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Ecoagriculture Partners PES Newsletter
October 5, 2009

Table of Contents

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  Advisory Group
Michael Bennett, Forest Trends, China

Andrew Bovarnik, UNDP/GEF, Panama

Sally Collins,
Former Director of USDA Office of Environmental Markets, Fellow at Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)

Fabrice DeClerck, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Costa Rica

Dennis Garrity, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Kenya

Leslie Lipper, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Italy

Mikitaro Shobayashi, Gakushuin Women's College, Japan
Commentary Market and Policy Developments
    Resources
      Announcements and Opportunities

      Commentary

      Agriculture in the Bonn Climate Change Talks, Leslie Lipper, Senior Environmental Economist, FAO, Rome

      The informal negotiation session held in Bonn from August 10-14 resulted in relatively little progress towards on overall agreement in Copenhagen, but with some interesting developments related to agriculture. An informal meeting of parties and observers to discuss agricultural mitigation was held during the session, to share information about the breadth of research efforts currently being undertaken on mitigation from crops and livestock production systems.  The monitoring, reporting and verification issues around agricultural mitigation are challenging, however the high potential of co-benefits such as increases in agricultural productivity and food security make the effort worthwhile.  Presentations on the USDA Greenhouse Gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement Network (Gracenet) and the EU CC-TAME land modelling projects were made.   Participants also highlighted work on tools such as HOLOS developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and  the FAO work on developing the EX-ACT (EX-ante Appraisal Carbon-balance), a tool aimed at providing ex-ante measurements of the impact of agriculture and forestry development projects on GHG emissions. (See 'Tools' for more information on monitoring, reporting and verification tools.)
       
      In the negotiation sessions themselves, agriculture was not highly visible, with a few exceptions.  The 200 page negotiating text that was prepared in advance of the meeting included 72 references to agriculture in the context of its importance in adaptation and food security, as well as in REDD+ and in developing technologies for agricultural mitigation.  Under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA), mitigation from agriculture was mainly reflected in the context of sectoral approaches, with a single mention of agriculture under Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). The importance and specificity of the agricultural sector in mitigation, adaptation and food security were not well reflected in the text.  Under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWGKP), there has been no decision about eligibility of Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) activities under the CDM, including: afforestation and reforestation; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); restoration of wetlands; sustainable forest management or land management activities; soil carbon management; and revegetation, forest, cropland and grazing land management.

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      » Carbon

      Agricultural carbon sequestration could earn Africa $1.5 BN

      Using Africa's vast agricultural resources to help tackle climate change could earn the continent $1.5 billion (909.4 million pounds) a year, according to a World Bank representative. A U.N. climate report last year estimated that 5.5-6 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent a year could be mitigated by agriculture by 2030 with about 89 percent achieved by soil carbon sequestration. The region should also tap its underexploited renewable resources, particularly hydropower, to meet increasing energy demand and boost both growth and development.


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      World Bank mulling funds for soil carbon and poorest countries

      In an interview with Carbon Finance, Joelle Chassard, manager of the World Bank’s carbon finance unit discusses the possibility of creating new generations of the Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF) and the Bio-Carbon Fund to support emissions reduction in agricultural carbon projects in least-developed countries.


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      Congo biochar initiative funded by the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF)

      A biochar initiativite in Congo has been selected as one of one of six projects to win funding under the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF). The €300,000, 10 village project will improve soil fertility through the introduction of biochar, a charcoal produced from the burning of agricultural residues and waste biomass under reduced oxygen conditions, thereby increasing crop yields and reducing the need to clear forest for slash-and-burn agriculture. With biochar as a permanent, stable and measurable carbon sink, the project also aims to enter the emerging market for carbon credits to generate additional income for the communities in the project area.


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      Agricultural carbon methodologies advance in regulated and voluntary markets

      The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, a system to allow emission-capped developed countries to finance developing country GHG reduction projects in exchange for emission reduction credits, approved its first agricultural methodology. Under this methodology, farmers would be able to employ nitrogen-fixing bacteria to stimulate the creation of nitrogen by the plants, thus eliminating the need for the application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers on legumes like soybeans and cowpeas. The production and use of these fertilizers are GHG intensive and their reduction would allow farmers to collect carbon payments. Read more


      The Voluntary Carbon Standard has posted several methodologies relevant for agricultural carbon sequestration on its website for public comment. The comment period for all of these is now closed, but the draft methodologies can still be accessed through the VCS website. Among the posted group of terrestrial carbon methodologies include one on Quantifying the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from the Production and Incorporation of Soil of Biochar in Agricultural and Forest Management Systems and another on Estimating Reductions of GHG Emissions from Frontier Deforestation and Afforestation/Reforestation of Agricultural Lands. Read More


