REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
20 February 2017
Protected areas found to be ‘significant’ sources of carbon emissions
By Benji Jones, EcoBusiness, 20 February 2017
Deforestation is a big source of atmospheric carbon, one that is increasingly targeted by climate change mitigation projects around the world. Now, even forests in protected areas can be “significant” sources of carbon emissions, researchers say.
According to a new study published last week in Scientific Reports, a journal by Nature, deforestation within protected areas of the tropics – especially those within Brazil and Indonesia – releases millions of metric tons of carbon every year.
Cutting down forests deals a double-blow to the climate. Research indicates forest loss not only releases carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere – accounting for nearly a fifth of anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon emissions – but it also shrinks the so-called “lungs” of the Earth.
Even protected forest areas are significant source of CO2 emission: study
Down to Earth, 22 February 2017
Not all protected areas are well-protected. Researchers at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh have found out that deforestation within protected areas of the tropics—especially in Brazil and Indonesia—leads to a release of millions of metric tonnes of carbon every year.
The study, published in Scientific Reports, revealed that 2,018 protected areas across the tropics store nearly 15 per cent of all tropical forest carbon and nearly 0.2 per cent of forest cover in protected area was razed per year between 2000 and 2012. The researchers found that the carbon emissions were unevenly distributed across protected areas with less than nine per cent of the reserves sampled by researchers contributing 80 per cent of the total carbon emissions during the same period.
[Cambodia] Government Ditches Hydropower Dam for More Coal Power
By Khuon Narim and Zsombor Peter, The Cambodia Daily, 20 February 2017
The government has indefinitely put off plans for a hydropower dam in Koh Kong province’s Areng valley in favor of expanding an existing coal-fired power plant, though conservationists worry that a planned transmission line through the ecologically sensitive valley could still inflict heavy damage.
In early 2015, Prime Minister Hun Sen assured critics of the dam, including many in the ethnic minority Chong community who opposed giving up their ancestral land for the project, that it would not be approved before next year’s national elections. But that only left them worried that the government was merely postponing the inevitable.
Chile: 70,000 ha forest plantations affected by fires
EUWID, 20 February 2017
Forest fires which broke out in central Chile in mid-January destroyed a total of 556,000 ha forest and grassland by the end of the month. Of this figure, 70,000 ha of forest plantations were affected. This was reported by Spanish news agency EFE on 1 February on the basis of a report by the chairman of Corporación Chilena de la Madera (CORMA), Fernando Raga. According to Raga, the damage for plantation growers which ensues amounts to a value of US$350m. This amount does not include damage in subsequent areas of the timber processing industry, for example due to fire damage at affected production locations or as a consequence of production stoppages caused by an insufficient supply of raw materials.
[Fiji] Trees grow well despite threats
By Lice Movono and Alisi Vucago, Fiji Times, 20 February 2017
Despite unfavourable conditions, the pilot REDD+ site at Draubuta Village in Navosa is seeing some success as trees on the project site continue to grow well.
Monitoring conducted on the site showed trees on the largely forest area had coped well “despite ongoing dry conditions and persistence of free roaming animals”, according to a statement from the REDD+ unit of the Ministry of Forests.
The project is being monitored by specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Land Use Section, the Ministry of Forests’ extension division, REDD+ Unit and the German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ).
The REDD+ site is a forest area which belongs to the mataqali Emalu of yavusa Emalu in Navosa province and is the first practical exercise of Fiji’s national REDD+ program.
Indonesian president hands over management of forests to indigenous people
By Amy Lumban Gaol and Lia Dahlia, CIFOR Forests News, 20 February 2016
Indonesia has had a long history of conflict over control of its massive areas of tropical forests that are spread across the many thousands of islands that make up the archipelagic nation. Declaration under former Dutch colonial rule of state ownership of all forests was rarely accepted by the millions of people who lived in them and who had managed them sustainably for centuries.
Widodo’s recent formal handover of titles is a highly symbolic step in the long fight for recognition by indigenous communities, whose customary rights remained contested by the new nationalist government after independence in 1945 despite being enshrined in the founding constitution. The islands now known as Indonesia have long been home to thousands of distinct ethnic groups with their own languages, customs and identity.
21 February 2017
ALLCOT’s voluntary market report – February 2017
Carbon Pulse, 21 February 2017
Voluntary markets have been steady over the past month with many buyers preparing their purchase strategy for the year rather than engaging actively in the market.
