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REDD in the news: 12-18 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.

Secure and equitable land rights in the Post-2015 Agenda
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), January 2015
This technical briefing authored by a number of international organizations working on food security, natural resources management and poverty eradication and endorsed by many local civil society organisations around the world strongly encourage governments to keep the profile of land and natural resources high in the document on sustainable development goals to be endorsed in September 2015. The Post-2015 Agenda must address the structural factors that undermine sustainable development. It is widely recognised that secure and equitable rights to land and natural resources are central to this effort.

12 January 2015

Althelia raises €15m through Nature Conservation Notes
Environmental Finance, 12 January 2015
A new investment product launched by Althelia Ecosphere and Credit Suisse has raised €15 million ($17.8 million) to be invested in ecosystem preservation projects. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

EcoPlanet Bamboo eyes future as sustainable timber heavyweight
By Will Nichols, BusinessGreen, 12 January 2015
Wiseman’s solution has been to industrialise the bamboo industry, starting with a $10m investment in plantations in Nicaragua and South Africa, sowing non-invasive clumping bamboo. But as a self-confessed believer in “conscientious capitalism”, he was determined to ensure the new large-scale operations were sustainable and benefited the local community. EcoPlanet subsequently delivered profits three years running while providing 500 jobs for local workers, proving that over the next decade these plantations will sequester 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, and restoring thousands of acres of degraded land. In doing so, it became the first bamboo company to achieve certification from the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and started generating carbon credits under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

Countries could leave UN climate body if Paris fails – Todd Stern
By Ed King, RTCC, 12 January 2015
Countries could abandon the UN’s climate body and seek other ways to slow greenhouse gas emissions if plans to limit global warming collapse this year. That’s the view of US climate envoy Todd Stern, who told the Politico website he feared a breakdown in negotiations if a deal set to be signed off in Paris this December falls through. “We all need to have Paris succeed — all of us in the negotiations, just people around the world generally,” he said. “But [the UN climate body] as an organization needs that also because I think people will conclude that if you can’t deliver an agreement in Paris that you’re going to start looking around for other ways to find international solutions.”

Human Rights Concerns Over Hydropower Development in Cambodia Brought to the UN
EarthRights International, 12 January 2015
International and Cambodian groups today issued a complaint to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia raising concerns over human rights violations resulting from the development of two hydropower dam projects in Cambodia. The complaint highlights the Lower Sesan 2 Dam, currently under construction in Stung Treng Province, and the Stung Cheay Areng Dam in Koh Kong Province, which is reportedly close to approval. The complaint calls on the Special Rapporteur to investigate and seek remedial action for existing and imminent breaches of human rights in relation to these projects.

[Indonesia] Police arrest Kalimantan palm-oil tycoon Budiono Tan
The Jakarta Post, 12 January 2015
The West Kalimantan Police have arrested palm-oil tycoon Budiono Tan, who allegedly misappropriated 1,535 land certificates of oil-palm farmers in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. The businessman, who runs a plantation through PT Benua Indah Grup (BIG), was caught on Friday night in West Jakarta after being sought for five years. “The dossier [for his case] has been completed and he has been arrested but has not responded to summonses,” West Kalimantan Police chief Brig. Gen. Arief Sulistyanto said on Sunday. The West Jakarta Police worked with the West Jakarta Police to find Budiono. He is currently in the process of being transferred from Jakarta to Pontianak, West Kalimantan, for prosecution. Budiono was placed on the police’s most-wanted list in 2009 after committing fraud and embezzling money from hundreds of oil-palm farmers who worked for BIG. But his case was abandoned when he allegedly obtained strong support from police officers.

[Tanzania] Illegal logging threatens Lake Tanganyika water catchment
By Gerald Kitabu, IPP Media, 12 January 2015
Illegal timber harvesting and charcoal making businesses are threatening the existence of one of the biggest Masito forest reserves in the country’s western zone. The reserve, an important watershed catchment for Lake Tanganyika, which is also a crucial wildlife habitat for large populations of chimpanzee and source of water like rivers and streams, extends between two regions: Kigoma and Katavi and covers 91000 ha. In a telephone interview, Himidi Yahaya, a forest ranger, who is also a member of a national network of community groups involved in participatory forest management (Mjumita) from Karago village, in Uvinza District, Kigoma Region, said the government must make intervention as soon as possible to rescue the reserve from disappearance. He said the forest reserve is also subjected to increased illegal human activities within the reserve such as shifting cultivation, cattle grazing, fire outbreak and poaching.

