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REDD in the news: 30 December 2013 – 5 January 2014

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

Global versus local narratives of REDD: A case study from Peru’s Amazon

By Kristen Evans, Laura Murphy and Wil de Jong, Environmental Science & Policy, January 2014 | This paper seeks to analyze local perspectives in Peruvian Amazon forest communities toward REDD and contrast those perspectives with current global and national REDD narratives. REDD is a global market-based approach to provide financial incentives for local actors to halt deforestation or to improve carbon stocks. To date, the REDD framework has not demonstrated that it is equipped to incorporate the diverse perspectives, potential interactions and uncertainties facing forest communities. We interviewed forest community members in the Amazonian state of Loreto, Peru, using “future scenarios” methods to elicit potential alternative narratives, both with and outside REDD. Indigenous voices reveal ambiguous attitudes toward REDD with regard to livelihoods, benefit distribution and the long-term impacts for communities and forests.

REDD+ initiatives for safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services: harmonizing sets of standards for national application

By Makoto Ehara, Kimihiko Hyakumura and Yasuhiro Yokota, Journal of Forest Research, December 2013 | In the context of growing concerns about environmental aspects of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (acronym REDD+), we conducted a comparative analysis of three sets of globally-applicable standards and one instrument of REDD+ initiatives for safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services: (1) social and environmental principles and criteria, (2) REDD+ social and environmental standards, (3) climate, community, and biodiversity project design standards, and (4) strategic environmental and social assessment. We found that their projected proximal outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystem service treatments, and approaches to achieve them, are not uniform…

30 December 2013

The Year in Forest Carbon: Supply-Side Success, Demand-Side Dilemmas

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 December 2013 | We covered the COP from beginning to end, with a narrow focus on REDD and those issues still under discussion. Among our more popular posts from Warsaw was this chat with Pipa Elias of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Chris Meyer of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and former Mexican negotiator Josefina Brana-Varela, currently of WWF (World Wildlife Fund). We sat down right after Norway, the US, and the UK unveiled a new financing initiative designed to save endangered rainforests by promoting climate-safe agriculture in developing nations, and the three offered insight into the future of REDD, the role of landscapes, and the potential for nesting. The repercussions from Warsaw are still coming to light, and through January we will be unpacking those findings in this series of articles examining the more intricate aspects of the decisions as 2014 emerges as one of the busiest ever.

[Peru] Warming climate could push Amazon region into further poverty

By Alex Kirby, RTCC, 30 December 2014 | Peru is the country chosen to host the 2014 UN climate conference, a key meeting for trying to advance an ambitious plan to rein in greenhouse emissions which is planned for agreement in 2015. But the country has recently earned a rather more dubious distinction. In 2012, for the first time, the Peruvian Amazon became a net emitter of carbon dioxide rather than oxygen, according to the latest human development country report of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Peru has more than halved its poverty rate in the last decade, from 48.5% in 2004 to 25.8% in 2012. But the 2013 UNDP report said its vulnerability to a warming climate could cancel the progress it has made in directing economic growth into sustained poverty reduction.

[UK] Investment scams to avoid in 2014

Which? News, 30 December 2013 | Carbon credits. The scam: A carbon credit is a generic term used for certificates or permits allowing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. When sold to a casual investor, they’re very unlikely to be able to sell or trade them. How it works: Salespeople cold call investors, although contact can also come by email, post or at a seminar. You may be offered carbon credit certificates, voluntary emission reductions (VERs), certified emission reductions (CERs) or an opportunity to invest in ‘green’ schemes/projects that generate carbon credits as a return on your investment. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says an increasing number of firms are using dubious, high-pressure sales tactics. Why it’s a scam: Claims are made that carbon credits are ‘certified’, but this isn’t recognised by any UK compensation scheme. Projects generating carbon credits are usually based overseas, and authorities here can’t control their quality or validity.

31 December 2013

Carbon dioxide levels now 61% higher than 1990

By Tim Radford, RTCC, 31 December 2013 | Global carbon dioxide emissions are likely to hit 36 billion tonnes in 2013, according to new research from the University of East Anglia in the UK. This is a small rise – an estimated 2.1% – on 2012, but it will be 61% above the levels in 1990, which is the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was agreed by most of the world’s concerned nations, anxious to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and contain warming to a global average of 2°C. So the 2013 carbon budget is not being hailed as a great success. “Governments meeting in Warsaw this week need to agree on how to reverse this trend,” said Corinne Le Quéré of the university’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, who led the Global Carbon Budget report for 2013, compiled by 49 authors from 10 countries.

1 January 2014

What climate action can we expect in 2014?

By Assaad W. Razzouk, The Independent, 1 January 2014 | The year just passed may be remembered as a watershed year in climate policy. While climate impacts seem to be occurring more quickly than scientists have ever predicted, we may have witnessed in 2013 the permanent failure of 22 years of United Nations-led climate talks and the “top down” solutions these championed. Emerging instead, with strong momentum, are “bottom up” approaches anchored around citizens, consumer movements, the private sector, countries and local governments.

Historical year for Indonesia`s forest protection

ANTARA News, 1 January 2014 | During the past one year, the Indonesian government has made several historic policies and breakthroughs for the preservation of its forest, the worlds third largest after the Amazon in Brazil and Congos forest, if they are implemented properly. Indonesia has over the past year among other things established Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Agency, extended forest moratorium for another two years to prevent new clearing of primary forests and peat lands, signed the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade – Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) with (EU) to fight illegal timber trade.