      A US agriculture industry group has drafted an agricultural carbon credit standard that could be marketed in a carbon commodity trading system. These agricultural carbon credits would be generated through a variety of sequestration and emission reduction practices including reduced tillage and lowering on-farm fertilizer and energy use. The standard creation process has been organized by Novecta, a consulting company owned by the Iowa and Illinois Corn Growers Associations. The public comment period for this draft has ended, but questions regarding the standard can be directed to garyd@novecta.com. Read more

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      'AdMit' proposed as an alternative to carbon offsetting

      An AdMit project is an investment partnership between an initiative in an area vulnerable to climate change, and consumers eager to reduce the damage caused by emissions. This kind of project can assist in adaptation, and as investors commit to reduce their own emissions, can contribute to mitigation, or it can focus solely on adaptation. The key difference between AdMit and conventional carbon products is that AdMit is a compensation payment, not a get-out clause that allows business as usual; and it is targeted to those who need it most.


      Read more

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      Cargill makes its first carbon credit sale

      Cargill, a Minnesota-based agribusiness company has made its first ever sale of carbon credits. The company generated more than 400,000 tons of verified emission offsets through the Canadian Standards Association by capturing methane fuel from wastewater lagoons at an Alberta beef-processing facility. Cargill says that the system has reduced natural gas use at the facility by 25 percent.


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      US Dairy industry to cut fluid milk related emissions 25% by 2020

      By 2020, the U.S. dairy industry hopes to cut by 25 percent annual greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of fluid milk, according to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which represents nearly 70 percent of the dairy supply chain. The center says such a reduction is equivalent to removing 1.25 million cars from the road. The center already has identified 12 projects that in total will cut carbon by 12 percent or more, and have the additional potential to create $238 million in business value across the industry.


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      Stonyfield reduces methane emissions by 12%

      Organic dairy Stonyfield Farm has found a way to reduce methane emissions 12 percent by adjusting the cattle feed mix so it produces fewer burps. As a side benefit, the new cattle feed, which is high in omega-3 sources like alfalfa, flax and grasses, results in 29 percent more omega-3 content in the milk, as well as fewer saturated fats. Stonyfield is seizing on the double benefit in a new marketing campaign, “The Greener Cow.”


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      Indian sugar industry projected to benefit from carbon trading

      Indian sugar industry has the potential to save millions of dollars annually by engaging in carbon credit trading and focusing on ethanol production. At present, there are about 930 carbon credit projects in the Indian carbon trade basket, while 160-180 such projects are likely to be added every year. While India has so far earned $300 million from the carbon credit trade, a top Indian official said that it has the capacity to gross $100 billion.


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      » Water

      Chesapeake Fund designed to promote environmental markets in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

      The Chesapeake Fund was launched earlier this year to jump-start the reduction of one million pounds of nitrogen annually in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (including parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.) The mission of the Chesapeake Fund is to accelerate the Chesapeake Bay restoration by: 1) increasing the awareness of the contribution that businesses, institutions and citizens make to the pollution flowing into our local rivers and streams; 2) providing the opportunity to purchase "offsets" for those impacts that cannot be reduced; 3) investing these funds in on-the-ground projects that reduce pollution thus catalyzing the water quality restoration efforts; and 4) linking this approach to other market-like ecosystem service financing schemes such as for carbon and biodiversity.


      Read more

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      » Biodiversity

      The Business and Biodiversity Offset Program publishes overview document

      The Business and Biodiversity Offset Program (BBOP) is a partnership between companies, governments and conservation experts to explore biodiversity offsets. Biodiversity offsets are measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions designed to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from project development and persisting after appropriate prevention and mitigation measures have been implemented. The goal of biodiversity offsets is to achieve no net loss, or preferably a net gain, of biodiversity on the ground with respect to species composition, habitat structure and ecosystem services, including livelihood aspects. Most BBOP projects so far have dealt with extractive industries, but in the project's next phase it will begin to explore opportunities in agriculture as well. The BBOP Overview document “Business, Biodiversity Offsets and BBOP: An Overview” has just been published and can be downloaded from the BBOP website along with the supporting material, including the optional handbooks (Offset Design, Cost-Benefit, and Implementation), Resource papers, Glossary and Case Studies.


