REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (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.
20 October 2014
How do we collaborate to curb deforestation?
By Jeremy Goon (Wilmar), World Economic Forum, 20 October 2014 | Consumers around the world are beginning to favour responsibly produced goods; and many companies that manufacture end-user goods have given themselves deadlines of between 2015 and 2020 to source 100% sustainable products to meet market demand. It is therefore critical that palm oil companies and the governments of the countries that produce them realize how important it is to move in this direction. In December 2013, Wilmar International Limited announced a “No deforestation, no peat and no exploitation” policy, with sustainability commitments covering the company’s entire palm oil supply chain. There is a need for momentum towards a more sustainable future in an industry that continues to be embroiled in debates over deforestation, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions and social conflicts.
Research in Central Africa finds troubling gaps in knowledge of climate change
By Joan Baxter, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 October 2014 | Policymakers working on forests and climate change in Central Africa often lack knowledge of fundamental concepts of those issues, according to a sobering new study. The research points to a greater need for capacity-building in the countries that are home to the world’s second-largest area of tropical forest. It is all but undisputed fact—few exceptions aside—that tropical forests can be a powerful force in the fight against climate change, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere even as they age, while emitting carbon when they are cleared. But not enough of this information has reached people where findings meet forests, according to the study, “What are we talking about? The state of perceptions and knowledge on REDD+ and adaptation to climate change in Central Africa.” This knowledge gap could hamper efforts to help local people manage their natural resources and slow the uptake of programs such as REDD+…
Bolivia leads climate change fight
By Richard Fidler, Green Left Weekly, 20 October 2014 | Bolivian President Evo Morales was re-elected for his third term on October 12 with more than 60% of the vote. The “process of change” that the Morales government leads ― its “democratic and cultural revolution” as Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera terms it ― is still in its early stages. But it has already attracted considerable interest ― and some controversy ― internationally, not least because of its role as a leading critic of global climate change, which it attributes to the effects and the logic inherent to the capitalist mode of production. Below, Richard Fidler looks at some ways Bolivia seems to go “beyond capitalism”. It is abridged from a longer presentation, the full version of which can be read at Fidler’s blog Life on The Left.
Brazil must target smallholders to curb rising deforestation
By Anastasia Moloney, The Guardian, 20 October 2014 | Farmers with smallholdings are not responsible for most of the destruction of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, but their contribution to deforestation is rising and must be addressed if the country is to hold on to recent gains, according to an environmental research group. Government efforts led to a 77% fall in deforestation in the Amazon between 2004 and 2011, but progress has slowed and deforestation is rising, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) said in a report. The report said that between 2004 and 2011, landowners with more than 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of property were responsible for about 48% of the deforestation. Areas owned by smallholders accounted for 12% of the forests destroyed during the same period. However, since 2005, the contribution to annual deforestation by the largest landowners has fallen by 63%, while that of smallholders has increased by 69%, the report said.
[Brazil] The Jargonaut: REDD All Over?
By Brian Palmer, OnEarth Magazine (NRDC), 20 October 2014 | There are two basic ways to reduce deforestation: REDD, which the UN wants to promote, is the carrot. Brazil, which has more rainforest than any other country in the world (by a lot), has been using the stick. The stick works (or at least, it used to). Deforestation in Brazil has fallen 79 percent in a decade, and the country recently boasted four straight years of declining deforestation rates… This punitive, top-down approach was amazingly effective—until last year. With little warning, deforestation jumped 29 percent. What happened? Although Brazil is still doing better than most countries, many observers worry that the regulations are beginning to grate. Farmers have complained for years that the restrictions are too harsh, and large landowners successfully lobbied to loosen deforestation laws two years ago. The economy has stalled. The soybean moratorium ends this year.
Denmark’s plan to offset transport emissions sparks EU row
By Arthur Nelson, The Guardian, 20 October 2014 | A Danish bid to expand carbon offsetting to the transport sector has triggered uproar among NGOs and academics, with one new analysis saying it would devastate efforts to reign in fuel emissions. Transport is responsible for a quarter of Europe’s CO2 pollution and, unlike most sectors, its contribution is rising fast – up 36% since 1990. About half of Europe’s transport emissions come from cars and the EU has ordered car-makers to slash their fuel emissions by 2021. But the latest draft of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy package, due to be agreed later this week, suggests counting transport emissions within the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS). The document, seen by the Guardian, calls for concrete proposals allowing states to achieve their climate goals with “a new flexibility”.
