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REDD in the news: 13-19 April 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.

National-level corruption risks and mitigation strategies in the implementation of REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: An overview of the current situation
By Samuel Assembe-Mvondo, U4, 2015
The main objective of this study is to assess national-level corruption risks and possible anticorruption strategies in REDD+ implementation in the DRC, using a combination of desk and field-based research. The findings from this research suggest that four types of corruption have arisen in relation to national-level REDD+ implementation: (1) kickback payments; (2) the politicization of government forestry positions; (3) financial mismanagement by international development cooperation agencies and non-governmental organizations; and (4) non-transparent hiring practices of international consultants. The key recommendation of this paper, based on these findings, is the establishment of an independent agency in the DRC to monitor REDD+ finances and projects.

13 April 2015

Scrap fossil fuel subsidies now and bring in carbon tax, says World Bank chief
By Larry Elliott, The Guardian, 13 April 2015
Poor countries are feeling “the boot of climate change on their neck”, the president of the World Bank has said, as he called for a carbon tax and the immediate scrapping of subsidies for fossil fuels to hold back global warming. Jim Yong Kim said awareness of the impact of extreme weather events that have been linked to rising temperatures was more marked in developing nations than in rich western countries, and backed for the adoption of a five-point plan to deliver low-carbon growth. Speaking to the Guardian ahead of this week’s half-yearly meeting of the World Bank in Washington DC, Kim said he had been impressed by the energy of the divestment campaigns on university campuses in the US, aimed at persuading investors to remove their funds from fossil fuel companies.

[Canada] Ontario joins Quebec carbon cap-and-trade plan, but at what cost? Don’t ask, says Wynne
National Post, 13 April 2015
Ontario will soon implement a cap-and-trade system for carbon pricing, but if you’re curious how much it will cost you, you’ll just have to wait. Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Monday morning before heading to Quebec City, where she will sign an agreement to join Quebec and California in building a carbon market. A government backgrounder said gasoline could increase by a couple of cents a litre — as it recently has in California — but lacked specifics as to what else the pricing scheme could mean for consumers.

New Zealand’s forests shrinking, warns greenhouse gas emissions report
Xinhua, 13 April 2015
New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.4 per cent year on year in 2013, but deforestation is continuing apace, according to a government report out Friday. The Greenhouse Gas Inventory report from the Ministry of the Environment estimated New Zealand’s total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions at 81 million tons in 2013. The five sources that contributed most to the rise in total emissions were carbon dioxide from road transport and electricity generation, nitrous oxide from agricultural soils, hydrofluorocarbons from industrial and household refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, and methane from livestock digestive systems. “New Zealand’s total emissions peaked in 2005, decreased from 2006 to 2009, and showed an increasing trend from 2009 to 2012 before lessening again in 2013,” it said. However, it warned that the area of forests, which act as a carbon sink, had been shrinking since 2004 due to deforestation of planted forests.

14 April 2015

Forward Focus for Forum on Forests
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 April 2015
When the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) meets next month in New York, the focus will be on the first F and much less on the second. The most prominent agenda item for UN member states over the two-week negotiations will be to agree on the future of the Forum itself, and more generally the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF). As to the second F, seeking agreements, and defining actions to reverse forest loss and enhance forest benefits, will take a backseat role. There has been genuine and commendable engagement in the IAF from countries, international organizations, national governments, and experts, to make a real difference on the ground. That engagement must be acknowledged and respected – after all this is the United Nations arrangement to deal with all types of forests, everywhere.

Shhh! Don’t Tell Institutional Investors, but Sustainability Drives Returns in Real Assets
By David Bank, Huffington Post, 14 April 2015
Dave Chen and his team at Equilibrium Capital in Portland, Ore., don’t generally pitch pension funds and other institutional investors on the firm’s thesis that environmentally and socially beneficial practices can drive operational efficiencies, reduced risk and above-market, or ‘alpha,’ returns. Instead, they talk about real assets, such as real estate, farmland, timber and infrastructure, as a hedge against inflation and market volatility that can combine immediate yields with long-term appreciation. Equilibrium combines this appeal with practices that further boost returns and reduce risk. The fact that those practices are environmentally sustainable is an added plus. The Portland, Ore., firm, with more than $1 billion on its platform, is not only an investor in but an operator of blueberry and citrus farms, agricultural bio-digesters, energy efficiency generation and other “sustainable” real assets.

