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REDD in the news: 4-10 May 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.

REDD+ Supply and Demand 2015-2025
By Nicholas Linacre, Robert O’Sullivan, Leslie Durshinger, and Ian Deshmukh, Forest Carbon, Markets and Communities (FCMC), 2015
Forest loss in developing countries represents a significant contribution to global emissions along with significant climate change mitigation potential. How Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries; and the Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests, and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+) will be incentivized in a future climate agreement is still being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). One option to incentivize REDD+ is the use of carbon markets that provide economic benefits to those who reduce emissions. A voluntary market for forest credits started in the 1990s and has grown during the last decade. Bilateral and multilateral initiatives also are piloting market mechanisms and non-market results-based payments for emission reductions.

The State of The Forest Indonesia Period of 2009 – 2013
Forest Watch Indonesia, May 2015
Indonesia has the largest tropical forest in the world, rich forest resources, andbiodiversity. For all of this time, the rich and diverse tropical forests have beenutilized directly and indirectly, to fulfil the human needs, society and Indonesiaas a state. Utilization of Indonesia’s forest, especially to meet the market demand, has caused the loss of total forest cover (deforestation). During the period of 2009-2013, the average rate of deforestation is 1, 13 million hectares per year. This high rate of deforestation had affected the increase of greenhouse gases (GHG), prone to disaster, extinction of endangered animals and their habitats, and conflct between several stakeholders. This report is a mean to get fiure of state and changes on forest cover in Indonesia during the period of 2009-2013, rate and projections of forest loss in the future, and performance of the actors in the forestry sector in forest management and its impact on forest loss.

4 May 2015

Paris climate summit: Carbon pledges to fall short of warming goal, Stern warns
By Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2015
This year’s Paris climate summit will leave the world on course for dangerous climate change unless nations offer much deeper carbon emissions cuts than already pledged or signalled, according to researchers including the UK’s Lord Nicholas Stern. Based on commitments made by the European Union, the US and China – which together account for almost half of global emissions – the December summit will end limiting annual pollution to 55-57 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, a study by Lord Stern and other analysts found. That total, while an improvement on the current trajectory of about 70GT, would still be far higher than the 40-42GT level the world needs to reach by 2030 to have a half to two-thirds chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, according to UN estimates.

View from the Street: So, is Copenhagen Consensus Centre just a US postbox?
By Andrew P. Street, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2015
This column’s had a lot to say about the planned climate change think tank that is the Australian Consensus Centre at the University of Western Australia, headed by not-scientist Bjorn Lomborg and which the government will be giving $4 million of your taxpayer dollars. Lomborg, as you may be aware, is of the opinion that climate change mitigation strategies like carbon pricing and emissions trading are more expensive than they’re worth, and that there are better – or at least cheaper – solutions. Now, while he’s got zero background in climate science, he’s at least a respected econom… oh, actually he’s internationally regarded as having “no academic credibility” and his work is “seen as an outreach activity that is driven by specific set of objectives in terms of bringing particular messages into the public debate and in some cases making relatively extreme positions seem more acceptable in the public debate…”

[DR Congo] We need to protect Congo’s forests against shifting cultivation… or do we?
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 May 2015
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to the second-largest single block of forest in the world, and its forests make up two-thirds of the Congo Basin forest area. Researchers have often concluded that slash-and-burn agriculture and biomass production are two of the most important causes of deforestation in the country. Further research indicates that the DRC has the largest area of deforested land in the Congo Basin. But, according to a new study, undertaken by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), while agriculture appears to be a main driver, there is a ‘lack of strong evidence’ to support concerns about extensive deforestation in general and about shifting cultivation’s contribution to deforestation in particular. Indeed, the study claims that ‘both the biodiversity and carbon impacts of such deforestation are likely to be limited’.

EU emitters convert 256 million UN offsets for 2014 emission swap
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 4 May 2015
EU ETS emitters converted some 255.64 million UN-backed carbon credits into EU allowances over the year to April, more than double the amount exchanged a year earlier, according to data published on the European Commission’s website late on Monday. The Commission said a total of 388.44 million credits had been exchanged by EU firms over the two compliance years since the conversion became possible, indicating that companies had opted to convert far more to cover 2014 emissions than when they swapped 132.8 million a year earlier. The data indicates that companies have surrendered slightly more offsets against 2014 emissions than the 225-250 million analysts were expecting and means companies have up to now likely handed in 1.5 billion of the market’s estimated total usage limit of just over 1.6 billion between 2008-2020. Annual offset use data is closely watched by EU market participants as it could impact the amount of EUAs in circulation.

