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REDD in the news: 21-27 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 delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

21 April 2014

Rural ‘environmental income’ on par with crop income, study finds

By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 April 2014 | Natural forests and wildlands across 58 tropical research sites provide 28 percent of total household income — nearly as much as crops — according to a new study. The study, titled “Environmental Income and Rural Livelihoods: A Global-Comparative Analysis,” 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. In addition to research on income generation and rural livelihoods, the global study tackles the themes of safety nets during shortfalls, gender and forest use, forest clearing and livelihoods, and tenure and forest income. The papers appear in a special issue of World Development.

Narcotics Deforestation = Narco-Deforestation

Environmental News Network, 21 April 2014 | Narco-Deforestation, a newly coined term for the destruction of sensitive forest ecologies in Central and South America has been identified as a greater threat to the South and Central American forests than other previously identified concerns such as legal logging and development. The drug traffickers are creating new autoroutes and airplane strips for greater access to and through the forests and jungles of the Central and South America. These new routes make it easier to transport drugs from Mexico to South America and vice-versa. Kendra McSweeney, the co-author of “Drug Policy as Conservation Policy: Narco-Deforestation” explains, “These protected ecological zones have become the hub for South American cocaine.”

NASA detects surge in deforestation in Malaysia, Bolivia during first quarter of 2014

mongabay.com, 21 April 2014 | Forest disturbance in Malaysia, Bolivia, Panama, and Ecuador surged during the first quarter of 2014, according to NASA data. NASA’s Quarterly Indicator of Cover Change (QUICC), a satellite-based product that underpins Mongabay.com’s Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS), recorded a more than doubling in the number of deforestation signals in Bolivia (162 percent increase), Malaysia (150 percent), Panama (123 percent), and Ecuador (115 percent) relative to a five-year baseline. Cambodia (89 percent), Nigeria (63 percent), and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also saw sharp increases in forest disturbance, according to the tool.

22 April 2014

This Earth Day, Let’s Focus on Results Instead of Rhetoric

Forest Trends, Huffington Post, 22 April 2014 | He was not hard to spot. In the shadow of Oxford Castle, under the dome of the Bodleian Library, or from the tower of St. Mary’s Church, the vivid feather headdress was impossible to miss, as was the face of the man who wore it, Chief Tashka Yawanawa, in Oxford, England, earlier this month for the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. Here, where the history of the place is somehow strangely still alive, his headdress stood for a different kind of history. Not one of bards and decades upon decades of scholarly thought and soaring architecture, but an even older history – of forests and the people who make the trees and the land their home. Tashka made the long journey from his village in the northwest corner of Brazil to join more than 1,000 social entrepreneurs at the conference.

A barrage of lawsuits is needed to curb climate change

By Assaad W. Razzouk, The Independent, 22 April 2014 | Institutional investors command a stratospheric £70 trillion of assets and tens of millions of savers worldwide depend on them. These investors continue to back the 90 companies responsible for two-thirds of the harmful emissions generated since the industrial age began. The scientific community is absolutely certain that climate change is a clear, present and massive danger and scientists continue to churn out report after report to that effect. Institutional investors, by and large, have their earplugs on and their reading glasses off. At the apex of the £70 trillion sit pension fund trustees, individuals who owe the public a duty to invest prudently. They evidently aren’t doing so because although 80 per cent of known fossil reserves cannot be extracted without extremely serious consequences across our economies, pension funds and stock markets continue to assign value to companies on the basis of these reserves.

Massive climate change mapping and modeling project

By Jane Kelly, Phys.org, 22 April 2014 | What might a snapshot of the earth look like in 2050? How much land will be occupied by forest? How much will produce food? And how much area will be used to supply biofuels for alternative energy? How hot will it be, globally and in particular spots? How will decisions about forests and tree cover affect land use and human communities around the globe? Those are the big questions being asked at the University of Virginia, where faculty and experts from a wide swath of disciplines and countries are embarking on a climate change-mapping project. A new U.Va. initiative, “Global Programs of Distinction,” that seeks to bring resources from across Grounds to bear on issues of global import, is backing the effort.

