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.
28 December 2015
“We” have a deal
By Markus Ihalainen, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 28 December 2015
Ursula Rakova is from the Carteret Islands, off the coast of Papua New Guinea. For Rakova and the community of 2700 inhabitants, climate change is already tangible: Rising sea levels are rapidly eroding the shorelines, with drastic impacts on the island’s food security. Rakova and others in her women-led community organization, Tulele Peisa (‘sailing the winds on our own’), are now working to relocate affected communities to safer ground. A week before the Paris Agreement was finalized, Ravoka spoke at the Gender Perspectives Pavilion at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum. When she was asked about her hopes and expectations for the new climate agreement. Her answer was simple: “We are going to keep doing what we have been doing, whether there is an agreement or not. The question is: Is the world going to wait for these people to drown or are we going to do something now?”
[Indonesia] Paper industry demands revocation of forest-license freeze
By Khoirul Amin, The Jakarta Post, 28 December 2015
The government will have to revoke a freeze on operating permits for more than 900,000 hectares of industrial forest or the local pulp and paper industry will lose its competitiveness due to a disruption in the suply of raw materials, business groups and analysts have said. Executive director of the Indonesian Forest Concessionaries Association (APHI), Purwadi Suprihanto, recently demanded that the government lift its ban, arguing that it would hamper the supply of raw materials to the local pulp and paper industry. “We’re very much concerned about the government’s actions. The pulp and paper industry is one of the country’s most prominent industries and instead of supporting it the government has created an obstacle,” he said. According to Purwadi, the Environment and Forestry Ministry has suspended the operating permits of 23 companies alleged to have had a hand in causing recent forest fires.
S Korea, China To Cooperate On Carbon Taxation
By Mary Swire, Tax-News, 28 December 2015
On December 21, the Korea Exchange (KRX) and the China Beijing Environment Exchange (CBEEX) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation on carbon emissions trading. KRX is the operator of the country’s main stock exchange and of its emissions trading scheme (ETS), which commenced on January 12, 2015. South Korea, the world’s seventh-largest carbon emitter, now has the world’s second-largest ETS market, after the European Union. The ETS imposes a cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 500 of South Korea’s largest companies, who are responsible for about 65 percent of the country’s carbon emissions. During the first three years of the scheme’s operation, from 2015 to 2017, companies and energy producers are allowed 100 percent of their benchmarked emissions limit without charge. They have to purchase credits if they wish to exceed their limits. Those that do not use their quota may sell their excess credits.
29 December 2015
[Indonesia] Verdict on PT BMH to set bar in forest fire cases
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 29 December 2015
The Palembang District Court in South Sumatra is scheduled to deliver a ruling on Wednesday in a case involving a supplier to Sinar Mas Group, one of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates. The court’s ruling is predicted to set the future direction of how companies manage forest fires in Indonesia. The Environment and Forestry Ministry’s law enforcement directorate-general, which filed the civil lawsuit against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (PT BMH), the supplier in question, said on Monday that the ruling would set a precedent because of the scale of the case, with the government demanding a fine of Rp 7.8 trillion (US$571 million). “The judges’ ruling will determine the behavior of concession holders in preventing land and forest fires,” director general Rasio Ridho Sani said. PT BMH allegedly caused fires on 20,000 hectares of land in Ogan Komering Ilir, South Sumatra, in 2014.
Waiting to exhale: The politics of fire in Indonesia
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 December 2015
Why are there more land fires in Indonesia before an election? Why are oil palm plantations burned also? Why does everyone involved see the fires differently? And what do elephants have to do with any of it? The devastating land and forest fires in Indonesia begin long before someone lights a match: They start with a complex entanglement of politics, economics, power and practice. And so, researchers argue, avoiding further fires means understanding these root causes and helping everyone involved see how they fit in. In this video, scientists from CIFOR describe some of the intriguing and as yet unexplained elements emerging from their research into the causes of Indonesia’s fires.
[Indonesia] What came before the fire
By Suzanna Anderson, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 December 2015
Governments and corporations operating in Indonesia must understand the complex political economy fueling the recurrent land fires, if further catastrophes are to be avoided, experts say. Forest and land fires across Indonesia this year left some 2.6 million hectares burned, with costs estimated in the tens of billions, at least 19 deaths and countless illness, and possibly more carbon dioxide emitted daily than the entire US economy. Weather conditions are ripe for further fires to spark with the end of the rainy season in early 2016—and research shows that preventing them means not simply identifying who lights the match, but rather disentangling and communicating the many reasons why. “There’s a lot of politics happening on the ground,” Herry Purnomo, a CIFOR scientist who is among those investigating the causes of the fires in Riau, Sumatra, said at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum earlier this month.
30 December 2015
Inside the Paris Climate Agreement: Hope or Hype?
