Forest Carbon News - October 2, 2014


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October 2, 2014    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

The People's Climate March clogged the streets of Manhattan on September 21 as 400,000 people gathered to call for ambitious action at the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit the following Tuesday. The march in New York City was echoed by more than 2,000 other rallies in 162 cities around the world, from Paris to Melbourne to Rio de Janeiro. It was the largest civil demonstration about climate change in history, and the more than 120 heads of state that attended the Summit took notice.

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's summary illustrates, many commitments came out of the Summit, but among the most ambitious in terms of emissions reductions was the New York Declaration on Forests through which government, business, civil society and indigenous leaders pledged $1 billion to end deforestation by 2030. If successful, the pledge would prevent the emission of between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

"I asked for countries and companies to bring bold pledges, and here they are," said Ki-moon. "The New York Declaration aims to reduce more climate pollution each year than the United States emits annually, and it doesn't stop there. Forests are not only a critical part of the climate solution – the actions agreed today will reduce poverty, enhance food security, improve the rule of law, secure the rights of indigenous peoples and benefit communities around the world."

More than 150 partners, including 38 national governments, eight subnational governments, 35 companies, 16 indigenous peoples groups, and 45 civil society groups supported the Declaration. It includes an interim goal of halving deforestation by 2020 and also called for restoring 350 million hectares of forests and croplands – an area greater than the size of India.

Norway alone pledged $300 million to Peru and $150 million to Liberia to support forest preservation efforts. The United Kingdom pledged £144 million ($235 million) to forests, which will be split between an existing program to close the European Union market to illegally harvested timber and jump start a new program to form public-private partnerships to support no-deforestation agriculture.


The United States, Canada and the European Union were all signatories to the pledge, but Brazil's endorsement was conspicuously absent. Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the country was not included in the preparation process for the Declaration and pointed out the futility of having a global forest initiative without Brazil.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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Carbon still up in the air

Less than three months ahead of the next round of international climate negotiations, it is still unclear what the potential role of the carbon markets is going to look like in a future agreement. John Kilani, Director of Sustainable Development Mechanisms for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, warned carbon market participants not to be disappointed if the text that emerges from the next round of UNFCCC talks in Lima, Peru does not feature strong language in favor of markets because the role of markets will be built on the individual climate plans countries bring to the table next spring. 



Ready against all odds

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was unable to attend the UN Climate Summit last week because of the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,677 people in the country. Foreign minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan did attend, and told delegates that Liberia is ready to bear some economic cost to stop the illegal logging that has been rampant since Liberia's civil war ended in 2004. Norway's $150 million pledge to help the country end deforestation by 2020 will initially go into capacity building, with carbon payments under the UN-REDD program eventually flowing to forest communities. Some scientists have drawn a connection between deforestation and Ebola, since humans are now coming in closer contact with wild animals that may carry the virus.


REDD takes a road trip

Ghana's Forestry Commission is taking a creative approach to educating the country's citizens about REDD: a climate change and reducing deforestation road show. The show will include documentaries on the effects of deforestation, poster exhibitions, floats and school visits, and will travel through Damongo, Hohoe, Dormaa Ahenkro and Tarkwa from late September to November. A 'REDD EYE' campaign will target youth. The idea is to secure public support for and understanding of REDD. Ghana is currently in the 'readiness' phase under the UN-REDD program, and seven pilot programs are underway, including projects that incorporate agricultural activities such as cocoa cultivation and beekeeping.


The perils of peace

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has the second largest forested area in the world, and the usual threats to forests – logging and agricultural expansion – have historically been muted by the civil war that has plagued the country since the mid-1990s. However, the DRC's increasing political stability could result in the forests falling under threat from development, so a new effort to protect the home of endangered species such as the bonobo – the great ape that is the closest living relative to humans – is now underway. The government is launching a pay-for-performance avoided deforestation program seeking $50 million a year from the private sector, but the program will first need a $20 million boost from philanthropic donors. 