[Brazil] ‘Dalai Lama of the Rainforest’ arrives in USA on Earth Day

Survival International, 22 April 2014 | On Earth Day today, a Brazilian Indian shaman and spokesman of the Yanomami tribe will arrive in California with an urgent appeal to save the Earth from destruction by protecting the world’s rainforests and its inhabitants. Davi Kopenawa – who has been called the ‘Dalai Lama of the Rainforest’ following his tireless work to protect his tribe’s land in Amazonia – will be giving press interviews and several talks in the San Francisco Bay Area: a once in a lifetime opportunity for Americans to hear Davi’s message to the world. He will be accompanied by Fiona Watson, Survival International’s Research Director and world expert on uncontacted tribes.

China carbon cash party over as U.N. credit stream dries up

By Stian Reklev and Kathy Chen, Reuters, 22 April 2014 | Revenues for China’s biggest sellers of U.N.-issued carbon credits shrunk last year to a tenth of 2012 values, choking off billions of dollars flowing to clean energy projects in the world’s top carbon-emitter. China will now have less money to put into a stepped-up campaign to cut greenhouse gas emissions, clean its air and raise the share of fossil-free energy in its total mix to 15 percent by the end of the decade, from a current 8 percent… Since 2006, Chinese companies have been issued 873 million carbon credits, nearly two-thirds of the total. These have been sold in Europe and Japan to bring in at least $8 billion in profits that can be reinvested in new projects.

Illegal logging makes up 70 percent of Papua New Guinea’s timber industry

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 22 April 2014 | Corruption, weak governance, and powerful timber barons are illegally stripping the forests of Papua New Guinea, according to a new report from the Chatham House. The policy institute finds that 70 percent of logging in Papua New Guinea is currently illegal, despite the fact that 99 percent of land is owned by local indigenous communities. “The biggest challenge is dealing with collusion between corrupt officials and logging firms,” author of the report Sam Lawson told mongabay.com. “The logging industry in Papua New Guinea is very powerful, while the government is extremely weak…The largest logging firm owns one of the two national newspapers, for example.” In fact, the logging industry has managed to skirt some of the strongest community and forest land rights in the world—at least on paper.

[Tanzania] Lindi earnings from timber increase

By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, DailyNews, 22 April 2014 | Villagers from Kilwa District, Lindi Region, have earned over 110,000 US dollars (over 179.4m/-) from sales of timber to international markets since receiving endorsement from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jasper Makala, said several villages have joined Kikole village which was the first to get FSC endorsement in 2009. “We have expanded our FSC group certificate scheme now covering 100,20 hectares of forest and more villages,” said Mr Makala who further noted that the villages are also poised to earn cash from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). Most of the timber is exported to Britain where it is used as raw material for windwood instruments manufacturing. Kikole village was also the first village to join Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) group certificate scheme, joining the group in September 2009.

[USA] California hunting land-based offsets

By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, 22 April 2014 | Among California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions culprits, the agriculture and forestry sector ranks well behind transportation, which is by far the leading contributor to the state’s GHG emissions. But with the transportation sector scheduled to be phased into the state’s cap-and-trade program for GHGs starting in 2015, land-based offsets – emissions reductions generated via agriculture and forestry projects – potentially have a critical role in helping California meet its ambitious GHG targets. The agriculture and forestry sector comprises only about 7% of the state’s GHG emissions, compared to 37.6% for the transportation sector, according to the most recent state GHG inventory data, released last year.

[UK] Can you put a price on the beauty of the natural world?

By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 22 April 2014 | On the outskirts of Sheffield there is a wood which, some 800 years ago, was used by the monks of Kirkstead Abbey to produce charcoal for smelting iron. For local people, Smithy Wood is freighted with stories. Among the trees you can imagine your way into another world. The application to plant a motorway service station in the middle of it, wiping out half the wood and fragmenting the rest, might have been unthinkable a few months ago. No longer. When the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, first began talking about biodiversity offsetting – replacing habitats you trash with new ones created elsewhere – his officials made it clear that it would not apply to ancient woodland. But in January Paterson said he was prepared to drop this restriction as long as more trees were planted than destroyed.

