REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.
30 November 2015
The Paris climate talks won’t solve global warming. Here’s what they’ll do instead
By Brad Plumer, Vox, 30 November 2015
For the next two weeks, diplomats from more than 190 countries will gather near Paris to hammer out a new international agreement on climate change. This conference, known as COP21, is getting heavily hyped: We’re already seeing chatter about whether this is our last chance to “save the world” or keep us below 2°C of global warming. But that’s … the wrong way to think about what’s going on in Paris. These climate talks, by themselves, won’t fix global warming. They can’t do that. They’re not designed to do that. The actual goal is much more modest: to add structure and momentum to efforts that are already underway, in legislatures and laboratories and cities and boardrooms around the world, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That may sound like hair-splitting, but it’s a crucial distinction for understanding what these talks are all about.
New $500m World Bank facility to explore policy-based carbon market
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 30 November 2015
Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland on Monday became the first funders of a new World Bank facility seeking to carve out a new international carbon market by funding emission-reduction policies in developing nations. The Transformative Carbon Asset Facility (TCAF) will establish the world’s first programmatic carbon market and according to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will garner some $2 billion in lending from the bank. “We want to help developing countries find a credible pathway toward low carbon development. This initiative is one such way because it will help countries create and pay for the next generation of carbon credits,” he said. The new facility will begin operations when funders have pledged $250 million. It is uncertain how much the first four funders have invested, although Norway’s initial contribution will be $25 million.
New Finance Commitments for Forests Build Momentum in Paris; Much More Action Needed
By Gustavo Silva-Chávez, Huffington Post, 30 November 2015
Forest Trends applauds today’s announcement from the governments of Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, whose joint commitment of finance to keep tropical forests standing provides positive momentum at the beginning of the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris. The new pledge shows an intention to provide $5 billion over the six-year period between 2015 and 2020 — around $800 million a year — with the goal of reaching $1 billion a year by 2020. The announcement was accompanied by a historic gathering of heads of state from both donors and recipients of forest finance, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, Ethiopian Prime Minister Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso…
Paris climate meeting begins in optimism; REDD+ part of solution?
By Justin Catanoso, Mongabay.com, 30 November 2015
“[W]hen you look at the [INDC] pledges and add them up, we’re about halfway to where we need to be to stay under 2 degrees Celsius. Halfway. Unless the leading emitters become a lot more aggressive, the world is heading for 3.5 degrees C (6.3 degrees F) warmer. And that would be beyond catastrophic,” says John Knox, a special representative to the UN on climate change and human rights. The only way to close the emissions gap, Knox says, “is cutting the use of fossil fuels. There is no other way to fix the problem.” Unless, of course, you can see the forests for the trees. Jason Funk, senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, spoke at a November 20th pre-COP21 press conference in Washington, D.C., on the importance of the land sector to carbon cuts — forest management approaches that can result in either more carbon emissions, or preferably, the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Ready for REDD? 3 questions about forests and climate change for Steven Panfil
By Cassandra Kane, Conservation International Blog, 30 November 2015
Stop cutting down trees, stop climate change? It’s not quite that simple, but halting deforestation — the source of more than a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions — would help to limit the increase in average global temperatures and the associated impacts of a changing climate. As world leaders gather in Paris to hammer out a final agreement for confronting climate change, a nature-based initiative known as REDD+ looms large — and momentum is already building. On the first day of the conference, Germany, Norway and the U.K. announced plans to support and expand REDD+ — committing up to US$ 5 billion between now and 2020.
Getting ready for REDD+: new policy briefings help combat climate change by sharing real world lessons
By Sarah Rakowski, Fauna & Flora International, 30 November 2015
As leaders gather in Paris for the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) over the next two weeks, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is set to release five policy briefings that will help governments understand the role that REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) can play in climate change mitigation, and provide guidance on best practice for designing REDD+ strategies and policies. These guidance documents will be formally launched at a side event on 4 December, hosted by FFI, the Forestry Stewardship Council and OroVerde – Tropical Forest Foundation.
Wondering what’s COP21, ADP? Here’s a glossary for U.N. climate talks
The Hindu, 30 November 2015
It sounds like English. Yet to the untrained ear the language used in the U.N. climate talks is about as comprehensible as Klingon. Sometimes you wonder whether the negotiators are trying on purpose to make a simple idea sound more complex than it is. But it’s also a matter of international law. Many delegations have teams of lawyers that analyse every syllable for potential hidden meanings. Before everyone’s comfortable with the wording of a concept or idea, it’s often turned into an acronym.
Arctic Indigenous at COP21 ‘Our World is Melting’
By Brenda Norrell, the narcosphere, 30 November 2015
Indigenous Peoples in Paris at the United Climate Summit COP21, are exposing the facts of the polluters destroying their homelands, and the green schemes designed for the rich to get richer. “Our world is melting,” said Allison Akootchook Warden from Alaska Arctic village Kaktovik. “Climate change and global warming is a reality in my home.” Indigenous Peoples joined a human chain around Paris on Sunday, and offered prayers at the site of the recent tragedy in Paris. They were joined with support by France’s Committee in Solidarity with American Indians in Paris. Warden is among the Indigenous Peoples here from Alaska and around the world who live every day with the impacts of the destruction of this planet.
Paris Climate Talks Aim for a New Starting Line to a Low-Carbon Future
By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News, 30 November 2015
Given the daunting eleventh-hour task facing climate treaty negotiators gathered here for the long-awaited United Nations conference, they began meeting informally a day or two earlier than Monday’s scheduled start. And since brinksmanship is the soul of diplomacy, the talks are more likely than not to run into overtime anyway. But don’t expect the judgment of Paris to come in a mere 15 days, give or take. Rather, tout le monde is talking about what needs to happen in the next 15 years or so. Only in about 2030 will it be possible to look back and determine whether Paris 2015 was the turning point that world leaders are so avidly seeking here. Will all the world’s nations live up to the pledges they brought? Will they do even more? And will emissions, at long last, be heading down?
Climate isn’t everything … so welcome to the Global Landscapes Forum
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 November 2015
As COP21 gets underway in Paris, it is easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of expert op-eds, celebrity showcases, activist twitterstorms, marches, media dramas and political posturing. With some variations, the common theme is the highly sought-after global agreement on reducing our collective greenhouse gas emissions. Working out how to make that actually happen in an agreeable way also receives some attention, as does proposing ways to adapt to the inevitable consequences of our present polluting behavior. Two is the number that keeps us on our toes: The two-degree target, defined in paragraph number two (!) of the Copenhagen Accord, has become the mantra of many pre-Paris reports. Indeed, in the past week, the future of our toddlers who are in their terrible twos seems to rest mainly on our collective management of the atmosphere to meet this target. But clearly, climate isn’t everything, is it?
