Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost an area of wetlands equivalent to the size of Delaware, and it continues to lose a football field of wetlands every hour. If current loss rates continue, by the year 2040 more than one million acres – or nearly another Delaware – of wetlands will be gone – and the carbon stored in these ecosystems will be released into the atmosphere.
But a new study says it’s possible to not only restore the wetlands – but generate a lot of money doing so: Wetland restoration in Louisiana could be worth between $540 million and $1.6 billion dollars over the next five decades, according to the Louisiana Blue Carbon study.
The study, supported by Entergy Corporation through their Environmental Initiatives Fund, and prepared in partnership by New Orleans-based Tierra Resources and Portland-based nonprofit The Climate Trust, looks at Louisiana’s potential to produce blue carbon offsets.
But the high costs of wetland restoration may surpass the value of carbon finance in projects – which means that project developers are looking at pooling finance from other quarters: stacking environmental credits, eligible types of conservation easements, and federal funds are all on the table.
Leveraging finance across ecosystem markets and funding sources is like a unicorn: often talked-about but rarely seen. But activities in the Gulf – and in California, where rice farmers this year for the first time may be able to draw finance for conservation from both a new habitat exchange and the California carbon market – suggest that we may be getting closer to a successful sighting.
Conservation finance got more good news with the launch of the European Investment Bank’s new Natural Capital Financing Facility, which will seek to support sustainable ventures – and attract additional investors – with an initial US$135M purse.
And it wouldn’t be Mitmail without some lawsuits and colorful language. This month, they’re in New South Wales, California, and Alaska.
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team