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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace eNewsletter

August 4, 2015    

From the Editors

From the Editors

Where do broken refrigerators go to die? What about old construction debris? These are some of the morbid questions the Ecosystem Marketplace team has pondered over the last month. What we found on our tours of a recycling center and a landfill is that there are some carbon-conscious undertakers out there who are making sure these throwaways don't pollute the atmosphere – and that someone gets paid for the offsets they produce.


Our first visit was to the Appliance Recycling Centers of America's (ARCA) Compton, California facility which has recycled over a million refrigerators over 21 years –and earned at least $1.3 million from carbon offset sales to date. These outdated fridges look innocuous, but those manufactured before the mid-90s likely contain R-12, a colorless chlorofluorocarbon that has dangerous heat-trapping capabilities and has since been banned. Destroying the R-12 trapped in old fridges allows ARCA to produce carbon offsets under California's cap-and-trade program.


Another visit was to the Hilltop Sand and Gravel landfill in Alexandria, Virginia, where the Gailliott family spent three decades collecting old destruction debris. After closing the landfill in 2010, owner Mike Gailliot did something he was not required to do by law: he capped his pile of debris and installed methane flaring equipment to burn off the gas into a less potent form, reducing its impact on the atmosphere by 95%. The voluntary project is verified under the Climate Action Reserve and generated 16,898 offsets during its first year of operation.


In ARCA's case, the offset buyers are motivated by their compliance obligation. Offsets created from the destruction of ozone depleting substances such as R-12 made up 60% of reported offset transactions under California cap-and-trade in 2014 with an average price of $9.7, according to analysis published earlier this year by Ecosystem Marketplace.


For Hilltop Sand and Gravel, the offset buyers are voluntary. The Gailliot family found a purchasing partner in WGL Energy, a supplier to the natural gas utility Washington Gas that serves the D.C. region. WGL automatically offsets a portion of its customers' emissions – 5% for residential customers and 3.5% for small commercial customers – and gives them the option to do more. Since the program started in 2010, WGL customers have voluntarily purchased more than 200,000 offsets, all from nearby sites.


"We wanted all the projects within a day's drive but also within the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said Alicia LaRoche, WGL's Green Products Manager.


 

Announcements

News brief nuptials

Ecosystem Marketplace is excited to announce the official union of our V-Carbon and Forest Carbon News Briefs. The two newsletters have long flirted with each other's topics and readers, and it is finally time to tie the knot. Beginning in September, we will be launching an integrated newsletter, where you'll be able to get all the need-to-know news and analysis on carbon – particularly forest carbon – finance in a twice-monthly dose. If you are already receiving either newsletter in your inbox, there is nothing more you need to do to subscribe, but feel free to offer feedback on what you would like to see in our new format.


Wedding gifts are appreciated; please feel free to voice your support for the new union with a donation here. For $150/year, your organization's name and weblink will be listed in the newsletter for one year, reaching more than 10,000 readers biweekly.


For comments or questions, please email: agoldstein@ecosystemmarketplace.com


Voluntary Carbon

Courting the green nomination

With campaign trails clouded by car exhaust and jet emissions, presidential bids typically aren't environmentally friendly – no matter the candidates' stances on climate change. However, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign plans to curb its impact through carbon offsetting. Days before unveiling her green energy and climate change platform, the campaign announced that Clinton's White House bid will be carbon neutral. While this is the first carbon neutral announcement from any of this election's candidates, it's not Clinton's first offsetting rodeo: her 2008 presidential bid shelled out over $80,000 to buy US-based offsets from Native Energy. The campaign has yet to reveal details on this year's estimated offset purchase and supplier.

  – Read more here

 
Extra leg room, clean carbon conscience

While individuals have long had the option of offsetting their flight emissions, corporations can now also clear the air with United Airlines’ latest corporate carbon offset program. Launched in July with partner Wyndham Worldwide, the Eco-Skies CarbonChoice program gives participating companies customized organization-level carbon emissions reports based on business travel and freight shipments. Corporations can then purchase offsets through United’s partnership with non-profit Sustainable Travel International. Wyndham, the hospitality company that owns Ramada, Super 8, Days Inn, Howard Johnson’s, and other hotel brands, will buy its offsets from GreenTrees’ Advanced Carbon Restored Ecosystem project.


