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REDD in the news: 20-26 July 2015

REDD in the newsREDD-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.


20 July 2015

Climate Seer James Hansen Issues His Direst Forecast Yet
By Mark Hertsgaard, The Daily Beast, 20 July 2015
James Hansen, the former NASA scientist whose congressional testimony put global warming on the world’s agenda a quarter century ago, is now warning that humanity could confront “sea level rise of several meters” before the end of the century unless greenhouse gas emissions are slashed much faster than currently contemplated. This roughly ten feet of sea level rise—well beyond previous estimates—would render coastal cities such as New York, London and Shanghai uninhabitable. “Parts of [our coastal cities] would still be sticking above the water,” Hansen says, “but you couldn’t live there.” This apocalyptic scenario illustrates why the goal of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius is not the safe “guardrail” most politicians and media coverage imply it is, argue Hansen and 16 colleagues in a blockbuster study they are publishing this week in the peer-reviewed journal Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry.

Unrestrained rubber expansion wreaking havoc on forests
By Shreya Dasgupta, Mongabay Enviromental News, 20 July 2015
Your car tires may be treading over forests and wildlife in Southeast Asia. As the global demand for tires soars, so does the demand for natural rubber sourced from Hevea brasiliensis, the para-rubber tree. This rising demand is driving a rapid expansion of rubber plantations into biodiversity-rich forests and croplands of Southeast Asia, according to a new study published in Global Environmental Change. Between 2005 and 2010, for instance, rubber plantations replaced over 110,000 hectares of forests identified as key biodiversity areas and protected areas, the authors write. “I think it’s very alarming,” William Laurance, a professor and conservationist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, who was not involved in the study, told “Rubber is spreading rampantly in Southeast Asia-sort of a ‘second tsunami,’ following the explosive expansion of oil palm plantations in the region…”

Swamp power: how the world’s wetlands can help stop climate change
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 20 July 2015
Maintaining the wetland is also key to reducing Europe’s carbon emissions. Peatland makes up just 3% of the continent’s agricultural land but, because of poor management and degradation, is responsible for more than 90% of CO2 emissions from farming. Globally, ‘paludiculture’ (literally, swamp cultivation) could also help to save the world’s disappearing peat swamp forests, which account for around 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and an immeasurable loss in biodiversity. Peatland is waterlogged land with a 30cm top layer of decomposing plant material. Conventional use of the land in agriculture requires draining and clearing, which releases locked in CO2 back into the atmosphere and degrades the land.

[Australia] Emissions Reduction Fund opportunities for red meat processors
Beef Central, 20 July 2015
AMPC has funded research into opportunities for red meat processors under the Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, identifying methodologies which processors could use to bid into the ERF and potentially receive funding for greenhouse gas abatement activities.

EU carbon tops €8 for first time since 2012 as power, supply cuts fuel rise
By Mike Szabo and Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 20 July 2015
European carbon topped €8 on Monday for the first time since 2012, as prices rose by as much as 3.4% on a mix of utility and speculative buying due to higher German power prices and ahead of lower auction volumes next month. Front-year EU Allowance futures climbed to an intraday peak of €8.01 shortly after 1430 GMT, before closing the day at €8. Volume was strong at 19.7 million units traded on ICE Futures Europe. “Part of it is the positive sentiment and bullish traders following the breakthrough of the €7.64 technical level last week and then the 2015 high today,” one trader said.

[Ghana] Create balance between dev’t and sustainable environment
GhanaWeb, 20 July 2015
Mr. Thomas Okyere, Brong-Ahafo Regional Forestry Manager of the Forestry Services Division (FSD), has urged Ghanaians to create the needed balance between socio-economic development and sustainable environment. He observed that infrastructural developments were springing up all over the country at the expense of the environment, because vegetation cover, particularly forest lands, were being cleared off with impunity. Mr. Okyere gave the advice in an address delivered for him at a day’s workshop on the establishment of a community Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) for effective implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities in Ghana at Nkoranza in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

[Ghana] Participants commend GII for initiating the MSP REDD+ project
GhanaWeb, 20 July 2015
The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) community Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) project for effective implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities in Ghana, has been lauded at Nkoranza in the Brong-Ahafo Region. The commendation was made by participants during a forum at a day’s workshop for establishment of community MSP for successful execution of REDD+ activities in the country. The programme, the sixth at District level since 2014, was organized by the GII, a local chapter of Transparency International (TI), and funded by the European Union (EU) through TI Secretariat in Berlin. Sixty participants selected from six communities in the Nkoranza South Municipality and the Nkoranza North District in the Region attended.

