest carbon market and REDD+. The draft plan strays far from the plan presented by Aceh’s former governor, Yusuf Irwandi, who wanted to increase forest cover to 68% and earn carbon credits through REDD+. 

 

National Strategy & Capacity

Confessions of a REDD-aholic

After Latin American countries Costa Rica and Chile signed formal agreements with VCS to collaborate on the design of their jurisdictional and nested REDD+ (JNR) framework, the two countries report on their progress thus far in these partnerships and other forest carbon initiatives they are working on. On the one hand, Chile is moving forward with a forestry NAMA in collaboration with Switzerland and the development of a national ETS under the PMR. Meanwhile, Costa Rica works on their strategy for generating carbon credits to feed both the voluntary and regulatory market. Read more on this Ecosystem Marketplace exclusive at the Forest Carbon Portal here

 

To Halt or Not to Halt

As East Kalimantan announces a one-year moratorium on new logging, mining and palm oil plantation permits, the fate of Indonesia’s moratorium on new logging and agricultural concessions remains up for debate with environmentalists, government officials, and industry representatives weigh in on the pros and cons of the halt. Since its inception, the two-year moratorium – slated to end this May – has been criticized for its lax enforcement, with environmental groups constantly shedding light on palm oil companies continuing to deforest. However, Hadi Daryanto, secretary general of the Ministry of Forestry, is advocating for the moratorium’s extension, claiming it has been successful. In writing, the moratorium has put aside 14.5 million ha of forests and peatland from new concessions, and on the ground, transparency has improved since the start of the freeze.

 

There’s More to Forests Than Meets the Eye

A recent report by the Kenyan government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) highlights the importance of preserving Kenya’s forests and capitalizing on its natural resources for development. The report takes into consideration the value of wood products as well as ecosystem services, and finds that, “The negative effect of deforestation to the economy through reduction in regulating services was more than 2.8 times the cash revenue of deforestation.” The report also includes a list of recommendations for policymakers, such as more stringent regulation of forest use and the encouragement of investments in the forestry sector. 

 

Somewhere between a sue-able and suitable Code...

A mere four months after the final text of Brazil’s latest forest code was approved, federal prosecutors filed three actions against the code before the Supreme Court. Prosecutors claim the code should be partially suspended because it “reduces and abolishes areas previously viewed as protected,” according to a statement from their office. The new code provides amnesty to those who illegally cleared forested land before 2008 and allows landowners to count riverbanks and hillsides in the 80% forest cover they are required to maintain, which the code previously excluded. 

 

...Brazil Makes a 4-year Plan

The Brazilian government will be launching the most exhaustive tree census in over 40 years. The four-year task is slated to provide detailed information on tree species, soils and biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest. Despite reaching a 20-year deforestation low during 2012, Brazil recognizes it still needs some more ground to cover to reach its commitment to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80% by 2020. Forestry Ministry Antonio Carlos Hummel stated yearly progress will be published to provide government with information upon which to base conservation strategies. 

 

Bolivia tries to make lemonade out of lemons

Bolivian law was recently approved to regulate land use in the Bolivian Amazon, where deforestation due to agricultural expansion – the country’s main driver of deforestation – is on the rise. Law 337 states that landowners who illegally deforested before 2011 are required to reforest or set up “productive agriculture” on the deforested land and pay a reduced fine for their previous offense. The Bolivian government hopes this new law will increase the country’s currently low agricultural productivity specifically in already deforested land, preventing further deforestation. However the effectiveness of the new law is still up for debate as Bolivia lacks the resources in the Amazon to control and monitor deforestation to the extent that neighbors such as Brazil currently do. 

 

Finance & Economics

Financing for Change

Climate finance has ramped up in the short weeks of this year and last, seeing unprecedented developments in developing countries like China and Costa Rica. China announced its China Power Sector Transformer Efficiency Program, a Programme of Activity under the CDM, issued CERs, along with its Facilitating Reforestation for Guangxi Watershed Management in Pearl River Basin Project, which was the first reforestation project worldwide to be registered under the CDM. Meanwhile, Costa Rica became the first country to receive approval to access performance-based payments through the FCPF’s Carbon Fund, and was guaranteed continued financial support with Norway, Germany and Finland’s recent announcement of a $180 million contribution to the FCPF. Read the rest of this Ecosystem Marketplace exclusive at the Forest Carbon Portal here

 

NZ-ers to jump ship

New Zealand forest owners who previously sold carbon credits when they were in the $18-24 price range are now contemplating leaving the country’s ETS, according to Carbon News. Starting in 2010, two years after the forestry sector entered the scheme, New Zealand Unit prices began to drop, ending in current prices around $2.50. Consequently, the amount of international units, such as CERs, used to meet carbon obligations by New Zealand emitters is on the rise as the number of NZUs used is decreasing. Top officials from eight New Zealand-based forestry companies – representing close to 70% of the nation’s plantation forests – futilely urged Prime Minister John Key to halt the flow of cheap credits into country. 

 

Human Dimension 

The corrupt elephant in the room

The risk of corruption seems ever-present in the DRC, after years of incidents and reports hinting at the potential ineffectiveness of implementing a REDD+ strategy. In a 2011 report, PricewaterhouseCoopers warned that REDD+ efforts would face many in-country challenges due to the DRC’s widespread corruption problem. Last fall, Global Witness claimed that industrial logging companies were exploiting the artisanal logging permits that the country allows to go around DRC’s halt on new logging concessions, reporting government cooperation was also to blame. Shortly after, the International Monetary Fund stopped a $532 million loan program for the country given worries over transparency in the mining sector. 

