This Week In V-Carbon: Rooting for Country And Carbon

There’s much for environmentalists to cheer for as the Super Bowl ends and the Olympic Games begin. The annual football fest is fighting for status as the greenest sporting event ever held in the New York metropolitan area, while the Sochi winter games plans to offset all of their direct emissions from the Olympics. In other news, the European Union might adopt a proposal to ban the use of the credits in its emissions trading system.

There’s much for environmentalists to cheer for as the Super Bowl ends and the Olympic Games begin. The annual football fest is fighting for status as the greenest sporting event ever held in the New York metropolitan area, while the Sochi winter games plans to offset all of their direct emissions from the Olympics. In other news, the European Union might adopt a proposal to ban the use of the credits in its emissions trading system.

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

7 February 2014 | AxThe thrashing the Denver Broncos received at the hands of new Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks disappointed at least one member of the Ecosystem Marketplace team who hails from Colorado. But the efforts of major sports teams and leagues to become more environmental friendly, including a plan to purchase carbon offsets to offset direct emissions from the Olympic Games that start Friday, warms our hearts. Even the National Football League is taking sides in the fight against carbon emissions by aiming to put on the greenest sporting event ever hosted in the New York metropolitan area. We’ll see if it wins that title.

In carbon market news, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) could be in major trouble if the European Union adopts a proposal to ban the use of the credits in its emissions trading system. Prices for EU allowances, however, were buoyed recently by an effort to fast-track the so-called “backloading” fix that would temporarily remove allowances from the market.

In his annual State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama reiterated his plans to use his executive authority to move forward with new limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US. It’s a good thing too, since significant partisan divisions make legislative action unlikely, especially now that proponents of a US federal cap-and-trade program will lose a key ally in the House of Representatives when Congressman Henry Waxman retires at the end of his current term. At least California continues to move forward with its carbon trading program and utility Southern California Edison is looking to buy carbon offsets, minus the pesky baggage of the invalidation risk.


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

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Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, we’re getting ready to begin data collection for our 2014 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets reports, and we’ll also be launching a revamped survey of clean cookstoves projects in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

We’d like to give thanks to those organizations that support our research, a list recently joined by Impact Carbon, ClimateCare, and the Forest Carbon Group. In addition to the gratification of helping us provide market information and insight to the world free of charge, sponsoring organizations (above a certain level) receive a few perks. To inquire, email Molly Peters-Stanley.


Forest Trends is hosting two exciting Katoomba events in stunning locations this spring: Katoomba XIX in Iguazu Falls, Brazil from March 19-20 will look at scaling up sustainable commodity supply chains and Katoomba XX in Lima, Peru from April 22-25 will work towards aligning climate policy and finance with investments in forests and water. For 15 years, the Katoomba Group has convened global experts and leaders to advance the frontier of ecosystem services approaches. Our events convene government, industry, nonprofits, and communities – people who are not often in a room together, but should be – to solve problems on specific landscapes (and water-scapes!). To find out more about attending these exciting events, email Jennifer Baldwin for Iguazu Falls or Gena Gammie for Lima.

—The Editors

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

V-Carbon News

Voluntary Carbon

Super bowling for carbon

The Super Bowl clash between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks may have been the greenest sporting event ever hosted in the New York metropolitan area, according to the National Football League (NFL). The NFL has sponsored the planting of more than 27,000 trees and partnered with the local utility to purchase renewable energy credits to cover all of the electricity used to power Super Bowl events. MetLife Stadium, which became the first outdoor, cold-weather venue to host America’s premier sporting event, has also earned certification from the Green Restaurant Association for its food recycling and donation efforts.

Read more

Passing the puck

Die-hard fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey and Raptors basketball teams can now enjoy watching their games on television without worrying about the environmental impact. For a one-time fee of $2, Just Energy, the offset provider for the teams’ home venue Air Canada Centre, will offset the total carbon emissions related to a fan’s televised viewing of Leafs or Raptors games for the current regular season. As a bonus, fans that purchase offsets will have a chance to have their photos taken with former players from both teams.

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Rose-colored glasses

ClimeCo is predicting a robust year for voluntary offset transactions in 2014. After transacting 1.5 million offsets in 2013, the Pennsylvania-based project developer reports that market interest continues to grow, with a major sale of Climate Action Reserve (CAR) tonnes to an unidentified blue-chip company already completed in the near year. ClimeCo develops projects under CAR’s Nitric Acid protocol as well as the California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) forestry, livestock and ozone-depleting substance (ODS) protocols.

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Getting your (carbon-free) caffeine fix

The Colombian Coffee Federation (FNC) has developed a methodology to measure GHG emissions from coffee production. This data will be provided to the roasters that buy their beans so they can purchase offsets, neutralize emissions, and offer carbon-free coffee. “We want to know what our carbon footprint is when a client asks us,” said Fernando Gast, who heads FNC’s coffee research center. This is also a new market opportunity that targets consumer demand for carbon-free products. “A company that earns carbon-free certification on a product will certainly differentiate itself from competitors,” said Ernesto Cavasin, a PwC sustainability consultant for Latin America.

