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REDD in the news: 29 August – 1 September 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, visit REDD-Monitor’s “REDD in the news” page, or follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

29 August 2016

Fires rage in two central Argentinian towns
The Malay Mail, 29 August 2016
Two communities in central Argentina were evacuated on Saturday as firefighters struggled to control a forest fire that started more than one week ago.
According to local media, the fire in San Luis, approximately 750 km from the capital city of Buenos Aires, has affected an area approximately 400 km large.
As winds and poor weather conditions hampered firefighting efforts, authorities evacuated dozens of families from the towns of Los Molles and Villa de la Quebrada.

Gisele Bündchen: Saving the Brazilian rain forest is everyone’s duty
By Gisele Bündchen, The Washington Post, 29 August 2016
I had one of the most magical moments of my life in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies; I was so proud and honored to represent my country at such a special moment. When the world had its eyes on Brazil, we chose to shine a light and bring consciousness to the stark reality of the effects of climate change.
Until now, most people thought of the Olympics as a forum for athletic records, not temperature records. But the Rio organizers wove environmental themes into the celebration of sports, showing the dangers we face if we allow climate change to worsen. The message was clear: We may live in separate countries with unique languages, flags and medal counts, but we are all bound together by the limits of our natural world.

Japan, Indonesia team up on 28 projects to reduce CO2 emissions
By Ayomi Amindoni, The Jakarta Post, 29 August 2016
Japan and Indonesia have agreed to team up on 28 projects under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), a bilateral carbon offset credit program signed in 2013 between the two governments, a senior official has said.
Rizal Effendi Lukman, the deputy for international economic cooperation at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, said the bilateral offset credit mechanism would amount to US$150 million during its three-year implementation in Indonesia.
He said the mechanism would allow Japanese companies to earn carbon credits by helping Indonesia cut its carbon ( CO2 ) emissions.

Indonesia aims to extinguish Riau forest fires by October: Official
Channel News Asia, 29 August 2016
Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has set itself a target of up to October to extinguish the forest fires in Riau, and other provinces in the country. The agency’s head of data, information and public relations, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said that as of Monday (Aug 29) the number of hotspots has gone down by about 61 per cent, as compared to 2015.

Southeast Asia’s Fires and Haze: From Risks to Opportunities
By Simon SC Tay, Chen Chen Lee, and Lau Xin Yi, Brink News, 29 August 2016
It’s known simply as “The Haze”: a thick, eye-watering, nose-running, cough-inducing, health and climate hazard emanating from the burning of land and forest fires in Indonesia.
Nearly two decades have passed since the terrible haze of 1997-98 swept across the skies. Today the Haze is one of the largest sources of pollution and global carbon emissions in the Asia-Pacific region, and despite increased pressure on polluters by regional governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the private sector, a solution to the problem remains elusive.

[Indonesia] Forest Fire; 30 Companies Slapped with Administrative Sanctions
TEMPO, 29 August 2016
The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said the ministry has imposed administrative sanctions against 30 companies guilty of burning forests. “Companies who are proven guilty will have their permit suspended or permanently revoked,” Siti wrote on his twitter account, @SitiNurbayaLHK, Monday, August 29, 2016.
Siti said she would not hesitate to revoke the licenses of companies proven guilty of burning forest. She would also soon file civil lawsuits against 10 companies.
“In a bid to enforce the law on forest and land fires, the KLHK [the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry] will adopt the multi-door approach. There will be administrative sanctions and civil lawsuits,” Siti wrote. She also underlined that she has implemented a moratorium on new forest concession licenses, palm oil concessions, and peatland management.

[Indonesia] Haze from forest fires disrupt flights out of Pekanbaru
By Francis Chan, The Jakarta Post, 29 August 2016
Flights out of Sultan Syarif Kasim II International Airport in Pekanbaru were disrupted due to the haze from forest fires that were started in Riau province over the past week.
Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency (BMKG) said on Sunday (Aug 28) that the “thick black smoke” from forest and bush fires caused visibility problems at the weekend.
“Thick and black clouds began to blanket Dumai and Pekanbaru, limiting visibility, especially in the morning,” said Mr Slamet Riyadi, head of data and information department at the BMKG’s Pekanbaru office.

Indonesia: Hundreds of people affected by acute haze-related illnesses
By Bihu Ray, International Business Times, 29 August 2016
Several people are suffering from severe respiratory diseases after thick smoke from the peat fire completely shrouded Riau province. Residents of Bengkalis Regency are the worst hit as they fall victim to acute respiratory infections (ISPA), said local authorities.
According to The Jakarta Post, Jon Kenedy, the Riau Health Agency’s health crisis control unit head, said that health institutions in Bengkalis have reported at least 149 cases of haze-related diseases. Around 132 patients have been diagnosed with ISPA, four residents had asthma relapses,12 people had pneumonia and one person had severe eye infection, he added.
“As of today, only the Bengkalis Health Agency has sent data on residents affected by haze-related health problems although other areas have also been heavily exposed to smoke from land and forest fires,” Jon said, according to the news agency.

[USA] California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like
By Brad Plumer, Vox, 29 August 2016
California has long prided itself on being a world leader on climate change — and with good reason.
Within the United States, California is No. 1 (by far) in solar power and No. 3 in wind power. It boasts the third-lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita behind New York and Vermont. Since 2000, the state has managed to shrink its overall carbon footprint slightly even as its population grew and economy boomed.

[USA] ‘Father-in-law’ of soccer superstar sentenced to six years in fraud case
By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News, 29 August 2016
The future father-in-law of one of the world’s most famous athletes was sentenced in Buffalo on Monday to six years in federal prison for his role in defrauding dozens of investors out of nearly $3 million.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford also ordered Martin Rhys Jones to pay nearly $2.9 million in restitution to his victims. Rhys Jones has been in custody since 2012, including nearly a year in a Spanish jail, so he likely will be released from federal prison in 2017 and deported to the United Kingdom.
“This was fraud, plain and simple. This wasn’t a market gone bad,” Wolford remarked prior to her sentencing. “People lost a lot of money. It was not conduct that was isolated in terms of its time frame.”

30 August 2016

No Lost Cause
By William Laurance, Biographic, 30 August 2016
A good friend of mine, Steve Blake, who led a major study of poaching of African forest elephants, often used to end his emails with the phrase, “We’re all so screwed.”
Steve is a dedicated conservationist and was deeply alarmed by the epic slaughter of elephants he was witnessing, but I don’t think for a second he was suggesting we give up the fight. Nor are many of the rest of us who have devoted our lives and careers to conservation. Yet in the pages of science and nature publications, and in communications put out by conservation organizations—including ALERT, a scientific organization I founded and lead—we often hear depressing, even devastating, stories about the rapid destruction of wildlife and their habitats. So where is the hope for nature conservation?

Breaking stereotypes of REDD+ finance, or ‘Where is the money?’
By Keiko Nomura & Thomas Enters, UN-REDD, 30 August 2016
Since the Bali Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2007, much of the focus has been on the ‘big money’ that will be needed to make the REDD+ operational. However, as Brana-Varela and Lee pointed out, “Developing countries tend to perceive REDD+ as a financing mechanism, while developed countries see it as a mitigation tool.” After eight years of REDD+ capacity building activities, this difference in perception appears to be more ingrained than ever, as REDD+ countries begin to think about implementing their REDD+ strategies. The question that keeps coming up again is “Where is the money for REDD+?”
And so, it isn’t surprising that REDD+ Finance has been the most-requested topic for support from the UN-REDD Programme in Asia and the Pacific. In May 2016, the Programme’s regional team therefore organized an Asia/Pacific knowledge exchange on REDD+ Finance, in partnership with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), and supported by funding from the REDD+ Partnership.

Aviation emissions must be capped, experts warn
By Mark Elliott, Travel Daily, 30 August 2016
Ahead of a landmark meeting to decide the future of the aviation industry’s global environmental policy, industry experts have reiterated the importance of a cap on the industry’s carbon emissions.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will hold its General Assembly from 27 September to 7 October 2016, where the main topic on the agenda will be the implementation of a new “market-based measure” for airline emissions.
And the consequences of failing to reach an agreement could be severe, according to some leading environmental figures, with carbon pollution levels from commercial aircraft forecast to triple by 2050.

[Indonesia] 60% of forest fires in Kalimantan, Sumatra not on concession land
By Francis Chan, The Jakarta Post, 30 August 2016
Satellites detected almost 700 fires across Kalimantan and Sumatra last week, as the thick haze from land burning on the two Indonesian islands began blanketing the skies over Malaysia and Singapore.
However, the data from Global Forest Watch (GFW) also found that 60 percent of the fires were spotted outside concession areas that were not managed by plantation firms. GFW, an initiative of American think-tank World Resources Institute, produces detailed maps and analyses of forest fires around the world.
The latest satellite information from its website largely supports the findings of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).