[Canada] Foreign firm’s tree-planting practice in B.C. not sustainable, region says
By Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail, 14 April 2015
A foreign company that has been replanting thousands of hectares of farmland with trees in British Columbia in order to claim carbon credits has been told the practice is not sustainable and is damaging local economies. In a letter, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) told the British-based multinational Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (RB) that its conversion of some 2,000 hectares of farmland into forest is troubling. “There are concerns that the tree planting on agricultural lands in the RDBN may have a negative impact on the region’s economy, as centrally located and productive agricultural land is taken out of production in the long term,” Bill Miller, chair of the board, wrote last fall. “There are also concerns that the continued planting of trees on centrally located and productive agricultural lands is not sustainable, and will not result in a net reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.”

[Canada] Ontario to deliver budget April 23
By Jane Taber, The Globe and Mail, 14 April 2015
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced he will deliver his budget on April 23, just two days after the federal Conservative government tables a budget that federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says will be balanced. Ontario is facing a massive debt. It is projecting a $10.9-billion deficit, and will not balance its books until 2017-2018. In addition, there will be nothing in the upcoming budget to reflect Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement Monday that Ontario is joining Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade system. The government has put no figure on how much revenue will be raised from the new scheme. It is expected to take officials about six months to design it but there are estimates it could raise between $1-billion and $2-billion a year, depending on the price of carbon credits, according to sources. “It’s not built into our fiscal plan,” Mr. Sousa told reporters. He was speaking at an event at Ryerson University.

Dutch government taken to court on climate change
BBC News, 14 April 2015
Campaigners in the Netherlands are taking the government to court for allegedly failing to protect its citizens from climate change. The class action lawsuit, involving almost 900 citizens, aims to force the government to cut emissions faster. The first hearing opened in the Hague on Tuesday. It is said to be the first time in Europe that citizens have tried to hold a state responsible for alleged inaction on climate change. It is also believed to be the first case in the world in which human rights are used – alongside domestic law – as a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change. The campaigners, led by the Urgenda Foundation, want the judges to compel the Dutch government to reduce its carbon emissions to 40% below 1990s levels by 2020.

Nepal′s community forests fight poverty and destruction
By Jennifer Collins, Deutsche Welle, 14 April 2015
“If you really are interested in winning the war of conservation, you have to integrate poverty alleviation,” says Olivier Langrand, Executive Director of US-based conservation group Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). “If you don’t, you will not change the global trend that we see: that nature is disappearing and poverty is increasing. And you will realize that both are clearly linked.” While poverty has declined slightly in recent years, Nepal scores low on most development rankings. It places at number 145 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, and has one of the lowest Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita in the world. With around 40 percent of the country covered in forest and shrubland, millions of rural Nepalese rely on forest biodiversity for subsistence, and as a source of income. Agriculture, including forestry, employs around 80 percent of the population.

Projects developed in Peru’s rainforest awarded for reducing deforestation
Andina, 14 April 2015
The award “Environmental Finance Award of the Year 2015” in the category “Sustainable Forestry” has been granted to the climate fund Althelia for the projects developed in the natural protected areas of Peru. Althelia, together with Peru’s National Service for Protected Areas (Sernanp) and the Peruvian Association for the Research and Comprehensive Development (AIDER), has carried out works, which aim at preserving landscapes in areas characterized by the high biodiversity. These projects are executed at the National Parks: Bahuaja Sonene, Cordillera Azul and Tambopata National Reserve and financed by the prestigious Environmental Finance magazine. For the first project, a connection was established between Althelia Ecosphere and Credit Suisse, in order to issue “Nature Conservation Notes.”

Who should pay to maintain Swiss woods?, 14 April 2015
The Kyoto climate agreement allows Switzerland and other industrial countries to include the CO2 effects of management of forests in their national greenhouse gas inventories. The carbon credits generated help Switzerland to fulfil its Kyoto commitments. This means that it can undertake fewer emission reduction activities in other sectors of the economy, purchase fewer carbon credits from outside the country, or even sell carbon credits on the international market. If the CO2 sequestration effect achieved through forest management is translated into financial terms, the forestry sector can produce CO2 credits worth hundreds of millions of euros. Only three private forestry companies in Switzerland have managed to directly claim CO2 carbon credits through a system established by the Kyoto protocol.