Australia needs a fresh start on climate policy: authority
By James Whitmore, The Conversation, 30 November 2015
Australia needs to “reset” discussions related to climate policy, according to the government’s advisory body on climate policy. The Climate Change Authority makes the argument in the second draft report of its special review on policy. In a statement released today, acting chair Stuart Allinson said, “it is time for a fresh look at the range of policy options… with a view to ‘resetting’ Australia’s public discussion”. “In recent years, the climate policy conversation has become highly polarised. Different policy options have attracted both strong support and criticism. At times it appears, amid the heated debate, we have lost sight of the key goal,” he said.
CI weighs in on today’s REDD+ agreement between Colombia, Germany, Norway, UK
Conservation International, 30 November 2015
Today, at the UN Climate Negotiations in Paris, the governments of Colombia, Germany, Norway and the UK announced a groundbreaking partnership to protect Colombia’s rainforest. Conservation International (CI) commends Germany, Norway, and the UK for coming together to support and expand REDD+ in Colombia. Halting tropical deforestation and allowing forests to regrow can provide 30% or more of the carbon storage and sequestration we need to limit warming to safe levels, yet in 2014, according to Climate Policy Initiative figures, only about 2% of funding for climate change solutions actually went toward nature’s solutions, like conserving forests. This partnership shows commitment for scaling up actions now, even before the new agreement being negotiated now takes effect in 2020.
Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom pledge $5 billion to support forests as an essential climate solution
Norwegian government press release, 30 November 2015
Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom announce today a collective aim of providing $5 billion to support countries that are “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, known as REDD+. The pledge is for the period from 2015 to 2020, and is conditional upon continued leadership and ambitious action from forest countries and the private sector to protect, conserve and restore forests. “I am happy that we are working closely together with Germany and the United Kingdom to step up and provide predictability on funding for forest, says Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway.
[Ghana] Ex-President Kufuor Warns Against Forest Destruction
Peacefmonline.com, 30 November 2015
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has warned that the continuous decline in forest cover is largely going to affect food and agriculture production. In addition, he said that is going to jeopardise Ghana’s longstanding position as an important supplier to the international timber market, thereby diminishing revenue from the import sector. Mr Kufuor, who is also the current United Nation Envoy for Climate Change, mentioned that it is about time government collaborated with stakeholders to avert the situation. He was speaking at the maiden National REDD+ Forum organised by the Forestry Commission in Accra under the theme ‘Conserving our forests for better lives and a better climate.’ The forum was to solicit political commitment and public support for actions and measures targeted at addressing drivers of deforestation, as part of Ghana’s contribution to ongoing global efforts towards abating climate change and its impacts.
Scaling-up community-based forest monitoring for REDD+: experiences from Guyana and Brazil
Global Canopy Programme, 30 November 2015
This paper from Forest COMPASS draws on empirical evidence from two pilot case studies in Guyana and Brazil. It highlights the importance of community-based forest monitoring to jurisdictional REDD+ programmes, and discusses the barriers and opportunities for scaling up (i.e. integrating and replicating) these models as part of holistic, national or sub-national REDD+ frameworks. It shows that there are proven pathways for integrating community-collected data on carbon stocks and drivers of forest change into national forest monitoring efforts. It makes recommendations, such as on the need for data-sharing agreements and institutional mandates to assimilate community-collected data in national data systems and decision-making. In addition to measuring carbon stocks, communities should lead impact assessments and monitoring of performance indicators, to incentivise further participation and transparent benefit-sharing in REDD+.
[India] Resisting west’s carbon imperialism
By Arvind Subramanian, The Financial Express, 30 November 2015
There is real anxiety in India, and other poorer countries that rely heavily on coal, that the stance of advanced nations might in one vital respect stand in the way of successfully fighting climate change. In the run-up to the conference, there is a growing call—first articulated clearly at this year’s summit of the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations—to phase out fossil fuels. The US and others have also vowed to vote against fossil fuel energy projects in developing countries when multilateral development banks are voting on them. Meanwhile, the US produces at least 35 per cent more coal than India. For India—a country struggling to provide basic electricity to about 25 per cent of the population, according to conservative estimates—this smacks of a “carbon imperialism”. And such imperialism on the part of advanced nations could spell disaster for India and other developing countries.
Indonesia May Revive Role Of Forests To Slow Climate Change
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 November 2015
As he boarded his plane to year-end climate talks here, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters that he will use the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to push for international support to combat deforestation in his country – signaling a possible reversal from September, when the country shocked the environmental community by downgrading the role of forests in its climate action plan. Last week, a high-ranking official with Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry told Ecosystem Marketplace that the country was already re-evaluating its climate plan, or “Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution” (INDC), but that any official revision will not emerge until after the talks here conclude two weeks from now.
[New Zealand] Halve our emissions by 2030? Yeah, right
by Ralph Sims, New Zealand Herald, 30 November 2015
In the run-up to the major United Nations climate change negotiations taking place in Paris this week, all countries were required to submit their “intended nationally determined contribution” in advance. New Zealand’s stated target is a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below our 2005 levels by 2030. This has been heavily criticised as being far too weak, especially given the Government’s intention to meet most of the target by buying carbon credits from offshore rather than by trying to reduce our continually growing total emissions. But there are cost-effective solutions available to bridge the gap, and many have co-benefits such as improved health and employment opportunities, so why not encourage their uptake?
[UK] High Court winds up £4.5m carbon credit and wine firms
By Charles Warmsley, Citywire, 30 November 2015
The High Court has wound up eight companies which took a total of £4.5m from vulnerable people by selling carbon credit and wine investments. The companies wound-up were: London Carbon Neutral Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Wine Ltd, Blakeney Bridge Ltd, Savi IT Ltd, KMD Energy Solutions Ltd, Earthsky Limited, Consolidated Carbon Projects Limited and WK Investments Holdings Limited. The companies sold carbon benefit units, a form of carbon credits, and wine investments through sales teams located at a business centre in Croydon. Both sales teams were supervised by Jason Chalk. The carbon credits were in relation to two projects in Papua New Guinea: the April Salumei project and the Lake Murray project.
1 December 2015
Forests, climate and people: EU support to combat tropical deforestation
European Commission press release, 1 December 2015
EU Member States, the Commission and partners working together to combat tropical deforestation gather to take stock of EU climate support to forests and to outline future perspectives on the thematic day on forests and agriculture at the Paris climate conference. Beyond sustained finance and technical assistance, the EU will provide free access to best forest data from earth observation. It will also explore EU-wide options to ensure a coherent and holistic policy approach to tackling global deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030. The protection of forests and promotion of climate-smart land use will be a critical part of the Paris agreement, as these areas could represent up to a third of globally achievable climate mitigation potential by 2030.
