This Week In V-Carbon…

Ecosystem Marketplace launched the annual survey to collect data for the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 reports. Respond by March 12th to receive a free market brief customized for your organization. In other news, the Indonesian government may enter the carbon market to reduce domestic emissions below 41% by 2020.

Ecosystem Marketplace launched the annual survey to collect data for the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 reports. Respond by March 12th to receive a free market brief customized for your organization. In other news, the Indonesian government may enter the carbon market to reduce domestic emissions below 41% by 2020.

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

5 March 2014 | Ecosystem Marketplace is at it again. We just launched our annual survey collecting data for the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 reports! Over the past eight years, the State of reports have served as the only market-wide, freely available quantitative reports tracking offset transactions in the voluntary and compliance markets on a global basis.  


Ecosystem Marketplace has also partnered with the  Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves  to release an enhanced survey to more closely track trends in carbon-financed clean cookstove distribution.


If you have responded to our survey in the past, a key contact in your organization should have received an email with your organization-specific username and password, and you can sign into the survey  HERE  


If it’s your first time, create a new organizational account  HERE


You should respond to our survey if: you transact carbon offsets to voluntary buyers; you develop forest carbon offset projects (for voluntary or compliance markets); and/or you develop carbon offsets from the distribution of clean or more efficient cookstoves or components.


As always, feel free to  contact us  if you have questions about the survey.


For the first time, if your organization responds to the survey by the March 12 deadline, you will receive a personalized, confidential market brief comparing your organization’s 2013 activities to aggregate results, including pricing, sales volumes, market leaders and forecast. If you report pricing and volume data, we’ll also include a customized comparison sheet to show how your pricing and transactions types stack up against other respondents’, with extra regional and country-level insight, where available.


In other news, the Indonesian government may get into the carbon market game.As an antidote to less-than-ideal demand for carbon offsets from forestry projects, the government may take a step that is unusual for a developing country:  buying carbon offsets itself to support domestic forest conservation activities.  The country has a goal to reduce domestic emissions by 41% below a business-as-usual scenario by 2020. Meeting this target could necessitate about one billion tonnes of emission reductions from avoided deforestation (REDD) projects, said Agus Sari, chair of the Working Group on Funding Instruments for the Presidential Task Force on REDD+.  


“We intend to fulfill part of our domestic targets through purchasing of emission-reduction performances from projects, because that not only helps us achieve our goals, but catalyzes the domestic market,” he said.  


These and other stories from the voluntary carbon marketplace are summarized below, so keep reading!


Every year, Ecosystem Marketplace relies wholly on offset market participants to financially support the State of research. In return, sponsors ($7.5k+) and supporters ($3k) benefit from the report’s growing exposure, early insight into our findings, and opportunities to engage directly with Ecosystem Marketplace in report-related outreach and events. Interested organizations should contact  Molly Peters-Stanley.


Katoomba setting the stage


Two Global Katoomba Meetings will bring together major agriculture players, policy makers, and financial institutions, as well as scientific experts in deforestation, water, and biodiversity, in 2014 to accelerate a new approach toward sustainable landscapes. The March meeting will take place on the 19th and 20th at Iguazíº Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina, under the banner “Scaling Up Sustainable Commodity Supply Chains.” The April meeting will take place from the 22nd through the 25th in Lima, Peru and its working motto is “Climate, Forests, Water, and People: A Vision for Alignment in Tropical America.” This 20th Katoomba Meeting will set the stage for the 20th Conference of the Parties, which will also be held in Lima in December.  


Calling all programmes


 Foundation Future of the Carbon Market has issued a call for  proposals  to support market-based initiatives that follow a programmatic approach to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The foundation, which has already concluded the selection process for the first round of funding, focuses on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Programmes of Activities, but could fund similar approaches. The foundation can finance initiatives related to the design of carbon market approaches within the framework of international climate negotiations or programs that are strongly integrated into the climate policies of the host country and either directly supported or accompanied by local climate change-related initiatives. The submission deadline is April 15.


—The Editors

For comments or questions, please email: [email protected]

V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Dow wins carbon gold

Dow Chemical Company did its part to contribute to the 100% carbon neutrality goal of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia by financing the retirement of 160,000 tonnes of offsets to cover all estimated emissions caused by spectators and media traveling to the games. Some of the retired offsets came from the Bikin Tiger forest conservation project in Vladivostok, Russia, while others were generated from projects based in Brazil and South Korea, which will host the next two Olympic Games. Some offsets were also created by a methane recycling project implemented at Dow’s manufacturing facility in Georgia, United States. Offsetters Climate Solutions retired the offsets, which were developed under the International Carbon Offset and Reduction Alliance Code of Best Practice.

