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From the Editors

Prior to 2009, industry was chopping the mountain hemlock, fir, yellow cedar and white pine trees in the Cheakamus forest in British Columbia at a rate of 200 hectares per year. 

But then eight years ago, the Municipality of Whistler and the First Nations of Squamish and Lil'wat decided to turn Cheakamus into a community forest, which they would manage primarily for conservation with a limited amount of harvesting. In order to make their ecosystem-based management approach financially sustainable, the three groups turned to carbon finance

As the Operations Manager at Cheakamus Community Forest Tom Cole said, "the benefits that derive from the forest don't have to come from the logs themselves." Instead, they come from carbon stored in its live trees. 

In 2015, Cheakamus became the first Canadian community forest to achieve an Atmospheric Benefits Sharing Agreement with the provincial government of B.C., which essentiallygives the community forest the right to manage and monetize emissions reductions.  Also in 2015, the Cheakamus Community Forest project verified and issued its first tranche of carbon offsets: 44,000 tons. It sold all but 2,000 mainly to the B.C. government but also in the voluntary carbon marketplace. 

The finance the carbon offsets brings in is essential to the sustainable forest management strategy.

"The carbon revenue really helps. We wouldn't be able to do (the plan) without it," said Heather Beresford, the Manager of Environmental Stewardship for Whistler.

Much of the first influx of funds went to paying project development and auditor fees, but now the three managing parties are making plans for the future. They're focused on old growth management areas, regions particularly vulnerable to forest fires and managing special zones for First Nations.

The forest carbon offset project in Cheakamus may have created a template for conservation-minded communities across Canada. As Canada continues to move toward carbon pricing, projects such as these are becoming all the more important. B.C. has a Forest Carbon Protocol and Quebec and Ontario have cap-and-trade programs that feature forest carbon offsets. More provinces may allow carbon offsets in the future: last fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that every province and territory must put a price on carbon by 2018 either through a carbon tax reaching a 2022 price of $50/ton or by a cap-and-trade system that requires annual emissions reductions in line with Canada’s Paris Climate Agreement commitment of reducing emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

“We expect provinces with cap and trade systems to show real, annually-verified emissions reductions, ensuring they do their part to achieve Canada’s Paris target,” said Joseph Pallant, who runs the offset project developer Brinkman Climate. “Carbon offset projects are an integral part of these systems, driving investment into emissions reductions beyond the energy sector.”

Did you sell carbon offsets last year? Because it’s that time of year again! We’re collecting data to inform our State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and Forest Carbon Finance reports.

Please share your data with us by March 15. Take the survey, and be rewarded with analysis of the latest market trends.

More news about carbon finance is summarized below, so keep reading!



Treeing up for forestry

Urban Offsets, a carbon offset company that designs local projects to help universities reduce their carbon footprint while enhancing their communities, recently announced a partnership with TreesCharlotte, the nonprofit focused on enhancing the tree canopy of Charlotte, North Carolina. The venture into carbon markets offers TreesCharlotte an additional source of revenue. “By creating a new carbon market around our tree planting program, Urban Offsets will provide us with a new funding mechanism while also enabling colleges and universities to purchase credits and make an important investment in Charlotte’s future," said Chuck Cole, the Executive Director of TreesCharlotte. Beginning with a pilot project of 900 trees, Urban Offset will compensate TreesCharlotte for the offsets it tracks and verifies.

The Triad Business Journal has more.

Defining the "right" climate course

Earlier this month, a group of prominent Republicans - elder statesmen and not current legislators or government heads - unveiled a carbon pricing plan to deal with rising greenhouse gas emissions and climate change that they say regulators could use in place of the Clean Power Plan. The proposal isn't advocating for cap-and-trade, but a carbon tax on emissions associated with fossil fuels. Proceeds from the tax would flow out to US citizens in the form of a tax rebate. Putting a price on carbon could be becoming a bipartisan issues as a majority of economists say carbon pricing is the most efficient and flexible way to deal with climate change.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Time to retire

The Gold Standard released its annual review report, which provides issuance and retirement figures for its fourth quarter. The organization has over 1,400 projects in the pipeline with a potential to store nearly 100 million tons of carbon per year. That's roughly the same as mitigating one in every eight air travel flights that occurred worldwide in 2015. In 2016, 290 Gold Standard projects issued 3.2 million carbon credits in Q4, amounting to a grand total of 10.5 million issued Verified Emissions Reductions. The lion's share of these came from energy projects.

Read the report at the Gold Standard.  


Carbon or not, agroforestry is a good bet

Environmental NGO VI Agroforestry estimated it could pull 150,000 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere through a sustainable agriculture project among Kenyan dairy farmers that tapped carbon markets for finance. Scaling the agroforestry project turned out to be more difficult than the group initially thought, and the carbon payments were slow to reach the smallholder farmers and not much to speak of when they did arrive. However, participating farmers reaped other benefits in the form of higher yields and healthy, more resilient soils. Farmers thus consider the carbon aspect of the project a bonus, a nice cherry on top but not their primary reason for participating.  

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Not squeamish about carbon markets

British Columbia's Squamish community aims to be carbon neutral by 2018 in part by implementing a community carbon marketplace. In Squamish’s program, businesses, households and individuals in the district can purchase offsets from local carbon-reducing initiatives, which will be developed during phase one. Carbon is priced at $30 a ton, and the municipality has already said it will purchase 800 tons’ worth of offsets. The program is voluntary and efforts to become carbon neutral will face challenges from new industry development but Squamish’s mayor is confident that the community will participate in an initiative that invests in green ventures locally and benefits the area. “We can see the money being used here and actively reducing carbon,” says Mayor Patricia Heintzman.