[Indonesia] Govt lacks legal basis to curb deforestation
By Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, 4 May 2015
An international environmental forum has found that Indonesia still lacks the necessary legal basis to support zero-deforestation commitments. Law No.39/2014 on plantations, for instance, requires palm oil companies to use all their permitted land to plant oil palms, leaving them unable to allocate any of their land for conservation purposes. “This regulation is against the deforestation-free commitments. For example, if a company decides not to plant palm oil trees in 10 percent of its 10,000 hectares of permitted land to reduce carbon, then the 10 percent will be taken back by the government because it considers it abandoned land,” said Tiur Rumondang of the Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD) during a forum discussing deforestation in Pekanbaru over the weekend.

[Indonesia] A strengthened forest moratorium expected from Jokowi
By Bustar Maitar, The Jakarta Post, 4 May 2015
Indonesia’s current forestry moratorium is due to expire in a fortnight on May 13. The moratorium, introduced in 2011, calls for a hold on granting new concessions for activities such as logging and plantations for pulp and paper or palm oil. The moratorium is temporary and should be bound by results, not dates; it needs to be in place as long as required for legal review and reform to ensure permanent protection for Indonesia’s forests and peatlands. This reform, however, is no easy task, and the past four years has seen little progress, with the national land use One Map still pending and a mess of overlapping regulations peppered with loopholes, still holding sway. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government has already indicated that it plans to renew the moratorium, but ongoing rapid deforestation under the current version shows that in its present form, the moratorium is simply too weak.

5 May 2015

What the heck is a carbon right?
By Ashwin Ravikumar, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 May 2015
It’s tough to wrap your head around the concept of owning something like carbon, or having “carbon rights.” Unlike resources such as water, it’s not clear what direct value carbon has. You can’t drink it or eat it. You wouldn’t sell it directly on a market as a physical commodity. Instead, carbon sequestered from the atmosphere by plants and stored in biomass has value because it provides humanity with at least one key service: mitigation of damaging climate change. In other words, humanity should be willing to pay for the service of climate change mitigation provided by carbon stored in trees and other biomass. If the international community decides that it is indeed willing to pay for this service – through carbon taxes, mandatory cap-and-trade carbon markets, or some other mechanism – to whom would that money be owed and under what circumstances? This is the essence of the carbon rights question.

Harvard Economist Charts Escape From Kyoto
By James Handley, Carbon Tax Center, 5 May 2015
[T]he quantity-based Kyoto-type approach [to UN climate negotiations] has pretty much broken down, leaving the world with a highly non-optimal patchwork of sporadic regional volunteerism that does not address centrally how to correct the critical externality of global warming. — Harvard economist Martin Weitzman. The Kyoto Protocol is broken. What can replace it? Professor Weitzman, considered one of the world’s most influential economists, proposes a game change: Instead of squabbling over the quantity of fossil fuels each nation may burn, negotiate a single carbon price all can adhere to.

Paris 2015: Two degrees warming a ‘prescription for disaster’ says top climate scientist James Hansen
By Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 2015
The aim to limit global warming to two degrees of pre-industrial levels is “crazy” and “a prescription for disaster”, according to a long-time NASA climate scientist. The paleo-climate record shows sea-levels were six to eight metres higher than current levels when global temperatures were less than two degrees warmer than they are now, Professor James Hansen, formerly head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and now at Columbia University in New York, said. “It’s crazy to think that 2 degrees celsius is a safe limit,” Professor Hansen told RN Breakfast on ABC Radio on Tuesday…

European companies close to exhausting cheap U.N. carbon credits
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 5 May 2015
European companies have used almost all of their quotas of cheap U.N. carbon credits to reduce emissions costs under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which is likely to push up their compliance costs in later years, analysts said on Tuesday… [D]ata published late on Monday by the European Commission showed that companies in the EU have already used about 1.446 billion U.N. offsets, leaving them a little more than 20 million a year to 2020, Thomson Reuters Point Carbon analyst Marcus Ferdinand said. “We can assume that many companies have used most if not all their credit limit already … the possibility to reduce their compliance costs by using cheap credits instead of EU Allowances is phasing out,” Point Carbon’s Ferdinand said.

