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Opinion: Critiques of Carbon Credits Aren’t Asking the Right Question

Carbon market critiques always seem to ask whether these mechanisms have solved the climate crisis, and the answer is always a decisive “No.” That, however, puts the onus on one mechanism instead of on society and detracts from the real question: namely, “Is there any way to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement without protecting the world’s forests?” This leads to another “No,” but with other implications.

The Paris Agreement is a Ship, and We are Both Oarsmen and Captain

The Paris Agreement confounds those looking for a top-down, one-size-fits all global solution. That’s because it’s a framework within which workable solutions can emerge, and a recent analysis from the Wuppertal Institute offers a simple allegory for explaining that. Think of it, they write, as an old ship coming out of drydock. It’s a work of beauty, but it won’t sail itself.

The New Green Dealers Want us to “Sky Farm”. That’s a Good Thing!

The forests, farms, and fields of the United States mop up a staggering 15 percent of the country’s industrial greenhouse-gas emissions, but this capacity will plunge as the climate changes. That’s why every credible climate solution incorporates nature-based solutions and climate-smart agriculture, but major media still aren’t covering it. Would that change if we called them “sky farming”?

Can UK Build its Restoration Economy on the Principle of “Net Gain”?

Mitigation banking is built on the premise of “no net loss”, which means people who damage nature must fix what they break, usually with the aim of improving more degraded nature than they damage. Ecologist David Hill, however, has turned net gain into a bare minimum rather than an extra. Will it catch on across the UK?

The US is Finally Having the Only Climate Debate That Matters: How to Fix the Mess

The emerging “Green New Deal” seems to offer something for everyone – except climate-science deniers. Criticized by some for being short on details, the proposal actually seems designed to propel solutions that have been languishing for decades – including natural climate solutions, climate-smart agriculture, and support for green infrastructure.

Oregon Poised to Cap Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Oregon state legislature is considering a “cap and invest” bill that promises to place a firm limit on the state’s greenhouse gasses while ensuring continued investments in resilient communities, green jobs and clean energy. Legislators are expected to release bill language by January 31.

Where Do The 2020 Dems Stand On Climate And Carbon Pricing?

Nearly two dozen people have joined the race to become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, and all of them – in contrast with their sole Republican counterpart – acknowledge climate science and aim to deal with climate change. In this continuously updating scorecard, we’ll be expanding and clarifying positions as the candidates themselves do.

Yes, We Can End Deforestation And Reverse Climate Change. Here’s How.

It’s been almost a decade since global companies pledged to slow climate change by purging deforestation from their supply chains, and those pledges have led to unprecedented transparency and accountability in the way companies produce, procure, and process key commodities. Leaders meeting at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting have a unique opportunity to kick the process into overdrive. Will they?

UN to Ramp Up Focus on Climate, SDGs in 2019

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcéhas have both called for dramatically accelerating efforts to slow climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Opinion: Why a World with Abundant Food and Energy Choices Is More Than a Luxury

Natural climate solutions can get us 37 percent of the way to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 2-degree target, and farmers are key to implementing those solutions, writes California farmer A. G. Kawamura, who served as the state’s Secretary of Agriculture under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and now co-chairs the nonprofit Solutions from the Land.

Indigenous People Tap Solar Heat To Dry Babassu Nuts

The Paiter-Suruí indigenous people of the Brazilian Amazon have long used modern tools to support their traditional way of life, and the cultivation of babassu nuts is part of that tradition. To help them improve productivity, Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends recently contracted Finnish impact start-up GoSol Solar to install sun-powered driers that work by concentrating the sun’s heat on a drying shed. Here is a field report from GoSol’s Chief Design Officer.

So What Just Happened at the Climate Talks?

Based on our team’s reports from Katowice, our take at Forest Trends is that negotiators have signed off on a promising, but incomplete, set of rules for implementing the Paris Agreement, which is best understood as a global framework for capturing and accelerating ambition.

Katowice Climate Deal Leaves Carbon Markets Intact But Incomplete

Climate negotiators have signed off on an incomplete rulebook for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, with guidance for Article 6 pushed off until next year in Chile. That won’t prevent states from developing markets among themselves, but does leave a proposed centralized market operating under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in limbo.

Will Double-Counting Dust-Up Crush Katowice Climate Conference?

For three years, Brazil has insisted that developing countries should be allowed to double-count some emission reductions in the early years of the Paris Agreement, as long as they make it up later. Most countries oppose the idea, but Brazil and a narrow contingent of supporters are standing firm. Now there’s hope of a compromise that would allow weaker accounting rules until 2023, with a firm mechanism for making up the shortfall thereafter.