First Detailed Map of Aboveground Forest Carbon Stocks in Mexico Unveiled
environmentalresearchweb, 20 October 2014 | Rane Cortez from The Nature Conservancy, Chief of Party of the Allianza MREDD+ states, “Mexico is quickly becoming a leader on REDD+ and can serve as a model for other countries. This biomass map and dataset represent one of the important advancements that Mexico has made in developing its national monitoring system and will help the country prioritize its strategies and investments for reducing emissions from deforestation.” This work was made possible by USAID within the framework of Mexico’s REDD+ project, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Google.org, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. Partners include CONAFOR, MNP, NASA, the University of Maryland, the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CANABIO), the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, and Natural Areas and Sustainable Development (ENDESU).
Drought, Deforestation and Degradation Plague Paraguay’s Forest Peoples; Can REDD+ Help?
Ecosystem Marketplace, 20 October 2014 | What’s happening to Paraguay’s forest is, unfortunately, a well-told story. The forests are under pressure from a multitude of threats that are undermining its health. A changing climate continues to alter rain patterns and affect food security. Drought plagues the farming and indigenous communities that rely on the forests for their livelihoods. Meanwhile, poor local people living nearby are over-hunting and illegally logging. And the forest people receive little help from authorities in the way of law enforcement toward preventing these crimes. Because of these threats, Paraguay’s 16 million hectares of forest are diminishing. This includes the Gran Chaco, the largest dry forest in South America. But as in several other countries struggling with similar challenges, REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) could serve as a solution. With REDD, sustainable forest management is fundamental.
[UK] Investors warned over Northamptonshire land connected to jailed conmen
Northampton Chronicle and Echo, 20 October 2014 | Investors are being warned by council officers that they cannot build on a plot of land in Northamptonshire that was at the centre of a £10 million fraud. The site in Hulcote, near Towcester, is being sold by the liquidators of Matthew Noad and Clive Griston, who were jailed for conning people into investing in it and other plots with a view to huge profits when the land was developed. But South Northants Council has warned that its policy is not to develop open countryside and any permission to build the land is highly unlikely to be granted… After pleading guilty in December, and combined with a scam in relation to Carbon Credits, Noad and Griston were jailed for four years and eight months each and disqualified from being company directors for 10 years at the Old Bailey on April 22.
Britain targets 2017 for start of European carbon market reforms
Reuters, 20 October 2014 | Britain wants reforms to Europe’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) to start from 2017 to tackle the scheme’s massive oversupply and boost investment in clean technologies. Siding with an earlier view from Germany, the British government said in a statement on Monday that it wants the so-called market stability reserve (MSR) to be in place four years earlier than proposed by the European Commission. The Commission, the EU executive, has proposed from 2021 to set aside hundreds of millions of surplus carbon allowances from the ETS to help firms cope with economic shocks. Britain also wants 900 million carbon allowances from a more limited backloading reform programme to be cancelled or inserted directly into the reserve.
[UK] Leicester project The Carbon Tree aims to help businesses become greener
By Isobel Frodsham, Leicester Mercury, 20 October 2014 | Last December, East Midlands Airport became the first UK airport to announce that its entire ground services were carbon neutral. One way of achieving this is by a process known as “offsetting” carbon emissions by funding trees to be planted in forest locations. The Carbon Tree, based in Leicester, provides such a service. Founded by Tom Riley and Dennis Marshall-Hasdell in January, the Carbon Tree offers the opportunity for businesses to purchase woodland carbon capture units in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Scotland.
21 October 2014
‘Let them eat cake’: A dangerous approach to bushmeat and Ebola
By Robert Nasi and John E. Fa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 October 2014 | “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—Let them eat cake—is the phrase supposedly uttered by a great princess (though often attributed to Marie Antoinette) upon learning that France’s peasants had no bread. This is a similar response, in our estimation, to what seems to be permeating from certain quarters with respect to the consumption of bushmeat and its links to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever). A number of opinion pieces have appeared in reputable magazines such as New Scientist and The Ecologist containing the suggestion that disease outbreaks from the Ebola virus could have been avoided if only people stopped eating wild meat. This argument is unsound. One of the reasons for this misjudgment has to do with what seems to be a general misunderstanding of human diseases, their origins, and what we have to do to live with them.