   – Read more from
   – Read more from the Wall Street Journal


Full disclosure

Offsetters has joined forces with the CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, as the only CDP Canada consultancy partner. More than 4,000 companies worldwide voluntarily report to the CDP to measure and disclose climate change, deforestation risk and water usage information. CDP consultancy partners work with the non-profit organization to encourage high-quality disclosure of data on carbon emissions and emissions-reductions strategies.  

   – Read more from the Offsetters


Don’t book early, book offsets

Procrastinators take heart:, a mobile application that allows those who leave their travel arrangements until the last minute to use their smart phones to book hotels, has committed to offsetting the carbon emissions generated through its mobile service. consolidated the total bookings done in 2013 and offset 2,000 tonnes. The program, developed with ALLCOT, uses offsets from the Cikel Brazilian Amazon REDD Project, registered with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The main project activity is cancellation of planned deforestation activities in favor of conserving the forest area and continuing forest management activities under Forest Stewardship Council certification.

   – Read more from ALLCOT
   – Read more from VCS


Will offsets ever go Maine-stream?

The Appalachian Mountain Club recently received approval to sell carbon offsets from 10,000 preserved acres in its Katahdin Iron Works tract in Maine. The project follows on the heels of another Maine project by the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, which last month was approved to sell forest carbon offsets on the California market. The two projects have sparked different opinions as to whether managing forests for carbon could be a long-term economic strategy in Maine. Researchers at the University of Maine predict that as many as five million acres in the state could eventually go under carbon management, while state agencies say the cost of monitoring and the 100-year permanence requirement make offset development too cumbersome for landowners.

   – Read more here


Climate North America

To tax or to cap?

The transport sector is scheduled to be phased into California’s cap-and-trade program next year. But California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg wants to exempt the sector from the program by instead implementing a carbon tax on fuels that would start at 15 cents a gallon in 2015 and rise to 24 cents a gallon in 2020. Steinberg expressed concern about leaving transport fuels at the mercy of what could be a volatile market and believes that a tax would be a more straightforward approach to reduce carbon emissions. It would raise an estimated $3.6 billion in its first year to finance a tax credit for low to moderate wage earners and public transportation improvements.

   – Read more from the Business Insider
   – Read more from LA Times


Floating above the floor

Contrary to Steinberg’s concerns, California’s trading market has been strong and stable, said Katie Hsia, carbon market analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund. All allowances offered during the February 19 auction were sold, with 2014 vintages selling at $11.48/per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), a mere 14 cents above this year’s floor price. In addition, 2017 vintage allowances sold out – at a price of $11.38/tCO2e – despite the fact that they cannot be used for compliance until 2017, which indicates companies remain confident in the program’s strength and longevity and are focused on planning their compliance strategies, she said.  

   – Read more from the California Air Resources Board
   – Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund


Kyoto & Beyond

EU ETS takes leap forward on backloading

European officials gave the final stamp of approval to a plan to shore up the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by withholding 900 million permits from 2014-2016, a temporary solution known as backloading. The number of allowances to be auctioned for the remainder of 2014 has been reduced by 400 million, with the IntercontinentalExchange auction for the United Kingdom on March 12 the first auction to be affected by the change. Carbon prices have skyrocketed in anticipation of the adoption of the backloading solution, with allowances on the ICE Futures Europe exchange trading above the seven euros mark, the highest in 14 months.

   – Read more from Bloomberg


CDM’s saviors?

Barbados scientist Hugh Sealy will be the next head of the CDM executive board. Sealy will succeed Norway’s Peer Stiansen, while Germany’s Lambert Schneider, a researcher in carbon markets, climate and energy policy, will be his vice-chair. The two have a daunting task in trying to save the troubled market. Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report tracked less than 1 MtCO2e of CDM offsets sold to voluntary buyers at average prices of less than $1/tCO2e. Perhaps the CDM market is beyond saving. DNV GL, the largest verifier of CDM projects, certainly seems to think so. The company announced it will stop validating and verifying CDM projects because of the market’s pricing collapse.