      Read More

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      » Business and Supply Chains

      Unilever adding sustainably-sourced tea, palm oil, tomatoes

      Global food giant Unilever will be rolling out significantly more sustainably sourced tea, palm oil and tomato products by 2015. Unilever has set a goal of having all of its Lipton tea eco-certified. Towards this goal, Lipton’s Rainforest Alliance certified teas reached U.S. shelves in the past few months. Unilever has also set a goal of sourcing all of its palm oil  for beauty products from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certified sources by 2015. For tomatoes, they are developing their own criteria for sustainable sourcing for its tomato based products, including Ragu tomato sauce. Unilever is a globally significant buyer in each of these commodities with 12% of the world’s teas, 4% of the palm oil and 7% of the tomatoes.


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      Public comment period open for Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Cattle Production standards

      The Sustainable Agriculture Network has been working with the Livestock and Environmental Management group at Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica and the Rainforest Alliance to develop standards for the first Rainforest Alliance Certified certification of cattle farming operations. These standards are available for public comment until October 10, 2009.


      Read more

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      » International

      Agriculture emerges in revised FCCC/AWLCA negotiating text

      This note from the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development analyses how agriculture and related rural issues are being included in progressive versions of the UNFCCC negotiating texts in the period before the Copenhagen COP15 meeting in December 2009. It examines the initial negotiating texts discussed at the Bonn Meeting in June 2009 in the two group sessions – Kyoto Protocol (KP) and Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) – and reviews the revised negotiating text from the LCA session, which was presented shortly after the June meeting, incorporating comments from Parties. The KP group has not yet produced a revised version of the text. The most recent round of climate change talks was in Bonn, 10-14 August.


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      Land Day in Bonn raises profile of soil carbon sequestration in UNFCCC negotiations

      Land Day was a one-day event that took place on June 6, 2009 in Bonn, Germany on the margins of the UNFCCC talks to promote dialogue between actors dealing with desertification, land degradation and drought, and negotiators of a new post-Kyoto agreement. The meeting’s objectives were to: examine the strong linkage between desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) and climate change so that soil/land potential in addressing climate change is included in the negotiation process; explore how best to bring the carbon economy to local and low-income natural resources end-users; increase knowledge on the nexus between climate change adaptation, drought mitigation and the restoration of degraded lands: and raise the profile of DLDD, especially by stressing its linkage to climate change.


      Read More

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      UNFCCC delegates agree that land use emissions should be accounted for on a 'land basis'

      The review of the Bonn climate by the Ecosystem Marketplace reports that while progress towards a post-2012 agreement was slow, discussions on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) progressed and there was movement towards a consensus on how to account for other land-use issues including agriculture. Delegates agreed that, long-term, accounting of land-use emissions should be done on a land basis (which measures the total emissions and sinks on a given area of land) instead of an activity basis (which measures only emissions and sinks from certain land-use activities) because land-based accounting more accurately reflects the land's true impact on the environment. Many developed nation delegates, however, argued that they could not achieve accurate accounting by 2013 – a contention that was itself contested by delegates from poorer countries, who say that developed countries have been accounting for land-use emissions on a land basis since 2005.


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      High profile voices endorse agriculture in global climate deal: Al Gore, Gerda Verburg, and Tom Vilsack
      Former US Vice President Al Gore, in a speech at an environmental conference in Oxford, UK said that soil carbon must play a key role in climate change mitigation. Gore, cited the example of Indonesia, the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide after China and the US, saying that the country’s high level of emissions were chiefly the result of soil degradation rather than the linked but distinct problem of deforestation. Read More

      At the opening of the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) at UN Headquarters in New York, Gerda Verburg, CSD 17 Chair and Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Netherlands, argued that agriculture must be included in climate change negotiations if fundamental mitigation and adaptation goals are to be met. Read more

      U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has said that the climate change bill being drafted in the U.S. Senate is unlikely to succeed unless it gives farmers and ranchers a role in locking carbon into the land. Vilsack is promoting a carbon-offset program that pays landowners for practices like tree-planting and reduced tillage that lock carbon into soils and vegetation and could contribute to climate change mitigation. Read More

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      Global Donor Platform for Rural Development supports agriculture in climate change negotiations

      This web page is not the formal position of any one member or government, but forwards Platform members’ agreed rationale for the inclusion of agriculture into COP15 climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. It sets out to tackle the following questions: Why include agriculture in climate change negotiations? What does an eventual Copenhagen agreed outcome need to cover? What are the challenges to including agriculture in the climate change negotiations?


