2019 Carbon Landscapes Grants Awarded

Metcalf is pleased to announce the first set of 2019 grants in our Environment Program’s Carbon Landscapes funding stream.

Launched in 2017, the goal of Carbon Landscapes is to advance natural climate solutions in Canada. From forests to farmlands and grasslands to wetlands, Canada is home to a range of ecosystems that can store, sequester, and emit carbon. Natural climate solutions involve strategies to protect, restore, and steward the carbon services of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, while also benefitting biodiversity, and sustaining livelihoods.

Our Carbon Landscapes stream has a two-track funding strategy:

Strategy 1: Build sector capacity, intellectual leadership, and public understanding of linkages between climate action, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable livelihoods, to create space and support for advancing natural climate solutions at both a policy and community level.

Strategy 2: Support on-the-ground protection, restoration, and stewardship efforts to store and sequester carbon in the Hudson Bay and James Bay Lowlands and the Mackenzie River Basin.

In June, the Foundation’s Board approved the following five grants under Strategy 1. New grant commitments under Strategy 2 will be announced in the coming months. Previous year grants can be found here.

Strategy 1 Grants Approved in June 2019:

$75,000 over 18 months to Environmental Defence

In the 2019 federal budget, the Government of Canada set aside $4 million, in part to develop offset protocols to complement federal carbon pricing. Forest and agricultural activities have been identified as priority offsets.

There are opportunities and risks associated with the government’s development of a federal greenhouse gas emissions offset system. These could help protect important carbon stores and increase carbon sequestration in natural environments. But poorly designed offsets can impact biodiversity and increase forest carbon emissions.

Through a mix of research, convening, and outreach, Environmental Defence aims to ensure that: (1) decisions made by the Government of Canada on forest accounting do not incentivize negative impacts on biodiversity or climate action; (2) accounting rules are as accurate as possible at measuring and accounting for carbon fluxes; (3) the offset protocol is developed with rigorous rules for environmental safeguards and includes mandatory review and updates; and (4) Canada sets credit trading rules that maximize potential climate and biodiversity benefits.

$375,000 over three years to Équiterre

Carbon sequestration in agricultural soils is increasingly considered a critical part of the global climate solution. Improving soil carbon is not just for climate stability: it is also essential for the long-term viability of agriculture and creates significant co-benefits for farmers, health, and the environment.

Équiterre in partnership with Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation seek to build the necessary evidence to comprehensively advocate for policy change that supports a widespread transition to a lower-carbon agriculture in Canada. To this end, project partners will convene experts including farmers, agronomists, and scientists (public and independent) in order to: (1) identify farm management approaches that reduce the carbon footprint of Canada’s agricultural sector, considering both direct emissions from major cropping systems and in-direct emissions from farm input, and (2) understand and advocate for the supporting conditions required for widespread adoption of these management approaches. The knowledge, evidence, and insights gained from this convening and research will serve as the basis for policy advocacy during the upcoming consultations on major Canadian climate and agricultural policies between 2020-2022.

$50,000 over 18 months to Nature Conservancy of Canada

Over the past two years, the Government of Canada has announced significant new support for initiatives to help meet international biodiversity targets. Canada must now also consider innovative financing solutions to unlock conservation’s full potential.

With Metcalf’s lead funding support, the Nature Conservancy of Canada will organize an international conservation finance conference in June 2020 in Toronto. The conference will convene a diverse group of leaders to showcase on-the-ground approaches necessary to bring conservation finance into the Canadian mainstream. The conference will demonstrate how conservation finance approaches, mechanisms, and instruments can help achieve biodiversity and climate goals at scale, specifically for the Canadian context.

$47,500 over 10 months to Smart Prosperity Institute

Co-funded in partnership with the McCall MacBain Foundation for a total of $95,000, this project is led by Smart Prosperity Institute in collaboration with Nature United. The project leads will advance a four-pronged strategy to build a common agenda for conservation finance in Canada by: (1) researching successful and emerging conservation finance tools that have been applied or are being applied to public and private lands in Canada, the U.S., and globally, and assessing their applicability in various Canadian jurisdictions; (2) convening with governments, industry, and other sector partners to gauge the scope of opportunity for carbon and biodiversity offsets across the country; (3) engaging conservation finance experts through a series of roundtable discussions to gain their perspective on innovative finance tools and their potential for adoption in Canada; and (4) producing two reports guided by the findings of strategies 1-3. The first report will analyze the climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation potential of carbon and biodiversity offsets, and will be released in late 2019. The second report will be released in early 2020, highlighting the opportunity for conservation finance through a series of case studies of financial tools being implemented (or under development) in Canada, the U.S., and other jurisdictions.

$150,000 over 18 months to Soil Conservation Council of Canada

According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the world’s soils have lost an estimated 116 billion tons of carbon since the beginning of agriculture 12,000 years ago. Reversing this loss represents a substantial opportunity for climate change mitigation by sequestering carbon back into soils. The challenges to building soil carbon, however, include socio-economic, political, and cultural barriers. Healthy soil microbial communities build carbon, while also generating societal benefits like clean water, but managing for soil health means adopting best management practices that often run counter to perceived economic advantage and long-established cultural norms.

The Soil Conservation Council of Canada in partnership with the Compost Council of Canada will assess the barriers to, and opportunities for, building soil carbon in Canada’s managed soils. A team of expert advisors with practical and technical policy knowledge will be recruited and convened to advise, guide, and support the project team. Project leads will conduct extensive consultations with government, sector organizations, academic institutions, industry, and NGOs. The collected information will be used to generate A Roadmap for Carbon Sequestration in Canada’s Managed Soils, a comprehensive report on the status of soil carbon sequestration efforts in Canada that identifies constraints and opportunities for further progress. An accompanying Soil Carbon Toolkit will be produced that provides practical links to provincial and regional expertise that soil managers can contact for program and technical support of their carbon sequestration efforts.

2020 Carbon Landscapes Deadlines

New 2020 funding deadlines for Carbon Landscapes will be announced in late 2019.