   – Read more from Reuters
   – Read more from Port News
   – Read more from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report


Denmark fully committed

Denmark, a member of the EU ETS, may be even more determined than the rest of the European Union to lower carbon emissions and address climate change. The Danish parliament recently passed a bill to decrease its GHG emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, ten years earlier than its European peers. “This is a law to make Denmark (a) low-carbon society by 2050,” said Mattias Soderberg, a senior climate advisor at humanitarian organization DanChurchAid. The country is also on its way to switching completely to renewable energy sources by 2050, with 43% of its domestic electricity use covered by renewables in 2012.  

   – Read more from Renew Economy


Global Policy Update

Always running late

The South African government has once again delayed implementation of its proposed carbon tax – to 2016 – because government regulators need more time to study a package of policies to address climate change and reduce emissions, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said. The plan was to introduce a carbon tax of R120/tCO2e beginning January 1, 2015, but businesses have been pushing back against the deadline. The National Treasury is planning to publish a paper outlining how regulated companies can reduce their carbon tax liability by 5-10% through offsets. An Ecosystem Marketplace article last year examined South Africa’s proposed approach and how offsets could come into play.  

   – Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace
   – Read more from RTCC
   – Read more from Business Day


Offsetting with an iron fist

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will strictly control the approval process for carbon offset projects, which will limit the available supply to China’s pilot markets in the short term, according to an analysis by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. The firm projects only a total of 5 Mt of China’s Certified Emission Reductions will be available for the first compliance deadlines in mid-2014. However, the NDRC has also approved project types such as hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and nitrous oxide (N2O) projects that are ineligible in other carbon markets, which could flood China’s market and subject the country to unwanted international criticism, said analyst Hongliang Chai.

   – Read more from Commodities Now


Quingdao’s got next

Quingdao plans to become the sixth Chinese city to launch a carbon market in an effort to reduce GHG emissions to 20% below 2010 levels by 2015. Quingdao is one of China’s largest cities with three million people, and a major energy consumer as its economy depends mainly on heavy industry and petrochemicals. Setting up local carbon markets is an easily accessible policy for local governments that have had mandatory emission targets imposed on them by Beijing, but lack the authority to impose a carbon tax or energy consumption cap locally, said the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Song Ranping.

   – Read more from Reuters
   – Read more from Global Times


Flunking carbon

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court of New South Wales cast light on the latest carbon offset scam. Australia-based shift2neutral and its director and controller Brett Goldsworthy provided Oakhill College with 2,000 non-existent offsets and claimed the school was the first in the world to go carbon neutral, the court found. Worthless carbon offset certificates were also given to the Sydney Turf Club and the Professional Golf Association of Australia in November 2009 in exchange for advertising and hospitality benefits. The company made false claims about carbon offset deals valued at more than $1 billion that did not exist, according to the ruling.

   – Read more from the Sydney Morning Herald
   – Read more from the New South Wales Case Law


Don’t drag us into your mess

Alcoa wants to steer clear of the political battle over Australia’s carbon pricing scheme. The aluminum manufacturer announced it will close two facilities and lay off nearly 1,000 workers in Australia. Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government, which is looking to do away with the scheme, immediately tried to blame the carbon tax for Alcoa’s decision. But opposition leaders quickly rejected the claim and a statement issued by the company later confirmed that the carbon tax was not a factor in the decision.

   – Read more from the Sydney Morning Herald
   – Read more from The Australian


Carbon Finance

Socially unacceptable

The US federal government was right to try to calculate the social cost of carbon (SCC), but its estimate is still probably too low, according to several environmental groups. In November 2013, federal agencies pegged the SCC at $37/tCO2e in 2007 dollars for 2015, an increase from the $24/tCO2e estimate in 2010, much to the dismay of fossil fuel and other industry groups. “The SCC provides an important, if conservative, estimate of the costs of climate change and the benefits of reducing carbon pollution,” the Environmental Defense Fund, the Institute for Policy Integrity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists said in joint comments about the proposal. “To ignore these costs would be detrimental to the health and well-being of Americans and contrary to law and presidential directives to agencies to evaluate the cost of pollution to society when considering standards to abate that pollution.”  

   – Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund
   – Read more from Bloomberg


Science & Technology

Seeing the forest for the cloud

A new Google-powered tool called Global Forest Watch combines global high-resolution satellite imagery, high-powered cloud computing, open data and human networks to give a picture of forest loss (or growth) in near real time. Technological advances have made the processing of vast amounts of forest data a lot faster, which enables governments, NGOs and corporates such as Nestlé to use the tool to quickly target programs and funding to communities where deforestation is most acute. “You don’t need a PhD in remote sensing science to use Global Forest Watch,” said Nigel Sizer, Director of the WRI’s Global Forest Initiative. But ensuring people actually act on the information right at their fingertips may be the most difficult challenge.  