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin in new bid for large scale logging
Stabroek News, 20 July 2015
Controversial Chinese company Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development Inc has submitted an application to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an environmental authorization to undertake large scale logging in parts of regions six and nine, according to a notice in yesterday’s Sunday Stabroek. It appeared to be a re-application for a process that had started last year. The notice said that Bai Shan Lin is seeking to undertake the operation within SFEP 01/2011 where Area A is located at the left bank of the Essequibo River, right bank Rewa River,… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Indonesia] Demand for Palm Oil Contributes to Deforestation & Wildlife Crime
By Heather Rally, Planet Experts, 20 July 2015
WE CAN STOP THIS!!! Without even knowing it, we have all been contributing this tragedy by consuming everyday products from big-name brands, such as PepsiCo, Kraft and Heinz, among many others. It is estimated that approximately 50% of all pre-packed foods found at your local grocery store contain palm oil. The fate of the Leuser is hanging in the balance of OUR actions, EVERY singe day, including THIS DAY. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read every label before purchasing a product and spread the word, this is your greatest POWER. In a way, the pervasiveness of palm oil in all of our lives is both the root of the problem and the ultimate solution. Your challenge is to look at every single purchase as an opportunity to vote for the kind of world that you want in the future, because the fate of the Leuser Ecosystem rests #InYourPalm.

Sarawak Report whistleblowing website blocked by Malaysia after PM allegations
By Beh Lih Yi, The Guardian, 20 July 2015
Malaysia has blocked access to a whistleblowing website run by a British journalist which has reported allegations that money linked to a state investment fund ended up in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank accounts. The Sarawak Report, founded by Clare Rewcastle Brown and based in London, has in recent months reported extensively on a series of sensational bribery and financial mismanagement allegations linked to Najib and the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The move to block Sarawak Report came two weeks after the website first reported on how investigators probing the debt-laden 1MDB discovered that some US$700m allegedly made its way into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

[Peru] Can farmers be forest custodians in the Amazon?
By Aoife Bennett-Curry, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 July 2015
Agricultural activity and forest conservation have often had an antagonistic relationship and are usually discussed in terms of how the former damages the latter. Forest and development policy, and indeed society itself, often separates and divides the vast ‘wilderness’ of ‘primary’ forest and the indigenous communities that live within them, from the ‘degraded’ agricultural areas inhabited by farmers. However, Amazonian landscapes cannot be so simply defined: agricultural areas often host a great deal of forest at different stages of maturity. Recently at a conference in Ucayali, Peru, I spoke about a two-year-long study I am doing with Peter Cronkleton and Ashwin Ravikumar looking at these issues surrounding the land rights of non-indigenous smallholders. Our survey shows that Peruvian smallholder farmers claim a lot of forest on land as theirs, but in reality, they have little or no formal rights to those forests.

[Tanzania] ‘Investing in forestry sector can alleviate poverty’
IPPmedia, 20 July 2015
A decade ago, the World Bank Group shifted its approach in the forest sector by putting poverty alleviation and sustainable economic development on equal footing with conservation. Loss of forest ecosystem services such as water regulation can have adverse impacts on the value added of other sectors such as agriculture, tourism and energy. Deforestation in Tanzania could cost the national economy 5,588 billion Tanzanian shillings (US$3.5 billion, based on 2013 exchange rates) between 2013 and 2033 on current trends, highlighting the importance of investing in the forestry sector to alleviate poverty and boost growth, according to a new report released this month. Forest ecosystems in the transition to a green economy and the role of REDD+ in Tanzania took into account the market value of timber resources as benefits that arise from deforestation and costs in terms of lost timber forest products in the future…

[UK] City boiler-room fraud crackdown achieves first success
By Judith Evans, Financial Times, 20 July 2015
A police crackdown on the use of City of London addresses for boiler-room investment fraud has yielded its first successful prosecution, of a company offering serviced offices and mail forwarding. Servcorp UK — a branch of an Australian company with offices in the Leadenhall Building or “Cheesegrater” — pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to failures to provide client records for inspection, and paid £32,500 in fines and costs. So-called boiler-room operations use high-pressure sales tactics, including cold calls, and the promise of high investment returns to dupe people into transferring money. Police said a “significant number” of Servcorp’s clients were under investigation for “fraudulent activity involving the sale of worthless or non-existent commodities like diamonds and wine to vulnerable consumers”.