EU envoys clinch deal for MSR to start in 2019
By Ben Garside and Michael Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 5 May 2015
EU diplomats reached a provisional agreement on Tuesday for the MSR, paving the way for the measure to be passed into law. After two-and-a-half hours of closed-door trilogue talks in Brussels, negotiators from the EU Council, Parliament and European Commission reached agreement on the wording of the bill. “It’s a very good deal, a substantial improvement to the Commission’s proposal,” German MEP and one of parliament’s lead negotiators Matthias Groote told Carbon Pulse. The deal strengthens the Commission’s original MSR bill by moving forward the start date to Jan. 2019 from 2021, and fills the reserve with hundreds of millions of backloaded and unallocated allowances. The Council and Parliament had already aligned their views on those amendments, but entering negotiations still had differences about the earmarking of allowances due to enter the reserve.

APNU+AFC blasts BaiShanLin for failure to honor promises to Guyana
Kaieteur News, 5 May 2015
A Partnership for National Unity plus Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC)’s Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine and Khemraj Ramjattan have both condemned the alarming rate at which concessions are being handed to BaiShanLin. They say that this is being done at the expense of local businessmen. They also point to the company’s failure to honour its commitments to provide Guyanese employment. These issues recently came to the fore with the revelations of the large tax concessions granted to the Chinese-owned company. BaiShanLin has been under scrutiny for its large scale extraction and export of Guyana’s timber using a primarily Chinese workforce. Though the Government of Guyana has protested that BaiShanLin’s export level remains within the parameters of the law, the Chinese company has not created jobs within Guyana’s sector for Guyanese or made any serious attempt to give back to the Guyanese people.

[Indonesia] Illegal mining causing over Rp 80t in losses
By Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, 5 May 2015
Illegal gold mining activities that have spread throughout the country in the past few years have reportedly incurred state losses of over Rp 80 trillion (about US$6.1 billion) annually. Widespread gold mining activities have also caused pollution and environmental destruction. Former deputy environment minister Masnellyarti Hilman said that based on data at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry in 2014, illegal gold mining was taking place in 27 provinces, 80 regencies and two cities. “Illegal gold mining has taken place in nearly all provinces. Under our nose, our gold resources have been depleted. Worse, the country is deprived of the relevant tax income,” said Masnellyarti in a discussion in Karo regency, North Sumatra, over the weekend. She said the volume of national gold production extracted legally was less than illegally mined gold.

6 May 2015

Forests are ‘key feature’ of food security landscape
By Mark Kniver, BBC News, 6 May 2015
Forests can play a vital role in supplementing global food and nutrition security but this role is currently being overlooked, a report suggests. The study says that tree-based farming provides resilience against extreme weather events, which can wipe out traditional food crops. It warns that policies focusing on traditional agriculture often overlook the role forest farming could play. The findings were presented at the UN Forum on Forests in New York, US. The report is the result of a collaboration of more than 60 leading scientists, co-ordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). “The report is not trying to suggest that people should start relying on forests more than conventional agriculture,” explained Bhaskar Vira, the chair of the panel which compiled the report.

Residents’ control is best answer to threat of deforestation: researchers
By Chris Arsenault, Reuters, 6 May 2015
An estimated 1.2 billion people rely on forests for their livelihood, including about 60 million indigenous people who are almost entirely dependent on them, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) said in a 170-page report. Expanding agriculture accounts for 73 percent of the world’s forest loss, the report, released at the United Nations Forum on Forests, said… Local communities have a natural interest in balancing food production and forest cover on their land, said Cambridge University’s Bhaskar Vira, the study’s lead author. “There is considerable evidence to show that when local communities are given a clear stake in the health of forests, they look after it,” Vira told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Giving women more control is especially effective.” Globally, nearly 80 percent of forests are publicly owned, so governments have the ability to provide local residents with secure land tenure…

Soy may be next on the no-deforestation hit list, but policies will take time to make an impact
By Leigh Stringer, The Guardian, 6 May 2015
In a potentially big win for Latin American rainforests, Archer Daniels Midland, the third largest global supplier of agricultural commodities, has adopted a draft policy to end deforestation across its supply chains. The company is expected to formally announce the new plan at its shareholders meeting Thursday. ADM’s commitment rivals that of palm oil giant Wilmar’s anti-deforestation promise in 2013. This time, the product in question isn’t palm oil, but soybeans. ADM is one of the world’s leading soy traders and a top soy exporter in Latin America, where expanding production is a leading driver of deforestation across the Amazon and the Gran Chaco forest. It’s a pressing problem: Forest Trends, a Washington-based international nonprofit organization, estimates that 50%-70% of soy exports – about 31m tons – have displaced forests in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Carbon Trade Exchange to Enable ‘Clean Power’ Allowances
Carbon Trade Exchange press release, 6 May 2015
Carbon Trade Exchange (CTX), the largest electronic spot trading exchange for global carbon credits, today announced the launch of a new centralized exchange platform to buy and sell allowances from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is the first mandatory cap-and-trade program in the United States to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) from the power sector. Now open for membership applications, the new CTX RGGI Exchange provides the first exchange for intra-day spot trading of RGGI units for compliant entities and institutional investors. The Exchange electronically connects with Wells Fargo, ensuring the safe, secure and easy management of participant funds and will enable same-day delivery of RGGI units/allowances.

[Australia] Is this mess all Christine Milne’s fault?
By Tristan Edis, Business Spectator, 6 May 2015
Climate policy is a mess in this country and dragging the energy sector down with it in a quagmire of regulatory uncertainty. It drives some to such despair that they can’t help but nostalgically look back to 2008 and 2009, when an emissions trading scheme looked inevitable, while angrily blaming the retiring Christine Milne for our current predicament. Environment Minister Greg Hunt was at it again today, telling a conference of business people heavily engaged in emission reduction projects that his Direct Action policy was the long-term framework for driving down emissions in this country. I don’t think I met a single person out of the 400 at the conference who believe him.

Frontier expansion: Lessons from Bolivia and Pará, Brazil
By Jack Hewson, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 May 2015
Land tenure rights have been widely considered as key to improving environmental governance. In the Brazilian state of Pará, and in Lowland Bolivia laws have been enacted taking into account the needs of local and indigenous communities. So how successful have the laws been? A new study compares the processes of land regularization in the regions and the authors found that tenure security on its own has not necessarily resulted in better environmental governance. Much also depends on the social and political conditions.

Brazilian charcoal prices slip on poor pig iron market
By Priscilla Antunes, Platts, 6 May 2015
Charcoal demand and prices decreased by around 5% for May bookings on dropping pig iron prices, market participants said Wednesday. Charcoal is being traded domestically at Real 516/mt FOB mill ($167/mt), against Real 546/mt in April, Platts monthly assessment showed. “While pig iron prices keep on falling, charcoal situation will follow suit. I don’t think we will see a recover soon,” a charcoal producer said… Minas Gerais state is Brazil’s largest charcoal production hub, with a nationwide market share of approximately 66%. The state is home to 62 pig iron plants that require charcoal. Following Minas Gerais in charcoal production are Maranhao and Para in the North and Mato Grosso do Sul in the Midwest. The cost of charcoal is around one-third of coke and the substitution of charcoal for coke can also earn a company carbon credits.

EU agrees ‘landmark’ carbon market deal
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 6 May 2015
A deal to claw back hundreds of millions of surplus allowances from Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS) has been hailed as a watershed by environmentalists, MEPs and renewable industry groups. Nearly half of the continent’s emissions are covered by the ETS, the world’s largest carbon market, which sets a cap on CO2 output and forces firms to buy or sell allowances to stay within its boundaries. Recession and lavish handouts to industry have contributed to a glut of around 2bn allowances but a new market reserve will now start removing roughly the same amount from the market in 2019, as the Guardian reported in February. Damien Morris, the policy chief for Sandbag, an environmental NGO, welcomed the agreement as a “landmark” that marked “a huge turning point for Europe’s flagship climate policy”.

EU decides the future of its carbon market
By Sonja van Renssen, Energy Post, 6 May 2015
The European Parliament and Member States have reached a historic deal on the first half of a two-part reform of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). This is the introduction of a “market stability reserve” (MSR) that will mandate EU officials to add or remove allowances from the market according to pre-set rules. The MSR is supposed to wick away the enormous 2.1 billion “surplus” of carbon allowances that has accumulated in the market over the last few years, equivalent to one full year of EU ETS emissions. The CO2-price did not immediately respond, but analysts expect it to go up considerably in the future if the reform process is completed. “The future of the EU ETS has been decided,” said a senior EU official at a debate organised by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research in Brussels, the first German economic research institute to have opened a permanent branch in Brussels.