Forests in the spotlights: From TED Talks to REDD+ Talks
By Anne Sandbrink, blog.annesandbrink.com, 21 October 2014 | Tomorrow a spin-off of the TED talks will happen in London: the REDD+ Talks. This event will catch the eye of only a specific crowd because it’s not as generic as the TED Talks. All talks will focus on REDD+: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation + Conservation and Sustainable Development. This international mechanism initiated by the United Nations aims to increase the value of standing forest and provide forest communities and developing countries with a new, sustainable pathway to economic growth. Recognizing the economic value of ecosystem services that standing forests provide will not only result in greenhouse gas emission reduction, but will also contribute to forest conservation, biodiversity preservation and sustainable economic development of forest communities.
Brazil protects giant swathe of Amazon rainforest
Reuters, 21 October 2014 | The Brazilian government said on Tuesday it has put an environmentally rich area of the Amazon rainforest under federal protection, creating a reserve larger than the U.S. state of Delaware. The new reserve, called Alto Maues, has 6,680 square km (668,000 hectares or 1.65 million acres) of mostly untouched forests that are not known to have human presence, the Brazilian Environment Ministry said. Declaring a federal reserve means forest clearing and similar development are forbidden. Putting large areas of mostly intact rainforest under federal protection is one of the tools the Brazilian government has to combat deforestation and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The creation of these reserves is part of the country’s climate policy. Deforestation is the main cause of carbon emissions in Brazil, unlike most countries where the burning of fossil fuels leads emissions.
EU summit to debate multi-billion carbon quota ‘transfer’ system
EurActiv, 21 October 2014 | European leaders meeting later this week for an EU summit on energy and climate change will discuss proposals allowing energy-rich nations like France and Germany to transfer 10% of CO2 emissions quotas to member states such as Poland, who are struggling to diversify their energy mix. The EU’s 28 heads of states and government will try to reach agreement on climate and energy policy for 2030 at the EU summit, which takes place in Brussels on Thursday and Friday (23 and 24 October).
[India] REDD+ Connecting Business & Forest Peoples
C LEVEL, 21 October 2014 | In the worlds wettest place, Meghalaya, the Federation of Indigenous Khasi are powering ahead with India’s first REDD+ Project. You can watch the short film we made, the 101Vision in just 4 minutes here. Sacred forests, scattered with ancient stone monoliths, are home to a multitude of endangered species. Yet, due to pressures from logging, mining, forest fires and agriculture, deforestation was rapidly undermining ecosystems and peoples livelihoods. Community Forestry International worked with a Federation of 10 indigenous kingdoms to develop India’s very first REDD+ initiative, certified under the Plan Vivo (living plan) Standard. Businesses are able to make payments for ecosystem services by buying carbon credits – making these kind of projects happen and aligning business interests with those of the worlds great forests and indigenous peoples like the Khasi.
[Indonesia] After the party, piles of problems await Jokowi
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 21 October 2014 | As the dust of festivities and the euphoria settle, civil society groups have highlighted programs that the newly inaugurated President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo should prioritize in his administration. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) deputy coordinator Agus Sunaryanto said on Monday that the pressure was extremely high for Jokowi to deliver on his promises, considering how enthusiastic people were in celebrating his inauguration. “If we look at the enthusiasm of the people, this is a president who many people hope will be able to create change,” he told The Jakarta Post. The homework is particularly piling up in combating rampant corruption and enforcing the law, according to Agus.
Indonesian law bars palm oil companies from protecting forests
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 21 October 2014 | A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers’ commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. The report focuses on the zero deforestation policy established in 2011 by Golden-Agri Resources (GAR), Indonesia s largest palm oil producer. It looks at how well that commitment is being implemented for a pilot project across eight concessions in West and Central Kalimantan, provinces in Indonesian Borneo. Based on analysis of satellite imagery and government data, the study finds that GAR is effectively protecting high carbon stock (HCS) areas in seven of those concessions, all located in West Kalimantan.
22 October 2014
The Global Trade in Deforestation and Associated Emissions
By Frances Seymour, Center For Global Development, 22 October 2014 | Last month, I celebrated commitments to slow deforestation by Peru and Liberia announced at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York. Those agreements significantly expand the still-small set of large-scale experiments with REDD+, in which rich countries – in this case, Norway and Germany – promise to pay forest-rich countries to reduce emissions from deforestation. But a new Working Paper commissioned by CGD’s Initiative on Tropical Forests for Climate and Development argues that such national efforts could be overwhelmed by the increasingly commercialized and globalized markets for commodities that drive deforestation. The study, “Trading Forests: Quantifying the Contribution of Global Commodity Markets to Emissions from Tropical Deforestation”, by Professor Martin Persson et al seeks to inform “demand-side” efforts to get deforestation out of commodity supply chains.
