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Trees Win Big as Forest Carbon Surges to Record Year

Washington, DC | Investors and buyers have funneled record amounts of capital into forestry projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by conserving forests and capturing carbon in trees, according to a global survey of carbon market participants published on Thursday by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace.

The report, “State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011: From Canopy to Currency,” documents a record $175 million flowing to support forest carbon projects in 2010, representing commitments to sequester enough carbon to offset nearly 30 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
“Contracts for forest carbon offsets more than doubled over the past two years, likely due to international policy discussions, and increased awareness of the critical role forests play in sequestering carbon,” says Katherine Hamilton, Ecosystem Marketplace’s Director and a report author.

Co-author David Diaz, also of Ecosystem Marketplace, agrees with the clear signs of progress, but sees a long road ahead.

“These markets have shown tremendous innovation and growth, but we are still a long way from channeling a sufficient amount of funding to reign in global forest loss as a critical source of greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
This is Ecosystem Marketplace’s second State of the Forest Carbon Markets report, which is compiled annually and builds upon data from hundreds of projects and interviews with dozens of market participants to uncover and analyzes trends by project type, country, and regulatory environment.

“This excellent source of information on market transactions in the forest realm is a vital part of our long-term vision to support land-use projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” says Ellysar Baroudy, who manages the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund.  “The forest carbon market is gaining momentum and it’s important to step back once a year, take stock of the achievements to date as well as the challenges, and use this data to prepare for the future.”

The report shows a decline in the number of projects that plant trees, a steady increase in projects that promote improved forest management, and a surge in projects that save endangered rainforests (REDD – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).  Indeed, despite being the source of the earliest carbon offset transactions, REDD projects roared back from near obscurity just a few years ago to account for nearly 70% of the market activity last year.

The report also finds an influx of private-sector project developers, investors and intermediaries willing to market these credits – a clear transition from previous years, when conservation non-profits paved the way by developing most of these projects.

“The influx of private-sector investment is a positive indication that some of the major financial firms have a level of confidence – albeit backed by early-stage market risk – that forest carbon projects will play a significant role in the future of carbon markets and in reducing global GHG emissions,” says Steve Baczko, Director of Commercialization for ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc.

A strong demand for projects with other environmental and social benefits beyond carbon reductions is also now apparent, particularly through independent certification of each project’s carbon reductions and broader environmental and community benefits.  In 2010, the leading standard for demonstrating carbon reductions was the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), which was applied to more than half of the credits projects planned to deliver.  Beyond carbon, additional certifications to the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards found widespread appeal.

The hundreds of projects tracked in this report (many of which have public profiles on Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon Portal, www.forestcarbonportal.com), come from a broad spectrum of project developers, governments, indigenous and community groups, and the private sector demonstrate that forests projects can and are meeting many of the demands for high-quality emissions reductions.  What remains to be seen is whether this work of this diverse sector will be meaningfully scaled up and incorporated into the efforts international negotiators and other policymakers are now designing for the bigger fight against climate change and to conserve the world’s forests.

The State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011 is public and freely available thanks to support from the report’s Premium Sponsors – Wildlife  Works Carbon, ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc., and the World Bank BioCarbon Fund – and Sponsors – Ecotrust, Face the Future, Forest Carbon Group, Det Norske Veritas, and Baker & McKenzie.
Support for Ecosystem Marketplace comes from USAID, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme, the Global Environment Facility, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  For a copy of the report, please visit www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/reports/forestcarbon2011.

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What Woodland Owners Should Know About Forest Carbon Offsets in the US South

Original economic analysis done by the authors suggests that under current market conditions (offset prices in the $8-$12/metric ton CO2e range), income from carbon offsetsmay be sufficient in some instances to pay property taxes or the “incremental” 

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  • Published: May 11th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Trash company reduced its carbon footprint

Sustainability of buildings is crucial to carbon reduction in Britain. Ive fought for years to get greener buildings taken seriously by successive governments, and so Im delighted that a zero carbon target for new builds was confirmed by the chancellor in Marchs Budget.

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  • Published: May 11th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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U.S. health care sector addresses carbon footprint with information technology

The health care sector in the United States, apart from having been the climate change bills biggest competitor for a passage, accounts for 8 percent of the countrys total greenhouse gas emissions and 7 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions.

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  • Published: May 10th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Few takers for capture, storage of carbon wastes

U.S. lawmakers, regulators and utility executives appear to have little appetite to push forward development of systems to capture carbon emissions from power plants and other sources for underground storage, said experts meeting in Pittsburgh.

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  • Published: May 10th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Jamaica Plain Businesses Learn to Reduce Carbon Footprints

The Sustainable Business Leader Program aims to provide a unique and affordable course of action that small to medium-sized, locally and independently owned businesses can follow to become more ecologically conscious.

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  • Published: May 10th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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US investment guru backs carbon tax

Julia Gillard has been given a much needed business endorsement for the government’s carbon tax proposal, with the US investment guru Jeremy Grantham declaring it a ”magnificent idea”.

