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Bionic Planet: Reversing Climate Change by Restoring Nature

Environment

We've entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene, and nothing is as it was. Not the trees, not the seas – not the forests, farms, or fields – and not the global economy that depends on all of these. What does this mean for your investments, your family's future, and the future of man? Each week, we dive into these issues to help you Navigate the New Reality.

Location:

United States

Description:

We've entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene, and nothing is as it was. Not the trees, not the seas – not the forests, farms, or fields – and not the global economy that depends on all of these. What does this mean for your investments, your family's future, and the future of man? Each week, we dive into these issues to help you Navigate the New Reality.

Language:

English

Contact:

+1 312 235 2209


Episodes
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106 | Steve Discusses the "Tribes of the Climate Realm" on the Smarter Markets Podcast

7/4/2024
This episoed of Bionic Planet is technically an episode of Andrew Greely’s podcast, Smarter Markets, where I appeared as a guest to discuss my new vertical "The Tribes of the Climate Realm." It’s not a series but a vertical, where episodes will drop intermittently over the remainder of the year and probably for years to come. If you're sharing or referencing the show, please reference the original at https://www.smartermarketspod.com/carbon-frontiers-2024-episode-10-steve-zwick/ The discussion revolves around the historical context of the first generation of REDD projects and the media criticism they have encountered. Steve Zwick emphasizes the importance of understanding the different ideological factions within the climate community and the need to communicate the history and tribes within this realm to combat misinformation and cherry-picking. Throughout the episode, Steve Zwick provides insights into the development of methodologies, the role of verification and validation bodies (VVBs), and the criticisms faced by projects like Cordillera Azul. He highlights the need for balanced evaluations and constructive critiques to drive progress in the voluntary carbon markets. The conversation also touches on the challenges faced by journalists and market participants in accurately covering and communicating the complexities of carbon markets. Steve Zwick emphasizes the importance of thorough research, understanding uncertainty, and questioning preconceptions to provide accurate and insightful coverage of projects and methodologies. Overall, the episode serves as a deep dive into the intricacies of voluntary carbon markets, shedding light on the evolution of methodologies, the role of VVBs, and the need for balanced and informed reporting in this complex and evolving landscape. Timestamps Introduction to the Podcast Episode: 00:00:00-00:00:10 Discussion on the New Vertical "The Tribes of the Climate Realm": 00:00:10-00:00:31 Introduction to Smarter Markets Podcast: 00:00:42-00:00:52 Exploring the Crisis of Information or Trust: 00:00:52-00:01:03 Sponsorship Message by Base Carbon: 00:01:03-00:01:14 Introduction to Carbon Frontiers 2024: 00:01:22-00:01:33 Guest Introduction - Steve Zwick: 00:01:34-00:01:44 Discussion on REDD Projects and Media Criticism: 00:01:44-00:01:55 Questioning the Focus on First Generation REDD+ Projects: 00:01:55-00:02:05 Exploring the Ideological Factions in the Climate Realm: 00:02:05-00:02:16 Importance of Understanding the History of Markets: 00:02:16-00:02:26 Benefits and Critiques of First Generation REDD+ Projects: 00:02:26-00:02:37 Discussion on Baselines in REDD+ Projects: 00:02:37-00:02:47 Criticism of Baselines and Media Misinterpretation: 00:02:47-00:02:57 Challenges in Estimating Baselines: 00:02:57-00:03:04 Critique of REDD+ Baselines and Media Interpretation: 00:03:04-00:03:14 Discussion on Verification and Validation Bodies (VVBs): 00:03:15-00:03:25 Role of VVBs in Auditing REDD+ Projects: 00:03:25-00:03:36 Addressing Weaknesses in VVBs: 00:03:36-00:03:46 Lessons from Credit Rating Agencies: 00:03:46-00:03:56 Addressing Issues with VVBs: 00:03:56-00:04:07 Evaluation of REDD+ Projects and Baselines: 00:04:07-00:04:18 Discussion on Cordillera Azul Project Criticism: 00:04:18-00:04:28 Critique of Cordillera Azul Project: 00:04:28-00:04:38 Analysis of Media Criticism on Cordillera Azul: 00:04:38-00:04:47 Evaluation of Project Achievements: 00:04:47-00:04:57 Exploring Misinterpretations in Project Critiques: 00:04:57-00:05:07 Discussion on Nikkei Asia's Critique: 00:05:07-00:05:17 Importance of Balanced Reporting: 00:05:17-00:05:27 Guidelines for Journalists Covering Climate Markets: 00:05:27-00:05:37 Quotes "We have to keep developing new methodologies, but we can't assume the old ones are bad... the old methodologies were much better than people give them credit for." - 00:30:07-00:30:18 "The whole point of an evolutionary process is figuring...