Biodiversity And REDD: How They Fit Together
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 October 2014 | Over half the world’s known species are found only in tropical forests, and companies that invest in forest carbon projects often do so as much to conserve endangered habitat as to sequester carbon. Indeed, most privately-funded forest-carbon projects explicitly identify and tout their biodiversity impacts to attract top dollar, which is why voluntary carbon markets have succeeded in using carbon finance to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and to conserve biodiversity. But can governments replicate that success at a national or at least state-wide level? That question was central to last week’s 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where delegates explored the synergies between sustainable forestry and biodiversity conservation.
Unlikely partner could boost ‘best deal’ for protecting forests, slowing climate change
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 October 2014 | A declaration by the governors of 21 tropical states and provinces announced recently at the United Nations Climate Summit is one of the “best deals going” for mitigating climate change and protecting tropical forests, a top scientist says. And one non-tropical place—California—could be “key” to the success of the declaration. The Governors’ Climate & Forests Task Force (GCF) signed the Rio Branco Declaration in August, committing to reduce deforestation by 80 percent by 2020—if pay-for-performance financing can be secured from donor governments and the private sector. Significantly, the governors pledge to channel a substantial share of that revenue toward indigenous people and forest communities. Daniel Nepstad, the Executive Director of the Earth Innovation Institute, said on the sidelines of the Colloquium on Forests and Climate that although the task force has been a long-term collaboration…
A Future with a Low-Carbon Asia
Economy Watch, 22 October 2014 | Coal accounts for more than half of electricity generation in the PRC, India, and ASEAN, and will continue to be an important player in global energy markets in the coming decade. At the end of 2012, Australia, the PRC, India, and Indonesia combined, accounted for 64% of the world’s total coal production of 7,831 million tons, with Indonesia being the largest exporter (IEA 2013). Coal reserves in the region would be sufficient to sustain current rates of production for the next 50–70 years and lift hundreds of millions of people out of energy poverty in the short term. But the region’s reserves are predominantly subbituminous lignite and of low and medium energy content. Hence, clean, affordable electricity from coal is vital for the region’s emerging economies… Japan’s Bilateral Offset Credit Mechanism, which allows for the offsetting of the high costs of technology to guaranteed transfer of carbon credits, is attracting interest…
Cameroon: Forest Governance – Monitoring, Evaluation Mechanism Underway
By Roland Mbonteh, Cameroon Tribune, 22 October 2014 | The impact of Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade” (FLEGT) examined in Buea. Following the consequences of illegal forest exploitation, some of which includes the degradation of the environment, loss of public finance and poor living conditions of indigenous forest communities amongst others, the European Union (EU) adopted a strategy in 2000 dubbed “Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade” (FLEGT) in a bid to curb the illegality in countries in Africa and South America exporting timber to Europe. Cameroon with a forest surface area of 19.6 million hectares (3rd largest in Africa) ratified the agreement through law no. 2011/238 of 9 August 2011 while the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife signed an Ordinance in 2013 to implement the agreement.
China’s coal consumption drops for first time this century
By Sophia Yeo, RTCC, 22 October 2014 | China’s coal use has fallen for the first time this century – a turning point for a country which currently consumes almost half of the world’s coal supplies. Consumption dropped by 1-2% this year, even as the economy grew by 7.4%, coal analysts at Greenpeace revealed, using official data on China’s imports, production and stockpiles of coal. In contrast, China’s coal consumption more than doubled during the first decade of this century. It has has slowed in recent years; coal imports dropped to just 0.9% during the first half of 2014, compared to 13.3% a year earlier.
[Guyana] Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. clears air on its proposed investments here
By Manu Bansal, Guyana Chronicle, 22 October 2014 | Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. notes the letter written by Assistant Professor Janette Bulkan, University of British Columbia, Canada, regarding our proposed investments in Guyana (SN 15/10/14). We wish to state that the company is quite happy to release information regarding itself and its activities in Guyana (and indeed around the world) to anyone that requests that information, particularly concerned Guyanese. The letter writer has provided us the opportunity to highlight the areas of concerns raised, and while we would have been equally pleased to provide this information in response to a polite request, we seek your indulgence in allowing us to publicly provide some information regarding our company, its antecedents, and our proposed investments in Guyana.
[Japan] Nagoya Commodity Exchange to Launch Carbon Credits Contract
MENAFN, 22 October 2014 | In a landmark initiative that will enable direct trading of Carbon Credits Nagoya Commodity Exchange today launched futures trading in Carbon Credits. This pioneering initiative at Nagoya Commodity Exchange makes it among the select few in league. Commenting on the launch Mr. Genichi Nakatoni Chairman and CEO of NGCX said “Launching of carbon credit futures on the Nagoya Commodity Exchange’s trading platform would provide transparency to markets and help producers earn remunerative returns out of environmentally clean projects.” Trading in new generation commodities like carbon credits has placed Nagoya Commodity Exchange on the global map of innovative exchange for providing global products to its clients.
[UK] BHP Billiton to face grilling from coal-impacted communities at AGM
By Kevin Smith, World Development Movement, 22 October 2014 | Representatives from Colombia and Indonesia have arrived in London to tell the BHP Billiton board that coal-mining is destroying communities. On Thursday morning the board of controversial mining company BHP Billiton will be facing a series of angry community representatives at their AGM who have come to London to describe the impact that coal mining is having in different parts of the world. We’re going to be supporting them in a demonstration outside the AGM at 10am at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. Rogelio Ustate and Francisco Tovar are from communities impacted by the Cerrejón coal mine in the La Guajira region of Colombia. The mine, which is part-owned by BHP Billiton has led to the forced removal of numerous farming communities, almost all of Indigenous or African descent.
23 October 2014
Green Bonds Expected To Top $100 Billion In 2015
By Joshua S Hill, CleanTechnica, 23 October 2014 | Another strong quarter for issuances of green bonds has taken the year’s total up to $32 billion, more than double the total issued during 2013, and fuelling predictions that 2015 could see $100 billion worth of green bonds issued. Data from the Climate Bond Initiative published Tuesday claimed $9.2 billion green bonds were issued in the third quarter. “The league table shows that Crédit Agricole, BAML and SEB were the main drivers of the growth of the ‘labelled’ market in the last quarter that saw 28 green bonds issued,” said Climate Bonds Initiative CEO Sean Kidney. “We predict USD100 billion of issuance in 2015 and green bonds to go mainstream in 2016.”
Unraveling the ‘landscape approach’: Are we on the right track?
By Liz Deakin and James Reed, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 October 2014 | ntegrated approaches to land management at landscape scales have been evident in the development and conservation sectors, under various guises, for many years now. But despite initial promise, strategies such as Integrated Conservation and Development Programs, Ecosystem Based Approaches and Integrated Watershed Management have in many cases failed to deliver on reconciling conservation and development objectives concomitantly. Meanwhile, the Integrated Landscape Approach is gaining traction as a more inclusive and equitable land-management tool for balancing competing demands among different sectors. While there have been many recent attempts to describe and define the landscape approach, a number of challenges persist.
Did Europe Just Cement Its Status as the World’s Climate Leader?
By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News, 23 October 2014 | “The decisions you take today will determine whether Europe remains a world leader,” Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, declared before the European Council as it decided how ambitious the continent should be in tackling the climate crisis. With just over a year left for governments to reach a meaningful climate treaty, leadership is indeed up for grabs. And Europe right now may have a greater right to the mantle of climate leadership than any other claimant. Early on Friday, its heads of state, meeting in Brussels, unanimously endorsed a deal that includes a binding cut of at least 40 percent in greenhouse gas reductions by 2030, compared to 1990, along with somewhat less dramatic and non-binding goals for increasing energy efficiency and renewables.
[EU] Greenhouse gas cuts will impact on everything from homes to transport
By Ann Cahill, Irish Examiner, 23 October 2014 | Further big cuts to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in the EU promise to affect every aspect of people’s lives, from their homes, to transport, to work and food. Desperate efforts will continue right up to today’s EU summit to try to agree an ambitious range of new targets to fight climate change, but several countries were threatening to block. Ireland is one of the few countries that has succeeded in getting what it needs to reduce the impact of huge amounts of methane produced by the country’s 8 million cows. Hopes were high in the Irish camp last night that fellow EU members would agree that by 2020 agriculture would be recognised as both a contributor and a solution to greenhouse gases. In this way the methane, which is a greenhouse gas, emitted by sheep and cows, could be offset against the absorption capacities of forestry, but also grasslands that also act as a carbon sink.
[Indonesia] Changes to Ministries Under Jokowi Come to Light
By Carlos Paath, The Jakarta Globe, 23 October 2014 | A list of the ministries that President Joko Widodo plans to merge has come to light, confirming earlier speculation that the Education Ministry would be split up, among other changes. The affected ministries and their new incarnations are listed in a letter submitted to the president to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, a day after his inauguration. “The letter is a request for input on changing the ministries,” Fahri Hamzah, a deputy speaker of the House, told reporters on Thursday morning. “We’ll follow up on it with the rest of the House leaders and the party leaders at two this afternoon.” The proposed changes are as follows: … The Environment Ministry and the Forestry Ministry will be merged into the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
Norway announces new contribution to Guyana for its continued low deforestation
regjeringen.no, 23 October 2014 | The Guyana-Norway climate and forest partnership continues to make significant progress. In 2012, Guyana kept deforestation and forest degradation at very low, though increased, levels. Based on this result, combined with improvements in forest governance in 2012-13, Norway today announces that it will contribute 35 million USD to the implementation of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. Today’s announcement of a US$35 million payment to Guyana is based on Guyana’s deforestation rate in 2012 as well as the country’s progress on indicators that will enable agreed goals for forest governance. “Guyana’s ambitious goal is to enhance economic growth while preserving the rainforest. I am happy that Norway can contribute to Guyana’s green development through our partnership on forest. Guyana’s deforestation is one of the lowest in the world…” says Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and the Environment in Norway.
[UK] Fossil fuel divestment campaign targets UCL and BHP Billiton
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 23 October 2014 | The fast-growing campaign to persuade investors to dump fossil fuel stocks has set its sights on a twin target of the world’s biggest mining company and one of the globe’s best universities. The mining giant BHP Billiton will face protests at its AGM in London on Thursday over its £6m association with University College London (UCL) and the effects of its activities around the world… The BHP Billiton AGM will also hear protests from people affected by its operations around the world. Rogelio Ustate Arregocés, has travelled from Colombia, where his village Tabaco was destroyed by the opencast Cerrejon coal mine, one of the largest in the world and part-owned by BHP… Pius Ginting, from Friends of the Earth Indonesia, will also use proxy shares to tell the BHP Billiton AGM that company should give up its huge areas of coal mining permits in the rainforests in the heart of Borneo. UCL declined to meet Arregocés or Ginting.
Zimbabwe: Mbire – Search for a New Legend
The Herald, 23 October 2014 | Yet a significant helping help to Mbire may yet come from a climate change initiative dubbed Kariba REDD + Project, which is being conducted by an organization called Carbon Green Africa. The project targets areas in the Zambezi Valley namely Mbire, Nyamhunga, Hurungwe and Binga and seeks to promote the conservation of forests as natural reservoirs of carbon. Carbon Green Africa describes the Kariba REDD project as a “forest conservation project aimed at providing sustainable livelihood opportunities for poor communities in northern Zimbabwe, a region now suffering heavily from deforestation, poverty, and drought” and up to 2 million hectares of forest. The concept is based on the belief that trees help “clean” the air and eliminate toxic gases that cause global warming and climate change.
[Zimbabwe] ‘Mitigate against effects of climate change’
By Veneranda Langa, NewsDay, 23 October 2014 | Environment, Water and Climate ministry acting Climate Change deputy director Veronica Ngundu told participants at a Redd+ workshop for Transparency International Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday that deforestation was most prevalent in the countryside. “The global climate has been affected by air pollution, especially from carbon dioxide released over decades of industrial pollution in countries far from us, and the removal of vegetation cover reduces the ability of the world’s ecosystems to safely absorb the carbon and other pollutants from the atmosphere. The less vegetation there is, the more the climate will change because of the air pollution problems on a global scale,” Ngundu said. She called for transparency and accountability in the use of Redd+ funds meant to help conserve the environment, adding that uncontrolled bush fires released vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere resulting in the air becoming hazy in summer.
24 October 2014
Beyond Carbon: Althelia Climate Fund Attracts Conservation Investors
By David Bank, Huffington Post, 24 October 2014 | The Althelia Climate Fund, based in Luxemburg and London, has packaged many of the elements that bankers and conservationists alike say are necessary to attract private capital to large-scale ecosystem conservation projects around the world. The most recent validation of Althelia’s model comes in the form of a $5 million investment from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Along with two private investors who will announce their commitments later this year, Packard’s investment brings Althelia’s fundraising to approximately $117 million and keeps the fund on pace for a December closing, when it aims to report at least $150 million. A first round of $76 million closed last June. “We see them as a really promising vehicle for bringing a range of impact investment capital to climate projects,” said Susan Phinney Silver, who heads Packard’s program-related investment initiative.
Forest carbon projects turn to consumers in quest for cash
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 24 October 2014 | At a London meeting of participants in the REDD+ scheme on Wednesday, there were more sellers of forest carbon credits than buyers. But there are plans to extend the market to ordinary consumers as well as corporations and governments, through an initiative called Stand for Trees. Due to launch by Valentine’s Day 2015 and backed by US Aid, it will allow people to buy forest carbon credits on their smartphones… Greg Barker, climate envoy to the UK prime minister, told delegates he was more optimistic about REDD+ now than two years ago. “Progress on REDD+ so far has been too slow. That money is taking too long to flow and not enough incentives are in place for this to work,” he said. “But there is now a real push to make this work and learn the lessons of the last few years. This is no time to back away from this programme.”
EU emissions target isn’t as ambitious as it seems
By Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 24 October 2014 | It sounds bold and ambitious. European Union leaders last night signed off on an agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. But climate scientists are wary of applauding the plan. For one thing, the target is a cut of 40 per cent compared with greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 – nearly 25 years ago. Since then, the EU has made cuts of almost 20 per cent, mainly through burning less coal and outsourcing heavy industries to developing countries. So it is virtually halfway there already. EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said after the deal that the new target left the EU’s 28 member states “right on target” to meet its longer-term aspiration of an 80 per cent cut by 2050. But it’s easy to argue otherwise – we’re already nearly halfway there to the new 40 per cent target for 2030, but we’ll have to act tougher and faster to cut a further 40 per cent in the remaining 20 years before 2050.
Europe and the ‘why me?’ approach to decarbonisation
By Arthur Nelson, The Guardian, 24 October 2014 | In the economically flush days of 2007 as states prepared poker stances for an anticipated Kyoto II deal in Copenhagen, the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2020 were seen as a ‘me first!’ moment. Six years later, the bloc’s sequel is already being denounced by the clean energy industry and environmentalists as a ‘why me?’ package that barely rises above the EU’s own ‘business as usual’ forecasts, and comes with caveats that could render it toothless. The 20-20-20 benchmarks for 2020 – of 20% CO2 cuts, renewable energy share and efficiency gains – had appeared to offer global leadership. Reciprocal pledges were expected to allow a dynamic new US president to galvanise a coherent response to climate change. The 40-27-27 goals for 2030 slow the EU’s pace of change and extend to renewable energy the one clear failure of the 2008 package – a ‘non-binding’ energy efficiency goal that the bloc looks set to miss.
Q&A: The EU’s 2030 climate targets
By Simon Evans, Carbon Brief, 24 October 2014 | How ambitious is the EU being? The EU announcement is certainly world-leading in at least one sense: it is the first major player to lay down its commitment to tackling climate change out to 2030. UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon says the target demonstrates the continued global climate leadership of the EU. The likes of China and the US are expected to take note when deciding their own commitments in the run up to next year’s talks in Paris, where a global climate deal is due to be signed. In this context the two little words, “at least”, are all-important. The UK pushed hard to secure this wording, with David Cameron giving it his explicit support. Some scientists have said a 40 per cent reduction should be the absolute minimum EU contribution if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. And consultants Ecofys says it would leave the EU behind the curve against its 2050 aspiration to cut emissions by 80 to 95 per cent.
[Ghana] MMDAs must take environmental policies seriously
spyghana.com, 24 October 2014 | Ms Ama Kudom Agyeman, member of the Planning Committee of Ghana REDD+ has asked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to ensure that policies enacted towards the implementation of sustainable management of forests and the environment are taken seriously. She said MMDAs stand to benefit from the forests and environmental resources, and it behoves them to protect these resources against deforestation and degradation for generations yet unborn. Ms Kudom Agyeman was addressing major stakeholders and students as part of the Ghana REDD+ Road Show in Hohoe. The Ghana REDD+ refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of existing forest carbon stocks, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks.
[Indonesia] International engagement to kill our forest fires
By Wimar Witoelar, The Jakarta Post, 24 October 2014 | President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has never been a foreign minister or diplomat, but he has a keen sense of the world and the reciprocal interests it has with the national needs of Indonesia. As a businessman he had from early on linked his products to international markets and frequently participated in international fora. As a mayor he was internationally recognized and won several awards. Now there is the exciting prospect of extending his global view to the presidency. This will allow him to meet domestic issues with the power of broad perspectives. It will jump-start his presidency beyond the reach of petty political opposition. Jokowi, who won the election by grassroots popular support, can make his presidency a success through strategic foreign policy. One major challenge facing him at the dawn of his presidency is the resolution of the decades-long horror of forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
[PNG] A plea to stop the land-grabbing in New Guinea
By Lester Seri, ALERT, 24 October 2014 | ALERT is reposting here parts of a recent blog by Lester Seri, a traditional landowner in Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea. Lester belongs to the Wo Ari Kawo tribe. He is a Coordinator for Oro Communities Environmental Advocacy Network (OCEAN) Inc., which campaigns against illegal land, logging and oil palm issues in Papua New Guinea. Earlier this week ALERT began a campaign against the massive land-grabs in Papua New Guinea known as Special Agricultural and Business Leases. Lester’s tribe is being plagued by one such land-grab.
