The Value of a Tree

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How much is a tree worth?  How do you calculate its value?  Board feet?  Ecoservices? For many people advocating for the implementation of REDD+, the value of a forest is great.  Forests in developing countries like Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Mongolia are recognized for their vital role in protecting water sources, sequestering carbon, and…
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Seas the Day

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Living along the bottom of the seabed are the hydrothermal vents. These vents exist in environments under immense pressure, with volatile temperatures, toxic minerals, and devoid of sunlight. As the tectonics plates spread and magma rises, hydrothermal vents form. They are created when seawater circulates through fissures in the ocean’s crust and becomes super-heated by magma….
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Draining the Swamp

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Peatlands contain peat soil, which is wet, thick, and made of partially-decomposed plant materials. The International Peatland Society (IPS) cover approximately 3% of the Earth’s surface. Tropical peatlands in Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Southern Africa contain 10-12%of the total peatland resource. Peatlands are also extremely valuable ecosystems because they foster biodiversity,…
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Blue Carbon: A Solution

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Coastal ecosystems such as tidal salt marshes, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests, are “blue carbon ecosystems” because they act as carbon sinks. Blue ecosystems have the ability to sequester copious amounts of carbon. However, if they are destroyed, they increase GHG emissions. Scientists estimate approximately 1.02 billion tons of carbon dioxide is emitted per year…
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Continuing to Decouple

Photograph by Volker Hartmann - Getty Images

For the third year in a row, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy sector remained level while the global economy grew. This continues to buck the economic thinking that economic growth, typically measured with gross domestic product (GDP), cannot be decoupled from environmental degradation. The current trend of…
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Bonn Challenge Takes First Steps

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The Bonn Challenge is a global initiative to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million by 2030. So far, 38 countries have pledged to restore 124.32 million hectares in order to achieve this goal. The challenge now is holding these nations to their commitments and ensuring…
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CO2 spikes again

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NOAA reports that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose 3.05 parts per million in 2015, the largest annual increase recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory since it began in 1957. Last year was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 concentrations grew by more than 2 parts per million. More recently,  the change in average CO2 concentration from February 2015 till last month shows…
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Will it Be a REDD+ Letter Day for Our Forests?

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Yesterday, the Parties received a “clean” version of the draft Paris Agreement, and at 8PM the Parties convened to share their first impressions on this draft Agreement. One hot topic repeatedly discussed was the status of our forests. Many Parties are advocating that the Paris Agreement establish a mechanism that incentivizes the reduction of emissions…
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Decarbonization or Climate Neutrality? Which is the Better Path to 2°C? Is There Even a Difference?

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In order to keep global temperatures under 2°C, the threshold generally accepted as the best way to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, there must be a limit on cumulative CO2 emissions. For those of you not tracking mitigation negotiations closely at COP21, there is some hot debating surrounding long-term signals maintaining this threshold….
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Are deserts carbon sinks?

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Can arid regions – specifically deserts – act as carbon sinks?  This study, led by Professor David Evans of Washington State University and published in the current edition of Nature Climate Change, offers this conclusion:  “Results provide direct evidence that CO2 fertilization substantially increases ecosystem C storage and that arid ecosystems are significant, previously unrecognized,…
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