While there has been a growing trend towards smaller and more frequent purchases rather than a single annual transaction for many large corporates, it is still too early in the year to discern any developments.
However, some features of the voluntary sector are unchanged: the market remains massively oversupplied, for a start.
[Fiji] Forestry staff learn climate change concepts
By Lice Movono, Fiji Times, 21 February 2017
A training event for forestry officers beginning tomorrow will help the Department of Forestry?s central/eastern division staff to raise awareness about REDD+ at community level.
REDD is a climate change mitigation tool used in developing countries which works to reduce carbon emissions by improving forest management.
According to a statement from Ministry of Forest’s REDD+ unit, the two day workshop will equip officers to take the units messages to Serua, Rewa, Tailevu, Naitasiri and the maritime provinces – Lau, Kadavu and Lomaiviti.
Bioenergy in Indonesia
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forests News, 21 February 2017
Research on bioenergy is in high demand in Indonesia, where the sector is seen as a potential way forward for energy security and sustainable development.
The latest research findings were shared with policymakers, the private sector and civil society last week at an international workshop on ‘Developing science- and evidence-based policy and practice of bioenergy in Indonesia within the context of sustainable development’, hosted at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia.
[UK] Woodford Green businessman in carbon credit scam banned as company director
By AnnMarie Abbasah, Ilford Recorder, 21 February 2017
A businessman has been banned from being a company director for four years following an investigation into shady deals.
The Insolvency Service announced yesterday that Edward George Lee, 71, of Woodford Green, was the last of four people involved with World Future Limited to be disqualified.
Mr Lee’s fellow directors, James Laurence Ward, 31, of South Woodford, Hollie Emily Chapman, 31, of Loughton, and Julie Margaret Sellers, 55, Croydon had earlier accepted disqualifications of between 12 and 14 years.
The investigation found the company had sold voluntary emission reduction carbon credits (VERs) at highly inflated prices to members of the public as an investment.
But while the credits had no investment potential the company – with a Canary Wharf address on its letterhead but based at the Docklands Business Centre – netted at least £2,484,500.
22 February 2017
To Protect Our Planet’s Resources, Look No Further than Indigenous Peoples
By Michael Jenkins [Forest Trends], Huffington Post, 22 February 2017
Distracted by the chaos and turmoil of recent months, the world quietly lost a treasure when Tata Yawanawa, the oldest living spiritual leader of Brazil’s Yawanawa indigenous community, died at the age of 103 this past December.
He was born in 1913, years before the Yawanawa first came into contact with the Western world whose rubber barons and missionaries would turn the life of the tribe upside down. Tata, who passed away surrounded by family and the forest he called home, was the tribe’s oldest living shaman, or paje, and its de facto historian.
EU needs to shut all coal plants by 2030 to meet climate goals
By Gero Rueter, DW, 22 February 2017
In 2015, almost all countries of the world signed a treaty, called the Paris Agreement, in which they agreed to limit global warming to maximum 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
They said this is necessary to reduce the amount of climate catastrophes and to protect human lives, especially those of future generations. Part of the Paris Agreement is the swift reduction of CO2 emissions and the quick phase-out of fossil fuels.
For the first time ever, a study by climate research institute Climate Analytics calculated what a cost-effective fossil fuel exit strategy would look like. To fulfill Europe’s climate commitments, the study focused on keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius until the end of this century.
German government agency bans meat from official functions
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 22 February 2017
German cuisine might be most famous for its sausages and schnitzels, but a new government rule means attendees at official Ministry of Environment government functions held will see a lot more vegetables on their plates in the future.
Earlier this week, Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s environment minister, announced that the government would be instituting a ban on meat at official functions held by the Ministry of Environment, citing the environmental burden of meat production as the reason for the ban.
[Singapore] Carbon tax may be passed on to consumers, but impact modest: Experts
By Siau Ming En, Today Online, 22 February 2017
Hit with a new carbon tax for every tonne of greenhouse gas they produce, power stations and other large emitter of such gases will likely pass on at least some of their costs to consumers, but the impact appears to be modest for now, said experts.
But the implementation of such a tax could throw up hiccups down the road, as the experiences of some other countries have shown — such as the tax having a regressive impact and hitting low-income end users harder, or the tax being politically unpopular.