Pulp firm Bumi Mekar Hijau found guilty of starting illegal fires in Indonesia
By Francis Chan, The Straits Times, 30 August 2016
The Palembang High Court has overturned a lower court’s decision to clear pulpwood firm Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) of illegally setting fires on its concession land in 2014.
According to a copy of the Aug 12 ruling that was seen by The Straits Times, the firm was found to have “committed an unlawful act”.
The High Court also ordered BMH, which supplies products to Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group, to pay 78.5 billion rupiah (S$8 million) in damages.
The award is a small fraction of the 7.8 trillion rupiah in damages sought by the Environment and Forestry Ministry when it first filed the civil suit against BMH last year.

[Singapore] Renewed call to boycott haze-linked firms
Today Online, 30 August 2016
With haze making a reappearance last week, the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) have renewed their call to consumers to boycott companies whose land-clearing practices contribute to forest fires.
In a media statement on Tuesday (Aug 30), both groups, expressing disappointment at the return of the haze, said it “represents the growing demand for both paper as well as palm oil products”.

31 August 2016

Green Climate Fund needs ideas with low-carbon wow factor: ex-head
By Megan Rowling, Reuters, 31 August 2016
The Green Climate Fund, which aims to channel billions of dollars to help poorer nations tackle global warming, is not yet backing the right kind of projects to bring about a sea change in low-carbon development, said its recently departed executive director.
Héla Cheikhrouhou, who was appointed as Tunisia’s minister for energy, mining and renewable in its new government on Friday, urged the $10.3-billion fund to provide clearer guidelines on what it is seeking to finance in areas such as water, urban development, energy and transport.
“Now our rules are very broad… the net that exists is very wide, so anything goes,” Cheikhrouhou told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview from Tunis.
“We can’t continue like that; we need to invest the money wisely to meet the mandate of the fund.”

Indigenous People Demand Shared Benefits from Forest Conservation
By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 31 August 2016
“Why don’t the authorities put themselves in our shoes?” asked Cándido Mezúa, an indigenous man from Panama, with respect to native peoples’ participation in conservation policies and the sharing of benefits from the protection of forests.
Mezúa, who belongs to the Emberá people and is a member of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests, told IPS that “the state should recognise the benefit of this valuable mechanism for long-term sustainability, as a mitigation measure unique to indigenous peoples.”
But little progress has been made with regard to clearly defining the compensation, said the native leader, in an indigenous caucus held during the annual meeting of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), which is being held Aug. 29 to Sep. 1 in Guadalajara, a city in west-central Mexico.

Q&A: Lessons from China for forest landscape restoration
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 31 August 2016
This interview is Part 1 of a three-part series on forest landscape restoration to coincide with the IUCN World Conservation Congress, held from 1-10 September in Hawai’i, USA.
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) will be represented in various panels and sessions at the event as part of the KNOWFOR partnership with the World Bank Program on Forests (PROFOR) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Louis Putzel, CIFOR Senior Scientist, spoke with Forests News ahead of the event.

[Indonesia] What More Can We Say?
Kompas, 31 August 2016
People may have different opinions when they discuss the origin of the troublesome haze in Indonesia. Some believe that forest fires have prevailed here since the 1970s, but others say that the massive fires began to ravage the country’s forests in 1997.
The fact that the annual fires have continued to happen this year has hurt our pride as a nation. The country’s presidents have changed and strong statements have been made, yet haze keeps on coming like a faithful guest paying its annual visit.

Indonesia’s Widodo masters the politics, but reform agenda fades
By John Chalmers, Reuters, 31 August 2016
As he heads toward the end of his second year as Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo has never looked stronger: a crowd of political parties backs him, he is riding high in opinion polls and the economy is beginning to bounce off the bottom.
After a terrible first year when the rupiah currency plummeted and critics questioned his ability to govern, aides and politicians close to Widodo told Reuters he now feels firmly in control and is already considering re-election in 2019.
But Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, appears to have managed his recovery by soft-pedalling on the political and economic reforms that he had promised in the world’s fourth-most populous nation when he stood for election in 2014.

Anatomy of an Indonesian Oil Palm Conflict
Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, 31 August 2016
More extensive consultation, better maps and a better grievance mechanism could have helped prevent a conflict at a palm oil plantation in Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan that has now dragged on for seven years. The longer it has gone on, the messier it has become, with new parties that were never part of the original dispute and a dangerous ethnic dimension that has just emerged.
In its latest report, Anatomy of an Indonesian Oil Palm Conflict, IPAC examines a conflict that began in 2009 with a concession awarded to private company without full consultation with the affected farmers across seven villages and without clear mapping or markers to determine the boundaries. A second company secured a permit shortly thereafter and began planting oil palm on land that encroached on the first concession.

Mozambique faces race against time to end illegal logging
By Ning Hui, The Guardian, 31 August 2016
“We are cleaning the house now”, says Celso Correia. The young, smartly-dressed, minister for land, environment and rural development in Mozambique is talking about the corruption and illegal logging that has dogged the southern African country’s timber sector for more than a decade.
As recently as 2013, a remarkable 93% of all the logging taking place in the country was happening illegally, according to a report from the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
As well as leading to unsustainable levels of deforestation, the export of illegally logged timber was also depriving the country of tens of millions of dollars a year in lost tax revenue.

[USA] Governor Brown, Legislative Leaders Announce Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan Agreement
Highland Community News, 31 August 2016
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today announced an agreement on an expenditure plan for unallocated cap-and-trade proceeds that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through programs that benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation, reduce short-lived climate pollutants and protect natural ecosystems.
Under current law, 60 percent of annual auction proceeds are allocated on an ongoing basis to public transit, affordable housing, sustainable communities and high-speed rail. This agreement invests $900 million of the remaining unallocated funds for fiscal year 2016-17, and reserves approximately $462 million for appropriation in future years.

1 September 2016

G20 states must take harder line on carbon emissions: NGOs
AFP, 1 September 2016
G20 states must work harder to ensure a swifter transition to a low carbon economy, NGOs urged Thursday, notably deploring continued EU finance for fossil fuel-powered projects.
Major powers should revise upwards by a factor of six greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2030 to meet their commitments of limiting temperature rises to two Celsius under last year’s Paris Accord on climate change, Climate Transparency said.
“Our report shows that while global emissions growth may be coming to an end, there is not yet the necessary dynamic to transform the ‘brown’ fossil-fuel based economy and into the ‘green’, said Climate Transparency, a grouping of international research centres, in a report released ahead of a weekend G20 summit in China.

WWF names Manuel Pulgar-Vidal as new climate chief
By Ed King, Climate Home, 1 September 2016
WWF has appointed Peru’s former environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal as its new head of climate and energy, the conservation group announced today.
A lawyer-turned-politician, Pulgar-Vidal chaired the UN climate talks through 2014, culminating in the Lima Accord on climate change, which laid the foundations for the 2015 Paris Agreement.
“He is a fantastic symbol of how government, business and civil society can be brought together around global environmental priorities,” said WWF International chief Marco Lambertini.

5 alarming facts about Amazon forest fires
By Cristiane Mazzetti, Greenpeace, 1 September 2016
From July to November, it is fire season in the Amazon rainforest. But while fires can be a normal part of the life cycle in forests, most of the flames in the Amazon are far from natural – and damaging.
Each year, people burn rainforest to clear the land for farming and pasture, as well as illegal logging. What’s worse, these practices make the forest even more vulnerable to future blazes and contribute to climate change.
Here are five alarming facts you should know about fires in the Amazon rainforest.

REDD+ in the Congo: Buya Pilot Project
Woods Hole Research Center, 1 September 2016
“How do we know your project isn’t going to ruin everything for us?” asked a Bokumu Mokola village elder.
There began the challenge.
“This is all voluntary. We’re going to find out about you, and you’re going to find out about us,” said Dr. Glenn Bush, the Projet Équateur principal investigator, and an assistant scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. “And you’ll learn what REDD+ is all about. If you like what you hear, and want to go ahead with the project, it would be your choice.”
It was the first time in decades spent working in development science that the question had been posed to Dr. Bush — after years spent working in post-war Uganda, and post-war Rwanda.
“And it came like a breath of fresh air,” chuckled Dr. Bush.

Regreening Ethiopia
CIFOR Forest News Blog, 1 September 2016
Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is the ongoing process of regaining ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being across deforested or degraded areas.
CIFOR’s FLR research work is funded by the International Forestry Knowledge (KNOWFOR) Program. KNOWFOR aims to provide policymakers and practitioners in developing countries with useful evidence, tools and analysis on forests, trees and climate change.
KNOWFOR’s ongoing work will be presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, held from 1-10 September in Hawai’i, USA.

Illegal Forest Fires Threaten Another Indonesian Province, Report Finds
By Sarah Schonhardt, Wall Street Journal, 1 September 2016
An investigation by several environmental groups says the practice of setting forest fires to clear land for palm oil and timber plantations in Indonesia is spreading to the largely untouched province of Papua, worsening the annual haze that afflicts broad swaths of Southeast Asia.
Using satellite images, as well as photos and videos taken on the ground, the groups in a report published Thursday singled out Jakarta-based Korindo Group, a conglomerate focused on resources and energy, for allegedly clearing land through illegal burning.

Korean palm oil firm accused of illegal forest burning in Indonesia
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 1 September 2016
A Korean palm oil company has been dropped by buyers after footage emerged that allegedly shows the illegal burning of vast tracts of tropical forest on lands it holds concessions for in Indonesia.
Some of the world’s biggest palm oil trading producers including Wilmar, Musim Mas and IOI have stopped using palm oil sourced from Korindo, much of which is destined to meet European demand.
Korindo’s alleged deforestation of pristine woodland in Papua province also threatens to destroy the last sanctuary of several birds of paradise and the tree kangaroo, according to a report by a new environmental alliance called Mighty.

[Indonesia] BMKG Finds 12 Hot Spots in Ambon
Kompas, 1 September 2016
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pattimura, Ambon, has found 12 hotspots in the province of Maluku. It is hoped that the disaster mitigation team quickly identifies these spots and takes quick action to stop the fires from spreading.
In 2005, a huge fire occurred in the north part of Seram Island, which resulted in the evacuation of 1,222 residents from Maneo Rendah village, Seram Utara Timur Kobi district, Central Maluku regency. The village, which is located in the middle of a forest, was engulfed by fire, which burned down 15 homes and one community health center.

[USA] California’s zero-emission vehicle program is stuck in neutral
By Rory Carroll and Alexandria Sage, Reuters, 1 September 2016
Toyota’s (7203.T) zero-emission vehicle sales in California this year amount to a drop of hydrogen in an ocean of gasoline.
The world’s largest automaker has so far sold about 270 hydrogen fuel cell cars in the state, where it delivered nearly 400,000 gas-powered vehicles last year, according to an analysis of IHS Markit data. Toyota does not currently sell an electric vehicle.
And yet the automaker will have no trouble meeting California’s zero-emission vehicle mandates – because it can satisfy those obligations with state-awarded environmental credits instead of current zero-emission vehicle sales.
The Toyota example underscores how the California’s complex credit system has left the state well off the pace needed to meet its clean-car sales goals.

2 September 2016

Amazonas State to Set a New Standard for Brazil with Presentation of Carbon Emissions Certificate to Marriott International
Hospitalitynet, 2 September 2016
Brazil made history today when the State Secretary of Environment for Amazonas (SEMA), on behalf of the State Government of Amazonas, and the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), delivered its first-ever certificate of carbon emissions reduction to the US-headquartered hospitality company Marriott International. The presentation will take place during the Climate Summit of the Americas in Guadalajara, Mexico. This is the first time in Brazil that a certificate has been issued by a partnership between state government, a private institution and a non-governmental organization. The document is not transferable.

Major nations urge China to back aviation emissions pact -source
By Allison Lampert and David Stanway, Reuters, 2 September 2016
Major countries are urging China to join the start of a U.N.-brokered deal to limit carbon emissions from international flights because its participation is seen as essential to hitting targets, according to an Asian source familiar with the talks.
The talks are being led by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Montreal-based United Nations agency meets Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 to try and finalize the deal, which has been approved as a draft but has not yet been made public.
Europe and the United States want the deal to cover 80 percent of the rise in emissions from international flights after 2020, two other sources familiar with the regions’ thinking said.

EU carbon price falls below €4, 2 September 2016
The price for an EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) allowance1 fell below €4 today, the lowest since 2013. Despite proposed reforms to the ETS, the carbon market has struggled for years under an enormous surplus of spare allowances depressing prices.
New reforms are due to be decided on by the European Parliament in late 2016. However, the recent spiral downward in EUA prices suggests carbon market traders have low expectations that the surplus will be tackled. The current reform process, led by British MEP Ian Duncan, has floundered under pressure from Poland.

[Indonesia] S. Korean company accused of deforestation in Papua
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 2 September 2016
Following activity in Sumatra and Kalimantan, palm oil companies have begun expansion in Papua, which houses Indonesia’s only remaining virgin forests as other parts of the country have largely been converted to plantations.
One such company is Korindo Group, a Korean-Indonesian conglomerate and Papua’s major palm oil company. In 2013, Korindo began its aggressive clearing of tropical lowland forests for oil palm plantations in Papua.
The massive deforestation and illegal burning of pristine rainforests by Korindo was uncovered in a recent investigative report by global environmental organization Mighty, Indonesian humanitarian organizations SKP-KAMe Merauke and PUSAKA, Transport & Environment, Rainforest Foundation Norway and the Korean Federation for Environmental Movements (KFEM).