[UK] Career criminals jailed

City of London Police, 22 April 2014 | Between 2005 and 2010 Matthew Noad and Clive Griston, both from Kent, ran a London-based boiler room which took in more than £10 million from victims conned into believing they would make returns of several hundred percent from sites across the UK that were ripe for housing development. In reality the land, located in Dumbarton in Scotland, Towcester in Northampton and Collumpton in Devon, had little or no value… The City of London Police, which is the National Policing Lead for Fraud, first got wind of the scam in 2010 when they started seeing more and more reports from people concerned about investments they had made in three companies – Browne Mackenzie, Lawrence Taylor and Charles Barkley. Having launched a nationwide investigation, supported by local forces, detectives arrested Noad, 30, and Griston, 52, In December of that year in Bromley on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

23 April 2014

‘Little progress’ on forest protection plan

By Navin Singh Khadka, BBC News, 23 April 2014 | A global programme to reward developing countries for avoiding deforestation has made little headway, officials and conservationists say. The delays are proving particularly frustrating for communities concerned with conserving forests in those nations. Campaigners say that nearly eight years have passed since the programme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd), was announced, but the international projects supposed to implement it are not happening anywhere. Some countries have seen pilot schemes started, but even these are lagging behind, according to sources. “There have been several demonstrations and preparation projects for nearly 10 years and now stakeholders are asking: ‘Why is the actual project not kicking off?’ They are getting impatient,” says Nurma Sripatin, who heads the Redd cell in Indonesia’s forest ministry.

Global study: REDD initiatives see challenges – and opportunities

By Imogen Badgery-Parker, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 23 April 2014 | Actions must be taken to clarify land tenure in forest-rich developing countries, and to improve the economic viability of REDD+ or risk jeopardizing efforts to reduce deforestation and mitigate climate change, a new study based on 23 forest carbon initiatives suggests. Hundreds of pilot initiatives designed to test the feasibility of REDD+, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, have got under way in recent years. But with obstacles mounting and a climate agreement still elusive, some initiative proponents are losing their enthusiasm for REDD+, according to the study, led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Forests of Hope: The UN-REDD Programme and GRASP Collaborate to Conserve Great Ape Habitat

By Doug Cress, The UN-REDD Programme blog, 23 April 2014 | By the year 2030, experts predict that human development will have impacted over 90 per cent of great ape habitat in Equatorial Africa, and that less than one per cent of the orangutan’s undisturbed rainforest homes in Southeast Asia will remain. That means the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, whose population is already fragmented across northern Sumatra, will become even more isolated. Cross River gorillas in Cameroon and Nigeria will struggle to survive in the 11 pockets of forest they currently inhabit, mountain gorillas might lose the ability to roam freely across parts of the Albertine Rift, and the 24 chimpanzees that cling to the tiny Gishwati Forest in Rwanda – nicknamed the “Forest of Hope” – might cease to exist at all.

A new way to measure carbon emissions from logging

SciDev.Net, 23 April 2014 | A study tested in six tropical developing countries has introduced a novel method to measure carbon emissions from selective logging activities that are a prime cause of forest degradation. Published in Environmental Research Letters last April 1, the method takes into account all emissions from logging operations: the extracted timber volume, the damage caused by selective logging to the surrounding forest, and the logging infrastructure needed to transfer the logs from the forest to the mills. Developed by researchers from Winrock International, a non-profit development organisation based in the United States, the accounting method was applied in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Congo, Guyana and Indonesia. The study results revealed that the relative impact of carbon emissions from logging varies per country, depending on the amount of ongoing deforestation and the logging practices.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 23 April 2014 | Forest Trends’ Katoomba events are known for bringing people who don’t always talk to each other – soy tycoons and environment ministers, for instance – together to discuss practical solutions to major ecosystem services problems. The twentieth event, which begins today in Lima, Peru, has this kind of ambitious agenda. The theme is alignment. Attendees will consider how climate change, forests, water and people are deeply intertwined, and how payment for ecosystem services (PES) strategies addressing these issues must align, too. Current events in Peru provide an interesting (albeit frustrating) backdrop: The country’s comprehensive PES law, in development for six years now, was finally slated to be formally debated before the National Congress last week – but that debate has been delayed yet again.

Amazonas Florestal Releases Its Initiatives for 2014 and Going Forward

Amazonas Florestal press release, 23 April 2014 | Amazonas Florestal, Ltd. ( www.amazonasf.com ) (otc pink:AZFL) (pinksheets:AZFL) (“Amazonas” or “Company”), a diversified forest management company generating revenues through innovative, sustainable forest management is pleased to announce today its initiatives for revenue growth, forestry preservation and building shareholder value. The Company’s business model is currently focused on 3 separate business’s initiatives; Sustainable forestry & Timber Operations, Biomass Development, Production & Revenue generation from carbon credits.