[Zambia] In ‘charcoal landscape,’ data on deforestation, emissions hidden in the ashes
By Chris McCall, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 January 2015
In terms of its value to daily lives and livelihoods across Africa, charcoal is black gold. But as crucial as it is for cooking for millions of rural Africans, charcoal comes at a cost: the wood burned to create it comes from forests, generating substantial carbon emissions. Data on exactly how much has been hard to come by, but now there are hopes to change that. In a recent report on Zambia’s progress in an international scheme to reduce carbon emissions through avoided deforestation (REDD+), researchers in the southern African country have highlighted just how much data is lacking. “The main reason why we don’t have a lot of data on charcoal is that we have not really closely studied the production system,” said Davison Gumbo, a Zambia-based scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

13 January 2015

Could carbon farming save our soils?
By Tom Oder, Mother Nature Network, 13 January 2015
This is a message that Rattan Lal, a soil science professor and founder of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University, believes leaders of governments and industry should take to heart. It’s one he’s been delivering for more than two decades and is centered on his concept of reviving soil quality through carbon farming, which he calls the new agriculture. Lal, the incoming president of the Vienna-based International Union of Soil Sciences, describes carbon farming as a process that takes carbon dioxide out of the air though sustainable land management practices and transfers it into the soil’s organic matter pool in a form that doesn’t allow carbon to escape back into the atmosphere. If this sounds like a practice that dates to the earliest of times of human farming, in essence, it is.

[Canada] Wynne’s ‘carbon pricing’ is a cash grab
By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, 13 January 2015
Here’s what you need to know about Premier Kathleen Wynne’s looming “carbon pricing” scheme, which Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray re-announced Tuesday. It’s not like it’s a secret. I wrote in the Toronto Sun on Dec. 27, that, “All signs point to 2015 as the year Kathleen Wynne imposes carbon pricing on Ontarians” and it was just about the easiest prediction I’ve ever made. As in most things they do, the Liberals never announce something once, but five or six times. But what Murray didn’t reveal in his interview with the Globe and Mail is the only thing that matters — what kind of “carbon pricing” scheme? Murray promised it will be “real, efficient, effective and economically positive,” which is laughable. It won’t be any of those things. It will be a cash grab sold as an environmental measure by a government that is desperate for money because of the Liberals’ incompetent management…

Resolute Feud With Greenpeace Drags on Profit: Corporate Canada
By Christopher Donville, Bloomberg, 13 January 2015
Resolute Forest Products Inc. (RFP), losing business to digital publishing, is facing a threat from Greenpeace as it urges customers to shun the world’s largest newsprint maker for what it claims are environmentally unsound forestry practices. Greenpeace Canada is trying to persuade Resolute customers, including Canadian Tire Corp., to stop doing business with the Montreal-based company because of its logging in some areas inhabited by endangered woodland caribou. Greenpeace has already successfully targeted Best Buy Co. (BBY), which said last month it would “meaningfully” shift its paper purchases away from Resolute after a social-media campaign said the electronics retailer used Resolute paper “to produce junk mail and flyers which are quickly thrown away.” Resolute has fought back by saying its forestry practices comply with provincial laws, and filed a defamation suit in Ontario Superior Court over statements Greenpeace made…

Will Indonesia’s REDD+ Agency be dissolved?
By Loren Bell,, 13 January 2015
Indonesia’s cabinet-level agency tasked with reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (BP REDD ), may be dissolved after only one year in operation. The head of the newly merged Ministries of the Environment and Forestry has indicated she intends to absorb the group into her agency—stripping BP REDD of its ability to operate independently. The current head of BP REDD , Heru Prasetyo, fears this move will threaten the agency’s ability to accomplish its mission, which he sees as a critical check on the Forestry Ministry. By operating from a position safely outside the bureaucracy, BP REDD is able to serve a similar function as the Corruption Eradication Commission, but focused on REDD specific concerns. “Under the current arrangement, BP REDD is the only institution that has the knowledge [to address climate change] and its role should not be restricted,” Heru told the Jakarta Post.

