This Week In V-Carbon: Countdown to Carbon Expo in Cologne

The 2014 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report is set to launch on May 28th at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany. Join us to hear the latest trends gathered from a global pool of offset suppliers and other experts. Meanwhile, in the news, Russia announced plans to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, possibly featuring a voluntary offsetting component, while South Africa has rolled voluntary standards into its carbon tax.

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


19 May 2014 | State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 Report Launch! Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace invites you join us for an event exploring findings from our 2014 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets survey. This year’s launch event at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany is sponsored by ClimateCare, EcoAct, and Santiago Climate Exchange.

Join us to find the answers to questions like, “At what stage in the project cycle are most offsets sold, and at what price? How does voluntary offsetting fit into corporations supply chain sustainability? How did voluntary and compliance offset markets relate in 2014?” Our latest report builds on data collected from a global pool of offset suppliers worldwide to provide insights that will once again become an industry benchmark.

Taking place at Carbon Expo 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 13:00-13:45

Plenary Room

With panelists representing: Ecosystem Marketplace, BioCarbon Group, ClimateCare, EcoAct, and International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA).


Russia has been in the news a lot lately, but a signal from Moscow in early April caught the attention of the carbon markets. The Russian government has approved a number of measures aimed at helping the country meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 15% to 25% percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The measures to be established include monitoring, reporting and verification procedures, inventory guidelines for GHG emissions among sectors, and an assessment of the reduction potential for each sector. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade will be responsible for evaluating current emission reduction efforts and proposing new efforts for mitigation and funding for low-carbon development. A compliance or voluntary carbon pricing system is a possible outcome, according to Germany-based GFA Consulting Group. An unofficial translation of the decree is available on GFA’s website.

If Russia allows voluntary offsetting, it would become the latest country or subnational jurisdiction to tap into the expertise of the voluntary carbon markets. South Africa’s recently released policy paper carves out a strong role for offsets – and pitches a plan to include standards first developed for the voluntary carbon markets. If all regulated sectors choose to purchase offsets, the tax could generate demand for up to 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) reductions from energy efficiency, forestry and other offset projects located in South Africa.

“It’s really nice to be able to use something that’s already built,” said David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), one of several voluntary standards that will be folded into South Africa’s carbon tax.

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. [email protected]

—The Editors

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

V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Don’t waste the water

Project developer Tierra Resources is turning wastewater into blue-carbon offsets and saving Louisiana’s coastline in the process. The company identifies restoration projects and utilizes nutrient rich treated wastewater to facilitate regrowth. Carbon offsets are generated through the additional sequestration of carbon as determined by an American Carbon Registry methodology that was developed with assistance from utility Entergy Corporation. Its 950-acre pilot project near Luling, Louisiana is expected to generate between 1,000 tCO2e to 7,000 tCO2e of reductions annually. In addition to storing carbon, restoring wetlands in the Mississippi Delta will help rebuild a natural buffer against hurricanes and ocean swell, plus help guard against saltwater intrusion.

Read more here


Bringing home the Canadian bacon

Vancouver, British Columbia-based project developer Offsetters Climate Solutions doubled its sales revenue to north of $7 million last year, more than twice the sales it experienced in 2012, following its merging of ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates, Offsetters Clean Technology and Carbon Credit Corp. Total carbon offset sales rose 4% last year, aided by the sale of Verified Emission Reductions from the firm’s Mai Ndombe REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project. About 93.5% of offset revenues were generated through the voluntary markets, despite the launch of cap-and-trade markets in California and Quebec, while the remaining 6.5% were generated via BC’s Pacific Carbon Trust transactions. But Offsetters sees new revenues potentially emerging from participating in regional compliance markets in 2014.

Read more here


Striking gold in Zambia

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project has achieved VCS verification, becoming the first VCS-verified REDD+ project in Sub-Saharan Africa to have also achieved “triple gold” level validation against the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard. The project, which received an undisclosed investment from the BioCarbon Group earlier this year, is protecting 39,000 hectares of intact miombo forest along the northwestern boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park. Zambia has one of the highest deforestation rates relative to land area in Africa, according to United Nations estimates, due to unsustainable agricultural practices and urban charcoal demand. The project is working to mitigate this problem by supporting sustainable charcoal production, as well as improved conservation farming practices and other initiatives.

Read more here


Climate North America

If the carbon price is right

Washington could become the next US state to put a price on carbon, joining its Pacific Coast neighbor California in taking a step that the federal government has so far failed to take to address carbon pollution. The details are still to be worked out, but many experts see Washington closely following California’s lead to ensure the two state carbon pricing systems are compatible. However, each state is unique and analysts say differences in state laws could result in auction revenues in Washington being utilized differently than in the Golden State.