To curb Indonesian deforestation, public pressure required, research suggests

By Imogen Badgery-Parker, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 April 2014 | With Indonesia’s pro-environment president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono leaving office this year, questions are arising about how the change in the presidency will affect the country’s efforts to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation. But presidential backing for a reform may be less important than public support and a shift in political culture, an analysis of Indonesian politics and REDD+ suggests. “There are many exciting ongoing reform processes, but many are facing political barriers in the way the system works, how the public and the state operates, and the relationship between the government and the people,” said Cecilia Luttrell, Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the study’s lead author.

[UK] Boiler room fraudsters jailed over £11m investment scams

By Alex Steger, New Model Advisor, 23 April 2014 | Two boiler room fraudsters have each been sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to running multi-million pound land banking and carbon credit scams. Matthew Noad and Clive Griston, both from Kent, were sentenced at the Old Bailey and have been disqualified from being company directors for 10 years. Between 2005 and 2010 the pair ran a London-based boiler room which took more than £10 million from victims who were sold plots of land in the belief they would be redeveloped for housing, but which in reality had no planning permission. Despite first being arrested in December 2010 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, Noad and Griston were released on bail and set up another boiler room selling carbon credits via a firm called Capital Carbon Credits, netting another £1 million.

[UK] Two jailed over £10m boiler room scam

By Tessa Norman, Money Marketing, 23 April 2014 | Two men found guilty of running a £10m boiler room fraud have been jailed for a total of nine years. Matthew Noad and Clive Griston ran a London-based scam which took in £10m from victims who were persuaded to buy worthless plots of land and valueless carbon credits. The fraudsters were sentenced to four years and eight months each in jail at the Old Bailey this week, and disqualified from being company directors for 10 years. Between 2005 and 2010 the two men conned investors, many of them elderly, into believing they would make returns of several hundred per cent from sites in the UK that were ripe for housing development. In reality the land had little or no value, as much of it was situated in greenfield belts or flood zones. Noad and Griston were arrested by City of London Police in December 2010 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

24 April 2014

Google and Apple announce new low carbon investments

By Ed King, RTCC, 24 April 2014 | Google plans to partner with SunPower Corporation in a $250m effort to drive residential rooftop solar systems in the US. The technology giant says it will buy solar panels and lease them back to homeowners at a cost lower than their electricity bills. “By participating in this program, you don’t just help the environment—you can also save money,” writes Rob Parker, from Google’s renewable energy team. Google’s $100m contribution to this project makes this its 16th major clean energy venture. In total the company says it now has over $1 billion invested in low carbon schemes around the world, part of a wider strategy to ensure it remains carbon neutral.

China’s Shenzhen says carbon market had 10 pct surplus in first year

By Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev, Reuters, 24 March 2014 | Companies covered by the carbon emissions trading scheme in China’s fast growing city of Shenzhen saw a surplus of 3 million permits in the first year of the market, vice mayor Tang Jie said, meaning around 10 percent of the allowances were unused. The scheme, the first of seven pilot carbon markets launched to put the brakes on China’s rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions, regulates carbon emissions from more that 600 power generators and manufacturers. The city issues permits to companies and those that have a surplus can sell them while those that emit more than the permits allow have to buy more on the market. A surplus, if carried forward, could undermine prices next year and reduce the incentive for firms to cut emissions. “We are studying measures to cancel the verified surplus,” Tang told local newspaper 21st Century Business Herald on Monday.

Research will be key to unlocking Indonesia haze crisis

By David Gaveau, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 24 April 2014 | The smoke rising over Sumatra has started early this year, with peatland fires in Riau, Sumatra, creating a haze so thick that in March it grounded flights and closed schools; at least two deaths were attributed to the choking smoke. It was a grim reprise of June 2013, when windblown haze from peatland fires in Riau clouded Malaysia and Singapore, leading to Singapore’s highest air pollution measure on record. Now, a major multilateral effort to stop the haze is gaining traction, seeking to encourage more research into a few key areas. The fires that create Riau’s haze are no accident — they are deliberately set by people to clear land for agriculture. Nor are they “forest fires,” as was initially reported in June — they are fires on already-deforested areas, chiefly peatlands, in an area where oil palm and paper pulp plantations dominate the landscape, where ignitions by both local communities and companies contributed.

