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.
27 January 2014
By Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, 27 January 2014 | For those watching the world’s largest corporations, 2013 was extraordinary. Under pressure from NGOs, a slew of global companies that are number one in their industries made unprecedented commitments to better environmental and social behavior. There is at least the chance that their promises are not greenwash, and that, as one insider puts it, “we can hold their feet to the fire, this time.” That insider is Scott Poynton, the founder and director of an environmental group you have probably never heard of, The Forest Trust (TFT). If one person holds the key to whether this turns out to be a genuine turning point for sustainability, rather than a propaganda coup for big business, it is Poynton. Right now, in the wake of the recent announcements, it is Poynton who gets to hold their feet to the fire.
By Barry Ritholz, Bloomberg, 27 January 2014 | Investors should be considering this as a fight over market share, not a scientific debate. That is the approach taken by McKenzie Funk in a new book, “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming.” The impact is across many industries. It’s time to throw out your preconceptions of climate change as a fight between green hippies and Big Oil… My perspective on global warming is different than some. As a car and boat enthusiast, the various gasoline-powered vehicles I own crank out a few thousand horsepower and generate a not-insignificant amount of pollution. However, I don’t pretend climate change is a hoax or that it won’t matter in the future. So long as creating pollution is cheap and legal, we won’t see many people changing personal behavior. The most likely fix for this is some form of a carbon tax.
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 January 2014 | Forests can play a larger role in sustainably feeding a growing global population, but their contribution is hampered, a new review says, by cultural factors and limited data on the nutritional composition of forest food sources. The authors of the review recommend a holistic approach to studying and promoting forest-based foods and their role in “sustainable diets,” a proposed framework to address food security, which the U.N. projects will grow to more than 9 billion by 2050, and as climate change puts regular harvest patterns at risk. A better understanding of forest foods could also reduce pressure to clear-cut forests for agricultural expansion and could help address malnutrition afflicting poor communities.
By Milagros Sandoval, Ecosystem Marketplace, 27 January 2014 | The green foliage that characterizes Costa Rica is as famous as the ancient cultures of other Latin American nations. “We have ruins like Guatemala, but we also have a stunning landscape,” says Katiana Murillo of Costa Rica’s Department of Climate Change. And Costa Rica has worked to give an economic value to these natural areas. The world has noticed. Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), said at the UN climate conference, COP 19, in November that Costa Rica is 10 years ahead of the global community on this issue. Costa Rica arrived at that conference in Warsaw with several proposals they meant to move forward on starting with initiating the first Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) on alternatives to carbon intensive farming.
28 January 2014
By Holly Brentnall, The International, 28 January 2014 | Martin Kirk, Campaign Director of the Rules – a global movement against inequality and poverty – explained to The International, “From the perspective of The Rules…we believe [REDD] should be stopped. This is because…the pressure being put on the rainforests is ultimately driven by the demand for ‘resources’ to feed an insatiable economic system; a system that is incapable of being sensitive to how it has more than exhausted the sustainable limits of what the planet has to offer… Neither economic growth nor market logic has a way of recognizing or processing things that do not have monetary value. If you believe this – which I certainly do – then it becomes entirely illogical to extend that logic to try and save one of the very few unexploited assets of the planet, which is the REDD formula. The only way to protect the rainforests in the long term is to protect them from the market, not feed them to it.”
Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 January 2014 | It’s only January, but 2014 has already seen much development on the forest carbon front, with a project in the Nyanza and Western Provinces in Kenya becoming the first to earn credits under the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) sustainable agriculture methodology. The Kenya Agricultural Project (KACP) engages 60,000 farmers on 45,000 hectares to, for the first time, monitor their soil carbon – a quantification that then allows them to bring those metric tons of sequestered carbon to market. The project, implemented by the Swedish NGO Vi Agroforestry, has reduced 24,788 tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e) so far. The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund (BCF) has committed to purchasing 150,000 tonnes of emissions reductions, estimated at $600,000, generated by the project between 2009 and 2016.
By Jeffrey Sachs, Financial Times, 28 January 2014 | High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email email@example.com to buy additional rights. http://blogs.ft.com/the-a-list/2014/01/28/europe-still-sets-the-standard-for-a-low-carbon-future/#ixzz2sFCNFglL Of course, none of this is an excuse for bad energy policies. The EU emissions trading scheme is one such flawed policy. It is a spot market trying to encourage a 40-year transformation. It would be much smarter to set technology pathways to mass electric vehicles, mass electrification of buildings and the phase-out of coal. A commitment to a gradually rising carbon tax would help as it would change today’s long-term investment calculations of utilities, construction companies and automotive producers. And do not get out of nuclear power. A low-carbon world needs it…
InfiniteEARTH press release, 28 January 2014 | InfiniteEARTH announced that Indonesia’s Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve has successfully furnished over 100 households with fuel efficient, smokeless, cook stoves. According to input from all 100 test households, the pilot program was a resounding success and is planned to roll-out to the entire population, over 2,500 households, by end of April, 2014. “As part of our three-fold mission to practice excellence across the full spectrum of climate, community and biodiversity, we have instituted a fuel-efficient cook stove distribution program among local villagers,” says Todd Lemons, CEO of InfiniteEARTH, the project developer.
WWF, 28 January 2014 | WWF has cautiously welcomed a Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) launched today by Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL), noting that a commitment to support forest conservation areas equal in size to its plantations sets a new standard for the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia. “Given WWF’s longstanding calls for an end to the environmental abuses associated with the pulp and paper industry, APRIL’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy would seem to be demonstrating willingness on the part of the company to transforming its operations,” said Dr Efransjah, CEO of WWF-Indonesia. “If APRIL truly fulfills the entire commitment in the policy, it will lead to a positive contribution to Indonesia’s forests, biodiversity, emission reductions and people.”
By Agatha Ngotho, The Star, 28 January 2014 | About 60,000 farmers in Western Kenya have benefitted from carbon credits. This is through the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project that supports farming that is more productive, sustainable and climate-friendly by using improved farming techniques. World Bank Country Director for Kenya, Diarietou Gaye, said this is an inspiring example of how agricultural practices that improve the productivity and livelihoods of smallholder, subsistence farmers can also be climate-smart. “These are the first credits to be issued under the sustainable agricultural land management carbon accounting methodology. After years of land degradation, many farmers struggled to grow enough food for their families. They are now using a wide range of methods to increase the organic matter in soils which should improve the soil’s water absorption, nutrient supply, biodiversity and help prevent erosion in the long term.”
By Carter Roberts (WWF US), Huffington Post, 28 January 2014 | A major trade agreement among these countries that includes strong environmental obligations could provide critical new protections for some of our planet’s important natural resources. More specifically, it could disrupt some of the most notorious trading routes that are driving the current global wildlife poaching epidemic. As nearly four years of negotiations come to a close, TPP countries face a choice. Do they keep their promise to create an ambitious 21st century trade deal with a fully enforceable environment chapter or do they abandon real environmental protections for weak, voluntary promises? The U.S. has pressed hard throughout the process, and in response to the recent leak of the environment chapter, US Trade Representative Ambassador Mike Froman wrote that our government “will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement.”
By Derek Walker, EDF, 28 January 2014 | Over the past year, California’s new carbon market has held five auctions, generating $530 million for projects that reduce climate pollution in the state. This is just the start, however, as we believe the program has potential to achieve substantial environmental benefits half a world away in the Amazon rainforest. We are working with community partners, scientific and business leaders, and California policy makers to craft a rule that permits credits from REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) to be used in California’s carbon market, rewarding indigenous and forest-dwelling communities with incentives for ecosystem protection. Using California’s new carbon market to reward rainforest protection would be a powerful signal to Brazil, Mexico, and other tropical countries—and to the world—that leaving forests standing is more profitable than cutting them down.
29 January 2014
By Isilda Nhantumbo, International Institute for Environment and Development, 29 January 2014 | Years of intergovernmental negotiations on how to put forests at the heart of global efforts to limit climate change bore fruit last year when nearly 200 nations agreed a framework to implement REDD+, a mechanism that will finance projects that prevent deforestation or enhance forests, so long as they also safeguard biodiversity and local community needs. With public finance in short supply, the private sector has a big role to play, in ensuring forest nations are ready to take part in REDD+, in implementing projects, and in paying for the results they yield. While the private sector brings much needed know-how to REDD+ there are challenges about how investments in ecosystem-based commodities — such as carbon in trees — will play out.
By Diane Cardwell, New York Times, 29 January 2014 | Seventeen foundations controlling nearly $1.8 billion in investments have united to commit to pulling their money out of companies that do business in fossil fuels, the group announced on Thursday. The move is a victory for a developing divestiture campaign that has found success largely among small colleges and environmentally conscious cities, but has not yet won over the wealthiest institutions like Harvard, Brown and Swarthmore. But the participation of the foundations, including the Russell Family Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America and the John Merck Fund, is the largest commitment to the effort, and stems in part from a push among philanthropies to bring their investing in line with their missions.
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 29 January 2014 | China, India and Brazil are not sending clear signals on whether they will sign a UN-backed global emissions reduction deal next year, says the UK’s top climate diplomat. Their reluctance to confirm their position within the UN negotiations could still derail the process, warned Sir David King, the UK’s special representative for climate change, at a meeting in Parliament yesterday. “There are no clear signs from those countries in negotiations that they are giving a green light,” he said, adding that this contrasted with the acute awareness of each state of the impact that climate change would have on their own farmlands, cities and coastlines. Their silence also conflicted with ambitious action being taken at a domestic level, he said, citing India’s plans to build the world’s largest power station, and China’s position as a leading investor in onshore wind technology.
By Mat Hope, The Carbon Brief, 29 January 2014 | Policymakers have long asserted that making polluters pay is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But with Europe’s carbon market floundering, the EU is having to rethink how to go about setting a carbon price. Carbon pricing only works as a climate change policy if the cost of emitting carbon dioxide is high enough to make companies change their behaviour. But the European carbon price has rarely been high enough to make that happen, and has plummeted in recent years. That means polluters have had little incentive to reduce their emissions. With that in mind, the European Commission last week announced the next in a series of reforms it hopes will boost the carbon price and save the carbon market. But is it too little, too late?
Kaieteur News, 29 January 2014 | Guyana’s hopes of using US-backed financing to build a 165-megawatt hydro electric project at Amaila Falls in Region Eight may have dwindled with reports that new laws have been passed that will see that North American country vote against such ventures. The project ran into trouble last year after the National Assembly failed to pass critical legislation, forcing Sithe Global, the US developer to pull out. Guyana had been depending on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for partial financing of the US$840M project. Government says the project “is not dead” and it is still looking actively at financing. Sources say the Chinese are interested in funding the entire deal which the administration says will reduce the dependency on imported fuel for power. Below is the report, published in the The Jakarta Globe, on the new laws and how it may relate to Guyana.
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 29 January 2014 | Rainforest Alliance has agreed to conduct an audit of Asia Pulp & Paper’s progress in implementing the zero deforestation policy the forestry giant signed last year. The deal, announced Thursday in Jakarta, could help boost the credibility of APP’s policy, which while heralded as a breakthrough by several environmental groups, is still viewed with skepticism by some prominent critics, who remember past broken commitments from the paper producer. Rainforest Alliance knows the controversy well: in 2007 it terminated its relationship with APP after the company failed to protect high conservation value forests in Sumatra.
AMAN, 29 January 2014 | Indonesian Network for Participatory Mapping (Jaringan Kerja Pemetaan Partisipatif, JKPP) launched indicative map of indigenous territories in Indonesia during the seminar on “Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI) and Living Space Sovereignty of Rural People of the Archipelago” in Bogor, Wednesday (29/1). The indicative map of indigenous territories was an initiative of JKPP and Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, AMAN), Simpul Pemetaan, SEKALA, UKP4, Ford Foundation and Samdhana Institute. The initiative aimed to provide alternative information on indigenous peoples’ claims regarding their existence and hereditary rights.
By Alice Waweru, The Star, 29 January 2014 | Fifteen primary schools have been shut down in Embobut forest following the eviction of more than 15,000 squatters. Emilio Mugo from the Kenya Forest Service says they will discuss with the Education ministry on how some of the institutions that are not deep in the forest will continue to run.
By Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 29 January 2014 | Nestled on the west side of Pakistan’s Indus River, the remote town of Chilas is notorious for its timber smugglers, who operate freely in the northern district of Gilgit-Baltistan. “I don’t think any conservation efforts will really save Pakistan’s rapidly shrinking forests as long as the government does not deal with the timber mafia with an iron fist,” said environmentalist Ghulam Ali, who lives in Chilas, 211 km (132 miles) north of Islamabad. Pakistan’s timber mafia is made up of organised gangs that cut trees from state-owned forests and sell them illegally, often working at night.
30 January 2014
By Elizabeth Nussbaumer, Food & Water Watch, 30 January 2014 | In a recent blog post from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) they proudly announce their role in helping to develop offset credits from REDD+ programs in the Amazon — the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation — for use in California’s cap-and-trade market. REDD+ programs exist in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and elsewhere, and in theory they supposedly protect tropical forests. EDF specifies that incorporating offsets from REDD+ leads to rewards for indigenous peoples and even ecosystem protection under this supposedly great initiative. However, we see evidence of very different outcomes from REDD+ offset programs; so don’t start guzzling the cool-aid just yet. The reality of this program is all but rewarding or great. To begin with, offsets of any kind are part of a pay-to-pollute loophole that allows companies to continue polluting at the source…
/The Rules, 30 January 2014 | According to a report published by a collection of eight environmental and indigenous rights organizations, REDD’s approach to reducing carbon emissions permits the planting of mass scale commercial forests. The report states that REDD allows commercial forestry on the condition that the corporations involved demonstrate that the new forests contain equal amounts of carbon to the previous forest; thereby, balancing out their carbon emissions. However, according to the report, this technique of ‘offsetting’ carbon emissions by planting (or replanting) trees is futile. Native forests and thus natural diversity is destroyed, species are put in danger of extinction and medicinal plants might never be discovered. Further, in the process, indigenous peoples are displaced from their ancestral land. Therefore, “enhancement of forest carbon stocks” can be translated as facilitating deforestation, displacing indigenous peoples, and replanting commercial forests.
farmlandgrab.org, 30 January 2014 | Herakles Farms is engaged in the development of a controversial 20,000 ha oil palm plantation in the South-West Region of Cameroon that faces strong opposition from affected communities. Nasako Besingi and his NGO, Struggle to Economise Future Environment (SEFE), have been working alongside other activists and local organisations to protect people’s rights and preserve forests in the area where Herakles is operating. They have been subjected to intimidation, lawsuits, arrests, and violent attacks. On December 31, 2013 Nasako was summoned, at the request of Herakles Farms, for “publication of false news via the internet”. Nasako’s court case began on January 28, 2014 and he faces a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and a $4,000 fine. Herakles’ lawsuit is based on an email that Nasako sent in August 2012 in which he explained how he was ambushed by a group of men that he identified as junior managers of Herakles Farms.
Platts, 30 January 2014 | The European Parliament’s environment committee Thursday voted in favor of fast-tracking the European Commission’s plans to hold back 900 million EU Emissions Trading System allowances from planned auctions in the next three years to the end of the decade. The vote means that backloading will start this year, but the timings are still not yet fixed. If the fast-tracking is confirmed by a group of parliament committee chairpersons and put on the parliament’s plenary agenda in February, that would mean the EC could start the backloading by end-March and hold back 400 million EU Emissions Trading System allowances from planned auctions this year. That would be followed by holding back 300 million allowances in 2015 and 200 million in 2016.
By Leonard Gildarie, Kaieteur News, 30 January 2014 | The 165-megawatt Amaila Falls hydro project remains very much alive with Government not ruling out asking China for additional backings. The disclosures were made yesterday by Government during a presentation by the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) to Parliament’s Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources. The US$840M-plus project was left hanging in limbo last August after the US developer, Sithe Global, announced its pullout. This was because the National Assembly remained split on key legislations that were critical for partial project financing by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The Opposition had been unconvinced on how the monies would have been spent, among other things.
By Budhy Kristanty & Dyah Puspasari, Local First, 30 January 2014 | To bridge the information gap, CIFOR and FORDA’s communications teams identified a need for an Indonesian language website that could provide reliable information and raise awareness on forests, climate change and REDD within the government, as well as within NGOs, the media, forest communities and other stakeholders. One of the aims of the collaboration was to develop the capacity of FORDA’s communications staff. The public often sees governments as slow to disseminate clear information. This is not due to a lack of commitment to communication (as a publicly-funded government institution, FORDA bears a responsibility to disseminate its research information transparently) but a lack of capacity and experience with contemporary communication tools and strategies. We thought that a website would also be an ideal way to build these communication skills. Thus REDD-Indonesia (REDDI) was born.
By Ariana Alisjahbana and Kemen Austin, WRI, 30 January 2014 | Indonesia’s forest moratorium, a policy aiming to protect an area the size of Japan from development, represents one of the most ambitious conservation schemes ever established in the country. But is it actually making progress in improving the forest sector? WRI’s new working paper, Indonesia’s Forest Moratorium: Impacts and Next Steps, aims to answer that question and more. Our analysis finds that the moratorium has the potential to curb deforestation and strengthen forest governance—if it’s implemented effectively. Moreover, Indonesia’s government could build upon the existing moratorium to achieve even greater ecological and social benefits—a win-win for the country’s citizens and its forest resources.
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 January 2014 | Demand for charcoal is all but ubiquitous in Zambia — 70 percent of households in the country use the inexpensive fuel for cooking or heating. “Wherever there are trees, people are producing charcoal,” says Davison Gumbo, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) based in Zambia. But what effect is charcoal production having on the country’s forests? Where is the charcoal coming from, and who’s producing it? In this video, Gumbo discusses these and other forestry issues in Zambia — and how CIFOR is helping to put forest management data in the hands of local people in the southern African country.
31 January 2014
By Caitlin Doughty, F&ES Blog, 31 January 2014 | REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is often discussed in terms of finance, that is, who is going to provide the financing, where is it going and how will it be spent? At today’s 20th annual Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) conference, Eva Garen of the Environmental Leadership and Training Institute moderated a panel of talented practitioners working on “REDD+-like” projects in Latin America. Kate Horner of the Environmental Investigation Agency reminded the audience that in 2007 when the Bali Climate Change Conference moved REDD forward to REDD+, it was primarily viewed as a policy approach to forest conservation in contrast to the current focus on finance. Horner discussed Indigenous REDD, an initiative of the Peruvian indigenous organization AIDESEP, which focuses on changing Peru’s governance around land tenure, forests and indigenous rights.
By Allie Goldstein, Forest Carbon Portal, 31 January 2014 | REDD+ emissions reductions for avoided deforestation could be as low as 3% of the available supply between 2015 and 2020, according to a new report from the Interim Forest Finance Project – a collaboration of the Global Canopy Programme, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, Fauna & Flora International, and UNEP Finance Initiative. Cutting global deforestation in half by 2020 could produce between 3.3 and 9.9 billion tonnes of emissions reductions (tCO2e), but global demand in the same period stands at only 253 million tCO2e, the report finds. The report points to a disconnect between the urgency of reducing deforestation in order to meet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s goal of keeping average global temperature increases under 2 degrees Celsius … and the fact that an international compliance carbon market is still a long ways off.
By Charlie Smith, Straight.com, 31 January 2014 | Jens Wieting, forest and climate campaigner with the Sierra Club of B.C… said that after some tough negotiations, the three environmental groups, B.C. Timber Sales, and four forest companies—Interfor, Western Forest Products, Catalyst, and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper—have proposed an additional 500,000 hectares of protected areas in the Great Bear Rainforest. Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff and First Nations will review them. Under the Land Act, the government must subject any proposed changes to a public-review process lasting 60 days. According to Wieting, these latest recommendations would set aside “pretty close” to 70 percent of the old-growth forests. “If you protect old-growth forests from being chopped down today, that has the immediate benefit of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions today, not tomorrow,” he said.
No REDD in Africa Network, 31 January 2014 | Last year the Government of Kenya was getting “ready” for REDD in the Embobut Forest, now it is violently evicting the Sengwer People and forcing them “into extinction.” According to Survival International, “as many as a thousand homes have already been torched.” Sengwer spokesman Yator Kiptum denounced the “disaster” caused by combined force of the Kenya Forest Service and Administration Police, a paramilitary unit of the police, which is now evicting the Sengwer not just from the Embobut Forest but from the entirety of the Cherangany Hills, destroying property and burning homes. “The government of Kenya is forcing us into extinction,” he said. The extension of the evictions to all other areas in the Cherangany Hills forest complex to include Kapolet and Lelan/Kamolokon “means the removal of the entire population of Sengwer indigenous people living in the Cherangany Hills from their ancestral lands.”
By Caleb Kemboi, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 31 January 2014 | Some politicians have urged the government to refrain from using force during the eviction process. But Inspector Stephen Chessa, who is leading the eviction, defended his staff. “We have not burned anyone’s home – they themselves (the Sengwer) burned their houses before leaving the forest,” he said, adding that neighbours had set each other’s dwellings on fire in one case. Senator Murkomen said local leaders had asked the government to pay compensation to evictees who were initially left out. “The authorities should help and resettle them in new locations and facilitate children who have been affected to resume learning,” he said. County Commissioner Arthur Osiya argued that people must go because the forest has become “extremely depleted”. “All the families were compensated and have to leave the forest so that the (forest) rehabilitation and conservation process can kick off,” he said in a telephone interview.
Otago Daily Times, 31 January 2014 | Hundreds of thousands of pine tree seedlings have been destroyed as the carbon emissions trading scheme unit price collapses. As the price of carbon credits dropped, plantation of carbon forests severely declined and demand for pine tree seedlings decreased, leaving nurseries with no option but to destroy excess seedlings. Graeme Dodds, owner of Leithfield Nursery, near Edendale, said he had to destroy about 700,000 pine tree seedlings, which were mulched and ploughed into soil. At a cost of about $220 per thousand seedlings, the business had lost a sale worth $154,000 before production costs. Mr Dodds said he planted the seedlings thinking there was a demand and a market for them. “It was set to create a market. Going back, the Government rung around to check capacity [of nurseries] because they expected more planting around New Zealand. It started and then disappeared almost overnight.”
By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 31 January 2014 | The meeting of nearly 200 governments in Peru later this year for a major UN climate change summit must produce the first draft of a global deal to cut emissions, the country’s environment minister says. Speaking to the Guardian, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said he was aware that slow progress at the last round of talks in Warsaw, Poland, meant significant progress is needed in key areas including climate financing and how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. The meeting in Lima in December is a staging point towards a crunch summit in Paris in 2015 when it is hoped world leaders will agree, for the first time, a global deal on cutting emissions that includes both rich and poor countries.
By Mark Bridge, The Times, 31 January 2014 | Small investors are being targeted by increasingly sophisticated boiler-room scams 20 years after the heyday of Jordan Belfort, the rogue New York broker who made more than $100 million from the high-pressure sales rip-off, as portrayed in the current hit move The Wolf of Wall Street. The perpetrators — or “perps” to use Belfort’s slang — are mostly based overseas, and are robbing about 10,000 Britons a year of an average of £20,000 each, although further crimes probably go unreported. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
1 February 2014
Tropical Forest Foundation, 1 February 2014 | A project in progress in the northern, upland region of the Republic of Congo has demonstrated the varied and significant benefits of sustainable forestry. Lucas van der Walt, of TFF-Member company Olam International, reported on work with Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), which manages four forest concessions totaling 1.4 million hectares (over 5,400 square miles), bordered by three national parks. Management plans began to be developed in the 1990s for these forests; this was rarely done in the region at the time and thus broke new ground in the country. Thirty years later, chain of custody is in place and the concessions comprise the first Congo Basin project in the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program.
Kaieteur News, 1 February 2014 | Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud yesterday met with the managers and heads of the various agencies that fall under the sector, and warned that 2014 must be the year of execution in terms of delivery and firm implementation of the regulations that have been put in place. The meeting which was held at the boardroom of the Grand Coastal Inn, Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara, was aimed at bringing various agencies together so that they can discuss openly, their challenges and experiences, develop a greater sense of appreciation for each other’s roles and responsibilities and make recommendations to foster better cooperation and synergies.
Kaieteur News, 1 February 2014 | The Ministry of Public Works spent a total of $15.2B last year across its various departments, but fell short of its target, only achieving 84 per cent of its targeted expenditure for the year. Minister Robeson Benn, along with heads of the various departments, yesterday provided an update on the achievements and failures over the past year at the Ministry. Meeting with members of the media at his Office, Minister Benn told media operatives that rains were in part to be blamed for the less than expected performance, along with the stone shortage among other factors. He called the year “stressful” but did express satisfaction overall saying that they gained a significant amount of experience with the lessons learnt.
ANTARA News, 1 February 2014 | The Terra and Aqua satellite has detected 93 hotspots, or areas of intense heat indicative of forest fires, in the Riau province, Ardhitama of the Pekanbaru Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said here on Saturday. “The largest number of forest fires has been detected in Bengkalis,” he added. In the Bengkalis district, 52 hotspots were detected in the plantation, forest and farming areas, he elaborated. The Pelalawan district has 18 hostpots, while Siak has 16. Indragiri Hilir has four hotspots, Duma has three, while Rokan Hilir has one hotspot. Of the 12 districts in Riau, only one district is forecast to receive rain, notably in the Kuantan Singingi district. The weather is expected to be sunny in the remaining districts.
2 February 2014
Stabroek News, 2 February 2014 | Government agencies have performed poorly in relation to the concession licences acquired by the logging company Vaitarna Holdings Private Inc (VHPI) and substantial improvement will be needed in the process towards reaching a timber trade agreement with the European Union (EU), two forestry experts say. Guyana has applied to the EU to join its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme and has begun work on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). A VPA is a legally binding trade agreement between the EU and a timber-producing country outside the EU and its purpose is to ensure that timber and timber products exported to the EU come from legal sources. The agreements also help timber-exporting countries stop illegal logging by improving regulation and governance of the forest sector.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.