Duration:00:48:33

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105 | The Role of Carbon Credits in Conservation: A Case Study from Guatemala

6/25/2024
In this episode of Bionic Planet, we delve into the inspiring journey of Marco Cerezo, the director of Fundaeco, a conservation NGO based in Guatemala. Marco shares his lifelong dedication to nature conservation, sustainable community development, and the fight against climate change. He recounts his early experiences studying development economics and the pivotal moment in 1989 when he learned about climate change from NASA geophysicists, which fueled his passion for conservation. Marco discusses the challenges faced by Fundaeco in its early days, relying on small grants and volunteers to support their conservation efforts. As the organization grew, they realized the limitations of traditional funding sources and turned to carbon finance as a sustainable solution. Through the creation of a REDD+ project in Caribbean Guatemala, Fundaeco engaged over 700 forest owners and 1,000 forest parcels to protect over 55,000 hectares of forest. The episode highlights the meticulous process of securing free, prior, and informed consent from communities, educating them about carbon, and designing a transparent benefit-sharing mechanism. Marco emphasizes the importance of building trust with communities and ensuring that they directly benefit from the carbon revenues generated by the project. Furthermore, Marco explains the methodology used to establish the baseline for the project, utilizing national forest cover maps and regional deforestation rates. He reflects on the long-term impact of REDD+ projects, with a time horizon of 30 years, providing financial sustainability and institutional strength to conservation efforts. As the episode concludes, Marco underscores the critical role of REDD+ in biodiversity conservation and community development, urging for continuous improvement in standards and transparency. He envisions a future where local conservation NGOs and communities are empowered with carbon knowledge to mobilize capital at the scale needed to protect tropical rainforests. Listeners are encouraged to support the production of more episodes by becoming patrons of Bionic Planet and leaving five-star reviews to help amplify the message of conservation and climate action. The episode closes with a call to unite in the collective effort to address the climate challenge and safeguard our planet for future generations. Timestamps Introduction to the Episode: 00:00:00-00:01:02 Transition to Carbon Finance: 00:01:02-00:02:37 Challenges of Implementing Carbon Finance: 00:02:37-00:03:21 Overview of the Project in Guatemala: 00:03:21-00:04:54 Discussion on Climate Change and Anthropocene: 00:04:54-00:05:26 Interview Introduction with Marco Cerezo: 00:05:26-00:06:06 Marco Cerezo's Early Conservation Work: 00:06:06-00:09:15 Funding Challenges and Transition to Carbon Finance: 00:09:15-00:11:36 Importance of Sustainable Landscapes: 00:11:36-00:13:46 Agroforestry and Sustainable Farming Practices: 00:13:46-00:14:53 Implementation of Carbon Finance in Guatemala: 00:15:05-00:17:39 Establishing Carbon Benefit and Methodologies: 00:17:39-00:19:52 Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing: 00:20:03-00:27:42 Long-Term Sustainability and Time Horizon: 00:34:26-00:35:39 Baseline Establishment and Methodologies: 00:36:01-00:37:46 Closing Remarks and Call to Action: 00:38:02-00:38:55

Duration:00:39:29

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104 | Transition Finance: How Carbon Markets REALLY Work, with David Antonioli

6/13/2024
In episode 104 of Bionic Planet, I delve into the intricacies of carbon finance with my guest, David Antonioli. We explore the concept of transformational finance, where carbon payments are used to catalyze sustainable practices that can eventually stand on their own. We discuss the limitations of the current additionality tool, which focuses on individual project assessments, and the need for a more holistic approach to drive long-term sector-wide transitions. David Antonioli, with his extensive experience in climate change and carbon markets, shares insights on the need for a paradigm shift in carbon finance. He emphasizes the importance of designing the system to address what happens when carbon finance ends and the necessity of building a foundation for the future of sustainable practices. We touch upon real-world examples, such as projects in Paraguay shifting from cattle ranching to sustainable timber harvesting, to illustrate the challenges of individual project assessments and the potential for sector-wide transformations. We discuss the need for thoughtful simplifications in research and understanding market dynamics to identify positive tipping points that can lead to sustainable transitions. Furthermore, we highlight the positive list approach adopted by organizations like the Climate Action Reserve and the California Resources Board, which use standardized methods to define additional activities upfront. This approach streamlines the process and sets a clear path for achieving long-term sustainability goals. Overall, the episode delves into the complexities of carbon finance, the importance of explicit transformational strategies, and the potential for sector-wide transitions to drive sustainable practices in the future. Timestamps 00:00:00 - Introduction to Transformational Finance 00:05:30 - Challenges in Carbon Accounting 00:10:39 - Critique of Additionality Concept 00:14:39 - Importance of Holistic Understanding 00:17:27 - Need for Interlocking Solutions 00:20:36 - Overhauling Local Economies 00:23:15 - Implicit vs. Explicit Transformation 00:27:06 - Addressing Entrenched Interests 00:33:43 - Proposal for Sector-Wide Transformation 00:38:02 - Limitations of Current Additionality Tools 00:42:24 - Focus on Sector-Wide Transformation 00:45:06 - Procedures for Overhauling Local Economies Quotes "We know that the enemy is carbon, and we know its ugly face. We should put a big fat price on it, and of course, add to that, drop the subsidies." - 00:00:20 "Everything else is a bonus, a positive externality that critics of carbon finance choose to ignore." - 00:01:42 "We're missing the forest for the trees." - 00:14:15 "We're so focused on every single little branch that we've lost what the bigger opportunity is." - 00:44:22 "We're so in the weeds of the detail." - 00:44:32 "We're so focused on every single little branch that we've lost what the bigger opportunity is." - 00:44:22 "We're so in the weeds of the detail." - 00:44:32 "We're so focused on every single little branch that we've lost what the bigger opportunity is." - 00:44:22 "We're so in the weeds of the detail." - 00:44:32 "We're so focused on every single little branch that we've lost what the bigger opportunity is." - 00:44:22

