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REDD in the news: 13-19 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.

13 January 2013

Green Bond Principles Created to Help Issuers and Investors Deploy Capital for Green Projects

JPMorgan Chase & Co. press release, 13 January 2014 | A consortium of investment banks today announced their support of the Green Bond Principles – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Banking, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Daiwa, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Mizuho Securities, Morgan Stanley, Rabobank and SEB. These Principles were developed with guidance from issuers, investors and environmental groups and serve as voluntary guidelines on recommended process for the development and issuance of Green Bonds. They encourage transparency, disclosure and integrity in the development of the Green Bond market.

14 January 2013

The diplomatic road to a new climate agreement may not end in Paris next year

By Lisa Friedman, eenews.net, 14 January 2014 | It’s been more than four years since leaders tried and failed to craft a binding new global climate change treaty in Copenhagen, and as nations head toward a new deal in 2015, the aftershocks of that Danish summit continue to reverberate. From climate campaigners to high-level diplomats, those who are committed to fighting global warming say making a strong agreement in Paris next year that radically reduces levels of greenhouse gas emissions is critical. But, they argue, it’s not the last step or perhaps even the most important step in what will be a long battle to avoid catastrophic warming. That’s a turnaround from the thinking that preceded the 2009 Copenhagen summit, which saw the environmental group Greenpeace declare that the deal signed there should be “nothing short of a plan to save the planet.” Then-U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote a Newsweek article entitled “Copenhagen or Bust.”

OECD states cut emissions too slowly

By Paul Brown, Climate News Network, 14 January 2014 | The world’s richest countries have made some progress since the 1990s in limiting environmental damage. But they have not done enough to prevent catastrophic climate change, according to the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Scientists say that carbon dioxide emissions need to start going down in the next decade to prevent global temperatures reaching dangerous levels. But the OECD predicts that levels of carbon dioxide will continue to rise and by 2050 will be 50% higher than today. The 34 OECD countries in the survey are mainly the older mature economies which in the 1970s produced well over half the world’s CO2 emissions from their factories and transport. Now the OECD share of total world emissions has dropped to 30%, but only because of the vast increase in the energy use of China and other high-growth countries like Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and South Africa.

Three sustainability resolutions for all businesses in 2014

By Sissel Waage, The Guardian, 14 January 2014 | Carbon neutral corporate goals must become far more widespread, particularly given the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. In 2014, companies should set even more ambitious goals – such as becoming carbon and greenhouse gas negative in coming years. As corporate actions to become carbon neutral are institutionalised, corporate leaders can take the next leap toward sequestering more carbon than they release. This could mean investing in forest restoration, agricultural practice transformation (to keep carbon that is sequestered in soils) and other such REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation) projects. Due diligence is vital to ensure that projects are well-designed and produce measurable carbon gains, as well as positive ecological and social outcomes. Companies must work with reputable forest carbon project developers.

In Brazil, governance key to resisting Mato Grosso deforestation — study

By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 January 2014 | A state in Brazil central to the country’s cash-crop farm sector experienced a dramatic decline in deforestation between 2005 and 2010 through improved governance and monitoring, but other tropical forest countries may have difficulty replicating its success, a scientific study has found. The state of Mato Grosso, the country’s largest producer of soya bean and cattle, was so successful in reversing a rapid increase in deforestation caused by agriculture and ranching that researchers studied whether other tropical countries could follow Mato Grosso’s example to preserve their own forests. The study by scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) was published in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. “A lot of countries with forests face similar pressures as those faced by the Mato Grosso region, but the governance is simply not in place…”

EIB’s Climate Awareness Bond Increases to €1.5 Billion

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 14 January 2014 | The European Investment Bank (EIB) had its first transaction of 2014 in the European green bond market, a €350 million Climate Awareness Bond (CAB) increase. Due 15 November 2019, the CAB is now worth a record €1.5 billion, the largest climate-themed bond in any currency. According to EIB, CABs give investors the opportunity to direct their investments to projects that contribute to climate action, while benefiting from the credit quality of EIB as an issuer. CABs have raised €3.7 billion in seven currencies since they were first issued, with 2013 being a record year for CAB issuance. The funds raised are targeted for disbursement to EIB projects related to renewable energy and energy efficiency, including: wind, hydropower, wave, tidal, solar and geothermal production; and district heating, cogeneration, building insulation, and equipment replacement with considerable energy efficiency improvements.

