This Week In V-Carbon…

The Verified Carbon Standard does compliance in California (and beyond?), corporate buyers have lots of love for the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project, and CO2EXCHANGE offers another option on the web for your offset purchasing predilections.

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


14 August 2014 | The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), known as one of the leading carbon standards in the voluntary markets, is ready to move into California’s regulated market in a major way. VCS announced last week that it has been authorized by the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB) to pre-screen coal mine methane and other types of offset projects for California’s carbon trading program.

The VCS just became the third voluntary registry, following the American Carbon Registry and the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), to be designated as an offset project registry, which allows the VCS to help administer parts of the ARB’s compliance offset program.

“The California system is on the cutting edge of figuring out how to tackle climate change,” said David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer of the VCS. “We feel it’s time to be part of the game and part of the solution.”

In addition to evaluating currently eligible projects, the VCS has set a specific goal of helping California welcome REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) projects into the program. The VCS jurisdictional and nested REDD+ (JNR) requirements were the first framework for accounting and crediting REDD+ programs implemented at either the national or subnational level. The Brazilian state of Acre with which California and the Mexican state of Chiapas have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was the first jurisdiction to pilot the JNR framework and is “really quite close” to becoming the first jurisdiction-wide program to deliver compliance-grade REDD+ offsets, Antonioli said.

The VCS has a vision of its toe-hold in California evolving into other compliance markets throughout North America and potentially worldwide.

Meanwhile, officials in California and Mexico in late July signed a MOU and formally agreed to work together on a range of actions to address climate change, including pricing carbon pollution. The most obvious area of cooperation would be for California to recognize REDD offsets generated by projects located in Mexico in its program, he said.

“I think there are great opportunities for making things happen across the border,” Antonioli said.

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

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V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Driving the carbon away
Volkswagen (VW) and Audi have partnered with 3Degrees to purchase offsets covering the emissions associated with the car and battery manufacturing, distribution, and warranty miles for the VW eGolf and Audi A3 e-tron automobiles. VW selected offsets from the Garcia River and Big River and Salmon Creek Forests afforestation/reforestation projects in California and the methane capture project at the McKinney Landfill in Texas among others. Audi will also source offsets from the McKinney Landfill and the Garcia River projects, plus the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in Kenya. The initiative is scheduled to last for the next three model years.Read more here


Brown gets greener
UPS has set a new goal of a 20% reduction in carbon intensity from transportation by 2020 after meeting its previous goal of reducing its air and ground fleet’s emissions intensity 10% by 2016.The shipping firm’s carbon reduction strategies include alternative fuel vehicles, route optimization, and carbon neutral shipping options for customers. The UPS carbon neutral shipping program purchased 48,467 tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e) offsets in 2013, according to its most recent Sustainability Report, up from 43,575 tCO2e in 2012. The offsets were purchased from the Garcia River and Kasigau Corridor forestry projects, as well as methane destruction projects in Thailand and China. Read more here


Offsetting in the Great White North
Toronto-based CO2EXCHANGE has officially launched a website inviting individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. The offsets featured on the new online platform are currently sourced from several projects located in Canada including the Darkwoods forestry project the subject of a damning and controversial audit by British Columbia officials in 2013. Other Canadian projects supplying offsets on the platform include a composting facility verified by the VCS and a landfill methane avoidance and a biomass project verified by International Organization for Standardization. The platform also features offset projects outside of North America, including an Australia-based solar project, and an India-based wind energy project. Read more here


Staying home with the Kiwis

The New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency’s annual report on its national emissions trading system (ETS) shows that compliance entities utilized imported offsets, such as those from the European Union Emissions Trading System, to fulfill nearly all of their obligations under the domestic carbon cap. A change in the program will prevent the use of international offsets after this year, forcing companies to rely on domestic New Zealand Units. But the entire ETS could be in jeopardy as some New Zealand legislators want to replace it with a carbon tax while others want it completely scrapped. Read more here


The list just keeps growing
The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved 33 new projects for use in the countrys seven pilot ETS programs. The new projects could produce up to six million offsets annually, equivalent to about half of the number of offsets traded in the pilots thus far. About 2,000 companies that face restrictions on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under pilot ETSs can use the offsets, known as Chinese Certified Emissions Reductions (CCER), to cover 5-10% of their annual emissions. The new projects bring the total approved by the NDRC to 49, mostly wind and hydro power stations. According to IDEAcarbon, the first issuances of CCERs are expected this fall. Read more here


