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 delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.
3 August 2015
Two degree climate target not possible without ‘negative emissions’, scientists warn
By Roz Pidcock, The Carbon Brief, 3 August 2015
All of our options for keeping warming below 2C above pre-industrial temperatures now involve capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground – a technology that doesn’t yet exist on a large scale, according to new research. The study , published today in Nature Communications, argues that ‘negative emissions’ alone, in the absence of conventional mitigation, are unlikely to achieve the 2C goal. And in all but the most optimistic cases, staying below 2C requires capturing and storing carbon in amounts that exceed the capabilities of current technology, say the researchers. Ahead of a major international climate summit in Paris, the study makes an interesting contribution to the debate about the role of negative emissions in meeting the 2C target.
Land use change and forestry – challenges and opportunities for developing countries
By Christina Elvers, Climate & Development Knowledge Network, 3 August 2015
Land use change is a hot topic when it comes to trying to cool the climate. Countries are currently asked to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) before the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC. With no strict guidance on what should and shouldn’t be included in an INDC, developing countries preparing their contributions will need to decide whether to include land use, and how it may best be handled in view of the prevailing importance of agriculture, forests and land use for their economies. With land being a major asset in many developing countries, this decision could have far-reaching consequences for their future development. Similarly, a number of tropical forested countries are receiving or hoping to receive finance through the REDD+ mechanisms.
UN-REDD Highlights Technical Support for UNFCCC REDD+ Implementation
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 3 August 2015
Efforts to prepare forest countries to implement the UNFCCC REDD guidelines are highlighted in the August/September 2015 edition of ‘The REDD Resource,’ the newsletter of the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD). The newsletter also features the UN-REDD Programme’s publications, as well as expert insights on upcoming events, such as the World Forestry Congress and the Paris Climate Change Conference. The newsletter features an article on the support provided by UN-REDD to: Cambodia in developing a tool for prioritizing land areas for REDD ; Pakistan and Côte d’Ivoire in training stakeholders and in inventoring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the land-use sector; national REDD focal points in Africa in facilitating knowledge exchange on implementing safeguards;…
China issues fresh batch of 5.1 mln mostly ineligible carbon offsets
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 3 August 2015
China last week issued a batch of CCERs to 18 projects that is likely to have totalled some 5.1 million, analysts Crystal Carbon said Monday, taking the total amount of offsets issued for the Chinese carbon market to around 25 million. The NDRC last week listed 18 projects that had been supplied with fresh CCERs, the first issuance since late May. The agency does not specfically say how many CCERs have been issued but Crystal Carbon examines monitoring reports published by the projects to calculate the figures. The analysts said last week’s issuance amounts to 5.1 million CCERs, while the May batch totalled 3 million. The issuance is a boost to China’s offset market as market supply so far has been slow, and will give emitters covered by China’s seven pilot carbon trading schemes confidence that more CCERs, which are cheaper than regular CO2 allowances, will be available ahead of next year’s compliance.
Ecuador spied on Amazon oil plan opponents, leaked papers suggest
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 3 August 2015
Ecuadorian spies may have broken the law by obtaining personal information on MPs, environmentalists, indigenous groups, human rights activists, academics and political opponents of president Rafael Correa who opposed the exploitation of oil from an Amazonian wilderness, according to leaked papers. Nearly 200 pages of internal documents that appear to be from Ecuador’s spy agency, the Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia, seen by the Guardian, show that information was collected between 2010 and 2013 about bank accounts, debts, the value of people’s cars, foreign travel and partners. The documents, marked secret, include emails, photographs taken at rallies and public meetings, aerial photos of demonstrations and the suspected political and financial links between different groups and individuals. There are also attempts to trace the foreign sources of finance for NGOs and indigenous organisations.
EU greens push for greater CO2 curbs, inside and outside of ETS
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 3 August 2015
Two environmental campaign groups said Monday that the EU must scale up GHG-cutting efforts to ensure it contributes fairly to global climate action, but differ on whether this would be best done by reforming the ETS itself or supporting it with other policies. EU leaders last year agreed to cut the bloc’s emissions at least 40% under 1990 levels by 2030 and that the ETS should be the main policy tool to achieve the target, despite its massive allowance surplus and resulting low carbon prices undermining its ability to drive investments in clean technology. The environmental campaigners argue that the goal is not adequate as a share of the global effort to tackle climate change and should be scaled up ahead of the December Paris meeting… But while Sandbag argues that improving last month’s EU ETS review proposal is the best way to accelerate ambition, WWF wants a separate emission performance standard (EPS) for power plants.