What does the MSR deal mean for the EU ETS and its allowance prices?
Carbon Pulse, 6 May 2015
EU lawmakers reached a provisional agreement on the MSR late on Tuesday, and analysts say it could triple EUA prices by the end of the decade while bringing much-needed clarity and investor confidence back to the market. The deal increases the ambition of the European Commission’s original MSR proposal, calling for a 2019 start rather than 2021 and for hundreds of millions of backloaded and unallocated allowances to be put in the reserve instead of entering the market. It also prevents the MSR from touching, between 2021 and 2025, any allowances in a ‘solidarity fund’ for poorer countries, and invites the EC in its upcoming ETS Directive review to consider if up to 50 million EUAs should be put in an ‘innovation fund’ to help industry. The deal still needs final approval by EU lawmakers in the coming weeks, but we asked some of Europe’s leading carbon analysts to weigh in on it and consider its effect on the market and EUA prices.

[Indonesia] Activists Urge Jokowi to Renew Forest Clearing Ban
By Kennial Caroline Laia, The Jakarta Globe, 6 May 2015
Environmental activists have called on President Joko Widodo to extend and strengthen a forest-clearing moratorium that runs out this month. The moratorium on issuing permits to clear peat and primary forests was introduced in May 2011 by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and slated to run for only two years. Yudhoyono extended it in 2013 on a temporary basis, and activists say Joko now has the chance to make a lasting positive impact by giving the moratorium a firmer legal basis. Any extension to the moratorium “must stipulate punitive measures for people or companies that violate it,” Zenzi Suhadi, a forest campaigner for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, or Walhi, told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday. “This is needed to curb [the illegal] issuance of licenses for forest exploitation, whether for mining or for large-scale plantations,” he added.

Financial compensation scheme announces £100m fee increase for UK life and pension advisers, 6 May 2015
According to the latest issue of its ‘Outlook’ publication (15-page / 440KB PDF), the FSCS began to receive claims from retail consumers with “very limited investment experience” whose savings had been transferred to SIPPs in 2014. “Attracted by the prospect of very high and sometimes unrealistic investment returns, consumers were encouraged by introducers to make selections from a range of alternative investment propositions to invest their SIPP funds,” the FSCS said. “These included overseas timeshare property developments, forestry plantations (either in the Far East or Australia) from which fuel oil was to be derived using unproven technology, carbon credits, gold and South American farmland.” FSCS chief executive Mark Neale said that the scheme was now compensating investment losses in many SIPP-related cases, and was also seeing “higher volumes” of these claims.

7 May 2015

Intl consortium to submit document to UNFCCC before Paris climate summit
GMA News, 7 May 2015
An international consortium of academic institutions and think tanks has come up with a document it hopes can help delegates to this year’s Paris climate summit reach an agreement on how to address climate change. Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) Dean Antonio La Viña said on Wednesday that a copy of the Agreement for Climate Act of 2015 (ACT), currently 20 pages long, will be available by next Monday, May 11. Ten institutions led by the World Resources Institute (WRI) spent a year and a half meeting with representatives from governments, NGOs, and business groups to consult for the document that will be formally submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “As a country, we do need to make sure that we in fact have a good agreement in Paris,” La Viña said, pointing out that the Philippines is vulnerable to climate change. “We want this (agreement) to be something governments actually use,” he added.

[Canada] More foreign companies buying B.C. farmland to earn carbon credits
The Globe and Mail, 7 May 2015
The B.C. government has acknowledged the amount of farmland being replanted with trees so companies can claim carbon credits is far greater than thought. A few weeks ago, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick dismissed concerns about the issue, which had been raised by farmers in the Cariboo, saying only about 1,500 hectares of agricultural land had been reforested for carbon sequestration. But in a new fact sheet released this week, the government states that “an additional 7,000 hectares of land” have now been identified on which trees may have been planted for carbon credits. Mr. Letnick wasn’t immediately available for comment, but the document states that the new information has been given to the Agricultural Land Commission, which is responsible for protecting B.C. farmland.