It’s the system, stupid: Why the Paris climate talks are doomed to fail
By Steffen Böhm, African Arguments, 1 December 2015
Even if the world celebrates a Paris climate deal on 11 December, the process will still have to be regarded as failure. Let me explain why. The basic reason is that the unequal distribution of carbon emissions is not even on its agenda. The historical responsibility of the West is not on the table, nor is a method of national carbon accounting that looks at how the emissions a country consumes rather than produces. Instead, what is on the table are expanded and new mechanisms that will allow the rich, Western countries to outsource their emission cuts so they can paint themselves green.
The Dubious Carbon Budget
By Oliver Geden, The New York Times, 1 December 2015
But as delegates meet in Paris this week for what is expected to be the most decisive United Nations climate summit yet, we are already in danger of busting the budget. If the plans submitted by more than 180 governments are implemented, humanity will outspend its carbon budget by 2040 at the latest. Staying within the original budget outlined by the I.P.C.C. no longer seems realistic. So what do we do? This is where magical thinking, questionable accounting and dubious expectations about future technology come into play. It is called negative emissions. Negative emissions are the flip side of emissions. The idea is to develop technology that would remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. This would allow for significantly higher fossil fuel emissions over the next few decades.
COP21 and the carbon market menace
By Oscar Reyes, Corporate Europe Observatory, 1 December 2015
Carbon markets are unlikely to merit even a single mention in a Paris climate change agreement, but the idea of trading emissions has not gone away. Market advocates have simply found new code-words for referring to a practice that guarantees a fight in international climate negotiations. So they’ve hedged their bets – canvassing new mechanisms without naming them, dreaming up accounting rules for schemes that have yet to be agreed, or just referring to a vague system of “transfers” whose meaning can be fought out once the Paris spotlight fades. Whatever the outcome, the public profile of carbon trading will be marginal to any agreement coming out of Paris. To understand the significance of this, it’s worth a quick look back at how the fate of international emissions targets got tangled with carbon markets in the first place.
Indigenous groups are targeting a U.N. group for its “perverse” monetization of trees
By Emma Foehringer Merchant, New Republic, 1 December 2015
The Indigenous Environmental Network used a press briefing to take down UN-REDD—Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation—a program that allows developing countries to profit from maintaining their forests. “REDD is an offset mechanism which uses the forests in the global south as sponges for northern industrialized countries’s pollution,” explained a video that played during the session. Forests were a focus of today’s global climate talks. According to the United Nations, deforestation and forest degradation account for 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. REDD works as a carbon offset system, whereby emitters can pay forested countries for the carbon absorbed by their trees.
No plan B for climate change without forests, Prince Charles tells Paris summit
The Guardian, 1 December 2015
Many of the world’s companies pay no attention to how their supply chains are damaging forests, the Prince of Wales has warned as he urged action to stop deforestation. Speaking at the UN climate talks in Paris, Charles also called for large-scale restoration of forests, warning the world would need much more forest “as all the horrors” of global warming started to bite. On the issue of saving the forests, he told a packed audience, which included the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf , that “there can be no room for failure”. Protecting forests from being cut down is a key part of tackling climate change, he said. “It is very simple: we must save our forests, for there is no Plan B to tackle climate change or many of the other critical challenges that face humanity without them,” he urged.
LPAA Forest Event Features Commitments to Protect and Restore Forests | Climate Change Policy & Practice
IISD Reporting Services, 1 December 2015
A special event on forests, held as part of the Paris Climate Change Conference and under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), showcased partnerships, commitments and implementation strategies to protect and restore forests, and endorsed them as a key climate solution. The LPAA is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French Presidencies of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, the Office of the UN Secretary-General and the UNFCCC Secretariat. The event on forests focused on implementing partnerships with additional resources to ensure healthy forests and the sustainable farming and livelihoods that depend on them. Sixteen countries recommitted to provide strong, collective and urgent action to promote equitable rural economic development while slowing, halting and reversing deforestation and massively increasing forest restoration.
COP21: UN spotlights need to protect forests and agriculture to improve livelihoods, feed the world
United Nations News Centre, 1 December 2015
The impacts of climate change on forests and agriculture were in the spotlight today at the United Nations climate change conference (COP21), as new alliances among organizations and stakeholders were announced aiming to eliminate natural deforestation and forest degradation, and to prevent threats to sustainable farming and people’s livelihoods. Many of the events on the second day of the global gathering in Paris, France took place in the context of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) – a joint undertaking by the Governments of Peru and France, the Office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the organizer of the current conference, the 21st meeting of the Convention’s States Parties. The Action Agenda was launched in December 2014 by the previous meeting of the UNFCCC parties in Lima, Peru.
$100 Million to End Deforestation in Colombia
By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 December 2015
German development bank KfW and Norway today signed an agreement with Colombia, agreeing to pay the tropical forest country 10.5 million euros (12 million USD) and 400 million NOK (53 million USD), respectively, if it successfully reduces emissions from deforestation. The United Kingdom recently approved an additional contribution of 30.4 million GBP (48 million USD) in another contract that is forthcoming “before the end of the year,” bringing the total pledge to Colombia to over $100 million.
Asia Wild Fire Panel at COP21 Highlights Worst Climate Crisis in 21st Century Being Ignored
Rainforest Action Network press release, 1 December 2015
Today nearby the COP21 climate conference, an international panel of experts discussed the recent wild fire disaster in Indonesia and the implications for Indonesia’s climate commitments. The panel shined a light on the highly threatened Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra… “As world leaders gather in Paris to prepare action plans to reduce carbon emissions, one cannot ignore the globally significant disaster that is taking place in Indonesia: over 2 million hectares of fires are burning, releasing millions of tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere,” said Ian Redmond OBE, founder of UN-GRASP. “The added burden on the global environment is huge – and fires continue to burn – and it is also delivering a devastating blow to Indonesia’s biodiversity, much of which is already on the edge of extinction. It is essential that the world helps Indonesia to prevent future fires by blocking the drainage canals in peat swamps…”
Indonesia forest fires: how the year’s worst environmental disaster unfolded – interactive
The Guardian, 1 December 2015
As world leaders gather in Paris to discuss the global response to climate change, we assess the impact of the widespread forest fires in Indonesia. Set to clear land for paper and palm oil production, the fires have not only destroyed forest and peatland, but also severely affected public health and released massive amounts of carbon.
Indonesian President Jokowi’s missed opportunity in Paris
By David Fogarty, The Straits Times, 1 December 2015
The fires – which produced huge amounts of carbon emissions – made Indonesia the third largest greenhouse gas polluter for this year. So you would hope Mr Joko would feel compelled to make a strong announcement in Paris on a deeper commitment to protecting one of the planet’s most important tools in fighting climate change – Indonesia’s rainforests – which normally soak up huge amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. But he didn’t. “As a country with one of the largest forest areas acting as the lung of the world, Indonesia is here today as part of the solution. My government is developing Indonesia in a way that is giving due attention to the environment,” he told the conference.
