HERE’S THE DEAL
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 DRC, Ghana, 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