Duration:00:55:36

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103 | Jen Jenkins on Purists, Pragmatists, and Science-Based Targets

6/2/2024
In Episode 103 of Bionic Planet, titled "Purists, Pragmatists, and the Science-Based Targets Initiative," we delve into the complex world of emission reduction targets and the challenges companies face to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The episode explores the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), a program designed to assist companies in setting emission reduction targets aligned to achieve net zero emissions. The episode begins by highlighting the significant increase in companies committing to SBTI since January 2023, with many not submitting their plans until January 2025. We learn about the distinction between purists and pragmatists in the climate realm. Purists advocate for the complete elimination of fossil fuels in value chains, while pragmatists emphasize the use of offsets to achieve emission reductions. Guest speaker Jen Jenkins, Chief Science Officer at Rubicon Carbon, provides valuable insights into the challenges faced by companies in reducing emissions and the balance between pragmatism and purity. Jenkins discusses the importance of understanding a company's value chain, the complexities of emission reduction strategies, and the role of offsets in achieving carbon neutrality. The episode delves into the debate surrounding the use of offsets in emission reduction strategies, focusing on the conflicting perspectives of purists and pragmatists. Jenkins emphasizes the need for flexibility and practicality in climate action, highlighting the importance of using the available tools to address the climate crisis effectively. As the discussion unfolds, the episode touches on the need for clear guidelines and standards in emission reduction efforts, the role of the voluntary carbon market in conservation efforts, and the challenges of balancing purity with practicality in climate action. Jenkins and the host explore the complexities of achieving net zero emissions and the importance of finding a middle ground between purist ideals and pragmatic solutions. The episode concludes with a call to action for companies to engage in emission reduction efforts, highlighting the significance of the voluntary carbon market in driving climate action. Jenkins' insights shed light on the complexities of emission reduction strategies and the importance of practical approaches in addressing the climate crisis. Join us in exploring the dynamic landscape of emission reduction targets, the role of offsets in climate action, and the ongoing debate between purists and pragmatists in pursuing a sustainable future on Bionic Planet. Timestamps Introduction to SBTI: 00:00:09-00:00:19 Interface Carpets Case Study: 00:00:23-00:00:33 Dependence on Fossil Fuels: 00:01:22-00:01:32 Global Emission Reduction Targets: 00:01:43-00:02:04 Pragmatic Approach to Emission Reduction: 00:02:24-00:02:34 Scope 3 Emissions and SBTI Controversy: 00:02:45-00:03:07 Purists vs. Pragmatists: 00:03:36-00:03:48 Jen Jenkins Background and Role: 00:05:52-00:06:03 Transition to Private Sector: 00:07:39-00:07:50 Jenkins Equations and Carbon Stock Estimation: 00:09:56-00:10:07 Net Zero vs. Carbon Neutral: 00:11:23-00:11:34 Challenges in Emission Reduction Planning: 00:13:38-00:13:49 Renewable Energy Options: 00:16:47-00:16:57 Customized Emission Reduction Plan: 00:17:39-00:17:50 Carbon Neutrality by 2030: 00:18:18-00:18:28 Carbon Neutral vs. Net Zero: 00:32:18-00:32:29 Purity vs. Pragmatism in Climate Action: 00:36:24-00:36:34 Role of Voluntary Carbon Market: 00:38:33-00:38:43 Quotes "The purist approach would say, no, no, I need to hold everybody's feet to the fire and ensure that no matter how much it costs, ensure that these companies sort of suss out every single source of fossil fuel in their value chain and obliterate it immediately." - (00:03:48-00:03:58) "But we can restore it, make it better, greener, more resilient, more sustainable. But how? Technology? Geoengineering? Are we doomed to live on a bionic planet, or is...