 

Save the rosewoods!

Belize’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla, made a countrywide statement recently when she burned a confiscated stockpile of illegally-extracted rosewood shipment. Almost a year ago, Alamilla instituted a moratorium specifically on rosewood to counteract the exploitation of this wood seen in 2011. However, some loggers have chosen to ignore the moratorium, such as those loggers whose cargo was burned. Rosewood has been in increasing demand, particularly from outside sources, such as China, leading to an increase in rosewood harvesting in Belize. To offset this pressure, Belize requested that three species of rosewood be protected under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES Appendix II). Belize’s proposal will be reviewed in March.  

 

Science & Technology Review 

Tree Tracck-ing 

In an innovative attempt to fight illegal deforestation and logging, phone-sized devices are being fastened to trees in the Brazilian Amazon to notify government officials if they are logged and transported elsewhere. Once the logs are within 20 miles of a mobile phone network, position data is sent to Brazil’s environment agency, allowing officials to track trees in real time. The devices – part of a new technology line called Invisible Tracck – are supposed to have a battery life of up to a year, with a design fit for Amazon climate. Invisible Tracck is currently being piloted by Dutch digital security company Gemalto. 

 

Making it Rain

A recent publication highlighting the physics and logic behind a controversial climate model theory is receiving some support from the climate community. The “biotic pump” model states that forests play a significant role in determining rainfall by creating atmospheric winds that pump moisture across continents. The model suggests we can strategically replant forests in areas that have been experiencing the worst droughts, and simultaneously warns of the conversion that could take place – from tropical to arid – if severe deforestation were to continue in forest-rich countries.  If the theory continues gaining traction, it could lead to potential policy changes, and ways of looking at deforestation and its effects. 

 

It’s the little things...

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization developed new technology that could help Australia monitor its forests and GHG emissions. The National Forest Trend is a time-series summary that generates maps of vegetation changes in forests over time at the national level and at very high resolutions – this last detail making the technology a new development forward and an asset for natural resource management and environmental reporting. CSIRO’s Jeremy Wallace says, “The big picture is that a technology for monitoring forest changes…has now been produced at the national level for use in land cover and greenhouse accounting.”

 

Publications & Tools

Four years in the making 

The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility published its 2012 FCPF Annual Report, highlighting progress during the Facility’s fourth year of implementation – including information on REDD+ readiness, REDD+ funding and partnership building – as well as a forecast for 2013. The report hones in on the international-level challenges facing REDD+ and progress that was still able to occur on the ground. 

 

Beyond Standard

Climate Focus launched Standards for Results-based REDD+ Finance: Overview and Design Parameters as the first in a volume of analytical papers to evaluate the structural characteristics of a number of results-based standards, methodologies and protocols. In this paper, CF aims to recap the most important standards that funnel results-based payments to REDD+.

 

 

Announcement

A penny for your thoughts

The UN-REDD Programme would like to get feedback from its site visitors. This quick survey on how to improve un-redd.org takes less than five minutes, and you can contribute to the enhancement of information delivery. 

 

Jobs

Research Assistant, Forest Trade & Finance – Forest Trends

Based in Washington, DC, the assistant will support the Forest Trade and Finance Program's REDD+ finance tracking initiative to promote a clearer and more comprehensive picture of the REDD+ financing landscape. Candidates should have an undergrad or grad degree in geography, environmental science, or related field, ideally with Spanish or Portuguese language skills. Read more about the position here.

 

Campaigns Assistant, Forest Program – Environmental Investigation Agency

Based in Washington, DC, the assistant will provide support for campaign research, presentations, press releases, newsletters and blog posts, and work closely with the Forest Campaign Director. Candidates should have experience in advocacy and campaigns at the national or international level. Read more about the position here.

 

Intern, International Climate, Amazon Basin Project – Environmental Defense Fund

Based in Washington, DC, the intern will research current deforestation monitoring systems, develop ideas for integrating Indigenous Peoples teams to monitor those systems and work with EDF staff to develop materials for training sessions for Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon. Candidates should have a demonstrated interest in environmental science, international relations, public policy or related fields. Read more about the position here

 

Program Director, Institutions and Governance Program – World Resources Institute 

Based in Washington, DC, the program director will provide guidance and strategic direction to the program’s research and influence strategies, ensure projects contribute to WRI’s Governance Goal and provide overall quality-control on program work. Candidates should have an advanced degree in a relevant field with 10+ years’ management and team-building experience. Read more about the position here

 

2 Positions, Sub-regional Coordinators – Forest Stewardship Council 

Based in Tanzania and Cameroon, respectively, the Sub-Regional Coordinators for East Africa and for the Congo Basin will strategically support the further development of sub-regional and national standard setting and the sub-regional input to international generic indicators. Candidates should have a university degree in a relevant field with 5+ years’ experience in management-related work, preferably in Africa. 

 

Deputy Director, Peru, ICAA II  – Rainforest Alliance

Based in Lima, Peru, the deputy director will directly supervise and provide technical support and guidance to the organization’s Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon Project and other complementary projects. Candidates should have a Master of Science in environmental science, biodiversity conservation or management of natural resources with 10+ years’ experience in sustainable management or natural resources. Read more about the position here

 

Global Forest and Trade Network Manager – WWF Laos 

Based in Laos, the manager will act as a focal point to the Global Forest and Trade Network Support Unit and manage GFTN participants in Lao PDR. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in forestry, natural resource management, wood technology or a relevant field with 3+ years’ experience as a manager in a business-related sector, preferably forest business. Read more about the position here.

 

 
 

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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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