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REDD in the news: 16-22 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.

ASB Partnership Policy Brief Examines REDD+, Climate and SDG Implementation
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), November 2015
A policy brief, titled ‘Transforming REDD+ and achieving the SDGs through support for adaptation-mitigation synergy,’ reflects on how to incorporate the lessons learned from a decade of REDD+ implementation in the new climate agreement. The Brief was produced by the Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) Partnership for the Tropical Forest at the World Agroforestry Centre, a member of the CGIAR Consortium. The brief states that, “as predicted,” the sum of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to be presented to the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) will not achieve globally appropriate mitigation action, while current REDD+ finance is inadequate for supporting the instrument as originally envisaged.

Applying three dimensions of equity to REDD+
By Andrea Quesada-Aguilar and Phil Franks, IIED November 2015
REDD+ strives to be equitable, but often focuses on only part of the picture, so that even apparently-strong strategies (for example those with strong provisions on benefit sharing and tenure), may be less equitable on closer inspection. Yet people’s perceptions and many national policies reveal more nuanced thinking on equity. Achieving greater equity in REDD+ needs attention to three dimensions: recognition (of rights, knowledge and institutions), procedure (inclusive decision-making) and distribution (of benefits and costs). The right choices will be context specific and the process of making these choices should engage key stakeholders, including indigenous peoples, local communities, women, elders and youth.

16 November 2015

France confirms UN climate summit will proceed, diplomats praise solidarity
By Ed King, Climate Home, 16 November 2015
French and UN officials say plans for the 2015 UN climate summit in Paris will continue4, despite Friday night’s terror attacks that left over 130 dead and 300 injured. “Profound emotion receiving so strong support to maintain #COP21. Humanity, courage, solidarity winning over fear and terror,” tweeted the country’s top climate diplomat Laurence Tubiana. “Of course #COP21 proceeds as planned. Even more so now. #COP21 = respecting our differences & same time acting together collaboratively,” said the UN’s top climate official Christiana Figueres. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was talked out of calling for the summit to be postponed, according to the AFP news agency, after a meeting with Francois Hollande.

France to limit U.N. climate summit to core talks, ban rallies: PM
By John Irish, Reuters, 16 November 2015
France will limit a U.N. climate summit in Paris starting in two weeks’ time to core negotiations and cancel planned marches and concerts after the attacks that killed 129 people, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Monday. He said no foreign leaders had asked France to postpone the Nov 30-Dec 11 summit, which aims to map out a global accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a move which would amount to “abdicating to the terrorists”. But he told RTL radio that “a series of demonstrations planned will not take place and it will be reduced to the negotiations … a lot of concerts and festivities will be canceled.” Environmental activists are due to meet later on Monday to rethink plans for a march on Nov. 29, the eve of the summit, that they had hoped would attract perhaps 200,000 people to put pressure on governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

How Not Cutting Trees Has Become One of the World’s Most Successful Climate Efforts
By Samantha J Smith, Huffington Post, 16 November 2015
We are only a few weeks away from the COP21 climate summit in Paris. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 11 per cent of global carbon emissions come from deforestation. That is about the same amount as the emissions from all the world’s cars. Efforts to stop deforestation are more important than ever. Deforestation has been on the agenda for a long time, and the Norwegian government is behind the most successful attempt to tackle this challenge. The idea that was developed in 2007 is so simple, but has proven so powerful: in a world faced with massive deforestation, the simplest and cheapest mitigation effort would be to reward communities for not cutting trees. The result was the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative (REDD+). It had an immediate effect.

INDCs: Foundation for a Successful Outcome in Paris?
By Leila Mead, Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 16 November 2015
With the Paris Climate Change Conference just around the corner, 134 intended national determined contributions (INDCs), representing more than 150 countries, have been submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat as of 12 November, and more are still expected before Paris. INDCs outline the climate actions that individual countries intend to undertake in the post-2020 period, under the new climate agreement to be decided on in Paris. Viewing them in aggregate should enable the tracking of progress and determining whether they represent a collective level of ambition that will be sufficient to limit temperature rise below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels.

Don’t see REDD+ in the final Paris climate text? Look closer
By Chris Meyer, EDF, 16 November 2015
It’s hard to find a group more supportive than EDF of policies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD )… Of course, mentioning REDD explicitly would be helpful to signal to tropical forest countries that REDD will be funded in the future. However, that can be achieved – perhaps even more convincingly – through donor countries’ announcing that they will support REDD implementation and results-based payments. Expect to see such announcements from key players in the forestry and agriculture sectors alongside the talks. And whether the Paris agreement includes straight-up “REDD ,” or goes with “sinks” or “removals,” REDD and the land sector will play an important mitigation role in a pre- and post-2020 world. Not being explicitly mentioned in the Paris agreement would not diminish REDD ’s future role in any way.

Nature Studies: Is it possible to put a price on nature? And if we can, should we?
By Michael McCarthy, The Independent, 16 November 2015
Last Friday, I attended a debate which dramatised in a riveting way one of the most urgent questions for anyone who cares about the natural world and its increasing degradation: should we put a price on nature? The debate was between two of our best-known green campaigners, Tony Juniper and George Monbiot, who agree on probably nine out of 10 environmental issues: but on the tenth one, turning nature into a matter of economics, they are fiercely opposed. It’s a question which has never been more relevant, because all over the globe, nature is being trashed – the mammoth forest fires in Indonesia I wrote about last week are just the most egregious recent example, and it’s easy to end up with the despairing sense that the destruction of the natural world is an unavoidable part of the price we pay for human development.