To save forests, Kenyan tea factory brews new way to dry tea
By Anthony Langat, Reuters, 3 August 2015
The first thing that strikes you as you enter the Makomboki Tea Factory is the air. It’s clear, absent of the dark smoke that billows from the boilers of Kenya’s other tea factories. Of the 66 tea factories under the management of the Kenya Tea Development Authority, Makomboki is the only one that doesn’t use firewood in the processing of its tea. Instead, the factory has switched to a greener, cheaper fuel: briquettes made of biomass byproducts that would otherwise be treated as waste. Deep in central Kenya’s hilly and fertile tea-growing Muranga county, Makomboki employees feed the factory’s boilers with briquettes of macadamia, cashew and rice husks mixed with sawdust. “We have not used a single cubic meter of firewood in the last six months and we are excited about that,” said factory manager John Gitau.
[USA] Transformational It’s Not: Running the Numbers on Obama’s Latest Climate Regs
By Charles Komanoff, Carbon Tax Center, 3 August 2015
Notwithstanding the hype in the New York Times — “the strongest action ever taken in the United States to combat climate change,” “an aggressive plan to sharply limit greenhouse gases” — the final version of the US EPA “Clean Power Plan” being released today at the White House by President Obama actually constitutes a marked slowdown in reductions in electricity-sector emissions. According to published reports, the administration plan calls for a 32% reduction in U.S. power-sector CO2 emissions in 2030, relative to actual 2005 power-sector emissions. That’s slightly more ambitious than the 30% reduction envisioned in the initial Clean Power Plan released in June 2014. Since 2005 power-sector emissions were 2,413 million metric tons (MMT), the targeted 32% reduction would be 772 MMT, or 7% of total projected U.S. emissions (from all sectors) of 5,684 MMT (projected by CTC in the absence of a U.S. carbon pollution price).
[USA] How are environmentalists reacting to Obama’s Clean Power Plan?
By Ben Adler, Grist, 3 August 2015
“This is really a historic day, the end of the carbon-pollution era,” said Dan Lashof, COO of NextGen Climate America… “We’re very pleased,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told Grist. “This is something the Sierra Club has been working on, with a lot of groups, for decades. It’s the single biggest thing any president has ever done on climate change.” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski sounded like a joyful parent in a statement, saying, “I’ve never been more proud of any president.” LCV and the Sierra Club joined with six other major progressive and environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for American Progress, and EarthJustice, to jointly announce their support for the Clean Power Plan in a press teleconference Monday afternoon. On stage left, though, the more radical groups have a few nits to pick. Friends of the Earth … struck a note of caution.
[USA] CLEAN POWER PLAN: E&E reporters Kuckro and Chemnick discuss rule details, impact on legal challenges and state compliance
www.eenews.net, 3 August 2015
As the Obama administration rolls out its final Clean Power Plan today, what impact will changes made to the rule have on the potential for legal challenges and the ability for states to comply? During today’s OnPoint, EnergyWire reporter Rod Kuckro and Greenwire reporter Jean Chemnick discuss the details of the final plan and preview the next steps for stakeholders.
[USA] Coal’s losses mount, renewables gain in final EPA carbon plan
By Benjamin Storrow, Caster Star Tribune, 3 August 2015
Coal was never going to be a winner in President Barack Obama’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third in the next 15 years. But it will play an even smaller role in the country’s future under the final version of the strategy unveiled Monday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates coal will account for 27 percent of the country’s electricity generation by 2030, down from the 30 percent anticipated in the draft rule. Coal makes up almost 40 percent of electricity generation today. Mining output will fall by a projected 14-17 percent. And Wyoming will need to cut carbon emissions from its power plants by 37-44 percent, roughly double what was required in the draft.
[USA] Obama climate plan stirs cap and trade from deep sleep
By Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 3 August 2015
Dreams that a cap-and-trade market could become a force for lowering carbon emissions died in the U.S. Senate in 2010, scuttled by politics and a bad economy. On Monday, cap and trade was revived by the president, acting alone. President Barack Obama’s climate plan embraces cap-and-trade markets as a way to cut power plant emissions blamed for warming the planet. It rewards 11 states in the U.S. Northeast and California that already have carbon markets by giving them credit for their early actions. And the plan could incentivise more states, including some in the heavily coal-reliant Midwest, to eventually join in. “To understate it, there has been a reticence to discuss cap and trade policies in the United States,” since 2010, said Tom Lawler, the Washington, D.C. representative for the International Emissions Trading Association, a nonprofit group. “Maybe it was dead, maybe it was dormant, but now it looks like the option of choice.”
[USA] Obama releases his most ambitious climate policy yet — the Clean Power Plan
By Brad Plumer, Vox, 3 August 2015
Optimistically, the program has the potential to transform the US electricity industry, pushing utilities in every state to take cleaner energy much more seriously. The administration is also hoping this new rule will give a much-needed jolt to global climate talks, spurring other countries to respond with further actions. Or you could take the dour view: this is a jury-rigged, legally vulnerable plan that’s still only a small piece of what’s necessary to slow the pace of global warming. (By my calculations, this rule amounts to a 6 percent cut in current US greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 — so think of it as just one part of Obama’s broader climate plan.) You can make a solid argument for each of these views. The truth is that will take years to see how this policy pans out.
