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From the Editors

It’s that time of year again – the time when we look back at the best (and worst) of the last 12 months. We’re not the only ones. People magazine named Matilda the Alien cat the most fascinating animal of 2015. Rolling Stone named Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” the best album. TIME named Fantastic Four the worst movie.

In a slightly different vein, our faithful Carbon Chronicle readers voted for their top Ecosystem Marketplace carbon story picks across three categories. In Carbon Policy, readers voted for our June 9th story, “Climate Negotiators Deliver Win for Forests with Breakthrough in Bonn.” (We didn’t let you vote for the Paris Agreement itself, assuming that would be the runaway winner.) In Carbon Finance, readers thought the launch of “Stand for Trees: Forest Carbon for the Masses?” in February was the biggest story. And in Human Dimension, the top reader pick was our story about the Tanzanian REDD+ project that led to secure land tenure for a hunter-gatherer tribe: “Things White People Like – As Told by a Hadza Tribesman.”

It’s also the time of year for predictions, and we surveyed those, too. Some of you dodged the question, saying only that you thought Leonardo DiCaprio would win Best Actor. That’s understandable. To quote the American baseball player Yogi Berra, who died last year, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But many carbon market actors rose to challenge, offering so many 2016 predictions that we couldn’t include them all here.

Below are excerpts from select 2016 predictions. The full-length version is worth reading and available here.

2016 Predictions

“…We are looking forward to a very interesting couple of years for forest carbon, with increased market activity and bullish price movements on both the private (voluntary and pre-compliance) and public (government-to-government and institutional) sector side.”

- Edit Kiss, Director of Business Development and Operations, Althelia Ecosphere

“I think the Paris Agreement heralds not the end of people questioning the role of market-based mechanisms and carbon finance, but the beginning of the end, and that’s still an incredibly important milestone.”

- Zubair Zakir, Global Carbon Director, Natural Capital Partners

“The biggest carbon story 2016 will be the involvement…of stakeholders not bound by the Paris Agreement: civil society, enterprises, cities, and financial institutions.”

- Martin Clermont, Chief Executive Officer, Will Solutions

“California legislature will adopt formal reduction targets for 2030 and domestic forestry will continue to lead offset production and provide high quality cost-containment opportunities for regulated entities.”

- The Conservation Fund’s Carbon Team

“I believe the biggest carbon story of 2016 will be the initiation of rulemaking in California for the acceptance of international sector-based offsets, which will possibly start with REDD+ [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests] offsets from the state of Acre, Brazil.”

- Brian McFarland, Director, Carbonfund.org Foundation

“The efficacy of carbon trading will make a notable comeback in the US especially coming out of the Paris Agreement, as more states take another look at a quantity-based approach to limit their GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions. The force reawakens.”

- Sheldon Zakreski, Director of Risk Management, The Climate Trust

“While there will be a number of carbon market developments in 2016 coming on the back of the Paris Agreement, the piece de resistance will be the global Market-based Mechanism (MBM) being proposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

- David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer, Verified Carbon Standard

“Because the last generation’s dream of a single international carbon market was not realized, many people in our field have trained themselves to believe that putting a price on carbon has failed.  But ask any multinational emitter – they know that in fact a price on carbon is being implemented before our eyes."

- Jason Patrick, Managing Director, BioCarbon Group

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

 
   

HERE’S THE DEAL

Let’s go on safari

The Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, home to elephants, zebra, buffalo, and baboons, announced that its operations are carbon neutral after lodges purchased an undisclosed number of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from the nearby Lower Zambezi REDD+ project. Managed by BioCarbon Partners, the project covers 40,000 hectares along 60 kilometers of the National Park’s boundary, providing a buffer zone for the human activities that threaten the protected area: poaching, illegal logging, and illegal charcoal production. Lodge operators paid above-average prices for the VCUs, according to a press release, and they made other efforts to reduce emissions before offsetting the rest.

Save and print

After 350 printers offset 104,000 tonnes of carbon of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), a United Kingdom (UK) initiative to offset emissions associated with paper production ground to a halt when founder Paperlinx ran into unrelated business troubles. Nine months later, Carbon Balanced Paper has now relaunched under new management that hopes to replicate the success of the former program. Jonathan Tame, director of CarbonCO, is managing the initiative and hopes “that we would be back to similar numbers of printers using Carbon Balanced Paper on a regular basis; 300 or more within a very short period of time.” Originally starting in 2008, the program buys tonnes from World Land Trust projects in Vietnam, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Sobering up

A few years ago, over 300,000 trees were at risk of being cut down in a plan to convert Preservation Ranch into a vineyard in Sonoma County, California. The Conservation Fund had a different idea, pooling money with local open space funds to purchase the 19,645-acre property, now called Buckeye Forest, for $24.5 million. The Walala Vineyard that once operated on the property created Wine Spectator’s 2011 wine of the year, which now sells for $218 a bottle. Now, the forest is protected and has already earned $2.1 million from offset sales into California’s cap-and-trade market.  “A young redwood forest is just about the best place on Earth to sequester carbon,” said Chris Kelly, California director for The Conservation Fund.