[Canada] Cheakamus Community Forest set to sell carbon offsets
By Braden Dupuis, Pique Newsmagazine, 7 May 2015
Ater a lengthy process of agreements and review, the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) will soon be able to sell its carbon offsets. On April 28, the Province of British Columbia and the CCF announced the signing of an Atmospheric Benefits Sharing Agreement that enables the creation and sale of carbon offsets. The agreement is the culmination of years of work, said CCF chair Jeff Fisher. “There are multiple stages and agreements throughout,” Fisher said. “You have to prove that your forest management is leaving trees standing, or growing more trees in addition to what would be required under the normal forest management laws of British Columbia, (and) you have to get a timber supply review completed that shows that. “You have to have a validation audit by a third party that is certified to do these kinds of audits, and then the validation audit gets verified by another third party.”

Expansion by Indonesia’s largest palm oil company frozen for disobeying RSPO standards
Forest Peoples Programme press release, 7 May 2015
The RSPO’s Complaints Panel has upheld the Forest Peoples Programme in its complaint against Golden Agri Resources, which was seeking to expand 18 of its operations in Kalimantan. After concluding that it has ‘reasonable grounds’ to conclude that the company is in violation of several RSPO norms, the latest ‘determination’ by the Panel notes: “The Panel hereby prohibits GAR from acquiring or developing any new areas until this complaint has been dealt with to the satisfaction of the Complaints Panel.”

Kulera’s First Carbon Credit Sale Supports Value Chains That Protect Forests and Build Livelihoods in Malawi
Terra Global Capital, 7 May 2015
The Kulera Landscape Reduced Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Program in Malawi has successfully completed its first sale of carbon credits. This sale managed by Terra Global Capital, to The CarbonNeutral Company on behalf of its client Microsoft, provides financial resources for forest protection and building rural incomes in Malawi. The Kulera Landscape REDD+ Program is one of the largest REDD+ programs in Africa covering 455,000 hectares and benefiting the livelihoods of more than 65,000 households (or 325,000 people) in 800 villages. The Nkhotakota Wildlife and Nyika-Vwaza Community Associations partnered with Malawi’s Department of Parks and Wildlife to co-manage three key protected areas under significant risk of deforestation, Nyika National Park, Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

New Zealand mulls carbon markets to meet climate targets
By Megan Darby, The Guardian, 7 May 2015
New Zealand is eyeing up international carbon markets to meet any climate commitments, the government revealed in a consultation this week. Slammed by Greens as “seriously flawed”, the document emphasised the costs of cutting greenhouse emissions at home. It claimed for the same level of cost as the European Union’s 40% reduction from 1990 to 2030, New Zealand would allow emissions to grow 10-20%. “While we are committed to doing our fair share and taking responsibility for our emissions we face particular challenges, and setting an emissions reduction target will not be easy,” climate change minister Tim Groser wrote in the foreword. The average New Zealander emits 17 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, compared to a world average of 8 tonnes. Unusually for a developed country, half of New Zealand’s emissions are from agriculture, described as “our hardest problem to address”.

[New Zealand] NZ makes access to global carbon market key to 2030 target
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 7 May 2015
New Zealand has limited low-cost options to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and is likely to need access to an international carbon market in order to meet ambitious post-2020 emission targets, the government said Thursday. The Ministry for Environment made the point as it launched a public consultation on how to calculate its INDC ahead of December’s crucial UN climate conference in Paris. “We are likely to need international carbon market access to help meet our target,” the consultation document said. “Our modelling suggests that meeting targets solely through domestic emissions reductions will increase the cost. This means that it will be important to secure the use of carbon markets in the new agreement.” The document did not outline potential targets for New Zealand beyond stating that it is expected to deepen its current commitment of cutting GHGs to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020.

8 May 2015

Guyana receives US$40 million payment from Norway for climate services and continued low deforestation
Government of Guyana press release, 8 May 2015
The Government of Guyana this morning announced the receipt of US$40 million from the Government of Norway for maintaining low deforestation rates and improving forest governance. With receipt of the fifth consecutive payment over five years, Guyana’s earnings through the Guyana-Norway partnership now total $190 million out of a potential US$250 million. Guyana’s earnings amount to one of the highest worldwide for results achieved under a bilateral REDD+ partnership, second only to Brazil. Since 2009, the payments have supported Guyana’s ambitious climate action to keep deforestation low while promoting development and economic growth through its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Guyana is already using the funds on a variety of projects, including land titling and sustainable livelihoods for indigenous communities and a transformational hydroelectric project at Amaila Falls.