      These questions and related challenges were also taken up at a multi-stakeholder event on Agriculture and Climate Change: Advancing Agriculture in a Copenhagen Agreed Outcome and Beyond, co-organized by the Platform and the European Commission Directorate-General for Development in Brussels, 25 June, 2009. For more information on Donor Platform’s activities, Read More


      For information on the Brussels event, Read More

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      A flurry of policy briefs published on agricultural carbon sequestration in the UNFCCC by FAO, Ecoagriculture Partners, and the World Agroforestry Centre
      The FAO policy brief, “Anchoring Agriculture within a Copenhagen Agreement,” seeks to inform negotiators where agriculture is situated in the current negotiations and provides some proposals on how it might be addressed in a global climate change agreement. This brief builds on the more technical and comprehensive FAO submission made to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA), prior to its fourth session (see previous EcoagriculturePES newsletter on EP website). The major proposals offered are: 1) Include agriculture in the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) of developing countries; 2) Ensure financing for agricultural mitigation; and 3) Move towards a comprehensive landscape approach. Read More

      Ecoagriculture Partners, in “Mitigating Climate Change Through Food and Land Use,”  argues that only terrestrial carbon sequestration offers the possibility today of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, through plant photosynthesis, and recommends paths for scaling-up terrestrial carbon sequestration in agricultural landscapes. This brief is based on a recent report with Worldwatch by the same title. Read More

      The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has released two policy briefs on biocarbon for mitigation and poverty reduction in Africa. These highlight the importance of a new international agreement on climate change taking into account the key role African agriculture can play in reducing emissions and increasing carbon stocks. The first brief, “The Case for Investing in Africa’s Biocarbon Potential,” shows that the potential for reducing emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses (AFOLU) in Africa is significantly higher than in other regions, and recommends policies that could take advantage of this potential. The second brief, “Africa’s Biocarbon Interests – Perspectives for a New Climate Change Deal,” describes the desired outcomes of the negotiations in Copenhagen. Read More Back To Top
       

      » Africa

      Africa Partnership Forum makes statement at special session on climate change

      The Africa Partnership Forum (APF) held a Special Session on climate change in Addis Ababa on September 3, 2009, focusing on Africa's concerns and expectations in the current U.N. climate negotiations. The meeting was addressed by Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and by distinguished ministers from APF member countries. Participants to this Special Session recognized that climate change is a critical issue globally and for Africa, and see this as a crucial year for taking effective international action. They are committed to reaching an effective and ambitious agreement at Copenhagen. In his address to the session, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has been designated by the African Union to negotiate on its behalf in Copenhagen, said that Africa won’t “rubber stamp” any climate-change agreement by industrialized powers at global talks in Copenhagen this December that don’t meet the continent’s needs. “We will use our numbers to delegitimize any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position,” and that “If need be, we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent.”


      For general information on the session, Read More


      For an Article on Meles Zenawi’s speech, Read More

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      US Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack visits Kenya and advocates international agriculture carbon offsets

      On a visit to Kenya for the Afro-US trade meetings, the U.S. secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack said that Africa could boost global efforts to curb emissions through the absorption of greenhouse gases by developing its farming sector. He raised the idea that U.S. firms unable to stay within greenhouse-gas thresholds at home could offset their emissions by investing in climate-friendly African agricultural practices.


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      African ministers adopt the Nairobi declaration on climate
      On 29 May, ministers from more than 30 African countries adopted the Nairobi Declaration on climate at a weeklong special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. The landmark document highlighted the major challenges and opportunities that African countries face in the upcoming negotiations in Copenhagen on a climate agreement that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The Declaration urges all parties - and particularly the international community - to base increased support for Africa on the priorities for the continent, which include adaptation, capacity-building, financing and technology development and transfer.

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      » Australia

      The National Farmers Federation of Australia endorses voluntary carbon trading for farmers

      The National Farmers Federation of Australia is backing a new report calling for a voluntary carbon trading system for farmers. The report, commissioned by the Victorian and New South Wales Governments, says a voluntary scheme could help Australia meet its emissions cut targets while generating income for farmers. Under the current Federal Government plans, agriculture will not be included in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until 2015 at the earliest.


      Read More

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      Agriculture takes center stage in Australia's climate bill

      The leader of Australia's opposition have announced that his party would not vote for an Emissions Trading Scheme in which the agricultural sector is regulated, arguing that the carbon sequestration potential of Australia’s land mass is its greatest strength in combating rising CO2 emissions. The Rudd Government's current proposal includes agriculture as a covered sector. In both the US and the EU, the agricultural sector has also been exempt from emissions caps under current and proposed climate legislation.


