REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
IETA and CMIA press for airlines to use project-level REDD+ credits
Environmental Finance, November 2016
Two leading trade associations have come together to lobby for carbon credits from small-scale forest protection projects to be used in the forthcoming international carbon market for airlines – the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia). [R-M: Subscription needed.]
7 November 2016
COP22 Jargon Cheat Sheet
By Sarah Parsons, Eliza Northrop, Joe Thwaites, Cynthia Elliott and David Waskow, World Resources Institute, 7 November 2016
Every UN climate negotiation brings with it a litany of jargon that even experts struggle to understand. COP22 in Marrakech this year is no exception.
While these words, phrases and acronyms can be complex and confusing, they’re hugely important — not just for the negotiations, but for all of us who care about reining in runaway global warming.
Here’s a COP22 jargon cheat sheet that explains the buzzwords to watch and their implications for curbing climate change.
Self-assessing carbon offset hugely inaccurate, shows study
The Indian Express, 7 November 2016
A review of the way carbon offset credits have been used internationally to reduce carbon emissions suggests that the programme needs independent monitoring as it is now subject to inaccurate self-reporting.
The research, led by Amy Pickering, an engineering research associate at the Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment’s Program on Water, Health and Development, examined a carbon offset programme involving distribution of water filters in Kenya and found inaccuracies in self-reported data, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Our message to recommend independent monitoring of greenhouse gas emission projects is especially timely considering global ratification of the Paris Agreement has reached the threshold needed for the agreement to go into force,” said Pickering.
Countries Moving Ahead with REDD+ to Combat Climate Change
By Tiina Vähänen (FAO), IISD, 7 November 2016
From South America to South-East Asia, countries are making their way through a rigorous process that could soon see them receive financial rewards for reducing deforestation – an outcome that will help combat climate change and bring numerous other ancillary benefits.
Brazil and Colombia, among others, are in the forefront of some 15 countries that are well advanced in their work to meet the stringent requirements to take part in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
The Paris Agreement Takes Flight; What’s Next In Marrakesh?
By Gustavo Silva-Chávez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 November 2016
Last Friday, the Paris Agreement entered into force way ahead of schedule – less than a year after the gavel came down to adopt the climate agreement last December. This week, as nations’ representatives meet in Marrakesh, Morocco for the next annual UN climate conference (COP22), they’ll look to take an important step toward putting the landmark agreement to work.
Back in 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated and agreed to, it took almost eight agonizing years to take effect. Two decades later, the Paris Agreement achieved the same milestone under 11 months. That difference speaks volumes about how seriously countries are taking the threat of climate change.
A COP22 Guide to the Mysterious World of Shipping
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 7 November 2016
The shipping industry is a major emitter, and it’s set to double in size (or more) in coming years. Here’s why you should care about ships — aside from the fact that they probably brought you the device you’re reading this article on.
Here’s the thing about the shipping industry: It’s largely invisible to the land-locked public. For decades, the industry has operated with little public scrutiny — out of sight, out of mind. And while most people consider boats an outdated mode of travel, they are still a major mode of trade: More than 50,000 merchant ships are currently in operation across the world’s oceans, ferrying 90 percent of the world’s trade between producers and consumers.
Developing countries, people density and shrinking forests
By Peter Makwanya, News Day, 7 November 2016
Talk about the spirit of the woods and also reference to Mother Nature.
Nature is a woman, as it bears life and women are also regarded as the guardians of nature.
Sometimes forests are termed as dwelling places of the ritual gods and those unforeseen powers that are assumed to control human life are said to reside in the forests.
From the Amazons to the tropical rainforests of Central Africa, the imposing hardwoods of the southern Africa to densely knitted thickets of South East Asia, lay some of the world’s largest trees and forest cover.
These are also home to the largest mammals and reptiles on earth.
Due to population density and the need for forest resources, the revered forests continue to shrink and decrease in size, thereby contributing to global warming.
UN released two million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2015 latest ‘Greening the Blue’ report shows
UN News Centre, 7 November 2016
In the latest edition of the United Nations report on the organization’s greenhouse gas emissions, the world body announced that it emitted two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2015 and that a total of 28 UN system entities took systematic approaches to improve their environmental performance, all part of its commitment to become climate neutral by 2020.
“As I prepare to step down as Secretary-General, I am encouraged by how far we have come in ‘walking the talk,’ thanks to the enthusiasm of the staff of the United Nations for Greening the Blue, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his introduction to the report, which was released today.
The UN chief said he was also pleased to see growing staff commitment to climate neutrality and sustainability in the workplace, as well as consistent support for initiatives such as World Environment Day and Earth Hour.
COP22 Special: Why should we care about coastal blue carbon?