[USA] Obama’s big climate plan is now final — and it’s even stronger than expected
By Ben Adler, Grist, 3 August 2015
Carol Browner, former EPA administrator and now chair of the League of Conservation Voters, was typical in calling it “a visionary policy that sets our nation on the path to cleaner, renewable energy for the future.” Here’s why: The Clean Power Plan, assuming it survives legal challenges, is set to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s the biggest component of Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and the centerpiece of any realistic program to meet our emission-reduction pledges from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and the intended targets we have outlined ahead of the Paris climate talks that will take place later this year. One big change from the proposed rule a year ago is that states will have two more years — until 2022 instead of 2020 — to start meeting emission-reduction requirements.
[USA] Obama On Climate Rules: ‘This Is Our Moment To Get This Right’
By Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post, 3 August 2015
The 1,560-page document containing rules for existing power plants sets individual state goals for reducing emissions, and will require each state to develop a plan for meeting those targets. States can take a variety of approaches, such as changing over to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency and shutting down heavily polluting coal-fired units. The EPA also issued final rules for new power plants that call for phasing out new coal-fired units unless there is technology in place that can capture and store carbon emissions. Obama described the rules as the “single most important step that America has ever taken in the fight against climate change.” Obama said the rules would reduce carbon dioxide pollution by 870 million tons, the equivalent of what is produced by 108 million homes or 166 million cars. But he acknowledged that there is likely a battle ahead, as industry groups line up to fight the rules in court.
[USA] 5 Ways Obama’s Successor Could Undermine His New Climate Rules
By Jonathan Cohn, Huffington Post, 3 August 2015
Monday’s announcement is the latest step in the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to limit greenhouse gases. The idea is to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by about one-third, relative to 2005 levels, by 2030. You can make a credible argument that, taken together, the president’s efforts to slow climate change belong alongside the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms as cornerstones of Obama’s legacy on domestic policy. But that depends, in part, on the next administration implementing these new regulations faithfully. And that may not happen. Even before the rules became final, Republicans were vowing to fight them. “This is going to be a disaster,” Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, told a gathering of conservative donors that the Koch Brothers convened on Sunday.
4 August 2015
FSC certification yields financial benefits for tropical forest businesses, shows new WWF report
WWF, 4 August 2015
A new WWF cost-benefit analysis of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on a cross-section of forest operators finds that tropical and small or medium producers, regardless of geography, can benefit significantly from attaining FSC certification. The Profitability and Sustainability in Responsible Forestry: Economic impacts of FSC certification on forest operators report found that on average, the companies examined earned an extra US$1.80 for every cubic metre of FSC-certified roundwood or equivalent, over and above costs associated with certification. The Net Present Value (NPV) of the decision to pursue FSC was, on average, $6.69 per cubic metre of roundwood or equivalent – a strong positive business case overall for the decision to pursue FSC.
[Guyana] Vaitarna now exporting chopped lumber
By Kiana Wilburg, Kaieteur News, 3 August 2015
It has been over three years since the Indian logging company Vaitarna Holding Private Incorporated (VHPI), has been promising faithfully to establish a wood processing facility in Guyana. In fact, it had told the media that it’s sawmill would be in full swing by the first quarter of this year. Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), James Singh said that the company recently gave him an update on where they stood in that regard. He said that he was told by Vaitarna that it has started “some level of adding value” to Guyana’s prime logs. Singh said, however, that Vaitarna which is part of the group that owns the popular Coffee Day Inc. franchises in India, is still experiencing some difficulties. The GFC Commissioner disclosed that the company’s value added operations are not as considerable as it desires at this point as it is awaiting some equipment to reach local shores so as to enhance its operations.
Who Benefits From REDD+? Lessons From India, Tanzania, and Mexico
By Prakash Kashwan, New Security Beat, 4 August 2015
REDD+, a global framework designed to reward governments for preserving forests, has pledged nearly $10 billion to developing countries. But minorities, indigenous people, the poor, and other marginalized groups that live in forest areas often end up paying more than their fair share of the costs of environmental cleanup and conservation while getting less in return. What can be done to change this? In an article published this month in Global Environmental Politics, I show that international interventions are likely to favor forest-dependent people only when government agencies work under stringent political oversight in the form of inter-agency checks and balances. Forest administrations that enjoy wide-ranging powers with limited checks and balances tend to share fewer benefits with forest-dependent people.
[New Zealand] Window closing fast on climate change options
By Ralph Chapman, Stuff.co.nz, 4 August 2015
This country has spent most of the last 25 years dithering on climate change. Inaction poses an increasing risk to New Zealand’s reputation… I know from personal experience in helping to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol, some years ago, that New Zealand can be effective in encouraging other nations to act in the common interest… One of the main reasons renewable electricity is not being developed more quickly is the low carbon price on gas and coal, a laughable $7 per tonne of CO2. This could be lifted to around $50 per tonne by, for example, the Government introducing a rising floor price in the emissions trading system (ETS). This price would be in line with estimates of the “social cost of carbon” (the damage caused by carbon emissions). With such a floor, it is likely the remaining coal power plant at Huntly would close, for example. The price of electricity would rise marginally, but carbon emissions would fall.