[Indonesia] Government to revoke land-use permits on land left undeveloped
By Fadli, The Jakarta Post, 13 January 2015
The Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry has imposed a one-year deadline on private companies that have received land concessions to move ahead with development. If the companies fail to do so, their land-cultivation permits (HGU) and their right-to-build licenses (HGB) will be revoked, as their landholdings will be categorized as “idle land”. Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Ferry Mursydan Baldan told The Jakarta Post in Batam, Riau Islands, on Monday that land in strategic areas like industrial zones and tourism areas linked to unutilized HGU and HGB licenses would be categorized as “idle land” and the licenses revoked if not used within a period of one year. “We will make an inventory of all the land in the hands of the private sector attached to HGU and HGB permits. If the land is not utilized within a period of a year, it will be categorized as ‘idle land’ and the licenses revoked,” said Ferry…

[UEA] BP backs Abu Dhabi event as ‘carbon offset partner’
Trade Arabia, 13 January 2015
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has announced BP as the ‘Official Carbon Offset Partner’ for a yearly event that unites the international community in an effort to address the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate risk and sustainable development. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which will run from January 17 to 24, includes the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the International Water Summit (IWS) and EcoWaste Exhibition. BP’s not-for-profit carbon management programme, BP Target Neutral, will offset the carbon impact of delegate travel and operations for ADSW. For more than 32,000 delegates travelling to Abu Dhabi, BP Target Neutral will calculate the carbon footprint resulting from their travel. It will then purchase carbon credits and invest in carbon mitigation projects around the world to offset the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from travel and event operations.

[UK] Investment scams on the rise – nine ways to avoid being duped
By Kyle Caldwell, Telegraph, 13 January 2015
Investment fraud cases are up more than 25pc over the past year, with con-artists turning their attention to income starved investors who are desperate for higher returns. Figures from accountancy firm KPMG show £212 million was lost to investment fraud last year, up from £168 million in 2013. The firm said the rise made investors the largest victims of fraud in 2014. Over the past year Telegraph Money has highlighted several investment scams that have caught out the vulnerable. Popular scams include con-artists selling overvalued commodity investments and carbon credits, always with the promise of higher returns than investors can obtain elsewhere.

[UK] CAB warn of investment scam – local pensioners targetted
The Northern Times, 13 January 2015
East Sutherland Citizens Advice Bureau and Highland Council’s Trading Standards are concerned about “cold call” telephone calls offering “carbon offsetting” investments to local elderly residents. Richard Gale, East Sutherland Citizens Advice Bureau manager explains: “We recently received information about a 94 year old man who was continuously pestered by high pressure ‘cold call telephone calls’ from a company based in Florida. “The local man, who lives in Sutherland and who wishes to remain anonymous, was offered 480 ‘Carbon Offset’ shares for his initial investment of £3000, if he signed and returned an ‘Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement’ within a specified deadline. “The offer required the £3000 to be paid by ‘bank transfer’ directly into a bank account based in Florida before the agreement became legally binding and any share certificates produced.

14 January 2015

CIFOR Identifies Top 20 Research Questions
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 14 January 2015
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has released the results of the T20Q online survey and consultation, which aimed to identify the top 20 research questions on forestry and landscapes. Overall, the process revealed that the restoration of degraded ecosystems is the top priority for further research followed by the challenge of sustainably managing tropical forests amid increasing pressures from agriculture and other land uses. Other research questions identified as priorities by T20Q touch on the need to balance environmental benefits with economic development and trade. A number of questions among the top 20 focus on stakeholder participation, including: recognizing traditional knowledge, innovations and practices; strengthening land tenure and use rights; and ensuring that land and forest management practices are responsive to local needs.

[Australia] Tasmania plans to open wilderness world heritage area to logging and tourism
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 14 January 2015
The Tasmanian government is attempting to remove the term “wilderness” from the state’s wilderness world heritage area, opening the vast ecosystem to selective logging, cruise ships and landing strips for aircraft. In a draft plan, extracts of which have been seen by Guardian Australia, the term “wilderness” is dropped because it is considered “deeply problematic for Aboriginal people” and replaced by “natural area”. The document states the current terminology “implies a landscape empty of human culture”. The plan refers to the “extraction of speciality timbers” within the wilderness area, indicating that logging may be allowed for the first time since the 1.58m-hectare area was inscribed on the world heritage list in 1982.