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      » China

      International Conference on Payment for Ecological Services examines China PES potential

      This conference co-sponsored by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Ningxia Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Shizuishan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR), China, 6-7 September, 2009 reviewed Chinese PES experiences and explored ways forward. One of the objectives of the meeting was to provide input to the NDRC as it draws up national guidelines and "eco-compensation" in China, a growing movement that already includes significant PES transfers to Chinese farmers. These guidelines will inform the environmental component of the 12th 5th-year plan for China (2011-2015). The following link indicates the areas of research that the Ministry of Environmental Protection is interested in promoting to inform this process.


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      » United States

      House Climate Bill includes land-based offsets and puts USDA in charge of regulating them
      The US House of Representatives has included land-based carbon offsets in its landmark cap-and-trade bill, passed on June 26. In the final negotiations, key players embraced the idea of temporary carbon offset credits for domestic forestry and agriculture, an item of particular interest to farm state members who see land-based offsets as a significant opportunity for their constituents. Another major victory for for farm state lawmakers in this bill is that the USDA has the lead role in overseeing land-based offsets. Many environmental groups preferred the EPA, fearing the agriculture agency may be too lax in its oversight.

      Read More
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      USDA analysis finds that climate change legislation is likely to positively impact US farmers in the short and long-term

      In late July, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an analysis of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). The report, which addressed the bill’s economic impact on the agricultural industry, bodes well for future offset options. The reports predicts that the benefits to agriculture from cap and trade legislation will likely outweigh the costs slightly in the short term and substantially in the long-term. The House climate bill would increase farm expenses by $700 million, or 0.3 percent, from 2012-18, but this would be offset by revenue from a carbon offset market, estimated at $1 billion per year from 2015 to 2020 to almost $15-$20 billion in 2040-2050, not accounting for costs of implementing offset practices.


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      California climate change policy leaves out agriculture
      California agriculture, which grows roughly 40 percent of America’s food, faces grave threats spurred by climate change, including volatile weather, crippling drought and assaults by growing hordes of pests. It also directly generates about 6 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. In spite of agriculture’s vulnerability and contribution to global warming, the sector was practically left out of the state’s climate change implementation strategy mandated by the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), according to a new report released today, California’s Climate Change Policy Leaves Agriculture in the Dust, from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

      Read More
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      Agriculture groups unhappy with Senate climate bill
      The initial incarnation of the Senate climate bill has been criticized by some US agriculture groups including the American Farm Bureau and the National Corn Growers Association. Among their problems with the bill is that it does not guarantee that farm practices would qualify for carbon offsets opportunities as the House’s climate bill does. Neither does it specify which federal agency should define an offset – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farm groups prefer the USDA.

      Read More
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      Resources

      » Research and Publications

      MSU researchers link carbon markets and tree-planting to fight poverty, protect the earth in Carbon2Markets project

      Michigan State University scientists are combining sustainable forest production with emerging carbon markets in a unique effort to help some of the world’s poorest people grow trees that will boost their standards of living and slow climate change. Called Carbon2Markets, the program includes collaborative projects with farmers, researchers and government agencies in five developing Asian and African countries. MSU researchers help the farmer groups integrate high-value forest crops, such as jatropha or shea, into the crops they’re currently growing using methods that are smart and sustainable. Then the farmers use standards created by MSU experts to accurately measure and record the carbon stored in the soil by the trees.


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      Report argues that agriculture has been defined too narrowly in carbon discourse

      A White Paper by consultancies GIC Group and Clear Carbon Consulting, contends that agriculture’s contribution to climate change has been underestimated by the UNFCCC and others because they have defined ‘agriculture’ too narrowly. These estimates have been based on a definition of agriculture which considers only primary production and overlooks the industry’s value chain, which includes chemical manufacturers, seed and feed companies, and biotechnology firms, as well as the value-added sector, such as food and beverage manufacturers, processing facilities, pulp and paper mills, cotton and wool mills, and biofuel producers. Taking these secondary sources into consideration, agribusiness accounts for approximately 10 to 35 percent of all GHG emissions. The report also argues that agricultural GHGs requires a unique carbon price discovery mechanism that will provide agricultural carbon market actors a greater level of transparency in measuring and valuing the costs and benefits of GHG emissions reduction efforts. The authors offer their idea for a benchmark index, called the GIC Agriculture Carbon Index (GIC‐ACI), provide a global carbon pricing tool for valuing GHG emission allowances and offset credits associated with agribusiness.