California prefers Hanes

The California Air Resources Board has approved the Hanes Ranch Forest Carbon Project under the California Compliance Offset Protocol. The project will issue over 86,000 tCO2e offsets this year and around 140,000 tCO2e through 2018 for use in compliance with California's cap-and-trade program. The Hanes Ranch project is 2,500 acres of forest along the Garcia River in Mendocino County, California. The project is developed by New Forests, verified by SCS Global Services and registered with the American Carbon Registry.



America runs on Dunkin', not deforestation

A flurry of corporate commitments to eliminate deforestation from palm oil supply chains landed around the Summit. Facing pressure from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Rainforest Action Network and other NGOs, five of the world's largest palm oil producers – Asian Agri, IOI Corporation Berhad, Kuala Lumper Kepong Berhad, Musim Mas Group and Sime Darby Plantation – agreed to suspend forest clearing until after a year-long study to define high carbon stock (HCS) forests. On the consumer-facing side, doughnut brands Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts committed to 'full traceability' of their palm oil back to plantations that keep HCS forests and peatlands intact, and protect the rights of workers and communities.



Fund for your rights

Sweden plans to spend $14 million to fund the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility, a new body that will provide grants and expertise to help indigenous people secure land rights. The facility will become fully operational in 2016, but three to four pilot projects will be launched next year, likely in Cameroon, Indonesia, Colombia or Peru. "The lack of clear rights to own and use land affects the livelihoods of millions of forest dwellers and has also encouraged widespread illegal logging and forest loss," said Charlotee Petri Gornitzka, director general of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency that is funding the initiative. The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) has also found that recognizing land rights is one of the most cost-effective ways to advance forest-based carbon mitigation (see 'Publications' below).


Looking for a lucky winner

Climate-KIC Switzerland invites small and medium enterprises based in Europe to apply for in-kind support of up to 40,000 euros to do a feasibility study of using carbon finance to introduce low-carbon agricultural technology. Applicants must have a GHG reduction technology for farms, or a technology that allows for low-cost monitoring of GHGs in the agricultural sector. The feasibility studies will be conducted by from South Pole Group and Alterra. A maximum of three awards will be made this year, and applications are due October 15. More information is available from South Pole here.



Strange bedfellows under the palms

Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever, spoke candidly about the role of business in a climate-changed world at an event hosted by the Ford Foundation last week. "It is very clear, increasingly, [to] the business community as well, that although capitalism is fine, capitalism leaving too many people behind isn't fine," he said. Unilever has committed to eliminating deforestation from its palm oil supply chain and launched a traceability platform that so far includes 120 palm oil suppliers. Abdon Nababan, an indigenous activist from Indonesia, called for 'advocacy partnerships' between communities and companies to lobby governments to define clear land rights. "We want to save the forest, but there is no protection for the people who protect the forest," he said.


Offsets for you and me

Individuals currently have few opportunities to participate in the forest carbon markets, making up less than 1% of demand for forest-based offsets in 2012, according to Ecosystem Marketplace's State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2013. But a new initiative by Code REDD, a coalition that seeks to increase demand for avoided deforestation offsets, is hoping to change that. They have partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Citizen Group, and Markit in a Stand for Trees campaign that will create a mobile solution that will allow individuals to purchase REDD offsets online. "Our goal is to connect people to forests in a personal and emotional way," said Kate Dillon, the Director of Membership Development at Code REDD.



On different latitudes

New York Times op-ed by Yale atmospheric chemistry professor Nadine Unger caused a stir last week when it argued that "large-scale increases in forest cover can actually make global warming worse" and warned against UN funding for forestry. Unger's research has found that increasing forest cover at high latitudes darkens the color of the Earth's surface and absorbs more sunlight. But scientists responding to the op-ed pointed out that REDD funding is directed specifically to tropical (low latitude) forests, where the clouds that trees create lighten Earth's surface color. Unger also stated that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released naturally by trees mix with fossil fuel emissions to produce greenhouse gases (GHGs). Critics responded that Unger's own research shows that VOCs have anywhere from a cooling to a warming effect, while deforestation is clearly connected to an increase in GHGs.