Global Forest Coalition New Briefing Paper Highlights Dangers Of A Fraudulent Accounting Framework On Land Use To Potential Climate Agreement
Global Forest Coalition, 16 November 2015
The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) launched a new briefing paper today, providing a critical overview of the problem of current carbon accounting rules in the land use and forests sector, under the acronym LULUCF. These are creating loopholes for real emission cuts and will undermine any new climate agreement. The paper highlights that current carbon accounting rules are too flexible, confusing and allow several forms of cheating. In the case of the Kyoto protocol, Annex I parties were allowed to earn large amounts of fraudulent surplus credits. They also benefitted from future forest management activities that were yet to be implemented, allowing polluters to continue emissions.

Study Shows Governments Are Paving The Road To Forest Finance; Will Paris Let The Private Sector Use It?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 16 November 2015
A new report entitled “REDD+ Finance Flows 2009-2014: Trends and Lessons Learned in REDDX Countries” provides a bit of braille to our elephant. Published by Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends through its REDDX finance tracking initiative, the report examines financial flows from industrial countries to 13 forest nations that, combined, are home to 65 percent of the world’s tropical forests. The report confirms some things we’ve always known – for example, that Norway leads all donors, and that Brazil leads all recipients. But it also quantifies these flows with a new degree of precision and pushes new findings into the light in ways that offer deep understanding into where REDD money comes from and where it goes.

Changing Climate, The Science
By Roger Harrabin, BBC Radio 4, 16 November 2015
Climate talks typically end in disenchantment and disarray, so will this year’s summit in Paris be any different? In this three part series Roger Harrabin examines the science, politics and solutions of climate. In the first of this series he looks at the science behind climate change. Predicting the future climate is a pretty tricky business and over the last twenty five years or so its had a chequered history. Roger talks to the scientists about their models and asks if they are accurate enough or should they just be consigned to the dustbin. He takes tea with the leading US politician who simply won’t be convinced of man-made climate change. He meets the “luke-warmers” who believe in climate change but don’t think the planet will warm as much as predicted. He will also examine the current predictions and how confident we should be.

[Guyana] Baishanlin and Minister Trotman
Stabroek News, 16 November 2015
News that Chinese logging company Baishanlin has requested two more years before fulfilling its mirage-like commitments to begin serious value-adding is not surprising. What is most alarming however is the apparent disposition of the APNU+AFC government to allow the company to “restructure” during this elephantine gestation while still being permitted to export logs. One hopes that Minister of Governance Trotman’s intimations to the media in this regard are his personal views and not those of the government otherwise APNU+AFC would have once again fundamentally breached its pre- and post-elections commitment to transparency and good governance.

17 November 2015

COP21 could revitalize REDD+ … or not
By Samuel McGlennon, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 17 November 2015
The original vision for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD ) was ambitious yet simple: create both a supply of and demand for forest carbon credits on a significant scale. Now, almost a decade after national governments officially recognized the promise of REDD , how is the concept faring? “There is clearly some fragility in the performance of REDD to date,” said William Sunderlin, a principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and lead author of a new study surveying the state of subnational REDD initiatives globally. In the study, Sunderlin and his co-authors analyze 23 subnational REDD initiatives, or projects and programs, in six countries. Together, these sites comprise about half of the global area included in these REDD initiatives, and they, Sunderlin said, are “where the rubber meets the road, and where the proof of concept happens”.

The Corporate Cookbook
Corporate Europe Observatory, 17 November 2015
You would be forgiven for believing that the corporate world has had a change of heart and is now sticking to a strictly climate-friendly diet. Embracing low-carbon natural gas, a global carbon price, ‘net-zero emissions by the end of the century’ or ‘climate-smart agriculture’ are top of the menu. But peel back the PR and you reveal a business-as-usual recipe guaranteed to cook the planet: market fundamentalism, pie-in-the-sky techno solutions and some good old fashioned rebranding of discredited ideas are the perfect ingredients for any corporate climate criminal. But rather than sending the dish back, our political leaders have asked for seconds. This briefing shows just when, where and how corporations are trying to capture the agenda of this winters UN climate talks in Paris, COP 21.

Why We’re Still Going to Paris
Triple Pundit, 17 November 2015
In a nutshell, the entire mission of TriplePundit — the triple bottom line — is to demonstrate that social, environmental and economic issues are inexorably connected and dependent on one another. Climate change may seem like an existential and distant threat compared to ISIS, but it is very much intertwined with the very same social problems that give rise to international conflict and even terrorism. In fact, climate change, compounded by population pressure, is already among the single biggest destabilizing forces in the world today. Failing to address it will almost certainly lead to more social unrest, more angry, desperate people, and more terrorism.

France to decide on Paris climate rally by Thursday
Reuters, 17 November 2015
France will decide in the next couple of days whether to let climate change activists stage a rally in Paris on Nov. 29, the eve of a U.N. summit, amid worries about security after attacks that killed 129 people, an organizer said on Tuesday. Campaigners met French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will host the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 summit, to put their case for the march in central Paris despite the attacks claimed by Islamic State militants. Eros Sana, an organizer at the environmental activist group, told Reuters the government “will get back to us tomorrow evening or Thursday about the security and logistics”. and about 130 other organizations including labor unions and faith groups have been aiming to stage one of the biggest climate change rallies in history, rivaling one in New York in 2014 that organizers said attracted 310,000 people.

Paris steps up security for United Nations climate change conference
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times, 17 November 2015
The popular gathering places – a concert hall, a sports stadium, busy bars and cafes – hit last week by shooting and bomb attacks presented extremists with ideal opportunities to inflict major casualties. Now consider this as a potential target: a mass assembly of tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of people on the streets. The presence, in one place, of the world’s most powerful leaders and heads of state, including President Obama. All that will be happening in Paris, a city still reeling from Friday’s bloodbath, in less than two weeks at a United Nations climate change conference viewed by many as the most important global environmental summit in years. The conference will run for nearly two weeks, starting Nov. 30, on the northern edge of Paris at Le Bourget, close to the historic airfield where Charles Lindbergh landed after his transatlantic crossing in 1927.

