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We’re thankful for our bicycles , and for you.
Our bicycles: Because they give us so many wonderful experiences, great feelings, and benefits, and the time and space of a bike ride in which to reflect on our gratitude.
Our bicycles give us health, fresh air, and free parking.
Our bicycles give us the challenge of the uphill and the exhilaration of the downhill.
Our bicycles provide affordable everyday transportation.
Our bicycles take us on journeys that let us see with new eyes.
You: Because you share our commitment to grow bicycling statewide.
You read and share our news.
You help us out at community events, stuff envelopes, come to our workshops, and attend the annual gala.
You serve on your local bicycle advisory board or volunteer with a club, ride, Bike to Work Week, or Open Streets event.
You tell us about the best places to ride (and the places to eat, drink, and be merry) so we can share them on our blog and get more people to choose bike travel.
You’re there for the groundbreaking and for the ribbon-cutting.
You tell us about a local project or priority and ask for our help, giving us stories we tell legislators as we work for better bicycling.
You support our school and family programs and Safe Routes to School to get the next generation riding.
You give generously so we can work around the state, because everyone in Washington deserves great places to ride.
You’re the reason Washington is the #1 Bicycle Friendly State in America.
For all of this and so much more, thank you.
Though demand for forest carbon offsets grew 17% in 2013, market participants recognize the need to scale up faster in order to curb emissions from deforestation and land-use change. Attendees at Ecosystem Marketplace’s launch of the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 at the World Bank last Friday discussed the policy developments that could guide growth – and how the certification of co-benefits could shape demand.
Members of the Go Zero carbon team joined the discussion. We have reposted this with permission – it was originally posted on November 24, 2014 in Ecosystem Marketplace’s News and Articles.
“Beyond Carbon” Benefits The Talk Of The Forest Carbon Markets
Author: Gloria Gonzalez
24 November 2014 | Much of the discussion during next month’s international climate negotiations in Lima, Peru will revolve around halting tropical forest loss to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report on the voluntary and compliance markets shows forest carbon projects already having an impact – an impact that could multiply if the right policy signals are sent.
The global markets for offsets from agriculture, forestry, and other land-use projects transacted 32.7 million tonnes (MtCO2e) in 2013, a 17% increase from 2012 and tying with 2010 for the highest demand tracked by Ecosystem Marketplace as part of its State of the Forest Carbon Markets report series.
The forest carbon market surpassed a critical milestone last year by topping $1 billion in cumulative value. “That brings up the big question of whether $1 billion is enough and the obvious answer is no,” said Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon Associate and co-author of this year’s report. “Although deforestation rates have declined since the early 2000s, deforestation and other land-use change still accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. That’s more than fossil fuel use in Africa, Central and South America combined.”
Last year’s market value of $192 million represented an 11% drop from 2012 as average offset prices fell to $5.2 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), down from $7.8/tCO2e, due in part to classic supply-demand dynamics and a perceived flood of offsets into the marketplace, she observed. Forest carbon offset prices ranged from less than $1/tCO2e for “legacy” offsets sold on the Chicago Climate Exchange – the voluntary, but legally binding carbon cap-and-trade program launched in the United States in 2003 – to more than $100/tCO2e for improved forest management (IFM) offsets sold to Japanese buyers purchasing domestic offsets as part of the country’s proprietary J-Credit Scheme.
More than 80% of offsets transacted from projects that reduce emissions from deforestation (REDD), and the majority of those were sourced from Latin America, which tripled from 2012 activity and held almost half of overall market share last year. Avoided deforestation projects now cover almost 30 million hectares, about the size of the forest area of Malaysia.
“To me, that’s a strong sign that REDD is finding more traction, not only on the ground, but in the marketplace,” said Michael Jenkins, President of Forest Trends, the parent organization of Ecosystem Marketplace.
An early example of public sector “payment-for-performance” for REDD was evidenced in the state of Acre, Brazil, which secured a $40 million agreement with German development bank KfW for 8 MtCO2e in emissions reductions. Dozens of other jurisdictional REDD programs are under development.
“What we are seeing is definitely a shift in focus toward going to a jurisdictional scale and going to scale,” said Ellysar Baroudy, Lead Carbon Finance Specialist for the World Bank, which manages several funds dedicated to supporting efforts to implement national REDD+ programs on several continents.
Jobs, Jaguars, and Jostling Standard
Forest carbon projects provided many “fairly impressive” co-benefits in 2013, including 9,000 jobs; 13 million hectares of habitat for endangered species; and $41 million in education, health care, and infrastructure, Goldstein said. Direct employment and training and capacity building were the most commonly-reported co-benefits of forest carbon projects.