Speaking the same language
On July 28, California and Mexico signed a MOU to enhance cooperation on climate change. The agreement calls for the participants to formally share their design expertise on climate change policies, including ETS programs, and to discuss the potential for future alignment of policies and programs. The voluntary carbon markets have already established a presence in Mexico through the CAR’s Mexico Forestry Protocol and this agreement could represent another step towards bringing REDD+ into the California offset mix. Separately, Mexico signed a deal allowing Japanese companies to invest in Mexican GHG reductions through Japan’s Joint Crediting Mechanism. Read more on California/Mexico
Read more on Mexico/Japan


For the birds
The Audubon Society has sold half of the 450,000 offsets from its Beidler Forest project in South Carolina to companies in California’s cap-and-trade program. The 5,200-acre forest conservation project is registered through Blue Source and the offsets are selling at a minimum of $8/tCO2e. The Audubon Society receives 80% of the proceeds and directs the funds towards an endowment that will support the forest in perpetuity. Jeff Cole, the vice president of portfolio development for Blue Source, expects additional offsets to be generated in the future as the forest grows.
 Read more here


The beavers need something to chew on
Cap-and-trade programs such as the one in California could help conserve and grow forests in Oregon, which cover nearly half of the US state 62 million acres, according to Christine Yankel, a senior project analyst at The Climate Trust. Forestry offsets overtook ozone-depleting substances projects as the largest source of offsets issued by California regulators earlier this summer. The improved forest management projects allowed in California program provide a path to sustainable forest management that facilitates both timber harvest and conservation, she said. But the challenge for Oregon is that 60% of the forest land in the Beaver State is owned by the US federal government and therefore ineligible to contribute offsets to the California program, Yankel acknowledged. Read more here


Joining the carbon pricing party?
A taskforce in the US state of Washington has begun evaluating the possible implementation of a price on carbon in the state. Governor Jay Inslee has instructed the Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce to look at an ETS or a carbon tax that could help meet the Evergreen State’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, 25% below 1990 levels by 2035 and to 50% below by 2050. Inslee plans to use the taskforce recommendations due in November to draft and propose bills for legislative consideration in 2015.Read more here


Carbon Finance

Breakthrough Or Backslide?
Everyone loves “results-based finance at least in the abstract because they like to get what they paid for. Quantifying those results and packaging them for buyers, however, has proven elusive once you get beyond payments for ecosystem services. Ecosystem Marketplace provides a look back at how results-based finance has developed along with the benefits and challenges it presents. Read the story at Ecosystem Marketplace


Science & Technology

Offsets by the mile
A new study from Montana State University conducted for the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that active management of roadsides within public lands and US highways could significantly boost their carbon sequestration capacity and generate carbon offsets. The FHWA is currently funding research on the potential along New Mexico’s 7,500 miles of state roads. Results range from a 35% to 350% increase in carbon sequestration in the test areas. New Mexico estimates that revenue could reach $1 million annually, based on current offset prices. Read more here


Calculating the carbon
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a report that provides uniform scientific methods for quantifying changes in GHG emissions and carbon storage from land uses including cropland, grassland, livestock and agroforestry. The new methods and the accompanying website, COMET-Farm, will help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners calculate potential GHG reductions from using practices that qualify for carbon offsets. Read more here

Featured Jobs

Director of North American Compliance Markets – Verified Carbon Standard
Based in San Francisco, California, the Director will lead the organization’s efforts to work with existing and emerging compliance frameworks throughout North America. Eligible candidates will have at least 10 years of relevant work experience and expertise in carbon markets. Read more here


Carbon Sales Manager Carbonbay
Based in Hamburg, Germany, the Carbon Sales Manager will manage a large carbon project portfolio focusing on South and Central America. Successful candidates will have a masters or a bachelor’s degree in business administration or similar field. Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Read more here


Congress Assistant, Resilient Cities – ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
Based in Bonn, Germany, the Congress Assistant will support the Resilient Cities team with the Resilient Cities congress series, as well as related regional events. Ideal candidates will have interest and experience in event organizing, as well as an interest in the areas of cities and local government as an asset. Read more here


Communications Manager – Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, Inc.)
Based in New York City, New York, the Communications Manager will be responsible for development and implementation of communications related to all aspects of RGGI, Inc., including auctions, allowances tracking and engagement with stakeholders. Eligible candidates should have at least two years of work experience in communications, with demonstrated experience related to sustainability, environmental policy or energy. Read more here


Program Manager, Environment and Health – Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Based in Washington, DC, the Program Manager will provide programmatic and administrative support to the research program at the intersection of its environment, climate, and health portfolios. Successful candidates will have a master’s degree or higher in a relevant area and at least five to seven years of relevant research or work experience. Read more here

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