Seeing carbon as the “co-benefit” in REDD+ benefit sharing
IUCN, 17 November 2015
Preliminary results from IUCN’s ongoing nature dependency studies in Ghana, Mexico and Peru underscore why REDD+ benefit sharing first needs to understand how communities rely on forests before setting up the right incentives for implementing REDD+ strategies. For many forest-dependent communities around the world, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is about more than sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change. The food, water, medicine, fuel and spiritual value derived from forests are often the primary motivation to protect natural resources and use them in sustainable ways. The fact that sustainable forestry, along with other sustainable land uses, can also help mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions is considered by many communities to be the “co-benefit”, rather than the principle advantage of reducing deforestation.

Emissions set to soar as love of steak takes off in Asia
AFP, 17 November 2015
Climate change is the last thing on Maya Puspita Sari’s mind as she tucks into a steak and splurges on ice cream, products that were once a luxury but are now a growing staple in the diets of millions of Indonesians. But the livestock sector is a major contributor to climate change — accounting for 14.5 percent of the total global amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization — more than those produced from powering all the world’s road vehicles, trains, ships and planes combined… Greenpeace Indonesia’s Bustar Maitar said: “In Brazil, (livestock) farming activities are conducted on a massive industrial scale. If that’s what we’re aiming for, of course it would affect our forests.” … WWF Indonesia’s Nyoman Iswarayoga told AFP: “Our public does not even understand the link between forest fires and emissions, let alone meat consumption. Changing lifestyles and mindsets takes time.”

[Guyana] A display of contempt for authority that warrants a strong official response
Stabroek News, 17 November 2015
Managing Director of Baishanlin, Chu Hongbo, was due to meet with Minister Broomes on Thursday. He had been asked to meet with the minister on a previous occasion and had not done so. Last Thursday, not only was he a ‘no show,’ but he provided no prior reason for failing to show. Instead, he sent one of his managers. This newspaper understands that the Ministry of Social Protection has received more than twenty labour violation complaints against Baishanlin. The minister felt that she should engage the company’s mnanaging Director personally on these complaints. He, perhaps, thought differently.

[Norway] Statoil withdrawing from Alaska operations
By Alex DeMarban and Chris Klint, Alaska Dispatch News, 17 November 2015
Norwegian oil company Statoil has announced the closure of its Anchorage office as it withdraws from Alaska, exiting leases in the Chukchi Sea “no longer considered competitive within Statoil’s global portfolio.” According to a post on Statoil’s website, the decision was the result of “recent exploration results in neighboring leases.”

Thailand to sign up to Japan’s carbon offset market
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 17 November 2015
Thailand is set to become the 16th nation to join the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) later this week, as Japan continues to look for partner countries in which it can generate carbon offset credits by investing in clean projects. The two nations will hold a signing ceremony in Tokyo on Thursday, a senior Ministry of Environment official told Carbon Pulse. Thailand will become the sixth ASEAN member to join JCM, following Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Japan has estimated that the scheme will generate around 50-100 million offsets by 2030. So far, only seven projects have been registered with a combined capacity to cut just over 1,000 tonnes of CO2e per year. One more project is the pipeline.

[USA] Companies expected to spend $900M in California’s quarterly cap-and-trade auction
By Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 17 November 2015
Companies in California and Quebec were expected to spend $908 million on a cap-and-trade auction held Tuesday that essentially operates as California’s penalty for pollution. Tuesday marked the 14th quarterly auction since California’s cap-and-trade program began in late 2012. The auctions have been held jointly with Quebec since last year. The program affects petroleum refiners and wholesalers and several hundred large industrial firms — including major food processors, cement plants and steel mills. The companies targeted by the program emit 85 percent of California’s total greenhouse gases, according to data from the California Air Resources Board. They purchase “carbon allowances” that entitle them to emit pollution.

18 November 2015

An open letter to world leaders regarding forests and climate change
WWF, 18 November 2015
In two weeks, you will have the opportunity to make history. By reaching a strong, fair and universally binding agreement at the climate change conference in Paris, you can ensure that the world has a fighting chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. We commend the efforts that so many of you have made to show that, in different ways, your nations are ready to take on the shared challenge and responsibility of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Yet there is still much work to be done, and a number of issues remain in the balance. One crucial unresolved area is the role of the land sector, and in particular of forests. Following last month’s negotiations in Bonn, the text that will form the basis for discussions in Paris now includes several references to forests and land use. However, these are not currently supported by all parties. Simply put, a climate agreement that fails to address deforestation and land use will fail.

What the climate talks could mean for REDD+ (and the world)
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 November 2015
An expert on REDD+ has called for countries to make a genuine long-term commitment to tackling climate change, beyond the formal requirements of the global agreement expected to be finalized at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris next month. “We have reached a biological tipping point,” William Sunderlin of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) told Forests News in a video interview. “We need a corresponding policy tipping point that matches the urgency of this biological tipping point.” Sunderlin’s research into 23 REDD+ initiatives across the globe has uncovered roadblocks to implementing efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation—which account for about 12% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. A framework for REDD+ was largely put in place earlier this year, but Sunderlin holds that this next agreement still needs to have strong provisions for REDD+.

