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REDD in the news: 11-17 April 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-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.

Event: ICAO High-level Meeting on a Global Market-Based Measure Scheme for Global Aviation
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), April 2016
This meeting will discuss draft International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly resolution text on a global market-based measure (MBM) scheme and make recommendations to the 208th session of the ICAO Council, in preparation for the 39th Session of the ICAO Assembly, which will meet from 27 September to 7 October 2016. This high-level meeting will be attended by ICAO Contracting States and other international organizations with direct involvement in aviation and/or the environment. Prior to the meeting, on 10 May, a briefing will review the basic elements of the global MBM proposal. In 2013, the 38th session of the ICAO Assembly adopted a resolution, deciding to develop a global MBM scheme for international aviation. The meeting is being organized by ICAO.

11 April 2016

Today’s CO2 may become tomorrow’s concrete
By Antonio Pasolini,, 11 April 2016
As carbon emissions continue to rise and cause the planet to warm up, we need to find ways to reduce them. Capturing carbon at the source of its emission is one of the solutions, but there is still the problem of storing all the carbon sucked out of the atmosphere. If that captured carbon could be put to good use, then perhaps we could have the perfect capturing system in place. This is the line of thinking that researchers at University of California (UCLA) are currently pursuing, and they have some big plans for all that carbon: turning it into concrete.
The conversion of carbon into concrete would be a double whammy since concrete production itself is very planet-unfriendly and accounts for 5 percent of all carbon emissions. But an even larger source of CO2 emissions is flue gas, the combustion exhaust gas from power plants, the scientists’ main target.
The carbon would be captured and become the raw material for what they call Co2ncrete, using 3D printers in its fabrication. The researchers describe the multi-stage, complex process, which they are still developing, as upcycling.

UN energy envoy urges investors to consider 1.5C warming limit
By Megan Darby, Climate Home, 11 April 2016
Investors should consider how an aspirational 1.5C limit on global warming affects their portfolios, a top UN envoy said on Monday.
Shareholders are already pressing fossil fuel majors to recognise the risk greenhouse gas emissions curbs could dampen demand for their products. To date, most analysis has focused on a 2C threshold.
Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, urged financiers to also factor in the tougher goal agreed at December’s Paris climate summit.
“If you are a long term investor,” she said, “I would want to be playing with what the scenarios look like for 1.5C, 2C and the differences therein, because it is not just a minor tweak of the curve.”
Pressure is mounting on fund managers and institutional investors to account for the impact of incoming climate legislation. A recent briefing note from Impax Asset Management warned the prices of energy stocks “do not account” for government intervention.

U.N. panel to study a cap on global warming that may be out of reach
By Alister Doyle and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 11 April 2016
Top climate scientists will launch a study this week of how hard it would be to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), although many of them fear it might be too late to reach that level.
The world’s average surface temperatures reached 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial times in a record-hot 2015. They will rise by 3C (3.6F) or more by 2100 if current trends continue, many projections show.
A 195-nation climate summit in Paris in December asked the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for a report in 2018 on limiting warming to just 1.5C. The IPCC began a three-day meeting in Nairobi on Monday to consider how to do that.
“Do we know how? No. It is definitely a moon shot,” Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief, said at a conference in London on Monday.

Mapping the world’s biomass to better tackle deforestation
By Michael Casey, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 April 2016
One of the early successes in efforts to combat global warming has been a renewed push to tackle deforestation in some of the world’s last remaining tropical rainforests.
But, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program – a UN effort to improve forest management in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – has suffered from a lack of dependable data to assist policy makers in quantifying how much biomass is present in the forests of Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
There are several data sets available for countries looking to quantify their biomass and, in doing so, establish a baseline that would allow them to demonstrate they are making progress in reducing deforestation. However, because these maps depend heavily on satellite data, they have often been criticized as inadequate.

[Australia] Canberra start-up signs $100 million carbon agreement in Singapore
By Tom McIlroy, Canberra Times, 11 April 2016
Canberra and Singapore can learn from one another as “forward thinking” cities of trade and development, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said on Monday.
Meeting with Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Josephine Teo, Mr Barr kicked off a week-long trade mission that will include the island city-state, Hong Kong and China.
Mr Barr attended a reception hosted by Australian High Commissioner Philip Green with a delegation of Canberra business chiefs and Singapore Airlines executives, after joining a signing ceremony for Canberra start-up Mineral Carbonation International’s a $100 million memorandum of understanding with Singapore company ArmorShield Holdings.
The Canberra company is building a global business and developing technology that can store carbon dioxides in carbonates in building materials for use in the building and construction industry.

