Some of the world’s most high-profile companies have committed to purging deforestation from their commodity supply chains, but they amount to just 8 percent of global companies involved in the production of commodities associated with deforestation, and a staggering 44 percent of such companies have made no public commitments to harvest commodities sustainably. New analysis from Ceres and Supply Change aims to address that.
Renewable energy costs have plunged in the past decade, but we’re still trillions shy of meeting the climate challenge. Carbon taxes will drive down emissions and fund solutions, while a general tax will do the latter but not the former. A new proposal calls for a voluntary surcharge on savings to get money flowing now, before it’s too late.
Mainstream media are finally coming to terms with the enormity of the climate challenge, but their shift from complacency to panic mode may leave people feeling helpless. To implement real change, they need to focus more on solutions, argue these two linguists.
For decades, palm oil companies got big by being bad – specifically, by chopping forests to make way for oil palm plantations. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was created in 2004 to change that, and there’s mounting evidence it may be working. New research of RSPO members outperforms shares of non-members by 25 percent, just as a new index of RSPO members launches.
The generally-accepted social cost of carbon is roughly $100 per ton of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but voluntary carbon prices rarely top $10 per ton. New research shows that a price of just $20 per ton can dramatically slow deforestation, especially in Africa, and mop up nearly 6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.
Everyone agrees that we must save the world’s forests if we’re to end climate change, but how to get there? One cluster of tools involves using carbon finance to keep forests alive, and a ProPublica piece critical of such efforts sparked a swirl of reactions, including one in these pages. EDF’s Steve Schwartzman argues that the critique failed to adequately distinguish between isolated projects and jurisdiction-wide programs.
Mainstream media outlets have been congratulating themselves of late for becoming just 20 years too late on climate change, and now the same institutions that have consistently failed to cover the enormity of the challenge are failing to cover the myriad interlocking solutions. This week, ProPublica became the latest outlet to blow it
Climate change is finally beginning to get the media attention it deserves, reviving in the process dormant debates over how to deal with it. Most economists argue that the most effective way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is to make emitters pay for the damage they cause. Today we look back to what happened when the University of Chicago resurrected its most famous economist to see how he proposed dealing with environmental catastrophes.
US President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently reached across the political divide to agree to spend up to $2 trillion to fix America’s battered infrastructure. That infrastructure deal has yet to be constructed. But it should include investments in green infrastructure – not just gray.
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee has built his entire campaign on climate change, and today he unveiled his “Evergreen Economy” proposal to redirect more than two dozen existing US programs towards the climate challenge. Details remain scarce, but here is what we know about how the plan impacts the country’s forests, farms, and fields.
Climate-smart agriculture and natural climate solutions are key to meeting the climate challenge, but so is helping farmers implement technologies that can help them withstand the changes ahead. A new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization identifies the greatest risks to our food supply and how we can best address them.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has updated the guidance it provides to governments for measuring its greenhouse-gas emissions, including flows of carbon into and out of land systems.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says the Amazon is Brazil’s to exploit, and the world should stop meddling in it. He’s wrong, but the resentment that thrust him into office has a history, and it’s one more of us must acknowledge if we’re to save the “lungs of the planet.”
Research shows we can get 37 percent of the way to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement’s 2-degree target by improving the way we manage forests, farms, and fields, and carbon markets offer a way of funneling money into these activities. Here’s where markets stand now, and how we move them forward quickly.
California’s Climate Action Reserve has recognized Ecosystem Marketplace Program Manager Kelley Hamrick with its “Climate Action Reserve Recognizing Our Team” (CARROT) Award. She has authored or co-authored over 15 reports, including our flagship annual reports on the State of Private Investment in Conservation and the State of Voluntary Carbon Markets.
A key UN body has just aggregated all known research on biodiversity loss, including knowledge gleaned from indigenous peoples, and the results are devastating: more than 20 percent of known plant and animal species have disappeared in the last century, while more are disappearing daily. The result is a grave threat to our entire food system. But therein lies our salvation.
His extremist policies have earned Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro the nickname “Tropical Trump”, but his plan to shift indigenous protection to the agribusiness-aligned Ministry of Environment has been shot down by opposition leaders and the country’s Supreme Court.
US President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seem to agree on one thing: namely, the sad state of US infrastructure. Yesterday, they agreed need to spend up to $2 trillion fixing it. This is an opportunity not just to build roads, but to create jobs and end climate change.
Earth is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction, with literally dozens of species disappearing every day. Against this background, scientists are meeting in Paris to finalize the first global scientific stock-taking of biodiversity since 2005.
Companies around the world have pledged to end deforestation by 2020, but the world lost enough tropical forests to cover all of Belgium in 2018. Put another way: tropical forests are disappearing at a rate of 30 football fields per minute.
The Green New Deal Resolution may have failed in the Senate, but it’s spawned a flurry of new proposals and revived talk of a national price on carbon. Tim Whitley of Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty (COTAP) explains why that really is a very big deal.
