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Climate Change & Conservation eNews

Economy

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A top U.S. seller of carbon offsets starts investigating its own projects

Are your local land trust, or state conservation groups, considering carbon offsets? Understanding both the reality and the perceptions about offsets—and how to communicate the reality—is going to be central to success.

Following concerns that it is facilitating the sale of meaningless carbon credits to corporate clients, the Nature Conservancy says it’s conducting an internal review of its portfolio of carbon-offset projects. The nonprofit owns or has helped develop more than 20 such projects on forested lands mostly in the U.S., which generate credits that are purchased by such companies as JPMorgan Chase & Co., BlackRock Inc., and Walt Disney Co., which use them to claim large reductions in their own publicly reported emissions…

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Grain Strorage
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

New problems arise for crop storage as planet gets warmer

Helping people understand the impacts of climate change on agriculture is important if we are going to prioritize solutions, including soil health, agricultural viability, and renewable energy that are compatible. When we think about farm and ranchland viability, climate change is going to be an increased stressor.

“There’s a big disconnect in our minds about the chain of events between the field and the grocery store and onto our plate,” [plant physiology scientist Courtney Leisner at Auburn University] said. “Just a few degrees can make all the difference in whether it’s economical to store the fruits and vegetables that we expect to have on our dinner table 365 days a year.”

Aside from potentially higher prices, climate change may worsen food shortages caused by spoilage. About 14% of food produced globally—and 20% of fruits and vegetables—goes bad between harvest and retail, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Wasted food is a significant source of greenhouse gases…

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Tilled Farmland
Dan Gunderson | MPR News 2019

A ‘carbon bank’ could mean extra cash for Midwest farmers

Farming can be part of the climate solution with "climate-smart" farming practices. A lot of these practices are common sense, but with farming margins tight, many farmers and ranchers need economic assistance to make it happen. Check this out—and consider what your state can do.

A well-known Minnesota agribusiness hopes to turn climate change concern into cash for farmers.

Land O’Lakes, through its sustainability arm, Truterra, last week launched a carbon exchange program in which companies that want to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions can buy credits, and farmers get paid for increasing carbon storage in the soil…

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Sprouting Coin Stacks
Pixabay

BlackRock makes climate change central to its investment strategy

The shift by the nation’s leading money manager is sure to be closely watched by its rivals and the rest of corporate America. Is your local conservation group walking the walk and investing with climate in mind?

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, will make sustainability and climate risks key tenets of its investing strategy, a move that its chief executive said should push financial institutions to prioritize climate change issues…

“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” BlackRock chairman and chief executive Larry Fink said in his annual letter to chief executives. “But awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

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Msu Uc Davis Alum
Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times

UC becomes nation’s largest university to divest fully from fossil fuels

Have the conservation organizations in your life faced the reality of the financial, and moral, status of their investments? All over the world nonprofits and financial institutions are divesting. This week it was announced that New York's $226 billion pension fund is dropping fossil fuel stocks. The fund will divest from many fossil fuels in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040.

The University of California announced…that it has fully divested from all fossil fuels, the nation’s largest educational institution to do so as campaigns to fight climate change through investment strategies proliferate at campuses across the country.

The UC milestone capped a five-year effort to move the public research university system’s $126-billion portfolio into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. UC officials say their strategy is grounded in concerns about the planet’s future and in what makes financial sense.

“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement…

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White Man Divests
Richard Drew/Associated Press

New York’s $226 billion pension fund is dropping fossil fuel stocks

“New York State’s pension fund, one of the world’s largest and most influential investors, will drop many of its fossil fuel stocks in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040, the state comptroller said on Wednesday.

With $226 billion in assets, New York’s fund wields clout with other retirement funds and its decision to divest from fossil fuels could accelerate a broader shift in global markets away from oil and gas companies, energy experts and climate activists said…”

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World On A Dollar
Yale Climate Connections

Fighting climate change: Cheaper than ‘business as usual’ and better for the economy

The often-repeated and seldom-challenged view that climate change solutions are expensive and uneconomical has long dampened public support in the U.S. for even common-sense measures.

Seldom do proponents of those views enumerate the costs or mention the alternative costs of continuing to extract and burn fossil fuels to meet society’s energy needs. But in this era of costly hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, melting polar ice and rising sea levels, it should be obvious that the price of the status quo is already high and increasing. Failing to curb global warming has started bringing more frequent climate catastrophes with crushing economic and humanitarian costs. And prices of green technology solutions are falling rapidly; many are already cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives and will more than pay for themselves over time…

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Ag On A Rainy Day
USDA

New revenue option for ag producers to yield attractive returns

The Climate Trust will provide cash to help land trusts purchase no-till grassland conservation agreements from farmers and ranchers. This will make the lands eligible for the carbon market.

Oregon ranchers Dan and Suzy Probert grow cattle and healthy soil. And with the help of Farm Bill programs, they’re protecting the Lightning Creek Ranch from development as well as finding new revenue options like carbon trading markets…

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Ecologists
The Wall Street Journal

Preserving trees becomes big business, driven by emissions rules

Check out Finite Carbon in the Wall Street Journal.

Finite Carbon is North America’s leading developer and supplier of forest carbon offsets.

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American Prairie
JULIUS PASAY/CLIMATE TRUST

Carbon markets program puts more nonprofits on path to increase land conservation

The carbon market is going to increasingly be part of the market-based solution. Is your local land trust keeping track of how this is unfolding?

The Land Trust Alliance is partnering with carbon offset project developers Finite Carbon and The Climate Trust. Finite Carbon is working with the Alliance to help land trusts that own forest lands participate in the voluntary carbon market. The Climate Trust will provide cash to help land trusts purchase no-till grassland conservation agreements from farmers and ranchers. This will make the lands eligible for the carbon market.

Not only does this mean additional land preservation, but it will help combat the effects of climate change…

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