Duration:00:40:37

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102 | Understanding Science and Communicating Uncertainty in Climate Solutions, with Gil Pontius (AKA, Dr Stardust)

5/21/2024
In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Gilmore Pontius, Jr., a geography professor at Clark University specializing in geographic information science. Dr. Pontius shared his expertise in computer simulation models of deforestation and the impact of land change on humans. Dr. Pontius discussed his journey into the field of geography, highlighting his passion for mathematics and maps. He emphasized the importance of simplicity in modeling and the need to eliminate distractions to focus on the essence of the problem. The conversation delved into the complexities of land change modeling, addressing the challenges of uncertainty and the balance between simplicity and complexity in predictive models. Dr. Pontius emphasized the importance of transparency in modeling and the need to acknowledge and learn from mistakes in scientific research. The discussion also touched on the evolution of methodologies in land change modeling, with Dr. Pontius advocating for a continuous learning process and adaptation based on new scientific insights. He highlighted the importance of open communication and collaboration in maximizing learning and addressing challenges in the field. Overall, the episode provided valuable insights into the world of geographic information science, emphasizing the need for continuous improvement, transparency, and open dialogue in scientific research and modeling practices. Dr. Pontius's expertise and passion for the subject shone through, making for an engaging and enlightening conversation. "I do this because I enjoy it. And I feel completely comfortable with saying that, because if you don't enjoy it, you're not going to dedicate time to it." - 00:04:52-00:05:02 "What good scientists do, they learn from their mistakes, and they admit them, and they say what their motivation was at the time, and then they clarify it and present something better." - 00:12:49-00:13:00 "I wanted to give an example to the research community because I see variation even among professors in their motivations." - 00:13:00-00:13:12 "We're not in the business of trying to say that we've solved all the problems. That's not what good scientists do." - 00:14:51-00:15:01 "I'm not willing to take on a student unless that student is willing to tell me when they think I'm wrong." - 00:29:23-00:29:33 "Mathematicians are always trying to eliminate distractions, get to the essence of something, and make it as simple and transparent as possible." - 00:48:07-00:48:17 "It's trivial to choose to look at something in such detail that it's impossible to predict accurately. Easy to do." - 00:50:07-00:50:18 "If we're doing the same thing we were doing 30 years ago, it means either 30 years ago we were so brilliant that we knew everything, or if we're doing the same thing we were doing 30 years ago, that means we haven't learned anything in 30 years." - 00:55:18-00:55:28 "Learning is not guaranteed. Just look around the world today. I mean, things can go backward." - 00:55:29-00:55:39 "Is capitalism or communism good or bad? It depends how it's implemented. Is religion good or bad? It depends how it's implemented." - 00:56:55-00:57:05

Duration:01:31:25

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101 | Interface, Inc May Have Outgrown Offsets, but Most Have Not

5/12/2024
Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/bionicplanet Two weeks ago, climate pioneer Interface Inc announced they would become carbon-negative across all their operations by 2040, enabling them to move beyond the use of carbon credits. Some people heralded this as a sign that the days of offsetting emissions are over, but that’s not exactly true – at least not yet. Most companies aren't as far along on their climate journeys as Interface is, and we still need offsets to accelerate reductions in the next decade. The fact is a company's decision to offset or not depends on its unique circumstances. In this episode of Bionic Planet, we delve into the remarkable journey of Interface, Inc., a flooring tile manufacturer that has been at the forefront of climate action since CEO Ray Anderson (pictured) the 1990s. The episode explores how Interface's early efforts to offset emissions paved the way for their groundbreaking carbon-negative carpet line, which absorbs more greenhouse gas than it emits over its lifecycle. We replay a 2021 interview with Buddy Hay, the industrial engineer who played a pivotal role in quantifying Interface's emissions, and we detail the company's transition to offsetting, the challenges they faced in measuring and reducing their carbon footprint, and the evolution of the voluntary carbon market, the role of verification and validation in offsetting, and the importance of natural climate solutions -- as well as how the company used offsets the right way: to reduce emissions in the present while developing technologies that enabled it to move beyond offsetting in the future. Related Link: https://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/articles/interface-making-carpets-cool/

Duration:00:43:31

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100 | The Untold Story of the Voluntary Carbon Market