[USA] Kentucky wins a battle, but War on Coal ongoing
By Tom Underwood, The Courier-Journal, 20 July 2015
Kentucky has won a battle in the War on Coal. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court decision said the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act when it issued burdensome new regulations on power plant emissions. The justices held that EPA was required by law to take the costs of their regulations into account as a part of the process — a statutory obligation that EPA had thus far refused to respect. In the 5-4 decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits. Statutory context supports this reading.” The EPA contends that it took the economic impact into account in later steps of the rulemaking process. But EPA grossly underestimated the full impact of the rule because it ignored indirect costs.

21 July 2015

Mounting complaints put Wilmar under scrutiny
By Medilyn Manibo, Eco-Business, 21 July 2015
Two years after Wilmar International set an ambitious drive to commit to zero-deforestation and protection of indigenous rights, its suppliers are still at the center of land disputes with indigenous communities in Asia and Africa, civil society groups reported earlier this month. Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), which has been tracking the Singapore-listed firm’s ground operations in Borneo, Sumatra, Uganda and Nigeria, said on July 8 that indigenous communities have accused Wilmar of resorting to “dirty tricks” to secure licenses and resolve land-grabbing issues. The huge demand for palm oil due to its wide use – from food to cosmetics and even as biofuel – has led to rampant clearing of forests in Southeast Asia and Africa to make way for plantations, and Wilmar is responsible for 45 per cent of the world’s trade of this commodity, making it the largest palm oil trader.

Mayors Flock to Vatican to Sign Pope Francis’ Climate Declaration
By Cole Mellino, EcoWatch, 21 July 2015
Mayors and governors from major world cities are convening at the Vatican today and tomorrow in a first-of-its-kind meeting to urge global action on climate change. The summit is part of Pope Francis’ ongoing campaign to urge global leaders to take meaningful action on climate change at this year’s UN climate talks in Paris. The leaders will sign today a declaration stating that the Paris summit “may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2 degrees centigrade.” In one of the opening speeches, California Gov. Jerry Brown “denounced global warming deniers, who he said are ‘bamboozling’ the public and politicians with false information to persuade them that the world isn’t getting warmer,” according to The Blaze. Gov. Jerry Brown, whose state is in the midst of an epic drought, urged world leaders to stand up in opposition to climate deniers.

[Cambodia] Logging baron claims tree-felling days over
By May Titthara and Daniel Pye, Phnom Penh Post, 21 July 2015
Try Pheap wants to turn over a new leaf. In an exclusive interview with the Post at the opening ceremony of his vast plantation in Preah Vihear province on Sunday, the media-shy tycoon spoke of a desire to cultivate a new image – a rags-to-riches account of a man who now wishes to give something back – and pledged to end his companies’ logging activities. Philanthropy and charity are what he would like to be remembered for, rather than the gutting of Cambodia’s last remaining woodlands, for which a global watchdog dubbed him a “timber gangster”.

Colombia pledges to cut carbon emissions 20 percent by 2030
Reuters, 21 July 2015
Colombia, South America’s third-largest economy, has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by at least 20 percent by 2030 as a contribution to a new agreement aimed at fighting global warming, the government said on Tuesday. Colombia said it is finishing plans and should present them to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the following weeks. Vallejo López said Colombia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), as the UN proposals are known, will focus on fighting deforestation, increasing energy efficiency, creating sources of renewable energy and renovating public transportation with hybrid vehicles. The minister said the country could raise the target to reduce heat-trapping gases to 25 percent or 30 percent if it receives financial backing from the international community to implement and speed up some of its programs.

What is needed to make REDD+ effective in Mexico?
By Ivan Zuñiga, Beatriz Zavariz and Paulina Deschamps, Global Landscapes Forum, 21 July 2015
Since 2007, the international community has discussed how REDD should be tailored to the particularities of each country with the development of REDD strategies. For example, while some countries have focused their REDD strategies on making changes to their legislation or reinforcing forest monitoring, Mexico has decided that its strategy is to implement a regional forest governance model to achieve the alignment of public policies and multi-agency coordination to promote Sustainable Rural Development (see page 20 in our study). Eight years since REDD was formalized, very little is known about how these strategies have been put in practice. In this blog post, we present a study that compiles some preliminary findings of the implementation of REDD in Mexico.