Indonesia Tries to Douse Fires That Help Fuel Economy
By Sara Schonhardt, Wall Street Journal, 1 December 2015
Fires consumed a roughly 6.2-million-acre swath of land here this fall, much of it set to expand plantations that drive Southeast Asia’s largest economy and feed global demand for its palm oil, pulp and paper. That released around 1.75 billion tons of greenhouse gases, potentially bumping Indonesia up to the fourth-largest emitter in the world from sixth place in a span of just weeks, researchers said. The portion of the country’s emissions that come from deforestation is the world’s highest, scientists say… On Tuesday, Indonesian Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said her country is cracking down on those responsible for illegally setting fires, the Associated Press reported. “We put law enforcement on the ground. Anybody who is at fault regarding this, they have to [be held] responsible.” Leading up to the summit, she said the government hadn’t paid enough attention to forest management and supervision in the past.
Community rights to resources in Indonesia: A conversation
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 December 2015
When Indonesian President Joko Widodo took office in 2014, he made a commitment to strengthen the rights of local communities over land and forest resources. Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry has since announced that 12.7 million hectares of forestland will be transferred to local communities by 2019. This is an ambitious target that requires a coordinated approach to map lands managed and used by indigenous communities across the archipelago. So what needs to happen to make this vision a reality? Three experts at the heart of this process – Wiratno of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Myrna Safitry of the Epistema Institute, and Abdon Nababan of indigenous civil society group AMAN – shared their thoughts in a wide-ranging panel discussion at the Colloquium on Land and Forest Tenure Reform in Indonesia, convened by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
[Malaysia] How palm oil cultivation in Borneo is threatening the ecosystem everywhere
By Nicole Crowder, The Washington Post, 1 December 2015
During the past 20 years, the area under palm oil cultivation in Indonesia and Malaysia has roughly tripled, helping to accelerate — along with logging operations and bauxite mining — the destruction of the region’s remaining rain forests. The loss of these ecosystems, extraordinarily rich in biodiversity, has not only eliminated wildlife habitats, it has also undermined local communities, which depend on the rain forest for small-scale agriculture, forest management and fisheries.
[Norway] New agreements with climate and forest organizations from 2016
NORAD press release, 1 December 2015
Over the next five years, 39 organizations will be offered grants through the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). The portfolio amounts to NOK 300 million per year. ‘We received a number of proposals of very high quality. I am happy to extend the support to the civil society organizations that work to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries until 2020,’ says Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and Environment. This is the third time that Norad sends out an open call for grants to civil society organizations through the climate and forest project. Norad received more than 500 applications from organizations all over the world. Inger Brodal, Assistant Director of the Civil Society Department, is very satisfied with the outcome of this application round.
[PNG] Act Now: O’Neill Tells COP21
EMTV 1 December 2015
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has told the world climate summit in Paris that Pacific island countries are running out of time for world leaders to develop solutions to climate change. Speaking at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, O’Neill said communities in the Pacific are seeing people displaced and dying because of climate change… He announced that PNG has joined in the fight against global warming. He said PNG supports a Paris Agreement that anchors the REDD Plus Mechanism, describing it as one of the most cost effective mitigation options. “Papua New Guinea is committing millions of hectares of our forest for the REDD Plus initiative – and taking part in the reforestation of hundreds of thousands of additional hectares. Papua New Guinea is one of the few countries in World that has legislative framework so we can combat the climate change challenge,” O’Neill said.
[UK] Gov’t cracks down on ‘dodgy’ carbon credit scheme
By Charles Walmsley, City Wire, 1 December 2015
Two men have been banned from acting as directors for selling £1.9 million of ‘dodgy’ carbon credit investments. Philip Morris and William Strutt received bans for selling voluntary emission reductions (VERs), a type of carbon credit, at marked up prices to investors. The pair sold the investments through two companies, called Capital Acquisitions Limited and City Asset Partnership Limited. They told investors the VERs would increase in value and would be sold at a profit. In total they sold £1.9 million of carbon credits.
2 December 2015
How securing community rights can help fight climate change
By Penny Davies, Ford Foundation, 2 December 2015
On Monday, heads of state gathered here in Paris to announce the reductions their countries will make in the amount of GtCO2 they emit. On the same day, a group of grassroots networks—the Indonesian Alliance of Indigenous Peoples (AMAN), the Amazon Coordination of Indigenous Organizations (COICA), and the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB)—launched a new map based on the latest satellite imagery data. The map tells a clear story. Where communities have secured rights to their forests and land, less forest is lost than anywhere else. The bottom line: Securing rights is a way to combat climate change. Without secure rights, indigenous communities and their forests are vulnerable to industrial logging, plantation, and mining concessions. More than half the world’s land is under community management, but less than a fifth has formal legal recognition.
James Hansen: emissions trading won’t work, but my global ‘carbon fee’ will
By Michael Hopkin, The Conversation, 2 December 2015
It sounds like you don’t have much confidence in the idea of countries setting their own climate goals and ambitions. Of course it’s useful for that to happen – it’s better than nothing. But it’s not going to solve the problem, it’s not even going to reduce global emissions. You’ll reduce the demand for the fuel, to the extent that it’s successful, but that just makes it cheaper for someone else to burn it. Fossil fuels are cheap – there are parts of the world where you can pull oil off the ground for a couple of dollars a barrel. So if the Paris talks are heading towards a deal based largely on each country’s individual climate pledges, is that letting the world down? Yeah. That’s their scheme for coming out of here and looking good to the public. And they’ll be saying “we’re making progress”… But it’s not going to solve the problem, that’s for sure.
Unilever, Marks & Spencer join COP21 bid to end deforestation
By Jessica Shankleman, GreenBiz, 2 December 2015
Marks & Spencer and Unilever have signed a new pledge committing to prioritise the development of sustainable palm oil, beef, paper and other commodities, as part of a major public-private partnership aimed at tackling deforestation. M&S and Unilever, as co-chairs of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), said they would seek to reward those countries and jurisdictions with comprehensive policies designed to deliver more sustainable forest management. A number of other CGF members are also expected to announce they are joining the scheme in the coming weeks, a Unilever spokeswoman told BusinessGreen.