      Read more

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      Report documents recent policy innovations for the conservation and management of ecosystem services in China

      This report by Michael Bennett of Forest Trends is entitled "Markets for Ecosystem Services in China- An Exploration of China's "Eco-Compensation and Other Market-Based Environmental Policies."  In recent years, policymakers have become increasingly interested in developing new approaches to address China’s multiplying conservation challenges and resource constraints in face of break-neck economic growth. This has led China’s central and local governments to rapidly expand the range of policy and program innovations, many under the broad heading of “eco-compensation,” that are laying the groundwork for the development of ecosystem services markets. In particular, local governments have been important contributors to this process, rapidly adapting centrally designed “eco-compensation” programs to their own needs, creating “hybrids” — programs that weave together and draw upon multiple central and provincial policies and funding sources — and creating their own distinct initiatives that often feed back into central government policy development.


       While not an exhaustive account of all payments (PES) and markets (MES) for ecosystem services in China, it provides an overview of a range of policy innovations for watershed ecosystem services, carbon markets, forest conservation, improving landscape amenities, biodiversity conservation and anti-desertification. The results of this report suggest that there are tremendous opportunities to draw lessons from the significant degree of local innovation that is occurring and to connect innovations from around the globe to inform developments in China.


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      New textbook explores links between biodiversity, ecosystems and human wellbeing

      This graduate level textbook, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing, edited by Shahid Naeem, Daniel E. Bunker, Andy Hector, Michel Loreau, and Charles Perrings incorporates the latest developments in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. It is also the first volume to explore the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem service. This book is an example of the move among ecologists to consider conservation potential outside of reserves, often in agricultural landscapes. These kinds of ecological analysis are crucial to laying the foundation for future agricultural PES schemes.


      Read More


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      Special journal issue of Agroforestry Systems highlights ecosystem services

      Agroforestry systems are believed to provide a number of ecosystem services; however, until recently evidence in the agroforestry literature supporting these perceived benefits has been lacking. This special issue brings together a series of papers from around the globe to address recent findings on the ecosystem services and environmental benefits provided by agroforestry. As prelude to the special issue, this paper examines four major ecosystem services and environmental benefits of agroforestry: (1) carbon sequestration, (2) biodiversity conservation, (3) soil enrichment and (4) air and water quality. Past and present evidence clearly indicates that agroforestry, as part of a multifunctional working landscape, can be a viable land-use option that, in addition to alleviating poverty, offers a number of ecosystem services and environmental benefits. This realization should help promote agroforestry and its role as an integral part of a multifunctional working landscape the world over.


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      Australian researchers question link between altered grazing patterns and soil carbon sequestration

      New research poses serious questions for soil carbon methodologies used to generate soil carbon offsets for climate exchanges like CCX. According to New South Wales researchers, methodologies that alter grazing patterns, plant type and pasture type showed no increase in carbon sequestration potential in soil.


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      25x'25 publishes Agriculture and Forestry in a Reduced Carbon Economy: Solutions from the Land

      The vision of the organization 25x'25 is that by 2025, America's farms, forests and ranches will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed and fiber. The 25x’25 National Steering Committee believes it is critically important for the agriculture and forestry sectors to understand and become engaged in policy discussions and to proactively advocate for the enabling policies that will be necessary for these sectors to deliver and be compensated for the lower cost carbon reduction services. To help facilitate these discussions, the 25x’25 Carbon Work Group, a select panel of nationally-recognized leaders including producers, economists, agronomists, soil scientists, as well as conservation and business partners, has produced this publication. The report is intended to serve as a discussion guide to help farmers, ranchers and forest land managers better understand the opportunities and challenges they will face in a reduced carbon economy and the policy mechanisms that may be employed to create it.


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      » Tools

      Carbon benefits project launched in Africa and China

      The Carbon Benefits Project an initiative of UNEP, ICRAF and others has been launched in Western Kenya near Lake Victoria. The goal of this project, also operating in Niger, Nigeria and China, is to test methods of monitoring terrestrial carbon sequestration (trees and soil) that results from improved farming systems and other sustainable land management practices. With credible systems established for a diversity of landscapes and land-use systems the door will be open for farmers in developing countries to benefit from growing global carbon markets.


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      EU CC-TAME land modelling project integrates analysis of climate and land use policies in Europe

      The Climate Change – Terrestrial Adaptation and Mitigation in Europe (CC-TAME) CC-TAME Project was designed to implement a “policy-model-data fusion” concept which shall guarantee efficient and effective mitigation and adaptation in the land-use sector and maximize benefits from policy coordination with other EU policies. CC-TAME will model explicit land-use on farm/forest management practice level taking into account the emerging technological changes in the land-use sector and its associated industries. It will combine regional climate models with biophysical ecosystem models, which are rich in technology representation, with state of the art bottom-up type economic sector models embedded in the theory of modern welfare economics. A technologically explicit bottom-up approach on the farm/forest management practice level to full fledged sector analysis allows the CC-TAME consortium to assess the efficiency of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. CC-TAME’s international consortium is composed of 17 highly recognized multidisciplinary science partners who will carry out the project during 2008 — 2011.