22 July 2015

A price tag on the environment? That will be $125 trillion a year
By Jack Hewson, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 July 2015
Although not a particularly romantic idea, putting a price tag on the natural world is something conservation scientists have sought to do for decades. The latest of these environmental audits has put the net worth of ecological services — be they carbon sequestration, regulation of the water cycle, or protecting biodiversity, among countless others — at $125 trillion a year. And working with the logic of these attempts at valuation, payments for ecosystem services (PES) is one model by which the protection of these “assets” is financially incentivized. But challenging the logic of PES is a new study conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), which suggests that cash rewards are only one of several factors affecting conservation outcomes.

UN climate chief: Paris to set 50-year agenda
By Elaine Ganley, AP, 22 July 2015
The December climate change conference in Paris is the last chance for a meaningful agreement that would offer hope for a planet at risk due to greenhouse gases, U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said Wednesday. Figueres is deep into preparations to broker a landmark, legally binding climate deal with more than 190 nations to keep global warming from reaching dangerous levels. “Science is telling us that time is running out,” Figueres said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We do not play with this anymore. We are at five minutes to 12 and Paris is the 12 o’clock strike of the clock.” So far, less than 50 of 194 nations have weighed in with commitments to slash carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to reduce global warming.

Call me Troglodyte: The Cross and carbon credits
By Dr Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, 22 July 2015
At the recent Vatican conference on climate change and human trafficking, Governor Jerry Brown of California accused powerful U.S. corporate interests of denying climate change. He said these “interests” use their money and influence “to keep from office people such as yourselves and elect troglodytes and other deniers of the obvious science.” Actually, there are a lot better reasons for keeping people like Brown out of office and, if the American political experience is any guide, very few elections anywhere have come down to climate change—or any other dispute over scientific evidence. Pope Francis is obviously quite interested in tying concern about climate change to other important social issues—usually, for Vatican conferences, human trafficking.

Offsetters Completes Acquisition of Forest Finance Service GmbH Assets
Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. press release, 22 July 2015
Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. (“OCS” or the “Company”) (tsx venture:COO) is pleased to report that it has completed the previously announced acquisition (the “Acquisition”) of certain assets of Forest Finance Service GmbH of Germany (“Forest Finance”) as detailed in the press release dated June 23, 2015. The Acquisition received final TSX Venture Exchange approval July 6, 2015 and all customary closing documents were completed July 21, 2015.

[Australia] Native forests can help hit emissions targets – if we leave them alone
By David Lindenmayer and Brendan Mackey, The Conversation, 22 July 2015
The debate over native forest logging has been sparked once again, partly by the government’s successful push for wood burning to be included in the revamped Renewable Energy Target. However, the disagreement over the best way to manage Australia’s 9.4 million hectares of public native forest is thrown into sharp relief by analysis showing that ending native forest logging, and completing the the industry’s shift into plantations instead, would get Australia much of the way to its greenhouse gas emissions reductions target. Analysis done using the Australian government’s public native forest model suggests that stopping all harvesting in the public native forest estate would generate in the order of 38 million tonnes of potential credits (that is, the equivalent of 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided) each year in the short to medium term.

[Ecuador] Pope, with Green Reforms, Keeps Odd Company
By Carmelo Ruiz, WhoWhatWhy, 22 July 2015
During a recent three-day Papal visit to Ecuador, Correa took every opportunity to tout his “Leftist” government’s commitment to environmental sustainability and justice for the poor–all in accord with the encyclical. And the Pope lent credence to Correa’s influence as well. Yet this embrace should raise eyebrows. Because Correa is absorbed in a fierce and dirty battle with environmental activists in his own country that calls the entire notion into question. Also in question is why this seemingly idealistic and well-informed Pope does not seem to notice the contradiction.