Norway pays over $8B to Guyana – signals willingness to partner with Gov’t until 2020
Guyana Chronicle, 8 May 2015
Total payments from Norway now stand at a whopping $38B, with another $8B being the latest payment yesterday under the Guyana-Norway forests and climate change partnership, the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) agreement. President Donald Ramotar, via a public missive last evening, made the disclosure and underscored the fact that Norway’s move is a clear indication that it willing to pursue a second agreement up to 2020. “(This is) a policy that only the PPP/C (People’s Progressive Party/Civic) supports in Guyana. And all Guyanese should feel proud that we have earned the most money from a forest partnership in the world, after Brazil, money that is being directly spent on the people.” he said. Mr. Ramotar also committed to ensuring that the funds are utilised for the Guyanese people.

[Guyana] Ramotar ups vote drive – announces $8b from Norway, promises tax cut on car imports
Stabroek News, 8 May 2015
With general elections a few days away, President Donald Ramotar yesterday upped his appeal for votes, announcing an $8b payout from Norway and issuing several statements in which he promised to cut taxes on imported vehicles and hinted at governance changes. In yesterday’s newspapers, Ramotar also appealed for votes in an open letter in which he blamed the opposition for stymieing progress. Last evening, the campaigning moved several notches up when he issued a statement announcing a fifth tranche of US$40m from Norway under a forest protection agreement… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin has most certainly contravened laws, regulations and approved policies
By Janette Bulkan and John Palmer, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 8 May 2015
Stabroek News reported (‘Baishanlin says lack of funds delaying promised wood processing facility’, 02 May 2015) the protests of the Chinese transnational logger Bai Shan Lin (BSL), including the statement that Kaieteur News has carried ‘reports that are erroneous in nature, which fail to highlight, even in a single instance, where the company itself has broken any law or regulation’. This remarkable claim should be corrected because Bai Shan Lin has most certainly contravened laws, regulations, administrative procedures and approved policies of Guyana… The following list of ten illegalities is not comprehensive but should be enough to indicate that the senior management of Bai Shan Lin would have been prosecuted and penalised in jurisdictions where the rule of law was actually applied.

Protecting Indonesia’s forests is a key issue for Paris climate talks
By Nirarta Samadhi and Dr Nigel Sizer, The Guardian, 8 May 2015
If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to talk about Indonesia. While it may not be the country with the highest emissions from energy or industry, what Indonesia does have is forests, and lots of them. Many of the country’s more than 13,000 islands are blanketed by vast green jungles that absorb carbon and store it in trees and soils. But Indonesia, like many fast-developing countries, is subject to widespread deforestation, releasing carbon pollution back into the atmosphere. Deforestation and land use change drives about 80% of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions, which according to some estimates makes it the world’s fifth biggest emitter. This year, Indonesia’s leaders have the opportunity to limit these emissions by protecting some of its vast forests under its national “forest moratorium”.

[UK] How did I end up on so many ‘suckers lists’?
By Richard Dyson, Telegraph, 8 May 2015
Somewhere, on a list or on many lists, my name and mobile phone number appear alongside a note indicating to the reader – or purchaser – of the list that I’m a likely sucker for dodgy investments. A “suckers’ list”. I get an average of one call per day, sometimes as many as three, from people wanting to sell me investments. Almost all the callers are men. They have a range of accents. They could be phoning from anywhere; the numbers are usually non-geographic. It’s been bad for several years but it’s getting rapidly worse. Over time I’ve been urged to put money into carbon credits, shipping containers, student accommodation, fine wine, graphene, palladium, bamboo, pink diamonds, energy-related schemes of all sorts, property-related schemes, shares in unheard-of (and nonexistent?) companies and timeshare schemes from the Costa Brava to Brazil.

9 May 2015

10 May 2015

[USA] Reforestation project along the lower Mississippi River could help landowners as well as the environment
By Amy Wold, The Advocate, 10 May 2015
In an effort to reach a voluntary greenhouse gas reduction goal, Disney is helping pay for a reforestation project in the lower Mississippi River that will help plant trees on 2,000 acres in the next two years. The program is using private funding from Disney along with U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation money to help volunteer landowners plant trees on their property. That money will help pay for about 1,500 acres of the reforestation work. Additional funding is being collected to meet the 2,000-acre goal. In turn, the amount of greenhouse gases those trees are expected to absorb will help create carbon credits. The carbon credits will be given back to Disney to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, according to a news release from The Nature Conservancy, another partner in the program.

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