This Week In Forest Carbon…

We take a look back at the forest carbon highlights in 2013, a year of supply-side success and demand-side growing pains. In this newsletter, our expert readers offer their predictions for the New Year, including continued momentum on landscape approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the prominence of forestry in the upcoming international climate negotiations in Lima.

We take a look back at the forest carbon highlights in 2013, a year of supply-side success and demand-side growing pains. In this newsletter, our expert readers offer their predictions for the New Year, including continued momentum on landscape approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the prominence of forestry in the upcoming international climate negotiations in Lima.

This article was originally published in the Forest Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.

17 January 2014 | It’s that time of year again – the time we look back over our shoulders at the last 12 months of forest carbon news and take stock (pun intended, as always) of what may lie ahead in 2014. Our Ecosystem Marketplace retrospective tells the story of 2013, and readers ranked the top stories of the year. Below are some of the highlights.

As for us, we’re resolving to bring you the best news and analysis on forest finance in 2014 and gearing up for our 2014 State of survey that tracks transactions from forest carbon projects around the world.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already, be sure to rank the Top 10 Voluntary Carbon Market Stories of 2013 by January 20 for publication in next week’s V-Carbon News.

May your New Year be pleasantly shady.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at [email protected].


2013 Highlights

Supply-side success
In June, Brazil’s Paiter-Surui people became the first indigenous people in the world to generate REDD+ credits. 2013 also saw the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of Congo completing its first offset sale, and the Oddar Meanchey REDD+ project in Cambodia also achieved an important milestone: The project is the first to earn the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard’s “Triple Gold” designation. Stateside, California issued its first (non-REDD) forestry offsets in November 2013.

High-profile demand

Demand for forest carbon offsets remains touch and go. On the one hand, high-profile buyers such as Disney and Latam Airlines are putting their stamp of approvals on forestry offsets with big purchases from Peruvian projects. An ongoing buyers series delves into the motivations of four entities that have taken a leadership role in supporting forest carbon projects: carpetmaker Interface, logistics group Deutsche Post, publisher Macmillan and conservation nonprofit National Geographic. And last month, California put its first forestry offset buyers on the books.

…but not enough of it
On the other hand, as retailers and project developers know all too well, offsets from even the highest quality projects aren’t exactly flying off the shelves. Our 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report found over the years, at least 26.5 million hectares of forest – an area about the size of Ecuador – has been planted, managed or protected due to climate finance. However, our survey respondents said they could do much more: Forest carbon projects could generate 1.4 billion offsets over the next five years – but only if the demand for that volume of emissions reductions materializes.

Avoided deforestation grows up
The “REDD Rulebook” approved at the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) marks the most progress to date on the mechanism to curb deforestation in developing countries through performance-based payments. At an exclusive event, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said she sees a definite future for market-based mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in the new international climate agreement. A few weeks later, the World Bank approved the methodological framework for its Carbon Fund, unlocking $390 million for forest conservation.

Seeing the landscape for the trees

COP18 in Doha in 2012 closed a door on Forest Day while opening a window for Landscape Day – marking a global move to look beyond the forest in order to reverse the drivers of deforestation. That approach bore fruit in 2013. After a decade of focusing on renewable energy projects, the Gold Standard this year improved is afforestation/reforestation guidelines while preparing to expand its protocols into agroforestry, improved forest management, improved livestock management and agriculture. Our 2013 coverage more intentionally zoomed out to the landscape scale by, for instance, looking at ways avoided deforestation projects can at the same time promote climate-safe agriculture.

Nesting leaves the nest
Early in the year, our coverage examined three pilot projects in Vietnam that are testing methods of nesting private projects within the country’s emerging compliance regime. In Latin America, Costa Rica and Chile are developing REDD programs with an eye towards eventually nesting them into national accounting systems; the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso passed a REDD law that paves the way for managing forest carbon stocks at a jurisdictional level; and the Purus Project achieved validation in Acre, Brazil, which is using the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) jurisdictional framework to account for state-wide activities. On the compliance front, the REDD+ Offset Working Group released its final recommendations on including credits from Acre and Chiapas, Mexico in California’s cap-and-trade program – but efforts to include international offsets from these jurisdictions are still facing opposition.

(Less) risky business
Last spring, the Climate Action Reserve and insurer Parhelion created an insurance product for the California carbon market that would indemnify buyers against the risk that the offsets they purchase could later be invalidated by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The idea of insurance became even more important when ARB considered a proposal to shift the invalidation risk of forest offsets to buyers – the Board will consider the proposal again this April. Outside of California, project developers such as EcoPlanet Bamboo, which has a reforestation project in Nicaragua, are looking to mitigate political risk through insurance.