The intelligent drones of the future will cut their teeth scanning forests in Finland

By Rachel Feltman, Quartz, 14 January 2014 | The future of fully autonomous robots may be built by a company that is laser scanning the boreal forests of Finland with drones. Helsinki-based Sharper Shape is already bringing a new approach to forest surveying, which is vital for Finland’s electricity grid… “For a drone to be useful in real life,” Sharper Shape founder and CEO Tero Heinonen told Quartz, “it needs to understand its environment, not just gather data or follow a pre-programmed route. It needs to be able to say, that’s a human, that’s a tree…and then make rational decisions based on that information.” … The capabilities that will allow the company’s drone to fly through a dense forest and to map it intelligently—the ability to distinguish and recognize objects, and react to them in real time—is something that all drones will need to fly unmanned.

Japan signs carbon offset deal with Palau

Reuters, 14 January 2014 | Japan has signed an agreement with Palau to allow Japanese companies to earn carbon credits by helping the small Pacific island cut greenhouse gas emissions, the Japanese government said on Monday. Under the deal, both nations will set up a joint committee of representatives to operate a bilateral offset crediting mechanism, known as the Joint Crediting Mechanism, Tokyo said in a statement. Japan has already has nine such bilateral agreements, aiming to bypass the lengthy screening process of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism, the world’s main carbon offsetting scheme. Its existing agreements are with Mongolia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Maldives, Vietnam, Laos and Costa Rica. Palau is among the small island nations in the Pacific that have been threatened by rising sea levels and are considered to be most at threat from the consequences of global warming.

UN-REDD, Kenya Assess REDD Corruption Risk

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 14 January 2014 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (UN-REDD) has reported that Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has launched ‘A Corruption Risk Assessment for REDD+ in Kenya.’ The study was conducted by the Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (U4) with the support of the UN-REDD Programme with engagement of Kenya’s Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission. Corruption risks outlined in the study include: unclear land tenure; the potential abuse of community forests and community forest associations; illegal logging; accountability and fraud in charcoal management; and problems in the licensing of state plantation harvesting. The study suggests a number of actions to minimize corruption risks, including improved transparency in forest management, the establishment of mechanisms to report corruption, and enhanced decentralization efforts.

Peru ignores UN and pushes ahead with deadly gas project

Survival International, 14 January 2014 | Peru’s government is on the brink of approving the expansion of the highly controversial Camisea gas project into the land of uncontacted and isolated tribes – ignoring a recent UN recommendation to first carry out ‘extensive studies’ over the threats posed to the vulnerable Indians. Peru’s Ministry of Culture has approved a plan to expand the $1.6 billion Camisea project – run by Argentina’s Pluspetrol, US’s Hunt Oil and Spain’s Repsol – once three minor conditions are met, raising fears that expansion is imminent. Any contact with gas workers could introduce fatal diseases to the uncontacted Indians. When Shell carried out initial explorations in the area during the 1980s, half the Nahua tribe was wiped out following first contact with outsiders.

Hilton expands Southeast Asia carbon offset programme

By Medilyn Manibo, eco-business.com, 14 January 2014 | Hilton Worldwide is expanding its carbon offset programme in Southeast Asia and adding three new renewable energy projects in the region to its list of beneficiaries. Under its programme, started in October 2012, Hilton calculates the carbon generated at events hosted at its hotels in the region and offset it by purchasing carbon credits at no cost to customers through its partner, Climate Friendly. It uses a proprietary LightStay™ Meeting Impact Calculator that measures the level of carbon emissions – based on energy, water, carbon, housekeeping, paper product usage, waste, chemical storage, air quality and transportation used by customers… In Asia, Hilton also supports the Borneo Rainforest Rehabilitation Project which aims to restore the rainforests of Sabah, Malaysia and grow the habitable area for wildlife such as orang-utans, sun bears, gibbons, pygmy elephants and the critically endangered Sumatran Rhino.

15 January 2014

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 January 2014 | It’s that time of year again – the time we look back over our shoulders at the last 12 months of forest carbon news and take stock (pun intended, as always) of what may lie ahead in 2014. Our Ecosystem Marketplace retrospective tells the story of 2013, and readers ranked the top stories of the year. Below are some of the highlights. As for us, we’re resolving to bring you the best news and analysis on forest finance in 2014 and gearing up for our 2014 State of survey that tracks transactions from forest carbon projects around the world.

Trees accelerate growth as they get older and bigger, study finds

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 15 January 2014 | Most living things reach a certain age and then stop growing, but trees accelerate their growth as they get older and bigger, a global study has found. The findings, reported by an international team of 38 researchers in the journal Nature, overturn the assumption that old trees are less productive. It could have important implications for the way that forests are managed to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. “This finding contradicts the usual assumption that tree growth eventually declines as trees get older and bigger,” said Nate Stephenson, the study’s lead author and a forest ecologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS). “It also means that big, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere than has been commonly assumed.”

Climate change and the role of carbon offsetting – in pictures

By ClimateCare, The Guardian, 15 January 2014 | Carbon offsetting schemes are making a revival as businesses recognise the need to reduce CO2 emissions and support communities in the developing world for a sustainable future. This gallery highlights the detrimental effects of climate change and showcases projects which are positive mitigators… Carbon offsetting schemes are making a revival as businesses embrace the need to develop schemes that both reduce CO2 emissions and help communities in the developing world. For many people planting a tree is seen as an obvious way of carbon offsetting as trees and other plants play a vital role in balancing CO2 and oxygen levels but is it enough? … A woman in Nyumbani, Kenya waters a seedling after planting it in the hope that after a number of years the village can harvest the hardwood for timber and become more self-sustaining.

REDD+ finds vocal anti-corruption champions

By Estelle Fach, The UN-REDD Programme blog, 15 January 2014 | Of course, it’s not the first time that government officials speak frankly about issues of corruption in their countries… But I found that the level of openness of the representatives from DRC, Kenya and Nepal at a global event (the UN-REDD knowledge and information session on sharing national experiences on transparency, accountability and integrity, which – full disclosure- I co-organized) was quite refreshing. Most importantly, governments collectively made a strong case for the relevance of anti-corruption work for REDD+. Not solely because their countries have international, regional or national legal obligations; nor because they know that understanding and tackling the problems of corruption will help REDD+ work effectively and equitably, but also by demonstrating how countries will use the result of the analyses and research they did during the last two years.

16 January 2014

U.N. climate chief calls for fossil-fuel divestment

By John Upton, Grist, 16 January 2014 | Take your money out of dirty energy and put it into clean energy. No, that’s not 350.org talking (not this time, at least) — that’s from Christiana Figueres, chief of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. On Wednesday, Figueres called on big firms that manage trillions of dollars of investments to dump fossil fuel stocks in favor of greener alternatives, arguing that such a shift would help the firms’ clients as well as the climate. “The pensions, life insurances and nest eggs of billions of ordinary people depend on the long-term security and stability of institutional investment funds,” she said. “Climate change increasingly poses one of the biggest long-term threats to those investments and the wealth of the global economy.”

Mobile World Congress to become world’s largest certified carbon neutral trade show

By Ben Rossi, Information Age, 16 January 2014 | Carbon credits purchased by the GSMA will fund several CER (certified emission reductions) projects certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), including a hydropower project in China and a wind energy project in India. To achieve certification of Mobile World Congress as carbon neutral, the GSMA is undertaking the following steps working with an independent certified consultant to measure the total carbon footprint of the event, and implementing a carbon management plan to reduce the event’s carbon footprint. It is also purchasing carbon credits in order to offset the emissions that could not be avoided or lowered through reduction initiatives, and obtaining official certification under the international standard PAS 2060, verifying the process through an independent audit.