France passes sweeping energy bill, to raise CO2 tax to €100/t by 2030
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 22 July 2015
French lawmakers passed a sweeping energy bill late on Wednesday that will both raise the country’s domestic carbon tax to €100/tonne and cut its fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030, while reducing its reliance on nuclear power by a third within a decade in favour of more renewables. French Environment Minister Segolene Royal said that she hoped it would set an example for other countries ahead of this year’s UN climate talks, which will be held in Paris from late November. The bill contained a number of measures, including: Cutting greenhouse gas output by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 (a goal in line with the wider 2030 energy and climate package agreed by EU leaders last year). Increasing France’s domestic carbon tax on natural gas, heating oil, coal and transport fuels to €56/t in 2020 and €100/t by 2030. Reducing nuclear power’s share in the energy mix to 50% by 2025.

Mascho Piro tribe: Peruvian government to make first contact with indigenous rainforest tribe
The Independent, 22 July 2015
Anthropologists are preparing to make contact for the first time with an Amazonian tribe which lives in isolation in the rainforest. Mashco Piro Indians are a community of around 600 nomadic people who continually move through the forest. Little is known about the group. The Peruvian government prohibits contact with the Mashco Piro Indians and a dozen other “uncontacted” tribes. The government says that ban on contact protects the indigenous groups whose immune systems are unable to protect against common diseases. However, English language Peruvian news outlet Peru This Week says that the government has now been forced to review their policy and has now given Anthropologists permission to engage with the group. This is due to the fact that in recent times, tribes people from Mascho Piro have been frequently spotted emerging from their community and seem to be trying to contact the wider world.

23 July 2015

The week climate change diplomacy went into overdrive
By Ed King, RTCC, 23 July 2015
An unprecedented climate diplomacy drive is now fully underway, spanning continents and forcing governments to focus on what a UN global warming pact will look like. Envoys face a brutal five months in the run-up to December’s UN summit in Paris, where a deal to avert dangerous levels of climate change is to be finalised. Many will spend the rest of 2015 shuttling between capitals, the vapour trails and additional greenhouse gas emissions of their flights a price paid to tackle this fiendish problem. “Burdensome but necessary” is how Giza Gaspar Martins, the Angolan diplomat representing the world’s poorest countries at negotiations described his workload to RTCC. “We are doing much more than the last time we tried to do this… then there was very little prior engagement and as a result we failed miserably,” he said, referring to the 2009 Copenhagen summit.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 23 July 2015
Climate change itself may be a feverish nightmare, but figuring out what countries’ climate plans mean is an environmental economist’s nerdy dream. Since June, 10 new countries – Morocco, Ethiopia, Serbia, Iceland, China, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, and the Marshall Islands – have submitted their carbon-cutting intentions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (They join previously submitted plans from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Russia, and Gabon.) Determining whether these climate plans, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or “INDCs”, will keep global temperatures from rising by no more than 2 degrees Celsius is the key task of this year’s upcoming negotiations in Paris, France – and it’s no easy math problem.

Burma sentences 153 Chinese workers to life imprisonment for illegal logging
Reuters, 23 July 2015
China has lodged a diplomatic protest with Burma after a court sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life imprisonment for illegal logging. China’s voracious demand for raw materials has fuelled resentment in Burma towards its giant northern neighbour. Regions along Burma’s porous border with China have long been hotbeds for an illegal trade in timber to feed Chinese demand. Much of Burma’s jade is also believed to be illegally smuggled into China. A court in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state in the north of Myanmar, handed down sentences to 155 Chinese citizens on Wednesday. Two of those convicted got 10-year prison terms, the rest life sentences. All will have a chance to appeal against the rulings, said a court official. An official from Myitkyina’s prison department confirmed the sentences. China’s foreign ministry said it was “extremely concerned” about the decision and had lodged a protest with Burma.

[USA] FBI: Former Telemarketing Manager Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charges
7th Space, 23 July 2015
United States Attorney A Lee Bentley, III announces that Tammie Lynn Cline (33, Leominster, MA) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud for her role in the operation of a boiler room. She faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing has been set for October 9, 2015. Cline and Mark Gardner (28, Osteen, Florida) were indicted on January 28, 2015. According to court documents, Gardner and Cline operated a boiler room in Central Florida. Along with the telemarketers who worked at their call center, they would make unsolicited calls to owners of timeshare properties located throughout the United States. During those calls, they claimed that they worked for Universal Timeshare Sales Associates (UTSA) out of Beaverton, Oregon, that UTSA had a purchaser who was interested in buying a timeshare, and that the timeshare owner just needed to pay a fee between $1,600 and $2,200 for the sale to proceed.