   – Read more from the Forest Carbon Portal


Leading the pack

The Climate Trust and Delta Institute launched a program to use nitrogen credit transactions to reduce N2O emissions from agriculture in the Midwest of the United States. Participating farmers will profit by switching to nitrogen fertilizer methods that release less N2O into the atmosphere, and reduce water and air contamination. Delta will quantify the emission reductions, verify them with a third party, and list the credits on the American Carbon Registry (ACR). The Climate Trust will purchase and retire the credits. Sean Penrith, Executive Director of The Climate Trust, said “this transaction as the first nutrient management offset is a strong signal to the carbon markets.”

   – Read more from the Delta Institute


Turning back the clock on wetlands loss

This month, the VCS approved a methodology for wetland creation that is largely geared towards restoring wetlands on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, which has the fastest wetlands loss in the United States. The methodology is the first to use an ‘activity method’ that standardizes the process for establishing additionality, therefore allowing projects to get off the ground at lower upfront cost. The ACR approved a wetlands methodology in September 2012 and already has a pilot project west of New Orleans. Tierra Resources, a group that helped developed the ACR methodology, estimates that carbon finance could raise between $5 billion and $15 billion for wetlands restoration in the Gulf.

   – Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace
   – Read more from the Forest Carbon Portal
   – Read more from the VCS website


Featured Jobs

Manager, REDD+ Finance Program – Forest Trends

Based in Washington DC, the Manager for REDDX will lead Forest Trends’ initiative to track high-level public and private commitments for REDD+ all the way down to how and when funding is spent on the ground in 14 countries. The role includes managing multi-million, multi-year grants, overseeing annual updates to REDDX data collection, managing partners in all the countries, and developing strategic communications. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree and at least seven years of experience. Knowledge of French, Spanish or Portuguese is a plus.

   – Read more about the position here


Communities and Markets Initiative Associate – Forest Trends

Based in Washington DC, the Associate will support the Community and Markets Initiative’s growing programmatic activity, which seeks to link communities to environmental markets so that they can participate in and benefit from payments for ecosystem services. The role requires managing website content, coordinating monthly publication of a program newsletter, providing logistical support for program meetings and staff travel, and more. The successful candidate will have an undergraduate degree in a related field; have excellent writing, research and analytical skills; and be fluent in English and Brazilian Portuguese (Spanish a plus).


   – Read more about the position here


Research Position – Climate Change Policy and Governance, International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) project, Climate Change Policy and Governance

Based in Venice, Italy, the Researcher will be involved in the management of the ICCG Observatories focused on the role of institutions, and alternative models of governance for the control of climate change; and the evaluation of climate and energy policies. Eligible candidates will have a master’s/PhD in environmental economics, political science, public policy and/or international relations; proven experience of analytical and research abilities in climate change policy and governance at national and international level; good communication skills; and experience using social media. Excellent knowledge of English required.

   – Read more about the position here


Post-Doctoral Fellow – Climate Adaptation, STAP-GEF

Based in Washington DC, the Postdoctoral Fellow will assist with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel’s (STAP) applied research on climate change adaptation and its implementation, and will provide technical support to the STAP Chair on a number of technical subjects. The successful candidate will have a PhD in a field related to climate adaptation; demonstrated ability to bridge scientific, technological, economic, social and policy issues to climate adaptation; and ability to work cross-sectorally. Experience working in developing countries and in the context of multi-lateral environmental assistance preferred.

   – Read more about the position here


Sustainable Development Officer (Low Carbon Behaviors) – Keep Scotland Beautiful

Based in Stirling, United Kingdom, the Development Officer will join Keep Scotland Beautiful to lead the new Sustainable Scotland Network project on low-carbon behaviors and the Social and Materials Tool. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of behavior change theories and methods, excellent facilitation and group work skills, and well-developed project management and implementation experience. Knowledge and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the public sector preferred.

   – Read more about the position here


Consultancy (Initiative Coordination) – Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme

Based in Paris, France, the Consultant will support the coordination of initiatives related to methane and black carbon reductions, and the promotion of HFC alternatives technology and standards. Eligible candidates will have a university degree; at least three years of experience in project coordination, management or related field; excellent written and oral communication skills; and the capacity to work with colleagues and partners remotely and in Paris. Fluency in English required.


   – Read more about the position here





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 [email protected].

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