[Brazil] Military police and gunmen attack Landless families, murder two workers
La Via Campesina, 11 April 2016
Last Thursday afternoon, families of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) organized in the Dom Tomás Balduino Camp, were victims of an ambush by the State Military Police and private security forces of the logging company Araupel.
In this cowardly attack, promoted by the Military Police and Araupel’s private security, were murdered rural workers Vilmar Bordim, 44, married with three children, and Leomar Bhorbak, 25, who left behind his wife who is nine-months pregnant. At least seven workers were also wounded, and two more were detained by the police to obtain declarations, and have already been released.

12 April 2016

A Bold New Platform for Forest Action
By Paula Caballero (World Bank), Huffington Post, 12 April 2014
Every day, the attention towards forest and trees seems to grow and make headlines around the world. Why?
First, there’s a sense of urgency that we must protect the world’s remaining standing forests so that people, animals and plants can continue to access basic resources to survive. From Pope Francis’s encyclical on “care for our common home” to E.O. Wilson’s recent call to preserve “half the earth, for the rest of life”, there is growing public awareness that conservation is critical.
Climate change, in particular, with its severe impacts on lives, yields and ecosystems, has helped focus people’s attention on the planet and its health. Mudslides, floods, water depletion, and soil erosion connected with deforestation are having impacts too dramatic to ignore.

Political storm clouds outlook for Brazil’s climate change plan
By Nadia Pontes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 12 April 2016
As at least 130 countries prepare to sign the Paris climate agreement in New York later this month, environmental experts have warned that enthusiasm for climate change action may be waning in Brazil.
The political and economic crises now rocking the Latin American heavyweight could undermine the key role played by Brazil in shaping the new international deal to curb global warming, they say.
“It is very clear that the federal government is struggling for its political survival. As a consequence, the climate change agenda is frozen,” said Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a Brasília-based coalition of 35 nongovernmental groups.
President Dilma Rousseff faces charges of breaking budget laws to support her re-election in 2014. This week, a committee of the lower house of Congress recommended her impeachment, with a vote in the full lower house expected on Sunday.

Revealed: 62 killed in Indian park hosting royals
Survival International, 12 April 2016
The National Park and tiger reserve that Prince William and Katherine will visit this week is the focus of a brutal shoot to kill policy that has seen 62 people shot dead by wildlife guards in just nine years.
Kaziranga National Park in Assam state has become infamous across India for its extrajudicial executions. Armed guards summarily execute anyone they suspect of poaching, and local people are reportedly offered cash rewards for informing on people they suspect of involvement. The guards are given immunity from prosecution.
The shoot to kill policy has attracted criticism from conservation charities for encouraging violence, rather than effectively tackling the criminal networks behind poaching. It was implemented by Bishan Singh Bonal, the former head of the Park, who now leads the Indian National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Environmental groups file lawsuit over pollution from U.S. airlines
By Valeria Volcovici, Reuters, 12 April 2016
Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to press for faster action in setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. aviation industry.
Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, filed the lawsuit to force the agency to complete its so-called “endangerment finding,” a step in the EPA rule making process that would allow the agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. aircraft.
Any “unreasonable delay” in setting emission standards for airlines violates the law and the EPA’s duty under the Clean Air Act, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court.
The EPA was expected to finalize a proposal for an endangerment finding in mid-2014. But last June it issued only a preliminary scientific finding on the emissions.
The environmental groups want the agency to publish its final finding, opening it up to a public comment period, before President Barack Obama leaves office.

[USA] Palm Springs man sentenced for role in movie fraud
By Colin Atagi, The Desert Sun, 12 April 2016
A Palm Springs man was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison for his role in helping others raise money for film productions before pocketing the money.
Paul Baker, who is one of 11 convicted defendants, was also ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution, according to the United States Attorney’s office. He was convicted in June 2012 for participating in the scheme.
Baker was initially sentenced to 16 years in prison, but that was overturned due to an error involving how his convictions factored into the sentencing.