By Daniel Murdiyarso, CIFOR Forests News, 7 November 2016
Delegates are gathering for the 22nd session of a climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7-18 November. It is interesting to note that after so many years, oceans will be part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) agenda. Why oceans? Why now?
Do oceans and seas have anything to do with the global climate?
Coastal blue carbon is known as the carbon stored in tidal wetland ecosystems, which includes tidally-influenced forests, mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows. It is kept within soil, living biomass and non-living biomass carbon pools.
Coastal blue carbon is a subset of blue carbon that also includes ocean blue carbon, which represents carbon stored in open ocean carbon pools.
1.2 Million Acre Ghanaian Forest Carbon Sequestration Pilot Project Launched for New Tradable Forest Carbon Products
Planetary Emissions Management Inc press release, 7 November 2016
How much carbon is actually sequestered by diverse forest landscapes and how useful are carbon credits? This and related questions are addressed by a joint project that combines commercial large-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) sensor systems and diverse forest ecosystems located in Ghana. The Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG), Accra, Ghana, Africa, and Planetary Emissions Management Inc. (PEM), Cambridge, MA, USA, have initiated a joint project now in the planning stage. Scientifically proven forest carbon sensors scaled-up for commercial applications would be deployed as a modular, intelligent, autonomous system of systems for the proposed project. The PEM approach turns traditional carbon credits upside down; there is no cost or fee to landowners, instead, landowners may receive upfront and annual payments for sequestered forest carbon implemented with a detailed project management plan subject to annual review. The project results include new and directly verified carbon products for sale to individuals, corporations and institutions worldwide. A Regulation A+ Tier II* $50M USD funding plan is under consideration to support the project.
[India] Tourism body shows concern over forest fires
Greater Kashmir, 7 November 2016
Travel Agents association of Kashmir (TAAK) has expressed serious concern over the frequent forest fires in Kashmir, saying it leads to the “devastation of forests.”
“It is unfortunate to note that almost every year the forests either catch fire accidently, or are being set on fire by unscrupulous elements and greedy people.
“It is shocking to note that our forest department is not well equipped and prepared to fight these calamities. Although the forest department has the forest guards and forest protection force on its rolls, such incidents and vandalisation of forests go on unabated.
[Sri Lanka] Hiniduma Bio-link project featured at top sustainability conference
Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), 7 November 2016
The Hiniduma Bio-link project, Asia’s first-ever Plan Vivo -certified project was featured at the recently concluded ‘Sri Lanka Next’ Conference & Exhibition, the country’s official sustainability agenda-led event held at the BMICH, as a part of the ‘International Symposium on Valuation of Forest Ecosystems and their Services’.
The project, which seeks to establish a biodiversity corridor between Sinharaja and Kanneliya, whilst addressing the pressing issues of rural poverty and climate change, was presented by Lakmini Senadheera – Project Manager of the Hiniduma Bio-link.
Established in 2010, the Hiniduma Bio-link Project is a CSR effort of The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC), to establish a biodiversity corridor between the two largest rainforest patches in the island – Singharaja (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Kanneliya (International Man & Biosphere Reserve), and to conserve buffer zones around the forest edges through reforestation.
The primary objective is to mitigate pressure on local communities in surrounding areas of the remaining rainforest patches, whist the secondary objective is to enhance the livelihoods of traditional communities living in close proximity to the forest that is rich in biodiversity, but is threatened from logging and human encroachment for agricultural purposes.
[USA] Climate activist Bill McKibben: The stakes are too high to vote for a third party vote
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 7 November 2016
Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, is not going to say anything positive about Hillary Clinton, at least on climate change. But in an exclusive interview with Climate Progress, he made clear that voting for a third party is still an unwise option for those who care about the climate.
That’s because America’s most well-known climate activist really, really worries about the possibility of electing Donald Trump, whom he calls “the worst choice that we’ve ever had” in an election. “It’s quite possible to me that we may lose the climate fight anyway,” McKibben said. “If we’re going to, I’d just as soon not do it living in a semi-fascist state to boot.”
8 November 2016
Democratic challenge for REDD+
Gates Cambridge, 8 November 2016
Libby Blanchard has co-authored a chapter in a new book on climate change mitigation strategies and carbon offsets.
The attempt by California to incorporate international forest carbon credits into its climate mitigation strategy is described in the chapter of an important new book on climate change mitigation strategies and carbon offsets, published this week.
The chapter, co-authored by Gates Cambridge Scholar Libby Blanchard and her PhD supervisor Dr Bhaskar Vira, appears in the book The Carbon Fix, published this week.
Based on Blanchard’s PhD research, it details public debates and discourses on the possibility of incorporating REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) carbon offset credits into California’s climate mitigation strategy. It focuses on the social impacts of REDD+ and considers the extent to which groups who will be impacted by the proposed policy have a voice or are represented within the debate and what legitimacy this representation holds.