  – Read more from MarketWatch here
  – Read more about GreenTrees here

 
ALLCOT is nuts about Nutella

Chocolate manufacturer Ferrero, home to Nutella, Ferror Rocher, Kinder chocolates and more, has just announced that carbon retailer ALLCOT Group will have exclusive rights to market and sell its carbon offsets. While large multinational companies usually buy – not sell – carbon offsets, the chocolatier company owns a subsidiary called Agrigeorgia in Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state). The locally managed company produces hazelnuts in western Georgia, and Gold Standard project, started in 2007, was the first tree-planting project that used food-bearing trees under the standard. The plantation has planted 2.5 million trees while creating over 1,000 full-time and seasonal jobs.


  – Read more here

 

Compliance Carbon

Inslee goes rogue

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee has taken matters into his own hands by declaring he will exercise his executive power to instate a carbon cap. The announcement follows Inslee’s past effort to implement a statewide cap-and-trade system that was rejected in the state legislature. It also comes less than two weeks after a group of young climate activists sued the state, saying it has an obligation to regulate carbon emissions – though Inslee says his plan is unrelated to the lawsuit. Some question whether Inslee has the legal authority to implement a carbon cap via executive action, and skeptics from the other side of the aisle have contended his motives as political. Details of the proposed carbon cap are still unclear.


  – Read more here

 
CDM’s new style for fall

In September the Clean Development Mechanism’s Executive Board will launch an online platform where buyers and sellers can exchange and cancel Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs). The move is designed to help curtail excess supply and facilitate market entry for small(er) scale buyers who in the past have steered clear of the CER market due to laborious approval processes. In the virtual marketplace, which is free of transaction fees, project owners will be able to set their own prices and sell directly to end-users rather than rely on brokers. Meanwhile, buyers can specify their preferences for project type, geography, and other factors. The platform will operated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

  – Read more here

 
Payback time

In order to hold Australian landfill operators accountable for outdated carbon fees passed on to consumers, the government is requiring them to pay AUD$100 million back to local councils and clients who carried the cost burden before the country’s carbon tax was repealed. Where it is too difficult to identify who should receive the refund – which is the case for an additional AUD$100 million – landfill operators agreed to either buy domestic Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) and transfer them back to the government, or invest in other offset projects. Since Australia’s Emission Reduction Fund has snatched up virtually all of the available AAUs, landfills will likely turn to the CER market for an estimated demand of 20-40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

  – Read more here

 

Carbon Finance

Lucky 13

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) that will distribute the $10 billion in climate finance pledged by developed countries to developing ones has added 13 entities to its list of accredited intermediaries following a board meeting in South Korea. The entities approved to distribute monies now include the Namibia-based Environmental Investment Fund (EIF), the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and somewhat controversially, Deutsche Bank. The EIF and the AFC mark the first African national and development finance institutions to be accredited, respectively, while the addition of Deutsche Bank solicited objections due to the bank’s significant existing investments in coal. Campaign groups say the inclusion of Deutsche Bank raises questions over GCF’s accreditation criteria. Nearly 100 entities are still vying for accreditation.

  – Read more about Namibia's EIF here
  – Read more about the AFC here
  – Read more about Deutsche Bank here

 
Not so rock bottom

Results are in on the World Bank’s recently held Pilot Auction Facility (PAF) for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation, which culminated in a guaranteed floor price of $2.4/ tCO2e for 8.7 MtCO2e. The PAF is a type of reverse auction where a potential buyer of emissions reduction credits insures the seller with a minimum floor price that the seller can redeem at a predetermined future date if they cannot find a higher price elsewhere. The first PAF specifically targeted methane capturing projects under the CDM, an at-risk mitigation activity because of prohibitive costs, said Vikram Widge of the World Bank. Twelve companies – including BP Energy Asia, Carbon2020, and Ecourbis Ambiental – won out of 28 total bidders.