5/1/2024
Become a patron at https://www.patreon.com/bionicplanet In Episode 100 of Bionic Planet, part of the Tribes of the Climate Realm vertical, we delve into the origins of the voluntary carbon market -- a story that has never been told before. Today's show is the first of many offering a truer, completer, and more accurate glimpse into the origins of the Voluntary Carbon Market than you've probably ever heard before. The episode draws on a 2022 discussion with environmental economists Marc Stuart and Mark Kenber, who were instrumental in creating the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) in 2005 to meet two core objectives: first, to accelerate emission reductions in the wake of failed government policy and, second, to test new approaches to meeting the climate challenge. We offer a brief history of climate negotiations leading up to 2005 and the exclusion of forest protection and sustainable farming from the Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accords. The discussion touches on the complexities of integrating these crucial elements into the market, emphasizing the importance of balancing environmental integrity with development-focused activities. Join me, Steve Zwick, in this insightful journey through the history and evolution of the voluntary carbon market, as we strive to create a more sustainable future for our planet. Thank you for tuning in to Episode 100 of Bionic Planet. Related Links 049 | Forests in the Paris Climate Agreement, Part 1: The Birth of Forest Carbon https://bionic-planet.com/podcast-episode/049-forests-in-the-paris-climate-agreement-part-1-the-birth-of-forest-carbon/ 064 | Race to Zero: Meet the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon https://bionic-planet.com/podcast-episode/064-race-to-zero-meet-the-taskforce-on-scaling-voluntary-carbon/ 75 l Coverage of Climate Solutions Suffer the Same Fate as Coverage of Climate Science? https://bionic-planet.com/podcast-episode/75-l-coverage-of-climate-solutions-suffer-the-same-fate-as-coverage-of-climate-science/ Timestamps Introduction to the History of the Voluntary Carbon Market The Origins of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) The Role of Carbon Markets in Addressing Climate Change The Failure of Governments to Address Climate Change The Evolution of Voluntary Carbon Standards The Importance of Ending Deforestation The Emergence of Voluntary Carbon Markets in the 1980s The Kyoto Protocol and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) The Exclusion of Forest Protection from the Kyoto Protocol The Creation of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) Challenges in Implementing Standards for Forest Protection The Need for Unified Rules in Carbon Markets The Involvement of NGOs, Businesses, and Organizations in Developing Standards The Controversy Surrounding Inclusion of Forest Conservation The Importance of Addressing Permanence and Fungibility The Collaboration Between NGOs and Businesses in Developing Standards The Importance of Including Forest Conservation in Carbon Markets The Role of NGOs in Advocating for Inclusion of Forest Conservation The Significance of Learning from Past Lessons Call to Action for Support and Sponsorship

Duration:00:44:54

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99 | Mombasa’s Big Ship: Reviving Urban Mangroves by Raising Communities

4/22/2024
Support Bionic Planet at patreon.com/bionicplanet In Episode 99 of Bionic Planet, recorded in Mombasa, Kenya, the focus is on the efforts to revive the coastal mangrove forests that protect the seaside city and support its fishing sector. The episode features guests from the community-based organization, Big Ship, who have been working on mangrove conservation for 15 years. The episode delves into the challenges faced in persuading communities to understand the importance of conserving mangroves and the innovative financing mechanisms used by Big Ship to fund their restoration efforts. The guests discuss the crucial role mangroves play in carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and supporting marine life. The conversation highlights the Adopt-a-Site model employed by Big Ship, where degraded mangrove areas are identified, restored, and monitored over time. The guests emphasize the importance of engaging with the community, government institutions, and partners to ensure the sustainability of mangrove restoration projects. The episode also explores the impact of youth involvement in mangrove conservation and the promotion of ecotourism as a sustainable income source for coastal communities. The guests share their experiences with the VIM program, which focuses on career mentorship and skill development for the youth. Overall, the episode showcases the multi-faceted approach taken by Big Ship to address the challenges of mangrove conservation, promote community engagement, and create alternative livelihoods for coastal residents. The guests' insights shed light on the importance of cultural preservation, environmental awareness, and long-term sustainability in mangrove restoration efforts. Listeners are encouraged to support the podcast by leaving a five-star review and considering becoming a patron to help fund future episodes that aim to educate and inspire action in climate and biodiversity conservation finance. Timestamps In Episode 99 of Bionic Planet, recorded in Mombasa, Kenya, the focus is on the efforts to revive the coastal mangrove forests that protect the seaside city and support its fishing sector. The episode features guests from the community-based organization, Big Ship, who have been working on mangrove conservation for 15 years. The episode delves into the challenges faced in persuading communities to understand the importance of conserving mangroves and the innovative financing mechanisms used by Big Ship to fund their restoration efforts. The guests discuss the crucial role mangroves play in carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and supporting marine life. The conversation highlights the Adopt-a-Site model employed by Big Ship, where degraded mangrove areas are identified, restored, and monitored over time. The guests emphasize the importance of engaging with the community, government institutions, and partners to ensure the sustainability of mangrove restoration projects. The episode also explores the impact of youth involvement in mangrove conservation and the promotion of ecotourism as a sustainable income source for coastal communities. The guests share their experiences with the VIM program, which focuses on career mentorship and skill development for the youth. Overall, the episode showcases the multi-faceted approach taken by Big Ship to address the challenges of mangrove conservation, promote community engagement, and create alternative livelihoods for coastal residents. The guests' insights shed light on the importance of cultural preservation, environmental awareness, and long-term sustainability in mangrove restoration efforts. Timestamps 00:00:00 - Introduction to Big Ship Organization in Mombasa, Kenya 00:05:30 - Overview of Big Ship's Thematic Areas and Programs 00:10:27 - The Adopt-a-Site Model for Mangrove Restoration 00:15:01 - The Impact of the VIM Program on Youth Participants 00:21:09 - Discussion on Carbon Finance and Alternative Financing Mechanisms 00:25:24...

