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.
28 July 2014
By Virginia Benninghoff, Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 28 July 2014 | Over the past year, parties to the UNFCCC have taken significant steps to advance the concept of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD ). The close of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC saw the adoption of the Warsaw Framework for REDD , which sets out the guidelines for developing country parties to receive results-based payments for verified emissions reductions in the forest sector. However, the Warsaw Framework does not address non-carbon benefits of REDD or provide methodological guidance on non-market-based approaches for the implementation of REDD .
By Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev, Reuters, 28 July 2014 | The nearly 200 firms in Shanghai’s emissions trading scheme cut their CO2 output by 5.3 million tonnes in 2013 compared with 2011, government officials said Monday, according to state-owned media. The Shanghai scheme is one of seven pilot carbon markets launched in China as the federal government prepares a national market later in the decade to slow the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions. The 3.5 percent drop in CO2 came as a result of companies cleaning up production processes in order to meet targets under the scheme, local government officials told a conference in Shanghai, according to state-owned newspaper China Securities Journal, although the officials were not named. The officials said the market had worked well in its first year, with 82 companies participating, although they called for strengthened abilities to open the market to private investors and greater powers to punish violators.
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 28 July 2014 | Japan and Mexico have signed a deal for Japanese companies to earn carbon credits by investing in technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Mexico – in Japan’s 12th bilateral carbon agreement. The programme, known as the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), lets companies in Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, use lower-cost emission cuts abroad to help meet domestic targets. “The objective … is to establish the basis through which the participants will promote the investment and the use of technologies, products, systems, services and infrastructure in order to reach a low carbon growth in Mexico,” the Embassy of Japan in Mexico and Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources said in a joint statement on Monday.
By Gerald Kitabu, IPP Media, 28 July 2014 | Like in many communities, when the project on reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) started some few years ago in Lindi rural district, the villagers did not know exactly the benefits accrued from it. The value and benefits accrued from REDD were not well known and at some communities, it was beyond their knowledge, as many would benefit from the forest through illegal logging. Due to lack of such knowledge, many villagers were involved in charcoal and timber harvesting without calculating the effects of climate change in the region. Few years ago, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and Tanzania Community Forest Network (MJUMITA) started changing the mindset of the locals in ten villages after introducing REDD activities.
By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, 28 July 2014 | Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest could significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States, resulting in water and food shortages and a greater risk of forest fires, according to an eye-opening study published in the Journal of Climate last year. The potential connection has caught the attention of California regulators overseeing the state’s cap-and-trade program, providing perhaps another reason to allow international REDD offsets into the program.
By Rory Carroll, Reuters, 28 July 2014 | California Governor Jerry Brown and Mexican environmental officials signed a pact on Monday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an agreement that could eventually expand the market for carbon credits. The six-page memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation in developing carbon pricing systems and calls on the partners to explore ways to align those systems in the future. “California can’t do it alone and with this new partnership with Mexico, we can make real progress on reducing dangerous greenhouse gases,” said Governor Brown. California operates a carbon cap-and-trade system, which sets a hard limit on the carbon output from large businesses and requires them to either reduce emissions or purchase credits to meet the target. The state is on track to meet its goal of 1990 emissions levels by 2020.
29 July 2014
By Alejandro Argumedo, RTCC, 29 July 2014 | Indigenous people are one of the most vulnerable groups to the impacts of climate change. They stand to lose so much because, as well as relying on the natural environment and biodiversity for their livelihoods (often in fragile ecosystems), their entire worldview or ‘cosmo-vision’ is intertwined with and based on complex interactions with nature and the environment. Indigenous people are also made vulnerable by their widespread and continuing neglect and marginalisation in national, regional and international climate change policy. Unfortunately, this state of affairs is no surprise; the false but prevalent portrayal of indigenous peoples as homogenous, backwards and vulnerable is a product of colonialism.
By Tom Bawden, The Independent, 29 July 2014 | Neil Young’s concern for the environment shows no sign of abating. 44 years after first singing “look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s”, the Canadian legend is following in Sting’s footsteps by throwing his weight behind a new project to save the rainforest. The composer of After The Goldrush has teamed up with Rainforest Connection – the brainchild of American physicist Topher White – to set up a network of solar-powered mobile phones that alert guards to illegal logging activity. The project takes old mobile phones, retrofits them with solar panels and places them in trees around the forest. When their microphones pick up the sound of chainsaws, animals in distress or gunshots, they alert authorities in “real time” so they can apprehend the criminals.
