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REDD in the news: 29 December 2014 – 4 January 2015

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.

29 December 2014

2015: A year for carbon pricing, peer pressure and Paris
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 29 December 2014
The year 2015 is burned into climate watchers’ brains, and internal satnavs set to Paris. In December, this is where negotiators from around the world are set to strike a global deal to tackle climate change. What happens in the next 12 months politically, economically and environmentally could make or break that deal. Parallel efforts on disaster risk reduction and sustainable development will be critical to protect vulnerable communities and grow green industries. Meanwhile, the future of fossil fuels is in the balance, as negotiators contemplate an almost total phase-out by 2050.

Lima Climate Talks: 5 Reasons to Be Hopeful
By Kevin Grandia, Rolling Stone, 29 December 2014
This United Nation’s summit, known as COP20 (the UN loves acronyms) is more important than many past talks because this is the last big show before the great big show scheduled for this time next year in Paris, France. At the Paris climate change summit (COP21), heads of State from all over the world will be expected to show up and sign on the bottom line to lock in a new long-term global carbon reduction agreement. 1) People Marching in Street… 2) No More Carbon After 2050… 3) Obama’s $3 Billion Dollar Move… 4) Tuning Out the Deniers… 5) Divestment Movement Has Fossil Fuel Companies Running Scared… So coming out of these talk in Lima, do I remain hopeful? I do, as do many people I know who are involved in these global climate negotiations. Hope is the key, because with it people from around the world will continue to fight and put the necessary pressure on political leaders to do the right thing.

[New Zealand] Carbon credits not the answer
By Olivia Wannan,, 29 December 2014 Prime Minister John Key and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser are, deep down, climate change sceptics, Massey University’s Professor Ralph Sims believes. How else, he asks, could they make the decisions they do when 97 per cent of scientists warn the world their children and grandchildren live in will be one of regular superstorms, out-of-control forest fires and coastal cities lost to the seas? … So how will we get around that? Only with some accounting and hot air, Sims says. The solution comes from international carbon credits, which can be purchased to balance our carbon “debt”. While most people would assume these would take the form of forest plantings sucking carbon from the air, the reality is that most carbon credits around today are largely illusionary, Sims says.

[USA] States should reject climate initiatives
By Nicolas Loris, Washington Times, 29 December 2014
Climate change regulations imposed by federal bureaucrats now give state governments a new opportunity to extract money from their citizens. In the interest of protecting American families and businesses from higher energy prices devoid of any meaningful climate benefit, states should just say no. A large component of the Obama administration’s climate-change agenda is to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Washington regulators set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions 30 percent by 2030, which would mostly target abundant and affordable coal-fired generation. However, in an attempt to attract state buy-in, the Environmental Protection Agency has set unique targets for each state, based on their current energy mixes, and told states that they have the first crack at coming up with a plan to meet the targets.

30 December 2014

Carbon dioxide emissions help tropical rainforests grow faster: Study shows trees absorb more greenhouse gas than expected
By Richard Gray, Daily Mail, 30 December 2014
Tropical forests are growing faster than scientists thought due to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A Nasa-led study has found that tropical forests are absorbing 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year as they photosynthesise and grow. And this is far more than is absorbed by the vast areas of boreal forest that encircle the Arctic. The researchers claim their findings show that rainforests like the Amazon are essential for soaking up excess greenhouse gases, and play a far greater role than had been previously realised. Dr David Schimel, a researcher at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, who led the study, said: ‘This is good news, because uptake in boreal forests is already slowing, while tropical forests may continue to take up carbon for many years.’ However, Dr Schimel and his colleagues warn that deforestation in tropical rainforests could exacerbate climate change…

2014: The Year In Voluntary Carbon
By Kelley Hamrick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 December 2014
In Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report, project developers reported selling 76 million tonnes valued at $379 million, with forestry and cookstove projects fetching some of the highest prices. Demand for forest carbon offsets rose 17% in 2013 – albeit at lower prices than in the previous year – while a subsequent report for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves showed prices for these particular offsets rose a modest 5% to $10.4 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Chevrolet – one of the largest buyers in the voluntary carbon markets – went back to school in a big way, purchasing more than 500,000 offsets developed under a new methodology designed to reward US-based colleges and universities for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.

