Monday, January 10, 2011

Top 10 2010 Milestones for Forest Carbon

Last year was a tumultuous one with the financial crisis, global recession, the markets on a roller coaster of uncertainty, double-digit unemployment --- virtually no industry came out unscathed. The carbon market endured a jostling shake down while racking up major milestones in the world of forest carbon. As the dust settled the industry emerged leaner and meaner, with bright new prospects glimmering on the horizon of 2011.

Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon Portal distilled the top 10 themes that emerged in forest carbon news over 2010, I think they're worth repeating...

1. The US Cap-and-Trade Meltdown

The collapse of cap-and-trade in the Senate has left the EPA to moves forward with GHG regulations, but will Republicans stand idly by and will anything the EPA puts together be as favorable to forest carbon as the earlier bills were?

2. REDD+'s Time to Shine at the UN
From the climate convention to the biodiversity convention, building from the momentum of an explicit place in the Copenhagen Accord, negotiators meeting around the world laid down the framework for how REDD+ may operate in the future, although many questions remain to be answered.

3. California Stays in Front of the Pack
California gave the final blessing a landmark cap-and-trade program and the final compliance adoption of the Climate Action Reserve's forest protocols. Governors of California, Chiapas, Mexico, and Acre, Brazil took the first step forward to operationalizing the first regime to welcome international REDD offsets.

4. Standards Set the Mark
From the first forest methodologies for VCS, to the first steps beyond the buffer pool by the American Carbon Registry, the stage is set for a major standardization across the market. While the sun began to set for the Chicago Climate Exchange, the sun rose in the east with the emergence of China's Panda Standard.

5. An Explosion in Project Development
2010 saw a dramatic growth in the number of projects popping up all over the globe. The Forest Carbon Portal's Project Inventory tripled over the course of 2010, and multi-million dollar deals between investors, buyers, and project developers were becoming more common.

6. Emerging National Conservation Strategies
Countries around the world developed innovative new policies to value the services provided by forests and other ecosystems. From Vietnam to Brazil, and Colombia to Zambia, expect 2011 to be the time where most of these new policies will begin to exert their first meaningful impacts.

7. Public Pledges Outpace Private Purse for REDD+
As major multi-lateral REDD+ initiatives began to roll with billions in pledges beginning in Copenhagen, the prospect that public-financing for REDD will eclipse private investment for the near future is now old news. How these funds perform as they begin to disburse the bulk of fast-start finance and how they begin to interact with markets will be major trends to watch over the next year.

8. Beyond Project Scale Intervention
The calls for national-level accounting, monitoring, and performance for forest-based emissions reductions are now resounding. In the interim, the concept of "nesting" projects within provincial and other jurisdictional levels for accounting is receiving significant attention and interest.

9. Growing Pains for the REDD+ Partnership
The 71-country REDD+ Partnership was eventually able to shed its "Interim" moniker, but is still struggling to find confident footing. Looking forward to 2011, the future is wide open for the Partnership, but will the relatively new organization be able to rise to the challenge?

10. Growing the Money for US Forest Conservation
A handful of innovative conservation finance programs emerged across the US this year, and Ecosystem Marketplace dug in deep for the details. From a watershed restoration program in Denver to a health-care connection in Oregon, creative conservationists were busy finding money around the country.

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