The Good, the Bad, the Bewildering: 10 Countries’ Climate Pledges
By Craig Welch, National Geographic, 18 November 2015
So far, more than 150 countries – from Sudan to Suriname and from Kiribati to Kyrgyzstan – have outlined for United Nations negotiators just how, when, and by how much each would cut carbon dioxide over the next several decades. If an agreement is reached during the talks that start Nov. 30, it would mark the first serious global commitment to reduce the pollution that is warming the planet, souring the oceans, and causing seas to rise. So who are the climate heroes? Which countries are doing the most (or least) to tackle greenhouse gases? It’s not easy to discern. For starters, these pledges are not binding. Any country can change its mind at any point, though the hope is that international pressure would make that difficult. And some countries are a bigger part of the problem than others. Cuts by big polluters have more direct impact than those by smaller countries.

New Report Underlines Potential to Make Significant and Immediate Greenhouse Gas Emission Cuts
UNFCCC, 18 November 2015
A new report packed with best practice climate policies from across the world reveals a wealth of existing opportunities to immediately scale up reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while powering up ambition to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. “Climate Action Now – A Summary for Policymakers 2015” underlines how nations can deploy a wide range of proven policies and utilize existing initiatives to meet the common challenge of climate change and sustainable development. The report also sits on a new microsite highlighting the potential for greater climate action and ambition before 2020, when the new Paris Agreement comes into effect. It also highlights both national and international cooperative actions while underling the vital role of non-State actors such as companies, cities, regions and provinces in realizing bigger reductions in current and future emissions.

Indigenous People Ignored in Climate Plans, Seek Voice At UN Talks
By Thomson Reuters Foundation, 18 November 2015
The role of the world’s more than 370 million indigenous peoples in fighting climate change has been largely ignored in national plans to curb planet-warming emissions issued ahead of upcoming U.N. climate talks, researchers and activists said on Wednesday. The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) found only a handful of governments included indigenous land and forest management as part of their climate strategies submitted to the United Nations in the run-up to negotiations in Paris to thrash out a new deal to limit global warming. The RRI reviewed 47 “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs), designed to form the basis of a new deal, from countries with large rural or forested areas.

[Australia] Future looking bright for Indigenous carbon farming project after successful bid in carbon auction
By Matt Brann, ABC Rural, 18 November 2015
The future for one of the Northern Territory’s longest running carbon farming projects is looking bright, after it secured funding for the next five years through the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund. Since 2011, the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) has generated carbon credits from its Fish River Station through a savanna burning project, which reduces the frequency of late season wildfires. ILC’s manager of environment, carbon and heritage, Emma Pethybridge, said the Fish River project was successful in the Government’s latest Emissions Reduction Fund auction. She said the project was now contracted to deliver 115,000 tonnes of carbon abatement for five years, for a price per tonne which could not be disclosed because of commercial reasons.

EU meets Kyoto targets under first commitment period (2008-2012)
European Commission, 18 November 2015
The European Union and its Member States have met their greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period (2008-2012). 18 November 2015 marked the last day to comply with greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments. This means that Member States had to match their recorded tonnes of emissions with a corresponding amount of emission units. For the whole period, the EU’s total emissions, without Cyprus and Malta which have no targets, were 23.5 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. This is equivalent to a reduction of around 19% below the base year in the commitment period 2008-2012. All Member States committed to a reduction of 8% during this period, either jointly under the EU-15 “burden-sharing” or individually, except Croatia that committed to a reduction of 5% and Hungary and Poland to a reduction of 6%.

EU Market: EUAs dip following recent rises, CERs hit new year-high
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 18 November 2015
EU carbon prices fell on Wednesday as speculators looked to cash in on recent gains and had little appetite for new bullish bets. The benchmark Dec-15 EUA contract ended down 4 cents at €8.57 on ICE, near the middle of the day’s €8.51-8.64 range on steady turnover of 11.7 million units… Dec-15 CERs rose by as much as 3 cents to €0.68 on ICE to extend Oct. 7’s one-year high by two cents, on turnover of 17,000 units. The normally thinly-traded CERs saw a block trade of 650,000 credits on the Dec-16 contract, a day after what appeared to be a spot-Dec16 spread play of 509,000 units to presumably take advantage of the steeply backwardated front-end of the futures curve.

[Indonesia] Govt to restore damaged peatlands
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 18 November 2015
The government is gearing up to restore as many as 2 million hectares of peatlands destroyed through decades of mismanaged oil palm plantations. The Environment and Forestry Ministry said on Tuesday that the government had finished mapping the entire peatland ecosystem in Indonesia, which would serve as the base map of the five-year peatland restoration project. “If we look at Sumatra, we want to look at where the peatland area is. What are their sizes? It’s all here. But this is still an indicative map, we still need to do ground checks first to see whether the sizes of the mapped peatland have altered,” the ministry’s environmental pollution and damage control director general, Karliansyah, told reporters.

[Indonesia] Destigmatizing the bad image of the palm-oil industry
By Edi Suhardi, The Jakarta Post, 18 November 2015
The national haze calamity is about to end with increased showers and commencement of the rainy season in the hot-spot areas. The magnitude of the catastrophic haze left a number of long-term impacts on public health, community livelihood, socio-economic and environmental dimensions, particularly in Kalimantan and Sumatra. While experts estimate billions of US dollars in losses on account of the haze, it is the people of Kalimantan and Sumatra who suffered the most with unaccounted health problems and disruptions to their livelihoods. All parties are inevitably affected by the land fires and haze, including palm-oil companies, experiencing the brunt and suffering from both financial losses and reputation damage… The writer is vice president II of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The opinions expressed are his own.