A forests right of way

About $1.6 billion in pledged REDD+ funding would secure the land rights for local and indigenous peoples living on 450 million hectares – an area almost half the size of Europe, according to new research by RRI and Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education). While these communities are the best stewards of land and forests, many national governments undermine their land rights and internationally negotiated solutions to climate change undervalue their contributions in favor of market-based mechanisms, said Bryson Ogden, private-sector analyst at RRI.


Deforestation and development file for divorce

"Disrupting the Global Commodity Business," a new report by the Climate and Land Use Alliance, documents how multinational companies, indigenous peoples and activists are coming together in unprecedented ways to address the fact that the majority of deforestation is driven by the $1.4 trillion agricultural commodities industry that creates products we all need. The report tells the story of how Brazil decoupled development from deforestation and how palm oil producer Wilmar, which in 2012 came in dead last in Newsweek's environmental performance ranking (the company evicted poor families and bulldozed homes into nearby creeks to make way for palm plantations), did a U-turn, and came out with a no-deforestation and no-exploitation commitment the next year.



Low Emissions Development Project Coordinator, Malawi - Winrock International

Based in Malawi, the Low Emissions Development Project Coordinator will lead work taking place under the Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi (PERFORM) program funded by USAID. The position involves coordinating with the government of Malawi, developing a GHG inventory, and assisting with an annual training program for the inventory. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of Malawi's forestry and agricultural sectors and climate change policies and a minimum of five years combined work experience in GHG emissions accounting, low emission development strategies, or forestry.

Read more about the position here


Chief of Party, Community-based Forest Management Program - BioCarbon Partners

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the Chief of Party will support the scaling up of Zambia's first verified pilot REDD+ project. The position involves overseeing finance and administration, USAID-compliant systems and policies development, and monitoring and evaluation. The successful candidate will be a project manager with five years of experience managing large USAID awards as well as demonstrated expertise in finance and administration, logistics and procurement.

Read more about the position here


Country Program Coordinator, Lao - The Center for People and Forests

Based in Vientiane, Lao, the Coordinator will develop and implement a full-fledged Country Program in Lao, building the REDD+ capacity among local stakeholders, establishing a national village forestry working group, and working with pilot projects to explore how trees on smallholder plantations could be used as collateral to access credit. Candidates must have a degree in forestry (master's preferred), experience in community forestry or community-based natural resource management in Lao, and at least five years of experience in program or project management. Fluent written and spoken English and Lao is required.

Read more about the position here

Forest and Climate Expert, DRC - ONF International

Based in Kinshasa, DRC, the Forest and Climate Expert will coordinate the development of REDD and other forest carbon projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and voluntary standards and participate in consultancy services around forestry and climate change. The position requires a degree in forestry, natural resource management, and/or climate change as well as five years of professional experience and knowledge of certification standards such as CDM, the Verified Carbon Standard, Plan Vivo and Gold Standard. A professional competency in both English and French is required; Spanish and Portuguese would be an asset.

Read more about the position here

Carbon Markets Internship - South Pole Carbon

Based in Medellin, Colombia, the Carbon Markets Intern will conduct market research about the state of demand in Latin America for sustainability solutions offered to companies and organizations, including voluntary carbon offsets, development of carbon mitigation projects, and renewable energy certificates. The successful candidate will speak English and Spanish and have a postgraduate degree, or be in the final one to three semesters of studies. Knowledge of the Colombian and Latin American business environment is a plus. The position is for four to six months.

Read more about the position here



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Much Kanan K'aax
Much Kanan

Located in Quintana Roo, Mexico, the Much Kanan K’axx avoided deforestation project promotes the recovery of the Yucatan Peninsula’s culturally and ecologically significant Mayan forest. The project area lost 25% of its forest between 1975 and 1990 due to intense colonization. Through the sale of carbon offsets, project developer U’yo’olche seeks to generate additional income for forest communities in order to carry out restoration projects such as fallow enrichment (selective reforestation using native plant species to accelerate forest succession in degraded areas) and agroforestry, including planting fruit trees to supplement the local milpa diet of corn, beans, and squash. The project will benefit ejido communities in the Calakmul corridor. The project is being developed under the Plan Vivo standard and is currently undergoing validation.


View the project on the Forest Carbon Portal



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