Read more here



Offset project registry Climate Action Reserve (CAR) is the winner of a CLASSY award, which honors organizations for their social impacts. The awards – presented in partnership with the United Nations Foundation – are given in eight categories, with CAR voted the winner in the environmental protection category’s climate and energy subcategory for its work supporting voluntary carbon projects. Fellow nominees included the World Wildlife Fund for its Nepal biogas project, Amazon Watch for protecting the Ecuadoran rainforest against oil development, the Paradigm Project for its distribution of clean cookstoves and other products in Kenya, and Acterra for its energy efficiency program in California.

Read more here


Kyoto & Beyond

There is such a thing as a free lunch

The European Commission has proposed that 175 out of 245 industry sectors continue receiving free allocations from 2015-2019 for their obligations under the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The industries include those exposed to competitive global trade and therefore at risk of carbon leakage, meaning their businesses and associated emissions could be relocated outside the EU ETS jurisdiction if additional costs are imposed on their activities. A majority of member states must agree to the proposal before it becomes law. A vote is expected in July.

Read more here


Hidden data

The total number of international offsets used in the EU ETS for 2013 was 132.8 million, down nearly 75% from 493 million in 2012. Unlike previous years, this information was presented by the European Commission in aggregate, omitting what types of offsets were used for compliance and making it impossible to verify whether China-based projects that have traditionally dominated the market are being kept out, as promised, according to Carbon Market Watch. Some market experts argue transparency about offset location is important to the ongoing reform debate driven by low permit prices, which are seen in some circles as negatively affecting the efficacy of the EU ETS.

Read more from Bloomberg here
Read more from Carbon Market Watch here


Global Policy Update

Upping their game

Su Wei, a senior climate official with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, said the countryis making plans to expand the number of provinces participating in pilot emissions trading systems (ETS). Beijing and Tianjin could link their existing markets and be joined by Hebei, a province with one of the highest levels of emissions, as well as the provinces of Inner Mongolia and Shanxi. The manufacturing provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang could join Shanghai’s current ETS, while Guangxi and Hainan may link with the Guangdong ETS. Officials previously stated they intend to announce an initial draft plan for a national ETS as early as October. China has committed to reduce its GHG intensity by 40% to 45% from 2005 levels by 2020.

Read more here


Drafting REDD into service

India has released a draft national policy on REDD+ that aims to enable local communities to receive financial incentives for forest conservation and sustainable forest management initiatives. The proposed policy could allow India REDD+ projects to access millions of dollars provided by developed countries by creating a national regulatory body, establishing policies to safeguard local community rights, and developing a mechanism to fairly channel REDD+ funds to these communities. India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests noted that forest cover in the country neutralizes 11% of its GHG emissions. But India only added three million hectares of forest from 1997 to 2007, according to its State of Forest Report. Comments can be made on the draft policy until May 27.

Read more here


A Closing Window

Australian analysis firm RepuTex said the federal government could use existing legislation to implement its proposed Emissions Reduction Fund – the centerpiece of its plan to replace Australia’s carbon tax program. Developing new rules under the Carbon Farming Initiative Act that established Australia’s carbon offsets program would allow Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s administration to bypass the legislature, which has stymied his attempts to repeal the carbon tax. But offsets are likely to be scarce in the fund’s first year because the government must develop methodologies and pre-approve and register projects. Developers of land-based projects could choose to take advantage of the tax’s closing window by selling offsets at A$22 until February 2015, when companies have to pay their final carbon liabilities.

Read more here


Carbon Finance

Time is money

Developed countries have pledged to mobilize $100 billion in climate finance every year starting in 2020, including for the Green Climate Fund – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mechanism to fund adaptation and mitigation initiatives such as REDD+ projects. But developing countries are concerned that the ongoing debate over the potential private sector contribution to reaching that $100 billion target is delaying the flow of public dollars for climate initiatives, according to Adis Dzebo of the Stockholm Environment Institute and Pieter Pauw of the German Development Institute. Developed countries have a responsibility to provide public dollars, particularly for adaptation, where private -sector engagement may be more limited, they argued.

Read more here


Passing carbon notes

China launched its first carbon-linked financial product, a debt note linked to the performance of carbon offsets on the Shenzhen Emissions Exchange. On offer are 1 billion yuan (US $161 million) of five-year notes. Unlike direct trading in carbon permits, the debt notes offer a steadier return over the five-year period and are seen as more attractive to institutional investors. The notes were issued by a unit of China General Nuclear Power Group and underwritten by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Shenzhen is one of six cities and provinces currently operating pilot ETSs in China.