23 February 2017
Illegal logging in Malawi: can clean cooking stoves save its forests?
By Ingrid Gercama and Nathalie Bertrams, The Guardian, 23 February 2017
“This time, we have to be strong, or else we will lose the battle,” says Teresa Muula, Lilongwe district forestry officer, discussing the latest deployment of the Malawi defence force into the region’s fragile forests.
For the past year, Malawi’s department of forestry has been cooperating with the army in a desperate bid to stem the illegal logging that is depleting the country’s forests at a rate of 2.8% per year.
Surging demand for charcoal in Malawi’s cities is the prime driver of deforestation here: around 54% of urban women now use this “black gold” for cooking, according to the government.
[USA] Offset Scorecard: Livestock credits steal the limelight in latest CCO issuances
By Billy Hamshaw, CaliforniaCarbon.info, 23 February 2017
This week’s CCO volume was focused solely on agricultural offsets as California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) approved 149,198 credits from 7 different livestock projects for compliance under the state’s cap-and-trade program.
The largest issuance of the week was claimed by Cottonwood Dairy Livestock Gas Capture Project (CAR1151) in California. The project was handed 40,236 credits for its 2016 reporting period, ranking within the top 10 issuances of livestock credits per RP. Project developers, AG Methane Advisors picked up 87,195 credits in total with Maple Leaf Dairy West & East (CAR1152 & CAR1156) and Aurora Ridge Dairy (CAR1152) passing ARB’s approval.
24 February 2017
Once Tamed, Comes Roaring Back
By Hiroko Tabuchi, Claire Rigby and Jeremy White, New York Times, 24 February 2017
A few months ago, a representative from Cargill traveled to this remote colony in Bolivia’s eastern lowlands in the southernmost reaches of the vast Amazon River basin with an enticing offer.
The American agricultural giant wanted to buy soybeans from the Mennonite residents, descendants of European peasants who had been carving settlements out of the thick forest for more than 40 years. The company would finance a local warehouse and weighing station so farmers could sell their produce directly to Cargill on-site, the man said, according to local residents.
[Cambodia] Vietnamese trucks, logs seized in Mondulkiri
By Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Mech Dara, Phnom Penh Post, 24 February 2017
Seven Vietnamese nationals were arrested during a timber bust on Wednesday when Mondulkiri authorities intercepted eight trucks loaded with illegal timber in the Keo Seima protected area.
National military police spokesman Eng Hy said that authorities seized 145 logs of luxury wood that had been illegally harvested in the conservation area, totalling about 200 cubic metres. “They will be interrogated by military police on Friday, and our authorities plan to send them to Mondulkiri Provincial Court for further procedures,” Hy said yesterday.
Hy added that authorities briefly detained five Cambodians with chainsaws in the protected area the same day, but released them with a warning.
[India] FSI teams up with Nasa to predict forest fire behaviour
By Seema Sharmal, Times of India, 24 February 2017
Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India has collaborated with National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and US Forest Service to develop models that would predict the vulnerability of a forest to fire and assess the damage caused by it.
Director general of FSI, Saibal Dasgupta, told TOI, “At present, we get information on forest fire using images from Nasa satellite. We will learn the latest techniques from Nasa as it has done a lot of work on wildfire modelling. This will help us develop models to predict fire behaviour.”
States advised to be cautious in entering into deals in the forestry sector — Sahabat Alam Malaysia
Malay Mail, 24 February 2017
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) welcomes the clarification by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) that the carbon-offset deal signed by the Kelantan State Government with a private company has nothing to do with any United Nations’ mechanism.
Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has clarified that the UN mechanism related to the forestry sector (that was disingenuously referred to by the deal’s proponents) does not involve any market-based mechanism as implied in the trading of carbon credits.
[USA] Conservative group’s carbon plan gives us hope for climate change action
Dallas News, 24 February 2017
After decades of overwhelming scientific evidence showing that man-made emissions are endangering the planet’s future, there should be no climate change deniers left.
If only that were true. Congressional Republicans refuse to take powerful steps to embrace renewable energy. Like the Trump administration, they seem poised to roll back environmental rules, including the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, without also establishing a workable mechanism to reduce carbon emissions. With the clock ticking on climate change problems, this would be highly irresponsible.