Climate: Real problem, false solutions. No.3: REDD+
La Via Campesina, 2 December 2015
On closer inspection it becomes clear that REDD+ serves as little more than the means of concealing the negotiated disappearance of forests that occurs during a COP, instead of anyone posing the question of how greenhouse gases resulting from the use of fossil fuels can be effectively reduced. This covers no more than potential deforestation, and therefore nothing concrete. In contrast, the carbon credits on offer are very real indeed, and represent a license to emit greenhouse gases at will. Furthermore, peasant populations who call these forested areas home, often find themselves obliged to reduce their food production in order to plant trees, thereby reducing their food sovereignty. Conservation agreements can also result in their loss of access to areas routinely used for the harvesting of plants, hunting or shifting cultivation.
New mapping platform sees the forest for the carbon
By Morgan Erickson-Davis, Mongabay, 2 December 2015
Heads of nations are meeting right now at the COP21 conference in Paris, where they are brainstorming ways to avert catastrophe by limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over the coming years. Keeping carbon in the ground is a crucial element of this goal, and as forests are still our best bet for doing that, deforestation is playing a central role in the discussions. To create a baseline and help people keep tabs on deforestation and the world’s carbon stores, the World Resources Institute (WRI) yesterday debuted Global Forest Watch Climate. The latest in its Global Forest Watch (GFW) series of forest monitoring platforms, GFW Climate is a mapping and analysis tool that displays the emissions impacts of deforestation in tropical areas around the world.
Climate talks: rich countries should pay to keep tropical forest trees standing
By Nancy Birdsall and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, The Guardian, 2 December 2015
We need to come up with innovative solutions to look after our planet, and the Paris climate change conference is the place to do it. By innovative we don’t only mean new energy technology and new green financing mechanisms. We need to reimagine tropical forests as a public utility like electricity, producing a service people and governments, including in the rich world, want to buy. Forests are beautiful ecosystems of living organisms. But like your municipal water services and your local power company, forests provide a stream of services – storing carbon and cooling the planet – that most people get for free. Just as we pay for electricity services, and thus ensure their continuing provision, so we – especially in the rich world – should pay for the climate service that tropical forests provide.
Forest monitoring capabilities bring major benefits to REDD+ implementation
Woods Hole Research Center press release, 2 December 2015
The fate of tropical forests will again be a topic of this week’s UNFCCC 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) negotiations in Paris. This time, however, the discussion of tropical forests takes on even more importance because scientists are now able to estimate forest carbon content and CO2 emissions with a much greater degree of accuracy. A new paper led by Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) Senior Scientist Scott Goetz, published today in Environmental Research Letters – Reviews, presents the capabilities that currently and will soon exist to measure, monitor and verify the carbon stock of tropical forests to meet the needs required by the UN REDD+ program. REDD+ is a mechanism for financial reward for developing countries’ verified efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, while also ensuring safeguards on livelihoods and preserving biodiversity.
Indigenous leaders at COP21: 20 percent of tropical forest carbon is sitting on Indigenous land
By Mike Gaworecki, mongabay.com, 2 December 2015
Indigenous leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America gathered at the Paris climate talks today to offer their help — or what they call “the most affordable pathway for climate negotiators struggling to come up with solutions.” They presented an analysis by the Woods Hole Research Center that found Indigenous territories in the Amazon Basin, the Mesoamerican region, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Indonesia contain 20.1 percent of the carbon stored aboveground in Earth’s tropical forests. It’s fairly well known that Indigenous communities practicing traditional ways of life are superior stewards of the land. And research has shown that when Indigenous peoples and local communities have legal forest rights, they often not only maintain forest carbon stocks, but improve them.
[Indonesia] Indigenous people welcome Jokowi’s climate speech
The Jakarta Post, 2 December 2015
An indigenous people’s community has applauded President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s speech at the UN Climate Conference, COP21, in Paris, which cited the role of indigenous people in the fight against climate change. The Alliance of Indigenous People’s (AMAN) secretary-general, Abdon Nababan, said on Monday in Paris that Jokowi’s speech at the international climate change forum surprised the community. “This surprised us all. I’d read the text of the President’s speech before and there were no words about involving people, particularly indigenous people,” he said as quoted by tribunnews.com. Jokowi specifically mentioned “climate change mitigation by involving indigenous people”, during his speech in front of world leaders. Abdon said Jokowi’s statement was important for Indonesia as indigenous communities had made significant contributions to reducing carbon emissions and promoting natural conservation.
[USA] Obama Calls Carbon Price Better Than Regulations
By Evan Lehmann, Scientific American, 2 December 2015
Steven Chu was meeting with the president for his “exit interview” when the outgoing Energy secretary told his boss that the best way to attack climate change is with a carbon tax. That marked a shift in thinking for the physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in 1997. Chu supported President Obama’s earliest efforts to apply a cap-and-trade system to the economy nationwide. But the program’s use of carbon credits, and the way they could be given to favored industries, made him realize that cap and trade is “easier to game.” A carbon tax is simpler and cheaper. And that’s what Chu told Obama in their last private conservation in late 2012, after Obama won re-election in a campaign that rarely mentioned the issue that now dominates his agenda—climate change. Obama’s response was politically realistic, Chu said in an interview yesterday. “He said, ‘It’s not gonna happen,’” Chu said. “And in his term, he’s right.”
[USA] Seeing the carbon for the trees
By Rita Hite and Jad Daley, The Hill, 2 December 2015
As U.S. officials put the final touches on our national strategy for the COP21 climate talks in Paris, it is essential that one homegrown climate solution is not overlooked—America’s forests. The last five years have seen unprecedented investment in high barrier climate solutions like renewable energy with incredible success, so why not grab the readily accessible potential waiting in our own country? … Despite this immense impact on climate, forests are too often treated as a second tier climate solution. When policy attention is given to forests, it is often focused on tropical forests in other countries, through “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD).
3 December 2015
Spotlight on saving forests in climate talks
By David Fogarty, The Straits Times, 3 December 2015
Saving forests has become a key topic at the Paris climate talks with major forest nations throwing their weight behind greater conservation and more financing initiatives… “I don’t think there is one country in this place that is saying forests shouldn’t be a piece of the agreement because it’s one of the easy pieces,” said Dr Charles Barber, director of the Forest Legality Alliance and Government Relations Forests Programme for the Washington-based World Resources Institute think tank… “When it’s pay for performance, would you pay a country with widespread systemic illegal logging and clearing going on for a verified emissions reduction that you have to match up to your standard in the US or Europe? I think that’s going to be hard,” said Dr Barber, a former US climate negotiator.
REDD+ Handed in Paris
By Jutta Kill, Project Syndicate 3 December 2015
REDD+ was created as part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the agreement governing its implementation is expected to be finalized during the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. But if world leaders are serious about halting forest loss, they should instead abandon REDD+ and replace it with a mechanism that addresses the underlying drivers of large-scale deforestation.