Duration:00:42:32

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098 | The Case of the Tangled Titles: Unraveling the Legal Complexities of Land Ownership in the Amazon

4/16/2024
Today we’re going to try and help you understand one of the most vexing components of the climate challenge — namely, the overlapping, interlinking, and contradictory land titles that determine control of so many tropical forests — in this case, the Amazon, the lungs of the planet. With no clarity over control and no realistic way of enforcing it, there’s no way to sustainably manage and protect this massive bulwark against climate change. Today’s episode centers around a few individuals, most notably a Japan-born physician named Jonas Morioka, who migrated to Brazil in the 1980s, purchased timberland in the 1990s, pivoted to conservation in the 2000s, and is now embroiled in a title fight over a transaction that may or may not have taken place a century ago. His story is far from unique, and it shows how easy it is to chop the forest, how difficult it is to save it, and how tenure disputes make it even more difficult to leverage carbon finance for the common good. My guests are Vinny Maffei and Olivier LeJune of Quantum Commodity Intelligence. We collaborated in a recent story they ran called “How a decree created a REDD old mess in Brazil, and the new effort to fix it,” which you can read here: https://www.qcintel.com/carbon/article/long-read-how-a-decree-created-a-redd-old-mess-in-brazil-and-the-new-effort-to-fix-it-23409.html Quotes "To meet the climate challenge, we must save the Amazon." - 00:02:38-00:02:49 "Decades of research have shown that you reduce deforestation in part by reducing poverty, and you reduce poverty in part by giving people an incentive to manage land sustainably." - 00:04:23-00:04:34 "Brazil is very famous for having a lot of large properties owned by just a few people. It's a very unequal country." - 00:19:33-00:19:44 "Forest conservation starts with the people in and around the forest." - 00:28:16-00:28:26 "Deforestation isn't a puzzle book with answers in the back. It's a wicked problem with no simple solution." - 00:30:24-00:30:36 "There are groups out there that are devoted to going in and finding things wrong." - 00:45:01-00:45:12 "There's a lot of interest around REDD+, amongst the media and other actors." - 00:46:39-00:46:49 Timestamps 00:00:00 - Introduction to the Climate Challenge 00:05:30 - Introduction of Michael Greene and Initial Impressions 00:10:12 - Overview of Land Titles in Para, Brazil 00:14:06 - Discussion on Pará State and Porto Region 00:18:29 - Jonas Morioka's Land Purchases and Legal Issues 00:21:48 - Land Ownership and Settlements 00:25:52 - Legal Disputes and Involvement of Public Defender 00:30:03 - Discussion on Indigenous and Environmental Groups 00:32:27 - Arguments Regarding Land Rights and Conservation Efforts 00:37:00 - Negotiations with ITERPA and School Construction 00:41:21 - Financial Aspects and Legal Agreements 00:43:10 - Status of School Construction and Legal Challenges

Duration:00:49:50

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97 | The Mosaic, the Minefield, and a Manifesto