“One thing I was really pleased to see in the report was the quantification of co-benefits,” Baroudy said. “I think that is hugely important. I think if we do want to move forward with REDD programs and projects, this is a vital part and a piece of this that we need to see more of.”
Developers reported their project areas protected habitat for dozens of endangered species, including charismatic mega-fauna such as orangutans, koalas, African elephants, cheetahs, jaguars, giant armadillos, and bonobos. Project developers also reported on a myriad of watershed protection benefits such as decreased erosion and flood protection.
In a nod to the rising attention paid to the community and biodiversity outcomes of carbon offset projects, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) assumed the day-to-day management of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard last week. More than 70% of forest carbon offsets developed under VCS also pursued certification with CCB, according to the report.
The VCS remained the most popular voluntary standard in the forest carbon markets, with projects developed according to VCS methodologies transacting 14.6 MtCO2e, or 46% of all market activity. However, internal or proprietary standards – used for only one or two projects – made a surprising comeback after years of consolidation, with about 12.6 MtCO2e transacted under these standards. The largest internal standard is the Acre Carbon Standard, used by the Brazilian state to track performance against emissions reductions targets as Acre continues its pilot under VCS jurisdictional nested REDD+ standard.
Developers cited several reasons for this trend, including the costs of validation and verification under third-party standards, language barriers and relationships with buyers who are often unconcerned by the use of internal or proprietary standards, Goldstein said.
However, Alterra Hetzel, Forest Carbon Business Development Manager for the Conservation Fund, questioned whether the rise of these standards was a positive or negative development for the market. “I feel like in the absence of policy, it is our third-party standards that have kept the industry honest and set the bar,” she said.
“I think it’s a troubling development because at the end of the day these markets only exist to the extent they have credibility behind them, to the extent people can understand what they’re getting,” said Rick Saines, Principal with law firm Baker and McKenzie. “I’m not suggesting that the leading standard should automatically be anointed dominion over everything, although it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.”
Where in the World are the Buyers?
Voluntary offset buyers purchased the majority (89%) of forest carbon offsets in 2013, led by energy utilities and food and beverage companies seeking to meet corporate social responsibility commitments or demonstrate industry leadership on climate change. However, compliance-driven purchases are set to gain an expanded foothold in the market due to expected increases in demand from new carbon markets such as California’s cap-and-trade program or emerging carbon pricing regulations in South Africa and China.
European buyers were again the largest source of demand for forestry emissions reductions last year, purchasing two-thirds of tonnes associated with a buyer and comprising the largest source of demand for projects based in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Europeans buyers also purchased half a million tonnes of forestry offsets within insular domestic markets, including the United Kingdom’s Woodland Carbon Code.
In North America, more than half of the 2.6 MtCO2e transacted were for buyers either already subject to California’s program – which officially launched in January 2013 – or anticipating such regulation.
The Conservation Fund has developed several early action projects eligible for California compliance, including the Garcia River IFM project registered with the Climate Action Reserve (CAR). These projects have generated more than 4 MtCO2e CAR offsets and are bringing in millions of dollars in new funding for land protection and improved management, said Carrie Gombos, the fund’s Go Zero Operations Manager. Buyers include utility Pacific Gas and Electric, apparel company the North face and delivery firm UPS.
“I would be hesitant to say we’ll see a huge uptick next year in the compliance offset sales,” she said. “There’s some reluctance in the California market right now given the recent Clean Harbors investigation, the slow issuance of (state-issued offsets) and the low allowance prices. But I expect the impact will grow, especially as we look to the second compliance period and the introduction of the transportation sector and a much-bigger market, and therefore hopefully much greater demand.”
Oceania was the 3rd largest source of demand for forest carbon offsets in 2013, transacting 1.5 MtCO2e – roughly half of previous volumes. New Zealand, home of the world’s second-oldest Emissions Trading System, chose not to participate in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, and forestry project transactions nearly ground to a halt due to competition from less expensive international offsets. And as proponents of Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative feared, 2012’s $40-million influx of carbon payments was not repeated in 2013 because of the anticipated repeal of the country’s carbon tax, which occurred in July 2014.
The Road to Lima and Paris
On the international level, some policy developments could emerge to correct the supply-demand imbalance that currently exists in the forest carbon markets. The New York Declaration on Forests – with its commitments from so many of the largest stakeholders to work to cut forest loss in half by 2020 and completely end it by 2030 – could spur increased demand for land-based emissions reductions. However, only about $1 billion in confirmed financial pledges are attached to the declaration to date.
