Panel Resources: State of Emerging Environmental Markets

May 11, 2010
By admin

There are many fundamental questions about the the state of the current voluntary carbon markets such as transaction volumes, credit prices, project types, locations, and themotivations of buyers in this market.  Over the past several years, these markets havenot only become an opportunity for citizen consumer action, but also an alternativesource of carbon finance and an incubator for carbon market innovation.

As the voluntary carbon markets have rapidly gained traction, the answers, to these questionshave become increasingly important to investors, policymakers, and environmentalistsalike. For example, since the last edition of this report, we have seen various U.S. climate bills make reference to voluntary carbon offset standards, the Japanesegovernment launch a voluntary carbon-offsetting scheme, and the U.K. governmentissue an official definition of “carbon neutral.”

Proving the legitimacy of carbon offset projects remains a major issue in themarketplace, leading to a so-called “flight to quality.”  Last year saw further establishmentand greater functionality of voluntary offset standards; the emergence of new registries; the forging of new partnerships between infrastructure providers; the formation ofcoalitions to encourage self-regulation; and increased market transparency.

At the same time, existing and potential voluntary market consumers became more sophisticated asliterature and education around offset quality increased. All of this points to a furthermaturation of the market in 2008. However, simultaneously, the voluntary carbon markets, like any other commodity market, were not immune to the over-arching forcesof the economy and regulatory developments.

To read the full State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report, click here

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Panel Resources: Forest Carbon and REDD Architecture

May 11, 2010
By admin

Forestry projects jump-started the global carbon offset market in the early 1990s, when environmental non-profits and industrial companies initiated partnerships to conserve and plant forests with the aim of balancing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by capturing carbon in trees. Although forestry transactions were the first-ever carbon offsets, they were soon sidelined in emerging global GHG regulations and a narrow band of forestry offsets were recognized under the Kyoto Protocol.

This left the voluntary markets to pick up the slack. Some buyers have been drawn to this tangible, land-based offset category and others have veered away from the complexities and risks of forest carbon offset projects. Over time, however, the role of forests in mitigating climate change has increasingly gained credence – thanks largely to the resolution of scientific disputes over how to measure and monitor the amount of carbon captured in trees, as well asgrowing political consensus on the need to reduce emissions as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

This acceptance has begun to impact global climate policy. In 2007, at international climate change negotiations, the Bali Action Plan laid out a strategy for developing consensus on how to recognize reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). In 2009, the Copenhagen Accord explicitly stated the need to develop mechanisms that would reward sustainable land-use practices that capture carbon in trees. Around the same time, landbased carbon offsets were explicitly included in the text of proposed US climate bills. These regulatory developments have the potential to stimulate tremendous demand for land-based carbon credits.

Currently, the forest carbon market is diverse on both the supply and demand fronts. Many offsets have been developed and purchased
purely for the sake of philanthropy, while others have been created as commodity products to be sold as units of trade on global regulated and voluntary markets. In this context suppliers employ significantly varying project designs, methodologies and implementation strategies to create credits.

To read the full State of the Forest Carbon Market report, click here

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Resource: Paying for Environmental Services – A Trial in Vietnam

May 8, 2010
By admin

This report, published by the University of Connecticut Department of Economics, explores the challenges facing developing countries in balancing the needs of rural people with the demands of nature conservation.  The report presents the findings from a study undertaken in Vietnam’s uplands, engaging with local communities with a PES programme.

The report is available for download here.

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Resource: Payment is good, control is better: why payments for forest environmental services in Vietnam have so far remained incipient

May 8, 2010
By admin

This report, published by the Centre for International Forestry (CIFOR), explores why payments for forest environmental services in Vietnam have so far remained incipient.  As such it represents good background reading for attendees at Katoomba 17, for those people who will be engaging with the conference over the Internet or for individuals interested in the topic more generally.

It is available for download here.

The study reviews what kind of schemes (direct and indirect) related to payments for environmental services (PES-related schemes) currently exist in Vietnam, and what have been the success stories of, as well as the obstacles to, PES implementation.

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Panel Resources: Combining Multiple PES Markets

May 2, 2009
By admin

Common sense would seem to dictate that land generating the greatest environmental good should also command the highest price in the ecosystem marketplace, and that one way to do that might be to let people stack different ecosystem values on the same patch of land.  In the real world, however, such schemes are proving difficult to construct.

Some say the best way to create incentives to restore the most environmentally valuable properties is to let landowners sell restoration credits garnered from a single location into multiple ecosystem markets.  Others say that would be an old-fashioned double-dip that benefits the landowner without generating any additional good for the environment.

Environmental scientists say it’s a moot argument – because even if it works in theory, no one knows how to implement it, at least in the current regulatory framework.