4/7/2024
Photo courtesey of HH58 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70303656 This episode of Bionic Planet is entitled "The Mosaic, the Minefield, and a Manifesto." The "Mosaic" reminds us that there is no single solution to the climate challenge. Instead, we have a mosaic of interlocking solutions that fit together like a clock. Carbon finance is just one part of it, and it's one of the few parts that have worked well, albeit imperfectly. The "Minefield" reminds us that the mosaic of solutions sits in an ideological minefield, and you never know if you’re going to trigger an explosion. The "Manifesto" is my promise to leverage my 20 years of experience in environmental finance to give you a truer, more nuanced, and complete understanding of the climate and biodiversity landscapes than you’ll get anyplace else. The New Vertical This episode is part of a new vertical called "the Tribes of the Climate Realm" to reflect the fact that the climate community is a disunited hodgepodge of tribes who occasionally unite against a common enemy, but who are divided by ideological and sectarian differences that sometimes erupt into something akin to civil war. Tragically, as often happens in these situations, the most combative, belligerent, and least civilized tribes are usually the most colorful, despite having the least to offer. That's led to a dangerous disconnect between the real debates taking place inside the climate realm and the public discourse unfolding outside of it. I initially started to call this vertical "Unmasking the Anti-REDD Crusade," because there is a very high-profile anti-REDD crusade, but I felt that frame was too narrow and dismissive of legitimate challenges, philosophical disputes, and areas where reasonable people can disagree. It's part of a new vertical that I'm calling "The Tribes of the Climate Realm" to reflect the fact that the climate community is not a monolithic entity but is, instead, something like a disunified realm spread across thousands of contested miles of mountains, plains, and forests, with competing tribes and factions and all the different perspectives, agendas, and intrigue that come with it. The Tribes of the Climate Realm may occasionally unite against a common enemy –- climate change –- but they're divided by ideological and sectarian differences that sometimes erupt into something akin to civil war. Tragically, as often happens in these situations, the most combative, belligerent, and least civilized tribes usually have the least to offer but are also the most colorful, so they win the hearts and minds of outsiders drawn to bright, shiny objects –- which is to say, most of us who've ignored the Climate Realm and its internecine battles until recently -- despite the fact that the realm and its battles have been very public since the United Nations' First World Climate Conference in 1979. Related Links Will Coverage of Climate Solutions Suffer the Same Fate as Coverage of Climate Science Six Lessons from the History of Natural Climate Solutions Where Does Healthy Critique End and Cynical Denial Begin? Timestamps 00:00:00 - Introduction to the Tribes of the Climate Realm 00:04:10 - Introduction to Enhanced Weathering as a Solution 00:05:03 - Historical Background of Enhanced Weathering 00:06:29 - Debate Over Enhanced Weathering Methodologies 00:07:10 - Purpose of the Voluntary Carbon Market 00:08:03 - Mark Kenber's Perspective on Climate Efforts 00:09:21 - Marc Stewart's Contribution to Forest Carbon Protocol 00:09:55 - Media Misrepresentation of Carbon Markets 00:10:39 - Challenges Faced by the Verified Carbon Standard 00:12:14 - Importance of Accurate Storytelling in Climate Discourse 00:13:09 - Call for Sponsorship and Support for Bionic Planet 00:14:23 - Emphasizing the Complexity of Climate Solutions 00:16:30 - Contrasting Narratives in the Climate Realm 00:17:44 - Manifesto for Honest and Nuanced Climate Reporting 00:19:08...

Duration:00:21:14

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096: Encore Presentation: Tim Mohin on Overcoming Information Asymmetry in the ESG Movement

2/29/2024
Tim Mohin wrote “Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Tree-Hugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations” back in 2012, after three decades in sustainability — first in government, with the US Environmental Protection Agency, and then at companies like Intel, where he served as director of sustainable development. He went on to head the Global Reporting Initiative, which administers the GRI standards for sustainability. He recently helped launmch ESG data provider Persefoni and hosts his own podcast, “Sustainability Decoded with Tim and Caitlin.” We look back on 40 years of sustaiability finance and ahead to the future of Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance (ESG) reporting — its potential for driving real change, its prospects for employment, and its inherent limitations.

Duration:00:54:07

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95 | "Co" Benefits Vs "Core Benefits:" Geoff Mwangi And His Theory Of Change

2/10/2024
Remembering the Surui Forest Carbon Project, which was the first indigenous-led REDD project, plus: A conversation with Geoffry Mwangi Wambungu, Chief Research Scientist at the Kasigau REDD Project in Kenya. He explains what social scientists mean by “theory of change,” and tells us why he believes the term “co-benefits” is a misnomer in natural climate solutions. Further reading on the Surui Carbon Project here: https://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/articles/story-surui-forest-carbon-project/ Full Transcript (non-scripted portions translated by AI) CO-BENEFITS VS CORE BENEFITS, WITH GEOFFREY MWANGI Bionic Planet, Season 9, Episode 95 OPENING HOOK STEVE ZWICK Almir Surui was ten years old when the first logging truck came to his tiny village deep in the Amazon Forest. It came to chop a single stand of centuries-old mahoganies, and it came with the grudging approval of the chiefs. After all, they reasoned, it was just one truck, one stand, one time, and for a good cause. The chiefs weren’t the grizzled old men you probably imagine. Most were barely into their 30s, because more than 90 percent of everyone had died in the five years before Almir was born in 1974. Ninety Percent. Gone. They lost their mothers, their brothers, their sisters, and their lovers. They lost almost everyone who knew anything about governance. The surviving chiefs, shamans, and elders lost faith in their own abilities to serve their people, because their time-tested traditions had failed. Prior to 1969, Brazilian authorities categorized Almir’s people as an “UNCONTACTED” tribe of the Amazon, but in reality, they HAD contact — SOMETIMES peaceful but MOSTLY violent contact — with neighboring tribes, rubber tappers, and even Brazilian explorers going back decades. One of those neighboring tribes called Almir’s people the “Surui,” but Almir’s people called themselves the Paiter. In the regional Tupi dialect, Surui means “enemy,” while Paiter means “real people.” Due to a miscommunication, the Paiter were entered into the lexicon of indigenous people as “Surui” in the leadup to First Contact, which took place on October 7 1969. Today, their name is hyphenated: Paiter-Surui. The Paiter-Surui had lived in harmony with the forest for centuries, but they didn’t live in harmony with those who invaded their territory. And invasions increased dramatically in the years prior to First Contact, as Brazilian authorities encouraged westward migration into the forest. It was a bloody period, and the Paiter-Surui held their own in combat, but they couldn’t hold their own against European diseases — such as smallpox, measles, and the flu. That’s what got them in the end. The elders died, and kids became chiefs. One of those kids was a 17-year-old named Itabira, who learned to navigate the OUTside world of Brazilian society as the world IN-which he’d grown up disintegrated (Aside) By the way, if you can’t find any of this online, it’s because it’s all original reporting, and my book hasn’t been published yet. Anyway, Itabira realized early on that to save his people, he had to push the Paiter-Surui and their struggle into Brazilian awareness. To do that, he and other chiefs stopped fighting illegal loggers and started colluding with them to finance trips to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. Soon, they were chopping trees to feed their families and pay for medicine, and by the mid-1990s, they were known as the “logging Indians” — despised by environmentalists who saw them as traitors to the cause and riven internally by fights over how to manage their resources. The Paiter-Surui broadly split into three factions: one that embraced the destruction of the forest for commercial gain, one that opposed that destruction, and one — the largest of them all — that WANTED to save the forest but NEEDED to feed their families. Almir was born in 1974 — five years after First Contact — and by the time I met him in the late aughts, he was leading the...