13 April 2016

The Climate Change in Our Veins
By Scott Poynton, Huffington Post, 13 April 2016
On Saturday, 9th April, I saw a tweet announcing CO2 levels at 407ppm. It wasn’t so long ago that we all worried at breaching 400 yet here we are surging toward and presumably beyond the troublesome 450. I read about the extensive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, acidification from CO2 and high temperatures doing for the little animals. 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded by an absolute mile and the trend has continued into 2016 with the maximum extent of Arctic ice the lowest ever recorded. Polar bears are starving.
Methane is bubbling up in an Australian river, local communities worrying that release of the highly potent greenhouse gas has dramatically increased because of nearby coal seam gas extraction. There are huge holes appearing in the Arctic permafrost and scientists now believe they’re caused by explosive methane release brought on by rising temperatures. Ice caps and glaciers everywhere are melting. At the start of the year we had fires in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, a place dear to my heart, ancient trees and alpine vegetation scorched and killed. “Lighting strikes,” my forestry mates assured, “a natural phenomenon, don’t stress.” True enough about lightning being natural but this was lightning falling on land parched by hot and dry weather caused by humans; I felt responsible.

Local projects shape national REDD+ strategies
By Tara Lohan, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 13 April 2016
At the international level, global leaders are continuing to discuss how to develop and implement national REDD+ strategies. At the same time, pilot programs to reduce deforestation are already in place at the local level in many countries.
These can seem like two disconnected processes, according to Ashwin Ravikumar, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Ravikumar is the lead author of a new study from CIFOR that seeks to bridge this information gap between national and local work and to better relay key learnings.
The report has two key components. The first looks at whether proponents of jurisdictional and project-based initiatives relate differently to subnational policies. The second uses interviews with proponents of subnational projects to see how they have been helped or impeded by policies at the national or subnational levels, as well as how their work locally helps improve national policies.

French think-tank backs EU ETS reserve price starting at €20
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 13 April 2016
France-based think-tank The Shift Project is urging the EU to set a steadily increasing ETS auction reserve price under the MSR starting at €20 to help prevent higher price spikes in future.
In a position paper published this week, the researchers said this “price also” reform measure would not contradict with the “quantity only” approach to the ETS outlined by the European Commission to date.
“This paper shows that all 2C scenarios converge towards a robust and steadily increasing price on carbon, reaching $140 in 2040,” they said.
“The ETS will not reach that price level on its own, especially since the EU has been increasing fossil fuel subsidies. We therefore recommend reinforcing country – and sector-specific measures together with the ETS, in order to generate implicit and explicit carbon prices at a level compatible with EU climate ambitions.”

[Madagascar] ‘If the Government Is Not Bringing Us Rice, We Have to Slash and Burn’
By Rucha Chitnis, Pacific Standard, 13 April 2016
Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka is a conservationist and director of Madagasikara Voakajy, a Malagasy group striving to conserve the biodiversity of the region with community participation, Julie’s task is by no means simple. Lemurs are among the most endangered mammals on Earth, and they are co-habiting a fragile ecosystem in a country where nearly 70 percent of humans live below the poverty line. Preserving a dazzling array of endangered endemic species — bats, frogs, chameleons, and baobabs — requires a strategic vision, as well as deep empathy for the realities facing the Malagasy people.

[UK] The diamond fraudsters conning unwary investors out of millions of pounds
By Andrew Penman, The Mirror, 13 April 2016
Judging by a string of recent cases, conmen are using new bait to catch unwary investors – coloured diamonds.
The Coloured Diamond Exchange was typical in promising a safe and lucrative haven for savings, and just as typical was that investors lost every penny.
The operation raked in £1.2million and has been shut down in the High Court following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
It claimed to be based at a ­prestigious London address at the Royal Exchange – but this was just a virtual office.
Chris Mayhew, company investigations supervisor at the Insolvency Service, said: “Today, the Royal Exchange in the City of London is a retail and office centre, not a commodities exchange as falsely held out to vulnerable investors who were persistently and aggressively targeted by this company, and callously deprived of their savings for the benefit of those behind its dishonest activities.”