To see the full story, click here

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Panel Resources: Benefits Distribution Systems

May 2, 2009
By admin

Design of a REDD Compliant Benefits Distribution System for Vietnam

Viet Nam is well-placed to develop a REDD-compliant BDS as a result of many years of experience with similar systems such as the 661 or 5 Million Hectare Reforestation Programme, which was launched in 1998, and internationally supported payments for forest environmental services (PFES) pilot projects. The focus on BDS  also capitalizes on Viet Nam’s functioning administration, social stability, and relatively high degree of tenure security. These are assets that Viet Nam can use to gain a competitive edge in a future international REDD+ regime.

A REDD-compliant BDS is one which addresses the principles, and meets the expectations of the international community in terms of equity, transparency, additionality, and performance-relatedness, while managing REDD+ revenues in an effective and efficient manner. To assist GoV to design such a REDD-compliant BDS, a team of national and international consultants was convened under the leadership of DoF to prepare a study of BDS issues and options. Field work, literature review, and stakeholder consultations were carried out from September to November 2009.

This report summarizes the draft study’s conclusions and recommendations in 17 “Policy Decisions” which need to be taken in order to establish a REDD-compliant BDS. The 10 most significant Policy Decisions are clustered under three themes: legal, institutional, and governance.

See the full report by UN-REDD, GTZ, and MARD right here

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Panel Resources: Coastal and Marine Markets

May 2, 2009
By admin

Paying Poseidon: Financing the Protection of Valuable Ecosystem Services

Global climate-change talks in Copenhagen might not have yielded a new greenhouse-gas protocol, but they did yield an agreement on the need to develop financing mechanisms that reward people in developing countries for saving their rainforests and adopting sustainable land-use practices — both of which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon in trees and soil. Meanwhile, scores of projects across both the developed and developing worlds are using environmental finance to preserve endangered species, improve water quality, and preserve wetlands — all based on the premise that nature’s living ecosystems deliver valuable services that make them worth more alive than dead. Now it’s time to expand this reasoning to the ocean, where fish are vanishing, coasts are eroding, and algae are having a field day.

To download the full document, go here

Payments for Marine Ecosystem Services: Getting Started in Marine and Coastal Ecosystems

Healthy and robust marine ecosystems provide the underpinnings for profitable industries and supportcoastal communities throughout the world. In addition, oceans play crucial roles in regulating theatmosphere and modulating weather, storing carbon, cycling nutrients, and providing other ecosystemservices. Coastal areas provide essential resources, buffer land from storms, and provide living spacefor almost half of the global population. Yet today many of these ecosystems and the services theyprovide are under threat. Indeed, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment — the most comprehensivestudy assessing the value of the world’s systems to date — concluded that more than 60% of the world’secosystems are being used in ways that cannot be sustained.

To take a look at the primer, click here

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Panel Resources: Biodiversity Markets

May 2, 2009
By admin

State of the Biodiversity Markets

As more and more governments and businesses consider market-like instruments as tools for biodiversity footprint management, it is increasingly important to understand what is happening, where, and how those tools work. It is also critical to provide reliable information free to the public to enable all market participants to make more informed decisions, learn from the experiences of others, and ultimately allow stable, equitable and effective conservation markets to develop.
Within the broad spectrum of ‘biodiversity markets,’ weaim to provide a succinct answer to the question ‘What is happening in biodiversity offset and compensation programs around the world?’ There are both mature and nascent payment systems for biodiversity compensation around the world.

Each one is a bit different and they often go by different names: biodiversity offsets, mitigation banking, conservation banking, habitat credit trading, fish habitat compensation, BioBanking, complementary remediation, conservation certificates, and many more are based on compliance with regulation while others are done voluntarily for ethical, competitive, or pre-compliance reasons.  But they are all efforts to reduce biodiversity lossand build the cost of biodiversity impacts into economic decisions through markets or marketlike instruments and payments.

Read the full document here

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Panel Resources: Payments for Watershed Ecosystem Services

May 2, 2009
By admin

Diving into Water Markets

The use of markets and market-based mechanisms to conserve and pay for ecosystem services is a growing global trend that has gained a solid foothold through both the regulated and voluntary carbon markets and is rapidly gaining traction in the water markets. Furthermore, it is a trend that is no longer solely important to environmentalists but has become of essential interest to small local communities, government regulators, businesses, and financiers all over the world.

Payments for Watershed Services (PWS) encompass innovative private deals, trading schemes, and government programs that have been structured around the concept that watersheds provide valuable services, such as the natural filtration through wetlands, which, if marketed correctly, these services might help watershed conservation pay for itself and generate income for those willing to participate.

To read more, go here.

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Panel Resources: The Vietnam Experience

May 2, 2009
By admin

Asian Environmentalists to Explore Ecosystem Markets at Katoomba XVII

Cash-strapped governments around the world are experimenting with market-based schemes to preserve nature by recognizing its economic value.  In June, Hanoi will host the 17th Katoomba Meeting to explore the role that ecosystem markets can play in Southeast Asia.

Read the full article on Ecosystem Marketplace here

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