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From the Editors:

A mere 34 pages is currently the basis for an international agreement that many see as the tipping point between a livable and unlivable climate. This year's climate negotiations are different than the 20 talks that came before - more like a technicolor charm quilt than a fitted sheet, if you're one for metaphors.

The pieces of the quilt have been coming in fast and furious over the last few weeks as countries submit their domestic climate plans, know as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs. The goal of December's talks will be to weave them into an international agreement.

Many of the INDCs submitted over the last several months explicitly mention market mechanisms to reduce emissions. An Ecosystem Marketplace review of the INDCs submitted as of mid-October reveals that 56 developing country commitments depend on international finance to meet greenhouse gas targets, with countries such as Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, Vietnam, and many others submitting both "unconditional" targets they could meet without help and "conditional" ones that depend on developed countries ponying up financial support. These "conditional" commitments may become key to capping emissions within 2 degrees Celsius.

On the forestry side, 29 commitments specifically mention Reduding Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in their INDCs, according to Ecosystem Marketplace's count. Meanwhile, just a handful of developed countries - including Canada, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, and Switzerland - say they might use international offsets to meet their climate target, with many more specifying that their reductions will be entirely domestic. This doesn't preclude these countries from participating in an international carbon market or from financing REDD, it simply means that these reductions will not be counted against the INDC target.

Proponents of market-based mechanisms were concerned that an original 20-page draft negotiating text did not mention REDD, but as of this week's negotiations in Bonn, Germany, it's back in. The new text specifically mentions "international transfer of mitigation outcomes that meet standards and guidelines," or market-based mechanisms to reduce global emissions.

"This is the on-switch that will get REDD+ going," wrote Gustavo Silva-Chávez, who runs the finance tracking initiative REDDX for Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends.

More detail on the role of REDD in the INDCs and the state of performance-based payments for avoided deforestation will be revealed at the end of the month when we release the State of Forest Carbon Finance 2015 report. In the meantime, the International Emissions Trading Association's INDC tracker offers a helpful summary of the former.

More news from the carbon markets is summarized below, so keep reading!

 
   

HERE'S THE DEAL

Open for business

The first offsets transaction under Québec's carbon market is in the books after Gaz Métro, a natural gas distributor, purchased 161,540 offsets for a total value of CAD $2 million Thursday, working out to an average price of CAD $12.38 per tonne. The offsets came from a project that destroys ozone depleting substances, managed by Recyclage Écosolutions Inc. - one of five offset projects approved by Quebec's government so far. In addition to facilitating further linking with the California market, Québec has signed an agreement with Mexico to share information on implementing carbon markets. Mexico already has a carbon tax in place but has also shown enthusiasm towards the prospect of a national cap-and-trade system.

New streams of income

Nepal's Micro-Hydro Promotion Project issued its first carbon offsets this year, earning 66,345 tonnes under the Clean Development Mechanism. With finance from the World Bank, the Nepali government built a total of 426 run-of-the-river hydropower plants in villages between 2007 and 2014, providing 625,000 rural people access to electricity. More than a thousand people are now employed as plant operators. The first issued offsets were purchased by the World Bank's Community Development Carbon Fund, a public-private initiative capitalized at $118 million. Carbon finance may help pay for maintenance: The recent earthquakes in Nepal destroyed 130 of the plants, though 74 of them are now back up and running.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

King of the mountain

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Forest Carbon Project, located in eastern Arizona, was recently issued 4.5 M California Air Resources Board (CARB) certified carbon offsets, which marks the largest issuance by volume of any CARB project to date. The White Mountain Project's issuance is almost twice that of the previous record of 2.2 M tonnes, held by the Blue Source's Bishop Improved Forest Management Project. All in all it took 439 days from the project's official start date before any issuances were made, slightly longer than the 406-day average for CARB forest projects. The White Mountain Project used SCS Global Services to verify the first round of issuances, and has listed Environmental Services as verifiers for the second.

Cool fridge, cool planet

The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, an industry group that counts companies such as Dow, DuPont, BASF, Mitsubishi Electric, and others among its members, last week announced plans to implement a Reclaimed HFC Credit Bank, using offsets developed under the American Carbon Registry's new protocol. Developed by EOS Climate, the methodology aims to incentivize the use of reclaimed hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants to displace the production of new HFCs, which have up to 10,000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. The Bank would establish a market mechanism for reclaimed HFCs as part of the Global Refrigerant Management Initiative's ultimate goal to reduce HFC emissions by 30-50% within 10 years. A pilot project will be underway next year, with full implementation by 2017.

Burning through money

Unprecedented fires burned more than 270,000 acres - including 93,000 acres of commercial forest - on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State. At an annual tribal meeting this month, Tribal Land and Property Director Cody Desautel said the North Star and Tunk Block fires reduced the carbon offsets the tribe might be able to sell by about 20%. In May, the Colville Business Council passed two resolutions. One waived sovereign immunity, a key step for participating in California's cap-and-trade program. The second approved an agreement with British Petroleum to purchase offsets the tribe produces. But mega-fires threaten that asset, which the tribe thinks could be worth $80 million. "Typically a big fire for us is about 25,000 acres," Desautel said. 

POLICY WATCH

Coast to coast carbon market? 