Read more here


Science & Technology

Assessing the Damage

The newly-released National Climate Assessment makes even clearer than ever that the Earth’s climate is changing in dangerous ways and that the United States is already feeling the consequences of these changes. The report details the effects of climate change on different geographic regions and segments of the US economy. It documents recent increases in the factors that jeopardize forests and agriculture such as floods, drought, wildfire, disease and infestations—risks projected to intensify even further in the future.

Read more here


A Dubious Record

For the first time in human history, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the Earth’s atmosphere stayed above 400 parts per million (ppm) on average for an entire month. The month-long record set in April was documented at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa monitoring station. The same site also recorded the first measurement exceeding 400 ppm on May 9, 2013. Scientists expect CO2 concentrations to remain above 400 ppm through May or June before summer’s sequestration by plants begins to lower the level in July. Scientists estimate that a similar month-long average will be reached earlier in 2015 with year- round measurements above 400 ppm as early as 2016.

Read more here


It’s only natural (capital)

The Natural Capital Coalition has released the first draft of a framework for valuing natural capital in business decision making. The coalition’s aim is to enable better measurement, management, reporting and disclosure of natural resources and ecosystem services that businesses rely on. The rationale is similar to the GHG Protocols, which harmonized measuring practices for GHG emissions. The proposed protocols build on previous efforts such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Guide to Corporate Ecosystems Valuation. After a review and consultation process, the coalition will update its framework in late 2014.

Read more here


Smoother sailing

A new coating for ship hulls will prevent marine life from hitching a ride and slowing the vessels down. The resulting fuel efficiency gains will generate carbon offsets for ship owners through a methodology developed by International Paint and the Gold Standard. Emissions intensity is measured before and after application of the Intersleek coating to determine the fuel. International Paint will handle the administration of offsets and distribute the revenue annually to ship owners. A ship forfeits eligibility for offset generation if any other energy saving devices are fitted because of difficulties quantifying energy savings associated solely with the coating. As the practice becomes accepted, the organizations plan to address that limitation through further methodology development.

Read more here

Featured Jobs

Forest Carbon Program Research Assistant – Ecosystem Marketplace

Based in Washington, DC, the Forest Carbon Program Research Assistant will help in the development of a research product focusing on public-private partnerships for financing REDD+ projects, and support the development of the State of the Forest Carbon Markets report. The ideal candidate will have excellent writing and research skills (journalism skills a plus); strong Spanish-language speaking and writing skills; and the ability to work well in a team environment, but also with minimal management. This is a three-month position, paid hourly.

Read more here


Forestry Senior Program Associate – American Carbon Registry

Based in Sacramento, California (preferred) or Washington, DC, the Senior Program Associate will provide support on all aspects of registry management, support business development and outreach activities, and help to coordinate the development and/or approval of new quantification methodologies. A master’s degree in forestry and three to six years of experience working with forest projects in the carbon market or related fields is required. Candidates who have completed California Air Resources Board training and passed the exam in the US Forests Compliance Offset Protocol are preferred.

Read more here


Costa Rica Climate Change Advisor – Management and Engineering Technologies International

Based in San José, Costa Rica, the Climate Change Advisor will work with the Government of Costa Rica to provide technical assistance on its REDD+ readiness efforts. Candidates should have a master’s degree or doctorate and five years of international experience in natural resource management, environmental science, or a related field. Ideal candidate will have experience with Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing technologies for land use change estimation and forest inventories. Fluency in Spanish is preferred.

Read more here


Senior Associate Forest Certification – Rainforest Alliance

Based in Northfield, Minnesota, the Senior Associate will provide essential leadership in management and growth of Rainforest Alliance’s US forest management portfolio in the US Region. Responsibilities will encompass management and leadership, client service, and quality assurance. Preferred candidates will have an advanced degree with five to seven years of experience in forestry or a related field.

Read more here


Environment and Climate Adaptation Specialists – Management Systems International (MSI)

Based in various locations, MSI seeks to build a roster of environment and climate adaptation specialists for short- and long-term assignments on upcoming US Agency for International Development initiatives. Consultants will lead and manage technical work related to a variety of donor-funded projects, including climate change programming and adaptation; biodiversity conservation; coastal, fisheries and wildlife management; wildlife trafficking; land tenure reform; and public sector management. Ideal candidates will have an advanced degree and 10 years technical experience in a relevant analytical field, with doctorate-level credentials a plus.

Read more 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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