[Canada] Offsetters Postpones Acquisition Payment Terms
Offsetters press release, 30 December 2014
Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. (“Offsetters” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE:COO)(9EA.F) would like to announce that it has postponed certain payment terms related to the acquisition, announced December 14, 2012, whereby Offsetters (formerly ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd.) acquired Offsetters Clean Technology Inc. and Carbon Credit Corporation from a third party Seller (the “Seller”). Under the terms of the Share Purchase Agreement dated November 7, 2012, Offsetters was scheduled to remit the Third Cash Payment of CDN $500,000 cash to the Seller by December 30, 2014. The Company and the Seller have agreed to amend this payment schedule effective December 29, 2014. The amended payment schedule will extend the deadline for the Third Cash Payment from December 30, 2014 until January 30, 2015. James Tansey, Ph.D., President and CEO, Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc.

Connie Hedegaard: India should ‘reconsider’ climate strategy
By Ed King, RTCC, 30 December 2014
China’s decision to announce a peaking year for its carbon emissions should encourage India and other emerging economies to do the same, the EU’s former climate chief Connie Hedegaard has said. Over 190 countries are scheduled to sign a pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the end of 2015, aimed at limiting global warming to below 2C, a level deemed safe by scientists and politicians. In November China said its emissions would peak in 2030, an announcement made jointly with the US, which revealed it would target carbon cuts of 26-28%, compared with 2005 levels, by 2025. Speaking to the Guardian, Hedegaard, who led climate negotiations for the EU from 2010-2014, said she hoped Beijing’s leadership would have a domino effect on other major emitters such as India… “I hope it will make India [and others] reconsider their strategy, and I see signs that the new Modi government is doing exactly this.”

31 December 2014

South American commodity boom drives deforestation and land conflicts
By Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, 31 December 2014
A commodity boom has helped pull millions out of poverty across South America over the past decade. It has also unleashed a new scramble for oil, minerals and cropland that is accelerating deforestation and fueling a new wave of land conflicts from Colombia to Chile. Now, as prices for oil and other commodities slide, economists and environmental researchers warn that the loss of forest cover may be hastened, leading to new clashes, as governments in the region try to maintain growth rates and spending levels by driving deeper into the jungle. Satellite imagery of the Amazon basin, the world’s largest tropical forest and a critical bulwark against climate change, shows a stark divergence in the continent’s preservation efforts. In Brazil, the pace of deforestation has been reduced 75 percent since 2004, largely the result of tighter regulation and new environmental protections.

[China] Shanghai companies launch 200 mln yuan carbon fund
Reuters, 31 December 2014
Two Shanghai-based companies launched a 200 million yuan ($32 mln) fund on Wednesday to invest in projects that generate carbon credits for China’s fledgeling carbon market. The fund, operated by a subsidiary of Haitong Securities and project developer Treasure Carbon, will sell offsets known as Chinese Certified Emissions Reductions (CCERs) to power companies and manufacturers facing emission caps under China’s carbon market. “The fund will bolster investment into new energy and conservation projects, and lay a solid foundation for the national market,” the companies said in a statement.

[Indonesia] Govt to mend peatland ruling amid protests
By Tama Salim, The Jakarta Post, 31 December 2014
The government will revise the government’s newly issued regulation on the protection and management of peatland amid growing protests from the business community, which said that the new ruling hurt plantation activities. Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar has confirmed that the state will revise Government Regulation No. 71/2014 on the protection and management of peatland, which would be implemented in May 2015 to replace the outdated Law No. 31/2009 on environmental protection and conservation. Siti said that the government would consider the demands of the business community, which heavily criticized the rule for being unaccommodating to most commercial interests. The regulation stipulates that the minimum water level in peatland must be maintained at 40 centimeters. Water levels in the country’s 1.7 million peatlands are mostly below the required level to grow oil palm and eucalyptus trees.