15 April 2015

CTX and Wildlife Works join forces
Carbon Trade Exchange press release, 15 April 2015
Carbon Trade Exchange (CTX) and Wildlife Works announced a new partnership today, demonstrating a commitment to take voluntary carbon offset trading in the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) sector in North America to new heights. Following their launch into North America in 2014, CTX has been looking to partner with industry leaders such as Wildlife Works to connect international markets and provide broader options and market access to buyers and sellers via the CTX Exchange. This partnership will benefit buyers by expanding the scope of forestry projects available and providing the highest quality offsets available at competitive prices. Baden Wright, CTX CEO, said, “We are extremely excited to work with an industry leader like Wildlife Works so we can continue to offer the highest quality offsets and increase REDD+ project options on the exchange.”

CANOPY (issue 2, 2015): quarterly REDD+ news from WWF’s global Forest and Climate Programme
WWF, 15 April 2015
CANOPY is a quarterly newsletter from WWF’s Forest and Climate Programme that provides the latest news and information on WWF’s REDD+- related activities. In this edition, we highlight the importance of including the land sector, and forests in particular, in climate action plans on the road to the UN conference in Paris. In addition, we present interviews with our colleagues Susana Vélez Haller of WWF-Colombia and Mona Wang of WWF-US. As always, we also highlight the latest REDD+ news from around the world, learning resources and upcoming events.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 April 2015
But, despite its protected status, the forest itself is threatened by migratory agriculture and illegal logging, both of which accelerated when construction of a new highway through the region began in 2006. An estimated 1,189 hectares are being chipped out of the 570,000-hectare protected area every year. AIDER aims to change this by pairing carbon finance with sustainable cocoa production. Fueled by a $7 million investment by Althelia Climate Fund, the organization helped found a farmer’s cooperative focused on harvesting, processing and commercializing fine aromatic cocoa. This year, the cooperative is starting with 300 planted hectares, with plans to scale up to 4,000 hectares by the end of the decade. The cooperative aims to produce 3,200 tonnes of cocoa each year – enough to create annual revenues of nearly $10 million, if cocoa prices hold at 2014 levels.

UN-REDD Moves towards Implementation
Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 15 April 2015
Demonstrating a shift from planning and preparation to implementation, a number of funding mechanisms, support tools and projects for REDD have been launched. To support a move towards results based payments for REDD , the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Government of Norway have launched an online forest monitoring tool that can be used to assess changes in forest carbon. The tool will be piloted in 13 countries and will make use of satellite imagery and other remote sensing data to run analysis through cloud-based processing. A fund has also been launched to support REDD at the local level. A partnership between the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), the Community-based REDD Grants (CBR ) will provide funding of up to US$50,000.

Ban Ki-Moon Presses Rich Nations for $100 Billion Climate Plan
By Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg, 15 April 2015
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stepped up pressure on the richest nations and investors to detail how they will meet a pledge to provide developing nations $100 billion a year for climate-related programs by 2020. The United Nations will convene a meeting on the issue in New York next month and wants clear commitments on support for the least-developed countries and islands most at risk of being swamped by rising sea levels, Ban said on Wednesday.

Health disaster strikes recently contacted Indians in Brazil
Survival International, 15 April 2015
“They were surrounded by loggers. We heard lots of noise from the chainsaws nearby and the tractors carving roads to transport the wood, and there were many trees marked for felling,” a settled Awá told CIMI, a Brazilian NGO. The Awá’s forest has been heavily invaded by loggers, ranchers and settlers since the Great Carajás Project – funded by the European Union and World Bank – was implemented in the 1980s. After a two-year campaign by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, the Brazilian authorities removed illegal invaders from one of the Awá’s territories in January 2014. According to media reports, 173 sawmills were recently closed near the Awá area.

National carbon trading market to launch in China in 2016, 15 April 2015
At a forum held in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province on April 8, China was said to be readying itself to kick off a national carbon trading market in 2016, with insiders estimating it will reach 100 billion yuan (US$16.1 billion) annually, an official in charge at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) stated, according to Guangzhou’s Time Weekly. The announcement coincided with a statement by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on March 30 on resuming a study on a green GDP to determine the environmental cost for economic development, as a prelude to pushing the development of green industries. Insiders said that a major component in the upcoming carbon trading market is the CCER (China’s Certified Emission Reduction) program, under which enterprises can generate credits from carbon-reduction emission and sell the credits on the market.