Development Banks Provided $196 Billion Of Climate Finance In 2017

Since their inception in 1992, global climate talks have floundered on the issue of finance, with developed countries balking at the prospect of sending billions of dollars to poorer countries that will suffer the worst effects of global warming. But a coalition of development banks have quietly funneled $200 billion per year to climate investments since the Paris Agreement.

Can Indigenous Leader Nara Baré Derail Brazil’s “Tropical Trump”?

Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro wants to ratchet up development in the Brazilian Amazon, which would lead to a surge in greenhouse gas emissions. Indigenous people, the “guardians of the forest”, have vowed to stop him, but they can’t do it on their own. Indigenous leader Nara Baré hopes to build global support for Amazon protection.

Tropical Countries Far Short Of Meeting Deforestation Targets

Countries and companies around the world have endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests, which is a pledge to end deforestation by 2030. An analysis of climate action plans from six key tropical countries – including four NYDF endorsers – finds that none of them are on track to meet that target.

IPCC Findings Drive Support For Natural Climate Solutions In Katowice

It’s not all doom and gloom as year-end climate talks enter their final days in Katowice, Poland, with many observers seeing increased support for natural climate solutions such as better management of forests, farms, and fields. Such solutions can provide one-third of the action needed to meet the Paris Agreement targets, but historically draw just 3 percent of dedicated climate finance.

In Katowice, Indigenous Leaders Call For Wider Uptake Of REDD+

For over 20 years, indigenous people of the Amazon have been using “Life Plans” to manage their forests sustainably, but most of them struggled to find the money needed to get the plans off the ground. Forest-carbon finance seemed to offer an answer, but REDD+ as initially structured in the voluntary markets didn’t always match indigenous values. Now, it does.

Climate Talks Open In Katowice, Poland

Representatives from nearly 200 nations gathered in Katowice, Poland on Sunday for year-end climate talks designed to create a rulebook for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. To date, just seven nations, most of them tiny, are on track to reduce emissions to meet the 2 degree Celsius goal, while the U.S. is on track to withdraw from the accord by 2020.

Can Sustainable Logging Help Save An Indigenous Way Of Life?

When the indigenous people of Bélgica, in the Peruvian Amazon, turned to sustainable logging, they did so to earn income, out of necessity. They found, however, that the process of getting certified helped them create a long-term strategy for sustainable management of their land.

It’s Now Easier Than Ever To Measure Natural Capital Risks

Climate risks endanger 13 of the 18 FTSE 100 sectors, and a new tool makes it possible for investors, insurers, and anyone with an interest to explore the specific risks faced by sectors, sub-sectors, and specific processes supporting the global economy.

Oil Palm, The Prodigal Plant, Is Coming Home To Africa. What Does That Mean For Forests?

Oil palm evolved in Western Africa, but it took root in Southeast Asia, where it’s driving a $60 billion-per-year industry but leading to the destruction of forests across the country. Now West African countries like Ghana are scaling up their production, and Samuel Avaala says they can do so while reviving, rather than destroying, their forests.

Major Soy Traders Get Low Grades For Cerrado Sourcing

The Brazilian Soy Moratorium is credited with reducing deforestation from soybean production within the Amazon forest by as much as 80 percent in some states, and it worked by getting soybean traders like Bunge, Cargill, ADM, Amaggi, and Louis Dreyfus to stop buying from farmers who clear forested land to grow soybeans. Unfortunately, the same […]

Climate Economist Nordhaus Wins Nobel As Scientific Body Calls For Price On Carbon

The Royal Bank of Sweden today announced it was awarding the Nobel Prize for Economics to two American economists: Paul Romer, who made us think about the economics of education and sustainable development, and William Nordhaus, who pioneered the use of economic modeling to quantify the economic impact of climate change. The announcement comes just […]

Scientists Say 1.5-Degree Climate Quest Gives Short Shrift To Forests

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts the finishing touches on a new report detailing pathways to keeping global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, more and more scientists are calling for greater emphasis on natural climate solutions. Research published last year in the Proceedings of the National […]

Indonesia’s Sustainable Districts Bet On Corporate Deforestation Pledges

Forestry and farming generate more than 30 percent of all the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, mostly because land managers are pinching pennies to meet our own appetites for soy, beef, and palm oil. These rural Indonesian farming districts say they can manage the land more sustainably, but agribusinesses will have to share the risk. Will they?