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      FAO developing a tool to provide ex-ante measurements of the impact of agriculture and forestry development projects on GHG emissions and carbon sequestration

      FAO is currently developing EX-ACT (EX-ante Appraisal Carbon-balance), a tool aimed at providing ex-ante measurements of the impact of agriculture and forestry development projects on GHG emissions and C sequestration, indicating its effects on the Carbon-balance. The tool will guide the project design process and the decision making on funding aspects, complementing the usual ex-ante economic analysis of investments projects. EX-ACT will help project designers to select the project activities which have higher benefits both in economic and climate change mitigation terms. EX-ACT computes project C-balance based on changes in land use and technologies foreseen by project components, using IPCC default values and – when available – ad-hoc coefficients. It is already being tested on several FAO and IFAD projects over a wide range of different ecosystems (e.g. tropical, temperate, semi-arid), agriculture activities (e.g. annual/perennial crops, forestry, livestock) and geographic coverage. After a peer-review and certification process, the tool will be available for wide-scale implementation and adoption from project designers in international organizations and donor agencies working on agriculture, forestry and livestock development. For more information contact L. Bockel (louis.bockel@fao.org) or G. Branca (giacomo.branca@fao.org).

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      First Remote Sensing Verifier, ClimateVerify, approved by Chicago Climate Exchange for agriculture soil carbon offsets
      TeraVista Systems recently announced that the company's ClimateVerify technology platform has been approved as a verification provider by the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The Company has been working with the CCX Offset Committee for the past year in developing a new CCX Carbon Sequestration Remote Sensing Verification Protocol for Agricultural Soil Practices. This protocol was approved in February, 2009, and TeraVista was approved as the first verifier for this protocol in May, 2009.

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      HOLOS: Whole-Farm modelling software from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists
      Holos is a whole-farm modeling software program to help farmers estimate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The main purpose of Holos is to test possible ways of reducing GHG emissions from farms. Holos is the culmination of extensive, collaborative study of greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian farms. Much of this research was conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists in the Model Farm research program.

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      USDA Office for Ecosystem Services and Management, Ecoagriculture Partners, UC Berkeley to produce agricultural payments for ecosystem services case studies
      In a project funded by the newly created USDA Office of Ecosystem Services (OESM), Ecoagriculture Partners and UC-Berkeley’s Center for Sustainable Resource Development will produce a set of five written case studies, along with five posters that graphically demonstrate the financial benefits that PES provides to farmers in the profiled landscapes. Probable sites include Chesapeake Bay; Yolo County, California; Upper Mississippi; Colorado; and Florida, Everglades.

      For more information, contact Ariela Summit at asummit@ecoagriculture.org

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      » Learning Networks

      Sustainable Food Lab hosts agricultural climate stewardship strategy meeting, Pennsylvania, US
      This meeting took place at the Rodale Institute (http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/) in Fogelsville, PA, near the Rodale Institute, from the 8-10 September 2009, and focused on agricultural climate stewardship. 45 participants, inlcuding representatives from agriculture and carbon industry groups, NGO's and researchers discussed carbon footprint methods, soil sequestration pilots and numerous other initiatives that are building the capacity of the food supply chain to mitigate climate change. Discussion focused around the most promising carbon foot-printing methodologies and decision-support tools, the potential for increasing incentives through higher quality and higher valued agricultural carbon and other ways to tap the potential of agriculture to mitigate climate change and high leverage pilot projects – existing and new. The meeting included a tour of the Rodale Institute's soil carbon field experiments.

      The Sustainable Food Lab (http://www.sustainablefoodlab.org/) hosted the meeting in partnership with Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture’s team, Innovation Center for US Dairy and others, among them Ecoagriculture Partners. Back To Top
       
      FAO and EP hold 2nd discussion on Agriculture and Climate Change

      The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Ecoagriculture Partners hosted a discussion on monitoring, reporting and verification of agricultural projects for greenhouse gas mitigation at the Heinz Center in Washington D.C. on September 2nd– the second event in a series on agriculture and climate change. Speakers and discussants included Professor James Lassoie of Cornell University, Ellysar Baroudy of the World Bank Biocarbon Fund, Dennis Ojima of the Heinz Center and Melinda Kimble of the United Nations Foundation.  The first event on June 30th  addressed the status of US and international policy on agriculture and climate change. A third event is planned for November 10th.

