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.
Perceived Non Carbon Benefits from Community Based Forest Management and Lessons for REDD+: Insights from Northern Tanzania
By Thabit Jacob, International Journal of Environment and Bioenergy, November 2014 | As REDD+ unfold on the ground in pilot countries, attention has focused primarily on financial benefits that forest dependent communities and countries will receive for selling carbon credits. However, benefits from REDD+ are more than just financial revenues associated with carbon storage or sequestration. There is a need to clarify non-carbon benefits and their contributions to the wellbeing of forest dependent communities. In this paper, I explore perceived non-carbon benefits from Duru-Haitemba Villages Land Forest Reserve, a CBFM site which is getting ready to embrace in the REDD+ mechanism.
Indigenous Women and REDD+ Making their Voice Heard
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, November 2014 | Women – both indigenous and non-indigenous – have actively engaged in international and national REDD+ processes to raise their concerns regarding the potential negative impact of REDD+ on women, and to assert their right to equally participate in negotiations, planning and implementation of REDD+. Indigenous women share many of the basic concerns and needs with their non-indigenous sisters but their situation as women in indigenous societies sets them apart from those who are part of the mainstream society, and their needs and concerns are often different. Indigenous women’s concerns may thus not be fully addressed, either by indigenous rights advocacy or by women’s rights and gender advocacy. In advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples and for the rights of women, the specific situation and needs of indigenous women therefore need to be taken into account.
Rediscovering The Country – A Film Journey Into Landscape Restoration
She Oaks Films, November 2014 | Australian Forest Growers (through its branch ‘Ballarat Region Treegrowers’) in conjunction with She Oaks Films are proud to present our film “Rediscovering the Country – A Journey into Landscape Restoration”. The film helps promote our vision for Australia’s rural landscapes – one with less erosion, more beauty, plenty of native grass, trees and wildlife AND a way for people to earn an ‘environmentally friendly’ income through different kinds of tree growing. The first public showing was on 20 June 2014 for a supporters event of the Norman Wettenhall Foundation at the Melbourne Museum. There was also a release in Ballarat on 4 July. The final film is freely available as a creative commons project through this website. The project is funded by donations.
Development of a REDD+ Curriculum with the World Bank FCPF
Newsletter of the GOFC-GOLD Land Cover Project Office, November 2014 | The GOFC-GOLD LC Project Office (LC PO) has been developing a REDD+ curriculum on monitoring and reporting, in partnership with the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The training material is aimed to provide learning and teaching material to enable countries to develop capacities and implement REDD+ monitoring and reporting. The external review of the modules is now achieved. The GOFC-GOLD LC PO is waiting for the World Bank’s final approval to release the materials. We expect the modules to be available online early 2015, free of charge, on the GOFC-GOLD LC PO and FCPF websites. You can follow us on Twitter (@gofcgold_lc) and Facebook (gofc-gold.lc.po) to be among the first to be informed on the release.
10 November 2014
From rainforest to your cupboard: the real story of palm oil – interactive
By Laura Paddison, Jenny Purt, Josephine Moulds, Oliver Balch, Yosef Riadi, and Ulet Ifansasti, The Guardian, 10 November 2014 | You wash with it, you brush with it, you toast it, it’s in 50% of what you buy – but what’s the real story of palm oil? Use the interactive below to trace the journey of palm oil from the rainforest through to your kitchen cupboard.
Can business and NGOs get deforestation-free vows to take root?
By Jessica McGlyn, GreenBiz, 10 November 2014 | The Forests Dialogue, a multi-stakeholder platform that uses focused dialogue and trust-building to resolve forest-related conflicts, recently held a dialogue at Yale University to begin to answer some of these questions. According to TFD co-leader Rod Taylor, director of WWF’s Global Forest Programme, the goal of the discussion was to “find the best ways to harness the surge of attention on eliminating deforestation without undermining the broader sustainable development agenda.” Participants gathered from all over the world, representing everything from community organizations such as the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests to large consumer goods companies such as Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Campaigners and advocates such as Greenpeace and Forest Heroes, who have played a big part in driving the “zero” movement, participated alongside organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil…
Automakers Are Cheating To Meet European Emissions, Fuel Economy Goals: Report
By Angelo Young, International Business Times, 10 November 2014 | If your car’s fuel economy and emissions information seem too good to be true, it might be because they are, especially in Europe, where stringent emissions and fuel economy standards are forcing automakers to produce greener machines, or cheat tests. A new report concludes that laboratory and other controlled testing has become so prone to manipulation that in many cases the claims are effectively useless. “The gap between official test results and real-world performance has become a chasm,” said the “Mind the Gap” 2014 report from the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) released last Wednesday. The report cites research from the International Council on Clean Transportation that concludes this gap stands at 31 percent, up from 8 percent in 2001. This means cars pollute much more than companies are claiming, and they often have lower fuel economies than advertised.
[Australia] David Attenborough and Jane Goodall join the fight to create a new national park in Victoria
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 10 November 2014 | Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall have made an unusual intervention into Australian state politics by calling for a new national park to be created in Victoria to save the endangered Leadbeater’s possum. Attenborough, who is visiting Australia, has thrown his support behind the establishment of the Great Forest national park, which would encompass much of the central highlands area of Victoria. “The maintenance of an intact ecological system is the only way to ensure the continued existence of biodiversity, safeguard water supplies and provide spiritual nourishment for ourselves and future generations,” the naturalist and wildlife documentary maker said. “It is for these reasons, and for the survival of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, that I support the creation of the Great Forest national park for Victoria.”
[Guyana] President issues proclamation to prorogue Parliament – Speaker
Stabroek News, 10 November 2014 | President Donald Ramotar this morning issued a proclamation to prorogue Parliament, Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman has confirmed… The move to prorogue was widely anticipated as it would give the government up to six months without having to reconvene Parliament. Analysts however have said this is an unprecedented use of the prorogation option which has anti-democratic facets and would be seen as a patent attempt to avoid the opposition’s motion of no-confidence which was likely to bring down the government and trigger fresh elections. Without Parliamentary approval, analysts say that spending of public funds during the prorogation period will be a major issue.
[Guyana] US$80M for Amaila Falls Hydro Project available – Dr. Luncheon
Kaieteur News, 10 November 2014 | Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon recently disclosed that the US$80M needed to fund the Amaila Falls Hydro Project has been identified and made available. Dr. Luncheon told media operatives that while Guyana stands poised to receive the remaining payments from the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) agreement it has with the Kingdom of Norway, it has already benefitted from US$150M and the remaining sum is expected to be received during the fifth and sixth payment cycles. The Cabinet Secretary also stated that the recent visit by a Norwegian delegation to Guyana also served to cement plans to start the process that the administration has undertaken to keep alive the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. He said that work is being done with the Norwegians and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to facilitate the US$80M for the construction of the hydro power facility.
[India] Abandoning false solutions to climate changes suggested
E-Pao, 10 November 2014 | Expressing concern over the worsening climate changes in Manipur resulting in frequent flood, drought, loss of species and impact on indigenous peoples’ cultures, traditions and their survival, a State level convention on climate change, false solutions and indigenous peoples’ rights in Manipur held today at Manipur Press Club resolved that climate crisis cannot be resolved within the framework of “market solutions” while calling for States to abandon all false solutions to climate changes that negate indigenous peoples’ rights. The convention was organised by Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur… Delivering the keynote address, Jiten Yumnam, secretary, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur highlighted the context of deepening climate crisis in Manipur and how aggressive introduction of large scale development projects in Manipur, such as mega dams, oil exploration, creation of industrial zones and other large infrastructure projects…
Will merging competing ministries help save Indonesia’s forests?
By Robert S. Eshelman, mongabay.com, 10 November 2014 | “She has no previous, notable history on environmental issues, so it will be interesting to see what her policies will be,” said Aditya Bayunanda of the World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia. “There are challenges to align the two ministry interests but it provides an opportunity towards more sustainable policies across the sectors,” he added. “Her experience in the Ministry of Home Affairs should equip her in the merging processes of Ministry of Forests and the Ministry of Environment,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Substance-wise she should have strong advisers.” Murdiyarso’s confidence in Nurabaya’s experience is shared by some conservation organizations. They caution, however, that the wide array of issues the two ministries have been responsible for might make the path toward substantive reform a difficult road to hoe for the new minister.
[Indonesia] Transmigration Is the Last Thing That Papua and Its People Need
By Bobby Anderson, The Jakarta Globe, 10 November 2014 | Marwan Jafar, President Joko Widodo’s new minister for village development, disadvantaged regions and transmigration, announced on Oct. 31 that he would make Papua more attractive to Javanese migrants by working with the police and military to provide security there. Marwan, from the National Awakening Party (PKB), one of the smaller parties in Jokowi’s cabinet, might have been seeking to impress his boss with his can-do attitude. Instead, his statement reveals a complete ignorance of the volatility in Indonesia’s easternmost province, of which tension between migrants and Papuans is a part. Papuans are utterly marginalized by the Indonesian government, from the ministerial level on downwards. They have the lowest life expectancies in Indonesia, the highest maternal and child mortality rates, the lowest educational levels, and the lowest incomes.
[Malaysia] Forestry Dept marks centennial joy
By Chris Maskilone, Daily Express, 10 November 2014 | The Sabah Forestry Department celebrates its centennial anniversary with key milestone achievements, particularly in its Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) programmes that saw 53 per cent of about 3.9 million hectares of the State’s land mass become permanent Forest Reserves, Protection Areas and Wildlife Conservation Areas. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said this showed the SFM introduced in 1997 by the Forestry Department as a turnaround plan has come to fruition. “It has been made a policy that any de-reservation of these protected areas must be replaced with equal or better forests,” he said at the launch of the Sabah Forestry Department’s centennial celebration at Padang Merdeka, here, Sunday. Additionally, he said Sabah has placed about two million hectares of commercial Forest Reserves under the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement (SFMLA).
Peru has massive opportunity to avoid emissions from deforestation
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 10 November 2014 | Nearly a billion tons of carbon in Peru’s rainforests is at risk from logging, infrastructure projects, and oil and gas extraction, yet opportunities remain to conserve massive amounts of forest in indigenous territories, parks, and unprotected areas, finds a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research is based on a comprehensive assessment of Peru’s carbon stocks using an advanced laser-based mapping system. The system, developed by a team led by Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science, enables scientists to map three dimensional vegetation structure at extremely high resolution, well beyond the capabilities of conventional satellite-based systems. The mapping work revealed the extent of above-ground carbon storage across landscapes and ecosystems — ranging from farmland to Andean cloud forests to dense rainforests — in Peru.
