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From the Editors

More than seven years ago, Mayor Adnan Demachki stood before his constituents in Paragominas, in the Brazilian state of Pará, and offered his resignation. Loggers had torched the city hall, and he thought that his Green Municipality program – an attempt to get Paragominas off the “black list” of deforestation – had failed.

Instead, the leaders of 51 different organizations, from the farmers’ union to the workers unions to the trade guilds to the loggers and charcoal-makers, signed a “Letter of Apology” to the nation and proceeded to cut the municipality’s deforestation rate from 8,000 square kilometers per year in 2004 to less than 2,000 in 2015. It became a template for the Green Municipalities initiative that was launched across Pará in 2011.

“One of the key lessons is that this level of change is possible,” said Vasco van Roosmalen, who heads Brazilian NGO Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia (ECAM). “Now we need to focus on making it happen throughout the Amazon.”

One of Paragominas’ main strategies was working to get farmers registered on Brazil’s Rural Environmental Registry, known as CAR, which would in turn make it easier for the government to know whether they were in compliance with the Forest Code that required landowners to keep 80% of their forest intact. Then farmers were reluctant to register. Major beef and soy buyers started to ask questions, and NGOS such as Imazon and The Nature Conservancy reached out directly to farmers to help them understand and meet the requirements of the law.

“The most important thing that happened…was the emergence of a coalition that included an open-minded mayor with a very active role in sustainable development, a union leader who organized farmers to get registered on the CAR…and the organized civil society that included merchants, farmers, ranchers, soy producers, and also the timber sector,” said Francisco Fonesca, Coordinator of Sustainable Production for TNC.

But replicating the collaboration in Paragominas wasn’t straightforward. When they brought the idea to São Félix, a deforestation frontier, the first meeting drew a few dozen people who were curious, said TNC’s Brazil Conservation director Ian Thompson. But the next one brought hundreds of angry protesters.

The next installment in this Ecosystem Marketplace series will explore Pará’s complicated efforts to scale up Paragominas’ low deforestation development. It’s a story that holds lessons for the idea of jurisdictional REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and for the implementation of recent pledges by consumer giants Unilever and Marks & Spencer to implement preferential commodity sourcing from no-deforestation regions.

Read the full story on Green Municipalities here.

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

 
   

HERE’S THE DEAL

Freshly neutral

UK-based law firm Freshfields recently announced that it will support the International Small Group Tree Planting Program (known as TIST) in Uganda and Kenya for 10 years. The initiative is expected to incentivize small farmers to plant two million trees, which will result in an anticipated 200,000 tonnes of reduced carbon emissions over a decade. Freshfields has been carbon neutral since 2007 but this marks an extension of its commitment, according to Natural Capital Partners, an offset retailer that is working with the firm on its strategy. TIST is run by the Clean Air Action Corporation, which also works in Tanzania and India.

Read more from Natural Capital Partners

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Give seagrass a chance

Project developer Indufor is designing a seagrass restoration project in Mon Choisy, Mauritius with the hope that it will ameliorate the compounding threats of sea level rise, overfishing, coral reef destruction, and cyclones. The project is currently funded by a grant under the Adaptation Fund, but that runs dry at the end of 2017. Majella Clarke, who runs the climate change unit at Indufor, told Ecosystem Marketplace that they’re proposing a new tropical seagrass methodology under the Verified Carbon Standard in hopes of securing longer-term carbon finance. One methodology they’re considering would involve temporarily stopping boat traffic in the lagoon to give seagrass seedlings a chance; another would involve transferring the plants once they’re a bit bigger.

Read more from Indufor

Eyeing the Great Bear

Leaders from the Quebec Cree First Nation of Waswinipi recently met with counterparts from British Columbian First Nations to get the details on how they achieved the recent agreement to put 85% of the Great Bear Rainforest under permanent protection. Previously, First Nations in B.C. forged a unique Atmospheric Benefit Sharing Agreement with the government, setting the terms for the flow of carbon offset revenue from Great Bear. Now, the Cree are curious if they can follow suit. “If the Province of B.C. and First Nations can sign the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, we see no reason why we can't achieve something similar…to protect the remaining 10 percent of unlogged area in our territory," said Chief Marcel Happyjack.

Read more from Newswire Canada

POLICY WATCH

Offsets on deck in Ontario

The Canadian province of Ontario released its draft cap-and-trade regulation in late February, but the document doesn’t define the use of offsets in the program – yet. Offset protocols will be proposed “later in 2016 if the climate change legislation passes” the draft reads. Ontario’s compliance program, which would cap electricity producers, natural gas distributers, and petroleum product suppliers beginning in 2017, is expected to link with California’s and Quebec’s if it gets up and running. International Emissions Trading Association president Dirk Forrister called the draft “a significant step forward for North America’s next carbon market.” The minimum price for allowances would start at CAD$12.82. Offset prices in compliance markets typically track slightly under the allowance minimums, Ecosystem Marketplace has found.

Read the draft regulation

Bogged down in peat accounting

Indonesia can now account for the carbon in its forests with 95% accuracy – the result of “Tier 3” accounting recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which requires thousands of measurements of tree-circumferences on the ground. But emissions accounting for peat bogs is stuck in Tier 2, based on national or regional averages. The Indonesian National Carbon Accounting System (INCAS) is working to change that. “Data about peat and peatland management is maintained by numerous national and subnational agencies, research organizations and private companies,” said INCAS Technical Team Leader Haruni Krisnawati. “It is anticipated that greater collaboration between these organizations could yield substantial improvements.” INCAS also hopes to streamline the measurement, reporting, and verification requirements needed to develop REDD+ initiatives.

Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace

Not just a technicality

The New Zealand government recently put out a technical note on forestry in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), seeking feedback on the way allowances are distributed to forest owners. Currently, allowances are rewarded according to “real-time” accounting, meaning forest owners are given allowances as their forests grow and must surrender them when they harvest. The government is considering switching over to an averaging approach that would consider sequestration over the lifetime of the forest, which could be centuries. Ollie Belton of Carbon Forest Services welcomed the proposal. “Harvest liability and risk of increased carbon prices at time of harvest is a major disincentive to participate in the ETS for some forest owners, particularly smaller ones,” he told Carbon Pulse.

Read more from Carbon Pulse

CARBON FINANCE

A tale of two countries

In 2008 and 2010, respectively, Norway offered Brazil and Indonesia $1 billion each if they could reduce deforestation. A multimedia Financial Times investigation looks into why Brazil’s money has been paid out while Indonesia’s largely hasn’t. The story takes readers from high-level meetings in Jakarta to the village of Merabu, Indonesia, where locals took three bulldozers hostage after finding they had been used to clear forests for a palm oil plantation. One important difference between Brazil and Indonesia is that Brazil has BNDES, a huge development bank that manages the Amazon Fund, but Indonesia has no equivalent – in part because government officials themselves feared corruption if the Norway money was treated as part of the national budget.

Read the Financial Times investigation

HUMAN DIMENSION

Accountants for the new normal

Since the gavel banged down on the Paris Agreement, Michael Gillenwater and other “carbon counters” have been busy. Gillenwater runs the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Management Institute that offers online courses on GHG monitoring and reporting – covering everything from the emissions of large companies to those from land-use change. Now that developing countries will be responsible for carbon accounting alongside developed ones, there is a huge push for capacity-building. “You have to get away from the model of consultant-flies-in, runs-workshop, consultant-flies-out,” and train experts locally, said Jerry Seager of the Verified Carbon Standard.

Read more from Yale 360

Slashing the stereotype

Slash-and-burn often has a negative connotation (the United Nations once called it a “backward agricultural practice”), but a multi-year study of the Hin Lad Nai and Karen villages in Thailand shows that slash-and-burn has actually led to carbon storage. Too often, small-scale slash-and-burn practices are put in the same category as large-scale conversion by agri-business, says agricultural economist Malcolm Cairns. But in the former, small farmers in Hin Lad Nai and Karen leave dried vegetation on the landscape where it fertilizes the soil – after a couple of growing seasons, they move elsewhere and let the forest regrow. “The REDD program is now trying to ‘protect’ the forests from the very thing that has made them what they are,” said Cairns.

Read more from National Geographic

NEW RESEARCH

The good, bad, and ugly

A recent Greenpeace report digs into the progress of 14 major brands towards meeting their no deforestation commitments related to palm oil. They assessed companies based on three criteria: transparency; responsible sourcing, or the practical steps they’re taking; and industry reform, or the extent to which companies are pushing for larger transformation. Fererro and Nestlé came out as “strong” overall while Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo were deemed to be “failing.” Greenpeace looked in part at whether companies were relying on GreenPalm certificates or working with suppliers, and whether they were able to trace palm oil to the mill -- or, even better, to the plantation.

Read the Greenpeace report

JobS

Landscapes Manager – Verified Carbon Standard

Based in Washington, D.C., the Landscapes Manager will support the growth and development of the Verified Carbon Standard's landscapes framework and REDD+. The job entails managing outreach and collaboration with potential partner governments, NGOs, and other local partners and contributing to defining and operationalizing VCS's post-Paris Agreement REDD+ strategy. The successful candidate will have a master's degree in a relevant field and excellent knowledge of sustainable agriculture and low-emissions sustainable development. Fluency in English and Spanish is required.

Read more about the position here

Senior Partnerships Manager – Nexus

Based in London, UK (or another large European capital), the Senior Partnerships Manager will identify organizations for voluntary offset purchases and manage negotiations on carbon offset sales, including responding to requests for proposals and tender opportunities. The successful candidate will have a minimum of six years of professional experience in business development and sales and a large network of corporate or other organizational contacts. English is a must; French, German, or other languages would be a plus.

Read more about the position here

Account Director – Climate Care

Based in Oxford, UK, the Account Director will take responsibility for the management and development of their own clients and also manage and develop the skills of a client services team. Climate Care works with clients on corporate social responsibility programs, including project development in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and carbon offsetting. The successful candidate will have exceptional communications and influencing skills and a track record of securing and growing client accounts.

Read more about the position here

Director of Investments – The Climate Trust

Based in Portland, Oregon, the Director of Investments will lead the development of The Trust’s pilot investment fund, which will provide early stage investment to high-quality carbon projects in the forestry, grassland conservation, and livestock digester sectors. The candidate will be responsible for working with The Trust’s staff to develop a robust pipeline of high-quality investment opportunities and execute 8 to 12 direct investments as part of The Trust’s pilot fund over 2016 and 2017. Successful candidates will have 10+ years of experience in finance, with a strong emphasis in private equity fund management focused on providing project finance to early-stage projects.

Read more about the position here

Air Pollution Specialist – California Air Resources Board

Based in Sacramento, California, the Air Pollution Specialist will work within the Market Monitoring Section to conduct a variety of activities related to the development and analysis of market-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs. The successful candidate will demonstrate initiative, have excellent organizational skills, and be able to understand and explain technical and policy issues. Experience with SQL, SAS or similar computer languages would be a plus.

Read more about the position here

   
   

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