World’s first forest bond beats expectations
By Barbara Lewis and Karin Strohecker, Reuters, 8 November 2016
A green investment that for the first time channels private money into protecting forests has raised twice as much planned, its issuers said on Tuesday.
A branch of the World Bank and miner BHP Billiton are backing the bond, which is also a first in allowing investors to opt to be paid in carbon credits rather than cash.
Three years in the making, the forest bond has raised $152 million from institutional investors, such as pension funds, to combat deforestation, seen as crucial to meeting a U.N. goal to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Christian Grossmann, director of the climate change department at the World Bank’s International Financial Corporation (IFC), said the aim was to be “a catalyser and have a demonstration effect” to inspire other issuers.
The IFC said the bond, issued on Oct. 31, had been intended to be half the size, but was increased because of demand.
Green Bonds And Investments Are Key To Fight Climate Change, International Experts In Morocco Say
By Federico Guerrini, Forbes, 8 November 2016
The UN Climate Change Conference, or”Cop22″, is currently unfolding in Marrakesh. Analysts, politicians and other stakeholders will discuss for ten days how to best achieve the targets set in last year’s landmark conference in Paris.
A few days before, in Casablanca, another Cop22 labeled gathering took place: Climate Finance Day (CFD), a high-level meeting of experts in the green finance space, hosted by Casablanca Finance City. While a side event, it dealt with no minor issue: keeping the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 will require huge investments and markets, so far, seem slow to live up to the challenge.
“Investors are starting to allocate money in green projects, but often because it is ‘the nice thing to do’, rather than because they see them as a real opportunity,” Anthony Hobley, CEO of the Carbon Tracker Initiative think-tank said. “We must make them understand that clean energies are often already more cost-competitive and financially rewarding than traditional ones.”
Biochar at COP22: Fighting Climate Change From the Ground Up
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 8 November 2016
Climate delegates from around the globe have converged on the COP22 Village in Marrakech, Morocco, to hammer out the details of implementing the Paris Agreement. We already know that nations’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, as they stand now, will not be enough to meet the goals of the agreement, and it’s widely accepted that, in order to keep warming below two degrees Celsius, we’ll have to deploy technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere during the second half of the century.
Governments See CDM as Crucial for Paris Goals
UNFCCC, 8 November 2016
Government officials meeting in Marrakech have said that the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has a key role in helping countries achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius.
The Clean Development Mechanism was established under the Kyoto Protocol, and has been successful in generating climate action on the ground, with almost 8.000 projects and close to 300 large-scale programme of activities established in 125 countries.
The call was made at a meeting of Nationally Designated Authorities (DNAs) under the Clean Development Mechanism (“Global DNA Forum”) in the Moroccan city.
Shipping to go ‘beyond Paris Agreement’ without offsets
By Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist, 8 November 2016
The International Chamber of Shipping has committed the industry to legally binding emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement. Unlike the aviation industry, it will make no use of carbon ‘offsets’, but will reach its targets by increasing efficiency and moving to lower carbon fuels.
At the UNFCCC Climate Conference (COP 22), in Marrakesh, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) today committed the industry to fulfilling ambitious emissions reductions under the Paria Agreement, which came into force last week.
It also welcomed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreement on a ‘CO2 Road Map’ for shipping as “a significant decision giving further impetus to the substantial CO2 reductions that are already being delivered by the global industry.”
Radical overhaul needed to halt Earth’s sixth great extinction event
By Bill Laurance and Paul Ehrlich, The Conversation, 8 November 2016
Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.7 billion years. During that time we know of five mass extinction events — dramatic episodes when many, if not most, life forms vanished in a geological heartbeat. The most recent of these was the global calamity that claimed the dinosaurs and myriad other species around 66 million years ago.
Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction — one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Others, such as the Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg, have characterised such claims as ill-informed fearmongering.
We argue emphatically that the jury is in and the debate is over: Earth’s sixth great extinction has arrived.
Dairy farmers will no longer be shut out of carbon markets
By Dave Keating, Deutsche Welle, 8 November 2016
New UN accounting methodology will allow farmers to account for their emissions reductions. They should now be able participate in emissions trading systems – as climate goals are being hammered out in Marrakesh.
When people think about the causes of climate change, they often think about the biggest, most obvious things that generate greenhouse gas emissions such as power plants, heavy industry and airplanes. But one of the major causes of emissions often goes unnoticed – agriculture.
Agriculture, including forestry, fisheries and livestock production, generates around a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Yet so far, it has remained one of the hardest emissions generators to tackle because the effects are harder to measure.
For this reason, livestock agriculture has not been included in the carbon trading markets set up around the world over the past 10 years.
COP22 Special: What does the landscape approach look like in practice?
By James Reed and Terry Sunderland, CIFOR Forests News, 8 November 2016
What are integrated landscape approaches and how do we put them in practice on the ground?
These questions – important when considering sustainable land-use management amid competing demands – will be discussed at the upcoming CIFOR and partner-hosted PEFC stakeholder dialogue in Bali and the Global Landscapes Forum in Marrakesh.
Integrated landscape approaches have received a groundswell of support from across sectors in recent years as a means to more sustainably manage land use within tropical landscapes. There is a growing body of theoretical knowledge conceptualizing how a landscape approach framework might best be applied in a practical sense. However, there is a suggestion that, as yet, this knowledge is not widely being translated into evidence of the effectiveness of the approach in practice.
Deforestation forces up Brazil’s carbon emissions
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 8 November 2016
In 2015 Brazil told the world it would make significant reductions in its emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving global warming. Its emissions are, however, heading in the opposite direction.
The country pledged, as a signatory to the Paris Agreement, to cut emissions by 37% by 2025, and by 43% up to 2030. Yet today they are 3.5% higher than they were a year ago.
Newly released data reveals the cause: an unexpected rise in the rate of deforestation, which accounts for more than two-thirds (69%) of Brazil´s greenhouse gas emissions.
[Fiji] REDD+ working group formed
By Luke Rawalai, Fiji Times, 8 November 2016
The end of the week-long REDD+ workshop will see the formation of the program’s North working group which will guide the implementation of activities in the division.
In a statement, REDD+ communications and knowledge management specialist Reama Naco said the group would also make informed decisions on behalf of their organisations on issues relating to REDD+ at the divisional, district and local level.
Ms Naco said the group would also provide feedback and advice to the national steering committee on REDD+ issues and progress in the divisions.
“The Government has been allocating funds in the REDD+ readiness process since 2012,” she said.
[India] Forest fires: Accountable who?
Greater Kashmir, 8 November 2016
There has been a spate of forest fires in the last couple of months across Kashmir division that have wiped out precious forest cover in the already depleting forests of the state. The worst hit are the ranges in the vicinity of Srinagar – the Zabarwan range, forest areas in and around Dachigam National Park – and the Pirpanjal range. Outer Himalayas in South Kashmir have been affected too. This is quite a worrisome situation. In view of the disturbed political and security situation prevailing in Kashmir right now, details about these fires – the causes, the extent of the damages and the preventive measures taken by the Forest Ministry are quite sketchy. There is a genuine concern among the people that the Forest Ministry didn’t rise to the occasion as one would expect it to and no efforts were made to address the questions in the public domain about the mitigation measures the ministry was taking in controlling the fire. It was the duty of the Forest Minister to address the people, and also the media, and explain the situation. However, nothing of that sort has happened so far.
[Kenya] Kwale community nets cash protecting mangroves
Standard Digital, 8 November 2016
Along Kenya’s coastline at Makongeni area in Kwale County lies some 615 hectares of thick Mangrove forest jealously guarded by the surrounding communities who a few years back harvested the plant for economic purposes.
The plantation served as a raw material for building houses and boats to a community whose nearly 90 per cent of population depends on fishing.
The change sweeping the area is necessitated by the importance of conserving mangroves to fight climate change and using the proceeds to improve people’s lives, which is now turning out to be of tangible benefits beyond the area.
Through a partnership with Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, and Plan Vivo which is a registered Scottish charity, they are making millions of shillings through protection and populating Coastline with more mangrove.
[UK] Investors warned to be wary as scams using law firms rise
By Helen Knapman, Moneywise, 8 November 2016
Investors have been warned to be wary of scam “investment schemes” that use solicitors as middlemen to make such investments seem trustworthy and safe.
Legal watchdog, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), says this type of scam was a particular issue in the late 1990s to early 2000s but is now becoming increasingly common again.
It adds that it’s seen an increase in reports of such scams, with initial analysis showing reports having approximately doubled in the last 18 months. It’s currently dealing with cases in which consumers have lost a collective £100 million.
9 November 2016
Without birds, tropical forests won’t bounce back from deforestation
By Alexander C. Lees, The Conversation, 9 November 2016
Among its many other claims to fame, the Amazon rainforest contains more than 1,500 bird species. Around a quarter of them are found nowhere else on Earth. Many of these birds have evolved to fill a specific role – whether that means eating particular types of insects, or scattering a certain size of seed, they all play a part in one of the world’s most complex ecological networks, keeping the forest healthy and resilient. More than 90% of tropical trees and shrubs depend on animals to disperse their seeds, for example. These “biodiversity services” are crucial.