Carbon pricing set to cover 80% of Canadian economy
By Ed King, RTCC, 14 January 2015
Over 80% of Canada’s economy could be covered by a carbon tax by the end of 2015, after the province of Ontario announced it would release plans to price greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario environment minister Glenn Murray told local media he would unveil the strategy later this year, promising it would be “efficient, effective and economically positive.” The province, home to 40% of Canada’s population, will join Quebec and British Columbia in enforcing tougher climate laws. British Columbia’s tax of C$30 per tonne of carbon is credited with a 16% fall in fuel consumption across the province, although cement makers are among those claiming they have lost business as a result. In an interview with RTCC last month, Murray said he had been in talks with California and Quebec with a view to linking up with their existing carbon markets. “We have given up that the national government will eventually introduce a price on carbon,” he said.

European lawmakers torn over how early to begin carbon market reform
By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 14 January 2015
European politicians meeting on Wednesday ahead of a critical vote next week on reforming the European Carbon market were unable to agree on a single date, putting forward both 2017 and 2019 as deadlines to begin action. The EU’s Emissions Trading System is the bloc’s flagship policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by charging for the right to emit carbon dioxide, but weak economic growth across Europe has cut industrial production and energy demand, creating a glut of more than 2 billion permits. Bringing forward a plan to take surplus permits out of circulation has the backing of Germany and Britain, as well as major energy companies such as Britain’s SSE and Germany’s E.ON. Both Britain and Germany have supported a date of 2017, earlier than the original proposal from the European Commission to begin in 2021.

EU power emissions fell by more than 8% in 2014
Sandbag, 14 January 2015
EU power sector emissions fell by a staggering 8% in 2014, whilst electricity consumption fell by 2.7%, which [is] far more than would be expected just from the mild year alone. This dramatic fall reinforces Sandbag’s prediction that EU electricity consumption will fall by 10% this decade, and that the EU ETS surplus will grow to 4.5 billion by 2020. The fall in electricity consumption was despite real GDP growth of 1.3%, and adds weight to the idea that the historic link between GDP and electricity consumption no longer exists in the same way.

[Indonesia] Peatland loss could emit 2,800 years’ worth of carbon in an evolutionary eyeblink: study
By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 January 2015
Scientists monitoring the amount of carbon accumulated in Indonesia’s peatland forests over thousands of years have predicted that millions of tons of carbon dioxide could be released into the atmosphere if they continue to be cleared, drained and burned for oil palm and agricultural plantations. “Indonesia’s peat swaps have evolved over thousands of years to create the perfect storage systems to lock away carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change,” said Sofyan Kurnianto, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the lead author of a new study. “But it is only now that we are beginning to understand the magnitude of emissions released when peatlands are cleared and burned for agriculture or oil palm.”

Indonesia: palm oil expansion drives massive illegal logging
By Environmental Investigation Agency / Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist, 14 January 2015
Indonesia appears to brought rainforest logging under control – but it’s all a huge illusion, according to a new EIA report. Traditional logging has been replaced by the mass clearance of rainforest for oil palm plantations, creating massive supplies of hugely profitable but often illegal timber. And lurking beneath the surface is a pervasive network of criminality and corruption… The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has been documenting and exposing the illicit trade in stolen timber in Indonesia for more than 15 years. In that time there has been a remarkable transformation in the forestry sector. Rates of illegal logging have been slashed in half and the Indonesian government has committed to an ambitious reform agenda. It has thrown open its doors to civil society and displayed genuine intent to halt the ransacking of the rainforests.

[Indonesia] Authority over villages split between two ministries
By Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, 14 January 2015
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed that the task of handling matters related to villages across the country be split between the Home Ministry and the Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry amid differences of opinion between the two institutions over which has the authority to oversee villages. Jokowi’s instruction was issued after a limited Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office on Tuesday morning, during which input was given by the two ministers — Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Marwan Jafar and Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo. Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi said Jokowi had instructed him, along with the Cabinet Secretariat and the State Secretariat, to follow it up by drafting a presidential decree by the end of this month.

[Indonesia] BKPM to trial new licensing system in major provinces
By Tama Salim, The Jakarta Post, 14 January 2015
The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) will trial a highly anticipated one-stop licensing service in the country’s 15 major provinces on Wednesday, ahead of the formal implementation of the new licensing mechanism at the end of the month. BKPM chief Franky Sibarani said in Jakarta on Tuesday that 135 permit types covering the three main sectors of electricity, industry and agriculture were being prepared for the trial. Franky added that 16 ministries and the National Police had agreed to transfer full authority to issue the 135 investment permits to the board, while the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and the National Standardization Agency (BSN) had been brought in for consultation purposes. “Soon, investors will no longer have to travel back and forth across the city, they need only come here,” Franky told a press briefing at his office in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.

Nigeria: UN-REDD Scoping Team Visits Taraba
By Daniel Itodo, Daily Trust, 14 January 2015
A team of experts from the National Office for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) under the Federal Ministry of Environment has accessed Taraba State owned forest reserve as part of strategy to engage two more states unto the programme. Cross River is the only state in the country currently on the REDD programme that seek to involve forest communities in the management, protection and conservation of the state forest. The assessment was part of the scoping mission initiated by the National REDD office was to ascertain the preparedness of Taraba to be part of the REDD National project.

High gold prices causing increased deforestation in South America, study finds
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 14 January 2015
A surge in the price of gold has led to increased deforestation of the Amazon and other South American forests, according to a new study of mining impacts. With the rewards now higher than the risks, small scale garimpeiros – artisanal miners – are flocking into protected areas to extract the precious metal from low-grade seams under the tropical forest that were previously unprofitable, says the paper published on Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Analysing satellite data, researchers from the University of Puerto Rico found that an area of 1,680 sq km was cleared between 2001 and 2013, during which time the price of gold rose more than fivefold. The rate of destruction doubled in the second half of that period, which corresponded with a spike in gold prices as a result of financial instability – which prompts investors to use gold as a safe haven…

15 January 2015

It is ‘impossible’ for today’s big oil companies to adapt to climate change
By Jonathan Porritt, The Guardian, 15 January 2015
Without some kind of truly traumatic shock to the system (‘Macondo x 10’, as one of my erstwhile and most trusted colleagues in BP once described it), we came to the conclusion that it was impossible for today’s oil and gas majors to adapt in a timely and intelligent way to the imperative of radical decarbonisation. Although a small proportion of our total funding comes from oil and gas majors (for specific projects we believe have the potential to transform part of their value chain) and from companies that are involved in the offshore energy supply chain, we felt we had no option but to end our long-standing partnerships with both Shell and BP. All oil majors are trapped by a short-term mandate that leaves little room for manoeuvre. Shareholder expectations still dominate, and are still largely untouched by any kind of ‘unburnable carbon’ analysis of the staggering amount of economic value now at risk.

[Brazil] Indigenous People Explore Many Shades Of REDD
By Christopher Pollen, Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 January 2015
The Paiter-Surui concluded the world’s first indigenous-led REDD project in June 2013, becoming the first such project to generate offsets by saving endangered rainforest under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Several months later, they sold 120,000 tonnes of carbon offsets to Natura Cosméticos, a Brazilian cosmetics giant. But what worked for the Paiter Surui in Mato Grosso might not work for all indigenous territories facing dire threats from deforestation. The Gavião and Arara of Igarapé Lourdes have been much better stewards of their forests than either the Zoro or the Paiter-Surui, and while all four communities – including the Zoró – have preserved their forests better than the non-indigenous settlers have, the people of Igarapé Lourdes have done the best job of all. Yet, ironically, this fact may keep them from fully utilizing REDD finance…

Russia’s forests overlooked in climate change fight
By Angelina Davydova, Reuters, 15 January 2015
Russia’s forests may lose their power to help curb global warming without stronger domestic protection and a place in a new global climate change deal, scientists have warned. Russia has 19 percent of world forest reserves by surface area. But experts say the U.N. process drafting the climate change pact, due to be agreed at the end of 2015, has concentrated mainly on tropical forests. “Boreal forests are getting far too little attention in the U.N. climate talks,” said Yury Safonov, a senior climate policy researcher with Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

[South Korea] Carbon trading
The Korea Herald, 15 January 2015
Korea launched its carbon trading market this week, which government officials hope will help the nation meet its international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster green industries. As expected, the market got off to a slow start, registering thin trading in terms of the volumes and values of the carbon emission allowances that changed hands. As officials say, it will take some time for the market to take root. Korea opened the market under a law it enacted in 2009, which gives businesses carbon emission caps and those that exceed their quotas must buy allowances for more emissions, while those that have surplus amounts can sell their rights. The cap-and-trade system had been delayed for two years in the face of opposition from industries.

