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REDD in the news: 22-28 December 2014

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 are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

22 December 2014

The truth about the Lima climate deal
By Simeon Tegel, Global Post, 22 December 2014
With a new draft of a United Nations climate treaty in hand, the world can breathe more easily as 2014 comes to a close. What a relief, right? Late last Saturday, after 13 exhausting days of haggling among nearly 200 governments here, the negotiations finally achieved their goal: a dense text known as the Lima Call for Climate Action. It provides the outline for an international treaty, to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, to be signed in Paris a year from now. With some experts saying the planet’s future depends on that accord — and many here fearing the talks were on the brink of collapse — no wonder many have been hailing the breakthrough. The UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, described the deal as “a very important advance.” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the Peruvian environment minister who chaired the talks, declared: “Governments have left with a far clearer vision of what the draft Paris agreement will look like.”

Lima, a new low for climate action
By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 22 December 2014
Twenty-two years after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and five assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) — the last report of the IPCC perhaps being the most conclusive on human impacts on climate change — the world is still waiting for decisive action. As the Lima talks were going nowhere, the Peruvian Environment Minister and president of the Conference of the Parties (COP), Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, was called on to lead the consultations a day before the conference ended. Earlier, he had made a strong emotional appeal for consensus which received sustained applause from countries which had gathered there to further a new treaty in Paris and decide the scope of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)s.

Top firms’ greenhouse gas emissions rise, despite call for cuts
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 22 December 2014
Greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s top 500 companies rose 3.1 percent from 2010 to 2013, far off the cuts urged by the United Nations to limit global warming, a study showed on Monday. The top 500 firms by capitalisation accounted for 13.8 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions and 28 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, according to the report, drawn up by the information provider Thomson Reuters and BSD Consulting, a global sustainability consultancy. “Almost all of us use products from these companies,” said Tim Nixon, Director of Sustainability at Thomson Reuters. “This is about transparency. We hope companies will look at the report and engage with their stakeholders to reduce emissions.” A path set out last month by the UNEP, intended to limit global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, implied a 4.2 percent fall in world emissions between 2010 and 2013.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 December 2014
Officials participating in the United Nations (UN) climate talks in Lima, Peru often debated well past the witching hour, but had to pare down the negotiating text to scare up agreement on a final document. Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan offered a colorful (and somewhat disturbing) metaphor for the compromise: “Before embarking on any surgery, the most important question is whether it is necessary, and you have to ask, ‘What are the potential complications?'” he said. “If you are submitting for circumcision, be careful it doesn’t become an amputation because the surgeon used too big a knife and took too much flesh.” The “surgery” went forward nonetheless, and the 50-page document shrunk down to a sleek 22 paragraphs. The “Lima Call for Action” set a procedure for countries to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)…

[Brazil] Amazonian tribe take initiative against dam project
By Sue Branford, The Guardian, 22 December 2014
After years of waiting for the Brazilian government to sort out their land rights, the 13,000 Munduruku Indians, who live beside the Tapajós river in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, have decided to take action. Besides temporarily occupying an office belonging to Funai, the Brazilian government’s Indian agency, they have started to demarcate the boundaries of the land they claim. The dispute is over one of their main areas – a territory of 178,000 hectares (440,000 acres) around the village of Sawré Muybu. Funai promised them rights to this land 13 years ago.Juarez Saw, the cacique (chief) of Sawré Muybu, said: “We are tired of going to Brasília [Brazil’s federal capital] and getting nowhere.” In September, a group of Munduruku made one last attempt to put pressure on the authorities. Making another long journey to Brasilia, they met Maria Augusta Assirati, then president of Funai.