“The New York Declaration was interesting,” Baroudy said. “It did inject new hope. There was a clear commitment from a number of donors that they would continue the financing of REDD. That will be financing for large-scale jurisdictional approaches because those donors have really staked a lot of their claims in that respect.”
Developers and other stakeholders are also carefully watching the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process to see what kind of policy signals emerge from the next round of Conference of Parties (COP) negotiations in Lima next month and in Paris in 2015.
“We do need to see land use in the Paris agreement,” Baroudy said. “I think it will be telling to see what’s happening in Lima, but I hope there is momentum.”
The uncertainty, however, is troubling, as is the idea among some negotiators that the REDD puzzle was solved when the UNFCCC parties agreed on the REDD Rulebook – the guidance on how to harvest available data on forests to create deforestation levels to be recognized by the UNFCCC – at last year’s Warsaw COP, Saines said.
“But we’re not there yet on REDD to actually create the means by which financing, public and private, can really invest at the scale so that when we meet in a few years from now we’re not talking about $200 million – we’re talking exponentially greater than that,” he said. “That’s what the promise is. That’s what the obligation is of all of us in the space to make sure it happens.”
With Thanksgiving in the bag, the season for spending quality family time is in full swing. Consider kicking off the holidays by starting a new family tradition: going Christmas tree harvesting together! Hunting for your perfect tree is a great way for families to have fun, get exercise, and explore a part of the forest you may not be familiar with.Know the basics
If you're not entirely sure where to start, consult a ranger. They won't tell you where to go specifically, but they can tell you which roads are snow-free, plowed, or closed. They can also provide you with maps and more information about cutting areas, as well as sell you a permit for your tree.
Permits cost $10 each for trees up to 12 feet high. One permit per tree, and remember that trees taller than 12 feet require a separate permit. The $10 permits are available at the Seattle and Alderwood REI locations, and both types are available at Forest Service ranger stations. As such a popular pastime, permits are going fast, so be sure to grab yours before they're gone!
Plan to purchase a parking permit if the trip includes parking in a designated Sno-Park lot; otherwise you can simply park near a harvest area and start walking.
This informative 5-minute video from the Forest Service gives lots of tips for picking your best Christmas tree..Travel safely
Knowing what you're getting into is especially important at this time of year, when conditions can change quickly. Most trees are reached by narrow mountain roads, and snow is coming to the mountains. High-clearance vehicles are often required for forest roads along with tire chains and a shovel. Check this site or your nearby ranger station for road and weather information.Be prepared
Use these tips to help prepare for changing weather and driving conditions when you plan your harvesting adventure:
Each area has specific guidelines for choosing and taking home your family tree, so make sure to ask or review the information that comes with your permit. Some guidelines suggested by the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests include:
Get more tips for harvesting Christmas trees on your closest national forest.
We’re looking forward to a special day coming up — Giving Tuesday, celebrated this year on December 2 to get past the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, kick off the season of real giving, and encourage you to give to the causes that matter most to you.
We need your help! Here’s what you can do:
I’m for better bicycling in WA on #GivingTuesday. Join me! http://ow.ly/i/7JjbvClick To Tweet
#WAbikes membership: Gift that needs no wrapping, always fits. #GivingTuesday. http://ow.ly/i/7JjbvClick To Tweet
Take an #UNselfie w/your bike & share for #GivingTuesday. http://ow.ly/i/7JjbvClick To Tweet
Shop online at smile.amazon.com. Choose Bicycle Alliance of WA. #GivingTuesdayClick To Tweet
We give you art for #GivingTuesday: When you donate $100 or more, long-time member and artist Andy Goulding will create an original drawing of your bike (or the bike that belongs to someone special, if you want to give this as a gift) and send it to you as a JPEG.
Thanks for all you do to make Washington the #1 Bicycle Friendly State in America. We are thankful for you!
It’s a time of saying thanks. And we want to thank YOU — all of our members, volunteers, activists, and partners — for your hard work and dedication to healthy rivers!
From all of us at American Rivers: Have a safe, warm and happy Thanksgiving.