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  • Published: May 9th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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PrintCity shares guide for carbon footprinting

The PrintCity Alliance has published a new

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  • Published: May 7th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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USAID Jordan trains more than 30 new Carbon Reduction Managers

In line with its continued efforts to raise awareness on environment hazards and to assist the design of solutions that address these challenges, USAID Jordan Economic Development Program in cooperation with the Jordan Energy Chapter -EDAMA Association and American Energy Engineers Association (AEE) held in its premises a three days course for Carbon Reduction Managers which was attended by around 30 Jordanian engineers from the public and private sectors.

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  • Published: May 6th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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California Gambles on Carbon Trade

WASHINGTON California is putting its reputation as a pioneering environmental heavyweight on the line as it prepares to establish a carbon market in eight months.

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  • Published: May 5th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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UI Students Plant Trees to Clear Their Carbon Footprint

A group of University of Iowa students got dirty to clean the air in Iowa City on Friday. All weekend they are planting trees with the hope of offsetting their carbon footprint. But, there is a payoff, a field trip across the country.

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  • Published: May 4th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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North Coast: Pot-growing power grab

Marijuana advocates are fond of calling their favorite weed a natural product, the epitome of a green commodity. But commercial pot cultivation increasingly done indoors with 1,000-watt lamps substituting for sunlight has a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint, according to a UC Berkeley energy analyst’s report.

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  • Published: May 3rd, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Gas company to offer business incentives to offset carbon

ATLANTA Gas South today announced it has begun offering a voluntary carbon offset program to its commercial and governmental customers through the Valley Wood Carbon Sequestration Project. Valley Wood was established in 2008 to preserve timberlands in rural Georgia for carbon sequestration; the project’s offsets are provided by Verus Carbon Neutral and are certified by the CCX Registry of Chicago.

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  • Published: May 3rd, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Northwest Carbon Pricing Conference

The speakers are a genuinely heterodox group of Northwest leaders who are taking seriously the challenge of addressing carbon in a systematic and economically rational way. Among others, you’ll hear from:

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  • Published: May 2nd, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Does Chicago’s Old Housing Stock Lead to High Carbon Emissions?

This is a little bit old, but it’s new to me: in 2008, scientists from Purdue, Colorado State, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published “the first detailed inventory of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels across the United States”: the Vulcan Project.

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  • Published: Apr 30th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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City Dwellers Have Huge Carbon Footprints, Because They Buy So Much

City dwellers are carbon footprint snobs. While bemoaning suburbanites who drive to the Walmart in gas-guzzling SUVs, urbanites talk about how their dense living and public transportation makes them the purest of all. But a new paper makes the case that city dwellers are benefiting from an unfair allocation of carbon footprints. Moreover, it’s not really where you live that has any effect on your carbon footprint. It’s how much you buy.

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  • Published: Apr 30th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Gas South launches carbon offset program

Gas South LLC has begun offering its business and governmental customers a chance to take part in a voluntary carbon offset program, the Atlanta-based utility announced recently.

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  • Published: Apr 29th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Local bus manufacturer reduces its carbon footprint

Thomas Built Buses recently went on a journey to become a zero-waste-to-landfill company that presented a bit of a challenge keeping up with its employees and their enthusiasm.

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  • Published: Apr 29th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Overstock.com Offers Carbon-Neutral Shipping, for Free

If you follow environmental issues, there’s no doubt your e-mail inbox has been filled with messages in recent days and weeks. It’s Earth Day, Earth Month, green season. One message that caught my eye, though, was an announcement from Overstock.com that it will now be offering carbon-neutral shipping under a partnership with the Carbonfund.org Foundation. Oh, it must just be for Earth Day. No, it’s from now on. Well then there must be a catch. Sure: This only applies to purchases from the big O’s Worldstock Fair Trade inventory. OK, that’s something to support. But how much extra does it cost?

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  • Published: Apr 29th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Warren Hospital gets greener by reducing carbon footprint

PHILLIPSBURG Warren Hospital has announced that it is participating in a new

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  • Published: Apr 29th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Reduce your carbon footprint

AMHERST, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – This Earth Day, celebrate our planet by creating a more beautiful, enjoyable, sustainable, and energy saving landscape experience. To share tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint, starting with your landscape, is Julia Aiello with Nativescapes Gardening .

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  • Published: Apr 28th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Pay to offset your carbon footprints this Earth Day

So you want to be green, but have already installed energy-efficient light bulbs and are biking to work as often as possible. Now what?

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  • Published: Apr 28th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Whats in a carbon footprint? Depends.

Its something of a green truism: Reduce your carbon footprint. And if you can do so as you trek along the grocery aisles, all the better on this 42nd Earth Day.

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  • Published: Apr 28th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Lycoming pledges to reduce carbon footprint

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  • Published: Apr 28th, 2011
  • Category: USA
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Donating one week of carbon emissions

This Earth Week, officials with the Colorado Carbon Fund aim to raise money by encouraging individuals, businesses and organizations to donate the equivalent of a week’s worth of transportation and energy use.

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