That is why we are pleased the Climate Leadership Council — a conservative panel including former Secretaries of State George Schultz and James Baker and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson — is challenging skeptics in their party with a market-based approach. While their plan to tax carbon emissions has flaws, as does any carbon reduction system, we think it boldly speaks truth to power and could bring moderate Republicans to the table.
[USA] Environmental Groups Say California’s Climate Program Has Not Helped Them
TriStates Public Radio, 24 February 2017
In the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, residential streets dead end at oil refineries. Diesel trucks crawl through, carrying containers from nearby ports. Longtime resident Magali Sanchez Hall says the pollution from all that has taken a toll, right on the street where she lives.
“The people that live here, the mother died of cancer,” she says, pointing to a modest one-story home. “The people that live here, three people died of cancer.”
The state’s own research finds people in Wilmington are about twice as likely to get cancer as the average person in greater Los Angeles. That’s not because of the carbon dioxide coming out of smokestacks. It is mostly due to diesel fumes, but also the toxic chemicals that mix with the greenhouse gas emissions of refineries.
[USA] Bar Works scrubs mystery CEO’s name from docs, continues to raise money
By Konrad Putzier, The Real Deal, 24 February 2017
Just weeks after The Real Deal published an investigation revealing ties between Bar Works and a British investor accused of running a Ponzi scheme, the co-working company continues to solicit money and open new locations. But the company has now scrubbed the name of its CEO from company documents after TRD raised questions about his identity.
Brochures and company documents now list managing director Franklin Kinard as the head of the company. Jonathan Black, principal and CEO as of Jan. 13, is no longer on shareholder correspondences. Bar Works did not respond to multiple emails from TRD asking why Black’s name was scrubbed. When reached by phone, Kinard said he had to catch a flight and hung up.
25 February 2017
The Economics of Environmentalism
By Natalie Schmidt, Medium, 25 February 2017
For some reason, years ago, someone decided that business and environmentalism should be mortal enemies.
Well, maybe that’s not quite how it happened. But some days, it feels like it.
Calls for environmental protection often include plans for regulations, particularly on businesses and their water, soil, and air pollution. But businesses usually like free markets, and free markets don’t like regulations.
These differing priorities have put these two sides in fierce competition, each viewing the other as the enemy: businesses often characterize environmental reforms as overzealous, impractical limits on their freedom, while activists depict business executives as cold, heartless misers.
But this isn’t always the case: in fact, environmentalism can actually strengthen and support business, and vice versa. A very prominent example is Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear retailer.
New Deforestation Hot Spots in the World’s Largest Tropical Forests
World Resources Institute, 25 February 2017
Where is deforestation worsening around the world? It’s a difficult question to answer, as many forest assessments are often years or even a decade out of date by the time they’re published. But we’re getting there, thanks to better data and advanced computing power.
A new study by Global Forest Watch, Blue Raster, Esri and University of Maryland released today outlines a method for mapping changes in deforestation hot spots through time. Combining 14 years of annual forest loss data with Esri’s emerging hot spot analysis and big data processing techniques, we can analyze where new deforestation hotspots are emerging and see the effect that countries’ forest policies are having.
[India] Forest fire alarm goes off constantly in Karnataka
By Mohit M Rao, The Hindu, 25 February 2017
Dried forests and parched grass have turned the State’s forests into tinderboxes — so much so that Karnataka tops in forest fire alerts detected in the country via satellites.
However, while the fires in the South Karnataka reserves have dominated the headlines, the forest fire monitoring system shows that it is the forests in the upper Western Ghats that have seen the highest number of incidents.
According to the Forest Survey of India, the State received a staggering 4,699 forest fire alerts between February 1 and 23 — more than double the alerts received by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat, through which the Western Ghats pass. In contrast, through the relatively cooler days of January, just 86 alerts were received.
26 February 2017
Germany’s plan for 100% electric cars may actually increase carbon emissions
By Dénes Csala, The Conversation, 26 February 2017
Germany has ambitious plans for both electric cars and renewable energy. But it can’t deliver both. As things stand, Germany’s well-meaning but contradictory ambitions would actually boost emissions by an amount comparable with the present-day emissions of the entire country of Uruguay or the state of Montana.
In October 2016 the Bundesrat, the country’s upper legislative chamber, called for Germany to support a phase-out of gasoline vehicles by 2030. The resolution isn’t official government policy, but even talk of such a ban sends a strong signal towards the country’s huge car industry. So what if Germany really did go 100% electric by 2030?