What’s the best way to protect forests? That’s a big question at the Paris climate talks
By Clayton Aldern, Grist, 3 December 2015
At a climate summit mired in policy debate and finger-pointing, it is easy to forget about the potential of something as simple as a tree. But there are 3 trillion trees in the world, and they are intimately tied to the climate. Alive, they sequester a massive amount of carbon. Chopped down, they release that carbon into the atmosphere. Burned, their contribution to climate change is even worse. Deforestation accounts for at least 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Indonesian forest fires that raged this fall emitted more CO2 pollution on some days than the entire United States. In the climate conversation, trees matter. It is fitting that the renewable future envisioned by a vertical wind farm at the conference site has been molded in their likeness.
Cutting Emissions May Get Harder With Time
By Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg, 3 December 2015
The most fascinating thing about the Paris talks isn’t that the result will be insufficient to avert potentially catastrophic climate change, but that people don’t seem more bothered by the languid clip of progress. “I’m optimistic,” President Barack Obama said Monday. “I think we’re going to solve it. I think the issue is just going to be the pace and how much damage is done before we are able to fully apply the brakes.” Climate Change Perhaps the best justification for that optimism is the hope that cutting emissions will get easier as the consequences of inaction become clearer. “Climate change is challenging because its impacts seem distant — they do not impinge on our daily lives,” Graham Smith, a politics professor at the University of Westminster in London, told me. “If and when they start impinging, the increased salience may be the catalyst for more effective action.”
New UN Draft Text Signals Smooth Sailing at COP21, for Now
By Will Tucker, Forest Trends, 3 December 2015
On Thursday morning, the UNFCCC injected a bit of excitement into an otherwise quiet mid-week at COP21 when it released the most recent draft of the negotiating text. The revised version (comprised of the overarching draft agreement and the accompanying decisions) looks a lot like its predecessor. From the perspective of forests, that’s really not a bad thing, since that earlier version already mentioned them in the mitigation and finance sections. One of the primary objectives heading into the first week of the Paris climate talks was to shorten the text to a more manageable length and simplify it significantly. Negotiators have made modest headway toward meeting those goals with this new document, having shortened the text from 54 to 50 pages and reduced the number of alternatives “Options” (slightly tweaked paragraphs presented within a section) from 228 to 205.
COP21 Final Agreement Will Include the Flaws of the Kyoto Protocol
The Real News, 3 December 2015
Mary Lou Malig of the Global Forest Coalition says the negotiations in Paris are pursuing market-based solutions that will not save the planet… PERIES: So Mary Lou, you say that this conference, COP 21, is flawed from its beginning. Why? MALIG: Yes, because of the fact that they allowed a flexibility mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol. In the Kyoto Protocol there was language about historical accountability of 37 industrialized countries and how scientifically they were proven to be responsible for the pollution and the warming of the planet. And so they had the legal commitment to cut emissions by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels in the commitment period from 2008-2012.
Book Launch: Stopping the Continent Grab and the REDD-ification of Africa
No REDD in Africa Network, 3 December 2015
The key ingredient of the eminent Paris Accord at the UN climate summit and a false solution to climate change, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is a carbon offset mechanism which uses forests and almost all other ecosystem as sponges for Northern industrialized pollution instead of cutting emissions at source. This publication by the No REDD in Africa Network aims to demystify REDD and REDD-type projects, and all their variants, and show them for what they are: unjust mechanisms designed to usher in a new phase of colonization of the African continent. From examples presented, it is clear that the REDD mechanism is a scam and the polluters know that they are buying the “right” to pollute. The No REDD in Africa Network warns that REDD may be the ultimate wedge to crack open the door for the invasion of the African continent with genetically modified crops and trees.
Indonesia to ‘transform’ way it fights peatland fires
By David Fogarty, The Straits Times, 3 December 2015
Indonesia’s Minister for the Environment and Forestry said yesterday there would be a major transformation in the way the country fights fires, and that a presidential decree creating a special agency managing the nation’s fire-prone peatlands would be finalised in the next two weeks. Speaking on the sidelines of United Nations-led climate talks in Paris, Ms Siti Nurbaya Bakar also said investigations into who caused this year’s fires that burned more than two million hectares were continuing but did not elaborate on whether the government would formally release the names of companies, directors and others implicated. “There are going to be big steps from the government of Indonesia, a big transformation to control these fires through peatland management. I could say even a new paradigm with measures on prevention, and also the recovery, rehabilitation and control of peatlands,” she said during a media briefing.
4 December 2015
The Carbon Budget For the Rest of Humanity’s Time on Earth
By Johan Rockström and Joh Schnellnhuber, Huffington Post, 4 December 2015
For the first time, the world has reached a tipping point towards sustainable development. At this rate, we may well be on the pathway to attain a prosperous and equitable future for a rapidly growing world population, all with the same right to development, on a small finite planet. Whether we push over this tipping point hinges on events in Paris this week and next. Will the world, through collective action at the Paris COP21 summit, create a strong enough market signal to tip the scales towards deep decarbonisation? We believe so. A reason for seeing light at the end of the tunnel, is the rapid shift in the climate logic. The science on potentially catastrophic climate risks is established and understood. The International Energy Agency predicts renewable energy will be the single largest source of electricity growth in the next five years.
Carbon trading text could fall victim to Paris talks stalemate
By Ben Garside, Stian Reklev and Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 4 December 2015
Provisions for international carbon trade risk being squeezed out of the UN climate pact after a week of minimal progress at talks in Paris, although market proponents are adamant this won’t stop the spread of emission markets worldwide. Over 80 countries have said in their INDCs that they intend to use or explore the use of market-based mechanisms to help meet targets or raise funds for the post-2020 period. But global powerhouses China, EU and the US don’t plan to outsource any emission cuts, with the only firm sign of international demand from smaller nations Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Switzerland. As the fortnight-long talks near the half-way stage with scant signs of tangible progress, some observers and negotiators told Carbon Pulse that they fear that potentially contentious text on markets could be removed as the big nations come under pressure to seal an overall deal.
COP 21, Round One: Battle Lines Are Drawn
By John Foran, Resilience, 4 December 2015
Global civil society tried, as ever, to make its voice heard, sometimes in conjunction with national parties… One of the most powerful was that of indigenous peoples, with Tom Goldtooth insisting on “The sacredness of all nature, of all of life. That is why we are suspicious of solutions coming from the hallways of the UNFCCC,” and in particular the market-based REDD centerpiece on deforestation, labelled a “deceitful scam” that trades emissions for the protection of forests. This all too often involves taking away the rights of indigenous peoples who already live there, repeating the colonial crimes of rendering the inhabitants of this part of the world invisible, or worse, taking their lives in the process. Meanwhile the purchasers continue to emit CO2, while being hailed as contributing somehow to reducing emission.