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REDD vs water

Social giving platform Sharemeister recently launched the ALLCOT Sustainability Challenge in which Team Earth and Team Water compete to see who can raise the most funds before Earth Day 2014, which is April 22. Team Earth donations will support the generation of carbon credits by the Portel Para REDD project in Brazil while Team Water’s hydropower project will provide energy to displace fossil-fuel sourced power in Colombia. In a separate initiative, ALLCOT is collaborating with German-based fashion label ITGIRL BERLIN to offset the emissions resulting from the production, logistics, and sales of its clothing and accessories.

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Climate North America

State of the climate

President Obama vowed not to let Congressional inaction stop him from adopting new rules to limit carbon pollution from power plants, a move that opponents argue could cripple the US coal industry. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy expanded on her boss’ pledge by talking about her agency’s plans to design and implement regulations that are “flexible enough” to allow states to adopt emissions reduction strategies that work for them. But the president once again disappointed many in the environmental community by vowing to continue with his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, which includes expansion of natural gas development through hydraulic fracturing.

Read more from the Washington Post
Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund
Read more from the Environment News Service

Waxman wanes

Henry Waxman (D-California), co-author of the comprehensive climate legislation adopted by the US House of Representatives in 2009, has announced that he will retire from Congress at the end of his current term. Waxman has long had a reputation as a champion of the environment and shepherded House passage of the controversial bill which would have implemented a federal cap-and-trade program with an offset component. But the legislation failed to gain traction in the Senate and has since been a non-starter in a deeply divided Congress, where several members have announced plans to voluntarily give up their seats and leave what is shaping up to be the least productive Congress ever.

Read more from the Washington Post
Read more from Think Progress
Read more from NPR

Desperately seeking offsets

Southern California Edison (SCE) has put out a request for offers (RFO) for offsets to be submitted for compliance with the state’s cap-and-trade program. ARB regulations require buyers to assume the risk of invalidation, commonly known as buyers’ liability. But contradictory rules from the California Public Utilities Commission do not allow the state’s investor-owned utilities to assume the exposure, so the RFO requires that parties wishing to supply forestry, livestock or ODS credits to SCE retain the risk. Insurance could help get around the contradiction: ISU Environmental Insurance, working in partnership with Parhelion Underwriters and CAR, is offering policies to project developers. The utility has set a February 12 deadline for RFO submissions.

Read more from Southern California Edison
Read more from Environmental Insurance

Woody Woodpecker heads for California

Finite Carbon and Potlach Corporation rang in the New Year by registering their improved forest management project in Arkansas with the California ARB. The Moro Big Pine project covers 15,809 acres of Red-cockaded woodpecker habitat (a federally protected species) and received an initial issuance of 220,208 ARB offsets for potential sale on California’s compliance market. The project joins the very first ARB-approved forest projects – the Farm Cove project in Maine, also developed by Finite Carbon, and the Willits Woods project in northern California – which both received credit issuances in November.

Read more from Finite Carbon here
Read more at Ecosystem Marketplace here

Landing on Boardwalk

California’s cap-and-trade program is known to be incredibly complex, but a new board game aims to teach players how the system works. Players work as GHG tycoons in a race to make money before the caps on carbon dioxide and other GHGs take full effect. The game is laid out like a Monopoly board and the players will have to decide whether to buy pollution (smokestacks), innovation (lightbulbs) or carbon offset credits (trees) on the market, according to the non-profit news organization San Francisco Public Press, which created the game.

Read more from San Francisco Public Press here
Read more from San Francisco Public Press here

Kyoto & Beyond

CDM in Grim Reaper’s death grip?

The European Union could deal a death blow to the CDM market if it follows through on a proposal to ban the use of CDM credits in its emissions trading system. The offsets would only be allowed into the EU system if international negotiators reach a new climate agreement at the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris in 2015. The CDM market has been under significant pressure, with prices dropping 98% in the past six years. However, in previous Ecosystem Marketplace coverage, UNFCCC Executive Secretary said that the CDM is likely to find a place in a new climate agreement.

Read more at Ecosystem Marketplace here
Read more from Business Week here

… But EU ETS still on life support

Prices for EU allowances are rising amid expectations that the European Commission will succeed in fast-tracking its plan to cut supply of carbon permits, with carbon prices rising nearly 3% to trade above the 5.61 euros mark last week after hitting a record low of 2.81 euros in 2013. The Commission plans to withhold 900 million permits from the EU carbon market from 2014-2016, but some experts are concerned that the temporary solution may not be enough to save the troubled market, since the credits would be reintroduced in 2020. These experts are calling for additional reforms.