Companies Acting On Deforestation Have A Legality Issue

26 October 2018 | The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent Special Report showing that we may have little more than a decade before global warming exceeds 1.5°C is rattling. A finding that’s received less attention but is equally critical is that there is no pathway that keeps us under 1.5 degrees without active […]

The Challenge Of Feeding 83 Million People In A Climate-Friendly Way

This story first appeared on Clean Energy Wire 24 October 2018 | No matter how you look at it, people need sustenance to survive – and growing crops or raising livestock creates emissions. But Germany must find a way to reduce its agricultural emissions, which make up seven percent of total greenhouse gas emissions to […]

How (And Where) Market Mechanisms Can Accelerate Waterway Recovery

17 October 2018 | Twenty years ago, Oregon’s Willamette River was an unswimmable cocktail of 64 deadly chemicals, while the Chesapeake Bay was suffocating under a blanket of algae fed by fertilizer running off of farms spread across six US states. Governments in both regions – and, indeed, across the United States – vowed to […]

When Your Day Job Is Restoring Streams And Saving Species

15 October 2018 | Rick Wilson loves the thousand acres of land he bought to expand his ranch in Denton County, Texas, but it didn’t come cheap, and he was nervous about making ends meet – until he got a letter from a man named Adam Riggsbee, offering to pay Wilson good money to let […]

Want To Invest In Cricket Crackers And Honeybees? Here’s How!

On one hand, bugs are high in protein and easy on the environment: a compelling solution for reducing global meat consumption and its contribution to climate change. On the other hand, try pitching that business idea to an investor. An entrepreneur who sees major potential for both the planet and their bottom line through producing […]

Offsetting And Aviation: Ready For Takeoff?

4 October 2018 | International aviation is one of only two sectors not covered in the Paris Climate Agreement (the other is international shipping). Many airlines already use carbon offsets to limit their net carbon emissions, either on a voluntary basis or to comply with national or regional regulations. To date, there has been no […]

How Blockchain Can Make Carbon Markets More Accessible

2 October 2018 | As more companies and individuals are looking for tools to mitigate their impact on climate change, the idea of utilizing blockchain technology has been on the forefront of many conversations. It is one of the building blocks behind cryptocurrency and companies are looking to utilize blockchain technology as a means to […]

The Economics Of Activating Dirt To Absorb Greenhouse Gasses And Restore Soil

2 October 2018 | Centuries of unsustainable agriculture have squeezed massive amounts of nitrogen and carbon out of soils, and Ohio State’s Rattan Lal, a professor of soil science who has presciently spoken out about restoring forests and soils for carbon mitigation and sequestration, says we can pull about 10 percent of our greenhouse gasses […]

When It Comes To Envirotech Adoption, NGOs Can Lead Us Out Of The Woods

This story is cross-posted on the World Economic Forum web site 1 October 2018 | Facebook seemed so frivolous when it first emerged 15 years ago, but look at it now: this glorified chatroom has completely upended the very sector it seemed destined to complement, becoming in the process the epitome of a “disruptive technology”. […]

Why The UN Sustainable Development Goals Really Are A Very Big Deal

25 September 2018 | When US President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly today, try to look beyond the dog and pony show to see what’s happening at Global Goals Week, which started over the weekend and runs through Friday at events across New York. Global Goals Week is designed to forge support […]

40 US Mayors Endorse Forest Protection To Slow Climate Change

24 Sept 2018 | In the wake of Hurricane Florence and wildfires that have swept the country, over 200 organizations, scientists and elected officials – including 40 mayors from across the country – have endorsed a new effort to slow climate change by protecting US forests. The initiative, called the Stand4Forests platform, comes as a […]

REDD Dawn: The 60-Year Evolution Of Forest Carbon

This story is excerpted from the upcoming book “Carbon Cowboys and REDD Indigenes”.  21 September 2018 | The Paris Climate Agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising another 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Farenheit), and one way it aims to achieve that is by funneling money into forest conservation and sustainable farming through a […]

$5.6 Trillion Investor Coalition Throws Weight Behind Cerrado Conservation

18 September 2018 | Over the past 30 years, environmental NGOs and the Brazilian government have slashed deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, mostly by positioning the Amazon as the “lungs of the planet” and getting companies to sign and implement the high-profile Soy Moratorium and Cattle Agreements. But what about the Cerrado? The Amazon Forest’s […]