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REDD in the news: 1-7 June 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.

Flooding projections for oil palm plantations in the Rajang Delta peatlands, Sarawak, Malaysia
Deltares, May 2015
Deltares experts are investigating how deforestation and drainage of tropical peatlands in Sarawak, Malaysia will cause subsidence in the future. Subsidence leads to increased water management problems and flooding. Since peat is not ‘land’ in the common sense but an unstable mix of water (90%) and carbon (in the vegetation remains), it will inevitably disappear when drained… This land loss is the reason that expansion of peatland drainage for agriculture was ceased in Europe and the USA by the mid-20th century. In Malaysia and Indonesia, however, development of peatlands for agriculture (mostly oil palm and Acacia plantations) has only recently started, and without considering the future flooding impacts… A study area of 850,000 hectares (see figures below) is located along in the Rajang River Delta along the coast of Sarawak, the Malaysian part of Borneo. From 2000 to 2014, the cover of industrial oil palm plantations increased from 6% to 47%…

1 June 2015

Great expectations from Bonn climate talks, but sticky issues need resolving
By Arjuna Srinidhi, Down To Earth, 1 June 2015
Negotiations over combating climate change resume today with representatives of 195 countries coming together in Bonn, Germany. The 11-day summit of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) will see governments debate and arrive at some consensus over the final text of the global climate change agreement that is going to be signed in Paris in December.

UN Climate Deal in Paris May End Up Burying 2 Degree Goal
Reuters, 1 June 2015
The UN’s Paris climate conference, designed to reach a plan for curbing global warming, may instead become the graveyard for its defining goal: to stop temperatures rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Achieving the 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) target has been the driving force for climate negotiators and scientists, who say it is the limit beyond which the world will suffer ever worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas. But six months before world leaders convene in Paris, prospects are fading for a deal that would keep average temperatures below the ceiling. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached record highs in recent years. And proposed cuts in carbon emissions from 2020 and promises to deepen them in subsequent reviews – offered by governments wary of the economic cost of shifting from fossil fuels – are unlikely to be enough for the 2C goal.

UN climate talks “inadequate,” says French ecology minister Royal
RFI, 1 June 2015
Ségolène Royal has slammed UN climate talks as painfully “inadequate,” in the face of the urgency of climate change. Talks to hammer out a historic deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, resumed on Monday, ahead of crunch talks in Paris later this year. Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says he’s confident of striking an early agreement. “UN climate talks are completely inadequate… ” It was with these words that France’s Ecology minister Ségolène Royal put a damper on a ten-day climate conference, which resumed in Bonn on Monday. “Everyone knows it, but the weight of UN negotiations is such that we carry on as if nothing was wrong,” she said regrettably, ruling out the possibility of a deal being reached to reduce gas emissions to below 2C by December, when crunch talks are due to take place in Paris.

Europe’s energy big six say gas must help in the fight against climate change
By Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian, 1 June 2015
The bosses of Europe’s six largest energy companies, including BP and Shell, have said gas should play a vital role in plans to tackle global warming, in a rare public intervention aimed at influencing UN talks. In a letter to the Financial Times, the energy companies also called for “widespread and effective” carbon pricing to be part of the solution that emerges from crucial climate talks in Paris taking place at the end of the year. The letter is signed by Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP, as well as their counterparts at BG Group, Eni, Statoil and Total. “As a group of business people, we are united in our concern about the challenge – and the threat – posed by climate change. We urge governments to take decisive action at December’s UN summit…”

Six energy companies call for carbon pricing
AFP, 1 June 2015
Six leading oil and gas companies Monday called on governments to put into place a carbon pricing system, saying this would be the most effective way of cutting the emission of greenhouse gases. “We firmly believe that carbon pricing will discourage high carbon options and reduce uncertainty that will help stimulate investments in the right low carbon technologies and the right resources at the right pace,” said the chief executives of BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total in a joint letter. The call by companies comes as France tries to breathe life into talks aimed at reaching a deal on a UN climate pact ahead of a crucial conference in Paris in December.

‘A disgrace and a blight’: Inside Australian call centres that want to rip you off, 1 June 2015
Most call centres, no matter what their business is, exist because they want your money. They can be annoying, persistent or even intrusive. And sometimes they can be criminal. That is exactly what so-called boiler rooms are. They are effectively professionally run call centres serious about ripping hardworking Australians off. And the really bad news is they are popping up throughout Australia, almost as fast as they can be closed. Authorities admit even if the masterminds are caught it is difficult to lock them up. One Australian man got a glimpse at how they operated when he worked on the Gold Coast several years ago. “What a disgrace and a blight these places are on the Gold Coast,” Tim* said. He saw how two of them operated. “In my initial interview for the Surfers boiler room job, I really felt so pressured to take the job. “They sat me down at a basic table with a phone and script and said I had an [unpaid] two hour trial.”

[Colombia] Chocó-Darién: What Projects Can – And Cannot – Achieve
By Tanya Dimitrova and Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 June 2015
All of these men could easily make more money as loggers, but they’ve chosen to protect the forest instead – a choice made possible by the Chocó-Darién Forest Conservation Project, a trailblazing REDD project that began coalescing in 2005, when community leader Aureliano Córdoba took advantage of a critical provision in the 1991 Constitution that allowed indigenous and Afro-Colombian forest communities to claim their ancestral lands. By securing collective title to the land for his people, Córdoba was able to begin rekindling the attachment to the forest that many of his people lost while in exile. “I used to be afraid,” says Córdoba. “But no more. I have 1,500 people behind me now. If something happened to me, the entire community would stand to defend me.” “Our only defense is that we are organized and determined enough to seek our rights,” says Eusebio.