Negotiators learn lessons for new markets as Kyoto mechanism talks end in Paris
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 4 December 2015
Decisions affecting the future of the CDM and JI, the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon market mechanisms, have once again been postponed by negotiators at this year’s annual UN climate summit, but some identified progress that could benefit a new global climate pact. A review of the CDM’s modalities and procedures, which is to pave the way to an overhaul of the beleaguered scheme, was deferred until next May by negotiators under the SBI track at the talks, after they were allotted just two hours to discuss the matter this week. “Every time, this review is taken hostage … It’s a shame because it’s totally relevant to ADP [negotiations on a new global climate pact],” said Jeff Swartz of emissions trading lobby group IETA.
How landscape approaches can help achieve the SDGs – in three (challenging) steps
By James Reed and Terry Sunderland, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 December 2015
The concept of “landscapes”, in relation to achieving more sustainable land use and reaping the abundant associated benefits for food security, climate change, biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation and the like, has risen rapidly up the global development agenda in recent years. This year, of course, the development agenda has been dominated by the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and now the work to achieve those goals has to get started. On the eve of the third annual Global Landscapes Forum in Paris, it seems pertinent to begin to think of how these two intersect, and of the landscape approach as an organizing principle or implementing framework with regard to the SDGs.
Stronger rights for the commons: A new generation of challenges
By Steven Lawry, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 December 2015
Nearly 20 years ago, in 1996, the Namibian government granted rights to wildlife—elephants, black rhino, lion and many species of antelope—to newly formed community conservancies. Now, Namibia has 82 of these community conservancies, covering 20 percent of its territory. These community conservancies have generated work for several thousand local residents and revenue from tourist lodges that goes to building schools and clinics. The environment is faring better too, as people have given up their livestock in favor of wildlife that are better suited to Namibia’s semi-arid environment. Something similar happened in Guatemala in 1990, when the government created the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, and set aside about 40 percent of the reserve as community forestry concessions. The concessions have generated considerable income, primarily through the sales of sustainable high-value mahogany and teak.
Showcasing the link between forests and climate change: three examples of REDD+ in Africa
World Bank, 4 December 2015
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD+, is an important tool for mitigating climate change and conserving forests. The REDD+ process supports the important building blocks of national climate change strategies – collaboration across the agriculture, forest and energy sectors, input from diverse stakeholders like indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and women, and a focus on public-private partnerships. The World Bank Group, through trust funds, provides investment financing, results-based financing, and technical assistance to countries working on REDD+.
Ethiopia counts on forest resources to boost economy
African Development Bank press release, 4 December 2015
Ethiopia says it is counting on its forest resources to boost the country’s US $55 billion economy. At the presentation of the country’s UN-Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) programme at COP21 in Paris on December 3, Government officials said it is expected to indicate the real value of forests in Ethiopia’s economy. REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. “The REDD+ programme phase one is expected to make a significant contribution of forest to the Ethiopian economy and improve the living conditions of the people,” said Tsagaye Tadesse of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Is Indonesia underreporting its emissions at COP21?
mongabay.com, 4 December 2015
Official documentation submitted by Indonesia to the UN climate talks in Paris this week dramatically underestimates deforestation and emissions in the archipelago, according to an analysis by Greenpeace. However, not everyone agrees with Greenpeace’s assessment. The documentation’s omissions include 10 million hectares of deforestation, millions of hectares of peatland degradation and emissions from the annual farm and plantation fires, threatening to undermine Indonesia’s prospects for receiving international assistance for peatland protection and REDD+ schemes, according to the NGO. “The people of Indonesia deserve to know the truth about how much forest and peatland has been destroyed,” Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Annisa Rahmawati said. “Only from a truthful foundation can we build a solid climate plan for Indonesia.”
5 December 2015
Inclusion of markets in Paris climate agreement “not the priority” -China’s head negotiator
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 5 December 2015
Including language supporting the use of market-based mechanisms in a new global climate agreement in Paris is “not the priority”, China’s top negotiator said on Saturday. His remarks add weight to observer fears that provisions for international carbon trade risk being squeezed out of the Paris text as major nations come under pressure to seal an overall deal after a week of little progress. In a press conference, Su Wei said: “We already have a lot of issues to resolve in the next week, but for China it’s very clear … that markets can play a very important role in terms of achieving policies and actions … We are making immense efforts trying to implement and schedule our plan [to launch a national ETS in 2017]. As to whether there’s going to be inclusion of [market-based mechanisms] in the text of the Paris agreement, we think that’s not the priority.”
UN text opens door for fresh talks on targets, carbon market for shipping, but obstacles remain
Carbon Pulse, 5 December 2015
Text on how to deal with carbon emissions from international shipping has made it through to ministerial discussions at UNFCCC talks for the first time, creating hope that the Paris meeting could provide a signal that would revitalise high-level discussions about CO2 targets and market-based mechanisms for the sector. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol placed the responsibility for dealing with emissions from international shipping and aviation respectively with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), but in UNFCCC meetings since, the issue has been so fraught that any language on it has been dropped from the draft texts before making their way to ministers. In the 18 years since Kyoto, the IMO has yet to put in place a framework for cutting shipping CO2, and emissions from the sector are on track to increase by 50-250% over 2012 levels by mid-century unless curbs are introduced.
Death of Kyoto Protocol: End of India’s carbon funding days
By Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, 5 December 2015
Developing countries like India and China have been pushing for a new lease of life for the treaty, which only required developed nations to take on legally-binding emissions targets. The two countries received around 80% of the CDM projects because of their capability to reduce emissions from new schemes. Among the beneficiaries were the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Okhla waste-toenergy plant and afforestation activities in states like Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The call for ratification does not appear to have had an impact as an Indian negotiator said “we will walk from Paris with a coffin for Kyoto”. Sources say the chances of the second commitment period of the protocol seeing the light of day appear bleak as less than half of the 144 countries involved have officially agreed to participate.
[India] Global Talk, Local Preparedness
Dr Akhlaq Amin Wani, greaterkashmir.com, 5 December 2015
Climate change negotiations at Conference of Parties (COP 21) having already kick started in Paris, it is inevitable to talk about REDD+ and its readiness with respect to its measuring, monitoring, financing and social safeguards. As defined by United Nations “ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.” The Fourth Assessment Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that forestry sector accounts for 17% global greenhouse gas emissions mainly through deforestation, forest degradation, forest fires, slash and burn practices, overgrazing, excess fuel wood extraction, unmanaged non timber forest products extraction, illicit felling, and disease outbreak in forests.
Pivoting from Paris to Madagascar on Climate Change
By Cristián Samper, Scientific American Blog Network, 5 December 2015
The land of the lemur has a few lessons for us all – especially as international climate change talks in Paris unfold. While most of the headlines will focus on the global growth of carbon-based industries, there’s good reason to likewise pay close attention to deforestation, another significant source of carbon emissions. Deforestation represents around 15 percent of global emissions, more than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Madagascar – the world’s fourth largest island, just off the east coast of Africa, may not be on very many peoples’ radar. It has been celebrated in animated movies by DreamWorks but more importantly it holds 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity and a rapidly growing population of 23 million people, of which around 80 percent live below the poverty line.