[Indonesia] RI-Norway agree to continue REDD+
By Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, 15 April 2015
Indonesia and Norway agreed on Tuesday to continue cooperation on reducing forest-based gas emissions despite Jakarta’s earlier decision to disband an agency tasked with overseeing the implementation of the program. The commitment was made during a bilateral meeting between President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Jakarta on Tuesday. Solberg is in Jakarta for a state visit from Tuesday to Thursday, her first official visit to the country during Jokowi’s presidency. “The two countries have agreed to continue cooperation regarding the REDD+ [on reducing forest-based gas emissions], which began in 2010,” Jokowi said during a press conference after the bilateral meeting with Solberg.

[USA] Does Obama’s UN carbon pledge threaten much more US economic pain?
By George Russell, Fox News, 15 April 2015
The Obama Administration’s pledge of 26 to 28 percent cuts in U.S. carbon emissions by 2025 is coming under heavy fire from business and scientific experts, who charge the radical goals were not backed up by any concrete planning, likely to cause energy-intensive industries to flee the country at a heavy cost in jobs, and unlikely to make any difference at all to global carbon emissions—or to climate. The skepticism was aired at a session Wednesday of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where the Republican majority clearly shared those views, and intended to underline them in the early stages of a major pushback against Administration climate policies. As one sign of that strategy, committee chairman Lamar Smith timed the hearing on the costly climate pledges to coincide with “tax day”—the deadline for normal tax filings with the IRS.

U.S. Can and Must Rise to the Global Challenge of Climate Change
By Jake Schmidt (NRDC), Medium, 15 April 2015
We have a responsibility to protect our children and future generations from the effects of climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants. This can be done in a manner that protects public health, spurs job creation, and helps address the significant damages from climate change. Acting responsibly at home is also an essential component of efforts to secure strong global action, including from other major emitters. Our actions at home show other countries that the world’s largest economy is prepared to rise to the challenge to address climate change. Those were the key messages I gave to Members of the U.S. Congress when I testified before the House Science Committee (see here for full testimony).

16 April 2015

How to Translate REDD+ Benefit Sharing Practice into Policy
By Ruth Metzel, IUCN, 16 April 2015
Yet, few of the practical field experiences in implementing REDD benefit-sharing mechanisms “trickle up” to inform REDD policy at the international level. The COP-16 Cancun Agreements delineated full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous and local communities, as a key safeguard for REDD initiatives. At the most recent UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima this past December 2014, however, efforts to strengthen governance of forest resources were still recognized as urgent needs in REDD post-2015 implementation. Enter The Forests Dialogue (TFD)’s REDD Benefit-Sharing Initiative. In March 2013, a Scoping Dialogue, organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and TFD in collaboration with the Program on Forests (PROFOR), identified seven needs in the design of REDD Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms.

Figueres: National climate plans = “investment prospectuses”
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 16 April 2015
The climate plans submitted by governments towards a global climate deal should be seen as “investment prospectuses” for business. That was the line of UN climate chief Christiana Figueres ahead of a business and climate change conference in Paris next month. To date, 34 countries have published their draft contributions to a climate agreement in the same city this December, which outline policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. “These are more than a contribution to a global effort, they are also investment prospectuses,” said Figueres in a media briefing. “While it is the responsibility of governments to set the direction of travel and that is very clearly lower carbon, it falls on business and sub-national governments to be the engines of change. “What is very exciting about these two days coming up is businesses are not waiting for policy perfection – because that is a work in progress – but businesses are already acting.”

Company bosses pledge emission cuts, call for strong Paris climate deal
Reuters, 16 April 2015
Bosses from more than forty global companies called on negotiators to agree a United Nations climate change deal in Paris in December and pledged to make their own emission cuts, they said in an open letter published on Thursday. The group of 43 chief executives, representing firms which generated a combined $1.2 trillion in 2014, said they would set internal emission reduction targets and called on negotiators to make sure a new international climate deal limits the global rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. The letter is designed to put pressure on government officials ahead of a spring meeting of a World Bank group in Washington from April 17-19.