How Europe’s climate policies have led to more trees being cut down in the U.S.
By Joby Warrick, The Washington Post, 1 June 2015
For the sake of a greener Europe, thousands of American trees are falling each month in the forests outside this cotton-country town. Every morning, logging crews go to work in densely wooded bottomlands along the Roanoke River, clearing out every tree and shrub down to the bare dirt. Each day, dozens of trucks haul freshly cut oaks and poplars to a nearby factory where the wood is converted into small pellets, to be used as fuel in European power plants. Soaring demand for this woody fuel has led to the construction of more than two dozen pellet factories in the Southeast in the past decade, along with special port facilities in Virginia and Georgia where mountains of pellets are loaded onto Europe-bound freighters. European officials promote the trade as part of the fight against climate change. Burning “biomass” from trees instead of coal, they say, means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

[New Zealand] Foresters want more consistency from goverment, 1 June 2015
Farm foresters and forest owners have welcomed the government’s decision to revive the Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) but both industry groups would like to see more consistency and a greater commitment to forestry in future. Newly elected president of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association Dean Satchell, from Northland, said the Government’s forestry policy had been “shambolic in terms of consistency and at times a disincentive to new plantings”. He said government policy had a huge effect on new plantings and farm foresters needed consistency to give them the confidence to plant more trees. “We’re into sustainable land use and if incentives are not there for sustainable land use then it wont happen,” he said. “We expect consistency and we expect the scheme to be available annually.”

2 June 2015

Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 2 June 2015
We know already what the biggest emitters have committed to. The EU will cut its emissions by 40%, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. The US will cut its emissions by 26% to 28%, compared with 2005 levels, by 2025. China will agree that its emissions will peak by 2030. Other major countries, including India, have yet to come up with their targets – known in the UN jargon as INDCs – despite being asked to meet a deadline at the end of March… Will world leaders go to Paris to agree this? No. World leaders, including Barack Obama and the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, attended Copenhagen but were then embarrassed when that conference ended in scenes of chaos and vicious recriminations. So they’re not coming back. Paris will be attended by high-level ministers of all the world’s governments, who have the power to sign a deal on behalf of their countries.

$150bn needed to save world from climate change, warn scientists
By Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 2 June 2015
It took about $150bn in today’s money to put a man on the moon in the 1960s, and now it is said we need to come up with the same amount to save the world from climate change. That is the message from Sir David King, Foreign Office climate envoy, and six other prominent British scientists, businessmen and civil servants behind a climate plan modelled on the US Apollo space programme. They want large countries to spend an average of 0.02 per cent of gross domestic product a year for the next decade to encourage the technical breakthroughs needed to make renewable electricity cheaper than coal by 2025. The UK is prepared to support the group’s “Global Apollo Programme” if enough other nations join, says Sir David, formerly the government’s chief scientist, who has been working on the idea for nearly two years.

A key tool for your toolkit: International law can advance women’s land tenure rights in REDD+
By Allison Silverman, CIEL Worldview, 2 June 2015
How can REDD be implemented without intensifying existing inequalities for women? Given that REDD is an international climate initiative with required social, environmental safeguards, how can advocates and community members use international law to advance women’s tenure rights in REDD ? … With support from the Rights and Resources Initiative, we explored how relevant internationally-recognized rights can reinforce the work of women’s rights advocates at the national level. Our analysis suggests that international law provides opportunities for advancing women’s tenure rights in REDD , both to guarantee respect for rights that are already recognized in customary, local, and national systems, as well as to strengthen rights where those governance systems are weak.

Global CO2 pricing seen unlikely to be big part of Paris climate deal
By Nina Chestney and Alister Doyle, Reuters, 2 June 2015
A global carbon emissions pricing system pushed by top energy companies is unlikely to be a big part of any United Nations’ deal to curb global warming, some experts say, because many countries have little faith in such cross-border initiatives. “All countries are relatively sceptical on international market mechanisms,” said Niklas Hoehne, founding partner of research group NewClimate Institute. “They are open to have national trading mechanisms or national pricing, but to have these mechanisms internationally, there is a lot of reluctance.”

CIFOR, UNEP Investigate REDD+ Benefit Sharing Projects
Climate Change Policy & Practice [IISD], 2 June 2015
In order to support benefit sharing, which is garnering attention in REDD+ preparedness, especially as countries move towards results based payments, projects in Kenya, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are gathering experiences and developing and testing decision-making support tools. In Indonesia, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) released the findings of two assessments on benefit sharing noting that anti-corruption actions can support benefit sharing for REDD+ and identifying the importance of stakeholder consultation, capacity building and a commitment to legitimacy.