14 April 2016

Why investing in forests is money—and time– well spent
By Tone Skogen, World Bank, 14 April 2016
It is widely acknowledged that reducing emissions from deforestation could bring about one-third of the greenhouse gas emission reductions we need by 2030 to stay on a 2-degrees trajectory. But protecting and managing forests wisely does not only make sense from a climate perspective. It is also smart for the economy. Forests are key economic resources in tropical countries. Protecting them would increase resilience to climate change, reduce poverty and help preserve invaluable biodiversity.
Here are just a few facts to illustrate why forests are so important. First, forests provide us with ecosystem services like pollination of food crops, water and air filtration, and protection against floods and erosion. Forests are also home for about 1.3 billion people worldwide who depend on forest resources for their livelihood. Locally, forests contribute to the rainfall needed to sustain food production over time. When forests are destroyed, humanity is robbed of these benefits.

IETA’s Forrister says carbon markets could help countries go beyond minimum Paris commitments, 14 April 2016
Monica Trauzzi: Dirk, IETA this week is releasing a new report, “Carbon Pricing: The Paris Agreement’s Key Ingredient.” It’s a joint paper with the Environmental Defense Fund. Carbon pricing is a topic of much discussion both here in the U.S. and abroad. Why do you consider it such a crucial element to the Paris agreement?
Dirk Forrister: Well, one of the things that it does is brings countries together so that hopefully they can accomplish more by being joined together in a market-based approach that has improved efficiencies so that actually has a feature of enhancing the ambition. It makes the climate issue more affordable in the end so that countries can do more.
I think that’s why we have a whole set of world leaders coming here to Washington this week for meetings at the World Bank under the banner of carbon pricing leadership to talk about how to take these things forward. It’s that ambition piece.

France’s Royal targets a €30 carbon price
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 14 April 2016
Carbon prices worldwide must reach a level of around €30 a tonne to change behaviour of big-emitting industries, France’s environment minister Segolene Royal said Thursday.
“We think we need to reach about €30 (a tonne),” Royal told a World Bank-hosted panel discussion in Washington DC ahead of the group’s annual spring meeting.
She added that carbon pricing policies should be co-ordinated globally to avoid competitiveness issues, and should also be foreseeable and stable, in line with a recent taskforce she formed to help drive carbon market reforms at EU level.
Royal has recently assumed the role of president of the UN climate negotiations in the run-up to the next annual meeting in November in Morocco, giving her a global platform to drive action.
Also on the panel, Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna touted Ontario’s efforts to create a cap-and-trade scheme that will eventually link to a market with WCI partners Quebec and California.

[Indonesia] Govt Preparing Moratorium on Palm Oil and Mining in Peatland Areas
By Eko Prasetyo, Jakarta Globe, 14 April 2016
President Joko Widodo’s administration is currently preparing a moratorium on palm-oil plantations and mining activities in peatland areas, in accordance with a May 2015 government regulation.
Joko mentioned the moratorium in his speech at an environmental event to celebrate International Forest Day on Karya Island, in Jakarta’s Thousand Islands district, on Thursday (14/04).
“Prepare for a moratorium on palm; prepare for a moratorium on mining,” the president said.
He added that the current number of palm-oil plantations in the country were already sufficient, as farmers could still boost their production capacity by using the available resources, such as better seeds and technology.
Joko said he would also not allow any more licenses for mining companies to expand their operations in these areas.
“No more of the mining concessions breaching into conservational forests,” the president said.
Moreover, Joko emphasized that all stakeholders should preserve Indonesia’s biodiversity, as the country is famous for its natural resources and its forests, dubbed “the lungs of the world.”

[USA] California’s ARB hands out 318,000 offsets in latest issuance
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 14 April 2016
California’s Air Resources Board on Wednesday issued almost 318,000 offsets, taking the total amount of carbon credits handed out so far to 39.2 million.
The number was a slight drop from the previous batch of 416,000 on Mar. 23.
Vessels Coal Gas, Inc. received nearly 200,000 offsets for utilising and destroying methane from a coal mine in Colorado.
Meanwhile, 45,000 offsets were awarded to The Conservation Fund for a forest management project in California.
In addition, the ARB shortened the invalidation period on 224,000 carbon credits from eight to three years.
Emitters covered by California’s cap-and-trade system can use the offsets to cover 8% of their emissions. They are also eligible for compliance use in Quebec.

15 April 2016

March temperature smashes 100-year global record
By Damien Carrington, The Guardian, 15 April 2016
The global temperature in March has shattered a century-long record and by the greatest margin yet seen for any month.
February was far above the long-term average globally, driven largely by climate change, and was described by scientists as a “shocker” and signalling “a kind of climate emergency”. But data released by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) shows that March was even hotter.
Compared with the 20th-century average, March was 1.07C hotter across the globe, according to the JMA figures, while February was 1.04C higher. The JMA measurements go back to 1891 and show that every one of the past 11 months has been the hottest ever recorded for that month.
Data released released later on Friday by Nasa confirmed last month was the hottest March on record, but the US agency’s data indicated February had seen the biggest margin. The Nasa data recorded March as 1.65C above the average from 1951-1980, while February was 1.71C higher.

With New Forest Strategy, World Bank Aims For Action Over Experimentation
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 April 2016
The World Bank’s new five-year forest plan is a clear continuation of its evolving strategy to save forests by both commercializing activities that depend on them and supporting activities that take pressure off of them, but it makes that double-pronged approach explicit and promises to deliver by shifting its focus away from isolated projects and towards programs more carefully incorporated into national strategies.

[Indonesia] Gov`t to Impose Moratorium on Palm Oil Concessions
Tempo.Co, 15 April 2016
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the government is planning to impose a moratorium on palm oil concessions in a number of provinces in Indonesia.
“I have told the Minister of Environment. Previously we had a moratorium on peat land. Now we are preparing for a moratorium on palm oil,” said Jokowi while giving direction to the declaration to the National Wild Plants and Animals Salvation Movement on Karya Island, Seribu Islands on Thursday.
The President said palm oils problems lie in its production time, which takes too long because farmers are not using superior quality seeds.
In addition, the late rejuvenation of palm oil trees is also another problem.
“Palm oil seeds used by farmers are mostly not selected properly, if it can be done then it will improve the quality,” said the President regarding palm oil productivity affecting land use.
The president also said that entrepreneurs and smallholders will not be allowed to request land for palm oil concessions.

[New Zealand] Why carbon price is key to forestry worth billions
Carbon News, 15 April 2016
Carbon prices will need to hit $35 a tonne by 2017 or forest owners will quit the Emissions Trading Scheme, leaving New Zealand unable to meet its emissions reductions targets, an expert is warning.
On the other hand, if the Government gets the review of the ETS right, the export of New Zealand forestry carbon credits could become a major industry – so major, that an investment of $1.5 billion could produce a profit of $6.7 billion a year, says Christchurch forestry consultant Owen Springford. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Pacific Voices: Why We Must Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground, 15 April 2016
Keeping all remaining fossil fuels in the ground will not only save our islands, which isa huge deal, but it will also be the turning point or salvation for humanity. The human race has been very hung up by greed, invented a new type of greed because of the corporate system. I believe that greed had already exist in this world, but it was seen at a different scale. Once the idea of using fossil fuels was discovered, the idea of harnessing energy and production amplified greed to a whole new level. Keeping all remaining fossil fuels in the ground will give OUR world the idea of peacefulness that WE need.

Panama NDC outlines REDD hub, mulls carbon market
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 15 April 2016
Panama has submitted its UN climate pledge, making it one of the last nations to hand in their contributions to the Paris Agreement and coming a week before world leaders reconvene to sign the global pact.
The Central American nation becomes the 189th of 195 UNFCCC parties to submit. Nations yet to do so are all relatively small emitters including war-torn Syria and Libya, isolationist North Korea, as well as East Timor and Paris-objector Nicaragua.
Panama’s NDC (nationally-determined contribution) features a goal to source 30% of its electricity from non-hydro sources of renewables, up from a BAU projection of 10%.
This projection foresees electricity demand jumping by more than 600% from 2014 to 2050, a steep rise to be met by a massive expansion in carbon-emitting gas- and coal-fired generation, with hydro power estimated to be virtually unchanged over that period.