[UK] Ex-Charlton defender disqualified over £16m investment scheme
By Jun Merrett, Citywire, 18 November 2015
Ex-Charlton Athletic defender Richard Rufus has been handed a 15 year bankruptcy order over his role in an alleged £16 million Ponzi scheme. According to the Insolvency Service, Rufus, who was once voted Charlton’s greatest defender, took over £16 million in deposits from investors for currency exchange trading. However, he made losses of over £5 million and paid only £7 million to investors, which Rufus represented as returns on their investment. Rufus’ investors included a church organisation that placed £5 million with Rufus to invest and a further church that placed funds totalling £665,000. Rufus also used over £3 million of investors’ money for his own purposes or purposes that are unknown or not in the ordinary course of his business.

[UK] Director banned for 11 years over wine investment scheme
By Jun Merrett, Citywire, 18 November 2015
The High Court has banned Jonothan Piper from being a director for 11 years over failures in trading fine wine investments. According to the Insolvency Service, Piper, a director of Embassy Wine UK, which traded in fine wine investments, caused or failed to prevent the company from selling wine to customers which it failed to provide, purchased wine from customers which it failed to pay them for, and charged fees to customers for which no service was provided. Embassy was wound up on public interest grounds after an investigation by the Insolvency Service. The Insolvency Service said its investigation showed the company was involved in a scheme to deprive investors of their savings by persuading them to invest in wine or sell their fine wine through the company. As a result, customers are owed at least £382,000.

[USA] Senators Revive Financing Tactic From ’70s for Carbon Emissions
By Diane Cardwell, The New York Times, 18 November 2015
For years, power companies, manufacturers and entrepreneurs have tried to make capturing and storing carbon emissions from industrial operations like burning coal into a business, to little avail. Despite decades of promising research, demonstration projects and government investment, large-scale developments have often proved too difficult and costly to get off the ground. But now two senators think they have hit on a way to move the industry forward. Under a bill set to be introduced on Thursday, carbon capture projects — considered important tools for fossil fuel power plants and industrial facilities to meet anticipated greenhouse gas restrictions — would qualify for tax-exempt private activity bonds, which helped clean up air pollution in the 1970s and 1980s.

19 November 2015

Commentary: The imperative of forest conservation
By Geoffrey Heal, Kevin Conrad, Paul Chung and Federica Bietta, The Daily Climate, 19 November 2015
REDD is probably the only concrete measure that could be agreed at COP21 and implemented in the New Year. It is universally agreed upon to be a viable mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is ready for immediate implementation. No new technology is necessary for success with REDD … In fact, we could end deforestation before we replace even 10 percent of fossil power stations by renewables. The goal of REDD is to build sustainable livelihoods for rural and indigenous communities by leveraging these forest management technologies and techniques… REDD is already at work stabilizing our climate—in 2008, Brazil and Norway agreed on a bilateral deal in which Brazil would greatly reduce Amazonian deforestation in exchange for payments from Norway. As a result, Brazil has since reduced deforestation in the Amazon by around 80 percent.

At Paris Summit, Make Forests Part of the Climate Solution
By Jonah Busch, Center For Global Development, 19 November 2015
In two weeks the world will meet in Paris for a long-awaited summit on climate change known as COP 21. In the face of despicable attacks last week, the climate conference is to be an expression of hope and solidarity. I wrote six months ago about what the conference needs to achieve to be successful: Hold to the 2˚C temperature target; Periodically review and strengthen national climate pledges; Enable international transfers of emission reductions. My big-picture recommendations haven’t changed, nor have my expectations for the summit overall: Yes, there will be an agreement. No, it won’t be enough on its own to avoid dangerous climate change. Yes, Paris can chart a course toward a safe climate anyway. For a gaze into the crystal ball of how an agreement might shake out, this prediction based on game theory looks as plausible as any.

Corporate Deforestation Commitments Lag Promises, But Optimism Remains High
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 November 2015
Deforestation is hidden in over 50% of packaged products found in supermarkets, revealing, when discovered, complex and global supply chains entrenched in environmental degradation and forest loss. And despite growing awareness, public pressure, the especially hopeful signing of the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) and a plethora of other commitments to halt deforestation in its tracks, progress is slow. Brand new data released this week says the global community is not on track to halve forest loss by 2020 or eliminate it altogether by 2030. In its annual results report, the UK-based nonprofit Global Canopy Programme’s (GCP) Forest 500, a rating system which tracks the activities of 500 “powerbroker” entities in relation to curbing deforestation, says only 8% of the 250 powerbroker companies have zero or zero net deforestation commitments in place.

3 signs we’re entering a golden age for carbon markets
By Fred Krupp, EDF, 19 November 2015
There was a time when market-based approaches seemed to fall off the radar in discussions of climate policy, but carbon markets are back. Well-designed emission trading systems offer the combination of flexibility, incentives and guaranteed results that help polluters meet their targets – while leaving it up to the market to figure out the best way to meet them, driving costs down. This is why so many companies are staunch supporters of emissions trading, and why national and international efforts are taking off. Here are three indications we may be entering a golden age for carbon markets and what it means for COP21, the international climate talks that begin in Paris later this month. 1. Carbon markets are going global… 2. Next: International aviation and tropical forests… 3. Existing markets are thriving…

COP21 climate marches in Paris not authorised following attacks
By Ben Quinn, The Guardian, 19 November 2015
Major marches which had been planned to coincide with the COP21 international climate talks in Paris will not be authorised for security reasons, the French government has said. Environmental activists – who had expected attract hundreds of thousands people on 29 November and 12 December – said that they accepted Wednesday’s decision with regret, but were now considering “new and imaginative” ways of making their voices heard. Following the recent terror attacks in Paris, French authorities said a statement that all demonstrations organised in closed spaces or in places where security can easily be ensured could go ahead.

Improved Web Tool for Better Estimates of Forest Biomass and Carbon Stocks
FAO press release, 19 November 2015
An updated version of the online tree assessment tool known as GlobAllomeTree will now allow countries to get a clearer picture of the biomass, carbon content and ecosystem services of trees and forests than previously possible. GlobAllomeTree helps scientists, foresters, private companies and policymakers improve the assessment of forest carbon stocks and prepare greenhouse gas inventories, necessary for mitigation of climate change. “Access to good quality data on the status of forests is one of the main bottlenecks for mitigating climate change via the forestry sector. More accurate data will enable countries to make better informed decisions. GlobAllomeTree provides tools which help countries to better assess how much carbon their trees store and their emissions reductions,” said FAO Forestry Officer Matieu Henry.

Brazil carbon emissions dip overall, but most sectors show increases
Reuters, 19 November 2015
Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 0.9 percent in 2014, according to a network of local environmental organizations, which expressed concern that only one sector, though a large one, showed a decline. The drop last year to 1.558 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) resulted solely because Brazil managed to reduce deforestation after a spike in 2013, the Climate Observatory said in a report released on Thursday. Though receding after an 8 percent jump in 2013, Brazil’s heat-trapping gases rose in all sectors last year except for land use change. Alterations in terrain, like deforestation, contribute most to emissions. The nearly across-the-board increase is worrying, the Observatory said, especially considering the stagnant economic performance last year, which in theory could have led to a fall in emissions from most sectors.

EU Market: EUAs pushed higher by coal-fired profitability
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 19 November 2015
European carbon prices edged higher on Wednesday, as profitability for German coal-fired power plants jumped for a second straight day. The front-year EUA futures trading on ICE gained five cents to settle at €8.63, near the top of the day’s €8.55-8.64 trading range… Prices were bolstered by higher German power prices, which inflated the clean dark spreads. The Cal-16 baseload contract on EEX settled up 0.6% at €29.15/MWh, ending above €29 for the first time since Nov. 10. Coupled with a stronger euro and flat coal, it added between 6% and 12% to the calendar-year dark spreads. They are now trading back near last week’s levels, recovering by as much as 28% after having hit their lowest in more than six months earlier this week.

[Guyana] No decision made yet on Baishanlin – gov’t
Stabroek News, 19 November 2015
No decision has been made as yet by the government over a request by the Chinese logging company Baishanlin for a further two years for value-added production, according to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency. The statement, which was issued in the early hours of this morning, comes amid public questioning of the apparent intention of the government to allow the Chinese logging company another two years and also to export logs. Attempts by Stabroek News over the last few days to clarify this matter with government officials failed.

[India] Why trees matter?
By Dr Tariq H Masoodi, Greater Kashmir 19 November 2015
The monetary value of carbon credits vary significantly based on the credit type, carbon exchange platform, market maturity, buyer knowledge/education and supply and demand. The recently released State of the Forest Carbon Markets report, by FAO finds that a total of 30.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) are contracted across the primary and secondary markets with total transactions of US $178 million. The historical scale of the forest carbon markets has already climbed to 75 MT CO2e, valued at an estimated US $432 million with projects impacting more than 7.9 million hectares in 49 countries of the world. Forest carbon reserves stored in trees and forests can thus be monetized and sold as offsets to greenhouse gas emitters who need them to comply with regulatory emission limits, or who voluntarily want to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Indonesian cost of Chinese palm oil
By Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, The Jakarta Post, 19 November 2015
In 2010 the Norwegian and Indonesian governments signed an agreement, whereby the latter would institute a two-year moratorium on permits to log or set up palm oil plantation in government-managed forest and peat lands. As part of this agreement, Norway helps build institutional capacity for improved forest management and, if deforestation rates decrease, Indonesia will receive up to $1 billion. Seeming to honor its agreement, the Indonesian government has opened 244 cases against illegal peat-burnings; is investigating 16 palm oil companies for their involvement; and recently extended its moratorium on forestry ministry licensing of peatland areas. But the Jokowi administration has acted ambivalently with regards to peat-for-palm arson in the past, and there’s reason to doubt its present investigations will reach their conclusions.

Peru rainforest defender threatened: ‘we will kill you’
The Ecologist, 19 November 2015 Death threats to an indigenous forest defender in Peru have followed his success in closing down an illegal palm oil operation on his tribe’s lands carried out by a member company of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, now meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Washington Bolivar, an indigenous activist in Peru has received another sinister death threat in the immediate wake of his efforts to challenge the destruction of Amazon rainforest for timber extraction and conversion to oil palm. In the course of the last month, human rights defender, Mr Bolivar received the following handwritten and explicit notes in quick succession: “WASHINGTON … WE ARE GOING TO KILL YOU IF YOU KEEP ON SCREWING US. THOSE LANDS ARE NOT YOURS … YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL NOT LIVE. LET US WORK IF YOU DO NOT WANT ALL OF YOU TO DIE … ”

[UK] ‘Boiler room’ fraudsters sentenced to 10 years for £9m scam
By Jennifer Scott, Nottingham Post, 19 November 2015
Three men have been sent to prison for more than ten years after scamming people in the area out of £9m. The investigation into the “boiler room” fraud – which cons people into buying shares and commodities like gold – was revealed to police in 2009 by a man from Ilkeston, who contacted the force after having thousands of pounds was taken from him. Now David Charles Jackson, Sean Liptrot and Charles Christopher Ayres all face jail sentences. Jackson, 44, of Halifax, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on the basis of forming the company World Asian Trading Ltd and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

[UK] ‘Wolf of Wall Street scammers took £2m from dementia couple after hijacking finances’
By Jon Austin, Daily Express, 19 November 2015
At the High Court in London, a judge shut down eight linked companies after hearing evidence they have been embroiled in sophisticated alleged scams purporting to offer investments in vintage wine and so-called carbon credits, and sinisterly fleeced an ill couple in their 60s out of £2million after taking over their finances. Boiler room scams involve high-pressure sales staff duping people from makeshift call centres into taking out dubious investments like the suspect schemes in Hollywood movie The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Tiran Nersessian, representing the Department of Business Innovation and Skills which made the application to wind up London Carbon Neutral Ltd (LCN) and seven connected firms on grounds of public interest, said high pressure and intimidating sales people had targeted the elderly and vulnerable after buying their details through the electoral roll.

20 November 2015

Forests for the climate – Full schedule of forest events at COP21 now available
IUCN, 20 November 2015
With less than two weeks until UNFCCC COP21, IUCN’s Global Forest and Climate Change Programme (GFCCP) is helping you stay connected with multimedia news on issues that underpin efforts to strengthen forests’ fight to stabilize our fragile climate: gender and forests, rights-based approaches, forest landscape restoration, private sector engagement, and more. We are also looking forward to highlighting The Bonn Challenge at the event, taking further steps towards having 150 million hectares of forests and degraded lands under restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

Broadening REDD+ to Bring New Opportunities for Private Sector Investment in Forests, Climate Change Mitigation and Green Growth
By Gerhard Dieterle and Meerim Shakirova, ProFor, 20 November 2015
Today’s REDD+ agenda recognizes that climate change mitigation and development are intrinsically connected, aware that the productive functions of forests must be part of the solution. Indeed, the drivers of deforestation are largely outside the forest sector, and the fight against deforestation and forest degradation cannot be won without addressing the rapidly growing demand for food, timber, fiber and wood-based energy and non-timber forest products. Today and tomorrow’s demands on forest are staggering: Some 1.3 billion people are fully or partially dependent on the use of forest resources. Demand for fuel wood and charcoal will continue to increase up to 2050 and beyond in order to meet the needs of around 2.5 billion people. Total demand for wood is projected to grow faster than the population over the same period, rising from a current 3.5 billion m3 per year to over 15 billion m3 per year.

ALLCOT presents its Climate Change Fund
Allcot Group press release, 20 November 2015
Sebastián del Valle, responsible of Origination and Strategy of ALLCOT, presented the Allcot Climate Change Fund (ACCF) during the event Marketplace: CDM’s fair and other initiatives of Carbon Market, which took place in Bogota and organized by the UNFCCC and CAF. This event reunited mayor players on the CDM credit generation field in Colombia and some of the key carbon credit buyers like the World Bank, Norwegian Government and ALLCOT. ALLCOT has created this fund because currently there are excellent conditions in the market. Most banks have left the sector and at the same time, the EU ETS in its 3rd phase has reached a solid maturity… Currently, ALCOTT is involved in negotiations and bringing the first investors to launch the ACCF. Experienced investors are being attracted, who has funds and / or commitments to CER carbon credits to be converted into EUAs to be used in the European market.

Half of tree species in the Amazon at risk of extinction, say scientists
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 20 November 2015
More than half the myriad tree species in the Amazon could be heading for extinction, according to a study that makes the first comprehensive estimate of threatened species in the world’s largest rainforest. Among the species expected to suffer significant falls in numbers are the Brazil nut, and wild cacao and açai trees, all important food sources. The world’s most diverse forest has endured decades of deforestation, with loggers, farmers and miners responsible for the removal of 12% of its area. If that continues in the decades ahead, 57% of the 15,000 tree species will be in danger, according to the researchers. However, if existing protected areas and indigenous territories across the vast area suffer no further damage, the number of species at risk would be restricted to a third of the total.

[Ghana] National REDD+ Secretariat holds consultative meeting
GhanaWeb, 20 November 2015
The National REDD+ Secretariat of the Forestry Commission has organised a high-level consultative meeting for its Ambassadors in Accra. REDD+ stands for countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The meeting was to engage the key stakeholder groups, who would serve as Ambassadors for Ghana’s Emission Reduction Programme. The event brought together representatives from farmer groups, financial institutions, creative industry, private sector and traditional authorities. In Ghana, the main drivers of emissions include mining, logging, agriculture, wildfire, firewood/charcoal and settlements. The Ambassadors are expected to “Sell” the REDD+ mechanism to their peers, emphasizing on the need to adopt climate smart agricultural practices in their bid to combat climate change, while enhancing their farming activities.

[Ghana] Two bodies to help reduce emissions in cocoa growing areas
By Seth J. Bokpe, Graphic Online, 20 November 2015
The Forestry Commission and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) are rolling out a climate-friendly programme to reduce emissions in cocoa growing areas. Known as the Cocoa-Forest Emission Reduction Programme, the initiative seeks to significantly reduce emissions driven by expansion of cocoa into forest areas, coupled with illegal logging. The initiative is part of Ghana’s REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation + Conservation of Forests, Sustainable Forest Management and Enhancement of Carbon Stocks) programme. Led by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the programme provides economic incentives for initiatives/actions by developing countries that effectively result in reductions in mainly carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

[UK] Fraudsters jailed after stealing thousands from Ilkeston victim
By Nick Charity, Ilkeston Advertiser, 20 November 2015
Justice is served for an Ilkeston victim after three fraudsters get jail after conning him for thousands, as well as 100 others. The three men who ran a national shares scam have received a total of 10 and a half ears of jail terms between them, after defrauding more than 100 people out of their savings. The ring of con artists formed fake companies and stole over £9m from victims who were duped into buying shares. The investigation by officers from Derbyshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit began in March 2009 into the ring who were living in Thailand and arrested when they returned to the UK. Among the multiple other victims, local officers were contacted by a man from Ilkeston who suspected he was a victim of the ‘boiler room’ scam, and lost thousands of pounds which police say will never be recovered.