[New Zealand] ASX-listed Carbon Conscious falls foul of NZ foreign investor rules
By Pattrick Smellie, The National Business Review, 4 August 2015
ASX-listed carbon emissions abatement firm Carbon Conscious has fallen foul of the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office for using a New Zealand company to invest in sensitive rural land to speed up its plans to plant trees on the property. “While both companies appear to have attempted to delay – or forego the need for – consent, we consider that they acted on poor legal advice and did not realise they were breaking the law,” said Annelies McClure, the manager of the OIO, which vets applications from foreign investors seeking to buy so-called “sensitive” land, which includes farmland. “Because of this, we have taken the view that pursuing a civil penalty is more appropriate than prosecution.”
[Nigeria] Ondo Joins United Nation’s Deforestation Programme, Articles
This Day Live, 4 August 2015
Ondo state said it has been enlisted on the UN-REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Programme coordinated by the Forest Department of Federal Ministry of Environment Abuja. The state explained that its inclusion into the programme was as a result of its completion of the scoping mission exercise conducted in the state forest reserves. “Ondo state was nominated to join the United Nation REDD+ National Program as a participating state along with Cross River which has been on the program initially,” a statement from the state government yesterday explained. The selection Certificate was presented to the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who was represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Abdul-Azees Oluboyo. Top government functionaries as well as principal officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources by the National UN REDD+ program representative, Mr. Kingsley Nwawuba, were also in attendance.
Russia Stakes New Claim to Expanse in the Arctic
By Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times, 4 August 2015
Russia formally staked a claim on Tuesday to a vast area of the Arctic Ocean, including the North Pole. If the United Nations committee that arbitrates sea boundaries accepts Russia’s claim, the waters will be subject to Moscow’s oversight on economic matters, including fishing and oil and gas drilling, though Russia will not have full sovereignty… Russia submitted a similar claim in 2002, but the United Nations rejected it for lack of scientific support. So this time, the Kremlin has offered new evidence collected by its research vessels. It even dispatched a well-known Arctic explorer, Artur N. Chilingarov, to take a miniature submarine to the sea floor directly below the North Pole, scoop up a soil sample and plant a Russian flag made of titanium there.
[USA] The Clean Power Plan: A ticket to the top
By Fred Krupp, EDF, 4 August 2015
With the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan now final, the era of unlimited carbon pollution from America’s power plants is finally coming to an end. That’s excellent news, because climate change has put us in the race of our lives – and the countries that move the fastest toward clean energy will be the most competitive, create the most jobs and have the healthiest air. It’s a race to the top, and the Clean Power Plan gives the United States a better chance of winning. Below are excerpts from an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal where I lay out the opportunities this groundbreaking initiative will bring to our nation.
[USA] The 3 best moments from Obama’s short, feisty climate speech
By David Roberts, Vox, 4 August 2015
Of the many things that went wrong with the 2009 push for a cap-and-trade bill — and they are legion — one that has always rankled climate hawks is Obama’s tepid and inconsistent support for the effort. When he talked about the issue, he sounded pro forma and defensive, as though reading from talking points instructing him to foreground “green jobs” and background climate itself. It never seemed as immediate to him, as close to his heart, as health care. Since the beginning of Obama’s second term, and especially since he entered his “lame duck” period of furious activity, his rhetoric on climate has grown much more sophisticated and much more personal. This was on display in his speech on Monday introducing the Clean Power Plan. It was short, but surprisingly pointed and passionate. Below are my three favorite points.
[USA] Obama Just Created a Carbon Cap-and-Trade Program
By John Upton, Climate Central, 4 August 2015
As the Obama Administration honed its historic new climate rules affecting power plants, it began thinking about electricity more broadly. It was a shift in perspective that in the end may produce the nation’s newest system for trading pollution. Instead of looking solely at how each state could reduce pollution from its electricity sector, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new carbon dioxide limits emphasize interstate cooperation. That cooperation will be possible, the EPA realized as it reviewed millions of public comments on the plan’s draft, partly through the regional nature of the nation’s electrical grids. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, finalized Monday, envisions a nation in which interstate electrical grids serve as backbones for renewable energy and pollution trading and a carbon cap-and-trade program.
[USA] EPA proposes carbon trading to deal with reluctant states
By Emily Holden and Evan Lehmann, ClimateWire, 4 August 2015
Republican governors who refuse to comply with President Obama’s new climate plan might find themselves facing a more detested option: cap and trade. In addition to the Clean Power Plan released yesterday, EPA also publicized a proposal revealing how it will handle states that refuse to submit their own plans for emission reductions from the power sector. The agency plans to impose a federally enforced carbon trading program. It would fall predominantly on conservative states. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has encouraged Republican governors to defy EPA’s rules, and a handful have vowed to decline to submit proposals. “I think it’s very questionable whether it’s legal to do backdoor cap and trade,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said yesterday. “It’s 1,600 pages of legislating through a regulatory agency. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”
Final US power plant rules seek to make carbon trading easier
By Lisa Zelljadt, Carbon Pulse, 4 August 2015
The United States on Monday released the final rules of its Clean Power Plan, allowing state regulators to pursue regional emission markets to meet their targets without first having to establish and pass bureaucratic inter-state agreements. The final rule, which President Barack Obama said will cut CO2 emissions from the power sector by 870 million tonnes by 2030, aims to ease the creation of carbon markets by making individual states’ emission units “trade ready”. The EPA regulations set target emissions rates in the form of CO2 per MWh for each state and allow local regulators flexibility in how to achieve them. Rather than requiring each power plant to meet their state’s target rate, regulators can create a market with an overall reduction goal set to collectively achieve the targets of the states involved.
[USA] Eyewitness to Progress
By Rhea Suh (Natural Resources Defense Council), Medium, 3 August 2015
The Clean Power Plan is the most important step the United States can take to fight climate change. I was both honored and inspired to be at the White House today when President Obama unveiled our greatest national advance ever against the central environmental challenge of our time. After decades of watching the dangers of climate change gather and grow, we’re striking back with the first-ever limits on the harmful carbon pollution from our dirty power plants. We’re going to cut carbon pollution today so our kids don’t inherit climate chaos tomorrow. Under the Clean Power Plan, the president announced today, we’ll strike a blow against climate change. We’ll also save lives, create jobs, cut our electricity bills, and raise the curtain on a new era of clean American power. That’s climate leadership, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as we build momentum toward a real global climate agreement…
5 August 2015
Climate change doesn’t have borders so why should the response?
By Dirk Forrister (IETA), BusinessGreen, 5 August 2015
The last time we aimed at a new global climate change deal in Copenhagen in 2009, it ended in acrimony and a breakdown of trust. After a concerted effort to rebuild relationships, we find ourselves, six years older and – one hopes – wiser, trying again. This time, the odds of a deal are brighter, with more governments already acting on climate change at home than in 2009 – including a huge growth in the number of emissions trading systems (ETSs) underway or in design. Governments as diverse as the European Union, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and South Korea already have carbon markets in place, as do several sub-national jurisdictions across North America and China. More regions are planning to introduce or expand pricing mechanisms, recognising that markets are the best and lowest-cost way to price carbon, drive emissions reductions and allow freedom of choice in reduction pathways.
UN climate plan progressing says France, but urges finance clarity
By Ed King, RTCC, 5 August 2015
Negotiators working on a global climate change plan have “considerable common ground” according to a review of recent discussions published by the French and Peruvian governments. A five-page ‘aide-memoire’ published on Tuesday indicates a significant number of countries are in agreement over the structure and goals of the proposed deal, due to be signed off in December. “The world is no longer one where only some parties are acting. Today, all parties are implementing meaningful measures and policies on both mitigation and adaptation,” reads the review. “The concept of nationally-determined contributions is a game-changer that will enable universal participation to be fully reflected in the new agreement.” It suggests there is now widespread support for five-yearly reviews of global greenhouse gas cuts, although countries may only be compelled to increase national targets every decade.
Rights Groups Say New World Bank Proposal Endangers People And Environment
By Michael W. Hudson, Huffington Post, 5 August 2015
The World Bank’s latest proposal for redoing its standards for financing dams and other big projects represents a “dangerous rollback” of the global development giant’s protections for vulnerable people and the environment, according to Oxfam, Human Rights Watch and other environmental and rights groups. The bank’s proposed changes “will vastly weaken protections for affected communities and the environment at the same time as the bank intends to finance more high-risk projects” through governments in economically struggling regions, a statement signed by 19 global advocacy groups says. The groups say the new standards would shift too much responsibility to governments to police themselves, and fail to require detailed procedures or budgets for the bank’s oversight.
Australia’s electricity emissions rise at quickest pace in a decade
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 5 August 2015
Carbon emissions from Australia’s electricity generation sector over the past two months rose at the quickest pace since 2004, as coal replaced renewables and natural gas in the mix, a report said Wednesday. Annual carbon emissions from the National Electricity Market, which accounts for around a third of Australia’s total GHG emissions, increased 1.2% the past two months, according to Cedex, a monthly emissions update from consultants Pitt & Sherry. Coal’s share of emissions rose to 76.3% in the 12 months to July 2015, the report said, compared to 72.7% in the year to June 2014, after which the government dismantled the carbon price. The increase came as electricity demand continued to rise at a modest pace, while gas, wind and hydro generation all slowed, paving the way for more coal consumption. The decline in gas gathered pace as more of the lower-emitting fuel was being exported, according to the report.
Bhutan: climate lessons from a Himalayan kingdom
By Alex Pashley, RTCC, 5 August 2015
Named after violent storms that roil the Himalayas, the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is no stranger to weather extremes. Conserving its environment, which swoops from dicey peaks to subtropical plains, is one pillar in its targeting of Gross National Happiness. Bhutan has net zero greenhouse gas emissions, its low levels of industrial pollution soaked up by the trees that blanket three quarters of the kingdom. The Constitution mandates its territory to be at least 60% covered by forest – the vast carbon sink a boon for its balancing of humanity and nature. “We may be small, our impact not huge, but we always try many conservation projects,” Kinlay Dorjee, mayor of capital Thimphu, and a champion of his country’s plans on the international circuit, tells RTCC. “It’s mainly to tell the outside world that while Bhutan may have resource problems given its size, even then we aren’t looking at polluting or deforesting the environment.”
EU carbon slides further despite auction cull
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 5 August 2015
Benchmark EU carbon prices continued to slide on Wednesday, dropping below two technical support levels to end beneath the previous week’s floor on modest trade of less than 7 million units. The Dec-15 EUA futures settled down 7 cents at €7.84 on ICE, having eventually dipped below €7.85 in late trade after several attempts in afternoon trade. The €7.85 mark is last week’s bottom trade and had been identified by analysts and traders as a support level, which if breached could trigger further declines. “There’s just no one around to do the buying. The auctions are lower this month for a reason,” said one trader, who had pegged support slightly lower at €7.80. The benchmark carbon contract has fallen steadily since sneaking over the €8 mark on Tuesday, when it lost 5 cents. Meanwhile, Dec-15 CERs lost 2 cents to settle at €0.42 on very thin trade.
[Indonesia] Papuans must benefit from resource exploitation
By Medelina K. Hendytio, The Jakarta Post, 5 August 2015
Once home to thick tropical forest, many parts of Papua seem to have been turned inside out and filled with holes as a result of overexploitation of natural resources. The rivers have changed color because of the accumulation of waste from mining operations for the last 50 years, including that of PT Freeport Indonesia (FI), which arrived in the mid-1960s. Freeport alone has been held responsible for the damage of 30,000 hectares of rainforest, as well as the Ajkwa and Kopi rivers (Abrash and Kennedy, 2002). Other sources suggest that the mines have already released one billion tons of tailings into the local river system, resulting in copper concentrations in the river water double the tolerable limit (Indonesian Forum for the Environment, 2006) at the expense of indigenous people, primarily the Amungme and Kamoro tribes, who depend on nature for food, water and other basic needs and cultural practices.
[Indonesia] Govt reignites REDD+ to meet 2017 target
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 5 August 2015
After being dormant for half year due to the abolishment of the National Emissions Reduction from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Agency (BP REDD ), the government is reigniting Indonesia’s REDD agenda as it commits to fully implement the agenda by 2017. In past few months, there has been little to no talk on REDD as the government is undergoing massive restructuring in its environment and forestry sector through the merging of the forestry ministry and the environment ministry, as well as absorbing the BP REDD into the merged ministry. “Indonesia is actually one of the few countries that are progressive in REDD , but we have lost some important momentum, one of the reasons being that we nurture differences too much,” the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s climate change mitigation director-general, Nur Masripatin said on Tuesday.
[UK] Supreme Court backs FCA’s tough stance on collectives in landmark case
By Laura Miller, Professional Adviser, 5 August 2015
The highest court in the UK has backed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in a landmark case that could have far-reaching consequences for risky ventures. Lawyers for the FCA have been battling Capital Alternatives and others on the grounds that they promoted and operated collective investment schemes (CIS) without authorisation. Central to the case is the definition of a CIS, and in March the Court of Appeal ruled the Capital Alternatives schemes met the definition of collective investments – that they pooled investors’ monies and that the investments were managed centrally by a firm or firms. Capital Alternatives appealed to the Supreme Court to fight the ruling, but the case has now been thrown out, making the Court of Appeal’s decision that the schemes are collective investment schemes final.
6 August 2015
Can big brands like Nestlé really play a role in halting land disputes?
By Oliver Balch, The Guardian, 6 August 2015
Globally, over 70% of land lacks clear registration or is subject to ownership disputes. This phenomenon directly increases the vulnerability of the world’s poorest, as development agencies such as the World Bank now widely recognise. Liberia’s emerging palm oil industry provides a case in point. Golden Veroleum, one of the sector’s largest foreign investors, stands accused of intimidating local landowners and trampling on communal property rights. In response, the firm says all its concessions comply with government rules, “thereby recognising the communities’ customary stake”.
[Brazil] UN Indigenous Day: Most recently contacted Indian speaks out for first time
Survival International, 6 August 2015
Ahead of U.N. Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on Sunday, August 9, Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has released a unique video of one of the world’s most recently contacted Indians. Irahoa Awá, his mother Jakarewyj and his aunt Amakaria were forced out of their forest home in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest after being “surrounded by loggers.” In a touching video interview with Survival, Irahoa recounts how he used to hunt alone as the only man in his group, and how he was forced to flee from the loggers in their forest. Irahoa said, “I saw strange people in the forest, and I heard them making lots of noise! I had to run away from them as they were in my forest. I was scared of them! I had to escape. I ran and I ran and that’s how I ended up here.” Around 100 Awá are uncontacted, making them one of the most vulnerable societies on the planet.
EU climate finance plan a priority, says Luxembourg presidency
By Ed King, RTCC, 6 August 2015
EU member states need to develop a coherent climate finance plan to retain the trust of developing countries, Luxembourg environment minister Carole Dieschbourg has told RTCC. Finance ministers from the 28 member states are scheduled to meet on October 10, where they will discuss the duchy’s plan for a “toolbox” of measures to fund green projects in poor countries. The idea, said Dieschbourg, is create a package of all the various public and private financial instruments used to leverage green funds, be they development aid, bonds or carbon markets. “One of the key issues is finance… we have to speak about climate finance,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. Under a 2010 UN agreement developed countries said they would deliver $100 billion of climate funds by 2020, but five years into that period it’s unclear what has been delivered.
[Indonesia] Govt backtracks on land redistribution
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 6 August 2015
Following pressure from the private sector, the government has backtracked on its new regulation that requires forestry companies to allocate at least 20 percent of their existing concession areas to local people. According to the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Wednesday, the ministerial regulation only applies to new concession holders that have not gone into production. “In regards to the 20 percent requirement, the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires [APHI] asked [for the regulation to] not apply to areas that have gone into production as it would disturb their production,” the ministry’s social and partnership forestry director general, Hadi Daryanto, said on Wednesday. Therefore, only new concession holders are required to allocate 20 percent of their areas.
7 August 2015
Francis of the Forest
By Bruce Babbitt, Project Syndicate, 7 August 2015
In addition to being an affront to human rights, deforestation and the accompanying assault on indigenous cultures is a serious threat to the fight against climate change. The links between the loss of forest cover and global warming has been well documented. Carbon-dioxide emissions from forest clearing and burning account for nearly 10% of global emissions. Meanwhile, forest people have demonstrated that they are often the best guardians of the trees on which their livelihoods depend. The forests where indigenous people live often hold more carbon than those managed by any other owners, public or private. Indeed, indigenous reserves in the Brazilian Amazon have played a critical role in lowering deforestation rates – at a considerable cost. In the past 12 years, more activists and indigenous leaders have been killed in Brazil than in any other country.
EUAs post 1.1% weekly fall as demand lull neutralises auction curbs
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 7 August 2015
EU carbon prices fell 1.1% this week as bullish sentiment based on this month’s reduced auction supply faded with so many potential buyers away from their desks. The Dec-15 EUA contract settled down 6 cents at €7.79 on ICE on Friday after a lacklustre German auction kept bullish traders – and everyone else – quiet, with turnover at under 5 million. “There’s just a lack of buying with so many people away on holiday. But volumes are low and we’re only a few points down, it’s far from a slump,” said one trader. This meant the benchmark carbon contract shed 9 cents week-on-week despite briefly hitting a peak of €8.01 on Tuesday. It hit the week’s bottom today at €7.77. Eyeing a historical trend, analysts had expected carbon to consolidate above the €8 mark this week as auction volume dropped to around half of the year’s average for the month to account for a lower demand over the holiday period.
In Latin America, a Concerted Effort to Green the Landscape
World Bank, 7 August 2015
Restoring forests. Monitoring the loss of individual trees. Using biological fertilizers. Working with communities. What do all of these have in common? They are all part of a menu of solutions that countries in Latin America are adopting to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). REDD+ is a global initiative to help create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests; it offers developing countries incentives to reduce emissions from forest land, while developed countries pay for the carbon that is not released into the atmosphere as a result of forest conservation.
[New Zealand] NZUs edge up in rangebound market
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 7 August 2015
Spot NZUs moved up by 5 NZ cents this week to close Friday at NZ$6.90 ($4.53), but liquidity was low as traders show little interest in taking new positions before more is known about the ETS review. Allowances traded in the NZ$6.90-7.00 range throughout the week and settled at the lower end of the range. “Speaking to our forester clients, the current mood is one of patience. There is volume for sale but only at higher prices. So long as the sellers remain patient, we see pretty limited downside,” brokers OM Financial said in a note to clients. But until emitters gain some confidence that the government will make at least some of the expected changes to the scheme after the ETS review – such as removing the 2-for-1 rule and reduce the amount of NZUs allocated for free – there is little appetite ta pay above current levels. The big news of the week was that Genesis Energy will shut down its two coal-powered units at Huntly in December 2018…
[Peru] Poor enticed by gold and better life, leave behind environmental ruin
By Saul Elbein, mongabay.com, 7 August 2015
“It’s a sign that the government is in thrall to environmental fundamentalism,” said miner Jose Carlos Bustamente. “It’s just like what you see with religious fundamentalism; people who let their beliefs blind them to what’s actually going on.” Bustamante is the head of DREM, the governmental body that oversees energy and mining in the region of Madre de Dios. He’s part of a political party that swept to power in 2014 on a tide of anger by miners over new environmental regulations that they saw as criminalizing their livelihood… “I love nature too,” Bustamante said. “I love to look at the jungle. But people are starving. What are they supposed to eat?” “If North America doesn’t want us to cut down our trees because it wants to sequester the carbon, fine,” he continued. “But it needs to pay us, and that money needs to go into the pockets of the people who would otherwise be making money on mining or logging…”
[UK] Watchdog wins Supreme Court victory on exotic investments
By Judith Evans, Financial Times, 7 August 2015
The UK’s top court has upheld a ruling that two overseas land and forestry investments should fall within the scope of regulation, in a victory for watchdogs amid concerns that pensioners may be lured into high-risk investments. The Supreme Court this week rubber-stamped a Court of Appeal ruling that defendants in the case — including Capital Alternatives, a firm that promoted the investments — could not appeal against a judgment that they constitute so-called “collective investment schemes” and thus are subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority. Capital Alternatives promoted African Land, which offered holdings in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone, and Reforestation Projects, which invested in carbon credits generated from land in several countries. However, lawyers said the decision would help to rein in the promotion of other high-risk schemes involving asset classes such as property, forestry, wine and hotel rooms.
[USA] HLH plants 300,000 endemic trees on Big Island
Hawaii Tribune-Herald, 7 August 2015
HLH LLC, a Hawaii-based sustainable forestry company, planted 300,000 endemic trees on Hawaii Island — nearly a quarter of its overall goal of 1.3 million total trees to be planted for permanent reforestation across the Hawaiian Islands. HLH set aside more than 1,000 acres of land for its reforestation project, establishing the world’s first Hawaiian Legacy Forest… “Returning this pastureland to the forest it once was has re-established a much-needed habitat for endemic Hawaii plant and animal species, some of which are endangered,” said Jeff Dunster, HLH CEO… Key to these efforts is the new Legacy Carbon Program launched in June. It is the first program in the world to produce certified carbon credits for the reforestation of koa trees. Koa and sandalwood legacy trees can be sponsored online via LegacyTrees.org, or can be planted in-person through HawaiianLegacyTours.com…
DIALOGUE: How will US states shape up to Obama’s Clean Power Plan?
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 7 August 2015
The US administration’s Clean Power Plan was published this week, tasking states to cut CO2 emissions from the power sector and aiming to ease the creation of carbon markets by making individual states’ emission units “trade ready”. The EPA regulation was not the means by which the Obama Administration originally expected to meet emission reduction targets but was developed since a proposed economy-wide cap-and-trade programme failed to pass the US Senate in 2010. We asked several experts what they expect to happen following the Plan’s publication.
8 August 2015
9 August 2015
Has the Amazon rainforest been saved, or should I still worry?
By Lucy Siegle, The Guardian, 9 August 2015
Peak deforestation angst didn’t actually coincide with peak deforestation. While the wearing of “Save the Rainforest” T-shirts was de rigueur in the late 80s, the worst destruction came in 2004, a year when we (as in humankind) chopped down 27,000km2 of Amazon rainforest. By that point there wasn’t much left to play with: the Brazilian Amazon region (the largest continuous tropical rainforest in the world) had shrunk from four million kilometres (close to half the size of continental Europe) to just 18% of that size. Brazil is still home to 40% of global rainforest… It was in the 80s that agronomists first recognised that agricultural markets were behind runaway deforestation. In 2009, the Greenpeace report Slaughter of the Amazon showed the international leather and beef trades as the primary drivers of deforestation in the region.
[UK] Preston dad in £6m theft ordered to pay back just £1
Lancashire Evening Post, 9 August 2015
A former Preston man who played a role in a multimillion pound carbon credit theft that shut down the European carbon trading market for a week, costing the economy millions must pay £1 for his crimes. Ruman Patel, 31, formerly of Brook Street, Preston, but now of Blackburn, is serving a 32 month sentence. The father-of-two was given the £1 order at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Preston Crown Court. Despite having no assets, the proceedings mean he can be revisited in the future if this changes, a court spokesman said. A probe was launched by the National Crime Agency into the theft of 475,000 EU carbon dioxide emissions allowances (EUAs) worth £6m from the Czech Republic’s carbon registry OTE, on January 18, 2011 – following a hoax bomb scare.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.