Earth Day began a half-century ago as part of an effort to help college students understand the importance of ecology. Such education is still critical if we’re to meet the climate challenge, so we’re using this day to shine a light on a few key tools for reversing climate change.
The Green New Deal may have failed in the Senate, but Democrats and even some Republicans are introducing legislation to address climate change, and the emerging targets can’t be achieved without some form of carbon pricing. That means the revival of an old debate, and possibly the resurrection of some old myths. Here are the old myths, together with findings showing why they belong on the scrapheap of alternative facts.
As an environmental scientist, Tim Male learned how to restore degraded ecosystems. As an elected councilman, he learned how to pay for them. Finally, as an adviser to the Obama White House, he got to see nationally what works, what doesn’t, and why. Here’s why he believes that “pay for success” models can ratchet up restoration and keep down costs.
The Trump Administration wants to roll back federal protection of wetlands, but it also aims to increase support for water quality trading and bundling of environmental credits. For people who work in ecological restoration, however, the biggest regulatory challenge may be the high cost of compliance – brought on, ironically, by tight regulatory budgets.
California’s Air Resources Board looks set to adopt the Tropical Forest Standard in the next few months, a move that would embed social values into carbon offsets that are used to reduce emissions in the state, no matter where those offsets come from. The move could raise the bar for forest carbon projects around the world, and provide a bulwark against unsustainable agriculture practices in the Amazon.
The people of Peru have been sustainably managing their water for millennia, with infrastructure projects that surpass even the better-known aqueducts of ancient Rome. World Water Day is especially critical in the desert city of Lima.
Hundreds of companies have pledged to purge deforestation from their supply chains, but research by Climate Focus, TFA 2020, and the Forest Trends Supply Change initiative have long indicated that few companies will meet their targets and most will fall woefully short. Now new research from Forest 500 reiterates those findings.
Although it doesn’t use the word “markets”, Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement authorizes international carbon trading by making it clear that countries can transfer carbon offsets internationally to deepen their emission reductions. This could be a boon to African countries, but only if done right.
The Green New Deal Resolution has been alternately vilified, glorified, and dismissed since freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and veteran Senator Ed Markey unveiled it last month. We spoke to policy adviser Rhiana Gunn-Wright about the resolution and the role of markets and natural climate solutions.
The Paris Climate Agreement covers greenhouse-gas emissions from countries, but emissions from flights between countries are a different matter. They’re covered under the notoriously opaque International Civil Aviation Organization.
When Jair Bolsonaro defanged Brazil’s federal environmental regulatory apparatus, hope fell to international commodity buyers and individual Brazilian states. Although neither can substitute for federal regulation, each has stepped up in its own way – most recently with a pledge to provide transparency on soy sourcing.
After Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew his offer to host the 25th year-end climate conference, Costa Rica and Chile agreed to split the responsibilities. Now we have an official date for the critical summit.
Run out of water? Is it possible for a source of water to just dry up, or for water supplies for a city to be affected in quantity or quality to the point of being unusable for human consumption? Could a river, a lake, or a puquial that had existed for as long as anyone could remember just disappear? Unfortunately, it can happen. Here’s how to fix it.
Human civilization depends on Earth’s rapidly-deteriorating ecosystems, which cleanse our water, purify our air, and regulate our climate. Today, the United Nations General Assembly launched a global effort to restore ecosystems over an area the size of South America.
For decades, the federal government has protected wetlands and tributaries that flow into rivers, streams, and lakes of the United States. Now President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler have proposed a new rule that would leave more than half the country’s wetlands a chunk of its intermittent streams unprotected. Public commenting ends April 15.
Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and will triple by 2050 if current trends continue. Flights between countries, however, aren’t covered by the Paris Climate Agreement, but by the International Civil Aviation Organization. That agency has agreed to cap net emissions at 2020 levels, in part by letting airlines offset emissions above a certain level, with key guidance due this week.
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 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”?
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?
For four tumultuous years, Yvo de Boer was the public face of global climate talks, but since 2010 he’s been working quietly on low-profile projects that he hopes will have a high impact on climate change. Now, as President-elect of the Gold Standard’s Board, he’s helping to beef up the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
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.
The US House of Representatives is holding its first hearings on climate change in over a decade this morning. Here’s how you can watch them remotely.
Ten years ago, US environmental regulators, drawing on a decade of research, endorsed the practice of mitigation banking as a way to support healthy rivers, streams, and wetlands while enabling economic development. The results have been good for both the restoration industry and permit applicants, but the jury is out on how it serves the environment.
For centuries, farmers have worked to make their fields more productive, usually by relying on trusted rhythms that only occasionally got out of whack. Global warming changes that, with unpredictable seasons and unforeseeable disruptions that demand an increased emphasis on resilience, or the ability to bounce back from external stresses.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.