Dear colleagues,

2013 is coming to a close with some exciting new opportunities for the international carbon market on the horizon. First and foremost, there are promising developments out of the UNFCCC that provide a useful roadmap for REDD+ moving forward. When added to the continued incremental growth of the voluntary carbon market, 2014 is already looking like it could be a year filled with major advances in the fight against climate change.

COP Moves REDD+ Forward
Before many of us headed to Warsaw this winter, most thought next year’s COP in Lima would be the place where forestry takes center stage; little did we realize that such solid progress on REDD+ would be made in Poland. With last month’s REDD+ decisions, the UNFCCC gave host countries both a target to aim for and the flexibility to design programs that best meet their needs and local realities. Increasingly, many look to the VCS Jurisdictional & Nested REDD+ (JNR) Framework to help them navigate this journey. With JNR pilots advancing around the world, and more on the horizon, we’re looking forward to working closely with governments to support the development of their REDD+ programs so they can dock into emerging market and public-funding opportunities, including an eventual UNFCCC framework.

Engaging Stakeholders Where They Are
After a year of laying the groundwork in China and Brazil, I am thrilled to announce that the VCS Board has approved making our presence in each country permanent.

Zhuli Hess will continue to lead our operations in China. With several pilot trading systems already online, and more on the horizon, she stands poised to be an incredible resource to these emerging markets from our office in Beijing. Meanwhile, in Brazil, several JNR pilots are moving forward, and new opportunities are playing out as the country continues to develop its “ABC plan” to address emissions in the agriculture sector. Sandro Marostica will continue to lead our operations from São Paulo.

These are huge opportunities for the VCS, and when taken together with our already thriving Santiago office, we are increasingly able to provide stakeholders the face-to-face support they need to help ensure the reach of the VCS Program continues to expand.

JNR Advances in South America
Speaking of Santiago, there is some particularly exciting news out of Chile, where the national government is seeking to establish baselines for two subnational jurisdictions and have these registered under the VCS in 2014. These opportunities and more were recently discussed at a workshop in Santiago hosted by Chile’s Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), which brought together government representatives, academics and consultants to focus on reforestation and avoided forest degradation activities. The REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards (REDD+SES) was also discussed as an important component of a REDD+ program in the country.

2013 Market Wrap-up
Finally, we are now wrapping up another year of incremental growth in the voluntary market, with the VCS leading the way. Almost 200 new projects were registered under the VCS in 2013, and during the course of the year, roughly 23 million VCUs were retired! According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, this is the equivalent of the annual emissions of 6.5 coal fired power plants, or 4.7 million cars. It is particularly humbling to see how many of you put your trust in us, and how together, we are able to bring tangible change to the world.

Again, I wanted to thank you for all you do to help support the VCS. I wish you and yours a happy holiday season, and I am looking forward to catching up with you in person in the New Year.

David Antonioli