[Tanzania] Hadzabe villages earn 38m/- from Carbon Tanzania
By Wa Simbeye, DailyNews Online Edition, 31 December 2014
Two little know Hadzabe villages of Arusha Region earned 38/- from Carbon Tanzania Limited being payment for their forests carbon sequestration during the first half of this year. Carbon Tanzania said in a report on its website that the two villages, Domanga and Mongo wa Mono successfully kept deforestation at bay using traditional patrol guards. “Of the 38m/- paid by Carbon Tanzania to Domanga and Mongo wa Mono villages in the first half of 2014, 7.2m/- was paid directly to the Walinzi wa Jadi using M Pesa, both creating employment and ensuring patrolling and enforcement of the project area,” Carbon Tanzania said in its recent report. The Arusha-based company whose operations this year have focused on monitoring, financial planning and preparing the way for project expansion, said the Hadzabe have contained land conflicts which poaching remains a minor problem.

1 January 2015

[China] Risky Business
By Peter Neville-Hadley, Wall Street Journal, 1 January 2015
“Is there one single thing about the experience of visiting China that has changed in the last two centuries?” asks Tim Clissold in “Chinese Rules,” a new volume of anecdotes about his commercial misadventures in China… “Chinese Rules” picks up where the earlier title left off, and sees Mr. Clissold now in charge of €100 million ($121 million). This time, he’s looking to invest in ventures that will trap greenhouse-gas emissions from Chinese factories in order to earn carbon credits for trade under a United Nations scheme. Once again he’s in a desperate struggle to find honest and reliable Chinese partners. His accounts of roller-coaster negotiations, back-stabbing intermediaries and a 10-day deadline to answer U.N. queries or lose a contract worth tens of millions of euros are gripping and fast-paced. The deadline is eventually met with just six minutes to spare.

2 January 2015

Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There’s No Easy Fix
By Christie Aschwanden, FiveThirtyEight, 2 January 2015
When the latest international Climate Conference wrapped up in Lima, Peru, last month, delegates boarded their flights home without much official discussion of how the planes that shuttled them to the meeting had altered the climate. Aircraft currently contribute about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. That might not seem like much, but if the aviation industry were a country, it would be one of the world’s top 10 emitters of CO2. And its emissions are projected to grow between two and four times by 2050 without policy interventions… Bows-Larkin recently published an analysis concluding that the aviation industry is placing too much hope on emissions trading to help it attain CO2 reductions that would keep it in line with the 2 degrees goal for limiting global warming. Achieving this goal, she concluded, will require flying less.

[Indonesia] Collective land rights for sustainable, prosperous Indonesia
By Nurdiana Darus and William Sabandar, The Jakarta Post, 2 January 2015
The government inaugurated on Sept. 1 last year the National Program for the Protection and Recognition of Indigenous Peoples (PPMHA) through the country’s Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation Plus (REDD+) program. Indonesia’s REDD+ program understands social equity as key to successfully tackling climate change. The recognition of collective indigenous land rights provides communities with a critical asset base — land — for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. This is vital to protecting our forests, biodiversity and our future. Indigenous peoples across the world have proven to be sustainable stewards to vast, but rapidly dwindling, forests. While agricultural, logging, mining and other pressures have challenged their ability to sustainably manage the forests they rely on, the PPMHA looks to reverse this trend.

[USA] Gas prices rise for first time in weeks; California cap-and-trade effect cited
By Mark Glover, The Sacramento Bee, 2 January 2015
Hours after 2015 arrived, gasoline prices in Sacramento and throughout California inched upward for the first time in weeks. Experts called the uptick a subdued response to the state’s new requirement that oil companies buy credits to offset the carbon emitted by cars and trucks. Opponents and supporters of the state’s effort to combat climate change offered wildly different predictions in recent weeks for how much gas prices would rise when the industry was included in California’s cap-and-trade market. State officials and some environmentalists insisted that it would be just a few cents a gallon. Oil industry leaders raised fears of spikes as high as 75 cents or more a gallon. On Friday, the increase was small, and masked by the steep decline in gas prices over the past year.

3 January 2015

4 January 2015

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