Duration:00:58:34

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94 | Zimbabwe's Cannabis Queen, Zorodzai Maroveke, AKA "Dr Zoey"

1/11/2024
Dr. Zorodzai Maroveke -- AKA "Dr. Zoey" -- heads the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust, which is promoting the uptake of industrial hemp as a climate smart alternative to wood, cotton, and plastic. Hemp, she explains, replenishes faster than wood, uses far less water than cotton, and has almost no waste. Its ecological benefits are clear, and she hopes carbon finance can be used to overcome the financial challenges to scaling up. Supplemental Reading: "Commodities at a Glance: Special Issue on Industrial Hemp" https://www.mycannabis.com/cannabis-in-zimbabwe-conversation-with-dr-maroveke/

Duration:00:23:59

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93 | Zimbabwe's Green Cheetahs, with Chiyedza Heri of the Ubuntu Alliance

12/21/2023
Zimbabwean entrepreneur Chiyedza Heri runs the Ubuntu Alliance, a company that's helping farmers leverage carbon finance to shift to more sustainable forms of agriculture. She's one of more than a dozen young Africans I met at year-end climate talks in Dubai (COP 28) -- a new breed of entrepreneur that the late Ghanian economist George Ayittey calls "cheetahs" because they're nimble, quick, and hungry. Green Cheetahs pursue activities that are pro-nature as well as pro-growth, and today's guest certainly fits that bill.

Duration:00:26:05

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92 | COP 28 Article 6: Expectations for Final Day

12/11/2023
With just one full day of negotiations remaining, Pedro Venzon and Andrea Bonzanni of the International Emissions Trading Association summarize the remaining issues under Article 6

Duration:00:11:35

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91 | Article 6 Update from Dubai with Kelley Hamrick Malvar of The Nature Conservancy

12/8/2023
Article 6 negotiations, which focus on international carbon markets, remain stalled in Dubai. Kelley Hamrick Malvar of The Nature Conservancy offers a look into the current state of play and the road ahead.

Duration:00:28:08

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90| George Thumbi: Man of a Million Trees (5th Installment, "Carbon in Kenya")

12/8/2023
Kenyan agronomist George Thumbi is helping farmers in the region between Tsavo East and Tsavo West improve their yields and their soil by shifting to agroforestry and other forms of sustainable agriculture.

Duration:00:48:10

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89 | How Agroforestry is Reshaping the Kenyan Countryside

8/8/2023
This piece, adapted from a piece that first ran in 2016, serves as the fourth installment in our continuing series on carbon finance in Kenya. Today, we look at how carbon finance supports Sustainable Agriculture Land Management (SALM), which has doubled the average income of more than 30,000 Kenyan family farmers while pulling more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by increasing the carbon content of soils.

Duration:00:24:14

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88 | The Gospel of REDD+ According to Bees

5/25/2023
In part three of our continuing series from Kenya, we hear how the Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project helped people switch from burning trees for charcoal to conserving forests -- the their benefit and the benefit of us all.

Duration:00:38:36

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087 | How Ending Deforestation Revived a Major River, Slowed Climate Change, and Saved Lives

5/1/2023
Evans Maneno is Makueni County Ecosystem Conservator for the Kenya Forestry Service. He walks us through a tree nursery in the Chyulu Hills and explains how the Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project has reversed deforestation by helping people develop sustainable livelihoods -- reviving in the process a threatened river that provides water for people hundreds of miles away. Second in a series

Duration:00:28:28