In a new paper which has been accepted for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, my colleagues and I explored the link between deforestation in the Amazon and local bird diversity. Our bird data was collected in 330 different sites in the Brazilian state of Pará, including arable and pastoral farmland and both primary and secondary forests. Primary forests are the original native vegetation, now increasingly degraded by logging and wild fires. Secondary forests are those which grow back in areas, often farmland, which have been abandoned by people.
Climate Change Conference celebrates Forest Action Day
Xinhua, 9 November 2016
The Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Morocco celebrated Forest Action Day on Tuesday.
COP22’s Forest Action Day celebrations are a part of the Global Climate Action Agenda to protect, restore and sustainably manage forests.
Launched earlier on Tuesday by the climate champions for Morocco and France, Hakima El Haite and Laurence Tubiana, the Agenda aims to boost cooperation between governments, cities, businesses, investors and citizens to cut emissions and help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build their own clean energy and sustainable futures.
First emissions mechanism established for aviation
By Zhang Chun, China Dialogue, 9 November 2016
Carbon emissions from aviation are growing faster than any other sector. In an effort to address the problem, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approved the world’s first global emissions reduction scheme last month.
The Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a market-based mechanism in which carbon emissions are offset through the purchase of credits, leaving aviation emissions to remain – at least on paper – at 2020 levels.
Aviation currently accounts for just 2% of total carbon dioxide emissions globally, about half of which is from international aviation. However, without effective measures, aviation could account for about 22% of all emissions by 2050, according to projections from Greenovation Hub, an environmental non-governmental organisation.
[Indonesia] Judge turns down lawsuit on forest fire case in Riau
By Rizal Harahap, Jakarta Post, 9 November 2016
Citing legal technicalities, the Pekanbaru District Court turned down a lawsuit filed by a local resident demanding a pretrial hearing against a controversial warrant ( SP3 ) issued by Riau Police to terminate investigations into 15 companies suspected to have been involved in several forest fires and illegal land clearings in the province last year.
The court did not touch on the substance of the lawsuit, which included the contention that the police did not have a strong reason to drop the case. Instead, judge Sorta Ria Neva focused her ruling on procedural matters.
The judge concluded that Ferry Sapta, as plaintiff, did not meet the legal requirements to file a civil lawsuit (CLS) on behalf of other citizens.
Community leaders work to protect Papua’s forests and fight climate change
By Jill Schwartz, WWF, 9 November 2016
An ideal day for Alex Waisimon begins just before sunrise. Still sleepy, he walks out the front door of his home in the Indonesian province of Papua and up the steps of the elevated hut he built behind his house a few years earlier. He comes alive when he climbs into the hut and tunes into the sights and sounds that surround him in the dense forest. He is looking and listening for birds of paradise—the pride of Papua—not just for his own pleasure but for the pleasure of tourists who have hired him to help spot these colorful and elegant species.
Morocco Invests $ 100 million in World Bank Green Bonds
Morocco World News, 9 November 2016
The World Bank (WB) announced Tuesday the launch of 100 million dollars in World Bank green bonds purchased by Bank Al-Maghrib, the Central Bank of Morocco, for its reserves management.
Morocco is hosting the COP22 from November 7 to 18, where international climate leaders will come together to focus on the urgent actions needed to ensure the Paris Agreement is implemented.
“We need a global financial system that’s fit for purpose to factor in climate risks and opportunities,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Developing a green bond market is key to mobilizing the private capital flows needed to address climate change. We were delighted to collaborate with the Central Bank of Morocco on this important initiative,” he added.
[Pakistan] Human error: Fire scorches Lower Dir forest
The Express Tribune, 9 November 2016
A ferocious forest fire, which was started Monday night and burnt almost all healthy green foliage within the radius of four kilometres, was finally brought under control after 48 hours.
The fire erupted in Talash Valley’s Gumbat Village, housing around 300 families, and was successfully doused in the early hours of Tuesday.
The fire spread to Shamsi Khan Village – a densely populated area that lies parallel to the village from where the fire had started – after sunrise before being finally put out. Around 1,200 people – mostly schoolchildren, local elders – helped the Dir Lower Forest Department in extinguishing the blaze.
‘You Have Decided to Jump Into the Fire’: COP22 Reels After U.S. Election
By Ted Scheinman, Pacific Standard, 9 November 2016
The Royal Mirage Deluxe sounds like the name of a casino that Donald Trump ran into the ground during the 1990s. In fact, it’s a rather swish (and apparently solvent) hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, where the bar stayed open until dawn today so that delegates, activists, and lots of anglophone journalists could drink and watch the world go to hell on CNN.
It started out as a sort of victory party—one staffer for an American non-profit wore a Clinton/Kaine bumper sticker on the back of his blazer, and several journalists were sucking on expensive cigars. As late as 3 a.m. local time, with Florida and Ohio tipping definitively toward Trump, there was optimism and, eventually, the mad buoyancy of desperate men. One United Nations aide predicted a miracle in Florida: “Broward County will save us!” The cry was taken up by others in the room. There is something terrifying about hearing the phrase “Broward County” echo through a Moroccan bar in the middle of the night. It did not end well.
10 November 2016
Forestry crucial to fighting climate change
By Gijs Breukink, WWF, 10 November 2016
Over 20 per cent of tropical forests globally are designated by national governments for production. As the Paris Agreement comes into force, Reduced Impact Logging that incorporates carbon accounting can play a critical role in helping governments realize their climate targets.
Forests are part of the solution to combat climate change. This was formally recognized by the Paris Agreement adopted at COP21. Now a concerted effort needs to be made at COP22 and beyond to go beyond talk and truly catalyze and accelerate action.
Around the world, forests are still under threat from conversion, unsustainable logging and agriculture. If forests are not useful resources for communities that depend upon them, they are cut down for other means. Degraded forests can change from carbon sinks to carbon sources, accelerating runaway climate change. If we want forests to continue to provide us with resources, keep our climate stable and conserve biodiversity, then we need to tackle the threats they face and ensure that they continue to be a source of livelihood for local communities.
COP22 Special: REDD+ monitoring is a technical and political balancing act
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forest News, 10 November 2016
Monitoring deforestation so countries can track their greenhouse gas emission targets might seem like a technical matter of satellite images and data.
But implementing systems for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of programs aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) has proven much more complicated, says Anne Larson, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
That’s partly because of the many layers of decision-making involved, from international agreements hammered out at global climate summits to national government policies and local government programs for forest-dwelling communities.
Moving the Money in Marrakech
By Nick Robins, Huffington Post, 10 November 2016
Governments meet in Marrakech this year for the annual climate negotiations with a spring in their step. Last year’s Paris Agreement has come into effect in record time and been reinforced by a domino of measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from chemicals, aviation and shipping. Yet beneath the smiles, there remains the hard reality that current measures in place are simply inadequate to hold global warming to below 2°C and ideally to just 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. According to UN Environment, today’s commitments will reduce emissions by no more than a third of the levels required by 2030, risking warming of up to 3.4°C.
Finance is a key lever to close this gap – and one of the significant innovations of the Paris Agreement was to introduce a new international objective of ‘making financial flows consistent with low-greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.’ This means rethinking how the US$300 trillion of assets within the global financial system can now generate value within a limited carbon budget and an increasingly disrupted ecosystem.
Calls mount for a global carbon price but progress is slow
By Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 10 November 2016
It was one of the most curious moments in the run-up to the UN talks that sealed the landmark Paris climate change agreement last December.
The chief executives of six large European oil companies, including BP and Royal Dutch Shell, declared that they hoped the negotiations would lead to “widespread carbon pricing in all countries”. In other words, they would be happy if it cost more to burn the fossil fuels on which their revenues depend.
Given the political difficulties governments have faced when trying to introduce carbon pricing in a single country, let alone the entire world, the companies’ call was a safe one to make.
[Indonesia] Greenpeace questions KLHK’s refusal to disclose forest map
By Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta Post, 10 November 2016
Environmental activists have lambasted the government for refusing to abide by a Central Information Commission’s (KIP) ruling that ordered them to publish a forest cover map in shapefile format.
Shapefile format for maps enables users to analyze data by overlaying different maps. It functions to provide greater transparency about who controls areas of land and what happens within those areas.
The KIP ruled in favor of Greenpeace in October, saying that geospatial information or maps in shapefile format is public information that should be published by the Forestry and Environment Ministry (KLHK).
The commission ordered the ministry to publish data on forest fires in 2012 and 2013, the permits and maps of Industrial Plantation Forest Concessions (HTI) and Production Forest Concessions (HPH), all of which are in shapefile formats.
The ministry, however, has decided to challenge the ruling at the State Administrative Court.
Indonesian authorities reject APP landscape conservation
foresthints.news, 10 November 2016
Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry has finally made an official announcement on the findings of its assessment concerning Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)’s landscape conservation. It turns out that directive maps of this landscape conservation have been posted on the website of the Belantara Foundation, a foundation formed and funded by APP for the purpose of implementing its landscape conservation.
“Our ministry has made an official determination that APP’s landscape conservation is inconsistent with the country’s forestry and environmental laws and regulations. As such, we would never approve it,” Professor San Afri Awang, Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance at the ministry, told foresthints.news on Tuesday (Nov 7) at the ministry’s complex.
[Kenya] Taita Taveta reaps big from Sh15 billion forest bond
By John Muchangi and Gilbert Koech, The Star, 10 November 2016
Residents in Taita Taveta county will benefit from an international forest bond that raised Sh15.2 billion when it was issued on Monday.
Part of the money will be used to protect forests by supporting income generating projects for the residents.
The pioneer bond was issued by the International Financial Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and was backed by miner BHP Billiton.
The five-year bond raised Sh15.2 billion ($152 million) mainly from institutional investors such as pension funds.
The IFC said the bond had been intended to be half the size, but was increased because of demand.
It allows investors to opt to be paid in carbon credits rather than cash.
Those who opt to receive credits – or permits to emit one tonne of greenhouse gas – can either use them to cover emissions or sell them on the carbon credits market.
[UK] How lawyers lent legitimacy to multi-million pound investment scams
By Andrew Penman, The Mirror, 10 November 2016
Here’s lawyer Mandeep Dhariwal (left), who helped oil the wheels of investment scams amounting to £9.5million.
He’s not alone. A legal watchdog has warned that solicitors have been involved in dodgy investments totalling £100m.
Another one was Mel Goldberg, well-known in the world of sports lawyers as the former solicitor for Paul Gascoigne, among others.
They are not being accused of knowingly running investment scams. But they lent a false air of legitimacy to the schemes by allowing investors’ money to pass through their accounts.
You might think that paying money into an investment scheme via a firm of solicitors would make it safer, but the reverse is true – it is often the hallmark of a scam. As the Solicitors Regulation Authority points out: “Genuine financial services companies do not need to have money coming to them for investment passed through a law firm first.”
[USA] Ways Trump may alter California’s environment and energy landscape
By Emily Guerin and Stephen Gregory, scpr.org, 10 November 2016
Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that human activities are the leading cause of steadily rising temperatures around the globe.
President-elect Donald Trump, however, has called global warming “bulls**t” and a “hoax,” making him soon to be one of, if not the only, world leader to deny the science behind climate change. He’s also threatened to defund the Environmental Protection Agency and bring back the flagging coal industry.
Not surprisingly, environmentalists and climate activists are alarmed by what a Trump presidency will mean for efforts to reduce human-generated emissions that are warming the planet.
And they wonder what Trump’s policies might mean for California, which is considered a pioneer in efforts to conserve the environment and fight climate change.
11 November 2016
New acceleration fund to drive investment in forests
By Sophie Edwards, devex, 11 November 2016
A new financial mechanism to help combat climate change by getting funds flowing into forest carbon credits is under development and could be launched by spring next year.
Forest deforestation and degradation contributes to approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions per year, and so protecting forests has the potential to have one of the largest and most immediate impacts on climate change.
Forest carbon credits hope to provide incentives to do just that. They are generated by initiatives and projects that reduce deforestation, plant new trees and promote carbon-conscious land management — all of which results in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Each ton of CO2 not emitted translates into one carbon credit, which can then be traded on either the voluntary or compliance carbon markets, enabling governments and companies to meet their carbon emission allowances or voluntary targets.
However, forest carbon credits have largely stayed off the table when it comes to climate finance discussions to date and were only officially recognized as a climate change mitigation tool in the Paris agreement which came out of last year’s U.N. COP21 negotiations.
COP22 Special: Why should we care about peat?
CIFOR Forests News, 11 November 2016
Peat is partially decayed, dead vegetation that has accumulated over thousands of years. Though peatlands are generally saturated with water and difficult to set ablaze, they can become tinderboxes when they are drained to make way for agricultural plantations like pulp and paper and palm oil.
When peatlands burn, huge amounts of CO2 are released.
Although peatlands cover just 3-5 percent of the Earth’s surface, they store more than 30 percent of all soil carbon. And while the area of peatland currently classified as drained and degrading covers less than 0.4 percent of the global land surface, it is responsible for 5 percent of global anthropogenic emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
No-One Prepared Me For The Migration Situation in Niger
By Wagaki Wishnewski (UN Convention to Combat Desertification), The Years Blog, 11 November 2016
I grew up in Kenya, where over 80% of the land is arid or semi-arid. For 10 years in the 1990s, I worked with some of the most marginalized pastoral communities — among the poorest people in East-Africa’s forgotten drylands. But no one prepared me for the desperation I would encounter in Agadez and Dirkou, two cities in northern Niger that lie on the southern fringes of the Sahara desert.
In Dirkou, I met three young men who had just returned from Libya after desperately trying — without success — to get to Europe. Their stories are heartbreaking. They braved an unforgiving desert that took the lives of their friends. They survived robbery by bandits. They stayed for weeks working in the rural areas to earn the money for the next part of their journey. They never made it to Europe. They returned through the same unforgiving desert after two years of struggle in Libya. They told me returning to their homes in Southern Niger, to what they once considered poverty, was far better than the hardships they had suffered in those two years. The most valuable lesson they had learned from all this that I should share? To tell other young people that attempting the arduous journey is not worth the pain or risks involved.
Can a Surprise Lawsuit in Oregon Save American Climate Policy?
By Ted Scheinman, Pacific Standard, 11 November 2016
In 2015, a group of young Americans filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, claiming that the United States government had failed to take sufficient action on climate change, and that this failure was unconstitutional. The Obama administration moved to dismiss the lawsuit, but, yesterday, Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon, rejected the administration’s motion, in an extraordinary decision that could prove consequential for U.S. climate policy.
[USA] The Mood Inside the Environmental Protection Agency: ‘Somber’
By Ryan Jacobs, Pacific Standard, 11 November 2016
Following the election of Donald Trump, who, as my colleague Francie Diep noted, “promised to ‘get rid of [the Environmental Protection Agency] in almost every form,’” the federal agency’s top leader, Administrator Gina McCarthy, seems committed to accomplishing as much as she can before handing the reins to Trump’s appointee. The morning after the election, in a staff-wide memorandum obtained by Pacific Standard, she wrote:
With the election now over, I wanted to take a quick moment to touch base with all of you about next steps. While this is always a time of reflection for our country, it is also a time to renew our agency’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment. It is always important to remember that the work we do as an agency and our core mission reflect the values of the public we serve, and that will always be the case.
12 November 2016
The ‘Marrakech Call’, Not Trump, Hobbles Climate Change Talks in Morocco
By Nitin Sethi, The Wire, 12 November 2016
At the end of five days of climate change negotiations in Morocco, rather than the news of Donald Trump being elected as the next US president, a four-page document hobbled the crucial talks over implementing the Paris Agreement.
The document, a draft of “Marrakech Call For Climate Action And Sustainable Development”, dated November 9, was selectively shared by the Moroccan presidency of the negotiations on Friday. Heads of states and ministers from 196 countries are expected to reach the Moroccan capital over the weekend for the high level segment of the two week negotiations. Business Standard reviewed the document, which has not yet been made public and was shared confidentially with country groupings.
[India] Ind pavilion at climate change summit discusses afforestation, sustainable transportation
DD News, 12 November 2016
Three special sessions, focusing on initiatives taken on afforestation and sustainable transportation in the country, was organised at the Indian pavilion on the third day of the crucial global summit on climate change at Marrakech in Morocco.
During the first session on ‘Afforestation and REDD+’, experts said that the government has asked the forestry sector to help the country meet its goal of creation of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of additional carbon sinks, as per the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
“This target will be met using a variety of means, including afforestation, reforestation, and agro-forestry, conducted through community participation and mechanisms like REDD+,” experts said as per an official statement.
13 November 2016
In Marrakesh, Amarakaeri People Say that REDD+ And Rights Must Go Together
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 13 November 2016
“REDD+ isn’t going ahead if the basic rights of indigenous peoples aren’t observed,” said Edwin Llauta, of the Amarakaeri indigenous peopole, during year-end climate talks taking place in Marrakesh, Morocco this week and next.
“REDD+” stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests, plus other land uses”, and it represents a body of practices designed to save endangered rainforest by funneling carbon finance into conservation. It was enshrined in the Paris Agreement last year, and being refined in Marrakesh this year.
The Amarakaeri people dwell in Peru’s southeastern part in the Madre de Dios region where they share the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve with three other indigenous peoples spread out over 10 communities. Llauta refers to their territory as a “paradise bank,” that provides the people all that they need.
[Brazil] Carbon market allows richest people to pollute, say environmentalists
Malaysia Sun, 13 November 2016
The carbon market is one of the central issues of the 22th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP22), which is being held since November 7 in Marrakesh (Morocco), and became a pillar of international efforts to encourage the reduction of COsup2; emissions. A group of scholars, environmentalists, and social activists has questioned the world leaders’ attitude of overrating carbon pricing as a solution to global warming problems.
In Brazil, representatives from communities located in regions rich in natural resources report that they suffer harassment by companies involved in forestry economic activities.
The president of Santarem Rural Workers Union in the state of Para, Manuel Edvaldo Santos Matos, reported that the networks formed by indigenous communities, peasants, and traditional communities have resisted the implementation of forest carbon projects selling credit in the Tapajos-Arapiuns Conservation Unit with over 640,000 hectares of forest. This project was being articulated by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Ministry of Environment, and international organizations of forests management and conservation and sustainable business financing and was suspended after indigenous people occupied the headquarters of the institute in Santarem, in August 2015.
[USA] Trump seeking quickest way to quit Paris climate agreement, says report
The Guardian, 13 November 2016
Donald Trump is looking at quick ways of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in defiance of widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters has reported.
Since the US president-elect was chosen, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris agreement at 200-nation climate talks running until 18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.
But, according to Reuters, a source in the Trump transition team said the victorious Republican, who has called global warming a hoax, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord.