HERE’S THE DEAL
A tree grows in Astoria
The Climate Trust (TCT) recently cut the first check towards a total of 245,000 offsets from the city of Astoria, Oregon. TCT will retire the offsets on behalf of Portland General Electric’s Carty facility, a new natural-gas-fired power plant currently under construction. The deal marks the first forest carbon project used to meet emissions reductions requirements under the Oregon Carbon Dioxide Standard, which mandates that new fossil-fuel power plants in Oregon reduce or offset their emissions. Astoria has committed to reduce the volume of harvested timber from its Bear Creek Watershed for the next 40 years, and its offsets are verified under the American Carbon Registry.
- Read more from The Climate Trust
Cocoa’s day in the sun
Ghanaians are largely responsible for fulfilling the world’s sweet tooth: Cocoa accounts for almost 10% of Ghana’s economy and nearly a third of its exports. But, despite the fact that many varieties of cocoa grow best in the shade, Ghanaian farmers often clear forests to grow their crop in full sun. The Ghanaian government is hoping to change that through a jurisdictional REDD+ program that educates farmers on best practices. “Sometimes, they have been badly misinformed – such as with this myth of the ‘Sun Cocoa,’” said Yaw Kwakye, Head of the National REDD+ Secretariat. Ghana is working on developing an Emission Reduction Program Document with the World Bank’s Carbon Fund for what they hope will be the first commodity-based REDD program in Africa.
- Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace
Trees go urban
Urban Offsets, a North Carolina start-up, is working with Duke University and the nearby city of Wilson to test an urban forestry model it hopes to replicate through 10-25 more pilot projects. The organization will pay the city to maintain and monitor trees, while Duke University has agreed to buy the associated carbon offsets. Offsets will be verified under Duke University’s internal methodology, which Urban Offsets CEO Shawn Gagné chose because it was less expensive than other standards. (The California Urban Forestry Protocol hasn’t had any takers, with potential project participants lamenting high costs.) Gagné hopes his methodology, combined with a trading platform still in the works, will facilitate future carbon agreements between universities and cities.
- Read more from Duke Today
Not reinventing the wheel
After two years of delays, it looks like South Africa’s carbon tax is on track to operationalize in January 2017 – and offsets will have a role to play. The government released its draft regulations on carbon offsets this Monday, drawing heavily from proposals in its 2014 Carbon Offsets Paper. Projects located in South Africa and developed under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Verified Carbon Standard and the Gold Standard will all be eligible, with the door left open for additional standards after approval by the Minister of Energy. The draft says that offsets may be used for up to either 5% or 10% of a company’s total emissions reduction obligation, depending on the sector.
- Read the explanatory note from the South African government
European Union ministers recently gathered in Luxembourg for an environment council meeting, releasing a statement that calls on member states to ratify the Paris Agreement “as soon as possible” and to debate how to address the oversupply on the EU Emissions Trading System. At the meeting, the Netherlands proposed a reform that would involve reducing the emissions cap 2.2% annually starting in 2021, complementing the Market Stability Reserve set to start operating in 2019. “After Paris there’s a momentum to strengthen the ETS,” said Dutch Minister Sharon Dijksma. The Luxembourg talks occurred under the shadow of the UK’s upcoming vote to potentially leave the EU, with carbon market participants speculating about what could happen to the EU ETS if that happens.
- Read more from businessGreen and Bloomberg
Norway: “Keep watching.”
After spending 68 million Norwegian kroner (about US$8.2 million) to help launch the Global Forest Watch platform between 2013 and 2015, the Norwegian government recently renewed its commitment to the tune of 115 million kroner (US$13.8 million) over three years. Global Forest Watch, which provides an almost real-time view of deforestation globally using remote sensing and crowd-sourced data, now has more than half a million users – among them companies such as Unilever, Mondolez, Cargill, and Mars, which use it to monitor deforestation in their supply chains. “Now the bad guys have nowhere to hide, and the good guys can be recognized and rewarded for their stewardship,” said Andrew Steer, CEO of the World Resources Institute (WRI) which runs the platform.
- Read more from Mongabay
There’s an app for that
Indigenous people have official rights to at least 513 million hectares of forest that store 37.7 billion tonnes of carbon, a 2014 report by WRI found. They’ve historically been really good at protecting that resource, but nowadays the effects of climate change are reaching even the remotest rainforests. The SOMAI Alerta Indígena, a set of projections that combines 17 climate models with historical data, was developed to get climate data into Amazonian peoples’ hands. The system, developed by IPAM, recently won 1.5 million Brazilian Real (about US$430,000) in Google’s Impact Challenge 2016. IPAM will use the money to develop a mobile app that’s accessible in areas without reliable internet and that includes more frequent climate updates.
- Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace