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REDD in the news: 7-13 April 2014

REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, organised by date with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

UNFCCC Publishes Parties’ Submissions on REDD

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), April 2014 | The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has posted submissions from Parties on “methodological guidance for activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.” The views presented from Parties are on: methodological guidance for non-market-based approaches related to the implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70; and the issues referred to in decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 40. A total of eight submissions were posted on non-market-based approaches and non-carbon benefits associated with REDD+. The submissions represent the views of 17 countries including the countries of the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

[USA] Could California Make or Break REDD?

By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, April 2014 | No other term in the forest carbon market generates both excitement and controversy quite like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). These projects have developed in voluntary carbon market circles as a way to place a value on the carbon sequestration provided by tropical forests and allow this value to be monetized in a way that ensures dollars flow down to local governments and community groups to encourage them to conserve forests. “There’s been great progress, at least in the voluntary space,” said Toby Janson-Smith, Director for the Verified Carbon Standard’s Agriculture, Forestry & Other Land Use program, speaking at the Climate Action Reserve’s (CAR) Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) conference in San Francisco last month.

Brazil Sees Promise, but Need For New Funding Source for REDD

By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, April 2014 | Brazilian company Natura caused quite a stir in the global carbon markets in 2013 when it engaged in a first-of-its-kind deal to purchase 120,000 tons of carbon offsets from a project developed by the Paiter-Suruí indigenous community in the Amazon under the Verified Carbon Standard’s Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) methodology. In 2007, the cosmetics giant launched its corporate carbon neutral program, which now supports 15 carbon offset projects in Brazil and one in Colombia, Mariama Vendramini told attendees of the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in San Francisco. Vendramini is the commercial and financial director for Biofilica, which provides environmental services and develops REDD offsets for Brazilian companies. She estimated the total number of offsets voluntarily purchased by the company at 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

7 April 2014

Dutch utility pays over market for CO2 credits from Nepal project

By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 7 April 2014 | Dutch utility Eneco has agreed to pay above market rates for hundreds of thousands of carbon credits to back an environmental project in Nepal under the U.N. scheme to fund emission reduction projects in poor countries. The project, which was registered last week, aims to provide poor households with new wood-burning stoves that require 60 percent less fuel, which helps reduce family fuel bills, air pollution and deforestation as well as improving household health conditions. Eneco, owned by 55 Dutch municipalities, said it was willing to pay more than the market rate to ensure the project goes ahead.

World Bank: Man on a mission

By Robin Harding, Financial Times, 7 April 2014 | “We found we’re really working as six regional banks because knowledge wasn’t moving from one region to another,” Mr Kim said in an interview. He recalls being told: “Our money is insignificant and we’re quickly moving towards irrelevance.” Creeping irrelevance is indeed the heart of the World Bank’s problem. Middle-income countries such as Brazil and India can now borrow cheaply on international capital markets. The World Bank has many possible responses: focus on the poorest countries only, cut back on the environmental and corruption controls that make it cumbersome, or focus on cross-border problems such as climate change or infectious disease. “Nobody that I ever spoke with thought that the first-order concern was organisational,” said Lant Pritchett, a professor of international development at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and longstanding critic of Mr Kim.

Showtime’s ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ looks at climate change through ’60 Minutes’ storytelling

By Tammy Leytham, The Sun Herald, 7 April 2014 | Producer David Gelber said he and his partner Joel Bach came up with the idea of “Years of Living Dangerously” while working as producers at “60 Minutes.” They believed climate change was the most important story of this generation, but was not getting much attention from the media. “We came up with this idea of making this documentary series in a model of ’60 Minutes,'” Gelber said, and they started working on it in the spring of 2011. “We wanted to get well-known figures who were compassionate about environmental issues, and smart about them,” he said. “We wanted to focus on stories that we felt were the most compelling,” he said. “We spent a full year researching potential stories talking with leading scientists and developing leads and sources.”

[Australia] Carbon farming a flop at Henbury Station

By Cathy Prior, ABC Radio National, 7 April 2014 | It was meant to be a showcase of the former Labor government’s push towards carbon trading: the Northern Territory’s Henbury Station, destocked of cattle and turned over to producing carbon credits through regeneration. However, the much heralded purchase in 2011 of the 5000 square kilometre property by R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings for $13 million, including a $9 million injection by the Labor government, was overshadowed by opposition from angry neighbours who claimed that pests, fences and fire risk on the property were not being properly managed. The Northern Territory government was also against the purchase, arguing it was not consulted on the future of Henbury and the property should remain a pastoral lease.

[Australia] Gas project transforms tip into carbon credit cash cow

By Megan Kinninment, Northern Star, 7 April 2014 | Byron Shire Council has transformed its smelly tip into a money spinner, earning $150,000 from carbon credits. The credits were earned through the council’s Myocum Landfill gas flare project in which methane is collected in pipes and then burnt at temperatures between 700 to 800 Celsius to create carbon dioxide; up to 24 times less damaging to the environment. The gas flare project was approved under the federal government’s Carbon Farming Initiative in September last year… The council earned 6,616 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) which were sold at a price of $22.60 per unit for a total return of $149,521.60.

Forest certification improves social standards in Congo basin, research finds

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 7 April 2014 | New research from Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo shows that certified Forest Management Units (FMUs) — timber forest concessions managed by legally recognized industrial entities — are associated with improved working and living conditions compared with non-certified FMUs. “Our study shows that there is a strong association between the presence of certification and improved working and living conditions in and around certified FMUs in the Congo basin,” said Paolo Cerutti, a senior scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Positive social outcomes occurred in certified FMUs more than in non-certified FMUs because companies were required to adhere to an implementation schedule covering multiple standard-setting criteria checked by a third party in regular evaluations.”

How Well Are Performance-Based Payments Working? Lessons from Guyana

By Jonah Busch and Nancy Birdsall, Center For Global Development, 7 April 2014 | We found some noteworthy successes. The performance-based payment system has functioned as designed: Guyana has built an excellent national system for monitoring deforestation, and Guyana’s continued low rates of deforestation are being assessed relative to a reference level that is appropriate for a country with high forest cover and low deforestation rates. Three tranches of performance-based payments of about $115M have been approved, of which about $65M has been delivered. Payments have been lower in years when deforestation emissions are higher, consistent with a credible contingent payment system. Furthermore, buy-in for the principles of the Low Carbon Development Strategy is broadly shared, and some notable strengthening of institutions of forest governance has taken place. However, we found some worrisome developments as well.

[Nepal] First clean development mechanism plan begins, 7 April 2014 | A project launched this week in the Far-Western region to provide clean and energy efficient cooking stoves to 150,000 households has become the country’s first of its kind as part of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme… In Nepal, the Bio-Gas Support Programme is the only CDM project certified by the CDM Executive Board for financing and has received cash as carbon credits. Due to very high transaction costs, poor market access and longer period for registration and approval, a majority of poor countries including Nepal could possibly not benefit from the scheme. The failure of CDM led to the launch of Programme of Activities modality in order to reduce transaction costs in CDM and expand the mechanism’s applicability to several micro projects, different from a large-scale single project recognised by the CDM.

8 April 2014

Emissions from rainforest logging average 16% of those from deforestation, 8 April 2014 | Carbon emissions from selective logging operations in tropical rainforests are roughly a sixth of those from outright forest clearing, finds a new study that evaluated 13 forestry concessions in six countries. The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters by scientists from Winrock International, analyzed carbon losses from different aspects of logging operations, including timber extraction, collateral damage to surrounding vegetation, and logging infrastructure like roads and skid trails. The approach, which offers a more complete estimate than prior methodologies, shows that emissions are highly variable depending on the type of logging, the extraction rate, and the forest itself. Emissions in the study areas ranged from less than seven tons of carbon per hectare in Brazil to more than 50 tons per hectare in Indonesia.

Global study questions primary role of forests as safety nets and gap fillers

By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 April 2014 | Forest resources may be less important as a buffer between harvests and in times of hardship than previously believed, according to a comprehensive global study. The global study is the product of the Poverty and Environment Network (PEN), a collaborative effort led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The largest quantitative global-comparative research project to date on forests and rural livelihoods, it analyzes data gathered from some 8,000 households in 24 developing countries. “Safety nets, gap filling and forests: a global-comparative perspective” is one of five initial papers to emerge from the global study; they appear in an upcoming issue of the journal World Development.

Are CEOs Ready for Climate Change?

By John Bussey, Wall Street Journal, 8 April 2014 | Fred Krupp goes about his business as head of the Environmental Defense Fund by applying leverage where the interests of business and the environment intersect. He sat down with The Wall Street Journal’s John Bussey to discuss climate change… Krupp: Shale gas took a lot of people by surprise. A lot of the energy experts were blindsided by the fact that America has a vast amount of this resource. We’re now pulling 28 trillion cubic feet out of the ground. The key is to do it right, in a way that protects the neighborhoods and maximizes the advantage natural gas could have over coal. There’s no protests about leaking pipes. But it’s very, very dangerous. We commissioned a report which showed that we could reduce 40% of the emissions of methane in this country from the oil and gas industry for a cost of just one penny [per] 1,000 cubic feet of produced gas.

Shell, Unilever Seek 1 Trillion-Ton Limit on CO2 Output

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 8 April 2014 | Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Unilever NV (UNA) joined 68 other companies in urging world governments to cap cumulative carbon emissions since the industrial revolution to 1 trillion metric tons to contain rising temperatures… “The threat of climate change is real and urgent,” Skanska AB Chief Executive Officer Johan Karlstrom said in the statement. “From a business point of view, it is already a competitive advantage to be a leader in green but governments can speed up the progress substantially by setting up a level playing field that rewards the leaders in low carbon technology and energy efficiency.”

[Australia] Tasmanian forests set for logging as Liberals push ahead with repeal

The Guardian, 8 April 2014 | Hundreds of thousands of hectares of Tasmanian forest have been earmarked for logging after the newly elected state government pushed ahead with the repeal of a historic forestry deal. The state government has unveiled its plans for undoing the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement – a deal reached in 2011 by industry groups and conservationists. About 400,000 hectares of forest set aside in the agreement as potential reserves will be reclassified as “future potential production forest”. However, there will be no logging in these zones for at least six years as the timber industry is rebuilt. Paul Harriss, resources minister in Will Hodgman’s Liberal cabinet, said the government was acting on the overwhelming mandate it had received at last month’s election. “We opposed the forest deal because it was based on politics not science, which destroyed jobs and regional communities, and which locked away forever future productive forest,” he said on Tuesday.

[Botswana] Bushman travels 5,000 miles to tell Prince Charles ‘We’re not poachers’

Survival International, 8 April 2014 | A Bushman from the Central Kalahari travelled 5,000 miles from his home in Botswana today to tell the Prince of Wales, ‘We’re not poachers – we hunt to survive.’ In February Botswana’s President Khama was an honoured guest at a global anti-poaching conference in London, alongside Prince Charles and Prince William. The initiative resulted in the launch of Prince William’s United for Wildlife, drawing together seven big conservation organizations, including US-based Conservation International (CI). President Khama is a CI board member. But President Khama has banned all hunting nationwide, even for Bushmen who hunt to feed their families, under the pretext of clamping down on poaching. However, it has emerged that trophy hunters who pay up to $8,000 to hunt giraffes and zebras are still being allowed to hunt.

Ukraine races to spend carbon cash after Japan sets deadline

By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 8 April 2014 | Ukraine, battling political crisis, is having to find ways to finish spending $800 million it earned through Kyoto Protocol emissions rights sales, after Japanese officials warned Kiev it had a year before Tokyo would demand its money back. Andriy Mokhnyk, Ukraine’s incoming environment minister, said the country was in a “difficult situation” as it had not yet spent all the money earned through selling Kyoto carbon credits called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) to buyers including Japan, Spain and the World Bank. Under several AAU deals agreed with buyers, Ukraine was to have funded more than 500 clean energy and energy efficiency projects by the end of 2012, but the country missed the deadline and Mokhnyk said spending had ground to a halt in late 2013.

9 April 2014

REDD promises to be a risky business for forests and people

By Simon Milledge (IIED), Thomson Reuters Foundation, 9 April 2014 | The recently released IPCC report only serves to remind us that our duty to humankind demands a greater sense of urgency. But any policy response can bring risks to people or the environment, and the costs of dealing with the consequences can be far greater than avoiding them. Forest nations should take note as they prepare to engage with REDD+, a scheme being negotiated at the UN climate change talks to financially reward countries for reducing greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Take Nepal. Its forests provide livelihoods for rural people and habitats for wild species. They help regulate river flow, and offer options to communities as they adapt to the changing climate. So engaging with REDD+ could offer multiple benefits to communities, landscapes and economies aside from financial reward. But sceptics in Nepal are increasingly asking critical questions about how REDD+ will unfold.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 April 2014 | California carbon market watchers on the lookout for any sign that the US state is still on a path to accepting international offsets from Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests (REDD) got a pretty good one when a California Air Resources Board (ARB) official stepped up to the plate at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in San Francisco last month. In front of a packed and eager crowd, the ARB’s Jason Gray stated publicly that the agency will continue considering allowing REDD offsets into its cap-and-trade program. “The world is watching to see if California is going to implement REDD or not,” said Daniel Nepstad, Senior Scientist and Executive Direct of the Earth Innovation Institute.

CANOPY (issue 2, 2014): quarterly REDD news from WWF’s global Forest and Climate Programme

WWF, 9 April 2014 | In this issue 2 of 2014, we highlight the Democratic Republic of Congo’s submission of an ER-PIN to the World Bank-managed Carbon Fund of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. We also present an interview with Victor Kabenegele, the REDD+ National Coordinator for the National REDD Coordination Committee (CN-REDD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, we bring you the latest REDD+ news, learning tools and information from WWF’s Forest and Climate team.

Procter & Gamble commits to palm oil sustainability

By Bruce Kennedy, CBS News, 9 April 2014 | On Tuesday, Procter & Gamble (PG) – the world’s largest and most profitable consumer goods company — announced what it calls its “commitment to no deforestation in its palm oil supply chain,” in an effort to advance long-term sustainability issues. “We are committed to driving positive change throughout the entire supply chain, not just for us, but for the industry and for the small farmers who depend on this crop,” Len Sauers, P&G Vice President of Global Sustainability, said in a press statement.

A Green Revolution, This Time for Africa

By Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times, 9 April 2014 | The high-yield wheat and rice of the Green Revolution produced dramatic gains in harvests in Asia and Latin America. But not in Africa. There, the climate was too varied, the soils too degraded. Africa lacked infrastructure such as roads, or India’s railway system, that helped farmers to commercialize their grain. It did not have a network of companies to sell farmers the hybrid seeds for the high-yield varieties, nor the fertilizer and pesticides necessary to take full advantage of those seeds. Asian governments had large programs to provide credit, extension agents to teach new farming methods and subsidized inputs; the Food Corporation of India bought surplus grains at a guaranteed price. African governments, for the most part, did not do these things. And today Africa’s agricultural yields are less than half the global average, and about 25 percent of what they could potentially yield.

Surge in Chinese demand exposes cracks in Mozambique forest policy

By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 April 2014 | Illegal activity in Mozambique’s forestry industry has increased alongside a surge in Chinese demand for Mozambican timber, leading to negative effects for the industry and for the sustainability of the country’s forests. But this could help spur timber and trade policy change, researchers say. Since China imposed a domestic logging ban to preserve its own forests in 1998, its expanding economy has steadily become hungrier for African wood. “China’s demand for timber has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, so that today, more than 80 percent of Mozambican timber exports are destined for China,” wrote the authors of Chinese trade and investment in the Mozambican timber industry: A case study from Cabo Delgado Province, conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

[USA] California issues first forestry compliance offsets

By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, 9 April 2014 | The Yurok tribe has seen first-hand the devastation that deforestation wreaks on trees and plant and animal species living on its tribal lands. Now, with a big stamp of approval from California regulators, the tribe is hoping to tap into the carbon markets to help reverse these devastating trends. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) on Wednesday announced that the Yurok Tribe/Forest Carbon Partners CKGG Improved Forest Management Project was the first to be issued offsets under its compliance forestry protocol. The improved forest management (IFM) project will guarantee long-term forest protection, improve forest habitat diversity, provide benefits to salmon and steelhead populations, and generate revenues for the Yurok Tribe. IFM projects are those in which existing forest areas are managed to increase carbon storage and/or to reduce carbon losses from harvesting or other silvicultural treatments.

US, UK, Germany canvass private sector on boosting climate finance

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 9 April 2014 | The US, UK and Germany will invite the private sector to propose ways to raise the billions needed to tackle climate change, in an initiative that UK minister Greg Barker will launch in New York today. The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance – or ‘The Lab’ – has been designed to spur private sector investments into projects to help developing countries prepare for a warmer world, although it will stop short of offering any new fundraising targets. Despite a pledge from rich countries in 2009 to provide poor nations with US$ 100billion a year from 2020, these funds have so far dribbled in slowly. Greg Barker, the UK minister for energy and climate change, said: “This exciting new global venture will allow the public and private sectors to work together to catalyse investment needed to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.” He will launch the project today at the Future of Energy Summit 2014.

10 April 2014

Carbon Grab—the Next Natural Resource Dilemma?

By Kim Lewis, Voice of America, 10 April 2014 | Research conducted by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) reveals that there are no laws to guarantee that indigenous peoples and local communities will benefit from the global trade of carbon credits as nations cope with carbon emissions that impact global climate change. As deforestation threatens the livelihoods of remote forested regions, governments and investors may profit while rural communities suffer. “Carbon grab is sort of an offset of land grabbing,” says Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque, the lead researcher for the RRI study. He explained that any sort of grab of a resource is based on the idea that the rights of local communities are not necessarily respected.

Forest degradation: firming up the second ‘D’ in REDD, 10 April 2014 | The UN’s programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) has seen considerable attention paid to deforestation but “the second ‘D’ is poorly understood and accounted”, according to a team from Winrock International, US. With that in mind, the researchers have come up with a simple method for emissions accounting of selective timber harvesting, based on the volume of wood extracted. “Timber harvesting in tropical forests is often confused with deforestation – we wanted to show unequivocally that the impact of logging is vastly different from deforestation in terms of carbon emissions,” Tim Pearson of Winrock International told environmentalresearchweb. “We also wanted to develop a method that readily correlates emissions with an easily captured metric of logging. We designed an approach that would work equally across forests throughout the world with relatively low fieldwork costs.”

Report: Forests may play bigger role in rainfall than estimated

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 April 2014 | Current climate models appear to underestimate the full impact of forest vegetation on rainfall patterns, indicating that the potential consequences of land-cover change on global temperature increase cannot be assessed with certainty, new research shows. Erratic rainfall could worsen with deforestation, according to Douglas Sheil, an ecologist at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and an associate researcher with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Forest cover change could also be behind a perceived eastward shift of the rainfall zone over Southeast Asia, with a potential regional and global impact that may have been demonstrated by the ferocity of fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2013 that caused a thick haze, Sheil said. “Vegetation probably has an even bigger effect on climate than we’ve realized,” said Sheil…

11 April 2014

REDD and a green economy are inseparable – but concerns for equity remain: UN report

By Angela Dewan, Landscapes, 11 April 2014 | The world is transitioning to a green economy, but the many synergies between greater sustainability and the forest-focused REDD mechanism are underutilized, according to a recent United Nations report. Countries with tropical forests have for years been preparing for a full-scale implementation of REDD , and can offer a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned for the broad shift towards a green economy, according to the report. “If designed well, REDD can thereby contribute to the key elements of a green economy: low-carbon development, social inclusiveness, increased human well-being and respect for natural capital,” says the report, “Building Natural Capital: How REDD Can Support a Green Economy” by the UN Environment Program’s International Resource Panel.

What do Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Indonesian Forests All Have in Common?

By Lael Goodman, The Equation, 11 April 2014 | The answer, of course, is Harrison Ford. He stars in Showtime’s new dramatic documentary series on climate change Years of Living Dangerously, and deforestation due to palm oil is Ford’s latest crusade. While the show premiers on Sunday, April 13 at 10 pm, the first episode is already available for a sneak peek. Episode one focuses in on three main storylines: Don Cheadle visits Texas to talk about drought, climate science, and religion; Thomas L. Friedman explores the role of drought in the civil war in Syria; and Ford visits Indonesia, traveling by seaplane, motorboat, elephant, and helicopter to see firsthand the havoc being wreaked upon tropical forests and peatlands by encroaching oil palm plantations.

Hollywood heavyweights put climate change manifesto on TV

By Piya Sinha-Roy, Reuters, 11 April 2014 | As temperatures continue to rise and habitats come under threat, a group of Hollywood heavyweights is seeking to bring the spotlight back on climate change with a new documentary. “Years of Living Dangerously,” a nine-part documentary beginning Sunday on CBS Corp’s premium cable network Showtime, chronicles the human impact on the global climate and the consequences for humans of climate change. From the disappearing forests of Indonesia to the increasing frequency of California’s wildfires and the crippling Texas drought, the documentary wants to put the focus back on an issue that has lost visibility since the days of the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Green tech revolution needed to avoid climate change dangers, says Nicholas Stern

By Peter Hannam and Tom Arup, The Age, 11 April 2014 | Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a landmark 2006 study on climate change, says his conclusion that global output could dive 5-20 per cent without action to curb greenhouse gases was an underestimate. To reduce the risk of severe economic dislocations from rapid global warming, including the potential for forced migration of millions of people, governments will need to embrace a technological revolution, Lord Stern said in an interview. “Emissions have been increasing faster than we anticipated then, and some of the effects are coming through faster than we thought,” said Lord Stern, citing shrinking Arctic ice and rapid acidification of the oceans as two such changes under way.

U.N. climate report seeks clearer economics to guide action

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 11 April 2014 | A U.N. report about ways to fix global warming due on Sunday is likely to disappoint investors seeking clear-cut economic calculations about the benefits and costs of curbing rising greenhouse gas emissions. Authors say the report stops short of an economic bottom line since it is hard to put a value, for instance, on human lives lost to extreme weather or on risks of a faster melt of Greenland’s ice sheet that would push up sea levels. The United States and other governments, at talks in Berlin, were pushing for clearer economic arguments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is meant to guide trillion-dollar curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. Washington said a draft is “too narrow” in judging costs of shifting to cleaner energies, partly as it omits benefits of improved public health from less pollution from fossil fuels, according to documents seen by Reuters.

[Australia] Carbon farming to become easier

By Eliza Rogers, ABC Rural, 11 April 2014 | The change of Federal Government is expected to make it easier and quicker for farmers to take part in the Carbon Farming Initiative. The CFI allows farmers to earn and sell carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions through activities like capturing methane from piggeries and landfills, and reducing cattle burping. It also helps farmers increase their efficiency and productivity. Since its inception three years ago, the Carbon Farming Initiative has rolled out a number of projects. But managing director of Australian Carbon Traders, Ben Keogh, says new government policy could kick it up a gear. “The Coalition is moving to a direct action plan where the government will purchase (carbon) credits from farmers and other industries. Hopefully the government will honour its commitment to make it much quicker, simpler and easier for farmers to participate.”

[Colombia] Landmark REDD+ Talks: Colombia Event Inspires Crowd in Cartagena

Code REDD press release, 11 April 2014 | On April 9th, 2014, Code REDD and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presented an historic, first ever event – REDD Talks: Colombia in Cartagena. The packed event brought together leaders from the private, public, and civil society sectors to advance the role of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD ) in sustainable business and development. The event provided a platform for Latin American and global REDD stakeholders – including project practitioners, indigenous peoples, business leaders, multilateral institutions, and policy makers – to explore the contributions the private sector can make to REDD through finance, sustainable operations, project investment, and public-private partnership.

Weather patterns, urbanization add to pressures on Zambia’s forests

By Davison Gumbo and Desmond Katongo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 April 2014 | Charcoal and timber make significant contributions to the livelihoods of rural households in Zambia — but these forest-based resources do not always lead to deforestation, contrary to conventional wisdom, research indicates. A recent study shows that in some areas of the country, locally managed charcoal production systems exist, and recommends replicating them elsewhere. The study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), titled “Dynamics of the charcoal and indigenous timber trade in Zambia,” examined three provinces in eastern Zambia, where the charcoal and timber trade have contributed to forest loss.

12 April 2014

13 April 2014

UN climate chief urges ‘bold’ carbon-curbing steps

AFP, 13 April 2014 | The UN climate chief on Sunday called on governments to take bold steps to tame carbon emissions after a landmark report said the worldwide aim to limit global warming was still attainable. “The world can still combat climate change but only if nations raise their collective ambition to achieve a carbon-neutral world in the second half of the century,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

All Eyes on the Forests: The New Norm of Zero-Deforestation

By Sara Santiago, Triple Pundit, 13 April 2014 | In the past two years, we’ve seen rapid changes in the forestry sector that we could not have predicted would be realized by 2014. As a starting point, we witnessed the chairman of Indonesia-based Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the world’s second largest pulp and paper producer, announce a groundbreaking Forest Conservation Policy on Feb. 5, 2013, committing to an immediate moratorium on rainforest clearing for its pulp and paper products. This announcement, met with considerable and warranted skepticism, actually set the stage for a new reality for Southeast Asian rainforests. Since February 2013, APP, along with NGOs, brands, and advisers, has strived to uphold that commitment. Astoundingly, by the end of 2013, the world’s largest palm oil producer and trader, Wilmar, quietly took the zero-deforestation commitment to the next level…

[Indonesia] More Than Riau Haze to Contend With When the Earth Burns

By Agus P. Sari, The Jakarta Globe, 13 April 2014 | In recent years, Riau has come under the international media spotlight at least once a year due to the major fires there, set to clear land for agriculture. In June last year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono even felt the need to publicly apologize to neighboring countries for the haze generated by the fires — while overlooking the fact that residents of Riau were the worst affected by the smoke. The irresponsible act of slash-and-burn clearing for farmland can be attributed to the outdated thinking that the forest is considered more valuable when it is cut, and not when it remains standing, functioning as the lungs of the Earth. In a report by Nigel Sizer from the World Resources Institute, Global Forest Watch found 3,101 hot spots in Sumatra this year. A remarkable 87 percent of the fires were in Riau, and half of them came from concessions held by pulpwood, oil palm and logging companies.

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