By Jo Confino, The Guardian, 29 July 2014 | The natural world is being consistently degraded as a result of the pursuit of economic growth at any cost. While trillions of dollars are pumped into the financial system which powers this destruction, only a tiny trickle of money is directed towards the conservation and rehabilitation of our natural resources. This week a group of cross-sector experts from the worlds of business, finance, foundations, NGOs and institutions have been brought together by the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the largest global environmental network, to come up with solutions for how to encourage the financial markets to become champions of nature.
Survival International, 29 July 2014 | Davi Kopenawa, shaman and internationally renowned spokesman for the Yanomami tribe in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, has demanded urgent police protection following a series of death threats by armed thugs reportedly hired by goldminers operating illegally on Yanomami land… Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, “The rule of law means nothing on the Amazon frontier, which is as wild and violent as the American West used to be. Anyone standing in the way of this aggressive colonization risks being killed in cold blood. These are not empty threats – indigenous activists are frequently assassinated for resisting the destruction of their land. Davi Yanomami’s life is in danger. Those behind the threats and this latest attack must be brought to justice – the authorities need to act now to prevent the murder of another innocent man.”
By Tanya Dimitrova, Ecosystem Marketplace, 29 July 2014 | Five young men are cutting their way through dense rainforest vegetation in the northernmost part of Colombia – forest that was already old-growth when the conquistadors first set foot on the continent five centuries ago. The silence is interrupted only by the sound of running water from the many streams dissecting the hilly terrain. It is midday, and the heat is intolerable even for the mosquitoes. Frazier Guisao, an ex-logger, heads the single-file line, slicing through the thick undergrowth with a machete to carve out a narrow tunnel. The crew is patrolling the forest to protect it from illicit clearing.
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 July 2014 | A new study of forest and climate change policy in the Congo Basin finds adaptation to global warming to be missing in Central African policies, and suggests a way to fill this gap. “Promoting adaptation aims to preserve the environmental goods and services upon which the poor depend for their survival, with a view to ensuring their minimum needs are covered despite climate change,” said CIFOR scientist Denis Sonwa, one of the study’s authors. The publication, “Adapting the Congo Basin forests management to climate change: Linkages among biodiversity, forest loss, and human well-being,” states that about 30 million people — comprising more than 150 indigenous groups — live in the Congo Basin with “complete reliance” on forest resources for their livelihoods, increasing their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
By Shaira Panela, mongabay.com, 29 July 2014 | Yasuni National park has been in the conservation spotlight in recent years, with oil drilling threatening the forests and wildlife of this biodiversity hotspot. Recently, disturbance in the park may have ramped up, with satellite data showing a significant increase in deforestation alerts within Yasuni National Park since 2011. The increase in forest damage in the region coincides with a series of oil drilling activities near the blocks where deforestation alerts are clustered. Yasuni National Park, established in 1979, covers approximately 982,000 hectares. The park is at the center of a small zone where amphibian, bird, mammal, and vascular plant diversity are all at the highest levels in the Western Hemisphere. Because of this, it is among the most biodiverse places in the world, with a large number of endemic and threatened species. For instance, the park is home to a species of bat (Lophostoma yasuni) found nowhere else in the world.
By Ed King, RTCC, 29 July 2014 | Washington appears to be the latest US state considering tightening its climate laws, with plans for a cap and trade system released on Monday. A memorandum posted on Governor Jay Inslee’s website says design options on a carbon trading scheme will be presented by the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) later today. “Building on the presentations provided at the last meeting by California and British Columbia carbon emission reduction program representatives, the contractor team will present information on design options of a cap and trade system and a carbon tax system with initial tailoring for Washington State,” it says. The document suggests the northwest US state could link up with the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) trading scheme, which involves California together with the Canadian states of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.
By Rory Carroll, Reuters, 29 July 2014 | California Governor Jerry Brown and Mexican environmental officials signed a pact on Monday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an agreement that could eventually expand the market for carbon credits. The six-page memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation in developing carbon pricing systems and calls on the partners to explore ways to align those systems in the future. “California can’t do it alone and with this new partnership with Mexico, we can make real progress on reducing dangerous greenhouse gases,” said Governor Brown. California operates a carbon cap-and-trade system, which sets a hard limit on the carbon output from large businesses and requires them to either reduce emissions or purchase credits to meet the target. The state is on track to meet its goal of 1990 emissions levels by 2020.
30 July 2014
Kaieteur News, 30 July 2014 | Billions of dollars in concessions have been granted over the last two decades, but there are very few mechanisms in place by the various agencies and ministries to gauge how the country has been benefitting. Keith Burrowes, Head of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), the one-stop Government agency to help facilitate a smooth process for investors, admitted that the entity is guilty of failing to document and analyze the direct and indirect benefits. He assured that steps are now being taken to rectify this situation. Responding to questions, Burrowes said that it is important for investment agencies to go beyond the basic tracing of taxes paid and examine how companies, both foreign and local, contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when contrasted against the concessions and tax breaks given. GDP is like a price tag on a country’s output, and it measures the size of the economy.
Voxy.co.nz, 30 July 2014 | New Zealand consumers of electricity are being price gouged to the tune of about $1.388 million while the companies pocket the profits, a new economic analysis released today by the Iwi Leaders Forum reveals. The analysis has identified evidence of overcharging by energy and liquid fuels companies for the carbon credits they must purchase to offset their pollution, as part of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). “These companies have been charging consumers at an average rate of $14 per tonne of carbon since the inception of the ETS, when the market price is less than $3,” said spokesperson Dr Apirana Mahuika. The Chairman of the Iwi Leadership Group for Climate Change says this analysis has lifted the lid on the Government’s strategy to prop up the value of state assets like Genesis Energy prior to selling them off.
By Justin Catanoso, Yahoo News, 30 July 2014 | Stanford University scientists have produced the first-ever high-resolution carbon geography of Peru, a country whose tropical forests are among the world’s most vital in terms of mitigating the global impact of climate change. Released July 29, the 69-page report to Peru’s Ministry of the Environment could become a tool itself to battle rising temperatures, offering unprecedented data for the creation of carbon offset programs. It is complete with vivid 3-D maps that pinpoint with a high degree of certainty the carbon density of Peru’s vast and varied landscape, from its western deserts and savannas, to its lowland forests, to its soaring Andean peaks, to its lush eastern Amazon rainforests.
31 July 2014
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 31 July 2014 | The June round of climate negotiations commenced with wide recognition amongst Parties of the need for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to be accelerating negotiations based on the outcomes of the 5thAssessment Report (AR5) released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this year. This session was the last opportunity for Parties to meet before the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit, to be held in New York in September – the first time world leaders have met on the issue since the failed 2009 Copenhagen Conference. High expectations for finance announcements are expected from this meeting.
CIFOR, 31 July 2014 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has launched a new action research program to better understand the impact that recent land tenure reforms have had on the tenure security and the well-being of forest dependent communities in Indonesia, Uganda and Peru. Two decades of tenure reforms in Africa, Asia and Latin America have provided greater legal recognition of the rights of women, indigenous groups, and customary and local authorities. These have intended to improve livelihoods and incentives for sustainable land management. However, implementation of these reforms has been uneven and has led to mixed results, including an increase in tenure insecurity.
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 July 2014 | José Maria Arara, Almir Surui, and Aureliano Córdoba all have three things in common: each is the leader of a traditional forest community of the Amazon; each lives in a country that nominally recognizes their rights to their forests; and each has used carbon finance to exercise and reinforce their rights. And they’re hardly alone, according to a new study called “Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change”, which was published jointly by the World Resources Institute (RRI) and Rights and Resources International (RRI) this week.
BBC News, 31 July 2014 | Environmentalists feel that deforestation may have triggered Wednesday’s landslide in western India that killed at least 30 people and left up to 200 trapped, papers report. Teams of emergency workers have so far rescued eight people in Malin village, near the city of Pune in Maharashtra state, where the disaster happened. Environmentalist Satish Thigale tells The Times of India that “a large-scale deforestation had made the place vulnerable”. Mr Thigale, who is the former head of the geology department at Pune University, adds that “the root cause of the landslide appears to be levelling of land on the hill for cultivation and uprooting of trees”. Villages close to Malin must be surveyed and if they show landslide signs, villagers must be relocated,” he says. Environmental activist Sumaira Abdulali blames the landslide on “stone quarrying”.