REDD+ Inspiring Practice: Creating Community Forests in Indonesia
WWF, 2 June 2014
WWF’s REDD Inspiring Practices are designed to share REDD lessons learned, so that they may be replicated or adapted as appropriate by others for their own REDD related work. This REDD Inspiring Practice explores the development of community conservation areas and community-based forest management in the remote villages of Indonesia’s Kutai Barat district. Amid intense pressures from development and deforestation, and despite a legal framework that is unclear in its protection of customary rights to the land, these villages are working collaboratively—and successfully—to protect and secure government recognition for their traditional uses of the forest.

‘Climate-Smart’ Agriculture Is a Corporate Deception
By Carmelo Ruiz, teleSUR, 2 June 2015
The conventional corporate-dominated, industralized, agrochemical-intensive model of agriculture, also known as the green revolution, has come under increasing criticism in recent years from scientists, scholars, farmers, environmentalists, civil society and social movements from all over the world. The advocates and practitioners of ecologically sustainable, scientifically sound and socially just alternatives, like agroecology and food sovereignty, are moving into territory formerly monopolized by agrochemical corporate giants and their supporters in governments and academia, and they are doing so with ever more assertiveness and confidence. Conventional agriculture, represented in the public eye by the likes of Monsanto and Syngenta, is losing public acceptance. It is on the defensive and losing ground every year as the public realizes that another agriculture is possible.

Companies call for tougher sustainability standards for palm oil
By Alison Moodie, The Guardian, 2 June 2015
Businesses are often urged to adhere to tougher green standards. But on Monday, 16 companies rallied together with investors and NGOs to call for more oversight for palm oil production, which is a huge contributor to deforestation. Big-name companies such as food and beverage multinational PepsiCo, retail giant Walmart and coffee chain Starbucks, as well as numerous investors and NGOs, signed a letter, released Monday, urging the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to enforce stricter standards. “As an international certification scheme, the RSPO is uniquely positioned to support, promote, and enforce the widespread uptake of responsible and sustainable production practices across the palm oil industry,” the letter states. “Given current shortcomings of RSPO certification, however, purchasing RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) does not sufficiently address critical sustainability concerns in the palm oil supply chain.”

Canada gives short shrift to UN climate critics
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 2 June 2015
Canada has responded to a host of questions over its climate policies in a UN policy review, but cold-shouldered the most critical queries by dismissing suggestions that its policies lack ambition and its climate accounting is dubious. The Q&A was part of a UN policy review of climate policies in developed nations, to which most nations replied by the May 28 deadline. Canada’s responses, submitted on June 1 and posted on a UN website Tuesday, sought to fend off a number of critical questions from nations such as Brazil, China and Sweden. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has been subject to criticism after it withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011, but despite being on track to miss its target of cutting GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, Canada was in no mood to offer concessions to international critics.

EU finds voice on use of carbon markets in UN climate deal
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 2 June 2015
The EU has called on the Paris global climate deal to include clear provisions for how countries can use international carbon markets, stepping up its previously low-key backing as talks resumed this week. “Clear provision on use of international markets is needed,” the bloc said in a five-page submission to the UNFCCC dated May 29. This represents a considerable shift from the EU’s previous position in February, which said provision for markets could be made in UN meetings after Paris and relegated any mention of them to an annex published alongside its main 16-page vision for a Paris deal. “Provision clarifying how Parties can count the use of international markets towards commitments could enhance ambition by facilitating cooperation between parties,” the EU said in its latest submission. Without this clear provision, the Paris text would undermine the ambition and environmental integrity of the agreement…

[Indonesia] Repressive approach ‘ineffective’ in conservation efforts: Official
By Severianus Endi, The Jakarta Post, 2 June 2015
The program officer of the Indonesia-Japan project for Development of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (IJ-REDD+) in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Dicko Rossanda, has indicated that the mind-set of Gunung Palung National Park (TNGP) officials was the most critical challenge faced in pushing forward changes in conservation-related problem settlement methods. He said many TNGP officials adopted the repressive approach to deal with conservation-related conflicts, while the program deemed dialogue more effective. “[…] there are conservation approaches found to be more acceptable to the people. Conservation cannot be carried out based solely on theory,” said Dicko in Ketapang on Monday. A fundamentally different approach to conserve ecosystems in the park was adopted in 2013 following an IJ-REDD+ partnership between the Forestry Ministry … and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Director-generals inaugurated as merger of Indonesian Environment, Forestry Ministries continues
By Sapriah Saturi,, 2 June 2015
Indonesia’s newly merged Environment and Forestry Ministry completed a major step in its restructuring last week with the inauguration of 13 director-generals, with important implications for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s agendas on climate change, land reform and more. “I think the transition period of the last six months has been quite heavy,” the minister, Siti Nurbaya, said at the event in Jakarta on Friday. “We persevered through a difficult time,” she added. Notable appointments include Climate Change Oversight Director-General Nur Masripatin, Environmental and Forestry Spatial Planning Director-General San Afri Awang and Social Forestry and Environmental Partnerships Director-General Hadi Daryanto, all of whom have held various Forestry Ministry positions before Jokowi combined it with the Environment Ministry upon taking office last year.