[Brazil] Indigenous Leaders Lash Out At Once-Revered Catholic Organization
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 December 2014
CIMI is a Catholic organization revered among many indigenes, but Henrique is known among his people as the main dissident selling illegal hardwood along Line 14, and for Julio, it was a surreal experience – in part because the photo staring back at him was of Henrique in his heyday, when he was a charismatic leader whose collusion with loggers had the support of the community. In fact, the entire magazine was full of old images, often of long-dead Paiter-Surui – an act considered an insult to their people. But what struck Julio the hardest were Henrique’s words (available in English here). They seemed to come from a dystopian parallel universe – one where Henrique and his small contingent of loggers were defending indigenous traditions, and where the duly-elected Parliament didn’t exist. Not only that, but the interview – and in fact the entire magazine – seemed contrived to torpedo the Surui Forest Carbon Project (SFCP)…

[Canada] Harper’s ‘green shift’ leaves us guessing
Toronto Star, 22 December 2014
Putting a price on Canada’s carbon emissions to help save the planet? Prime Minister Stephen Harper has always shot down the idea of a “job-killing carbon tax.” But he appears to be wrapping himself in green of some sort as next year’s federal election draws closer. In an interview with CBC News this past week Harper held up Alberta’s carbon-pricing system as a “model” that could be implemented on a “broader” continental basis with the United States and Mexico. “It’s not a levy,” he insisted, “it’s a price. And there’s a tech fund in which … (the) private sector makes investments.” Even a nod in the direction of curbing greenhouse gases is welcome from this prime minister. But it’s hard to know what to make of his cryptic remarks.

[Indonesia] Overcoming problems in new autonomy era
By Robert Endi Jaweng, The Jakarta Post, 22 December 2014
The Home Ministry recently published a circular reminding all provincial, regional and municipal governments of the penalties for regional heads and councilors who fail to meet the deadline for the regional budget approval. The penalty is the freezing or suspension of financial entitlements — the salaries and allowances of governors, regents, mayors and councilors. The penalty is only one example of a new chapter of intra-governmental relations. Under Law No.23/2014, local governments no longer have broad autonomy as before, which they enjoyed under Law No.22/1999 and Law No.32/2004. The central government’s authority is now stronger and more assertive, including mandates to dismiss renegade regional government leaders.

[UEA] The Lungs of Abu Dhabi: A billion-dollar ecosystem
By LeAnne Graves, The National, 22 December 2014
If the environment and its resources were a quantifiable commodity, the “Lungs of Abu Dhabi” — its marine life including mangroves — could help contribute as much as US$2.63 billion to the emirate’s economy as a result of carbon financing mechanisms and other ecosystem services, according to experts. “The mangroves are incredibly undervalued, but so important,” says Arabella Willing, the Park Hyatt’s resident marine biologist. Globally, mangroves are being cleared three to five times faster than terrestrial forests, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that the destruction costs $42bn in economic damages annually. The mangroves in Abu Dhabi span 77 square kilometres — about the area of the Palm Islands in Dubai — covering 547 kilometres of the emirate’s coastline.

23 December 2014

How Pope Francis could tip the balance against fossil fuels
By Giles Parkinson, Renew Economy, 23 December 2014
Six years ago, Pope Benedict XVI installed more than 1,000 solar panels on the Vatican’s audience hall, helping him earn him the sobriquet of the “Green Pope”. Some time in the next few months, his successor Pope Francis may just go one step further. His actions could tip the balance against fossil fuels, as the world’s wealthiest institution takes on the world’s most powerful industry. The signs have been building. In November, the Pope sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging him to address climate change and sustainability at the G20 summit – something Abbott had pointedly refused to do. At Lima, the Pope sent another letter urging diplomats to agree on a strong deal to tackle climate change as UN negotiations drew to a close. In a message to Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who led the discussions in Lima, Francis warned that “the time to find global solutions is running out.”

