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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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Cornell
Creative Commons

Cornell University divesting from fossil fuels to focus on alternative energy, renewables

Is your land trust, or other companies in your community, evaluating their financial investments? Large investment firms and universities are transitioning for both economic and mission purposes.

The investments for this category are expected to decrease to zero over the next five to seven years as the investments mature, according to Bob Howarth, a Cornell professor of ecology and environmental biology who helped lead the divestment efforts and now heads the University Assembly.

Instead of investing in fossil fuels, the university will grow its $6.9 billion endowment portfolio by investing in alternative energy and renewables…

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Kennebec Land Trust
Brian Kent | Kennebec Land Trust

Sustainability and climate change initiatives

Increasingly, land trusts are recognizing that the public expects an authentic, integrated approach. Small land trusts can help connect the dots in a big way.

In their most recent climate initiative, the Kennebec Land Trust Finance Committee worked with Kennebec Savings Bank Investment and Trust Services to move their investments into a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) portfolio that is aligned with their mission. SRI considers environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.

As managers of forestland, they use and promote forest management practices that maximize carbon sequestration, including: protecting soil carbon, where about 50% of the carbon inventory is typically stored on a forested acre; promoting native species and increasing plant diversity to improve forest resiliency and carbon storage; harvesting sustainably; and taking a long-term view by growing high-value and larger diameter trees. On the ground, their forestry days at the Curtis Homestead are teaching the next generations…

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Solar Panels
Judy Anderson

About the Solar Energy Technologies Office

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) supports early-stage research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), and systems integration with the goal of improving the affordability, performance, and value of solar technologies on the grid…

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Coastal Maine
COURTESY / BRIDGET BESAW, MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST

Coastal access, climate change key as Maine Coast Heritage Trust turns 50

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is increasingly talking about climate change to people from all walks of life. They are using personal stories and examples to help connect with shared values, and people are responding in a positive way.

Land conservation efforts by the organization have increasingly taken community strength and health into account, as much as the environment, and conservation’s overall impact on the state’s economic foundation. As the climate changes, that focus is more important than ever, he [Tim Glidden, president of Maine Coast Heritage Trust] said…

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Vermont Forest Carbon
Vermont Forest Carbon Report

Quantifying carbon stocks on conserved land

Carbon market participation will not work for everyone or everywhere. It will work best through project aggregation of properties that are medium (several hundred acres) to large (>1,000 acres) in size, well-stocked, and managed—and where the potential to provide co-benefits that are attractive to buyers in the voluntary market is greatest. Your land trust may also benefit from tracking the development of "aggregated" lands to meet acreage requirements and see how you could replicate it in your area.

Carbon project development in Vermont is compatible with, and in fact would be aided by, participation in other forest stewardship programs. These include forest certification, cost-share by EQIP and the Forest Legacy Program, and Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal (UVA) Program (also known as Current Use).

All three major certification Vermont Forest Carbon: a market opportunity for forestland owners 4 systems in the U.S. (Forest Stewardship Council [FSC], Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and American Tree Farm System) can be employed to meet various requirements under CARB and the voluntary markets, such as the need to have a comprehensive forest management plan…

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Brooklyn Bridge Covid Times
VICTOR J. BLUE/GETTY IMAGES

After the Coronavirus, two sharply divergent paths on climate

Some policy experts are optimistic that victory over the Coronavirus will instill greater appreciation for what government, science, and business can do to tackle climate change. But others believe the economic damage caused by the virus will set back climate efforts for years to come.

A year from now, how will the battle to slow global warming look in a post-Coronavirus world? That’s a question being asked a lot these days by policy experts and activists, and it’s one with huge implications.

Some hope it will bring out the best in us and our leaders, and that the resurgence of government action during the pandemic offers a way forward for fighting climate change. Others fear the worst, that the rush to resuscitate a badly battered global economy will push climate back down the international agenda…

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Harvard And Yale Student Protests
Nic Antaya | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

As big endowments spurn fossil fuel stocks, there’s one thing making this decision easy

This article might be of interest to those considering financial investments and how land trusts can walk the walk.

As big endowment funds face mounting pressure to reduce their exposure to the fossil fuel industry, there’s one thing making their decision easier: the energy sector’s underperformance…

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Smoke Stacks Video Screenshot

Your land trust has a chance to be strategic and proactive

This video from Yale Climate Connections may be helpful to your board and/or those involved in financial decisions. No longer is divestment just a moral decision. Increasingly, it's a strategic financial decision—and many donors are looking for land trusts to walk the walk.

Calls for decarbonization are now coming from the boardrooms and executive suites of the world’s largest corporations and investment funds, in a fast-moving change that could reshape the global energy system and economy. Listen to why investment firms and companies are divesting.

I’ll be posting more about alternatives, but in the meantime, check out PIMCO’s climate investment funds.

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