This Week In V-Carbon: Alternatives In Africa

At the African Carbon Forum earlier this month, Ecosystem Marketplace presented its findings from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report in Côte d’Ivoire. While African nations have historically focused on CDM projects, interest in voluntary carbon projects has grown, showcased by a record $66M in offsets occurring in 2012 alone.

At the African Carbon Forum earlier this month, Ecosystem Marketplace presented its findings from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report in Cí´te d’Ivoire. While African nations have historically focused on CDM projects, interest in voluntary carbon projects has grown, showcased by a record $66M in offsets occurring in 2012 alone.

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

23 July 2013 | Ecosystem Marketplace writers recently returned from the Africa Carbon Forum in Abidjan, Cí´te d’Ivoire where we presented Africa-relevant findings from the  regional section  of our State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report.

Here, we find that growing interest from voluntary buyers in supporting charismatic offset projects in the region raised the value of transacted offsets in Africa to a new high of $66M in 2012, as the average price for the region’s record activity (8 MtCO2e of transacted offsets) rose 6% to $8.30/tCO2e.

That said, the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) market still dwarfs the voluntary carbon market, by transacted volume. Some project developers we surveyed in the clean cookstoves market continued to gravitate toward the CDM instead of (or in addition to) going straight to a voluntary market-only standard, hoping to keep a foot in both marketplaces in case compliance market CER prices recover, and attracted by larger-volume demand at any price.


Acknowledging that Africa’s carbon strategy can tap into but not rely on the voluntary markets alone, a new  Ecosystem Marketplace article  investigates opportunities and challenges for Africa under the CDM.  While African countries have traditionally been overshadowed as potential hosts for offset projects, the region could face expanding opportunities under the CDM given the European Union’s sharpened focus on least developed countries – most of which are located in Africa.


As always, opportunity comes with a grain of salt. Many LDCs will have access to the European market, but the current CER spot “is not a great price that you get for your natural resources,” cautions Andrei Marcu, Senior Advisor at the Center for European Policy Studies and Advisor to Poland. He says African countries will need to ensure that they have access to more markets, including those not necessarily inside the Kyoto Protocol.


These and other stories from the voluntary carbon marketplace are summarized below, so keep reading! Also, a reminder that Ecosystem Marketplace continues to collect data describing clean cookstove  and  forestry projects. Respondents to either survey can choose to be publicly recognized alongside a link to your website – and no individual data points are publicly reported. Both surveys close at the end of this month, so act fast!


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—The Editors

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V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Simpler, sleeker, and more simpatico

Last week, the Ecologica Institute formally launched Version 5.0 of the SOCIALCARBON Standard, a co-benefits standard that debuted in 2008 with a focus on sustainable livelihoods. The new version features simplified templates and improved metrics, with a “temporary nature rule” that streamlines processes with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) by mandating an overlap of at least 50% of the VCS accounting monitoring period with the SOCIALCARBON monitoring period. Divaldo Rezende, one of the standard’s original creators, says the rule will help secure social benefits of a project before it is certified and lower costs to project developers by ensuring that the monitoring is harmonized with VCS. SOCIALCARBON will continue to accept Version 4.0 guidelines for all reports certified until December 31, 2013.

   – See Version 5.0
   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace coverage


What wood Markit do?

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) – launched in 2011 to encourage domestic afforestation activities in the United Kingdom – has just gone live on the Markit Environmental Registry. Until now, the UK Forestry Commission which oversees the standard had operated an internal register of WCC projects. The move to Markit is intended to enhance transparency and accountability in the trade of Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs) by enabling the tracking of project registration and credit listings, ownership, and retirement. In addition, Markit’s registry provides an introductory mechanism to convene buyers and sellers of WCUs.

   – Read press release


Just like that

JustGreen, an initiative of Just Energy – a publicly traded provider of energy solutions based in the US – has purchased two billion pounds (about 907,185 tCO2e) through its carbon offset and renewable energy credit programs. The purchase corresponds to cutting about 190,000 cars off the road and planting 4.5 million trees.  Just Energy buys carbon offsets certified to standards including VCS, IOS, and the Climate Action Reserve in response to customers subscribing to JustGreen Natural Gas or JustGreen products. JustGreen Lifestyle is carrying out a Facebook campaign to offset more greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of covering 10,000 pounds for every new ‘like.’ If and when the campaign achieves 10,000 pounds, the goal will be doubled to 20,000 pounds.