By Brian Tokar, Counter Punch, 30 December 2015
An important warning about the future of the CDM arrived midway through Paris from Bolivian climate activist Pablo Solón. Solón was summarily removed as Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator after the Copenhagen and Cancún conferences, likely as punishment for his highly effective critiques of the US strategy to replace Kyoto’s mandated emissions cuts with the present system of voluntary “contributions.” On December 7th, Solón warned that a new “Mechanism to Support Sustainable Development” was hidden deep inside the conference text. That provision indeed appears in Article 6, albeit only to be used by countries “on a voluntary basis.” While the same article touts the need for unspecified “non-market approaches” in two places, there is a clear mandate to continue to use what are euphemistically referred to as “internationally transferred mitigation outcomes.”
[Indonesia] After decades of exploitation, Java on brink of ecological crisis
The Jakarta Post, 30 December 2015
A group of concerned scientists, researchers, environmentalists and agrarian activists launched a petition on Tuesday calling on the government to take aggressive action to stop what they deemed the ongoing ecological destruction in Java. The group urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to instruct the state-owned enterprises and environment and forestry ministries to review the environmental management feasibility of all cement factories, gold and sand mining, as well as all power plant companies operating in Java. The group blamed the rapid deterioration of the environment in Java on the industrial activities. The group also called on the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry to review a number of regional spatial plans (RTRW) that it said accommodated infrastructure projects without considering the principles of environmental justice.
[Tanzania] To save rare forest, farmers try a new crop: butterflies
By Kizito Makoye, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 30 December 2015
The colourful butterflies fluttering through Zanzibar’s Jozani forest are beautiful to look at, but for farmers and charcoal producers in the region, they mean something more: a paycheck. In an effort to protect the island’s threatened forest, local people are being trained to rear butterflies, under a scheme that tries to prevent deforestation by giving people a financial stake in keeping the forest intact. Jozani forest, which lies between the mangrove-filled bays of Chwaka and Uzi on Unguja Island, is a large mature woodlands that is home to an array of endangered species, including the colourful Red colobus monkey.
31 December 2015
Forest Finance Blossomed In 2015, But So Did Sloth And Thievery
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 December 2015
The warmest year on record is drawing to a close with a flurry of good intentions and bad actions. On the “good” front, negotiators in Paris agreed to slow climate-change in part by saving forests. On the “bad” front, we’ve just learned that China’s demand for rosewood is fueling illegal timber trade across Africa and Asia – reminding us again that even the stunning Paris Climate Accord won’t mean a thing if we don’t enforce laws already on the books and hold leaders accountable for their promises they already made. In hindsight, it’s clear that 2015 was a year of old promises kept and new promises made – but also of old promises broken and new loopholes opened. Nowhere is the paradox more clear than in forest finance.
[Indonesia] Court finds no damages after forest fires
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 31 December 2015
The government’s efforts to bring justice to companies allegedly responsible for the annual forest fires in the country have suffered a setback after the Palembang District Court in South Sumatra rejected Rp 7.8 trillion (US$570 million) lawsuit against a supplier to Sinar Mas Group, one of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates. Delivering the decision on Wednesday, the court said that the evidence collected in the case against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH, failed prove its alleged criminality in the burning of 20,000 hectares of its concession in Ogan Komering Ilir, South Sumatra, in 2014. “The lawsuit against Bumi Mekar Hijau has been rejected because the evidence could not prove whether the party was guilty,” presiding judge Parlas Nababan said. He reasoned that BMH was still able to plant acacia trees on the concession after it was burned, which according to him meant there must have been no environmental damage.
1 January 2016
Saving the planet depends on saving its tropical forests. Can we do it?
By Adam Wernick, Living on Earth, 1 January 2016
Saving the world’s tropical forests was a central element of the climate change agreement that emerged from COP21 in Paris. Delegates from all nations seem to have finally reached consensus on one point: Saving the planet from climate catastrophe is not achievable without also saving the Earth’s tropical forests. One way of accomplishing this that has been around for a decade is the UN-REDD program. As a tool for mitigating climate change, REDD has been called “the ultimate way to have our cake and eat it, too.” Saving tropical forests has the potential to remove or reduce about one-third of the world’s carbon emissions — buying time for the world to transfer away from fossil-fuel based economies, maintaining much of the world’s biodiversity and empowering local indigenous cultures. Up to now, unfortunately, REDD’s implementation has fallen far short of its goals.
2 January 2016
3 January 2016
[USA] Under California cap-and-trade program, North Coast forests turn carbon uptake into cash
By Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat, 3 January 2016
They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but a nearly 75,000-acre swath of redwood and fir forests blanketing the wildlands of Sonoma and Mendocino counties is generating millions of dollars as it contributes to California’s ambitious campaign to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In a reversal of forest profiteering that dates back to the mid-1800s, the trees are making landowners money by staying upright and growing fast on damp coastal hills where vegetation thrives and few humans set foot. The Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based nonprofit, has since 2008 sold more than $36 million worth of a new forest commodity called carbon credits, also known as carbon offsets, which represent 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gases sequestered, or stored, by forests that in turn must be sustained for 100 years.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.