[Brazil] Launching of “2015 Vale Unsustainability Report”
Intercontinental Cry, 16 April 2015
Human rights violations and environmental impacts committed by Vale in Brazil and eight other countries in America, Africa and Asia are reported in the “Vale Unsustainability Report 2015”. The launching will be on Thursday, April 16th, at 11 am, at the headquarters of the Journalists Union of Rio de Janeiro/Brazil. Produced by the International Articulation of those Affected by Vale, the report gathers information on over 30 violation cases involving the company’s entire production chain in different countries. The most severe violation cases include episodes of espionage and poor working conditions, including forced labor and other forms of modern slavery, which were recently subject of complaints addressed to the Public Prosecutor Office in Brazil.

Brazil to Offer Ambitious Climate Plan With More Renewables
By Vanessa Dezem and Raymond Colitt, Bloomberg, 16 April 2015
Brazil will increase the use of renewable energy, target zero net deforestation and push for low-carbon agriculture as part of its climate proposal, Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said in an interview. In its proposal to the United Nations climate conference in Paris this year, Latin America’s largest nation will propose ambitious new targets to reduce destruction of the Amazon rainforest, boost reforestation and increase solar, hydro and wind energy. To do so, it will require more foreign capital and technology, Teixeira said in her office in Brasilia… Amazon deforestation plummeted to 4,571 square kilometers in 2012 from 27,772 square kilometers in 2004. It rose the following year and fell again to 4,848 square kilometers in 2014, according to data on the National Space Research Institute’s website.

[Indonesia] Govt to revive food estate project in Papua
By Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, 16 April 2015
With its high food self-sufficiency target, the government is considering reviving the stalled “food estate” program of the prior administration by involving private and state-owned companies. The extensive commercial farming will focus on rice, corn and soybean — all are food crops laid out in the self-sufficiency goal, according to State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno… State-owned enterprises, such as fertilizer producer PT Pupuk Indonesia Holding Company, seedling company PT Sang Hyang Sri and agribusiness firm PT Pertani, will take the lead in the projects, Rini said. Designed in the early days of Yudhoyono’s administration in 2009, the project was meant to integrate farming and food-based energy generation to replicate the success story of Brazil’s large-scale agricultural projects. The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) program in Papua is expected to cover a 1.6 million hectare area.

[Indonesia] Availability of land remains big issue for food self-sufficiency
By Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, 16 April 2015
A similar food self-efficiency target, a sacred tenet in Indonesia, was touted by the past administration of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but proved a failure as the country’s fast-growing population of 250 million outpaces its ability to supply its own food. Rice imports from Thailand and Vietnam, which reached 676,496 tons in 2010, only shrank slightly to 672,621 tons in 2014, Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data show. To meet its self-sufficiency program, the government aims to see unhusked rice production rise from 73.45 million tons this year to 78.13 million tons by 2017, corn output from 20.31 million tons to 22.36 million tons and soybean output from 1.2 million tons to 2.76 million tons, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s director general for food crops, Hasil Sembiring.

[New Zealand] NZ greenhouse gas levels ease but remain well above 2020 target levels
By Michael Daly,, 16 April 2015
New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have eased but remain well above the target set for 2020. Despite the gap, Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser – who jetted off to Washington DC on Wednesday night for a meeting on climate change – is confident New Zealand can reach its commitments. To get there though, it is expected to have to delve into international markets for carbon offsets. New Zealand’s commitment, reiterated by Groser in the past few days, is to get emission levels of greenhouse gases down to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. New figures from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) put the emission of carbon dioxide equivalents at 81 million tonnes in 2013, 21.3 per cent above the 1990 level of 66.7 million tonnes. Total emissions were 1.1 million tonnes – or 1.4 per cent – lower in 2013 than 2012.

[UK] Michael Moore, of Loose, Maidstone, and Haydon Driscoll, 39, of Otford, face energy scam charges
By Ed McConnell, Kent Online, 16 April 2015
Two city financiers who allegedly plotted to defraud customers and stole more than £100,000 will appear in court next month. Michael Moore and Haydon Driscoll are charged with conspiring to commit fraud and stealing the money between July 2011 and November 2012. It is alleged the pair, who were at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court today for a first hearing, told investors they could sell them carbon credits — tradable certificates that allow people to emit greenhouse gases. Thirty-three-year-old Moore, of Cripple Street, in Loose, Maidstone, is charged with one count of conspiring to commit fraud and one count of stealing £2,500 from an investor. Haydon Driscoll, 39, of Otford, faces the same conspiracy and theft charges in addition to 16 different counts of stealing money to the value of £102,570. Due to the severity of alleged offences the case was transferred to the town’s crown court where both men will appear on May 1.