Japan PM Abe unveils carbon cutting target
By Alex Pashley, RTCC, 2 June 2015
Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe announced his country’s planned curbs to greenhouse gas emissions on Tuesday, local media reported. The Asian country intends to cut carbon by 26% by 2030 on 2013 levels and will submit the proposals to the UN in July, Abe said in a government meeting on climate change according to Kyodo news agency. “This is an ambitious target which is in no way inferior to other countries internationally,” said Abe, AFP reported. Almost 200 nations are posting emissions reduction plans as part of a UN global deal expected to be signed in a December summit in Paris. The new carbon-cutting target, in line with recommendations made by a government-appointed panel in April, is only an 18% cut on the UN’s recommended baseline year of 1990. It is set to underwhelm campaigners and researchers, who say Japan isn’t doing enough to help steer the world away from a 2C temperature rise by 2100.

[Nigeria] Concern over N9.2bn Sawdust Stoves, Articles
By Ejiofor Alike, ThisDayLive, 2 June 2015
As other countries promote the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as domestic fuel to save lives and the environment, the recent introduction of cooking stoves that utilise sawdust by the federal government raises concerns over the actual objectives of the scheme… “The National Clean Cooking Scheme is an aggressive drive to engender clean cooking culture amongst the poor rural women, to reduce and possibly eliminate cooking with solid fossil which is detrimental to health… It will also reduce incessant felling of trees, which exposes the country to ecological problems. Furthermore, additional benefit to Nigeria in switching over to this technology by the rural households is the carbon credits arising from the registration by the UNFCCC. The country stands to gain 50 per cent subsidy of the price through generated carbon credits,” Muhammed had explained.

[UK] Eight sentenced over ‘cruel’ land investment fraud
By Judith Evans, Financial Times, 2 June 2015
Eight men have been handed jail sentences over an investment fraud in which members of the public lost £4.3m following high-pressure cold calls. Four were jailed and the other four given suspended sentences over the scheme, in which investors were persuaded to buy agricultural land that the culprits had either bought for “minimal amounts” or did not own at all, according to the Financial Conduct Authority… Salespeople lied about the value of the land to sell it at a “vastly inflated price”, while using misleading promotional materials and putting pressure on potential investors, the FCA said. In sentencing, the judge said the scheme was “a very subtle and cruel fraud because it involves the concept of owning land, a commodity that the public are bound to think has value”. The investments were sold between July 2008 and November 2011 through Plott Investments, also known as Plott UK, European Property Investments and Stirling Alexander.

3 June 2015

REDD Dawn: The Birth Of Forest Carbon
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 June 2015
By all accounts, REDD was born in 1988 – not so much to save the planet as to help poor farmers in Guatemala manage their land more sustainably. It’s germination, however, began three decades earlier, in 1958, at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. That’s where the late American scientist Charles Keeling started measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – an exercise that eventually yielded the “Keeling Curve”: a diagonal line that zigzags upwards as CO2 levels increase year-to-year… Meanwhile, in 1974, humanitarian organization CARE had launched a program called Mi Cuenca (My Watershed) to help Guatemalan farmers save their topsoil – in part by planting rows of trees on steep farmland to capture runoff and create natural terraces. The project soon became an unqualified success, and farmers across the region were clamoring to join, but by 1988 CARE was running out of money, and the project was on its last leg.

Rights, returns and restoration: 3Rs for landscapes
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 June 2015
As we look to the Sustainable Development Goals and the new climate deal as mechanisms to secure our future on the planet, it is obvious that many of the pressing challenges facing humanity are found in the world’s rural landscapes—which are therefore where many of the solutions must also be found. To help find some of these solutions, 200 colleagues, comprising many leaders from the finance sector and development organizations, will meet in London on 10 June for the Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case. CIFOR, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and UNEP are the lead coordinators of this event. The task we have set ourselves is to move forward with solutions for scaling-up investments in sustainable landscapes, with particular attention to the needs of the world’s smallholders. This will be no small feat.

Large emitters ask for carbon trading scheme
By Sipho Kings, Mail & Guardian, 3 June 2015
Six of the world’s largest energy companies have written a letter to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), asking for help in setting up a scheme that would put a price on carbon. The letter asked Figueres to help them hold “direct dialogue with the UN and willing governments” about a possible carbon trading scheme. The six companies are Total, Statoil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Eni and the BG Group. In a letter to the Financial Times explaining the move, the companies said, “We owe it to future generations to seek realistic, workable solutions to the challenge of providing more energy while tackling climate change.” The Framework Convention on Climate Change is the body involved with global climate change negotiations. Countries meet each year at the Congress of the Parties (COP) to discuss ways of lowering carbon emissions and tackling climate change.

Why the Paris Climate Summit might actually work
By Andrew Freedman, Mashable, 3 June 2015
Recently, there have been a number of indications that Paris is unlikely to be a repeat of the debacle that occurred in Copenhagen in 2009… A global movement is underway to encourage entities of all sizes, from cities to colleges to entire countries, to divest from fossil fuel companies… The U.S. has committed to cutting its emissions by up to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025… [T]he agreement that is up for negotiation is entirely different from what was on the table in Copenhagen, and even earlier, in Kyoto, Japan. These talks are not aimed at creating a top-down mandate from the U.N. that will be legally binding on some countries but not others… There are, of course, still major roadblocks in the way of a global agreement that will hold global warming to at or below that 2-degree Celsius target.

Oil majors’ climate call exposes U.S.-Europe rift on carbon pricing
Reuters, 3 June 2015
The failed attempt by the world’s oil majors to speak on climate change action with one voice has laid bare disagreement between U.S. and European companies on putting a price on carbon. The world’s top oil companies have struggled for years to form a joint front in the face of growing criticism for not taking leadership against climate change. This week’s letter calling for a global carbon pricing by Europe’s Statoil, Total, BP, Shell as well as ENI and BG showed first signs of such an agreement, albeit without the support of U.S. peers Exxon Mobil and Chevron. Setting a price for each ton of carbon that emitters produce is meant to encourage companies to adopt cleaner technologies and shift away from using fossil fuels, primarily coal.

China’s national carbon market: When, where and how?
By Ed King, RTCC, 3 June 2015
Barcelona has seen more raucous partygoers, but the sharp suits drinking in the beachfront Carpe Diem bar last week were in bullish form. Wine, beer and champagne flowed as carbon traders from around the world gathered on the final night of industry fair Carbon Expo to toast what many think could be their finest hour. Many of their colleagues have fallen in the past few years, brought low by the twin woes of the EU’s emissions trading scheme and the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. Both heralded a new dawn of market-based climate policies. Both were found wanting. The price of EU and CDM credits don’t lie. Nor does the string of bust companies. But in the East a red dawn is breaking. In June 2013 China launched the Shenzhen pilot carbon trading scheme. Six more – including two in Beijing and Shanghai – have followed.

Minister blames India’s heatwave on climate change, as death toll reaches 2,500
By James Rush, The Independent, 3 June 2015
A heatwave which has claimed the lives of up to 2,500 people in India, and the subsequent delayed monsoon rains, are the results of climate change, the country’s Minister for Earth Sciences has said. The death toll in the country has continued to rise since extreme temperatures began in mid-April. Meanwhile, cooling monsoon rains, expected to bring relief to those experiencing temperatures of up to 47C, have been delayed by at least five days, it has been reported. Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan has now blamed the heatwave, the second deadliest in the country’s history, on climate change, Reuters has reported.

[Indonesia] Communities reject land repossession
By Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, 3 June 2015
Customary communities in 61 villages in Padang Lawas and North Padang Lawas regencies, North Sumatra, have strongly opposed the government’s plan to repossess and take over the management of 47,000 hectares of land. They claim the take over is driven by the interests of particular parties who wish to repossess and seize the management rights to the customary land, which is also known as the Register 40 area. The communities’ coordinator Tongku Lubuk Hasibuan said they would fight should the government forcefully seize their land because the area was part of customary land that they had occupied for generations, since the time of their ancestors. Tongku added that around 30,000 residents currently living in the area were part of the seventh generation.

April vows to stop clearing Indonesia’s rainforests
By Will Nichols (BusinessGreen), The Guardian, 3 June 2015
Pulp and paper giant April will stop logging natural forests four years earlier than planned as part of a renewed effort to halt deforestation across its supply chain. The Indonesia-based company announced that it had halted harvesting of all natural forest as of 15 May and will only use supplies from its own plantations. The move brings forward the company’s goal to end natural forest clearance by 2019. The latest pledge forms part of a new sustainable forest management policy, which also commits the company to work with green groups to avoid developing forested peatland, expand conservation areas, and resolve conflicts with local communities. April said it had already achieved 70% of its goal to develop conservation areas to match its 480,000 hectare plantations.

[Peru] These Simple Foam Drones Patrol The Rainforest To Catch Illegal Loggers
By Adele Peters, Co.Exist, 3 June 2015
It might be illegal to cut down a tree in certain parts of Peru’s Amazon rainforest, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to do. With limited resources, official patrols can only cover a small amount of ground each day. So one conservation team is trying out a new approach: patrols by drone, focused on hotspots identified by satellite. “Because it’s such an incredibly remote area, and we’re operating on a small budget with a small staff, you can’t necessarily just send someone out on foot to see what’s happening,” says Hannah Stutzman, executive director of the Amazon Conservation Association, a U.S. nonprofit that helps manage a sprawling Peruvian conservation area called Los Amigos, nestled at the base of the Andes. The nonprofit is working with researchers in a pilot project to test two foam drones in the area. First, the researchers use custom software that compares two satellite images of the forest and detects any changes in individual trees.

4 June 2015

Investment in sustainable landscapes: Time to take the risk
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 June 2015
If a tree falls in the rain forest, do investors care if it really fell ….or was it chopped? More investors than ever before do care about how and why a tree hits the forest floor. And for public and private investment sectors, there are sophisticated ways of channeling funds to sustainable landscapes, through projects such as verified farming, forestry or mining ventures that avoid deforestation and respect local communities’ rights. Investments like these in tropical landscapes, are often exposed to higher risk, for example by money being spread over countless smallholder farmers in remote areas, or working in countries with poor governance records. Projects may also be interrupted due to local resistance or by failing to make a profit. Some financial institutions have designed structured funds in which government-backed agencies from donor countries take equity shares bearing the first loss in case of poor performance.

Survival International attacks Science editorial as ‘dangerous and misleading’
Survival International, 4 June 2015
An editorial in Science magazine which calls for isolated tribes to be contacted for their own benefit has been slated as “dangerous and misleading” by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights. The authors, Professors Robert S. Walker and Kim R. Hill, maintain that “a well-designed contact can be quite safe,” but the examples of contact they choose to illustrate their point were in fact catastrophic, and left many of the tribespeople dead. The idea that contact with such tribes will end happily as long as there are adequate safeguards is dangerously naive. Brazil has more expertise in this area than any other country, yet right now two recently contacted Awá women are critically ill with tuberculosis because they were left for months without proper healthcare after contact occurred.

