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Debunked: Eight Myths About Carbon Offsetting

Climate change is finally getting the attention it deserves, and with the attention comes renewed skepticism about carbon offsetting. Our research into voluntary markets, however, reveals companies are engaging in carbon markets as one part of larger emissions reduction strategies that include energy efficiency measures among other improvements. Here we explore eight common misconceptions associated with carbon offsets.

World Lost 12 Million Hectares of Tropical Forest in 2018

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.

Green Old Deal: Why Carbon Offsets Matter More Than Ever

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.

Remembering Forgotten Climate Solutions this Earth Day

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.

Carbon Markets Back in Limelight as US Finally Joins the Global Climate Effort

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.

Nature, Paid on Delivery: Is Pay for Success the Future of Ecological Restoration?

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.

In Ecological Restoration, High Costs Trump Regulatory Rollbacks

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.

Defending the Amazon, and the Earth, from “Trump of the Tropics”

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.

From the Blog
A Dispatch from Peru for World Water Day

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.

More Evidence Companies Won’t Meet 2020 Deforestation Targets

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.

Land Use, Markets, and the Green New Deal: a Conversation With Rhiana Gunn-Wright

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.

Six Leading Commodity Groups Agree to Come Clean on Cerrado Impact

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.

Conserve to Build: Protecting Ecosystems to Ensure Water Supplies in Peru

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.

UN Declares 2021-2030 the “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”

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.

Six Weeks Left to Comment on Trump Administration Clean Water Rule

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.

NGOs Pressure UN Aviation Agency on Offsetting Rules

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 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.