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From the Editors

The United States Supreme Court put a stay on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) on February 10, temporarily pausing implementation of the agency’s efforts to cut emissions from power plants 32% under 2005 levels by 2030. But the CPP didn’t dominate the headlines for long. Three days later Justice Antonin Scalia – who was on the majority side of the close 5-4 vote on the CPP – died at a West Texas ranch. A wave of speculation followed about what Scalia’s death would mean for the US’s landmark climate legislation and the market-based mechanisms that could develop in its wake.

But perhaps not so much has changed. The EPA says it will continue to work with states moving forward on their implementation plans. And many are, with gusto. Fifteen states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington – as well as the District of Columbia and six cities signed a letter after the Supreme Court decision saying they will continue to “vigorously defend” the CPP. Not surprisingly, many states on this list are already engaged in market-based mechanisms to reduce emissions, California through its cap-and-trade program, and others through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the northeast.

Carbon markets in the US will likely expand alongside implementation of the CPP: Washington state already wants to launch an emissions trading system (ETS) and link it with California’s and Oregon is also thinking about a cap-and-trade bill. However, the language of the EPA’s regulation currently rules out the possibility of carbon offsets being used as a compliance mechanism, according to Ecosystem Marketplace's reporting when the plan was released.

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

 

2016 Ecosystem Marketplace Carbon Survey

There is still time to respond to Ecosystem Marketplace's carbon survey informing our 2016 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of Forest Carbon Finance reports. If your organization supplied offsets to voluntary buyers in 2015 or developed forestry or land-use offsets for voluntary or compliance markets, access the survey HERE or AQUĺ if you’d like the Spanish version. Our deadline for data collection if Friday, February 26th but limited extensions can be made available upon request. 

We’d like to say thank you to the organizations that responded to our 2016 carbon markets survey in full since the last publication of this newsletter, and who chose to be listed. From A to Y:

Agrícola y Forestal SNP Ltda, Ambiental PV, ANSAB, Carbon Clear, carbon-connect AG, Carbonfund.org Foundation, CARBONyatra, China Green Carbon Foundation, CIMA-Cordillera Azul, CLevel, CO2OL, CO2 Solidaire, Compensation International Progress S.A., Concern Universal, Cool Earth, Cooperativa Agraria Cacaotera ACOPAGRO, DelAgua Health and Development Programs, Ecotrust Forest Management, Envirofit, Fair Climate Fund, Forest Carbon Ltd, Forestry Project for the Basin of the Chinchiná River, Global Environment Institute, Greenfleet, Greenoxx, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, IDESAM, Impact Carbon, Indufor, Infinite Solutions, Lee Solutions Will, Logicor Group, MAFF/National Biodigester Programme, MexiCO2, myclimate, Pacific Hydro Chacayes, Proyecto Mirador, Socio-eCO2nomix-Global, Sustainable Carbon, Sustainable Travel International, Tamiladu Spinning Mills Association (TASMA), Tierra Resources LLC, The Paradigm Project, The Climate Trust, VEDA Climate Change Solutions Ltd, Vert Conservation, Wind to Market SA, WeAct, W.M. Beaty & Associates, & Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

And a big thank you to EcoAct and The Climate Trust for being our first report Sponsor and Supporter, respectively. We are still looking for 3-4 more sponsors for the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2016. See our Sponsorship Prospectus and get in touch with Program Manager Cynthia Jensen for more information.

 
   

HERE’S THE DEAL

In tune

Oregon-based Bedell Guitars announced a new partnership with Stand for Trees. The hand-crafted guitar company will buy 10 carbon offsets at a $10/tonne price point from the Brazilian Rosewood Project in Pará, Brazil for every guitar purchased. “Even though the Brazilian rosewood we use for our guitars was harvested legally, Bedell wants to go further to support conservation practices in the area,” said the company’s founder, Tom Bedell. Illegal harvesting is indeed a major driver of deforestation in the project area; project developer ALLCOT works to curb it by providing jobs and legal land-use permits to 130 families in the project area. Bedell guitars sell for several thousand dollars, so the offsets represent a small percentage of the total cost.

- Read the press release from Bedell Guitars

Feelin’ the Bern

Bernie Sanders’s campaign has inked a deal to purchase offsets from Native Energy, the Vermont-based offset supplier told Ecosystem Marketplace. The exact number of tonnes is still to be determined but will cover travel emissions related to the campaign. The first offset purchases from the Sanders campaign will support a project in Ethiopia that distributes Hydraid BioSand water filters that mitigate pressure on nearby forests by reducing the need for firewood used to boil (and sanitize) water. The project is developed under the Gold Standard. While Democratic rival candidate Hillary Clinton announced her intent to offset campaign emissions last year, no reported sales have occurred.

- Read more about the Ethiopia project here

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Mangroves, together

In Gazi village, 30 miles south of Mombasa, Kenya, community members stop fishing for three days every rainy season to plant 4,000 mangrove seedlings. The plantings provide fish a place to breed and maintain the forest that villagers rely on to build houses, furniture, and boats – all while sequestering a verified 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per year. The Mikoko Pamoja organization – “mangroves together” in Swahili – in the past two years has sold carbon offsets to Earthwatch, the Nico Koedem research group, and master’s students from Imperial College London, to earn a total of $25,000. So far, they’ve invested the revenue in building new classrooms and piping clean water from a borehole.

- Read more from The Guardian

Greater Bear

British Columbia and its First Nations inked an historic agreement at the beginning of February to preserve 85% of the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest remaining old-growth temperate rainforests. The conservation agreement could be a boon to NatureBank’s Great Bear forest carbon project, which issues up to one million carbon offsets a year. The British Columbian government itself is the major buyer, but companies such as Aimia, Vancity credit union, and Harbour Air also buy tonnes from the project. For Harbour Air CEO Greg McDougall, the voluntary offset purchase is “right in our backyard” – the company’s airplanes routinely fly over Great Bear.