Last week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would be directing his administration to "explore the possibility" of linking the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and California-Quebec carbon markets, and went further to promote a North American-wide carbon market. No official statements have been released regarding the Governor's comments by RGGI or CARB; however one CARB spokeswoman said that the Board is "committed to working with others to expand the number of jurisdictions that put a price on carbon." Carbon trading among U.S. states, while not explicitly built into the Clean Power Plan, could still play a key role under the bill in helping states maintain reliable power, said acting Environmental Protection Agency air chief Janet McCabe. The difficulty lies in aligning individual state trading programs and regulations, but the EPA has accounted for this by allowing for "trading-ready" approaches that allow several states to submit a plan as a group.

HUMAN DIMENSION

By the people, for the people

In what started three years and and 1.4 million signatures ago, a Greenpeace initiative to end deforestation in the Amazon took a big step last week when draft legislation for a national zero-deforestation bill was formally presented to the Brazilian Congress. Despite an 80% reduction in the national deforestation rate since the early 2000s, forest loss in the Amazon still amounts to 5,000 square kilometers a year, according to Greenpeace. Pará and Acre, two Brazilian states home to large forest expanses as well as agricultural pressures, have pledged ambitious no-deforestation policies by 2020 and established payments for ecosystem services programs to help pave the way. NGOs and activists hope to eventually integrate no-deforestation policies into broader economic development goals.

The 2.3-million-pound gorilla

After a recent confiscation hearing, six carbon scammers will have to pay 2.3 million pounds to the scam's victims or face more time in jail. Matthew Noad and Clive Griston ran a London-based boiler room around land development between 2005 and 2010 until they were arrested. Once released on bail, they set up another boiler room for carbon offsets - a move that eventually landed them in jail for almost five years. "Today's confiscation hearing also serves as a further warning to fraudsters that the work of the City of London Police does not stop with a successful prosecution, but instead marks the moment when we switch our focus to seizing all their assets," said Detective Sergeant Mel Moody.

NEW RESEARCH

Not a handout

A new report published by the Center for Global Development titled Look to the Forests calls on public and private sector actors to do just that to curb climate change, specifically through performance-based payments for REDD+. The results of a working group on the topic, the report presents three recommendations. The first is for major emitters to commit to pay tropical forest countries to reduce one billion tonnes of emissions over the next five years. The second is for major buyers of forest commodities, funds, and impact investors to align their purchasing decisions with REDD+. And the third is for tropical forest countries to specify just how much financing they would need to meet reduced deforestation goals.

JOBS

Supply Change Research Assistant - Ecosystem Marketplace

Based in Washington, D.C., the Research Assistant is expected to work 35-40 hours per week supporting the Supply Change initiative by researching and compiling data from corporate commitments to reduce deforestation from supply chains; identifying news for the Supply Change news briefs; and conducting stakeholder outreach when necessary. The successful candidate should have excellent research and organizational skills; experience using Excel; and a strong interest in corporate sustainability and zero-deforestation pledges.

- Read more and apply here

Certification Officer - The Gold Standard

Based in Africa or India, the Certification Officer will help manage a portfolio of Gold Standard projects by performing detailed technical reviews of energy and waste projects; providing and coordinating feedback between the Gold Standard Secretariat and project developers; and contributing to the improvement of certification procedures. The successful candidate should have a minimum of five years of experience in a project review or certification role; a bachelor's degree in an environmental field; and a passion for sustainable development.

- Read more and apply here

Sales, Marketing & Communications Manager - BioCarbon Partners

Based in Mfuwe, Zambia, the Manager will develop and implement focused international sales activities; create new corporate markets for carbon offsets in Africa and internationally, in coordination with sales and marketing partners; and provide oversight of design and marketing materials through print and digital media sources. The successful candidate should have two years of sales and marketing experience; a passion for promoting conservation in the Lower Zambezi ecosystem; and a bachelor's degree in sales, marketing or communications.

- Read more and apply here

Senior Forestry Specialist - The World Bank

Based in Washington, D.C., the Senior Forestry Specialist will lead the Bank's forest-related work in Central Africa, including operations to build REDD+ Readiness support in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); represent the Bank in discussions with the DRC government on forests and REDD+; and develop new forest operations in the DRC and other central African countries. The successful candidate should have an advanced degree in forestry or environmental studies; at least eight years of experience in international business or inter-governmental affairs; and fluency in English and French.

- Read more and apply here

Technical Director of the Ejido Forest and Green Resin Project - Reinventure Capital

Based in Morelia, Mexico, the Technical Director will help transform a 3,000-hectare forest pilot project into an exemplary forest management project to boost income for pine tappers and the pine-chemical industry in Mexico. The Technical Director will be responsible for planning and managing all field activities under the Ejido Forest project, including maintaining the necessary documentation to validate the project’s carbon sequestration under the Gold Standard. The successful candidate should have a degree in agriculture, engineering or forestry; five years of experience working on forestry projects; and written and spoken fluency in Spanish with the ability to operate professionally in English.

- Read more and apply here

Forest Campaigner - Climate Advisers

Based in Washington, D.C., the Forest Campaigner will develop and run high-impact advocacy, communications, and outreach and field campaigns to end tropical deforestation; oversee original market research and analysis; and engage with business, government, NGOs and other stakeholders from the public and private sectors to build support for campaigns. The successful candidate should have a deep commitment to the mission of the Climate Advisers; solid experience with project management budgeting and fundraising; and experience leading advocacy campaigns, with demonstrated success in changing public and/or business behavior.

- Read more and apply 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. 

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS

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.

 
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