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From the Editors

Carbon conferences are one of the few places where, jumping from conversation to conversation, you might find yourself talking to a Arkansan precision rice farmer in one moment, then a Chinese attorney, a Californian forest fire manager, a Norwegian diplomat, an Oregonian lawmaker, and finally a guy who designed a way to account for reducing emissions from leaky refrigerants (his title is “VP,” but that doesn’t quite capture it). This is networking in the New Normal.

The Navigating the American Carbon World Conference (NACW) put on by the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) last week felt almost international as stakeholders from around the world – and, of course, many other US states – traveled to San Diego to get the inside scoop on California’s cap-and-trade market and  lessons to take home.

“We must never forget that ARB [the California Air Resources Board] sees the voluntary market as a laboratory,” said Sean Penrith, the Executive Director of The Climate Trust, speaking on a Friday afternoon panel about “what’s next for the offset market.”

And California is in turn seen as a laboratory for the world – as entrepreneurs test out new emissions reduction methodologies, market participants watch the swings that follow different regulatory actions, and lawyers argue every angle of cap-and-trade in the courts. Importantly, the state’s major emitters, in particular its utilities, are also active participants in that laboratory, and they’re thinking about how California’s efforts to address climate change fit in globally.

Brad Neff, a senior policy manager at Pacific Gas and Electric, said the utility tasked an intern last summer with figuring out if the company should have a presence at the Paris climate talks. The intern concluded that no, business had historically not played a pivotal role in the outcome of the negotiations. But at the encouragement of California Governor Jerry Brown, PG&E CEO Anthony Earley decided to attend anyway, and he found himself in good company. Veterans of the climate negotiations noted that the private sector had a larger presence in 2015 than any year before. PG&E became one of 90 companies to sign on to the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition that calls for carbon pricing policy.

As climate negotiators gear up for their next session in Bonn, Germany this month, stakeholders in states and countries are watching, but not waiting. Instead, they’re building bottom-up markets, sometimes through so-called “carbon clubs” that agree to work together on emissions trading protocols. Erica Morehouse, a senior attorney at the Environmental Defense Fund, pointed out that while California has officially linked its cap-and-trade market with Quebec’s (and is poised to link with Ontario’s), there are also unofficial forms of linkage that are more about cooperation and information-sharing – such as the state’s Memoranda of Understanding with Mexico and China. For many of the lawyers bumping shoulders at NACW, these linkages are also a clear call for them to work across state and country lines.

“The scarcity that gives rise to demand is created by human agreement,” said Nico van Aelstyn, Principal at Beveridge & Diamond. “This is legal. It’s going to take lawyers acting in good faith and in good will to build these markets and try to connect them.”

 
   

HERE’S THE DEAL

Cool jocks

As an Earth Systems major, Stanford University track and cross-country runner Emma Fisher started to feel guilty about her team’s carbon-spewing air travel. So she worked with the administration to create a carbon offsetting program for all Stanford varsity athletic programs. The program will spend $3,062 to offset the 2,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) emitted due to student-athlete flights in 2015. The student-initiated program is working with San Francisco-based offset supplier 3Degrees and choose to buy offsets from a landfill gas project because its low price point meant they could afford to offset the travel of all teams.

- Read more from The Stanford Daily

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Don’t leak this

The American Carbon Registry (ACR) issued the first offsets (8,468 tonnes) under its new protocol to reclaim and re-use hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that are no longer included in products manufactured by parties to the Montreal Protocol, which called for their phase-out. But HFCs in old refrigerators and air conditioners are still leaking. The first project is located in Champaign, Illinois and operated by refrigerant re-claimer Hudson Technologies. It was developed by San Francisco-based carbon project developer EOS Climate, which also authored the methodology. A white paper by EOS claims that the reclamation of just 30% of HFC refrigerants by 2030 could reduce 18 billion tCO2e. Last week ACR awarded EOS Climate its annual Innovation Award.

- Read the press release

POLICY WATCH

California’s Tea Party

A four-year-old lawsuit filed by the National Association of Manufacturers via the California Chamber of Commerce is now rattling the state’s cap-and-trade market as a California Court of Appeal ordered the parties to submit answers to seven detailed questions by May 23. At the heart of the case is the question of whether revenue from ARB’s allowance auction sales is an “invalid tax” because it did not pass a two-thirds vote of the state legislature. If the court rules in the Chamber of Commerce’s favor, it could mean the de facto abolishment of the allowance price floor (currently set at $12.73/tonne in the auctions) and in turn undermine offset prices, which typically track just under allowance prices.

- Read more from Carbon Pulse

Golden State in REDD spotlight

ARB continued its series of public workshops on REDD+ on April 28 when it discussed a potential linkage with Acre, Brazil. Haru Kuntanawa of Acre showed up in a headdress to make the case that indigenous people have chosen to participate, speaking through a translator in response to REDD+ critics from environmental justice groups within California. ARB staff emphasized that they’re looking at a scaled-up version of REDD+ that would involve engaging with tribal and/or state governments, not a private project developer. “We’ve focused on Acre because we think it’s the closest” to being able to meet the requirements for jurisdictional linkage, explained Sean Donovan, an Air Pollution Specialist at ARB.

- Check out the ARB’s presentation on linkage process and safeguards

Kind of like two-for-one miles?