3 September 2016

China, U.S. pledge support for global aviation emissions pact
By David Stanway, Kathy Chen, Allison Lampert, Julia Fioretti, and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 3 September 2016
China and the United States have pledged support for a new deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions from the aviation sector, they said in a joint statement on Saturday.
A new global market mechanism for cutting emissions in the aviation sector is set to be finalised at a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September and is expected to go into effect from 2021.
“Today, the United States and China are expressing their support for the ICAO Assembly reaching consensus on such a measure,” the two countries said in the statement.

Indonesian minister advises maintaining vigil in wake of forest fires
Antara News, 3 September 2016
Indonesia has continued to remain vigilant against forest fires, although the number of hotspots across the nation has been reduced by 70-90 percent, according to the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Forestry.
Based on data from the 19 observations conducted by NOAA18 satellite, the number of hotspots from January 1 to August 28, this year, decreased to 2,356, or 74.64 percent, compared to 8,247 during the same period last year, the ministry said in a statement posted on the foreign ministrys website.
The largest decline occurred in the provinces of Riau and Central Kalimantan.

U.S.-China Climate Change Cooperation Outcomes
The White House press release, 3 September 2016
President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping have forged a historic partnership between the United States and China to lead in combatting climate change. From the Sunnylands meeting in 2013, to the landmark November 2014 Joint Announcement on Climate Change and the September 2015 and March 2016 Joint Presidential Statements on Climate Change, leadership by the United States and China has galvanized global action to build a green, low-carbon, and climate-resilient world and was a major contributor to achieving the historic Paris Agreement. Climate change has formed a central pillar of the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Both sides are committed to implementing the three presidential joint statements on climate change and will continue to deepen and broaden bilateral climate change cooperation, building on the concrete progress and productive outcomes achieved thus far.

4 September 2016

China, US and Europe Pledge Support for Global Aviation Emissions Pact
Reuters, 4 September 2016
By 2021 airlines will need to either cut emissions or offset them with credits.
China, the United States and Europe all pledged support on Saturday for a new deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by airlines which is due to be finalized at a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September and is expected to go into effect from 2021.
Aviation was excluded from last December’s climate accord in Paris when countries agreed to limit the global average rise in in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Leaked embassy documents…Britain and Germany had raised concerns over huge number of Guyana visas to Baishanlin
Kaieteur News, 4 September 2016
There is evidence that as far back as 2013, concerns were raised by British andchina u German immigration officials over the huge number of Chinese workers that were brought into Guyana by Baishanlin International Forest Development.
According to correspondence between former Government ministers and Guyana’s Embassy in China, seen by Kaieteur News, as far back as 2013, the manner in which the Chinese company was requesting visas for Chinese workers left much to be desired.

Work with Indonesian authorities to stamp out forest fires
By Debbie Injan Anak Andrew Jumat, New Straits Times, 4 September 2016
The haze is a phenomenon faced by Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is a pollution of the atmosphere, which is clogged with pollutants and substances from forest fires. We had a scare recently when the Air Pollutant Index (API) was 79 in Nilai and Negri Sembilan; Pasir Gudang at 74; Port Dickson at 70; Malacca at 72; Putrajaya at 62 and Petaling Jaya at 51. The haze is a direct effect of forest fires in Kalimantan and other parts of Indonesia due to slash-and-burn farming. The Indonesian authorities appear to have no power to prevent farmers from practising this method.

[Indonesia] Environment Minister Condemns Hostage Situation Involving Palm Oil Company
By Edo Karesna, The Jakarta Globe, 4 September 2016
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar has condemned the hostage situation in Rokan Hulu district, Riau province, which saw employees of her ministry abducted by local residents during an investigation of last year’s forest fires.
Seven members of the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry’s public order and law enforcement directorate were taken hostage on Friday (02/09) by a group of local residents, allegedly deployed by palm oil plantation company Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL).
Initial investigations by the ministry team showed that a 2,000-hectare area had been burnt by APSL workers, who pretended to be local farmers.
“Most likely, these illegal activities were supported by the company, who employed local farmer groups,” Minister Siti said in a statement on Sunday.

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