[USA] Why Apple Is Permanently Protecting Working Forests
By Lisa Jackson and Larry Selzer, Medium, 16 April 2015
Today, Apple and The Conservation Fund are announcing a collaboration designed to help America’s working forests stay working forests. For Apple, this is the beginning of a worldwide effort, one that represents a new approach as it reassesses its impact on the world’s paper supply chain… Apple believes that paper, like energy, can be a renewable resource. So Apple is striving to supply 100 percent of the virgin fibers used in its paper and packaging from sustainably managed forests or controlled wood sources.

17 April 2015

World Bank fossil fuel financing leapt in 2014 despite its calls to end subsidies
By Karl Mathiesen, The Guardian, 17 April 2015
The World Bank increased its financing for fossil fuel projects in the last financial year, according to a new analysis, despite repeated calls by its president to end the global subsidies for oil, coal and gas. In a report released on Friday, Oil Change International (OCI) identified $3.4bn (£2.3bn) of loans, grants, guarantees, risk management and equity for fossil fuel-related projects in the developing world in the 2013-14 financial year. This was the highest recorded in four years and up 23% on the year before although the bank said it disagreed with lumping in both direct and indirect funding. On Monday, the bank’s president Jim Yong Kim told the Guardian “we need to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies now”, echoing his previous comments on such “harmful” subsidies.

India Reverses Stance on Potent Greenhouse Gases Ahead of Talks
By Natalie Obiko Pearson, Bloomberg, 17 April 2015
India, in a surprising about-face, proposed to amend a protocol to accelerate the phase-out of some of the planet’s most potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators, automobiles and air conditioners… India had previously blocked proposed amendments to the protocol saying it was the wrong treaty to bring about changes. A quicker phase-out would give developing nations including India less time to find economic alternatives, vital for air conditioners in hot climates. Also, India is home to major HFC producers, including SRF Ltd., Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd., Navin Fluorine International Ltd. and Chemplast Sanmar Ltd., which in the past have earned at least $800 million worth of carbon credits for limiting emissions of the gases.

[New Zealand] Climate costs left for the future
By Brian Fallow, New Zealand Herald, 17 April 2015
It seems the Government plans to rely heavily on a hoard of cheap, low-quality carbon credits to meet its current climate change target. Or at least pretend to meet it. In 2013 the Government undertook – under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change – to reduce New Zealand’s emissions of greenhouse gases to 5 per cent below 1990 gross levels by 2020. Averaged over the eight years after the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period in 2012, it amounts to a reduction of just over 3 per cent. The trouble is, as the Ministry for the Environment reported a week ago, by 2013 (the most recent year for which comprehensive data exists) gross emissions were 21 per cent above 1990 levels. The trend is clear. Emissions have been growing by nearly 1 per cent a year since 1990. So far New Zealand has been able to offset that growth in emissions by counting the carbon taken up by plantation forests.

18 April 2015

[Brazil] Rainforest protection akin to speed limit control, 16 April 2015
The destruction of the Brazilian rainforest has slowed significantly. With around 5000 square kilometers annually, the loss is now about 80% lower than in 2004. Led by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn, an international team of researchers has evaluated the effectiveness of forest law enforcement in the Brazilian Amazon. In some federal states of the Brazilian Amazon region enforcement has been more effective than in others. The results are presented in the journal PLOS ONE. Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest featured in international press headlines for a long time. However, Brazil has made substantial efforts to protect rainforests ecosystem services lately. “Over the last decade, there has been a significant decline in deforestation,” says Dr. Jan Börner, the Robert Bosch junior professor at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn.

[UK] How rogue ‘financial advisers’ in Spain stung British pensioners for millions
By Katie Morley, The Telegraph, 18 April 2015
When Malcolm and Fiona Straw handed their life savings to their financial adviser to invest in 2007, they were confident their money was being placed in good hands. They met Robin Rogers, at one time an authorised UK financial adviser, through their local golf club in Marbella, Spain. A number of Mr Straw’s golfing friends had spoken very highly of him. Mr Straw, an ex-property developer, and his wife, a former teacher, retired in 2007 having sold a flat for €100,000, and they asked Mr Rogers for help investing the proceeds. They wanted to generate an income to replace the €7,000 yearly rent. They invested another €50,000 in 2012.

19 April 2015

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