6 December 2015
An Insider’s Journal from the Paris Climate Talks
By Rhea Suh (NRDC), Medium, 6 December 2015
What’s it like to help protect the world from climate chaos? Here’s my daily peek behind the scenes at #COP21. Mundiya Kepanga is a great chief of the Huli people who dwell in the dense rainforests of Papau New-Guinea. He journeyed to the Paris climate talks wearing the colorful feathered headdress and long nose quill that connote status among the indigenous people he serves. “I live in the forest,” Mundiya explained this afternoon as we sat on stage together at the global headquarters of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, here in Paris. “When the world was created the forest was created and the trees were born, and my ancestors have always lived there.” Now, though, those forests are being destroyed by renegade poachers of tropical hardwoods and reckless loggers who plunder the lands of the Huli and ravage this precious resource.
Landscapes for sustainability: Potential, yes. Finance, not so much
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 December 2015
With land use and livelihoods receiving unprecedented attention at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris, proponents of an integrated approach to managing land use might well be feeling endorsed. But, as speakers at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum in Paris warned today, achieving such sustainable land-use management will require massive amounts of investment. And those amounts are not yet there, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian economist and former Minister of Finance, pointed out in the opening session of the event. The Forum, organized by CIFOR and a consortium of partners, brought together some 2000 people on its opening day to explore the role of land use in reaching climate and development goals.
Trust and Money at Core of Crucial Paris Talks on Climate Change
By Coral Davenport, The New York Times, 6 December 2015
The international climate change negotiations entering their second and final week encompass a vast and complicated array of political, economic and legal questions. But at bottom, the talks boil down to two issues: trust and money. In this global forum, no one questions the established science that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are warming the planet — or that both developed and developing economies must all eventually lower their greenhouse emissions to stave off a future that could wreak havoc on the world’s safety and economic stability. In a major breakthrough, 184 governments have already submitted plans detailing how they will cut their domestic emissions after 2020.
Coalition of business leaders challenges 2C climate change target
By Suzanne Goldberg, The Guardian, 6 December 2015
A group of high-profile business leaders has challenged governments to set strong targets and not slam the door on limiting warming to 1.5C. On Monday, a Paris meeting aimed at reaching a global deal to fight climate change kicks up to a gear, with government ministers taking charge of negotiations. As ministers arrived in Paris, the chief executives of companies such as Virgin, Marks & Spencer, L’Oreal and Unilever said it was critical for governments to reach for stronger targets that would free the world’s economy from carbon emissions by 2050 and avoid dangerous warming. The corporate leaders, members and supporters of the B Team, a coalition of chief executives for climate action, said governments should aim for a stronger target than the agreed goal of 2C and aim for actions that would eventually limit warming to 1.5C.
African forestry scheme aims to build prosperity by restoring landscape
By Sam Jones, The Guardian, 6 December 2015
More than a dozen African countries have joined an “unprecedented” $1.6bn (£1bn) initiative to boost development and fight climate change by restoring 100m hectares (247m acres) of forest across the continent over the next 15 years. The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative – known as AFR100 – was launched on Sunday at a Global Landscapes Forum meeting during the Paris climate change conference. It will be underpinned by a $1bn investment from the World Bank in 14 African countries over the next 15 years and by $600m of private sector investment over the same period.
Australia refuses to forfeit carryover credits in emissions accounting
SBS News, 6 December 2015
Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom have jointly announced that they would abandon carry-over credits under Kyoto. Under the protocol, excess emissions reductions achieved in the first period can be carried over to the second, something Mr Hunt is relying on. The collection of European countries hope abandoning those credits will show the globe they’re willing to act on climate change. “By cancelling surplus units we hope to send a strong positive signal of support for an ambitious global climate agreement here in Paris,” they said in a statement. The office for Australia’s Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, said Australia would not be following suit. Instead, Australia has brokered a deal to ensure it does keep its surplus carbon credits. Australia has agreed to strongly support a push to include a 1.5-degree global warming goal in a Paris agreement in exchange for more favourable carbon emissions rules.
[Guyana] SARU launches investigation into BaiShanLin operations
Kaieteur News, 6 December 2015
Chief among the complaints made to the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) are those on corrupt land deals. But SARU’s Head, Dr. Clive Thomas is alarmed that Chinese logging company, BaiShanLin has been like a recurring decimal among the hundreds of allegations on crooked land deals which pour in on a daily basis. It has led him to start a detailed investigation into the company’s operations in Guyana. Dr.Thomas said, recently, “Corrupt land deals is perhaps our number one complaint here. But we are concerned that BaiShanLin has so many complaints against it. And when we made some checks, we found some disturbing things. We had no option but to zero in on their operations because they involve, what I deem to be, the unlawful attainment, disposal and use of the state’s assets. And that I cannot sit by and watch continue.”
Panama leads rainforest nations
By Rachel Lee, The Korea Times, 6 December 2015
Panama has led the way in proposing that the role of forests be included in the Paris agreement at the Conference of the Parties (COP 21). According to the Ministry of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation, the Central American country has proposed a major alliance between 52 countries. The “Alliance for Rainforest Nations” is the second largest bargaining unit after the G77+China, the ministry said. “We have worked for over a year to achieve consensus on the position of this group of 52 countries, the second most important in the negotiation of the summit,” said Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation Vice Minister Maria Luisa Navarro. “We hope that world leaders recognize that to meet the target of keeping the increase in temperature below 2C, the protection and conservation of forests is essential.” The minister also stressed that Panama not only promoted this initiative at global level but led by example.
Another Smartwood FSC certificate embarrassment as Peruvian authorities make record raid on illegal timber ops
FSC-Watch, 6 December 2015
On November 24th, according to a report in the Peruvian newspaper La Republica, police raided the docks in the Amazon port of Iquitos, confiscating the equivlant of 60 heavy truck-loads of timber. The wood, worth around $0.5m, was bound for Mexico and the US – and reportedly 80% of it was owned by the FSC certified company, Inversiones La Oroza SRL. Peru’s forestry enforcement agency, OSINFOR has had a stronger mandate to act on illegalities since the passing new legislation earlier this year. The raid is believed to be the largest ever conducted in the Peruvian Amazon, but it has provoked an angry response. One of OSINFOR’s offices has reportedly been fire-bombed. Local logging workers declared a two-day strike, blockaded main roads into Iquitos, and set tires alight in the streets. Lawyers for La Oroza deny any wrong-doing.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.