   – Read more


Newcomers take a stand

In support of its expansion into forestry and land use, the Gold Standard Foundation has appointed three new members to its Technical Advisory Committee. Newcomers include Jacqueline Gehrig-Fasel of TREES Forest Carbon Consulting in Switzerland, Tony Knowles of the Cirrus Group in South Africa, and Asep Suntana of Surya University in Indonesia, who together offer decades of land use and forest carbon experience to the standard. Requirements for afforestation/reforestation projects under the Gold Standard are anticipated for public release in August.

   – Read more


Carbon couple dreams big

A recent article profiles the Rabieys, the entrepreneurial couple behind The Carbon Farmer, a tree-farm business in Alberta, Canada that converts previously tilled land into forests with native trees, shrubs and grasses in support of biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Customers have the option of paying $2 to have a tree planted on their behalf, or $15/tCOwe for carbon credits. Started as a project on a Rabiey family farm, the couple has expanded to partner with other landowners and landtrusts to afforest and reforest across Alberta. To date, they have planted over 300,000 trees, within plans to plant another 330,000 this year, expected to offset the annual footprint of 25,000 Albertans.

   – Read more


Judgment day for co-benefits

The following Climate Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance projects, Abote Community-Managed Reforestation Project, Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Project, REDD+ de la Concesií³n para Conservacií³n Alto Huayabamba Project, and the New Leaf CarbonProject are now accepting public comments on whether their project documents meet CCB requirements. The first two projects will accept comments through July 24, while the latter two will accept comments through July 28.

   – Provide comment


Climate North America

ROW recommendations see ripple effect

After two years of consultations with indigenous leaders, environmentalists, and government representatives, the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW)  has just released its final recommendations  on how to work international REDD+ offsets into California’s cap-and-trade program. The recommendations account for indigenous rights, calling on California to ban credits that don’t conform to international principles and to retain the right to suspend recognized credits if they are later found to be out of compliance.  More than four dozen representatives of major corporations, NGOs, and indigenous communities  have signed a letter of support  for the recommendations.


Of the two states considering to feed REDD+ credits into California’s cap-and-trade scheme – Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil – the State of Chiapas  was inaccurately reported to have canceled its REDD+ program. The Chiapas state government has released a response reaffirming its commitment to jurisdictional REDD+.


The momentum of the broader movement to recognize forestry within compliance carbon markets is building not only in California but also at a national level. With US President Barack Obama’s recent pledge to REDD+ in his Climate Action Plan, the US joins a number of nations and corporations committed to using the UN mechanism to curb tropical deforestation and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Read Ecosystem Marketplace coverage  here.

   – Read ROW recommendations


Easy does it

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released proposed changes to its cap-and-trade program, to be considered by the board in October. On the list is a mechanism that prevents carbon allowance prices from overshooting a set threshold, and the offering of additional allowances for sale at a price-containment reserve auction before the November 1 deadline of each compliance period. In order to ease the burden for emitters, another major item seeks to grant free allowances covering 100% of emissions in both the first and second compliance periods to industrial sectors at risk of moving out of California due to compliance costs.

   – Read more about proposed changes
   – Read NRDC reaction to proposed changes


Kyoto & Beyond

Africa looms large on CDM map

The Clean Development Mechanism recently passed its 7,000 project mark, with 1,000 new projects accepted since February despite still-despondent CER prices. A new Ecosystem Marketplace article scopes out the potential for CDM offset project development in Africa, a continent that has been traditionally overshadowed as a potential host of CDM projects but faces increasing opportunities given the European Union’s sharpened focus on least developed countries – most of which are located in Africa  – away from emission reductions in countries like China, India, and Brazil.

   – Read more about CDM milestone
   – Read Ecosystem Marketplace article


EU ETS on the operating table

European Union member states recently resuscitated the “backloading” proposal, giving the green light to a revised draft regulation that limits the number of international credits that emitters can use to comply with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The revised proposal assures that backloading will only be a one-time affair, with allowances to be put back on the market starting the year after the year in which allowances have been withheld, instead of waiting until 2018-2010. It calls for 600 million of the 900 million backloaded allowances to be made available to create a fund supporting innovative low-carbon technologies and demonstration projects, alongside measures to cut costs and carbon emissions of energy-intensive industries.

   – Read more from UPI
   – Read more from Argus


Global Policy Update

The double-edged lifebuoy

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced last week that the country’s controversial national carbon tax will be replaced by an emissions trading scheme in July 2014, a year ahead of schedule. The advance launch is anticipated to cut the cost of carbon from a projected AU$25.40/tCO2e in July next year to around AU$6/tCO2e. While the lower price tag on carbon is expected to reduce pressure on both polluters and consumers, it would also mean less income to support projects developed under the government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and funds like the Biodiversity Fund which currently rely on carbon tax revenue.

   – Read about price float decision
   – Read about impact on CFI/Biodiversity Fund


Kazakhstan ETS: business may stall great success

In January of this year, Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet state to launch a national carbon trading pilot, with plans to transition to a fully operational “second phase” emissions trading phase in 2014. In the current pilot phase, businesses are allowed to buy an unlimited amount of allowances from the government, and face soft penalties for noncompliance. Despite strong backing from President Nazarbayev, the country’s planned move to an ETS has caused ripples of discontent among the business community – in particular with KazEnergy, an alliance of energy producers. Even within the government, some officials have voiced doubt about the readiness of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) to administer the ETS, and suggest the 2014 date could be pushed back further.

   – Read more


Russian politics

High-level meetings held recently could indicate a new future of Russia’s carbon markets. At the first, held by Russia’s inter-ministerial Working Group on Climate Change and Development, a proposed draft decree endorsing a 25%-below-1990 target was rejected by the president’s administration a second time, potentially resulting in up to six months’ delay for decree approval. At a different meeting held at the Economic Ministry, attendees agreed to develop a blueprint for a future national carbon mechanism, to be launched as early as 2014. Despite converging interest in a carbon market, the two proposals are pursuing two different tracks: with the Climate Change and Development group favoring a project-based approach and the Economic Ministry backing broader market-based initiatives.  

   – Read more


Featured Jobs

Technical Specialist – Plan Vivo Foundation

Based in Edinburgh, the Technical Specialist will select and prepare approved methodologies for projects to use under the Plan Vivo Standard 2013 and coordinate and conduct technical reviews of project documents. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in ecosystem services or a related discipline such as environmental management or forestry.

   – Read more about the position here


Carbon Markets Specialist – Ecodit

Based in Kazakhstan, the Carbon Markets Specialist will be the lead technical expert for support to the Government of Kazakhstan and regulated community on the ETS. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in an environmental- or climate change-related field, such as public policy, economics, law, science or international development and 7+ years of experience in the design and implementation of carbon market mechanisms. Read more about the position here.  

   – Read more about the position here


Intern – China Beijing Environmental Exchange

Based in Beijing, the Intern will research existing international and domestic carbon markets and track and manage cooperation projects with both international and domestic carbon trading institutions. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree related to policy, environment, economics or finance and be fluent in both English and Chinese.

   – Read more about the position here


Local Expert, LOME – myclimate

Based in Kampala or Nairobi, the Local myclimate Expert (LOME) will identify suitable projects for the myclimate project pipeline, conduct screenings and due diligence of projects and coach project partners throughout the entire carbon cycle. Candidates should have a degree in engineering, renewable energy, environmental science or related field and 2-5+ years’ work experience in related relevant fields.

   – Read more about the position here


Project Director, Conservation Investments – The Nature Conservancy

Based in San Francisco, the Project Director will support the California chapter’s work in conservation finance, environmental economics, and conservation assets such as carbon credits. Candidates should have an M.B.A. or other graduate degree and outstanding analytical and project management capabilities.

   – Read more about the position here


2 Positions – Terra Global Capital

Based in San Francisco, the AFOLU Carbon Quantification and Development Senior Specialist will review technical aspects of AFOLU carbon projects and provide guidance to project developers regarding project typology, eligible methodologies and mechanics of carbon monitoring, reporting and verification. Candidates should have a PhD in applied natural sciences such as forestry, ecology or natural resources and 5+ years’ experience. Also based in San Francisco, the Natural Resource Climate Change Project Manager will support the carbon development process for international forest and land-use carbon projects and jurisdictional programs. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s in environmental science or natural resource management and 5+ years’ experience.  



Executive Director – The Climate Trust

Based in Portland, the Executive Director will oversee and direct growth of the offset portfolio and provide visionary and strategic leadership to advance the organization’s mission, revenue deployment, impact and growth. Candidates should have at least a Bachelor’s Degree and 10+ years’ experience as a senior executive in a an environmental or energy-related organization.

   – Read more about the position here





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