[Uganda] “Carbon violence” underlies the green sheen of carbon offsets
By Niki Widdowson, Phys.org, 10 November 2014 | Queensland researchers have coined the term ‘carbon violence’ to describe the effects of G20 and other developed countries’ investments in African plantation forestry to offset carbon emissions in a report for US think tank, the Oakland Institute. Dr Carol Richards, a senior research fellow in QUT Business School’s School of Management, traced the finance that led to land acquisition in Uganda in a study, The Darker Side of Green, Plantation Forestry and Carbon Violence, conducted with her co researchers from UQ, Dr Kristen Lyons and Dr Peter Westoby, who interviewed 152 Ugandan villagers about their experience of the plantation program. She said the study investigated the impact of Norwegian plantation forestry company Green Resources in Uganda and had shown that not only had the company’s operations disrupted the local ecology but had destroyed the livelihoods of subsistence farmers.
11 November 2014
Rich countries subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by $88bn a year
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 11 November 2014 | Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields. The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International.
Smoke ‘Em Out: Time to Kick Big oil from the Global Climate Talks
By Anna Lappé, Earth Island Journal, 11 November 2014 | Article 5.3 in the Framework Convention states: “In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, parties shall act to protect these polices from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.” Compare Article 5.3 to what’s permissible in climate negotiations. At the annual climate meetings – called “Conference of Parties,” or COPs – Big Energy organizes pavilions, dinners, and breakaway meetings. Some industry representatives have even attended COPs as official members of country delegations. Corporations have been granted official observer status and given key roles through industry trade associations… At the 2011 COP in South Africa, the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, made up of fossil fuel and power companies, lobbied for and won carbon credits for new coal plants, even though carbon offsets for coal are known to be counterproductive.
Institutional investors urged to consider risk of deforestation to growth
By Jonathan Williams, Investment & Pensions Europe, 11 November 2014 | Pension investors should pay greater attention to the risks of deforestation and encourage companies to look at the associated business risks, as a new report showed inconsistent disclosure policies across timber, palm oil and biofuel supply chains. Paul Simpson, chief executive at the CDP, the NGO behind the report, said some investors were beginning to see the risks posed by deforestation, and cited last year’s divestment by Norway’s Storebrand from certain palm oil companies as an example. Freddie Woolfe, associate director of corporate engagement at Hermes Investment Management, added that forests should be viewed as important in capturing excess carbon emissions and ensuring water risks are kept low. “For a heavily diversified universal asset owner such as a pension fund, which is focused on long-term wealth creation, destruction of such a valuable ecosystem with no comparable alternative makes no sense.”
WWF welcomes Rainforest Summit
By John Conroy, The Australian, 11 November 2014 | WWF-Australia, the Forest Peoples Programme and the Uniting Church in Australia, have released a five-point action plan… Sustainable tropical forest management and conservation, with an emphasis on recognising and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to their customary forests; Development of sustainable agriculture, which ensures zero net deforestation, supports small-holders and respects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities; Protection of High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock forests, particularly those which conserve species impacted by development; through cooperation with indigenous peoples and local communities, and through recognition of conserved territories and areas; Action to reduce forest carbon emissions, through conservation, sustainable management and restoration; Anti-corruption and land tenure reform initiatives.
Voices of Hope in a Time of Crisis
By Asoka Bandarage, Huffington Post, 11 November 2014 | The Conference helped raise a host of important questions regarding the shift towards environmental sustainability and climate protection in particular. The Indigenous Environment Network and similar groups have consistently criticized the trade in carbon credits arguing that it allows the world’s worst polluting countries and companies to continue polluting and “reap profits from evictions, land grabs, deforestation, and destruction of biodiversity.” At the ‘Voices of Hope’ Conference, Brazilian activist Camila Moreno raised further concerns over the UN and World Bank backed carbon trading system. She pointed out that carbon units could become the new ‘metric of trade’ in the twenty first century allowing values to be placed on environmental resources like land and trees. This new currency, however, would not benefit the environment or poor land based communities.
Do Green Power Certificates Boost Green Power?
By Renat Heuberger (South Pole Carbon), Huffington Post, 11 November 2014 | n this context, the concept of “additionality” is of utmost importance… The concept is well-known from another market of eco-certificates, namely carbon credits. A company or government can reduce CO2 emissions by buying a carbon credit. However, to have a real impact on the climate, it is necessary to invest in a truly additional project that wouldn’t have happened anyway. In the case of the CO2 certificates, the UN Climate Convention as well as the “Gold Standard” foundation supported by the WWF, released strict regulations to insure that one metric ton of CO2 exists for each CO2-certificate, ensuring that the project is not just “business as usual”, and ensuring that the project brings additional social and economic benefits to people living nearby.
Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 November 2014 | If you build it, will they come? That’s the question that the authors of blue carbon methodologies are now asking. “Blue carbon” ecosystems include seagrasses, tidal salt marshes and mangroves that provide a myriad of benefits and store an incredible amount of carbon. These coastal oases are also some of the most threatened natural places on the planet and are being lost at a rate of about 2% per year, due mainly to aquaculture and coastal development. Despite their importance, the significance of coastal ecosystems to climate change was not widely recognized until recently. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) didn’t release its Wetlands Supplement for national-level wetlands carbon accounting until 2013. Before that, wetlands were not considered to be a “managed” land base.
Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund
King & Wood Mallesons, 12 November 2014 | A key element of the Australian Government’s “Direct Action” carbon policy appears poised to become law, after passing its biggest hurdle, a hostile Senate on Friday 31 October 2014. At this stage, the bill is expected to be enacted into law once it is debated in the House of Representatives… The bill is known as the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 (Bill), which proposes to amend the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, being the legislation that established the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) (see our previous alert, Cashing in on Carbon Farming). There are a number of major changes to the CFI under the Bill. In particular, the Bill expands the types of projects eligible to participate in the scheme and introduces the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) to replace trading of units credited under the scheme.
[Australia] ETS dreamers should abandon Direct Action hope
By Marcus Priest, Business Spectator, 11 November 2014 | Every now and then you come across something called legislative drafting by wishful thinking. That is, legislation which reflects the hopes and aspirations of politicians about what should happen without any guarantee that it will in fact occur. This is to be contrasted with laws which prescribe clear rules and penalties for their non-observance. Since the passage of the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014 (CFI Amendment Bill) through the Senate the other week, there has been much comment that it provides a basis for a future emissions trading scheme (here and here). This is because in establishing a new Emissions Reduction Fund it provides the framework for a new “Safeguard Mechanism”. However, a closer examination of the legislation and the amendments to the Bill sponsored by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon indicates that the promise of a future emissions trading scheme is a rather fragile one.
Food and forests: Bolivia’s balancing act
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 November 2014 | In Bolivia, Mother Earth has the right to life, biodiversity, clean water and air, equilibrium, restoration and pollution-free living. That law, passed in 2012, gives humans the duty to protect those rights. But the landlocked country in the heart of South America is also committed to expanding food production to meet the needs of its growing population, and to using its land and forests for economic growth. As in many other tropical countries, those two goals are on a collision course, according to a study of deforestation and forest degradation in the Bolivian Amazon. Much of Bolivia’s tropical forest, located in the country’s lowlands, has been threatened by soy farming and by the expansion of cattle ranching. Deforestation rates are stable though relatively high, at about 200,000 hectares a year, according to the study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
EU carbon prices hit 8-month high on market reform prospects
Reuters, 11 November 2014 | European carbon prices rose to an eight month high on Tuesday after the new European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy urged nations to agree speedy reforms of the bloc’s carbon market. The front-year EU Allowance (EUA) was trading up 9 cents, at 6.81 euros at 1636 GMT, having touched an eight-month high of 6.83 euros earlier in the session. “The market reacted bullishly to Canete’s speech and there are hopes the MSR (Market Stability Reserve) will be passed sooner rather than later,” a carbon trader said. Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told a European Parliament committee he expected to work towards “timely adoption” of the reforms and he hoped “work on this important piece of legislation can be concluded by the end of the first quarter next year”.
Guyana president suspends parliament to avoid no confidence vote
BBC News, 11 November 2014 | The president of Guyana has suspended the national parliament to avoid MPs passing a vote of no confidence in his government. Donald Ramotar invoked an obscure constitutional procedure to carry out the manoeuvre. He said in a statement he was disbanding the legislature with the hope that it might eventually “benefit our people”. But his opponents accused the president of undermining democracy. Mr Ramotar executed his decision as MPs returned for their first day of work after a two-month recess. Under a constitutional tool known as “proroguing”, he said he would be able to suspend parliament for a maximum of six months. The measure would allow the president’s administration to work with an opposition-controlled parliament without calling early elections, according to the Associated Press news agency.
C’River Communities Protest Nigeria-Cameroun Boundary Demarcation, Articles
By Bassey Inyang, This Day Live, 11 November 2014 | Palpable tension has enveloped Danare, Biajua and Basua border communities in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State following information filtering into the communities that the United Nations (UN) Technical Team on Border Demarcation will soon return to hoist a new pillar, 113A, in line with International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment. Perhaps, suspecting that the alleged impending hoisting of the controversial pillar might ultimately cede some parts of their communities, the people of the communities staged a protest on Sunday in Danare, located about 300 kilometres to Calabar… After the protest, the clan head spoke to a group of journalists, and explained the significance of the protest… “Cameroun wants to take over our land because they have no forest and we have heavy carbon credits, salt and heavy vegetation.”
[Indonesia] Govt to increase jurisdictional approach to tackling environmental problems
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 11 November 2014 | The government will intensify the implementation of its jurisdictional approach to ensure that any development programs are environmentally friendly, an agency has said. The National Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Agency (BP REDD+) said on Tuesday that the approach needed to be implemented on a larger scale as it offered many benefits. “For us in Indonesia, the jurisdictional approach for REDD+ should be realized nationally and implemented cross-functionally through district and provincial governments,” said the agency’s head, Heru Prasetyo, during an international conference held by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta.
How Indonesia’s One Map could tackle the haze problem
By Medha Basu, FutureGov, 11 November 2014 | [Nirarta] Samadhi [head of Indonesia’s One Map initiative] wants new President Jokowi to allow free distribution of the map. Although Jokowi acknowledged the initiative in his presidential debate, “I haven’t seen any encouraging progress in terms of funding and programmes” for 2015, Samadhi said. This year Samadhi plans to establish local agencies for geospatial information at every province and sub-province to coordinate with the national agency. He also plans to improve the accuracy of the map by standardising its data sources. If Samadhi is successful, governments may be more successful in holding back the smog. But it seems as though there will be a long wait for the One Map project to be fully operational.
UK has “vital” role in protecting the climate
By Joseph Curtin, RTCC, 11 November 2014 | The EU’s flagship emissions trading scheme (ETS), covering almost half of all emissions, is beset with an over-supply of credits and depressed carbon prices. As a result, coal powered generation remains attractive in the EU, even though it is disastrous from a climate perspective. A key issue with the agreed framework is that companies can use cheap international carbon credits that they have already purchased to meet this target. This could critically undermine the real rate of decarbonisation if it is not addressed.
[UK] National campaign will target those most at risk of investment fraud, says FCA
Compliancy Services, 11 November 2014 | Using funds recovered from the proceeds of crime, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a national campaign to warn people about investment fraud and how to spot a potential scam. Investment scams generally involve high-pressured selling, using boiler room tactics, for products which often do not exist, including land-banking schemes, carbon credits and rare earth metals. The FCA is encouraging anyone who is considering an investment to check its ‘Scamsmart’ website, www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart, and seek independent financial advice from a regulated professional before going ahead. In the last year, the FCA processed 6,593 reports of suspected unauthorised activity, issued 295 consumer warnings and secured the removal of 61 websites promoting suspected boiler rooms. The FCA has also secured criminal convictions against 4 individuals who were involved in unauthorised activity, including running fraudulent investment schemes.
12 November 2014
Forest Investment Program (FIP) – CIFs Monitor 10
Bretton Woods Project, 12 November 2014 | Indonesia and international civil society groups have repeatedly protested about the FIP in Indonesia with complaints focused on the lack of consultation, particularly the lack of fulfilment of free, prior and informed consultation with indigenous peoples, fears of militarisation of forest projects leading to human rights abuses, and concern about a planned industrial logging project (see CIFs Monitor 9). In September the World Bank published a detailed response to a June letter sent by 50 Indonesian groups and international organisations. The Bank responded that “all consultations are in line with the FIP design document” and that “financing will only be provided where free, prior, and informed consultation results in broad community support to the project by the affected indigenous people” while noting “there is no universal definition of consent”.
Some Very Initial Thoughts on the US-China Deal
By Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, 12 November 2014 | It Robs Climate Obstructionists of Their Best Argument – Most significantly, commitments made by China under the deal take away what has historically been the most effective argument in defense of climate negligence in the US: “Why should we stop polluting if China won’t?” For the first time, China is committing to capping its emissions and acknowledging that there must be a limit to its coal-powered growth juggernaut.
Adios, Sustainababble. Welcome, Flourishing and Restoration
By Julie Fahnestock, Justmeans, 12 November 2014 | Go Green. Do Good and Do Well. Recycle, upcycle, fair trade, organic, carbon credits, conscious capitalism, slow living, the triple bottom line and corporate social responsibility. We’ve all heard these slogans, phrases and trendy words. They could all be summed up into one word: sustainababble. Sustainababble, according to Robert Engelman, President of the Worldwatch Institute, is defined as “a cacophonous profusion of uses of the word sustainable to mean anything from environmentally better to cool.” Have we truly lost value in the way we talk about sustainability in business? What is all this sustainababble worth? How can those of us in the business of sustainability truly accomplish any of this jargon if we don’t agree about what any of it means? We have defined the word, ‘sustainability’ and what it means to operationalize sustainability in business in thousands of ways.
Global Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Market Expecting Revenue Growth To $17.31 Billion By 2020: New Report By Grand View Research, Inc.
Grand View Research press release, 12 November 2014 | Global CBM (Coal Bed Methane) market is expected to reach USD 17.31 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% from 2014 to 2020. Unconventional CBM reserves, especially in coal-rich regions are increasingly gaining the spotlight as the industry strives for energy independence. Exploration and commercialization of unconventional hydrocarbon energy sources is seen as a critical step by energy agencies, to stabilize the energy supply-demand gap in the coming years. With CBM being a pure natural gas form, producers and consumers also have the opportunity to obtain much needed carbon credits and tax incentives.
Sixth IUCN World Parks Congress Opens
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 12 November 2014 | The sixth International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) opened on 12 November, in Sydney, Australia, with a ceremony that transitioned the role of Congress host from South Africa to Australia. The eight-day event is expected to attract 5,000 participants from more than 160 countries, and culminate in the ‘Promise of Sydney Vision,’ a document highlighting the importance of protected areas (PAs), listing promises made during the WPC, and proposing steps for its fulfillment. Convening under the theme ‘Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions,’ WPC 2014 will take place over several parallel sessions, including plenary meetings, ‘Stream’ and ‘Theme’ sessions, ‘World Leaders’ Dialogues,’ e-poster presentations, field trips and other events.
Paper from illegally logged rainforest ‘could be on sale in Australia’
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 12 November 2014 | The federal government has been urged to do more to ensure illegally logged forest doesn’t end up as paper sold in Australia, as delegates gather in Sydney for a once-a-decade international forum on conservation. Around 5,000 delegates from more than 160 countries have descended on the city for the week-long World Parks Congress… But environmental groups have called for tougher action by Australia to protect forests. Greenpeace said it has taken photos it says shows Asia Pacific Resources Holdings Limited, or APRIL, destroying forest on fragile peat land in the Riau province of Indonesia. APRIL supplies a number of Australian businesses, including two office retail chains. The company has introduced a sustainable forestry policy but green groups have said it is inadequate and that Australians could unwittingly be buying paper that has rainforest in it.
China-US climate pact ‘heartening’ but short of what’s needed: IPCC
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 12 November 2014 | A deal between China and the United States to combat global warming is “heartening” although it falls short of the action needed to avert the worst impacts, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists said on Wednesday… “This is a heartening development,” Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Reuters. “This is a good beginning and I hope the global community follows this lead and maybe builds on it.” He acknowledged that the deal fell far short of a road map toward zero net emissions by 2100 that an IPCC report on Nov. 2 indicated was needed to avert the worst.
UN climate chief hails China-U.S. announcement on climate change
Xinhua, 12 November 2014 | United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres on Wednesday hailed a joint announcement by China and the United States on climate change as providing momentum towards a new climate agreement in Paris in 2015. Fiegueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which organizes UN climate talks, said in a statement that the joint announcement by China and the United States in Beijing to strengthen joint efforts to tackle climate change signals “determination towards addressing the climate change challenge from a growing number of key economies.” “This joint announcement provides both practical and political momentum towards a new, universal climate agreement in Paris in late 2015,” she said. “This positive momentum opens the door for all major economies and in particular all other industrialized nations to bring forward their contributions to the Paris agreement in a timely fashion over the coming months,” she added.
Business can save ecosystems and support economic development
By Guilherme Leal and Jochen Zeitz, The Guardian, 12 November 2014 | Business must be willing to explore investing in nature to protect its bottom lines. Whether it is the ecosystem services that support the conditions for life, the natural resources necessary for the creation of products, or the business costs resulting from droughts, floods, reduced air, water quality or climate-related threats. This begins by protecting and investing in valuable areas, such as national parks and wilderness areas. Protected areas can present a plethora of business opportunities. They can have both intrinsic and commercial value, and not protecting them can carry an economic cost — either resulting from the downstream effects of biodiversity loss or, more directly, from investing in practices that destroy these areas.
Stoves cook up relief for Ethiopia’s forests, climate
By Martin Herold, Nils Horstmeyer and Elizabeth Dressen, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 November 2014 | A simple device could spell relief for Ethiopia’s beleaguered forests by making cooking more efficient while reducing carbon emissions, new research shows. Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) have a long history in nature conservation and development projects, as they bear the potential to reduce the pressure on forest resources and improve local livelihoods at the same time. Nevertheless, the success of ICS activities depends on a variety of different factors including the quality and adequacy of the specific cooking device as well as the scope of associated implementation activities such as local trainings and information campaigns.
New Zealand ‘off track’ on controlling carbon emissions
Zee News, 12 November 2014 | New Zealand is struggling to control its carbon emissions and move to a low-carbon future, the government said Wednesday. An inter-ministry Natural Resources Sector briefing spelt out the country’s position and targets on climate change and carbon-reduction efforts, The New Zealand Herald reported. The briefing said New Zealand is “off track” in transitioning to a low-carbon future in spite of increasing international pressure to cut emissions. New Zealand had projected an emissions reduction target of 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. However, the country’s emissions have increased since 1990 and continue to rise.
NZ under pressure to reduce carbon emissions
By Jamie Morton, The New Zealand Herald, 12 November 2014 | New Zealand is “off track” in transitioning to a low-carbon future amid increasing international pressure to slash emissions, according to a Government briefing. The inter-ministry Natural Resources Sector briefing to incoming ministers, released today, spelt out New Zealand’s position and targets around climate change and carbon-reduction efforts. Key challenges included undertaking responsible growth to meet international expectations, adapting to the range of expected impacts that would affect infrastructure, biodiversity, biosecurity and the primary sectors, and transitioning to a low carbon economy. Although New Zealand had gazetted an emissions reduction target of 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, the country’s emissions had increased since 1990 and continued to rise.
Peru’s forests store more CO2 than US emits in a year, research shows
By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 12 November 2014 | Peru, the host for December’s UN climate change summit, stores nearly seven billion metric tons of carbon stocks, mostly in its Amazon rainforest. That’s more than US annual carbon emissions for 2013 which were calculated at 5.38 billion tons, the new research by the Carnegie Institute for Science (CIS) shows. Home to the second-largest area of Amazon rainforest after Brazil, Peru is to date the most accurately carbon-mapped country in history thanks to high-resolution mapping which provides a hectare-by-hectare look at its carbon reserves, it was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research by CIS’s Greg Asner means Peru now knows precisely how much carbon it is storing in its rainforest and where that carbon is being kept out of the atmosphere, allowing the country to negotiate a fair price for its reserves on the global carbon market.
13 November 2014
New report exposes the ‘Dark side of conservation’
Survival International, 13 November 2014 | A hard-hitting new report launched by Survival International – the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights – reveals how conservation has led to the eviction of millions of tribal people from “protected areas.” Many of the world’s biggest conservation organizations, including WWF and The Nature Conservancy, are implicated in this issue. And United for Wildlife, set up by Prince William and Prince Harry, does not acknowledge calls to back tribal peoples’ rights to live on their traditional lands and hunt for food. The launch of the “Parks Need Peoples” report coincides with the World Parks Congress in Sydney, a once-in-a-decade global conference on protected areas conservation, and comes ahead of Prince William and Kate’s launch of United for Wildlife in the United States next month.
Biosolids May Help Fight Global Warming
By Sara Jerome, Water Online, 13 November 2014 | Biosolids may be a valuable tool in the fight against global warming. “When biosolids are applied to land, some of the carbon remains in the soil, which keeps it out of the atmosphere. This process is called carbon sequestration, and it’s one way to mitigate some of the problems associated with climate change,” according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. In addition, biosolids can help improve plant health, which provides more greenery to take carbon from the atmosphere, according to the report. If biosolids help clean up the atmosphere, then ratepayers in the Puget Sound region of Washington are fighting global warming just by flushing the toilet. The King County Wastewater Treatment Division uses sewage to make biosolids. The plant makes a fertilizer branded as ‘Loop.’
Emissions reduction: Tony Abbott says Australia is acting, not talking
By Lenore Taylor, The Guardian, 13 November 2014 | Tony Abbott insists he is not focusing on “hypothetical” long-term emissions reduction targets in the “far distant future”, as pressure mounts on Australia to respond to Wednesday’s surprise announcement by the United States and China. “I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’ time, I’m focusing on what we’re doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting,” Abbott told journalists in Burma. “We are actually cutting our emissions and as a result of the Direct Action policy, which passed through our parliament in the last couple of weeks, I am absolutely confident that we will deliver on our target of a 5% cut by 2020. This is what we want – we want real action and that’s exactly what the world will get from Australia.
[Cambodia] The American Lawyer lauds Dentons climate change work
Dentons Climate Change Newsletter, 13 November 2014 | With the assistance of local counsel, a pro bono Dentons team led by Chicago Climate Change partner Jeff Fort advised the Forestry Administration of the Royal Government of Cambodia on an avoided deforestation project for the northwestern province of Oddar Meanchy. Specifically, the Firm negotiated for the Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) between the Forestry Administration and Terra Global Capital (TGC), a carbon development and trading firm. This ERPA, executed in late 2013, facilitates the sale of carbon credits essential to funding the project based on REDD protocols and delivering high impact emission reductions.
American Carbon Market Seen as Winner With China Accord
By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 13 November 2014 | The U.S. carbon market that faded over the past decade as European Union trading took off is getting a fresh look after President Barack Obama signed a deal with China to curb emissions. The climate deal between the two nations, which together spew out 42 percent of the world’s emissions, may be the first step toward a global carbon market, said Bernadett Papp, an analyst at Vertis Environmental Finance Ltd. in Budapest. The accord “weakens the argument” of European nations that say countries outside the region aren’t acting on climate change, said Mark Lewis, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux SA in Paris.
Netherlands pledges €100 million to Green Climate Fund
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 13 November 2014 | The Netherlands has pledged €100 million (US $125m) to the Green Climate Fund. Minister of foreign trade and development cooperation Lilianne Ploumen announced the contribution during a visit to Rwanda on Thursday. This means the fund has around $2.6 billion, still well short of the $10 billion its executive director Hela Cheikhrouhou says it needs to start work in 2015. Conceived in 2009, the GCF was created to help developing countries invest in sources of clean energy and prepare for future extreme weather impacts linked to climate change. “It is important that this fund soon gets to work,” said Ploumen. Observers hope that between $10-15 billion will be pledged at a meeting next week in Berlin, where countries which have yet to come forward with new cash are expected to reveal their hand.
[UK] Ripon firm becomes carbon-neutral
Harrogate Advertiser, 13 November 2014 | An artisan spice and tea company based near Ripon has made its business carbon-neutral, by measuring its carbon emissions and reducing and offsetting them to zero… Axel Steenberg, co founder of Steenbergs with his wife Sophie, said that sustainability, fairness and equity were core to the Steenbergs brand. “So we really like the way we can offset excess carbon dioxide generated here in Yorkshire through projects in Sri Lanka, where we buy many of our spices and teas,” he said. Carbon credits for around 90 newly-planted trees were purchased from Hiniduma Bio-Link Project, a reforestation project in southwest Sri Lanka, certified by the Plan Vivo Foundation in Scotland with its carbon credits registered in the Markit Registry.
14 November 2014
Brazil’s World Cup carbon offset scheme missed its mark
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 14 November 2014 | Halldor Thorgeirsson praised the Brazilian government for its scheme to neutralise the tournament’s carbon emissions – a “win-win” model he said could be used for future sporting events. But programme director Jose Miguez revealed that scheme actually covered less than one fifth of the total emissions associated with the FIFA World Cup. And Brazil’s approach failed to raise any investment for low carbon projects or connect with fans. So as Brazil gears up for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, what can we learn from its offsetting experiment? … Estimates of the tournament’s carbon footprint ranged from 59,000 to 2.9 million tonnes, depending on what was counted. The higher figure covered all the supply chain and air travel emissions, including cement and steel used to construct the stadiums. Companies donated 550,000t worth of credits – enough to cover domestic flights and some international flights, but only 19% of the grand total emissions.
Chinese Rules by Tim Clissold, book review: Words of wisdom on business in Beijing
The Independent, 14 November 2014 | As well as being a hilarious and hair-raising read, Mr China provided an enlightening snapshot of the Chinese business sector in an era when it was opening up to foreign investment. Now, ten years on, Clissold has followed up its success with Chinese Rules. It’s essentially more of the same. This time Clissold is trying to make money by buying internationally tradable “carbon credits” from heavily polluting Chinese industrial firms. He runs a familiar gauntlet of obfuscation and skulduggery from local managers and shady intermediaries as he seeks to close deals.
Serious questions raised over EU’s climate change plan
By Michael Staines, Independent.ie, 14 November 2014 | Serious credibility questions hang over an EU plan to reduce carbon emissions by 40pc, according to an Irish thinktank on European and international affairs. An over-supply of cheap international carbon credits purchased during the economic downturn means the new EU 2030 Climate Master Plan is “not as ambitious as it seems”, according to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA). IIEA Senior Research Fellow Joseph Curtin said European companies were allowed to buy a certain amount of carbon credits internationally from projects in non-EU countries. “Let’s say there is a factory in China and they install a new renewable energy system. “They can actually generate carbon credits for that, which they can then sell on,” he said. “A European company can then buy those credits instead of reducing their own emissions in their factory at home. “The EU is currently overachieving on its targets in the run up to 2020…
[Tanzania] Treasury: No plans for VAT on solar panels
By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Daily News, 14 November 2014 | Dr Ningu pointed out that private investment will be lured into financing climate change mitigation projects which are profitable singling out plantations and natural forests which under Reduced Emission by Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). “We hope that the private sector can seize this opportunity by investing in forests,” he noted while pointing out that with Norwegian funding, nine pilot projects were implemented since 2009 with mock REDD payments made. Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFSA) Senior Forestry Officer, Ms Amina Akida said under REDD, investment in forests does not only help address effects of climate change but also profit people. “This area offers investment opportunity in forest establishment and management,” said Ms Akida whose agency controls over 48 million hectares of forests in the country.
[UK] Fears mounting over investments that are ‘too good to be true’
By Katie Morley, The Telegraph, 14 November 2014 | In April the new pension freedoms will allow savers unlimited access to their retirement funds for the first time. With just five months to go, salesmen are already pushing “too good to be true” investments, hoping to profit from a flood of unlocked pension cash… Around 120,000 British savers have already been mis-sold unregulated investments worth billions, according to Rebus, a legal firm that pursues firms for compensation on behalf of mis-selling victims… There are several types of unregulated investment. The first are “unregulated collective investment schemes” or Ucis. Some can be attractive, offering investors exposure to unusual assets that do not perform in line or “correlate” with other investments. These range from investment funds targeting fine wines and classic cars to agricultural crops and carbon credits. Some are legitimate and operated by respected, expert firms. Others are outright scams.
[USA] Obama, in latest climate move, pledges $3 billion for global fund
By Lincoln Feast and Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 14 November 2014 | President Barack Obama on Friday pledged a $3 billion U.S. contribution to an international fund to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change, putting the issue front and center of the G20 Leaders Summit in Australia. The large size of the contribution took climate policy watchers by surprise and doubles what other countries had previously pledged ahead of a Nov. 20 deadline. It would be the second major move on climate change taken by Obama after big Democratic losses in last week’s midterm elections. “Along with other nations that have pledged support, we’ll help vulnerable communities with early-warning systems, stronger defenses against storm surges, and climate-resilient infrastructure,” Obama said in remarks ahead of the official opening of the G20 summit.
15 November 2014
[Nigeria] How I got into business –Remi Adiukwu-Bakare
By Nikechi Chima, Sun News, 15 November 2014 | I have different businesses. I am into trading in fabrics with the brand name, Ashoebi Galleria and Emporium. Another of my companies, UNISPACE, a venture that trades in carbon credits, we are into partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment here in Nigeria, and our head office is in the United States, we are working together to reduce emission. Also, I’m also a little bit into the trading of oil and gas and in that se ctor someday. I’m hoping to be a major player.
16 November 2014
[Japan] G20 pledges lift Green Climate Fund towards $10 billion U.N. goal
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 16 November 2014 | A promise by Japan on Sunday to give up to $1.5 billion (956.88 million pounds) to a U.N. fund to help poor nations cope with global warming puts the fund within sight of a $10 billion goal and brightens prospects for a U.N. climate pact next year. Japan’s pledge, at the G20 meeting of world leaders in Australia, raises the total promised to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to $7.5 billion, including up to $3 billion by U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday. The Seoul-based GCF Secretariat in a statement hailed the pledges as a turning point before a first donors’ conference in Berlin on Thursday. The United Nations has set an informal target of raising $10 billion this year. The cash, to help emerging economies curb their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes such as heatwaves, mudslides and rising sea levels, is widely seen as vital to unlock a U.N. climate deal meant to be agreed in late 2015 in Paris.
Tanzania accused of backtracking over sale of Masai’s ancestral land
By David Smith, The Guardian, 16 November 2014 | Tanzania has been accused of reneging on its promise to 40,000 Masai pastoralists by going ahead with plans to evict them and turn their ancestral land into a reserve for the royal family of Dubai to hunt big game. Activists celebrated last year when the government said it had backed down over a proposed 1,500 sq km “wildlife corridor” bordering the Serengeti national park that would serve a commercial hunting and safari company based in the United Arab Emirates. Now the deal appears to be back on and the Masai have been ordered to quit their traditional lands by the end of the year. Masai representatives will meet the prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, in Dodoma on Tuesday to express their anger. They insist the sale of the land would rob them of their heritage and directly or indirectly affect the livelihoods of 80,000 people. The area is crucial for grazing livestock on which the nomadic Masai depend.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.