Three-way collaboration key to fire control in the Amazon — study

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 January 2014 | Left to itself, the Amazon forest is too damp to burn, but two severe fire seasons — one in 2005 and another just five years later, in 2010 – show how drought and human actions combined to wreak havoc on forests that scientists once considered virtually fireproof. Between 1999 and 2010, fires in the understory — or undergrowth — of the Amazon forest burned more than 85,500 square km (33,000 square miles), according to a study led by NASA. “There’s no drought that will burn the western Amazon if there’s no human there to start a fire,” said Katia Fernandes, a researcher from Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, who is studying climate and fire in collaboration with scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Peru blocks plans for new indigenous reserve as oil production starts

By David Hill, The Guardian, 16 January 2014 | Two key Peruvian state institutions are blocking plans to establish a reserve for indigenous people living in “voluntary isolation” (IPVI) between the Napo and Tigre rivers in the Amazon rainforest. Opposition to the proposal was condemned by national indigenous organisation AIDESEP after a meeting, held in December, of a cross-sector government commission set up to create such reserves. In June last year Peru’s vice-ministry of inter-culturality (VMI), the state entity responsible for indigenous peoples, officially recognised the existence of IPVI in the Napo-Tigre region and supported the proposal to create the reserve.

17 January 2014

Climate change needs a new kind of scientist

By Amy Duchelle, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 17 January 2014 | Interdisciplinary science is at the heart of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, which aims to inform policy makers, practitioners and donors about what works in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) in tropical countries. In this study, a diverse group of foresters, biologists, sociologists, economists, political scientists, and anthropologists works together to understand how REDD+ can be implemented effectively, efficiently, equitably, and promote both social and environmental co-benefits. I help coordinate a component of the study that focuses on measuring the impacts of subnational REDD+ initiatives. Through this part of the study, we have collected data in 170 villages with over 4,000 families in 6 countries: Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Quebec’s New Carbon Market Slow At First, But Expected To Ramp Up

By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 17 January 2014 | In the short-term, though, offset demand will be low in Quebec, Jean Nolet, President of ÉcoRessources, said during a webinar hosted by the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) on Thursday. As in California, the Quebec government is doing a bit of hand-holding at the beginning of the program, giving away a generous quantity of allowances for free. Indeed, during Quebec’s first allowance auction on December 3, only a third of 2013 allowances and a fourth of 2016 allowances were sold, at the price floor of CAD$10.75 – indicating low demand at the beginning of the program. Projections of future oversupply and a general sentiment that GHG policy has been slow-moving in Canada have also fostered a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude among regulated and to-be regulated entities in Quebec. “Enterprises have been slow in taking seriously the regulation,” Nolet said. “This is still what is prevailing today…there is no sense of urgency.”

Carbon credit scheme for Indonesia’s rainforest launched

By Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, 17 January 2014 | A new standard to measure carbon for rainforests was launched Thursday at the West Bali National Park, an initiative that designates the island’s forest conservation site as the pilot project for research to develop a carbon credit mechanism. Launched by the Consortium for Rainforest Standards in Indonesia, this landmark initiative is expected to help reduce the loss of Indonesia’s tropical forests and biodiversity. It is also to provide a new way of generating income for the management of protected areas on a large scale, with full engagement of the private sector in its implementation. The Rainforest Standard (RFS) is the world’s first carbon credit standard to fully integrate requirements and protocols for carbon accounting, sociocultural and socioeconomic impact, and biodiversity outcomes.

US, Indonesia cooperate to protect tropical forest

ANTARA News, 17 January 2014 | The United States government and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry launched a new rainforest standard for carbon credits in West Bali National Park on Thursday, according to the US Embassy here on its website. Based on long-standing collaboration between the University of Indonesia and Columbia University in the U.S., the Rainforest Standard is the worlds first carbon credit standard to fully integrate requirements for carbon accounting, socio-cultural/socio-economic impacts, and biodiversity.

18 January 2014

19 January 2014

[Guyana] Vaitarna set to start building wood processing facility at Wineperu

Stabroek News, 19 January 2014 | Having invested US$14 million since commencing operations here, logging company Vaitarna Holding Private Incorporated (VHPI) is in an advanced stage of setting up its promised wood processing facility at Wineperu, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud has said. In response to questions from Stabroek News, Persaud said he was advised by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) that the facility is located at the company’s log yard at Wineperu on the west bank of the Essequibo River. “The facility is being constructed on an area of approximately 30,000 square feet. The land has been cleared; the surveying and design of the structure is in progress; and construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2014,” he said.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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