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REDD in the news: 9-15 November 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.

We’ll always have Paris
By Tadzio Müller, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, November 2015
The UN climate summit in Paris is certainly important. But an agreement in Paris is unlikely to include a number of urgently needed policies, and may instead constitute a shift in a disastrous direction. What can we realistically expect from the Paris Agreement, and what would the Summit actually need to achieve?

Ghana – Mapping REDD+ Finance Flows 2009-2014
Forest Trends, November 2015
REDDX was first launched in Ghana in early 2011 as an exploratory project, and since its first report in 2012 it has collected annual data and information on REDD financial flows spanning the past six years—2009 through 2014. The project, which is jointly implemented by the National REDD Secretariat (NRS) and NCRC, has established a strong precedent of transparency about funding and collaboration amongst stakeholders engaged in REDD in Ghana. Through four national validation meetings with stakeholders in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, the project has also fostered important discussions about the extent of funding that has actually been received, areas of progress, funding gaps, needs in country, and the best way forward for REDD in Ghana.

Papua New Guinea – Mapping REDD+ Finance Flows 2009-2014
Forest Trends, November 2015
This report presents the findings from the first round of REDD+ finance tracking in Papua New Guinea (PNG) under the REDDX initiative through Forest Trends. The REDDX initiative is the first comprehensive attempt to track and report on financial commitments and disbursements for REDD+ activities in PNG. REDDX was conducted in PNG through a partnership between Forest Trends and the Wildlife Conservation Society PNG Program, in collaboration with PNG’s Office of Climate Change and Development.

9 November 2015

Climate negotiations have never looked like this
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 November 2015
Overall, we do have reason for optimism for the final agreement. The draft text looks better than the previous version, countries seem to be taking it seriously, and we are riding into Paris on a wave of events and announcements. These include the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, a US–China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change and a joint statement between China and France.

Brazil: logging gang arrested close to uncontacted tribe
Survival International, 9 November 2015
A band of loggers has been arrested close to the territory of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon basin. They were found by a Brazilian government task force, which also confiscated forty truckloads of illegally-felled timber. The loggers were apprehended in the Guariba Reserve, a buffer zone for the territory of the highly threatened Kawahiva tribe. The Kawahiva have no contact with the outside world, but the activities of loggers on their land risks disaster. Uncontacted tribal peoples are the most vulnerable societies on the planet. We know very little about them. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance.

Forest rangers killed in Cambodia while patrolling for illegal loggers
By Mike Gaworecki,, 9 November 2015
Sieng Darong, a Forestry Administration ranger, and Sab Yoh, a police officer, were shot and killed while patrolling a protected forest in Cambodia on Saturday morning. A third ranger wounded in the attack is expected to recover. According to reports, Darong, 47, and Yoh, 29, were gunned down in their sleep. The two were part of a four-person team patrolling for illegal loggers and wildlife poachers in the Preah Vihear Protected Forest in the Choam Khsant district of northwestern Cambodia. The fourth member of the team escaped injury. Lor Chann, a local coordinator for Cambodian human rights group Adhoc, said the attack was carried out by illegal loggers in retaliation against forestry administration officials who are cracking down on the illegal timber trade, but that corruption of government officials is at least partially responsible for making the illicit trade possible in the first place.

Democratic Republic Of Congo Taps Carbon Finance To Save Forests
By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 November 2015
Quantifying the carbon associated with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is one way to assign that value. Wildlife Works’ Mai Ndombe REDD+ project currently covers about 300,000 hectares of a former logging concession and is expected to reduce more than 100 million tonnes over the next 30 years – offsets that could potentially be sold to companies, governments, or even individuals. Beyond the 300,000-hectare project, Mai Ndombe is now working on establishing a province-wide program to protect all nine million hectares of forest within Bandundu Province. Dozens of regions and countries are experimenting with such “Jurisdictional REDD+” initiatives, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of Forest Carbon Finance 2015 report, released this week.

[Guyana] Govt. must be open to talks on Amaila Falls Project or else… Jagdeo warns
By Kiana Wilburg, Kaieteur News, 9 November 2015
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo continues to disagree with the new Government’s perception that the Amaila Falls Hydro Project is not only an unsustainable and troubled developmental project but one that has failed before it even gets off the ground. In fact, Jagdeo said that he is willing to help the government in understanding the project, one in which he and his colleagues truly believe would have been one of the hallmarks of the then PPP government had it not been curtailed by the APNU+AFC. But should government fail to accept the former President’s invitations to talks, then he plans to take a next course of action. He will take facts about the project to the people in hopes that the veil would be removed from their eyes, and the project’s potential for greatness would be as clear as day.

Palm oil: why do we care more about orangutans than migrant workers?
By Laura Villadiego, The Guardian (sponsored by RSPO), 9 November 2015
According to Rikke Netterstrom, managing director at Helikonia, a consulting firm on sustainability, the poor treatment often starts at workers’ home towns where they are recruited through agent networks that charge for getting them a job at the plantations. “There is a whole issue of fees being paid before [the migrants] start their journey … so many of these workers, even before they arrive, have considerable debts,” she says. “It is a very abusive system that includes labour-trafficking, debt bondage and unfair payments,” says Gottwald, adding that once in Malaysia many workers are hired as day labourers without any kind of written contract. “A lot of those workers are undocumented and Malaysian law is very unfriendly to migrants,” he continues.

[Indonesia] Forest fire, decentralization and governance
By Diaz Hendropriyono, The Jakarta Post, 9 November 2015
While rain has provided some relief to the haze problem in large parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan, thick smoke from the fire has been and is still affecting large areas of the islands. While the fire is contained within a large swath of the forest, the smoke has been polluting significant areas, including neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. The consequences are dire, several people have died and thousands more are showing signs of sickness, from skin irritation to respiratory problems. A lot of people have, rightfully so, protested and questioned the response of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration. Some of his political opponents have further questioned the legitimacy of the presidency, citing incompetence, lack of commitment and the inability to govern.

[Indonesia] Where there’s palm oil, there’s fire: Part III of III
By Jeff Conant (FoE US), Medium, 9 November 2015
According to WALHI, the provincial government had released a 25,000 acre chunk of land from protected area status in 2012, in order to allow the area to be developed into a plantation; Zenzi speculated that the release may have been initiated by a mapping error, where it wasn’t clear that the land was part of Tanjung Putting National Park. Ultimately, the point was moot because the company had begun to burn and drain the land almost immediately. Now, a huge area of primary forest and peatland, some of which was officially off limits to development under the government peat moratorium and some of which was within the national park, was being converted for palm oil.

10 November 2015

Hope for forests in climate negotiations – but still work to be done
WWF, 10 November 2015
Forests will be on the agenda at the crucial UN climate change talks in Paris next month – but we still face a struggle to ensure a new global climate agreement recognizes the importance of forest conservation as part of the solution. Government negotiators met in Bonn, Germany at the end of October to develop the text that will form the basis for higher-level negotiation at the UN climate change conference, which begins in Paris on November 30. The ‘pre-COP’ meeting of Ministers held this past weekend in Paris did not work on the text but focused instead on identifying possible breakthroughs for the most contentious issues. The objective of the conference is for all nations to reach a universal, legally binding agreement that will guide global activity to avert catastrophic climate change.

The climate revolutionary
By Janosch Delcker, POLITICO, 10 November 2015
In May of last year, Christiana Figueres came up to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The U.N. climate chief was there to see the Norwegian government-run global seed vault, a kind of Noah’s Ark of most crop samples, preserved near the North Pole in case of environmental catastrophe that signals Norway’s good green intentions. Instead, she seized on a working coal pit nearby, leading her to pull Norway’s environment minister aside and tell her: “Look, I am sorry. I need to warn you. In my dealing with the press, I am going to speak about this. And I will call for the closing of coal in Norway,” a tough message for a country she has seen as one of her closest allies. That blend of tact, emotion and a bit of bullying is what the rest of the world can expect from the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at next month’s COP21 climate talks in Paris.

Can Farmers Earn Carbon Credits By Cutting Back On Nitrogen Fertilizer?
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 November 2015
Of all the sticky subjects wrapped up in global warming and international talks about curbing climate change, perhaps agriculture is one of the stickiest. After all, agriculture is a hefty contributor to global greenhouse-gas emissions, but it’s also what feeds us all. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates global emissions released through cropland soil management, livestock, biomass burning and rice production at 14%. And a Food and Agriculture Organization report found emissions from agriculture surpassed those from deforestation over the last decade. Plus, deforestation often occurs to clear land in order to grow crops.

Scientists study El Nino fires in Indonesia
PhysOrg, 10 November 2015
Scientists at King’s College London have received funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to use drones to measure how Indonesian wildfires made worse by El Niño affect the atmosphere. The six-month urgency grant, usually only awarded to allow scientists to respond rapidly to unexpected and transient events affecting the environment, will allow the researchers to assess carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from fires in the region of the Berbak National Park, Sumatra.

Erik Meijaard: Going Beyond Environmental Pacifiers in Indonesian Conservation
By Erik Meijaard, Jakarta Globe, 10 November 2015
Why are laws ignored. Is it corruption within the government? Financial interests within or outside the government that overrule the laws? A total disinterest among government and public in environmental conservation? Or all of them?To give an example, considering that all previous environmental bans and moratoria have been largely disregarded, calling for a fire ban or a moratorium on peat development is not going to achieve anything unless it is accompanied by: 1) a clear strategy at national and local level on how to enforce those bans; 2) identification of the institutions which will be responsible for enforcement; 3) a clear understanding what will happen to those institutions if they fail in their enforcement task; and last but not least 4) clarity about where those peatlands actually are, so that no one can say, “well, we didn’t know.”

11 November 2015

Why are oil and gas companies calling for more action on climate change?
By Bob Dudley, Reuters, 11 November 2015
This year many of us have increased our advocacy on this issue. And last month, companies responsible for a fifth of the world’s oil and gas supply in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) threw their support behind a new global agreement at the forthcoming UN talks in Paris. For oil and gas companies to take such a stance has been described as “unusual” — and even “unprecedented”. However, in fact, in BP we have publicly acknowledged the risk and have been working to address it since the 1990s. So why do companies that produce oil and gas want to see more done to tackle climate change? The first reason is simply that we want the planet to be sustainable in the future. We have the same hopes and fears for our children and grandchildren as anyone else.

3 reasons why the land sector is key to a Paris climate agreement
By Dana Miller, EDF, 11 November 2015
Land use—such as agriculture and forests—accounts for almost a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. It’s obvious that land use will play a major role in curbing the impact of climate change—and here are three big reasons why the land sector will be key to an agreement made in Paris: 1) The land sector has huge mitigation potential… 2) Forests and agriculture are important to adaptation and development… 3) The land sector is politically important…

LVMH creates EUR5m fund to offset carbon footprint
By Leonie Barrie, just-style, 11 November 2015
Luxury goods group LVMH has created an internal carbon fund – already valued at over EUR5m (US$5.4m) – aimed at reducing the amount of energy consumed at its production sites and stores. The fund, a first in the group’s history, will be financed by contributions from each of its 70 brands, which include fashion and leather goods labels Louis Vuitton, Céline, Loewe, Kenzo, Givenchy, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs. The amount contributed will be calculated based on the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their activities, specifically in terms of energy consumption in their production sites and stores. This will then be used to fund investments in equipment to reduce energy consumption, or the production of renewable energy on an international scale.

Indonesia’s forest fires: everything you need to know
By Oliver Balch, The Guardian, 11 November 2015
In September, the Indonesian police arrested seven executives in connection with the fires, including a senior executive from Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH), which supplied Jakarta-based paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Others look away from the big corporations for blame. According to Henry Purnomo, professor at Indonesia’s Bogor Agricultural University and a scientist at research group CIFOR, there are two culprits: poor small-scale farmers looking to expand their farmland, and rogue operators intent on illegally clearing forests for land acquisition. Global corporations operating in the area also blame smallholders and under-the-radar companies. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which counts many big palm oil businesses as members, has consistently said that the instances of fire on certified palm plantations in the affected region (which number 137) measure in single digits.

[New Zealand] Paris climate talks: NZ to rely on carbon credits to meet emissions pledge
By Tom Pullar-Strecker,, 11 November 2015
There is a degree of unreality about the commitments countries are going to make to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says. In comments that are likely to dismay environmental activists, Groser insisted there was “no low hanging fruit” when it came to reducing New Zealand’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions, and the country would need to rely heavily on buying its way out of the problem by purchasing carbon credits from other countries. “We are a government that believes you have got to walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said. That meant it was not prepared to take steps that put “huge costs on consumers and businesses” and that crippled the economy.

[Tanzania] Livelihood options to scale up REDD+ in coastal forests
By Lusekelo Philemon, IPPmedia, 11 November 2015
Pugu and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves (PKFRs) play an important ecological role to millions of Dar es Salaam city dwellers and neighbouring regions. Located in Dar es Salaam’s Ilala District and Coast Region’s Kisarawe District, the two forest reserves are being described as the ‘lungs’ of Dar es Salaam, as it acts as a tool towards improving carbon stocks in the PKFRs and surrounding areas. Located 12 miles south-west of Dar es Salaam, the two forest reserves offer key sources of streams and rivers that pump water into the vibrant cosmopolitan and metropolitan city of Dar es Salaam for horticultural farming and other uses.

[USA] California Dreamin’—of Lower Prices at the Pump
By Jacob R. Borden, Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2015
Despite a reputation for being, like, laid back, many Californians are tired of paying top dollar at the pump before heading out on the 405. Still, the machinations of state bureaucrats are set to push prices even higher. On Sept. 11, lawmakers passed the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act, accelerating mandates first established in 2002 and requiring that half the state’s electricity come from renewables by 2030. Yet before passing the act, in a victory for common sense, lawmakers dropped a provision mandating that half of all transportation fuels also come from renewables by 2030—a move that would have sent the state’s fuel prices to new heights.

12 November 2015

Will the Paris Climate Talks Deliver the World We Need? Not likely
By Janet Redman, FPIF, 12 November 2015
We need to leave more than 80 percent of known oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground to avoid triggering catastrophic climate change. That means shifting away from an economy driven by digging, pumping, and burning fossil fuels to one that puts people and the planet first. On this the science is simple, but the politics are fraught. The upcoming UN summit in Paris, where governments from almost every country on Earth will meet to hammer out a new global climate deal, would seem the logical place to set that change in motion. These forums are the only place where nations sit together as equals, at least ostensibly, to address what’s truly a global problem. So can these talks deliver an agreement that moves us into a post-fossil fuel world? The simple answer is no.

Land-Sector Emission Reduction Targets of Brazil, Indonesia, and India Fall Short of Democratic Republic of the Congo’s
Union of Concerned Scientists, 12 November 2015
Brazil, India and Indonesia’s plans for limiting global warming emissions in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sectors disappoint despite their status as important tropical forest nations, according to an analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In contrast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) plan is robust and in line with a trend identified by UCS that sees smaller countries doing more to analyze and reduce their land use emissions than more populated countries, the analysis showed. The report, “INDCs, Take 3: The Land Sector in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of Brazil, Indonesia, India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” is the final white paper in a three-part series released by UCS.

Row over legal nature of Paris climate deal
The Guardian, 12 November 2015
Any global climate change deal reached in Paris next month will be legally binding and have a concrete impact, France’s foreign minister said on Thursday, reacting to US comments that questioned the status of the accord. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, was quoted as telling Wednesday’s Financial Times that December’s agreement was “definitively not going to be a treaty”. But his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, said on Thursday that, unlike previous negotiations, the Paris talks were not just “hot air” and Kerry was perhaps “confused”.

France Says Climate Talks Must Produce Binding Deal
By Aurelien Breeden, The New York Times, 12 November 2015
“The F.T. interview with Secretary Kerry may have been read to suggest that the U.S. supports a completely nonbinding approach,” a State Department official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the department had not released an official statement on the matter. “That is not the case, and that is not Secretary Kerry’s position. Our position has not changed: The U.S. is pressing for an agreement that contains both legally binding and non-legally binding provisions.” The disagreement highlighted the uncomfortable fit between American politics and international law. A treaty requires ratification by two-thirds of the Senate, a threshold that is nearly impossible to achieve given the current gridlock in Washington. To bypass the Senate, Mr. Kerry and other officials have had to ensure that whatever deal emerges in Paris is not formally considered a treaty under American law.

UN climate deal must unlock private funding for forests – experts
By Megan Rowling, Reuters, 12 November 2015
A new global deal to curb climate change due in Paris next month must “switch on” forest protection schemes by allowing the carbon credits they produce to help meet country pledges to cut planet-warming emissions, forest experts said. That would unlock funding from the private sector, which has so far contributed just one-tenth of the money provided to keep forests standing, said Gus Silva-Chávez of U.S (Other OTC: UBGXF – news) .-based non-profit group Forest Trends which tracked finance flows in 13 countries. Over the past 10 years climate negotiators, governments and development banks have put in place the technical standards for a U.N. programme aimed at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing nations.

Forests ‘without a prayer’ if UN pact shuns tough tree talk
By Alex Pashley, Climate Home, 12 November 2015
Forests twice the size of Portugal were hacked down worldwide last year, from the Amazon to previously pristine jungles of Southeast Asia and Madagascar. Together with farming practices, trees loss accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. As global demand for commodities like soy and beef rebounds, forests are facing renewed strain. That is why an anticipated global warming accord next month must signal a deforestation crackdown, says Kevin Conrad, a climate diplomat from Papua New Guinea. Conrad pioneered the UN-backed REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests), set to be finalised in Paris next month after ten years of talks… But for Conrad, the diplomat, forests haven’t time to wait. “We’re arguing: get REDD+ in as safe harbour, and once we can show how it works successfully… we’ll move to the whole land sector.”

Forests could see big gains in climate talks, says report
By Mike Gaworecki,, 12 November 2015
Not only are the world’s forests valuable carbon sinks, but deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for about 10 to 15 percent of global carbon emissions every year. In other words, we cannot address climate change without reducing emissions from deforestation and the degradation of what’s left of the world’s forests. A new analysis released ahead of climate treaty negotiations to be held in Paris in just a few weeks shows that significant progress is being made via the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program, but that it’s crucial for rich nations, which bear an overwhelming share of the responsibility for creating the climate crisis in the first place, to make more ambitious commitments in order to build on that momentum.

EU court adviser says regulators handed out too many free EUAs
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 12 November 2015
An adviser to Europe’s highest court has said the European Commission’s Cross Sectoral Correction Factor (CSCF) calculations to decide free EUA allocation should be annulled as they had set too high a ceiling for distribution and resulted in too many free units being given out. The current rules should apply until the Commission comes up with a new allocation method, for which the court should set a time limit of one year, according to the opinion of Advocate General Juliane Kokott, published on the website of the European Court of Justice on Thursday. “A retroactive reduction would violate the legitimate expectations of a large number of plant operators in maintaining the final allocation,” Kokott said. The full ruling in the case, brought by big emitters including Borealis, Dow Chemical and Esso against the European Commission, is likely to take several more months but court opinions are generally followed.

[Guyana] Baishanlin will be allowed to continue exporting logs amid revamping –Trotman
Stabroek News, 12 November 2015
Despite failing to meet yet another deadline to begin processing logs here, Asian logging company Baishanlin will be allowed to continue exporting logs even as it has requested two more years to acquire wood-processing equipment. “Whilst in its re-structuring phase the company no doubt will still be carrying out some operations and it is expected that some logs will be shipped,” Minister of Governance with responsibility for the natural resources sector Raphael Trotman told Stabroek News yesterday. Last week, Trotman told reporters that restructuring and lack of financing are hampering Baishanlin in meeting Govern-ment’s year-end edict to begin substantial value-added production or face the revocation of its contract. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[USA] Climate Countdown: When’s a warming treaty not a treaty?
By Seth Borenstein, AP, 12 November 2015
It’s the elephant in the negotiating room that few officials want to acknowledge: Whatever international deal comes out of Paris climate talks, it likely won’t be a treaty that needs ratification by a reluctant Republican U.S. Congress. That’s not the only complication in Paris. China, the U.S. and India don’t want the international community dictating their carbon dioxide emissions, but they do want to do something about ever escalating greenhouse gas levels and the rising temperatures they cause. So they have to come up with an agreement that doesn’t dictate binding, internationally set targets or require U.S. Senate approval – and yet gets the job done. At least partly. To do so, they must reach a pact that has as many twists and turns as a pretzel.

13 November 2015

Norway and Brazil dominate REDD+ cash scene -report
Carbon Pulse, 13 November 2015
Norway has been by far the biggest donor of funds to protect tropical forests under REDD+ and Brazil the largest recipient to date, a report found. But wide differences in the amount pledged and received remain amid a lack of co-ordinated global action, according to a study by Forest Trends, an industry, investor and NGO coalition that promotes market-based approaches to forest protection. The REDD eXpenditures study tracked the money trail in 13 countries that account for 65% percent of the globe’s tropical forest cover under REDD+ over 2009-2014. It analyses more than $6 billion of the nearly $10 billion that has been committed or pledged to REDD+ programs.

The elephant in Paris – guns and greenhouse gases
By Nick Buxton, Global Justice Now, 13 November 2015
There is no shortage of words in the latest negotiating document for the UN climate negotiations taking place in Paris at the end of November – 32,731 words to be precise and counting. Yet strangely there is one word you won’t find: military. It’s a strange omission, given that the US military alone is the single largest user of petroleum in the world and has been the main enforcer of the global oil economy for decades. The history of how the military disappeared from any carbon accounting ledgers goes back to the UN climate talks in 1997 in Kyoto. Under pressure from military generals and foreign policy hawks opposed to any potential restrictions on US military power, the US negotiating team succeeded in securing exemptions for the military from any required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Why REDD+ Is Crucial For Success Of Paris Climate Deal
By Pari Trivedi, Huffington Post, 13 November 2015
The Coalition for Rainforest Nations, an intergovernmental organisation seeking to advance Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), has said the 2015 Paris Agreement will only succeed if REDD+ is a fundamental element of the deal. REDD+ aims to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests in developing countries by reducing emissions from forested lands.

[Australia] Landholders the biggest winners in $550 million carbon abatement auction
By Sarina Locke, ABC Rural, 13 November 2015
Farmers and landholders have again been the largest recipients of funding in the second auction for carbon credits in the Government’s Direct Action Scheme. The scheme allows companies to bid for cash to cut their greenhouse pollution, and encourages farmers to develop carbon sinks. According to one winning company that represents 36 graziers in Queensland and NSW with $120 million worth of contracts, it has come at the right time for those struggling through drought. “The reaction for some has been relief and others have been in near tears,” Australian Carbon Traders managing director Ben Keogh said. His firm helped prepare 40 landholders’ bids in western Queensland and western NSW. “It’s such an opportunity after so much difficulty with the drought. This is a really good bit of hope for them,” he said.

[Australia] Boiler room scams destroy lives yet police blame victims
By Cassandra Cross, The Conversation, 13 November 2015
Queensland’s Gold Coast has the dubious reputation of being the nation’s investment fraud capital, particularly for boiler room scams, a fact supported by the Queensland Organised Crime Commission of Inquiry. The Inquiry estimated that Australians lose tens (possibly even hundreds) of millions of dollars each year to boiler room scams. While prosecutions have been successful, fraudulent companies are able to disappear and reappear under a different name overnight, presenting challenges for all law enforcement bodies. It also is difficult for potential victims to identify the fictitious nature of their potential investment. Despite this, the commission has found there is a disturbingly strong victim blaming mentality expressed by police towards those who have fallen for, and lost money in such schemes. Yet this depiction is problematic and largely inaccurate.

[Australia] Delays in Gold Coast boiler room case criticised
Brisbane Times, 13 November 2015
Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission has been accused of conducting a fishing expedition in the high-profile “Irish Boys” fraud case on the Gold Coast. Lawyer Chris Hannay told Southport Magistrates Court the CCC is still trying to flush out victims of an alleged boiler-room call centre investment scam despite a deadline to provide the brief of evidence fast approaching. Mr Hannay represents Chloe Rose Podger, one of seven people charged with allegedly fleecing millions from hundreds of clients over 18 months. The accused are alleged to have run a business selling defective software and bogus investment plans.

Some tips to help EU Parliament reduce its carbon footprint
By Peter Teffer, EU Observer, 13 November 2015
Then, entering the EP’s self-service canteen, one cannot help but notice the lack of popularity of the daily vegetarian meal. On most days, the line for the vegetarian meal is shortest of all. But reducing meat consumption is an effective way of reducing a carbon footprint. Researchers found that the carbon footprint of meat eaters was around twice as high as that of vegans. Those who eat 100 grammes of meat a day, indirectly emit around 7 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per day. But the almost 4 million customers a year of the EP’s canteen are in no way stimulated to have a meal without meat, let alone without dairy products. In fact, after a new caterer won the contract from its competitor, it raised the price of the only daily vegetarian meal on the menu from €5 to €6.95. The cheapest option – the €4,90 daily special – contained meat on three days, and fish on two days this week.

Beyond the blaze: What next for Indonesia’s forests?
By Suzanna Anderson, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 13 November 2015
More than 100,000 fires ravaged the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan throughout September and October 2015, producing a noxious haze that affected tens of thousands of people. Seasonal rains began in November, but 2015/16 are El Nino years, so the threat of new fires is far from over. The problem is complex but it can be solved. Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) explain.

14 November 2015

Climate webcast from Paris suspended after deadly attacks
AP, 14 November 2015
A Paris webcast of an all-star marathon event about climate change was suspended after the deadly attacks in that city Friday night. “Out of solidarity with the French people and the City of Paris, we have decided to suspend our broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth,” read a statement on the concert’s website on Friday night. “Our thoughts are with all who have been affected and the entire nation of France. We send our condolences to the families of those who have been killed or injured.” More than 135 people have been killed in a series of shootings and explosions across the city.

Paris attacks – COP21 and the war on terror
By Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist, 14 November 2015
The first thing to be said about the terrorist attacks on Paris yesterday is that they are a dreadful crime that deserves only the most fervent condemnation. The attackers showed a total contempt for human life and chose soft, civilian targets where their victims were unable to put up any defence against military grade weaponry. But we must also ask: Why Paris? And why now?

[Guyana] Unwise and reckless to grant Bai Shan Lin two-year extension –says Clive Thomas
By Kiana Wilburg, Kaieteur News, 14 November 2015
Presidential Advisor on Sustainable Development, Dr. Clive Thomas, is of the firm belief that it would be a rather “unwise and reckless” move for Chinese logging company, Bai Shan Lin, to be granted any further extension on the construction of a long awaited wood-processing facility in Guyana. “I feel it is time that sanctions be imposed,” the economist added. Word of Bai Shan Lin’s request for a two-year extension to fulfill its promise first came to the forefront during a press conference with Governance Minister, Raphael Trotman last week. It was there that Trotman was questioned about his threat some months ago to reveal the action to be taken by the end of October, should Bai Shan Lin and others fail to make any moves to add value to Guyana’s lumber exports.

[Guyana] In allowing Bai Shanlin to continue unsustainable logging APNU+AFC has forgotten its own manifesto
By Janette Bulkan letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 14 November 2015
You reported that the Chinese transnational logger Bai Shan Lin is being allowed to continue its rapacious unsustainable logging of furniture and flooring timbers for export as unprocessed logs to the company’s factories in China. This company is partly owned by a Chinese government company. It has been in Guyana for a decade. It has made repeated promises of inward investment and value-addition, which it has also broken repeatedly. Bai Shan Lin earned at least US$20 million from the export of wamara timber logs for flooring in 2013 alone (39,000 m3). It has been receiving foreign direct investment tax and import duty concessions from Guyana for this decade. And we are expected to believe that it cannot afford to install even one mill for log processing?

15 November 2015

Waiting for Godot. This time in Paris, December 2015
By Natalie Unterstell, Medium, 15 November 2015
By 1992, it was said that the climate convention — then to be signed at Rio de Janeiro — would not solve the global warming problem, but rather form a basis for future negotiations. Twenty-three years later, this “build in and it will come” approach is still around. In the absence of a control regime to minimize the global commons problem, appealing promises and renewed victory statements will only prolong the climate policy waiting game. A durable infrastructure for a pledge-and-review system is the most likely outcome of a Paris deal, to be agreed by 197 Parties to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015.

[UK] Pension Scammers In Drive To Sell Parking Spaces
By Jim Atkins, iExpats, 15 January 2015
Scammers are changing the way they try to grab cash from retirement savers as the government relaxes restrictions on how the over 55s can spend their pensions. A sudden rush to release retirement savings triggered by pension freedoms introduced in April has given crooks more opportunity to con savers, says The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The NFIB spearheads police efforts to identify and arrest fraudsters. Financial experts working for the NFIB have revealed some of the new tricks fraudsters are using to try and part savers from their cash. Top of the list is a new ‘investment opportunity’ of selling parking spaces close to airports. The NFIB explained that con men previously selling worthless carbon credits, diamonds and fine wines at inflated prices have moved into this new market. Another common investment offer is buying space in storage facilities.


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