POLICY WATCH

Pulling an Obama

After Governor Jay Inslee failed to pass cap-and-trade in Washington State through legislation, he started looking for other ways to enact climate policies. Similar to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which avoided Congress entirely, the state’s Department of Ecology has proposed a Clean Air Rule that would regulate entities emitting over 100,000 tCO2e per year. The cap would tighten 5% every three years, reaching 70,000 tCO2e by 2035. The draft rule says the program will include an offsetting element and allow livestock, mine methane, and ozone depleting substances offsets from California cap-and-trade program alongside allowances from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and California and Quebec cap-and-trade programs. It does not mention forestry offsets.

On the double?

China is unlikely to meet its goal of launching national emissions trading system (ETS) with 10,000 regulated companies in 2017, according to an analysis by Point Carbon. The researchers note that there are 369 registered or planned offset projects in China, but the government has yet to release information about whether projects that reduce emissions within sectors already capped by the ETS will be included – and thus potentially double-counted. China’s National Development and Reform Commission drafted the ETS law but it still has to go through the Ministry of Finance and the China Securities Commission before being sent to the State Council.

Conditional climate love

During and after the Paris climate talks, national plans to reduce emissions have continued to roll in. Chile’s submission last week commits to 30% emissions reduction under 2007 levels by 2030 without help, and a 35-45% reduction with international finance. Their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution also includes a commitment to sustainably develop or recover 100,000 hectares of forest, which they estimate will reduce 600,000 tCO2e annually. Nigeria also submitted both unconditional (20%) and conditional (45%) emissions reductions targets, and left the door open for finance through carbon markets. Other submissions made since December include Venezuela, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, Rwanda, and Brunei.

HUMAN DIMENSION

Slow-drip conservation

Norbil Becerra used to log illegally in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF) in Peru. Now, his is one of 821 families who have promised not to cut trees as part of a REDD+ project run by Conservation International. Since 2008, the AMPF REDD+ project has achieved 4.4 MtCO2e as coffee farmers like Becerra receive technical assistance and tools (e.g. organic fertilizer) to grow their crop without encroaching on the rainforest. The conservation has an added benefit for potential ecotourism: after seeing the endemic marvelous spatuletail in the reserve, Becerra decided to create a hummingbird center on his own property where tourists can pay 20 soles (about US$7) to walk his stone observation path, cameras in hand.  

NEW RESEARCH

Compliance carbon on the rise, sort of

The value of global compliance carbon markets rose 9% to $52.7 billion in 2015 despite a 19% decrease in the number of allowances traded, according to the Carbon Market Monitor report from Point Carbon, an analytics team at Thomson Reuters. The major growth was led by California cap-and-trade, with more than one billion allowances traded in North America. The European Union’s trading volumes fell 29% in 2015, to around five billion allowances sold on the region’s ETS. As for 2016 predictions, “We believe emission trading will remain modest in China and South Korea, despite the huge emission volumes covered by their emission trading schemes,” the authors wrote. “In terms of transactions, Europe and North America will continue to represent more than 95%.”

No deforestation club house

What if Indonesia had Zero Deforestation Zones (ZDZs) where laws, monitoring systems, and economic incentives ensured that any palm oil sourced from the area would be deforestation-free? A recent proposal by Dana Miller and Ruohong Cai at the Environmental Defense Fund explores the idea, which they think could help the 211 palm oil-sourcing companies with deforestation commitments to meet their promises. The study looks at the opportunity costs of not cutting trees and finds that a $10/tonne price on carbon could reduce 260 MtCO2e in Kalimantan province, reducing deforestation about 75% compared to the no carbon price scenario.

JobS

Sourcing Associate/Manager – Natural Capital Partners

Based in London or on the East Coast of the United States, the Sourcing Associate/Manager will source supply of environmental instruments, including carbon and renewable energy, and conduct due diligence and impact evaluation of projects. The successful candidate will have a postgraduate degree, a minimum of three years of experience working within the carbon market or impact investing, and strong knowledge of emission reduction project standards, technologies, and policy.

- Read more about the position here

Senior Consultant, Corporate Sustainability – south pole group

Based in Bangkok, Thailand, the Senior Consultant will plan, coordinate and manage projects and consultancy mandates related to corporate sustainability, and liaise with clients on a project basis. The successful candidate will have a university degree in environmental sciences or a related field; at least five years of relevant experience in project management and consultancy; and a sound understanding of environmental sustainability challenges in multinational companies.

Read more about the position here

Sales Manager – First Climate

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, the Sales Manager will acquire companies interested in voluntary carbon offsetting and green energy purchases in Europe and beyond. The focus will be on the preparation of climate proposals and deal closure. The successful candidate will have two to three years of working experience in sales and be comfortable engaging with national and multinational companies. Fluent spoken and written German and English is a must.

- Read more about the position here

IT Manager – The Gold Standard Foundation

Based in New Delhi, India, the IT Manager will oversee the Gold Standard Foundation’s information technology projects, coordinating them from development to implementation. The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in an IT-related field, at least five years of experience in IT and two in project management, and an understanding of Gold Standard’s role and position in environmental markets.

Read more about the position here

Senior Project Manager, Responsible Production – Proforest

Based in Oxford, UK, the Senior Project Manager will help Proforest grow its consultancy services in responsible production. Proforest currently works with major brands such as Unilever and Nestlé and producers such as Olam and Wilmar. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree or higher in a relevant discipline and a minimum of five years of relevant work experience. Fluency in French and English is required.

- Read more about the position here

   
   

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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