- Read more from The Vancouver Sun 

POLICY WATCH

Farewell, Figueres

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), announced that she will step down when her term ends on July 6th. The Costa Rican diplomat came on after the failed Copenhagen climate talks and, when asked during her first press conference whether she thought a climate change agreement was possible, she replied, “Not in my lifetime.” But six years later the Paris Agreement was adopted – thanks in part to Figueres’s leadership. It is unclear whether her successor will be in place before the climate talks in Morocco, but the new position will be a promotion to ‘under-secretary general’, on par with the heads of the UN’s Environment Program and Development Program.

- Read more from Climate Home

Off the hook

The four-month investigation by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) into offsets generated by the T&M Bos Dairy project in Fair Oaks, Indiana is over, and no invalidation will occur. ARB deferred to the Indiana Department of Environment Management, which said that the facility, operated by Environmental Credit Corp. (bought by ClimeCo last August) was not in violation of state air quality laws. An invalidation would have rendered the offsets unusable in California’s cap-and-trade system. It was the second invalidation investigation by the ARB. The first ended in the invalidation of 88,955 offsets from an ozone depleting substances project in Arkansas in November 2014.

- Read more from Carbon Pulse

CARBON FINANCE

First people, first innovators

The National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC), a tribal non-profit, is one of the recipients of a three-year Conservation Innovation Grant through the United States Department of Agriculture. The $30,000 will be used to implement sustainable agriculture and rangeland management carbon projects on the Comanche Nation Reservation in Oklahoma, the Pueblo of Santa Sana in New Mexico, and the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Another pilot on the Pe’ Sla sacred site in the Black Hills involves an intertribal partnership of the Rosebud, Shakopee Mdwewakaton, Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Sioux. The grant will also allow the NICC to work with the American Carbon Registry to develop guidelines to facilitate tribal access to the carbon markets.

- Read more from Indian Country Today Media Network 

HUMAN DIMENSION

On edge

Thomas Lovejoy, an ecologist at George Mason University, welcomed the inclusion of forests in the Paris Agreement. He’s been studying deforestation in the Amazon for decades and, alongside Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, led research on carbon storage in fragmented versus intact forests. The Amazon is at a “precarious point. And you know, the obvious thing is, you don’t want to find out where the tipping point is by tipping it,” Lovejoy told The Washington Post. Though Brazil reduced deforestation 70% between 2005 and 2013, over the last couple of years the clearing has ticked back up – thwarting the logic that deforestation should drop in a depressed economy.

- Read more from The Washington Post

Collective hesitancy

After holding more than 80 community meetings to establish collective agreement on sustainable land use, the Wapichan people finally secured the support of the Guyanese government to engage in formal talks about their land rights. The government is encouraging the Wapichan to opt into the national REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) initiative known as the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). In 2009 Norway pledged $250 million to support the LCDS and has paid out $190 million for emission reductions so far. Though they need funding, the Wapichan are still hesitant about participating in the LCDS because the national program did not consult them, said Nicholas Fredericks, a Wapichan community leader who attended the Paris climate talks.

- Read more from Mongabay

NEW RESEARCH

Big potential

Preserving the world’s ecosystems represents an investment potential of $200 billion to $400 billion, according to a new report on conservation finance from Credit Suisse and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment. Most of that potential could come through “proven” project types such as sustainable forestry, agriculture, or tourism, the authors find. But an incubation workshop with 15 NGOs also revealed some fresh ideas: a marine protected area bond, insurance payments for risk mitigation, and a “substitutes fund” that would support research and development of substitutes for destruction-inducing commodities such as meat, palm oil, or diamonds.

- Read the report 

Trickle-down economics?

“Can REDD+ social safeguards reach the ‘right’ people?” asks a new study published in Global Environmental Change. The authors, researchers from Bangor University in the UK and Université d’Antananarivo in Madagascar, looked at the Corridor Ankeniheny-Zahamena REDD+ project in Madagascar supported by the World Bank and found that households that included members of local forest management associations were more likely to be identified as “project affected persons” – and more likely to be compensated. “We suggest that in cases where the majority of households are likely to bear costs and identification of affected households is challenging, the optimal, and principled, strategy may be blanket compensation offered to all the households in affected communities,” they write.

Read the study in Global Environmental Change

JOBS

Program Officer – Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Based in Washington, DC, the Program Officer will report to the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard Program Manager and will support a variety of aspects within the CCB program. Successful candidates will have a Master’s degree in forestry, environmental studies or a related field, and a solid understanding of auditing in the context of greenhouse gas mitigation projects.

- Read more about the position here 

Carbon Project Officer – co2balance

Based in Taunton, UK, the Carbon Projects Officer will research, develop, coordinate and implement community-based Gold Standard, VCS and CDM projects in Sub Saharan Africa. The ideal candidate will have a background in the environmental or development sector and will have excellent communication skills, be attentive to detail, and have a strong business mindset.

- Read more about the position here

Program Officer, Forest and Land Use Specialist – International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Based in Quito, Ecuador, the program officer will support national technical and political teams who are joining the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in forestry and five to seven years of experience managing multi-stakeholder projects, with proven experience working in South America.

- Read more about the position here 

Summer Internship Positions (multiple) – Carbon Credit Capital

Based in New York City, Carbon Credit Capital is currently seeking 2016 interns for its web development, communications and marketing, business development, and carbon accounting departments. Successful candidates will be able to commit to five days per week, unpaid, though there is the opportunity for high-performing interns to receive stipends.

- Read more about the positions 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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