Romanian singer Delia launches campaign to protect forests
Allcot Group press release, 15 April 2016
Romanian singer Delia has launched a campaign called #DeliaVerde to give her fans the opportunity to get involved in environmental awareness and together try to save some of the world’s standing forest. To achieve this, she has become an ambassador of ALLCOT Group.
“Earth is on track to lose a great area of forested land by mid-century. Forests are the lungs of the earth and our greatest ally in fighting climate change. They absorb carbon and turn atmospheric CO2, water and sunlight into wood, while producing the oxygen we breathe. Protecting forests and restoring those that have been degraded are among the easiest options we have for slowing climate change. It doesn’t require any new technological breakthrough — it simply requires each of us to join in. Therefore I have decided to get involved in environmental awareness and try to save, with the help of my fans, the world’s forests”, said Delia.

Analysis: Is the UK relying on ‘negative emissions’ to meet its climate targets?
By Roz Pidcock, Carbon Brief, 15 April 2016
The Paris Agreement on climate change pledges to keep warming “well below 2C” and “pursue efforts” to limit the increase since preindustrial times to no more than 1.5C.
But what rarely gets discussed is that the modelling by scientists showing how this might be possible typically assumes that the world will deploy “negative emissions” technologies (NETs) later on this century.
In a week-long series of articles, Carbon Brief has been looking at NETs – the options, implications, history and feasibility. In the last part of our series, we turn the spotlight on the UK to see if – and how – it might resort to “sucking” CO2 from the atmosphere, in order to help meet its climate targets in the future.

16 April 2016

America’s legacy in its second term as facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership
By Denis Sonwa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 April 2016
During the first term of the U.S. leadership of the newly created Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) from 2003 to 2005, the foundations were set for the institution to play an important role in the management of forests and natural resources in Central Africa.
Established by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Johannesburg in 2002, the CBFP has worked for more than a decade to create strong institutions and policies in Central Africa in order to address climate change impacts and threats to biodiversity.
The focus during America’s second term leading the CBFP from 2013 to 2015 was to address governance challenges, emerging threats and strategic new alliances amid a shifting global agenda.

[Malaysia] Why Did Najib Give Sarawak’s Bustari Yusof A Million Ringgit?
Sarawak Report, 16 April 2016
One of the as yet unreported recipients of Najib’s cash, according to the papers released to ABC Australia’s Four Corners programme, was the Sarawakian mover and shaker Bustari Yusof.
He received a million ringgit from the money that found its way into Najib’s personal account from the 1MDB subsidiary SRC.
People who are currently being gifted with water butts and maybe RM50 per family as bribes to vote BN in the coming election might think this is a lot of money.

[USA] Devastating Number Of Trees Dead
By Tracey Peteren,, 16 April 2016
An aerial view captures the sea of brown, painting a bleak picture of a huge jump in the tree mortality number.
In 2015 the number of dead trees rose to an estimated record-high of 27.6 million trees in California, which makes the U.S. Forest Service flyover surveys even more critical. Forest Service spokesperson John Heil notes, “That’s about 10 times the previous estimate high, which was 3.3 million in 2014.” He adds, “I do know a lot of the trees we saw that looked alive last year were actually in fact dead. So, we’re probably going to see those trees dead as we go out and do the surveys this year.”
Additionally, this information will be put into a national database. “I like to think of it as doing an annual checkup of forests for the whole state,” shared Jeffrey Moore the Aerial Survey Program Manager. “Getting that pulse, reading the vital signs and assessing the severity of ailments and the general health overall. It is also good for historical purposes to see the trends over time. There are a lot of theories out there and this helps to check that and potentially reinforce, fine tune or cause us to rethink commonly held concepts.”

17 April 2016

[Australia] Former RM Williams boss Ken Cowley sued over $100 million farm failure
By Patrick Begley, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 April 2016
Former RM Williams chairman and News Corp boss Ken Cowley has been sued for allegedly mismanaging a farming company that went bust owing nearly $100 million.
Receivers are pursuing Mr Cowley, 81, and five other directors of the RM Williams subsidiary Agricultural Holdings for compensation and damages, alleging irresponsible purchases during the global financial crisis.
The deals at the centre of the Supreme Court case involved sprawling farms in two states and a $30 million arrangement to offset News Corp’s carbon emissions…
Agricultural Holdings soon bought two vast Northern Territory cattle stations, Labelle and Welltree, for a combined $48 million, plus a chicken farm. To help purchase the Labelle station, the company entered into a $30-million deal to give News Corp 640,000 tonnes of carbon credits a year for five years.
Later, it received $10 million in taxpayer funding to create what would have been the world’s largest carbon farm.