‘Indonesia’s deforestation is a disaster for the planet’ – audio slideshow

By Eric Hilaire, The Guardian, 24 April 2014 | Award-winning Hong Kong photographer and photojournalist Paul Hilton’s latest series of images looks at the impact of deforestation on Indonesia’s wildlife. Basing himself in one of the most biodiverse hotspots in the world – the Leuser ecosystem in Aceh, home to rhino, orangutan, tigers and elephants – Hilton found that the clearing of forests for palm oil plantations means more roads are being cut into habitat, with endangered species being killed or sold for the wildlife trade in roadside markets.

Tanzania: Villagers to Secure World Bank ‘Green Rewards’

By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily News, 24 April 2014 | Tanzania will soon sign an emission reduction purchase agreement with the World Bank which allows villagers to get compensation for climate friendly actions including conservation of forests. World Bank Senior Communication Officer for Climate Change and Finance Department, Ms Isabel Hagbrink, said negotiations into the deal are at final stages. “It seems we are very close to signing an emission reduction purchase agreement (ERPA) in Tanzania, and I will send you more information when it is available,” Ms Hagbrink said in an emailed message while responding to ‘Daily News’ questions. She, however, did not give details of the agreement and instead referred this writer to National Focal Point, Mr Evarist Nashanda, in Vice President’s Office who is yet to respond to issues raised. But according to World Bank projects, a renewable energy programme under Rural Energy Agency (REA) is lined up for endorsement.

[UK] Taking good care of the climate

By Andrew Smith, Witney Gazette, 24 April 2014 | Significantly, 1997 also saw the establishment of Oxford-based ClimateCare, one of the organisations set up to use the money raised from carbon offsetting which last week was announced as a recipient of Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the sustainable development category. Today, it continues to work with large corporations such as Jaguar Land Rover, Aviva and even government departments such as the Swedish Energy Agency. Its award citation highlights its “outstanding contributions to poverty alleviation and tackling climate change”. To date, ClimateCare has helped reduce more than 16.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and improve the lives of more than six million people.

[UK] Police raid City office and arrest traders over alleged ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ fraud racket

By Justin Davenport, London Evening Standard, 24 April 2014 | Police today smashed a “fake Californian gold” fraud racket being run from offices in the heart of the Square Mile. Fifteen smartly dressed office workers were arrested at computer terminals in rented offices in connection with the alleged “boiler room” swindle. Sales agents were said to have bombarded victims, who are often elderly, with cold calls using similar techniques as those shown in Leonardo Di Caprio’s Wolf of Wall Street film. They claimed their firm had uncovered a huge gold cache in California worth $36 billion, which they intended to mine and offered shares for sale in the enterprise at discounted rates. In reality, detectives said there was no gold, or only a tiny amount that did not match the claims. Police believe the ‘boiler room’ had been running since February and fleeced victims out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

25 April 2014

UN’s carbon role questioned as $200 mln cash pile sits idle

By Suanna Twidale and Ben Garside, Reuters, 25 April 2014 | The U.N. body tasked with channelling hundreds of billions of dollars to cutting emissions is under growing scrutiny as its once booming investment programme dries up, leaving most of its funds unspent while other climate initiatives are short of cash… From 2003, developers flocked to register projects such as destroying heat-trapping waste gases at Chinese chemical plants or installing hydroelectric power stations in Brazil, and made huge profits by selling the resulting carbon credits for up to 22 euros ($30.40) a tonne in 2008. But interest has waned while countries wrangled over setting new emission goals under the UNFCCC, hammering credit prices down to unprofitable levels below 0.20 euros.

Halving meat and dairy consumption could slash farming emissions

By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 25 April 2014 | Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would be cut by 25-40% if Europeans cut their meat and dairy consumption by half, according to a UN report. Scientists from the UN Economic Commission for Europe say that as well as cutting air and water pollution, adopting a “demitarian diet” – cutting meat and dairy consumption in half – would lead to a 40% cut in Europeans’ intake of saturated fats. The vast majority of saturated fats come from animal products that can lead to cholesterol problems and obesity, and such a cut would bring levels to within a range recommended by the World Health Organisation. Prof Mark Sutton, one of the authors who coined the term demitarian and is one himself, said despite powerful farming lobbies it was not “pie in the sky” to envisage such a cut in meat consumption. But he said the team was not taking a position on how best to encourage people to change their food habits.