UK company director banned for selling illiquid VERs at inflated prices
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 20 November 2015
The director of a London-based carbon credit company that was wound up by the government in 2014 has been disqualified for selling illiquid voluntary units (VERs) at inflated prices. Christopher James Thompson, a director of CT Carbon Limited (CTCL), was earlier this month barred from acting as a director in the UK for 14 years following an investigation by the Public Interest Unit, a unit of the government’s Insolvency Service. The body said that between 2011 and 2012, CTCL made sales totalling £1.1 million by cold-calling members of the public to sell them VERs, charging them 2.5-3.5 times the wholesale price it paid. “After receiving a letter from an investigative journalist highlighting concerns regarding the favourable rates offered by CTCL, the performance of the VERs as an investment, and the absence of a market where investors could sell their VERs, Mr. Thompson approached a new supplier and continued to sell VERs,” it added.

US senators demand Paris deal gets Senate vote regardless of legal form
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 20 November 2015
Two Republican and one Democrat senators on Thursday introduced a resolution demanding that any outcome from the UN climate summit in Paris, regardless of legal form, must be put to a Senate vote. The resolution was put forward by senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), and intended to block a new international climate deal if it put US industry to a disadvantage to that of developing countries. “The international community needs to be aware that U.S. Congress and the American people do not support President Obama’s international climate agenda,” said Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, well known for his years of opposing climate change policies. The resolution came after Secretary of State John Kerry last week said the Paris deal would not be legally binding…

21 November 2015

[Malaysia] Environmentalists Want Answers From Adenan As Peatland Clearing By KTS Continues
Sarawak Report, 21 November 2015
Two letters sent to Sarawak’s Chief Minister Adenan Satem earlier this month by the Malaysian environmental group “Friends Of The Orangutans (FOTO)” have urged the Sarawak Government to immediately halt environmental destruction of carbon-rich peatland in Sibu by the KTS-owned BLD Plantation Berhad. These followed an earlier meeting between environmental organisations and Adenan Satem, requesting him to halt the destructive activities of BLD. After all, Sarawak is now the only state in the world which has not yet banned this enormously destructive practice, flying in the face of Adenan’s attempts to present himself as a sudden protector of the environment.

[UK] Now the heat is turned on ‘dodgy’ carbon credit boss
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 21 November 2015
The boss of a corrupt carbon credits investment firm, who ignored warnings I gave him and was then exposed by The Mail on Sunday, has been banned from running any company for the next 14 years. Christopher James Thompson, 33, from Wickford in Essex, was the sole director of CT Carbon Limited, based in Throgmorton Street, Central London. Thompson’s company sold carbon credit certificates with the false claim that they had ‘outperformed every other market during the last few years.’ In fact, there was no real market in the certificates, which supposedly allowed industries to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. In 2012, I challenged Thompson to prove his marketing claims, and warned him that there appeared to be no way for his investors to turn their credits back into cash.

22 November 2015

Prince Charles: Climate change failure is a factor behind Syrian crisis
By Luke Heighton, The Telegraph, 22 November 2015
Prince Charles has suggested the cause of conflict in Syria is climate change, in a wide-ranging interview. Drought and competition for increasingly scarce resources caused by manmade activities also played a role in the refugee crisis which has seen thousands of people leave the Middle East and cross Europe in recent months, the Prince of Wales said. The remarks were made in an interview with Sky News recorded before the latest wave of terror attacks in Paris, which will be broadcast on Monday. The Prince, 67, said: “We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 something years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move.”

Yes, the Paris climate change conference can save the planet
By Ed Miliband, The Guardian, 22 November 2015
And now we approach next week’s Paris climate talks, the most important summit since Copenhagen, in a significantly better place than we feared back in 2009. However, we are not where we need to be. The science is even more unequivocal than it was six years ago. Just to take one example, 2015 looks like being the hottest year on record by some distance. We sometimes talk about the need to avoid dangerous warming of the planet as if it is a theoretical idea, but its effects are already here, with approaching 1 degree of warming so far. On the other side of the ledger, technology has thrown us a lifeline. The costs of wind and solar energy have come down far quicker than anyone dreamed of. The constructive side of human ingenuity is holding its own in the fight against its destructive side.

Climate change: Can a wounded Paris deliver for the planet?
By Tom Arup, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 November 2015
As the gunsmoke clears from the streets of Paris, in its place a sense of resolve has set in. In a week, the wounded city will host 45,000 people for the long-awaited climate summit. The French government is insisting that the terror will not stop it going ahead, albeit with heightened security and public marches cancelled. Among those attending, there is a belief that the violence must not hamper the summit’s goal – to deliver a long-awaited new global agreement to tackle climate change. “I think there will be a sense of duty for Paris to be a success,” says Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who will attend the first week of the talks. “I think there was in any event. But I think that strong sense of duty might even be heightened because people won’t want Paris to have a failure on top of a tragedy.”

[New Zealand] Tim Groser – ‘not expecting’ failure at UN climate talks press release, 22 November 2015
Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser – ‘not expecting’ failure at Paris UN climate talks. ‘I will be very surprised if we don’t get an agreement. I think it’s a completely different situation to Copenhagen for a number of reasons. We’ve got a much more realistic negotiating proposal on the table. Secondly, I think the science has strengthened. I think there’s a much wider sense of understanding now outside Europe, which was leading the charge there. ‘And I think, in a paradoxical way, this absolute tragedy in Paris puts very high stakes on the international community coming together on something as important as this.’ Minister Groser told TV One’s Q+A programme that the NZ proposal is not an attempt to water down any agreement.


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