24 July 2015

World Bank’s first price auction lends hope for carbon market revival
By M Ramesh, Business Line, 24 July 2015
Say ‘ignorance is bliss’ to S Chandrasekhar and he would probably nod in agreement. The Managing Director of Bhoruka Power Corporation, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies, says that his lack of deep knowledge of the carbon markets back in 2006-07 stood his company in good stead – it was the ‘fear of the unknown’ that bade him on to strike a long-term deal with a buyer of carbon credits then, for a price of €13. At that time, spot prices stood at €17 a credit. In the next seven years, Bhoruka would sell over 1,00,000 credits at €13 apiece, well insulated from the carbon market crash. Today, carbon credits are going for a few cents. In June, Indian climate advisory firm EnKing International advertised that was willing to buy 20,000 carbon credits for 35 (dollar) cents each. Not many companies are so lucky.

The Name Is Bonds, Green Bonds
By Andrew Hutton and Michele Discepola, Corporate Counsel, 24 July 2015
Companies succeed in large part due to their ability to analyze current circumstances (at the micro and macro level), while positioning themselves to make the most of what they believe the future will bring. In today’s economic environment, a “greener” focus could be key to sustained business success. And this may also extend to companies’ financing options. So-called green bonds have terms and conditions similar to those found with traditional bonds, but are issued by corporations or governments and their agencies specifically looking to raise funds earmarked for one or more projects that tackle climate change. Examples include Toyota Financial Services’ issuance of asset-backed securities that were linked to hybrid and electric vehicle loans, and the issuance of corporate bonds by Unibail-Rodamco SE, Vasakronan AB and Regency Centres Corporation for investment in various green building portfolios.

[Australia] Why Shorten is daring Abbott to a climate change election
By Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 24 July 2015
Labor leader Bill Shorten has decided to dare Prime Minister Tony Abbott to remount an election campaign over climate change policy and electricity bills in a speech delivered today to the Labor Party National Conference. In the speech Shorten makes it clear Labor is committed to the re-introduction of an emissions trading scheme. In a clear rebuff to the recent ‘carbon tax returns from the dead’ front page stories in the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph, he states: “We will not be intimidated by ridiculous scare campaigns”. He notes that if Abbott does seek to mount such a campaign, “I’ve got a three-word slogan for him: Bring it on.” In some of his strongest rhetoric surrounding the issue of climate change, Shorten also states: “Climate change is an economic and environmental cancer. It demands early intervention. This isn’t a question of Australia leading the world — it’s a matter of keeping up.”

China’s Hanergy seeks crowdfunding for carbon offset project
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 24 July 2015
Renewable energy firm Hanergy is seeking crowdfunding via the internet to pay for a rural biogas project in Hubei province that it expects can generate CCERs for the Chinese carbon market. Hanergy Carbon Asset Management has turned to Chinese crowdfunding website to raise funds for the project that would install biogas-fuelled cookstoves in 11,740 households in Hong’an county in Hubei. The project is estimated to cut emissions by 33,000 tonnes of CO2e per year, possibly over 20 years, for which it would earn carbon credits if the project is approved by the NDRC. “The project will help the local farmers earn 3 million yuan by trading the credits in the Hubei market,” the Hubei carbon exchange said in a press release. So far, Hanergy has raised 200,000 yuan ($32,000) for the project. Two investors have paid 35,000 yuan each, which earns them 5,000 CCERs from the project…

[Indonesia] Regional haze and questionable efforts to save the forests
By Simon Pollock, The Jakarta Post, 24 July 2015
In March this year, Vice President Jusuf Kalla issued a broadside against other ASEAN countries’ complaints about the haze. “For 11 months, they enjoyed nice air from Indonesia and they never thanked us,” Indonesian press quoted him as saying. “They have suffered because of the haze for one month and they get upset.” … [G]aining a true appraisal of the extent of illegal logging is always going to be problematic as these activities are clandestine. What is less contested is that a central part of the solution must involve finding profitable ways to keep trees in the ground. While there have been few indications of new REDD+ funding offers recently, major countries may choose to make strategic announcements around the seminal Paris climate change meeting starting from November.