      For more information on the series, Sarah Fulton at Sarah.Fulton@fao.org

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      CIVILand research partnership launches a website

      CIVILand is a new research project linking NGO's, foundations and other civil society initiatives that develop and/or implement payments for ecosystem services. The group pursues its goals by comparing case studies in Germany, Great Britain and the US. The group began its work in June and has now launched its website.


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      EKO ECO blog tracks ecosystem service markets

      The EKO ECO blog exists to stimulate discussion on how to incorporate the value of ecosystem services into our economic system. It has been launched jointly by Ecosystem Marketplace and EKO Asset Management Partners, and presents the combined insights of a non-profit information provider and a for-profit asset management company. The blog will cover systems that encourage payment for environmental services, including the emerging carbon markets, water quality trading, payment for watershed services and species/wetland banking, among others. The blog is intended to complement the more in-depth articles and analysis that can be found in Ecosystem Marketplace with more rapid and up-to-date reflections on recent news, events, activities, and transactions.


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      Announcements and Opportunities

      Katoomba Group Meeting, Payments for Ecosystem Services in West Africa, 6-7 October 2009, Accra, Ghana

      Although there have been three Katoomba Group meetings in Africa - Uganda (2005), South Africa (2006) and Tanzania (2008) - this will be the first in West Africa. In the region, interest in Payments for Ecosystem services (PES) is growing quickly along with the threat to it’s forests. The meeting will focus on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), soil carbon and other terrestrial carbon options, payments for biodiversity and marine and coastal ecosystem services.


      Based on discussions of these themes, key outcomes of this Katoomba Meeting will include:

      • Guidance for negotiating teams and civil society going to Copenhagen;
      • Discussion of REDD options for Central Africa and agreement on key issues for a proposed Katoomba Group meeting in the Congo Region in 2010;
      • Increased collaboration among Katoomba Group members on critical ecosystem challenges in West Africa;
      • Refining the agenda of the Katoomba Group and the ‘Katoomba Ecosystem Services Incubator’ in the region over the next five years.
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      CABI Global Summit on food security in a climate of change, 19-21 October 2009, London UK

      The summit brings together a panel of international experts to discuss the challenges of food security in a changing climate. Topics being discussed include the influence of climate change on food security and the actions needed to achieve Millennium Development Goal 1: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Participants will have the opportunity to network and share ideas with international development organizations, donors and senior agricultural government representatives from CABI’s 44 member countries. CABI is a not-for-profit organization specializing in scientific publishing, research and communication.


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      3rd Sustainable Agriculture Summit hosted by London Business Conference, taking place this 30 November-1 December 2009, London, England

      The impacts of water scarcity and climate change on growing areas in many parts of the world now pose an immediate challenge for the agricultural supply chain. To help the industry develop practical solutions to these challenges, London Business Conferences is hosting its 3rd Sustainable Agriculture Summit. This year’s event features a new platform of speakers, including developing world farmers as well as the multinational food and drink retailers, who will be brought together to continue the dialogue on developing cost neutral sustainable sourcing strategies.


      To register your interest in this Summit, and to obtain a copy of the agenda, please email info@london-business-conferences.co.uk

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      Agriculture and Rural Development Day, 12 December 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark

      Sponsored by a consortium of 11 major international organizations, the theme for this series of events is “The road after Copenhagen, priority strategies and actions for ensuring food security and rural development in the face of climate change.” The primary objective is to lay the groundwork for a work plan that will see agriculture fully incorporated into the post-Copenhagen agenda.


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      Innovation and Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food, 28 June - 1 July 2010, Montpellier, France

      This meeting of participants from diverse disciplines and geographic areas will examine whether science and society can reinvent agricultural and food systems to achieve sustainability. Topics of discussion will include:

      • Innovating to link production and conservation: how to feed the world population and protect the planet at the same time?
      • Questioning social equity: how can innovation reduce the fragility of poor populations and make them members of a sustainable society?
      • Learning and being creative: how can different types of knowledge be combined to create innovation?
      • Acting collectively: what kinds of institutions, policies, and forms of governance can strengthen society’s capacity for resilience?
      • Renewing research models and practices: how can research better fulfill its responsibilities to elaborate innovating solutions in collaboration with society?
      • Partners for the event include CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, Agropolis Fondation.
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