HERE’S THE DEAL
Better than paying for extra leg room
A recent analysis by the Australian airline Qantas revealed that 8% of its customers are now opting to offset their flight emissions, a 10% increase from the previous reporting year. Customer opt-ins have led Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar to purchase a total of 2 MtCO2e since they introduced the program in 2009, according to the companies. Their analysis also revealed that frequent flyers were 75% more likely to offset than infrequent flyers and women were 12% more likely to offset than men. However, fewer than 10 corporate customers have signed up. Qantas’s offset purchases support a conservation project in Tasmania and a clean cookstoves project in Cambodia, among others.
- Read more from The Sydney Morning Herald
Camera-maker Canon South Africa purchased 365 tCO2e in 2015 to offset 15% of its greenhouse gas emissions; they plan to up their purchase to 500 tCO2e this year. The company worked with Carbon Neutral Group to purchase the tonnes produced through the distribution of energy-saving “Wonderbags” for cooking within South Africa. They’re also hoping to register their local rural solar lighting initiative as a carbon offset project. “Our goal is to become a carbon neutral business,” said Iza Daly, Canon’s Sustainability Manager. “While we continue to place emphasis on improving the resource and energy efficiency of our operations through various optimization programs, we are also pursuing carbon offsetting.”
- Read Canon’s press release
Coming of age
Cairns Farm in West Lothian, Scotland has become the first verified project under the United Kingdom’s Woodland Carbon Code (WCC). Since the program launched in 2011, all emissions reductions associated with woodland creation have so far been financed upfront, with a reported 259,000 tCO2e transacted in 2015. Many of the Cairns Farm Woodland Carbon Units from its five-hectare plot have already been sold through carbon broker Forest Carbon to the domestic fuel distribution company BWOC. In total, WCC reports 60% of anticipated Woodland Carbon Units have been sold to more than 70 buyers, with prices ranging from £7/tonne to £15/tonne (about USD $10-22/tonne). The program recently reached another milestone: an estimated two million tonnes are now validated.
- Read more from the Woodland Carbon Code
Halloween in June
The California cap-and-trade program’s most recent allowance auction sold only 11% of permits – a significant difference from the previous 14 auctions during which current vintages often sold out. The sharp drop produced a flurry of articles speculating on the cause: did buyers spook over recent action regarding a pending lawsuit against the state’s cap-and-trade program? Regardless of the reason, the lower sales didn’t affect environmental outcomes: the emissions cap remains in place, and the shortfall triggered an oversupply mechanism that will lock away 36 million allowances until two consecutive sell-out auctions. The volatility is of more concern to policymakers than environmentalists, as both California and Quebec banked on earning revenues to support low-carbon projects such as the bullet train.
- Read more from Reuters
Washington State just released an updated version of its proposed Clean Air Rule that seeks to set a cap on carbon emissions from large emitters in the state. The new draft replaces its predecessor, which was withdrawn in February after sparking criticism from both environmentalists and industry. While the new draft retains some critics, it now includes plans for a state-administered registry to avoid double counting and for a reserve of emissions reductions allowances that can be given out to businesses facing contracted economic growth from the program. While the proposal also suggests that credits (potentially allowances or offsets) would be accepted from the California-Quebec market, California officials say they must examine the proposal more deeply before linking.
- Read more from The Seattle Times
Tinted even greener
A record $46 billion in green bonds were issued in 2015, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that amount could grow to $56 billion this year. The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), currently home to more than 10,000 projects and programs holding at least $70 billion in debt, sees potential in this growing market. The CDM has teamed up with BNP Paribas to develop a bond structure, and BNP employees are examining how CDM projects could be repackaged into portfolios. Grant Kirkman, a team leader at the CDM, spoke about the potential attractiveness of these bonds, saying, “There’s concern about the greenness of the green bond market. The CDM process may make the climate benefits of a green security more watertight.”
- Read more from Bloomberg
Practicing what it preaches
Though Indonesia is now two years behind its planned progress on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests (REDD+), President Joko Widodo recently met with the Norwegian Foreign Minister in an effort to strengthen the Indonesia-Norway REDD+ cooperation program. Norway has pledged to deliver $800 million to Indonesia, but only after the country produces verified emissions reductions. Meanwhile, the Norwegian parliament committed the country to a zero deforestation procurement policy – the first national government to make such as pledge.
- Read more from the Jakarta Post
Peru recently inked a $6.1 million deal with Norway to conserve more than 250,000 hectares of forest. The transfer is the first payment of Norway’s $300 million pledge to Peru in 2014. The donor nation offered to pay Peru to reduce deforestation, with $50 million on the table for “readiness” efforts and $250 million slotted to pay for verified emissions reductions. The recent $6.1 million cash flow will also facilitate land titling for 68 native communities in the regions of San Martín and Ucayali.
- Read more from La República Peru
Make it count
As average prices on the voluntary carbon markets fall, market participants are looking for new ways to channel finance to emissions reductions activities – sometimes by quantifying different impacts. The Gold Standard is planning to test-drive methodologies related to health, water, and more as it develops its 3.0 protocols, and the American Carbon Registry is looking at habitat creation and water quality metrics alongside its rice protocol. Many project developers are quantifying their impacts against the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the merging of the climate and sustainable development agendas is not without contention. When sustainable development reporting was made available for CDM projects, only 40 chose to use the (optional) tool.
- Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace
Lots of talkers, few walkers
From Adidas to Disney, 366 companies have now made 579 individual commitments to produce palm, soy, cattle, and timber & pulp without encroaching on forests, according to a new report by Supply-Change. Companies active in palm are the most likely to have made pledges (61% have one in place) while just 19% of companies active in soy and 15% of companies involved in cattle have commitments – though cattle causes 10 times the deforestation compared to palm. It’s difficult to tell whether companies have made progress towards meeting their goals: Though some are already past due, information on progress is available for only one in three commitments. Commercial agriculture accounts for 70% of tropical deforestation globally, which in turn accounts for up to 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
- Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace and check out the Supply-Change report