  – Read more here

 

Standards & Methodology

Recipe for cleaner cooking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Winrock International released a call for applications for cookstove project developers interested in measuring and understanding household stove use. Stove use is critical to any calculation of carbon offsets, since there is often a disconnect between emissions reductions tested in the lab and what actually happens when a cookstove enters a home – often because the recipient of a new cookstove doesn’t always use it according to manufacturer guidance. Successful applicants will participate in a 4-day workshop, and a host organization will later receive technical support for a field study.

  – Read more here

 

Science & Technology

Siri, where does the carbon revenue go?

Money from allowance sales has been pouring in from California’s cap-and-trade program, with last year exceeding estimates to generate nearly $1 billion in revenue. But who ultimately benefits from the cash? A new website provides some transparency by mapping out the projects that have benefitted from cap-and-trade funds. Created by TransForm, a non-profit promoting alternative energy, the map currently displays $451 million in grants to 374 projects that achieve an additional 2.9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas reduction. The site will be updated as California announces more awards to projects.


  – Read more from Biz Journals here
  – Visit the new map here

 
Playing seven questions

Brazil’s recent pledge to reforest 12 million hectares will set the country on course to achieve a 40% reduction in national emissions, according to a new policy brief by the Earth Innovation Institute and Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends. The brief poses (and answers) seven questions – including whether Brazil’s target will allow for continued growth of agricultural production or place additional burden on smallholders, and what finance innovations could help. For instance, the brief authors propose national green forest bonds delivered to farmers and local governments through a “territorial performance” bonus fund as one way to attract private sector finance for meeting Brazil’s climate plan.

  – Read more from Earth Innovation Institute here
  – Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace here

 
A big suitcase to unpack

A new brief by Climate Law and Policy unpacks the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s decisions to date regarding REDD+, including those draft decisions made in Bonn in June. The brief – which summarizes 10 years of decisions in 15 pages – outlines the requirements needed for developing countries to receive results-based finance, including a national forest emission reference level and a system for reporting avoided deforestation activities as well as safeguards. It also identifies the big issues remaining: (1) how REDD+ finance will be scaled up and (2) how the Green Climate Fund and other financing entities will assess safeguards.

  – Read more here

 

Featured Jobs

Communications & Marketing - Climate Bonds Initiative

Based in London, the Climate Bonds Initiative is looking for someone to plan marketing campaigns, manage media activities, and supervise social media for the organization. The successful candidate should have experience managing and growing marketing and communications activities and distilling complex information in accessible formats. Applicants should have the right to work in the UK.

  – Read more here

 
Intern – New Climate Economy

Based in London, England, the Intern will provide support and deliverables towards several New Climate Economy launch events; conduct research and prepare background briefs on various stakeholders; and provide support to the Communications Team regarding publications. The successful candidate should have excellent organizational and communication skills including the ability to prepare well-structured briefing notes and should be working towards or possess an undergraduate degree in a relevant field.

  – Read more here

 
Designer and Social Media Specialist – The Gold Standard Foundation

Based in Switzerland, the Designer and Social Media Specialist will design and help manage communications materials for The Gold Standard’s website, newsletter and various social media channels. The successful candidate should have two to five years of relevant work experience; proficiency with Adobe Suite; basic capability with HTML and Wordpress and/or Drupal, as well as accountability and attention to detail.


  – Read more here

 
Partnerships Manager – Nexus for Carbon Development

Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Partnerships Manager will identify and build relations with organizations interested in purchasing offsets as well as recognize corporate responsibility and shared value collaboration opportunities with private sector companies. The successful candidate should have two to three years of experience in business development or sales; experience in corporate responsibility or environmental sustainability; and knowledge of climate/carbon finance and climate change. Applicants should be verbally proficient in English.


  – Read more here

 
Researcher/Policy Analyst – New Climate Institute

Based in Berlin (or Cologne), Germany, the Researcher/Policy Analyst will support research-based project work on international climate change policies and sustainable development. In addition to performing quantitative and qualitative analyses on existing climate policies, the Analyst will also participate in workshops and conferences. The successful candidate should have a minimum of two years of experience in climate change mitigation; an understanding of the climate policy landscape; and strong skills in quantitative analysis. Applicants should be fluent in English and German.


  – Read more here

 
 
 

ABOUT THE ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

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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