2 January 2014

China launches fifth carbon trading zone

RTCC, 2 January 2014 | China’s latest carbon market has opened in the north-eastern city of Tianjin, located just south of Beijing. The country’s fifth trading scheme covers power generation and utilities, iron, steel, chemicals together with oil and gas producers. The city’s top 114 polluters will have to pay for each tonne of carbon they emit beyond a ‘cap’ stipulated by central government. Since the opening of Shenzhen’s market in June, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong province have launched similar initiatives. Two more are expected to open in 2014, ahead of a national market that experts tell RTCC should be ready by 2020. China is the world’s largest source of carbon emissions, with the USA in second.

3 January 2014

Carbon markets shrink by 38% in 2013

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 3 January 2014 | The amount of carbon credits traded on the global markets shrunk by 38% in 2013, reflecting the lack of pressure companies face to reduce their emissions. According to analysis by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, a total of €38.4 billion worth of allowances were traded on the global carbon markets last year, down from €62bn in the previous year. This shows a continuing decline since the market peaked at €96bn in 2011. Volumes of traded carbon also decreased from 10.7 billion to 9.2 billion emission units. This is the first drop in traded units since 2010.

Carbon market woes blunt prospects for Cameroon CDM projects

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 3 January 2014 | An initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites in Cameroon cannot be expanded to other Central African countries as planned due to a lack of income from the troubled carbon market, its backers say. Two projects in Cameroon are registered to sell carbon credits via the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), but the price of CDM offsets has slumped, blunting prospects for the landfill improvement scheme, according to officials with the state-owned Hygiene and Sanitation Company Cameroon (HYSACAM). The Nkolfoulou-Yaounde and PK 10 Douala plants, built at a cost of around 10 million euros (around $13.6 million), mitigate methane emissions from waste decomposition by capturing and destroying landfill gas in enclosed flare stations.

Protect the Mozambique forest found on Google Earth, scientists say

By Josh Davis, The Guardian, 3 January 2014 | A remote rainforest in Mozambique discovered using Google Earth has so many new and unique species that it should be declared a protected area, scientists say. Pygmy chameleons, a bronzed bush viper and butterflies with shimmering yellow wings are among the species in the forests covering Mount Mabu in northern Mozambique. Discovered in 2005 by scientists using satellite images, the forests, previously only known to local villagers, have proven to be a rich ecosystem teeming with new species of mammals, butterflies, reptiles, insects and plants. The mountain forests have been isolated from a much larger forest block for millennia, meaning there has been no migration between this site and the next mountain for tens of thousands of years, allowing unique species to evolve in isolation.

[Pakistan] CCD starts finalising prerequisites to receive RF from FCPF

By Aamir Saeed, Business Recorder, 3 January 2014 | The Climate Change Division (CCD) has started finalising the pre-requisites to receive $3.8 million Readiness Fund from Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to combat climate change and tropical deforestation. Environmental and climate change experts, however, suggest some specific measures to ensure transparency and fairness in utilisation and disbursement of the funds.

[UK] High Court closes £3.2m carbon credit ‘investment shark scam’

By Laura Miller, IFAonline, 3 January 2014 | The High Court has ordered three companies involved in a £3.2m scam selling carbon credits to investors at inflated prices into liquidation following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. Global Carbon Broking supplied carbon credits to Global Neutral which then marketed them to the public at very high prices. Both companies had earlier been ordered into provisional liquidation on 19 September 2012 and 8 November 2012 respectively. A third carbon credit supplier, Future Carbon, was additionally wound up on grounds of public interest. All three companies were inextricably linked with World Future, a company that raised some £2.5m by selling carbon credits in the same misleading way to the public. World Future and two other connected companies, Capital Wealth and Fourteenforty, were ordered into liquidation by High Court judges on grounds of public interest on 6 March 2013.

[UK] High Court shuts down £3.2m carbon credit ‘scam’

By Jun Merrett, New Model Adviser, 3 January 2014 | The High Court has ordered three carbon credit companies into liquidation following their involvement in a £3.2 million scam. Global Carbon Broking Ltd, Global Neutral Ltd and Future Carbon Ltd worked together to sell carbon credits to investors at inflated prices, according to the Insolvency Service. The three firms were ordered to go into liquidation on 18 December 2013 after an investigation by the Insolvency Service. The service said Global Carbon Broking supplied carbon credits to Global Neutral which marketed them to the public at inflated prices.

4 January 2014

[UK] Campaigners attack proposals to allow destruction of ancient woodlands

The Guardian, 4 January 2014 | Green campaigners have urged the government not to “gamble” with England’s natural heritage after the environment secretary defended plans to allow developers to destroy ancient woodland. Owen Paterson sparked anger after defending the “biodiversity offsetting” scheme that he plans to introduce under which woodlands could be cut down to make way for new construction if developers agree to plant 100 trees for every one they destroy. Paterson said that “biodiversity offsetting” could accelerate construction, providing jobs and easing the pressure on housing prices. But critics warn that the proposals could result in the destruction of forests dating from around 1600 – around a third of all woodland in England. While destroying mature trees was a “tragic loss”, replacing each with 100 new ones would “deliver a better environment over the long term”, he said.

5 January 2014

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