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is holding meetings on its market-based measure to reduce emissions this week in Montreal. Voluntary offset suppliers and those backing jurisdictional REDD+ initiatives have been eyeing the negotiations for any indication that they might get in on the hundreds of millions of tonnes of offset demand airlines might generate by 2040. Last week, Bloomberg reported that ICAO is considering a two-for-one rule that would require airlines to retire two REDD+ tonnes for every one tonne emitted. Mike Korchinsky of Wildlife Works, a REDD+ project developer, told Bloomberg that he found the proposal odd, but if airlines are “willing to pay the usual price for a REDD credit and buy twice as many, who am I to say no?”

- Read more from Bloomberg or check out ICAO’s draft text here

CARBON FINANCE

Take it to the bank(s)

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are teaming up to encourage and support governments to implement carbon pricing. Alongside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the leaders of Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany, and Mexico, the two global lenders called on governments to expand carbon pricing to cover at least 25% of global emissions by 2020, about double the current level. “We can’t make a loan conditional on carbon pricing, but for a country facing a large deficit, we could recommend that they use carbon pricing as a way to simultaneously meet their pledges in Paris and close their deficit,” Ian Parry, principal environmental fiscal policy expert at the IMF, told the New York Times.

- Read more from The New York Times

First mover

The Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed a letter of intent (LOI) late last month for $200 million in REDD+ finance. The money will be disbursed in two tranches, the second of which will require verification of specific milestones. CAFI was launched in November 2015 with commitments from several donor governments – the European Union, Germany, Norway, France, and the United Kingdom – and the intention of supporting reduced deforestation in six countries: the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo, alongside the DRC. This is the first LOI that CAFI has signed.

- Read the press release

HUMAN DIMENSION

Viva la Life Plan!

Two recent documents published by Forest Trends (which also publishes Ecosystem Marketplace) commit the visions of two Brazilian tribes to the page. The Ashaninka Environmental Services Protocol affirms the tribe’s role as the guardians of the forests covering 87,200 hectares in the Kempa region of the Amazon and establishes guidelines for decision-making about environmental services in the territory. The Yawanawa Life Plan discusses lessons from the tribe’s history to set the course for protecting the 187,000-hectare Gregorio River Indigenous Reserve. Some indigenous groups and REDD+ experts argue that indigenous Life Plans are exactly the kind of land-use plans that should attract results-based finance for avoiding deforestation.

- Read the Ashaninka Protocol and the Yawanawa Life Plan

NEW RESEARCH

20/20 vision for forests

The European Space Agency has awarded a contract to Airbus Defense and Space to develop a satellite that can cut past clouds and canopy to provide better-than-ever measurements of the carbon content of tropical forests. The satellite is scheduled to launch in 2021 for a five-year mission that will support the United Nations REDD+ program “by systematically monitoring forests in vulnerable areas with no need for ground intervention.” The technology is expected to provide terrain height maps that improve on the digital elevation models currently used in densely forested areas.

- Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace

Ground’s eye view

For those who want to get into the weeds on REDD+ finance – or, perhaps more accurately, into the understory – Forest Trends’ REDDX initiative recently released country-level reports for Ecuador,  the DRCGhana,  Liberia,  Peru,  Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania. The individual reports tell different stories of financing ebbs and flows, from the transition from readiness towards payments for results in the DRC to the 2014 bump in pledges to Liberia, with Norway committing $150 million to the African nation last year. The REDDX research is conducted through in-country partners and is unique is that it includes in-person interviews and validation.

- Read more from Mongabay

JobS

Senior Consultant Carbon Pricing Policies – Ecofys

Based in Berlin or Cologne, Germany, the Senior Consultant will support projects for German clients in both the public and private sectors. This might include analysis of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, impact assessments for important sectors, or carbon pricing strategy work. The successful candidate will have a degree from a leading institution, eight or more years of relevant work experience, and strong content knowledge about carbon pricing policies. A proven network of German clients is a plus.

- Read more about the position here

Sales Representative, Carbon Offsets – ClimatePartner

Based in Munich, Germany, the Sales Representative will support ClimatePartner’s offset sales. The position involves maintaining and expanding ClimatePartner’s portfolio of offset projects, preparing proposals and presentations for clients, and conducting contract negotiations. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in economics, engineering, or another relevant field; at least one year of experience in sales or account management; and strong language skills in both English and German. Prior knowledge of the voluntary carbon markets is a plus.

- Read more about the position here 

Contributing Editor – Mongabay

Based anywhere, the Contributing Editor will write publication-ready English-language environmental journalism on forest-related topics, manage assignments, and edit contributor submissions. The position requires the ability to make timely decisions and demonstrate good judgement; exceptional written and verbal communication skills; and demonstrated editing ability, including for writing/grammar, HTML, and photo captions.

- Read more about the position here

Senior Program Officer, Forests – International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Based in Maputo, Mozambique, the Senior Program Officer will support IUCN’s forest program, particularly with regards to REDD+ and locally controlled fires. The successful candidate will have an advanced degree in forestry and at least six years of relevant experience in forest ecosystem management, geographic information systems, and landscape planning. Excellent language skills in Portuguese and English are essential. The position is pending donor funding and is open to Mozambique nationals only.

- Read more about the position here 

Intern – Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Based in Songdo, South Korea, the intern will report to the GCF’s Office of the Secretary to the Board. The position may include conducting research on international climate policy, developing a tool for tracking decisions made at board meetings, providing logistical assistance, and supporting the process of accrediting GCF observer organizations. The successful candidate must be either enrolled in a graduate program or be recently graduated. Administrative experience in organizing meetings and events; familiarity with climate finance and climate policy negotiations; and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment are also required. The position is (flexibly) scheduled for six months.

- 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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