[UK] Gem dealer fraudster is jailed for four years
Eastbourne Herald, 24 October 2014 | A gem dealer who conned pensioners into parting with their life savings to buy coloured diamonds as an ‘investment’ at hugely inflated prices has been jailed for four years. John Bishop, 32, was part of a team of five fraudsters who cold called thousands of victims to persuade them to buy brightly coloured stones via their company No.1 Gems. The victims, mostly retirees registered with investment companies, were sent glossy brochures and promised massive returns if they invested in the gems. But the stones had in fact been bought in bulk from a diamond catalogue and given a huge mark up in the No.1 Gems brochure.
Will the REDD+ initiative help reduce the plundering and looting of Zimbabwe’s forests?
By Lenard Kamwendo, Kubatana, 24 October 2014 | Vast tracks of land under forests are under threat in Zimbabwe from deforestation and land degradation. It is estimated that Zimbabwe is losing more than 300 000 hectares of trees (forest) per year largely due to deforestation. Agricultural expansion, driven by population growth, has also contributed to the deforestation, as new farmers tend to rely heavily on trees for firewood to cure tobacco. Depletion and loss of forest has become a major issue for climate change the world over contributing 15% of global greenhouse gas emission. Effects of climate are starting to be felt in Zimbabwe with prolonged dry seasons and floods affecting some parts of our low lying regions. Zimbabwe has engaged several forest management initiatives targeted at protecting and rehabilitating existing forests. Among such projects is the recently piloted REDD+ initiative…
25 October 2014
How do different land-use policies interact? New study seeks to find out
By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 October 2014 | A group of international experts from academia, research institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has developed a typology to analyze the policy “ecosystem” for different land-management tools. “Our goal is to understand what combinations of actions by citizens, consumers, NGOs, corporations and governments are best suited to promote sustainable land use,” said Eric Lambin, a professor with the Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research in Belgium and Stanford University in the US. Lambin is the principal author of a research paper, published recently in Global Environmental Change, that came out of a workshop held in Brussels in 2013 in which participants examined the effectiveness of policies such as eco-certification, payment for environmental services (PES), land-use zoning and commodity roundtables.
Experts: EU energy package lacks courage
Prague Post, 25 October 2014 | The EU was not ambitious enough when approving the climate and energy package till the year 2030, most experts and analysts addressed by ČTK agree, and ecologists even say that Europe has wasted a key chance for raising its energy security. On the other hand, the Czech government is content with the approved energy package. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after the meeting of EU leaders today that the agreement was acceptable for the Czech Republic because it left the decision-making on the energy mix and particular commitments up to individual countries. The EU leaders agreed last night that by 2030, the EU will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared with the level in 1990. The news about the agreement has been announced by the European Council chairman Herman Van Rompuy.
US$35M for Guyana under Norway deal
Stabroek News, 25 October 2014 | Guyana is in line for a new payment of US$35M under its forest protection agreement with Norway, after a marginal increase in deforestation and forest degradation in 2012. Although the figure represents an expected drop in earnings, President Donald Ramotar in an address to the nation characterised the announcement as “a strong rebuttal” to those who he said have tried to “kill” government’s Low Carbon Develop-ment Strategy (LCDS) and the Guyana-Norway partnership, while hinting at progress on resuscitating the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. Government planned to use some US$80M from payments received from Norway as equity for the project, which was shelved after the developer pulled out last year.
26 October 2014
[Australia] Palmer’s softer line increases government hopes on direct action climate change policy
By Lisa Cox, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 October 2014 | Senior Abbott government members are increasingly confident a deal to pass its direct action climate change policy will be reached before Christmas after Clive Palmer appeared to soften his party’s hardline position on the scheme. Australia has been without a climate change policy since July, when it became the first country to abolish a carbon price and key crossbench senators stressed their opposition to direct action on the grounds it was expensive and would fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The central plank of direct action is an emissions reduction fund – $2.55 billion drawn from the budget that would be used to pay polluters who could deliver emission cuts at lowest cost.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.