The Little Book of Legal Frameworks for REDD+
Global Canopy Programme press release, 23 December 2014
A new book published by the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) and launched at the UN Climate Change negotiations in Lima, Peru, highlights the importance of clear domestic legal frameworks to prepare for REDD+ implementation, and presents a range of flexible solutions which can be adapted to the needs of individual countries as they work towards reducing forest emissions. As forest countries prepare to implement REDD+ and receive results-based payments, a clear domestic legal framework of enabling policies and legislation is needed to ensure that national systems not only meet international requirements to deliver permanent emission reductions, but can also guard against the social and environmental risks created by REDD+, while also delivering co-benefits.

Rebranding Bamboo for Bonn: The 5 Million Hectare Restoration Pledge
By Kathleen Buckingham, World Resources Institute, 23 December 2014
Last month, 40 nations agreed to restore 5 million hectares (12.4 million acres) of degraded lands and areas of low-quality bamboo production into productive, healthy bamboo forests at the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan’s (INBAR) Ninth Council Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This pledge will help answer the Bonn Challenge—an effort to pledge to have 150 million hectares (370 million acres) of degraded and deforested lands in restoration programs by 2020—and could create significant environmental and climate benefits, if bamboo can overcome its image problem. International alignment behind bamboo restoration is a huge step toward maximizing bamboo’s potential to tackle land degradation, carbon emissions and population growth challenges.

Ghana secures $50 million to replenish
Business News, 23 December 2014
Ghana is receiving $50 million from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank to replenish the country’s depleted forests under the REDD+ programme. The programme, which also comes under the Forest Investment Project (FIP), is to be implemented in seven pilot areas: five in the Western Region and two in the Ashanti Region. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a programme which offers incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from forests. Currently, the Forestry Commission, according to the Head of the Climate Change Unit, Mr Robert Kofi Bamfo, was implementing projects to restock some forests in the Ashanti and Eastern regions.

24 December 2014

25 December 2014

26 December 2014

2014: The Year in Forest Carbon
By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 December 2014
Buyer interest in avoided deforestation (REDD) offsets tripled to total 24.7 million tonnes in 2013, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 report. About a third of that volume came from a $40 million agreement between the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon and German development bank KfW as part of the REDD+ Early Movers Program. After spending three years developing its payments for ecosystem services framework, Acre is beginning to see the first payments – about $2.9 million – flow to the local agroforestry association in the region that is managing its REDD activities. The money comes from KfW as payments for emissions reductions, and 70% of it is earmarked specifically for the providers of ecosystem services, including rubber-tappers and indigenous peoples.

[Indonesia] One-map policy helps resolve land disputes, overlapping permits
By Tama Salim, The Jakarta Post, 26 December 2014
Indonesia has officially implemented the much-anticipated “one-map policy” to help resolve disagreements resulting from the use of different data and maps that often cause land disputes and overlapping permits for plantation and mining operations. The Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) officially unveiled on Monday its basic geospatial information map (IGD) for use by government agencies, alongside several thematic maps (IGT) that comprise a national land-cover map, a national sea grass/shallow waterbed map, a national maritime characteristics map (karakteristik laut nasional) and a provincial mangrove map of Sumatra. It took three years before the government was able to effectively fulfill its mandate for implementing the one-map policy, as stipulated in Law No. 4/2011 on geospatial information.

27 December 2014

[India] Gorai dumping ground closure: CAG raises a stink over BMC’s ‘mismanagement’
By Sharad Vyas,, 27 December 2014
The CAG, which has flayed the BMC over its handling of the construction of pumping stations in the city, has trained its guns at the civic body over the closure of the Gorai dumping ground as well, accusing it of making an ‘illegal’ payment which has led to a loss of R1.19 crore to the exchequer. A CAG report tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday stated that the BMC allowed the loss by making an advance payment to a consultant on the projected delivery of 4,26,024 Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) up to April 2015, of which only 14,477 were actually generated. The auditor has said that the illegal payment was never recovered by the civic body, allegedly to allow M/s Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) which is providing environmental consultancy for developing an integrated waste management plan for the metropolitan city under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) a windfall gain.

28 December 2014

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