Pakistan blocks progress at HFC phase-down talks as negotiators aim for November conclusion
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 24 July 2015
Pakistan has emerged as the only country seeking to block progress at talks held in Paris this week towards agreeing a global pact to phase down highly-potent hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the Environmental Investigation Agency said Friday. The talks, held under the Montreal Protocol, failed to finalise a formal negotiation process on how to curb global production and consumption of these super greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning, but delegates agreed to hold an additional meeting prior to November’s summit in Dubai. “A successful negotiation process in Dubai … could breathe air into the Paris climate negotiations and set a heavyweight precedent for an effective global climate treaty,” the EIA said. Negotiators are considering four main proposals currently on the table, submitted by island states, India, the EU and North American countries.

Blue-sky thinking from the South African government
By Gabi Knott and Aldine Armstrong, Lexology, 24 July 2015
In 2011, the National Climate Change Response White Paper provided that South Africa would coordinate and develop a coherent policy framework to curb greenhouse gas (‘GHG’) emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and 42 per cent by 2025, and to achieve this goal, would publish a suite of policy measures and strategies aimed at both mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. In 2015 it has become evident that the executive and legislative branches of government are aligning themselves with this aim. The National Budget Speech reaffirmed the implementation of Carbon Tax in 2016, and more recently the formalisation of the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory System was followed by the publication of various Reporting Regulations.

[UK] Elderly scam victims from Carmarthenshire given £800 back after fraudsters tracked down
Llanelli Star, 24 July 2015
Carmarthenshire Council’s Trading Standards team has handed over £800 back to elderly people who had been scammed by fraudsters. They have been working with the National Trading Standards Scams Team, who have identified and closed down several fraudulent PO Box addresses across the UK in recent months, intercepting payments which would have been paid to bogus prize draws. Among the people saved from the scammers were 30 Carmarthenshire residents who had sent cash and cheques through the post believing they had won a big money prize. Through the Scams Hub scheme, their mail was intercepted, and Carmarthenshire Trading Standards staff and officers from Dyfed Powys Police have visited each to hand their money back, giving them advice about recognising scams in future, and offering support.

Two disqualified after UK carbon trading “buffer” firm shut down for VAT fraud
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 24 July 2015
Two men have been disqualified from acting as company directors in the UK for a combined 17 years after their firm was found to be involved in VAT fraud relating to the EU carbon market, Britain’s Insolvency Service said on Friday. Shiraz Omar Khan and Omar Chaudry Shareef were disqualified after an investigation by the agency found that between June and July 2009 their firm ISK Management Ventures Ltd. bought £189 million worth of EUAs from “missing traders” before selling them on to other wholesalers in the UK. “ISK was involved in trading in a fraudulent VAT scheme which had been costing the UK Exchequer significant amounts of money at the time the fraud was perpetrated,” said Paul Titherington, official receiver in the Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service. Khan, of Warlingham, Surrey, is disqualified until 2024, while Shareef, of London, is disqualified until 2023, the agency said.

[UK] Fraudsters reveal pensioner victims in ‘suckers list’
By Ollie Smith, Citywire, 24 July 2015
Around 200,000 pensioners have been named on so-called ‘suckers lists’ circulated by fraudsters according to reports. The list, which contains both victims and potential targets of fraudulent mail, includes the details of 200,000 people, with the individuals on it having an average age of 74, according to the BBC. The list was found by teams at trading standards who were investigating the use of fraudulent mail to con members of the public out of their money. So far, it is alleged that 10,843 people on the list have already lost money, with an average loss of £1,184 per person.

[USA] California’s offset market to face lingering supply drought
By Robert Mullin, Carbon Pulse, 24 July 2015
California’s supply of carbon offsets will significantly undershoot allowable limits for 2020, with project developers hampered by an insufficient number of protocols and unfavourable conditions stemming from the uncertain future for the state’s cap-and-trade scheme, participants say. Compounding the structural weaknesses in the market is the current low price of California Carbon Allowances due to oversupply – a condition that leaves many potential projects out-of-the-money due largely to the risk-based discounts shown by offset prices compared to CCAs. Market participants say it’s uncertain what price impact – if any – a shortfall in offset credits will have on California’s ETS, which is forecast to be oversupplied with allowances through 2020. Also unclear are the supply-and-demand fundamentals for the relatively new offset market, a small component of California’s broader ETS.

25 July 2015

26 July 2015

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