CBC has more.


RESCCUE-ing forests

The Pacific Community (SPC) project RESCCUE stands for Restoration of ecosystem services and adaptation to climate change, and it’s meant to build resilience among Pacific ecosystems and societies. But SPC, the international development organization for the Pacific region, began to think about the climate and environment impact the project was having so took several steps to make the project carbon neutral. And earlier, this month SPC announced RESCCUE was its first carbon neutral project. The emissions that project managers can’t eliminate or reduce are offset through a New Zealand-based nonprofit called Ekos. RESCCUE purchases credits from the Loru Forest Project on Vanuatu’s largest island, Santo, where indigenous landowners are conserving the forest instead of logging the trees.

Pasifik has details.


Can we still be friends?

How will the Brexit affect the United Kingdom's climate and carbon emissions reductions plans? Replacing funding for low-carbon projects from the European Investment Bank will be a challenge for sure, Members of Parliament said in a recent report. Policymakers stressed Britain should strive to maintain its status as a climate leader and remain in Europe's emissions trading system. And if leaders do decide the nation should leave, policymakers recommend linking with carbon markets in China or California or aligning with Canada as it plans to install a price on carbon in 2018.

Get coverage from Bloomberg.

Change for the better?

Earlier this month, the European Parliament approved legislation overhauling its emissions trading system intending to increase emissions reductions while protecting energy-intensive industries. Policymakers agreed on measures that will gradually reduce the number of allowances available in an attempt to push up their cost and provide incentives for industries to adopt greener technologies. The legislation also establishes a multi-billion-dollar fund to help sectors invest in innovative upgrades. Environmental groups were unsatisfied, however, saying MEPs failed on their first big post-Paris commitment. “The proposed reforms will keep the carbon market ineffective for a decade or more. We urge progressive EU governments to finally turn the ETS into a functioning tool,” said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe.

The Guardian has details.


Catching complaints

Papua New Guinea has been at the forefront of international talks on REDD+ as the nation has one of the largest intact swaths of tropical forest. Now, as PNG nears the implementation phase, the government is establishing a Grievance Redress Mechanism to receive and address complaints related to REDD+ activities. PNG's Climate Change Development Authority, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the UN among other involved parties are expected to present on a strategy for the grievance mechanism in April of this year. 

Read more at Papua New Guinea today.


Senior Research Officer, REDD+ Climate Policy, Center for International Forestry Research

Based in Bogor, Indonesia, the Senior Research Officer will be part of the Climate Change, Energy and Low Carbon Development Team and provide support for the research team working on REDD+. Primary responsibilities include leading policy research related to REDD+ in Indonesia at national and subnational levels, which involves collecting, compiling, processing and analyzing data. The Senior Research Officer also oversees the development of a database containing information obtained from interviews and surveys on REDD+ policies and governance. Qualified candidates will have a master’s degree in political science or a related discipline and five years of experience in project and sustainable forest management. S/he should also be comfortable in a multi-cultural environment and possess good computer skills.

Get details.

Program Officer, Verified Carbon Standard

Based in Washington D.C., the Program Officer will support development and implementation of the Landscape Standard including managing sub-grant and contract agreements with in-country partners. S/he will coordinate meetings, conferences and events focused on the development and piloting of the LS framework, and maintain communications with partners and local governments in Latin America over pilot projects. Successful candidates will be fluent in English and Spanish and have at least two years of experience working within the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Graduate degree would be an asset, and a university degree related to forestry, agriculture, natural resources or environmental management is required.

Find out more.

International Fellow/ Carbon Markets Fellow, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions 

Based in Arlington, the Carbon Markets Fellow will work on policy analysis and engagement with a focus on markets. S/he will research and analyze international climate policy issues and produce reports and briefs for publication and internal purposes. The Fellow also presents on behalf of the organization at conferences and workshops and performs administrative duties. Qualified candidates must have an advanced degree in a related field - some economics background is preferred - and analytical, writing and editing skills. Familiarity with climate finance and REDD+ is desired as is a strong understanding of carbon markets at all levels.

Get the details.

Climate Finance Specialist, World Bank

Based in Washington D.C., the Climate Finance Specialist will monitor climate and carbon finance trends and contribute to identifying new opportunities to achieve sustainable development objectives within the Carbon Markets and Innovation program. The Specialist will have business and outreach responsibilities while also developing products and programs related to the Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes described in the Paris Agreement. Qualified candidates will hold an advanced university degree in economics, environmental studies, international relations or a related field, and five years of relevant experience. Knowledge of emissions trading and familiarity with analyzing climate change mitigation policies, strategies and funding mechanisms is also expected. 

Find out more.

Project Analyst, Forestry, The Climate Trust

Based in Portland, Oregon, the Project Analyst will provide technical expertise to support the acquisition of new carbon offset projects and project development in the forestry sector. S/he will need to be as comfortable researching and digesting complex carbon project protocols and quantification methodologies as s/he is conducting muddy sweaty fieldwork. Successful candidates will have an advanced degree in the natural sciences or a bachelor's with equivalent experience. Strong knowledge of forestry compliance and voluntary carbon market standards and protocols is needed as is experience using Excel and Access for data management.

Learn more.



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 info@ecosystemmarketplace.com. 


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