Survival International, 31 July 2014 | Rare video footage of the first contact with a group of uncontacted Indians near the Brazil-Peru border has emerged alongside new accounts of horrific violence against their community, prompting experts to call for the urgent protection of their land or risk their “extermination” and “genocide”. The video clip was released by FUNAI, Brazil’s indigenous affairs department, and first published by “Amazonia Blog” and shows several young and healthy Indians exchanging goods such as bananas. But disturbing reports by the Indians suggest that many of their elder relatives were massacred and their houses set on fire. Interpreter Zé Correia reported, “The majority of old people were massacred by non-Indians in Peru, who shot at them with firearms and set fire to the houses of the uncontacted. They say that many old people died and that they buried three people in one grave. They say that so many people died that they couldn’t bury them all…”
By Shaira Panela, mongabay.com, 31 July 2014 | Ongoing loss of forest cover in the Philippines places it among the top ten most threatened forest hotspots in the world, with the archipelago ranking fourth, behind Indo-Burma, New Caledonia and Sundaland (a region encompassing Australia and parts of Southeast Asia). According to a report issued by Conservation International, only five percent of Philippine forests remain intact. This high rate of forest loss is especially troubling as the Philippines is considered to be one of the most biodiverse countries in the world – so much so, that scientists have termed it “megadiverse.” The United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Center ranked the Philippines 25th among countries with the highest numbers of bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian and vascular plant species. Scientists estimate 10,000 plant and animal species inhabit the Philippines, many of which are endemic to the country.
By Karl Mathiesen, The Guardian, 31 July 2014 | Almost one million cubic metres of illegal timber, much of it stripped from threatened rainforest habitats, harming local communities of animals and people, was imported into the UK last year. I have to admit being shocked by today’s audit result. That’s four hundred olympic swimming pools full of unsustainably, unethically sourced wood, ripped from forests of the world’s poorest people and sold to some of the world’s richest. That is despite the UK’s relatively proactive stance on the issue. As a whole the EU is still a huge importer of illegal timber. The European Commission today threatened to take recalcitrant member states to the European Court of Justice. This is a vital step if measures continue to be ignored. But the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) is not only weakened by non-compliant members. Its exclusion of huge numbers of product types makes it only a half measure.
1 August 2014
The Jakarta Post, 1 August 2014 | With many unresolved environmental agendas in the country, observers are demanding strong, reform-minded individuals to fill ministerial posts in the new Cabinet. Greenpeace Southeast Asia analyst Yuyun Indradi said the environment minister post should be given to a figure with the courage to make systemic changes to the ministry. “The [current] Environment Ministry has no bite. With all the many interests involved, it must be supported politically,” Yuyun told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “We need someone who is vocal and is a bit of a rebel. Someone who is brave enough to change the system.” Yuyun said a solid track record and reputation in the field were not enough to tackle the ministry’s internal problems, let alone urgent environmental conundrums.
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 1 August 2014 | Indigenous tribesmen living deep in the Peruvian rainforest have emerged into the outside world to seek help, after suffering a murderous attack by probable drug traffickers. The contact took place across the border in Brazil and was recorded in a video released on Friday. The tribesmen caught a serious respiratory disease after contact, a major killer of isolated indigenous people, but have since recovered. Other tribes living in voluntary isolation on the Peru-Brazil border have been spotted in recent years. In August 2013 amateur footage emerged showing members of the Mashco-Piro clan appearing across the Las Piedras river from the remote community of Monte Salvado in the Tambopata region of Madre de Dios state, in Peru’s south-eastern Amazon. Local officials said up to 100 members were spotted in late June.
By Alvar Mwakyusa, Daily News, 1 August 2014 | As the country gears for implementation of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) come 2016, plans are underway to set up a 5.5 million US dollars (about 8.8bn/-) National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC) in the next three years. Through a funding from the government of Norway, the facility would provide technical services on measuring, reporting and verification of REDD+ activities across the country. This was revealed in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Vice-President’s Office (Environment Division) and the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). Permanent Secretary in the Vice-President’s Office, Mr Sazi Salula, said before signing the MoU with the Vice-Chancellor of SUA, Profesor Gerald Monera, that the centre will also be a depository of all data and information concerning the project.
2 August 2014
By Nicole Radzievich, The Morning Call, 2 August 2014 | The Nature Conservancy recently helped broker a deal in which the Walt Disney Co. will obtain carbon credits from the Bethlehem Authority, which owns sensitive woodlands surrounding the city’s water supply in the Poconos. The deal provides the authority money for infrastructure improvements while allowing Disney to offset its large carbon footprint left from its theme parks and cruise ships. Josh Parrish, director of land conservation at The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania, is the subject of this week’s Q&A.
3 August 2014
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.