Seeking solutions in the wildlife farming debate

By Jacob Phelps, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 April 2014 | Controlled farming and cultivation have the potential to supply markets sustainably — whether in the form of teak plantations for wood furniture, cane-rat farms for local consumption, tiger farms for traditional medicine, game ranches for food and sport hunting, or plant cultivation for pharmaceutical markets. In addition to reducing pressures on wild resources, wildlife farming has the potential to enhance rural livelihoods and increase food access. Indeed, recent articles have called for mainstreaming interventions such as wildlife farming and ranching to help reduce rampant illegal trade — including a lucrative trade of protected timber species and shocking levels of elephant and rhino poaching. Despite considerable promise, research suggests that we need to further evaluate wildlife farming efforts.

Access to state-owned forests critical for rural smallholders, study finds

By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 April 2014 | A global study on the relationship between forest income and tenure has found that state-owned forests generate more income for rural smallholders than private or community forests. “The findings are unexpected because there is a lot of literature emphasizing that community forests are most important, especially for poor people,” said Pam Jagger, principal author and a scientist at the University of North Carolina. “Many people are surprised that state-owned forests could be yielding more income both per hectare and per household, but we have confidence in our results, even in highly divergent settings.”

[Australia] Proposed Changes for CFI under Direct Action Plan are Win Situation for Farmers

Austrian Tribune, 25 April 2014 | The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) allows farmers to raise and sell carbon credits by storing carbon through activities like capturing methane from piggeries and landfills and reducing cattle burps. The initiative was launched three years ago and since then, the CFI has launched a number of projects. Recently, changes have been proposed for the CFI under the Direct Action Policy, which are considered to be a win-win situation for farmers. The Federal Government released the White Paper on Direct Action Plan revealing the policy design of its Emissions Reduction Scheme (ERF). Jemma Greene, research fellow with the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Unit, shared some of the important facts about emissions reductions. Greene affirmed that emissions reduction baselines are not clear and are difficult to determine.

[Brazil] Campaign victory saves Earth’s most threatened tribe

Survival International, 25 April 2014 | In an unprecedented victory in the campaign to save Earth’s most threatened tribe, the Brazilian government has announced that all invaders have now been removed from the Awá indigenous territory in the eastern Amazon rainforest. The news comes exactly two years after Survival International and Hollywood star Colin Firth launched a high-profile international campaign to save the Awá from extinction – setting a new record in the history of Survival and its efforts to protect the land of indigenous tribes. Under unprecedented international pressure, the Brazilian government sent a ground squad of hundreds of agents to remove illegal cattle ranchers and loggers from the land of the Awá in January 2014. After an overflight of the area last week, the Public Prosecutor and Judge working on the case handed the Awá an official document confirming that all non-Indians have now been removed from their territory.

Congo’s fragile forests watched over with online map

By Hal Hodson, New Scientist, 25 April 2014 | The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to the second largest tropical forest on Earth. Now an online digital mapping system called Moabi is letting people view how the land is being used, to help protect the area from over-exploitation. Forests are vital sources of biodiversity, as well being huge carbon sinks and providing oxygen, but logging and mining operations can threaten these ecosystems. The idea of the online map is to find a balance between preserving the forest and allowing responsible operations to continue. It is designed to increase transparency, so local citizens and international groups alike are informed about land use. Launched on 22 April, Moabi overlays maps of the DRC, built as part of the crowdsourced mapping project OpenStreetMap, with information from the country’s government on where activities like mining, drilling, forestry, agriculture and road-building are planned.

26 April 2014

[Guyana] PS threatens to bar access, cut stipends to Amerindian leaders over community project

By Jeanna Pearson and Desilon Daniels, Stabroek News, 26 April 2014 | In the face of an audio recording of him threatening to bar access and withhold stipends from Amerindian leaders, Permanent Secretary of the Amerindian Affairs Ministry Nigel Dharamlall is denying issuing threats and has said his statements were taken out of context. Just hours before last week’s protest action outside the Public Buildings against the slashing of the $1.1 billion Amerindian Development Fund, Amerindians from across the country were called to a meeting at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara to discuss the 2014 budget. Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Amerindian Affairs Min-ister Pauline Sukhai and Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh were present at that meeting. It was there that Dharamlall was recorded saying that he would not allow any Toshao or senior councillor who presented the government’s Community Development Project (CDP) as a UNDP project to enter his office. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

27 April 2014


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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