Read more from Business Spectator here
Read more from Business Week here
Read more from Carbon Brief here

It pays to be broke

The European Union has proposed cutting the region’s GHG emissions by 40% by 2030, building on its current goal of a 20% reduction under 1990 levels by 2020. The new proposed target was reached only after a long battle between countries that seek stronger environmental protections – such as Germany and the UK — and those that seek weaker ones – such as fossil fuel-heavy Poland and its allies. But Greece, still battling a fiscal crisis that has caused widespread unemployment and required an international bailout, wants countries hit hardest by the recession to receive additional relief from the EU’s environmental rules. Draft legislation may be proposed in early 2015.

Read more from Bloomberg here
Read more from Reuters here

Global Policy Update

China playing carbon games?

China is the world’s biggest GHG emitter, and plans to use markets as the main strategy to reduce its emissions 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2020, with the help of the European Union and US-based consultancy ICF International. To achieve its reduction goal, however, Chinese regulators have included dubious offset credits from nitrous dioxide destruction and approved more than 120 projects that have been banned in other carbon markets because they create a perverse incentive to over-produce the pollutant in order to destroy it. This raises serious concerns that the market will be flooded with offsets with limited or no environmental value that could displace high-quality offset projects such as renewable energy.

Read more from the Sydney Morning Herald here
Read more from Reuters here

Heading for Greener Pastures

The likely dismantling of Australia’s carbon pricing scheme has claimed a major corporate casualty. Chief Executive Andrew Grant is leaving the CO2 Group, which blamed his departure and a plan to scale back the company’s carbon operations directly on the politically-charged decision by the new federal government to abolish the carbon tax regime, as well as the ongoing chaos in the carbon market. CO2 Group was the first company to generate carbon credits through creation of new forests under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and to create credits from newly planted trees under the New South Wales Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme.

Read more

… But all is not lost

The future for Australia’s voluntary CFI has been uncertain due to the plans to abandon the country’s carbon pricing regime. But the federal government has indicated that its proposed Emissions Reduction Fund will be implemented through the existing CFI and other arrangements, allowing the program to continue delivering emissions reductions. The voluntary CFI carbon offset scheme has been in place for just over two years and provides opportunities for the land use sector and landfill operators to generate revenue by creating and selling carbon credits. As of December 2013, 101 CFI projects had been declared and more than four million carbon credits issued. Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright Australia just released its CFI Legal and Contracts Guide.

Read more

Science & Technology

ISO’s GHG rules getting a makeover

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has started the process of updating the ISO 14064 series and ISO 14065, which address GHG emission reduction and accreditation. ISO standards are intended to be policy and program neutral to ensure their compatibility with existing programs and standards. They were developed by experts from many ISO organizations and from liaison organizations such as the UNFCCC and the GHG Protocol. The process will involve three international meetings per year over the next three years. The next meeting will be held in Panama City in May 2014.

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Blacker days ahead?

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore published a study in January in the Journal of Geophysical Research that estimated that global black carbon emissions actually double previous estimations. This group of researchers was the first to use a top-down method to estimate black carbon emissions by gathering air measurement data from 238 stations and satellites to sufficiently cover every region of the globe and greatly reduce uncertainty in the projections. Black carbon plays a key role in air pollution and global climate change.

Read more

Featured Jobs

Senior Climate Change Manager – MGM Innova

Based in Miami, Florida or Medellí­n,Colombia, MGM Innova is seeking an experienced Senior Climate Change Manager with expertise in development/management of climate change-related projects and the ability to lead field programs and supervise staff. The successful candidate must have an advanced graduate degree in environmental sciences or engineering with a minimum of 10 years of experience in consulting or related industry and will be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, fluent in English and Spanish, and have advanced Excel skills.


Read more

Climate Change Advisor – Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA)

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the climate change advisor will join the ZEMA for a year, with possible extension. The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s or advanced degree in natural resource management, environmental science or a related field and at least five years of international work experience related to projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and natural resource management. Effective oral/written communication skills in English required.

Read more

Carbon Sourcing Manager – The CarbonNeutral Company

Based in London, the Carbon Sourcing Manager will source emission reduction projects from identification, evaluation, structuring and negotiation of the Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement through close; conduct technical due diligence on projects; and work closely with a sales team in London to source credits for client portfolios. The successful candidate will have a postgraduate degree, a minimum of two to three years of experience within primary carbon origination, and a strong working knowledge of carbon market standards: CDM, Verified Carbon Standard, and Gold Standard.


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Intern – Ecofys Germany GmbH

Based in Cologne, Germany, Ecofys Germany GmbH is seeking an intern interested in carbon market mechanisms, climate change, and sustainable energy. The ideal candidate will have good analytical skills, basic knowledge of SPSS/similar programs, experience in developing countries, and good attention to detail. Proficiency in oral/written English required.

Read more


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