FROM THE EDITORS
The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon
California carbon market watchers on the lookout for any sign that the US state is still on a path to accepting international offsets from Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests (REDD) got a pretty good one when a California Air Resources Board (ARB) official stepped up to the plate at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in San Francisco last month. In front of a packed and eager crowd, the ARB’s Jason Gray stated publicly that the agency will continue considering allowing REDD offsets into its cap-and-trade program.
“The world is watching to see if California is going to implement REDD or not,” said Daniel Nepstad, Senior Scientist and Executive Director of the Earth Innovation Institute.
REDD project development and accounting frameworks have matured in the voluntary market over the last five years, with $70 million worth of transactions in 2012, according to Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2013 report. However, supply of REDD offsets still far outstrips demand, and experts such as Nepstad say that a compliance market’s inclusion of REDD would have a “magnifier effect” in terms of sending the signal to developing countries that their efforts to reduce deforestation will indeed be compensated. In July 2013, California signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on REDD with the states of Acre, Brazil and Chiapas, Mexico.
“California is obviously not going to buy all of Brazil’s credits, but putting a signal that says there is a compliance carbon market out there that accepts this and here’s what the rules look like would be enormously powerful,” said Steve Schwartzman, Director of Tropical Forest Policy at Environmental Defense Fund.
Eighty percent of the world’s REDD offsets originated in Latin America in 2012. According to Forest Trends’ REDDX Initiative data, the Andean countries of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are among the countries where the highest percentage of committed REDD funding has actually been dispersed. Of the more than $111 million pledged to these three countries from international agencies, domestic governments, foundations, and companies, nearly half has been delivered. In Peru, where almost half of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from deforestation, a nested (or jurisdictional) approach could give coherence to the 41 REDD projects that currently exist.
Forest Trends’ Katoomba XX event in Peru on April 22-23 will serve as an important precursor to the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, where countries will build on last year’s progress in developing a REDD+ Rulebook. Titled Climate, Forests, Water, and People: A Vision of Development for Tropical America, the event will bring together a unique cast of characters to identify opportunities for climate policy and finance to align with other public and private investments in forest carbon and other ecosystem services. If you’re able to make it to Lima for the public event, you may register for Katoomba XX here, through April 11.
More stories from the forest carbon markets are summarized below, so keep reading.
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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