The World seen in Deforestation
By Ed Mitchard, Deforestationwatch, 4 June 2015
This is a map of the world in ‘deforestation intensity’… I have replotted this from the original 30 m data to a 3 km resolution, and coloured each pixel according to the proportion it has been deforested over the time period… I find it terrifying that every major landmass (save Greenland and Antarctica) is visible in this map. I haven’t added any borders or anything else: this is purely pixels coloured according to their deforestation. With the exception of central Amazonia, and the north-western United States, every major forested area in the world is lit up in this map. What is particularly clear in this is the global hotspots of deforestation. Malaysia, Indonesia and the ‘arc of deforestation’ in Brazil are brightly lit up, as is to a lesser extent Siberia and some parts of the USA and Canada.

On the way to a historic agreement on climate change
Deutsche Welle, 4 June 2015
UN talks in Bonn this week are paving the way for COP21 in December. DW asked Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute how things are shaping up for a historic international agreement on climate change. Where are we in terms of getting a binding climate agreement in Paris at the end of this year? I think we’re well on the way. Countries are showing that they are taking negotiations seriously, they’re putting their offers on the table of how much they are going to introduce emissions and there are a whole row of negotiations coming up so that the agreement can be put together by the end of Paris. But there is still a huge gap between what has been promised so far and what we actually need if we are to keep to the 2-degree target. I think what Paris can help do is close that gap, both by getting stronger targets and commitments from countries but also by getting a mechanism in the agreement itself that will strengthen targets every five years…

EU industries face “hardly any carbon costs” over 2020-2030 -EC draft
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 4 June 2015
Most EU industries are to face “hardly any carbon costs” over 2020-2030 due to extensive free allocations of carbon allowances and their ability to pass on costs to their customers, according to a leaked draft European Commission document. That is largely regardless of which of the six options the Commission is considering to determine the free allocations, according to an undated draft impact assessment of the EU ETS review posted on the website of environmental campaigners Change Partnership on Wednesday. That document is likely to be revised as a Commission review board has asked for a new version to be submitted, a separate document showed. The Commission is aiming to publish the full proposal by August, it will need approval from EU lawmakers in a process that could take at least two years.

Australia questioned on climate change policies at UN meeting in Germany
The Guardian, 4 June 2015
Australian delegates have been questioned about the government’s climate policies at a United Nations conference in Germany. The hour-long grilling from developing nations such as China and Brazil came at a meeting in Bonn which is as part of a mutual assessment process ahead of a conference in Paris in December where countries hope to sign a global agreement on climate action. Countries questioned Australia’s scrapping of the carbon tax and whether the federal government’s $2.55bn direct action policy will be enough to meet Australia’s emissions reduction target of five per cent by 2020.

EU set to offer polluters another 10 years of free carbon credits – document
By Barbara Lewis and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 4 June 2015
The European Union may have to offer its heaviest polluting industries another ten years of free carbon credits to prevent them from leaving the region to do business elsewhere, EU regulators have suggested in a report seen by Reuters. Ten years ago the EU launched a plan to tackle climate change by asking heavy industry and utilities to pay for every metric ton of carbon dioxide they produced. After fierce lobbying, it conceded that the heaviest polluters could have free permits… However a document seen by Reuters shows regulators are considering drafting a new law that will offer free credits covering between 30 and 100 percent of companies’ carbon emissions, depending on how likely they are to relocate abroad. The list of companies entitled to free permits covers sectors including steel and chemicals producers that have been threatening to relocate to areas with less stringent emission limits.

Fiji] Fund to address reduction in greenhouse gas
By Nasik Swami, Fiji Times Online, 4 June 2015
The country’s efforts to implement the REDD Plus program addressing the reduction of greenhouse gases has been given a $7.85million boost. The funding came in the form of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility REDD-Plus Readiness Grant for Fiji through the World Bank which was launched last night by President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. “Our participation within the climate change global mechanism is an indication of our concern on the impacts of climate change on humanity especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” Ratu Epeli said.

[Fiji] Team to meet to confirm activities for REDD+
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, 4 June 2015
A team from REDD will be meeting with a team from the World Bank to discuss issues relating to the implementation of activities under the program. This is following last night’s launching of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility REDD Readiness Grant of US $3.8 million. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation Degradation benefits to local communities. Senior Social Development Specialist from the World Bank, Haddy Sey says this will pave the way for Fiji to implement a series of activities to promote sustainably and protection of our forests. “We are they are expecting this REDD initiative is extremely timely in the country right now as it will contribute to both climate change mitigation actions as well as disaster risk management in the country.” Fiji is one of only a few nations in the world that has adopted the REDD initiative which was implemented in 2010.

[Fiji] REDD+ program: Minister seeks long-term support
By Salaseini Moceiwai, Fiji Times Online, 4 June 2015
Fiji is committed to supporting the implementation of the countrys REDD readiness phase through leveraging of necessary finance and the appointment of technical and administrative support staff. These were the words of the Minister for Fisheries and Forests Osea Naiqamu while launching the REDD Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Readiness Grant workshop in Suva this morning. Mr Naiqamu said Fiji’s making significant progress with its national REDD readiness preparation, adding, this is possible through the active involvement of stakeholders. “We have a mammoth task in front of us and this can’t be achieved without the inclusive engagement of all relevant agencies, thus I am requesting their long-term support in the development of this national REDD program,” he said.

[USA] How California struck a greenhouse gold rush with cap-and-trade fees
By Thomas Richard,, 4 June 2015
Yesterday, California’s Democratic Legislature rammed through two new ambitious climate change proposals to make sure its cap-and-trade cash cow doesn’t expire. The proposals would also attempt to reduce the state’s carbon footprint, boost the use of renewable energy to 50 percent in 15 years, and extend the length of its money-making cap-and-trade program indefinitely. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown’s clarion call to limit CO2 emissions has been met with astonishment by fiscally conservative Republicans, especially in a state drowning in debt, inordinately high taxes, mass migration of talented workers, all while dealing with a naturally occurring four-year-long drought. The new proposals (Senate Bill 32 and AB 1288) being rubber stamped into law by the Democratic majorities in Sacramento are being pilloried by Republicans who claim these new regulations are akin to “coastal elitism that would kill working class jobs.”

5 June 2015

Double counting forest emissions threatens global climate agreement
By Hannah Mowat, RTCC, 5 June 2015
As officials from more than 190 nations work in Bonn on a draft version of a new global climate on climate change, they should heed the risks of including a mechanism that could sabotage efforts to cut global emissions. This threat revolves around two things, the extension of UN binding emissions reduction commitments to all countries and the funding of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), a system to financially reward governments, companies or forest owners in the global south for keeping their forests standing, thereby potentially reducing emissions. A new briefing by NGOs Fern and Third World Network, highlights how double-counting could occur if the trading of carbon credits is used to fund the REDD+ mechanism due to be formalised in Paris in December.

Path to 2 C emerges as thorn at climate talks
By Celine Serrat, AFP, 5 June 2015
The world community has rallied around the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but how to get there is becoming a headache. One of the many knots to untangle at UN climate talks is whether to set a trajectory for reaching 2 C — and if so, how. Some countries say the 2 C goal itself is too vague, and needs to be buttressed by a long-term ceiling for greenhouse gas emissions. “It would be clearer and more concrete than 2 C. But it’s a tough issue,” says French negotiator Laurence Tubiana, whose country will host the November 30 to December 11 UN parlay in Paris where the pact is set to be sealed. The idea of a pathway first arose in 2009 at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, where a small group of leaders, desperate to avoid a fiasco, cobbled together an agreement setting a 2 C target.

Bonn climate talks start slow as hefty text withstands the chop
By Alex Pashley, RTCC, 5 June 2015
Progress was glacial at UN climate talks in Bonn as delegates tarried in slimming down a draft global warming treaty to be adopted in Paris in December. After four days, negotiators had trimmed just 5% of the 90-page rough copy, head of the Alliance of Small Islands States delegation, Amjad Abdulla told RTCC. “We are deeply concerned at the slow pace,” said the Maldivian official leading the 44-country bloc threatened by rising sea levels. Over 190 nations are haggling over the content of a climate pact, committing all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 2020. As the summit opened, French foreign minister and chair of the December summit, Laurent Fabius sought to breathe life into talks by urging a ‘pre-agreement’ by October, with Paris “adding the finishing touches”. But slow progress could dash chances of a swift deal. France has said it may intervene with its own text to strike a deal at the crunch summit if negotiations stall.

[Australia] Qantas marks WED with carbon emission offsetting
By Mark Elliott, Travel Daily Asia, 5 June 2015
Qantas will offset the carbon emissions of all domestic flights today, 5 June, World Environment Day, as the national carrier launches a series of new sustainability initiatives. Qantas is restoring its Fly Carbon Neutral program, which gives customers the option of paying a small amount to offset the emissions associated with their flight, with all proceeds going to community projects which generate carbon credits. Qantas will replace all lighting in operational areas with energy-efficient LED lights, revamp its domestic onboard recycling program to reduce waste to landfill, and introduce new, lightweight freight containers that will cut fuel consumption. The airline has launched a revamped onboard recycling program on domestic services, where all recyclable waste on Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 craft will be separated onboard and then disposed of as green waste.

Bolivia opens up national parks to oil and gas firms
By David Hill, The Guardian, 5 June 2015
The Madidi National Park in north-west Bolivia is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. One particularly astonishing fact: the park hosts 11% of the world’s bird species, according to Bolivia’s park service, SERNAP, and the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society. Bolivia’s government calls Madidi a “protected area”, but really it’s no such thing. 75% of its 1.8 million hectares – which includes both the park itself and a “Natural Area of Integrated Management” (NAIM) – are overlapped by oil and gas concessions held by Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s state oil and gas company Petrobras, and PetroAndina, a joint venture between the Bolivian and Venezuelan state companies, YPFB and PDVSA. In addition, there are coca farmers and gold-miners, and the threat of a long, long-mooted plan to build an enormous hydroelectric dam, El Bala, which president Evo Morales has been talking up, and which is slowly moving forward…

International community asking hard questions about Canada’s climate ambition
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press, 5 June 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper faces some stiff international head winds on Canada’s climate change ambition as he heads to a G7 meeting in Germany next week. Canada is being publicly blasted as a climate laggard in a report co-authored by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, while the government’s chief climate negotiator fielded skeptical questions about Canada’s greenhouse-gas reduction policies at a UN climate conference in Bonn this week. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made climate a priority at this year’s G7 summit which begins Sunday, in advance of a UN conference in December that aims to negotiate a new, post-2020 global climate agreement.

[Fiji] Nakau Programme Gets Green Light
By Stella Moresio, Fiji Sun, 5 June 2015
The Pacific’s first regional forest carbon conservation initiative called the Nakau Programme, was launched at the Live and Learn Environmental Education office in Domain last night. The European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs, launched the programme at a reception attended by business community representatives from the Government and Non-Government Organisations. Mr Jacobs said the European Union was pleased to support the Nakau Programme over the past four years and was proud to see this important pilot programme getting off the ground. “The Nakau programme is an excellent example of an innovative approach which contributes to the fight against climate change by targeting deforestation, which is a key source of carbon emissions,” he said “The Nakau programme will significantly contribute to preserving these assets for the benefit of the environment and people.”

[New Zealand] Bold climate change target achievable, officials say, 5 June 2015
New Zealand officials can confidently table a bold commitment to a global climate change target, the NZ Farm Forestry Association says. The next United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris in December and every nation has been asked what it plans to contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Country’s commitments, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), are expected to indicate what shape an agreement might take. Officials from the Ministry for the Environment confirm that New Zealand is keen to play its part, and that we should table a more ambitious target than our current one to reduce emissions 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. “A target of 20 per cent below 1990 levels of gross emissions is achievable by 2030,” said the forestry association (NZFFA) in its submission to the Ministry.

[USA] Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) Launches Legacy Carbon, The First Certified Koa Forestry Carbon Credit Program in the World
Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods press release, 5 June 2015
HLH LLC, a sustainable forestry company based on Hawaii Island, has launched Legacy Carbon, the first program in the world to produce certified carbon credits for the reforestation of endemic koa trees. It is also the only certified carbon credit program of any kind in Hawaii. The program has been certified by the prestigious Gold Standard Foundation based in Switzerland and is the first ever U.S. project to be able to issue Gold Standard Credits. All Gold Standard projects must be implemented following best practice rules, including: local stakeholder engagement, robust design and transparent governance, and long-term, consistent and comparable measurement of outcomes. Once certified, projects are issued credits annually against independently audited climate and sustainable development outcomes.

[USA] Astoria vows to maintain timber stock in return for carbon credits
By Derrick DePledge, The Daily Astorian, 5 June 2015
City to receive $1.9 million over two years from a carbon credit agreement. Astoria has agreed to maintain timber inventory in the Bear Creek watershed for two decades in return for carbon credits worth $1.9 million over the next two years. The contract with The Climate Trust, a Portland nonprofit, is intended to help earn revenue without aggressively harvesting the city’s timber inventory, which grows each year. The Climate Trust will pay the city $1.9 million over two years for carbon credits based on a timber inventory of 100 million board feet. Utilities with fossil-fuel fired power plants pay the trust to invest in conservation projects that help offset pollution and meet the mandates of Oregon’s landmark emission standards law.

6 June 2015

Global warming ‘pause’ caused by glitch in data
By Karl Mathiesen, Irish Times, 6 June 2015
Global warming has not undergone a “pause” or “hiatus”, according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science. The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century. The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has lead climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped. “There is no slowdown in warming, there is no hiatus,” said lead author Dr Tom Karl, who is the director of Noaa’s National Climatic Data Centre.

West must pay up to secure deal at Paris climate change summit, warns Fabius
By Fiona Harvey and Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, 6 June 2015
Rich countries must keep their financial promises to the poor on global warming, or key international climate change negotiations this year risk falling apart, the French foreign minister will warn his counterparts in other developed nations this weekend. The G7 group of industrialised countries are meeting on Sunday and Monday in Germany, and a key subject of the discussions will be the forthcoming UN climate change negotiations, scheduled for a crunch conference in Paris this December, which will determine world governments’ response to the climate crisis for decades to come. Poor countries want financial assistance from the rich nations – which have, historically, been the most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions – to help them reduce their carbon output, invest in clean technology and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Comments on Brazil’s Summary of information
Redd Safeguards, 6 June 2015
Brazil has submitted its summary of information addressing REDD safeguards. Our assessment of their summary shows that: The Summary only offers information concerning REDD activities undertaken in the Amazon Biome. Consequently, it is not clear if the Summary covers all REDD activities. All REDD activities are expected to be consistent with the Cancun Safeguards, thus the Summary is expected to offer information on all of them, not only selected REDD activities.

7 June 2015

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  1. I may have missed something and be being very stupid but referring to the report of large amounts of US timber (oaks) being felled and shipped as pellets for use in Euro power stations seems a little shortsighted to me as trees are precompressed coal and so presumably carbon / CO2 is produced by burning either the tree pellets or the coal. Cutting down the trees removes excellent ongoing sinks for CO2 wherever they were actually living. Whether the actual carbon balance is in favour of the pellet scheme I naturally, as a mere lawyer, can’t know.