No evidence that BaiShanLin plugs back profit into Guyana
Kaieteur News, 17 April 2016
Local businesses have been a staple of economies all around the world ever since people first began trading goods and services.
Baishanlin International Forest Development Inc. was incorporated in September 2006 under the Guyana Companies Act of 1991. It is indeed a local company despite the fact that its owners are Chinese.
However, there is nothing to suggest that the operation of BaiShanLin in Guyana is helping the country’s economy which is being described as sluggish. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that all profits earned by BaiShanLin, through it exploitation of Guyana’s forest, go to the People’s Republic of China. Not a cent has been returned here.

[Guyana] During controversial China trip…Harmon gets cozy with future owner of BaiShanLin
Kaieteur News, 17 April 2016
President David Granger had made it pellucid that to his best knowledge, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, was sent on a trip to China to deal with the State’s business.
The Head of State had said, “I know that he went to China on NICIL business. I saw the Cabinet decision.”
Even though Harmon was on a trip to China to conduct business on behalf of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, he found the time to be part of a courting process with four Chinese companies.
In a statement to the media last week, explaining his trip, Harmon said that the Ambassador of China to Guyana, who was in the country at that time, made arrangements for him to meet officials of four companies.

Harmon’s intervention in GRA’s seizure of vehicles…BaiShanLin’s boss uses Guyanese, Chinese Nationalities conveniently
Kaieteur News, 17 April 2016
Earlier this week, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in a statement defending his intervention in a Customs operation last month to seize vehicles belonging to BaiShanLin for unpaid import taxes, claimed he did it because the Chinese Embassy said it involved a company belonging to one of their nationals.
However, it would contradict the fact that BaiShanLin’s main principal in Guyana, Chu Hongbo, is a naturalised Guyanese citizen who used his citizenship to acquire several blocks of mining lands in 2014.
It would appear from Harmon’s statement, that Chu Hongbo used his Guyanese citizenship conveniently. In the case of the GRA vehicle, he switched to his Chinese nationality.
Harmon, in his statement, insisted that he intervened after considering the importance of Guyana/China relations and the urgency of the matter.

[Guyana] Financial records never showed Chinese Govt. as part of BaiShanLin –Forensic Auditor
Kaieteur News, 17 April 2016
It appears that directors of Chinese logging company, BaiShanLin, were not as forthcoming as they should have been to authorities in Guyana about who really are the principal owners of the company.
During an interview with Kaieteur News last year, Managing Director of the company, Chu Hongbo, revealed that approximately 51 percent of the entity was owned by the Government of China.
In fact, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon recently revealed that the Government of China actually has a 55 percent hold in BaiShanLin through a company called Long Jiang Forest Industries Group. This company is situated in the Heilong Jiang Province of China.
Harmon said, “The Long Jiang Forest Industries Group is a state-owned company that had acquired 55 percent of the shares in BaiShanLin and is intended to fully take over the company in 2016.”

Ireland’s top three cement firms secure €128m in carbon credit bonanza
By Simon Rowe,, 17 April 2016
Three Irish cement companies have secured an estimated €128m profit windfall from the sale of surplus carbon credits.
CRH, Lagan Cement and Quinn Cement have netted massive cash piles from an EU emissions ‘cap-and-trade’ scheme aimed at reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions, a new study claims.
Research into the EU’s controversial emissions trading system (EU ETS) has revealed that, from 2008 to 2014, CRH received some €95m, Quinn netted €21m and Lagan secured €11m in profits from selling over-allocated carbon credits granted by the Irish Government.
The three largest players in Ireland’s cement industry benefited from an over-allocation under a 2008 National Allocation Plan over a six-year period.
The plan, drawn up by the Environmental Protection Agency, was based on a forecast that predicted demand for cement would soar by 30pc between 2007 and 2012.


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