[UK] Tackling investment scams
Insolvency Service, 15 January 2015
A significant proportion of our investigation and enforcement work is aimed at tackling the perpetrators of investment scams. The actions we take include winding up companies in the public interest, disqualifying directors or restricting bankrupt individuals and referring criminality to prosecuting authorities. The investments vary widely by type – from land or diamonds to collectible coins or jatropha trees – but the underlying intent remains constant – parting the unwary from their hard earned cash… Others – like … Carbon Green Capital LLP and Agora Capital Ltd, that peddled worthless carbon credits to vulnerable and unsuspecting investors hoping for a return on their investment, and were wound up in October 2014 – are scams that have moved with the times to market newer commodities to potential investors.

[USA] Carbon-Offset Project Protects 4,000 Acres of Southern Coastal Habitat
Green Assets press release, 15 January 2015
Green Assets, Inc., a leading forest carbon offset developer, has been awarded carbon offset credits for its forest conservation project of more than 4,400 acres of land owned and managed by world-renowned Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. The project represents South Carolina’s first carbon credits to be issued through the California Air Resources Board (ARB) compliance offset program for U.S. forests. ARB offset credits are issued to projects that meet specific requirements and represent verified greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removal enhancements. Carbon credits are a component of national and international attempts to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases. One carbon credit is equal to one ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. This initial issuance of credits by the Air Resources Board amounts to 162,551 carbon credits.

16 January 2015

[Australia] Indigenous group had no say in Tasmanian wilderness area plan
By Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian, 16 January 2015
Tasmania’s peak Indigenous community body says it was not consulted in a draft plan to drastically change the management of Tasmania’s wilderness world heritage area, and was denied permission even to see a draft. The draft management plan, released on Thursday after a leaked report was obtained by the Australian, cites concerns raised by Indigenous Australians as one of the key reasons to remove the word “wilderness” from descriptions of the area, and replace it with the word “remote”. The Tasmanian Greens said the plan, which allows for logging of “specialty timbers” and rezones part of the wilderness world heritage area to allow for private development, was a clear breach of international guidelines. Greens MP Nick McKim told Guardian Australia the party would refer the draft plan to Unesco’s world heritage management committee.

[Indonesia] BP REDD+ to go on despite uncertain future
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 16 January 2015
Despite a government plan to disband the National Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Agency (BP REDD+) after only one year in operation, the agency maintains it will proceed with its projects this year. BP REDD+ head Heru Prasetyo gave a presentation on the agency’s future plans on Wednesday before a number of stakeholders, including officials from the Foreign Ministry and the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry, local NGOs as well as international organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “It’s not possible for us to stop working,” Heru told The Jakarta Post after the presentation at the agency’s office in Central Jakarta.

[Pakistan] ‘Climate change a bigger threat than terrorism’
Dawn, 16 January 2015
“Climate change poses a greater security threat than terrorism because it can affect temperatures, the environment, the economy and the future policies of the country. Moreover, 70 to 80 per cent of Pakistan’s water from glaciers, but in the next 30 to 40 years, there, may be no more water in the Indus River because the glaciers will have all melted.” These remarks were made by Dr Qamaruzzaman Chaudhry, a former director general of the Met Office and vice president of the World Meteorological Organisation… Meanwhile, experts at a discussion organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) urged citizens to own their forests and prevent them from falling into the hands of the timber mafia. Speaking at ‘Tackling Global Warming Through REED’, experts warned that if corrective steps were not taken, then country have to lose a large portion of its forested areas.

[Pakistan] Climate catastrophe: Experts blame timber traders for rapid deforestation
The Express Tribune, 16 January 2015
Rapid deforestation is taking its toll on Pakistan economy, social set up, environment and infrastructure in the shape of frequent floods. This was the crux of speeches made by experts at a seminar on “Tackling Global Warming through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd+)” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). They blamed government officials’ inaction against illegal tree felling by influential timber traders, poverty and ignorance, and mass migration of population as the major contributors to the loss of forest cover which is taking place at an alarming rate. The experts said that Pakistan had undergone massive environmental degradation and human activity was putting pressure on the natural resources.