Today’s blog is a guest post by Howard Bridgman.Paddling on the Ashley River Blue Trail | Gerrit Jobsis
It was a beautiful crisp November afternoon; the tide was full – just beginning to ebb – as our group followed the river downstream. We paddled past Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site in view of the tabby fort that protected the river during the Revolutionary War. The sun had fallen behind the trees and the nip of winter to come was in the air as the paddlers were greeted at the Dorchester Boat Club with hot coffee, snacks, and local craft beer from Freehouse Brewery. Freehouse, a supporter of American Rivers and the Ashley River Blue Trail, is located just downstream on the banks of the Ashley in North Charleston. People were alive with the joys of our scenic paddle and the prospects of hot, steamed oysters soon to come.
The event was American Rivers’ inaugural paddle trip and oyster roast for the Ashley River Blue Trail, which flows from Summerville to Charleston, South Carolina. We invited members of municipal governments, local businesses, and paddlesport enthusiasts to explore the river with us and better understand the importance of its recreation benefits and in making sure it is accessible and remains healthy for the future. A turn out of approximately 70 local leaders for the event on a cool autumn day fulfilled that goal.
For many the trip was their first exposure to the upper Ashley River, and the purpose of our day was to let people see firsthand what a gem the Ashley is while also understanding that actions need to be taken to ensure it remains that way. The trip was followed with a warm-up around the fire and words from Gerrit Jöbsis, Southeast Regional Director of American Rivers, about how community-led Blue Trail initiatives can and have improved recreational access while putting in place safeguards to ensure it will remain a valuable community asset for future generations. A video of the Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail was shown, a community success story where citizens around Rockingham, NC created a paddle trail that improved access, created greenways, protected critical riverside lands, and now serves as a driver for the local economy. Robust discussion followed about how the Blue Trail can be an engine for improved recreation and conservation on the Ashley River. The evening drew to a close with roasted oysters and good conversation around the fire. New friends were made and many left inspired about the potential of the Blue Trail and the actions they and their community can take to keep the Ashley River the gem that it is.Howard Bridgman, former Summerville Town Council member and founding member of the Ashley Scenic River Advisory Council, serves as the Ashley River Blue Trail Coordinator and works to connect local communities to the river through recreation and finding ways to ensure its long-term health.
Mount Rainier National Park has issued a temporarily closure midday Tuesday, Nov. 25 due to heavy rains. Park officials say the rains have been washing away snow below 7,500 feet. All park employees and visitors are being evacuated. All roads are closed. (Chinook and Cayuse Passes had already closed yesterday for the season.)
A flood watch is in effect for a number of rivers and Western Washington counties.
Nisqually Entrance to Longmire will reopen at 8am on 11/26. Roads will be cleared and public access restored. -pw— MountRainierNPS (@MountRainierNPS) November 26, 2014 Resources for more information
After snow accumulation over the weekend, the North Cascades Highway (SR 20) is closed for the season.
The 37-mile-long winter closure zone begins 14 miles east of Newhalem at milepost 134 on the west side of Rainy Pass (4,855 feet) and ends 22 miles west of Winthrop at milepost 171 below Washington Pass.Why the seasonal closure?
Avalanches usually close the highway between Thanksgiving and the second week of December. Slides below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes, just east of 5,477 foot Washington Pass, started dumping snow onto the highway Sunday morning. By Monday morning, two more slides had dumped snow across the highway.
“Any more snow will pack those avalanche chutes, and we’d be putting the public and our crews at risk if we tried to keep the road open any longer,” says Washington State Department of Transportation Twisp Maintenance Supervisor Don Becker. More snow at the high elevations is forecast through the Thanksgiving holiday period.
Mountain pass updates all winter
So when will the highway open? That's up to Mother Nature. But in the past, Cayuse & Chinook passes usually open for the season in May, and the North Cascades Highway generally is plowed out by late April. You can see the historical dates here.
You can also follow the conditions on all major mountain passes throughout the winter at the Department of Washington's Department of Transportation website or Twitter feed.Two stunning books to experience the North Cascades all winter long
You don't have to wait until next spring to see breathtaking views all along the scenic route. Below are two great books to explore the North Cascades and plan your 2015 adventures in the area.Explore the wilderness of the North Cascades
The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby, a gorgeous book released in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act earlier this year by Mountaineers Books, brings the North Cascades alive through vivid imagery and stories.
The book (and a great gift idea) includes:
You don't have to wait until next spring to see breathtaking views all along the scenic route. Jack McLeod, a science teacher at Cascade High School in Everett, has written a beautiful book, The North Cascades Highway: A Roadside Guide to America's Alps. Featuring gorgeous photos of the scenic route, the book includes a healthy smattering of roadside geology and history, as well as a helpful key for drivers to locate ideal photo opportunities.