Paying for carbon
Companies such as Microsoft are beginning to change the game by charging an internal carbon fee that is then used to purchase offsets around the world. A new white paper by the Carbon Disclosure Project found that 29 companies use an internal price on carbon, ranging from $6-60 per metric ton.


Our expert readers can’t exactly forecast the future, but they often come close. Last year, they predicted a growing interest in projects that offer co-benefits beyond carbon sequestration and in projects “nested” within jurisdictional frameworks. Both were major themes in 2013.

In 2014, readers are looking ahead to COP20 in Lima, Peru, which David Antonioli of VCS predicts “will truly be the Forestry COP, with a big focus on REDD+.” He sees an increased integration of agriculture and forestry, with a continued spotlight on creating sustainable landscape approaches in 2014.

David Rokoss of Offsetters Climate Solutions sees land-based carbon protocols expanding in 2014, with more mangroves and grasslands projects being developed. But whether the UN process will catch up with the voluntary market’s landscape approach remains to be seen.

“The recent climate change negotiations hosted in Warsaw acknowledged the important role that forests play in the global climate crisis… However, we are still waiting to see whether agriculture activities will also be recognized,” wrote Pieter van Midwoud of The Gold Standard Foundation.

Whether the completed “REDD Rulebook” will open up the floodgates of climate finance – or just a trickle – also remains to be seen. Some are more optimistic than others.

“REDD will continue its incremental march towards market legitimacy, but I don’t see a compliance market commitment to REDD within the year,” said Rokoss. “[However] we could very well see additional jurisdictions release emissions policy that includes both offsets and in particular land-based offsets through forestry programs, similar to what we have in California.”

Harold Buchanan, CEO of CE2 Carbon Capital, predicts the ARB’s quest to include REDD in its cap-and-trade program will be suspended indefinitely due to complexities such as the implications of the program’s buyer liability policy. “Compliance buyers would never buy them,” he said.

And the word from Peru, our COP20 host?

“For Peru, 2014 is going to be the year of serious change regarding companies and their relationship with the environment,” wrote Alessandro Riva of the Peru Carbon Fund, which this year created a new carbon standard specific to the country’s legal landscape.


REDD+ Legal Consultant – Global Canopy Programme

Based in Oxford, the REDD+ Legal Consultant will work on the research and writing of a new Little REDD+ Book of Law. The publication will present a series of clear policy options to decision-makers to share lessons of legal best practice and opportunities for legislative reform to support the scaling up of REDD+. The successful candidate will have a postgraduate degree in environmental law and significant experience working on legal issues related to REDD+.

Read more about the position here

Team Leader for Xepian REDD+ Project in Southern Laos – Österreichische Bundesforste AG
Based in Laos, the Team Leader will lead the implementation of a REDD+ project in the Xepian Protected Area. The role includes building institutional capacity among the park administration; improving enforcement and patrolling the project area; promoting alternative income generation among the local population in the buffer zone; and setting up an internal monitoring system for greenhouse gas emissions. The ideal candidate will have an advanced university degree, at least five years of relevant work experience, and knowledge of English, German, and Lao.

Read more about the position here

Head of Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources – NC State University
Based in Raleigh, the Head of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University will provide vision and direction to the Department, leading faculty across a wide diversity of disciplines to excellent teaching, research, engagement and scholarship. The job requires promoting the Department regionally, nationally and internationally. Candidates must have earned a PhD or equivalent and have 10 years or more of professional natural resources experience.

Read more about the position here

Forestry and NRM Technical Advisor – India Partnership for Land Use Science
Based in New Delhi, the Forestry and NRM Technical Advisor will guide the technical implementation of Forest-PLUS, a five-year sustainable landscapes initiative between USAID and the Government of India. The program seeks to accelerate India’s transition to a low emissions economy by taking REDD+ actions to scale. The successful candidate will have an advanced degree in forestry management or a related field, at least 10 years of forestry and natural resource management experience, and be fluent in English and Hindi.

Read more about the position here

Malawi REDD+ MRV Specialist –Terra Global Capital

Based in Malawi, the REDD+ MRV Specialist will support the upcoming USAID-funded Malawi Integrated REDD Demonstration Program. The position involves managing the implementation of carbon development work plans in Malawi with in-country partners; working closely with the Terra Global Capital team in San Francisco; managing field surveys and social appraisals to collect land use data; conducting spatial analyses; and coordinating training sessions and discussions with government and communities. Candidates must have an advanced degree in forestry, ecology or a related field and a minimum of eight years of relevant work experience, including at least five years of experience in Africa (preferably Malawi).

Read more about the position here

Call for JNR Expert Applicants – Verified Carbon Standard
The Verified Carbon Standard is seeking practitioners with significant expertise in the development and/or assessment of REDD+ programs to serve as expert reviewers around the Standard’s new Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) Framework. These experts will review more than a dozen jurisdictional programs that are now seeking validation under VCS JNR.

Read more about the position here


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