[Pakistan] On saving forests – ownership brings responsibility
Pakistan Today, 16 January 2015
Environmentalists at a seminar held in the federal capital Friday on “Tackling Global Warming through Conservation of Forests” said that the number of trees in private agriculture farms in Pakistan is increasing because of defined ownership but forests under the government’s forestry departments are diminishing rapidly. Lack of ownership has made it easy for timber mafia and corrupt government officials to chop down trees for personal gains. Shafqat Kakakhel, an expert on climate change, said, “To protect the depleting forests in Pakistan we should follow in the footsteps of other countries by involving the local communities and building a sense of ownership among the citizens. For instance, a study on deforestation in Cambodia has found that forests are better protected when villagers and local communities are given the responsibility to manage them locally.”

[UK] Fraudster funded round-the-world trip by conning victim
By David Barrett, Telegraph, 16 January 2015
A “greedy” fraudster who funded a lavish round-the-world holiday by conning a victim out of tens of thousands of pounds has been jailed for two years. Alexander Pratt was part of a “boiler room” fraud which conned dozens of victims out of more than £1 million by selling them vastly over-priced shares. But after leaving his fellow con artists to go on an extended holiday around Thailand and other Far Eastern countries, Pratt committed a series of further offences against one wealthy victim. The 29-year-old from Wimbledon, south-west London, used internet cafes around the globe to produce fake share certificates, passing them off as for the victim. He received direct payments into his personal bank account totalling £47,000, a City of London Police spokesman said as Pratt was sentenced at the Old Bailey.

[USA] New study: America’s biggest carbon market delivers for economy and climate
By Derek Walker, EDF, 16 January 2015
Would you believe there’s a state that cut pollution and cleaned up its air, while creating jobs and sustaining economic growth? And where economic incentives, rather than costly regulations, are stimulating innovation and investment? California passed the earliest, most comprehensive law to set a cap on carbon pollution, along with numerous other complementary policies to help the state transition to a low-carbon, clean-energy economy. The results are now coming in and the present – and future – looks bright. Two years after it was fully implemented, California’s cap-and-trade program is thriving, a new report from Environmental Defense Fund shows. The program is now ramping up as the state economy is growing, paving the way for California to pass even stronger climate policies. Perhaps most important, it’s laying the groundwork for other states and nations to move forward with similar steps.

17 January 2015

[Brazil] Paiter-Surui May Review Governance Structure
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 17 January 2015
One month after an opposition leader of the Paiter-Surui indigenous people sparked an uncharacteristically public debate about the people’s landmark forest carbon project, several village and clan leaders sent a “letter of clarification” to the Federal Public Ministry (Ministério Público Federal) outlining what they see as flaws in the governing mechanisms designed to handle community finances. In general, the signatories praised the Carbon Project itself, but said the governance structure created by the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade, “Funbio”) had been slow to disburse funds and that too much authority had been vested in the Metareilá Association, which is the indigenous organization selected by the Paiter-Surui to implement the project.

[Guyana] Amaila Rd upkeep to cost $200M each year – Benn
Stabroek News, 17 January 2015 The Public Works Ministry will be spending $200M every year to maintain the Amaila Falls Access Road after completion, Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn said yesterday. Benn, speaking at a press conference at the Ministry’s office in Kingston, said the ministry will take care of the maintenance until the planned Amaila Falls Hydropower Inc is ready to take over. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[UK] Palmed off – but we get half your £10,500 back
By Tony Hetherington, Mail on Sunday, 17 January 2015
Ansar Ali, 38, from Brick Lane in East London, did run a company whose proper title was Palm Oil Investments Limited, but in June last year he changed its name to Quick Payroll Solutions. It still appears to be in business, but for how long is anyone’s guess. Ali failed to file accounts that were legally due in 2013, let alone accounts due more recently for 2014. These are offences and it will be no surprise if Companies House strikes off his business. I do not suppose this will bother Ali. He was a director of a rip-off diamond investment company, Elite Gems Limited, which went bust in 2013. And he was also a director of scam carbon credit company Charles Stratton Limited, which has not filed any accounts since it was set up in 2011. It is about to be struck off.

18 January 2015

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