REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
29 May 2017
Sky-high carbon tax needed to avoid climate catastrophe, say experts
By Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 29 May 2017
A group of leading economists warned on Monday that the world risks catastrophic global warming in just 13 years unless countries ramp up taxes on carbon emissions to as much as $100 (£77) per metric tonne.
Experts including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said governments needed to move quickly to tackle polluting industries with a tax on carbon dioxide at $40-$80 per tonne by 2020.
EU climate laws undermined by Polish and Czech revolt, documents reveal
By Arthur Neslen, Climate Change News, 29 May 2017
East European EU states are mounting a behind-the-scenes revolt against the Paris Agreement, blocking key measures needed to deliver the pledge that they signed up to 18 months ago.
Under the climate accord, Europe promised to shave 40% off its emissions by 2030, mostly by revising existing climate laws on renewables, energy efficiency and its flagship Emissions Trading System (ETS).
But documents seen by Climate Home show that Visegrad countries are trying to gut, block or water down all of these efforts, in a rearguard manoeuvre that mirrors president Donald Trump’s rollback of climate policy in Washington.
Who is still pursuing the Paris climate goals in Europe?
By Femke De Jong (Carbon Market Watch), Euractiv, 29 May 2017
Two months ago we released a ranking showing Sweden, Germany and France as the only European countries on the right track to deliver on the Paris Agreement.
Now, European policymakers are close to finalising their negotiations on the EU’s largest climate tool, the so called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR). This law covers the majority of the EU’s greenhouse gases and aims to reduce emissions from sectors such as transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management by 30% until 2030.
[Indonesia] Choppers prepared to anticipate forest fires in Riau
By Rizal Harahap, Jakarta Post, 29 May 2017
Authorities in Riau have prepared five helicopters with water bombing abilities as the forest-fire-prone province braces for the dry season.
Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Edward Sanger said on Monday that the S-61 Sikorsky choppers had been stationed at Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force Base in Pekanbaru.
“[The helicopters] have been equipped with buckets for water bombing,” Edward said, referring to the Mi-171, Mi-8 and Mi-172 chopper types, each of which has the ability to carry four tons of water.
The operational areas of the choppers were Pekanbaru and Riau’s eastern coastal area and southern area.
World Bank extends $3.8m forest carbon facility to Nasarawa, Ondo
By Chinedum Uwaegbulam, The Guardian (Nigeria), 29 May 2017
With Nigeria losing about 3.5 per cent of its forest yearly, which is between 350,000 and 400,000 hectares of forestland, the World Bank has been extended Nigeria Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Readiness Programme to Nasarawa and Ondo States.
The programme by the United Nations REDD Programme and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has the World Bank as an implementing partner and main vehicle for REDD+ readiness in the country, with an initial priority focus in Cross River State.
30 May 2017
Around the world, environmental laws are under attack in all sorts of ways
By Bill Laurence, The Conversation, 30 May 2017
As President Donald Trump mulls over whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, it is hard to imagine that he’s listening to the experts. US climate researchers are being so stifled, ignored or blackballed that France has now offered sanctuary to these misunderstood souls.
One might prefer to think of Trump as an outlier in an otherwise environmentally sane world. But alarmingly, there’s just too much evidence to the contrary.
Economist wants truth on real cost of fossil fuel
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 30 May 2017
In forthright language seldom heard in international climate policy negotiations, a renowned German economist says it is time for the world to accept the truth about the real cost of fossil fuel, and to reject the lie that coal, oil and gas cost society nothing.
He is Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He was speaking at the launch in Berlin of a report on carbon pricing.
Professor Edenhofer said: “It is a dirty lie that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have so far come with no cost – they cost us human health, damage to our climate, and billions of dollars in subsidies worldwide.
Amazon rainforest may be more resilient to deforestation than previously thought
University of Bristol press release, 30 May 2017
Taking a fresh look at evidence from satellite data, and using the latest theories from complexity science, researchers at the University of Bristol have provided new evidence to show that the Amazon rainforest is not as fragile as previously thought. The research is published today in Nature Communications.
The Amazon forest stores about half of the global tropical forest carbon and accounts for about a quarter of carbon absorption from the atmosphere by global forests each year. As a result, large losses of Amazonian forest cover could make global climate change worse.
Improving social inclusion in debate on REDD+ benefit-sharing in Brazil
Profor, 30 May 2017
To control and reduce deforestation in the Amazon, the Brazilian government proposed the National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) that has provided a framework to compensate entities protecting the Amazon in a jurisdictional scale (states). In 2015, to support the coordination and implementation of the NRS, the Brazilian government established the National Commission for Reducing Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Conservation of Forest Carbon Stocks, Sustainable Management of Forests and Increase in Carbon Stocks Forestry – REDD + (CONAREDD).
[Indonesia] Feathers in Flames: the species being snuffed out by forest fires
By Alex Dale, BirdLife, 30 May 2017
Indonesia’s rainforests are some of the oldest in the world, and some of the most diverse, too. Despite the archipelago occupying just 1% of the world’s land area, over 10% of the world’s plant and bird species can be found here, and it has more types of mammals than any other country (Brazil, in second place, is a very distant runner-up).
The region’s rich biodiversity has its roots in the Ice Age when sea levels were lower, allowing fauna to move freely between modern-day Asia and Australia. This created an evolutionary melting pot that came to the boil when sea levels rose again, stranding animals on islands and facilitating the evolution of countless endemic species. Indonesia’s forests are a national and global treasure, then, yet every year, come the dry season, landowners deliberately set fire to them. Why?
Norway contributes to global energy security, while seeking to decarbonise its energy supply
International Energy Agency, 30 May 2017
Norway manages its significant hydrocarbon resources and revenues in a sustainable way, and remains a reliable supplier of oil and gas, but Norway’s government should prepare for a future with lower oil and gas revenues.
The recommendations were made in the International Energy Agency’s latest assessment of Norway’s energy policies.
‘As one of the world’s largest energy exporters, Norway plays a leading role in advancing global energy security,’ said IEA Deputy Executive Director Paul Simons, speaking at the launch of the report. ‘At the same time, Norway is fully committed to environmental sustainability.’
[PNG] ‘UN-REDD Project Done Well
Post Courier, 30 May 2017
Design, relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability are some of the measures used to assess the UN-REDD National Programme during a final evaluation presentation held recently in the presence of the government, development partners and other relevant stakeholders in Port Moresby. As the UN-REDD programme – (FAO component) in PNG came to an end, independent international consultant Nelson Gapare was hired to do an evaluation of the programme’s performance and effectiveness.
Mr Gapare revealed concerns to help address moving forward and provided recommendations. He said overall, the project had done very well.
America Can’t Afford to Be a Climate Loner
World Resources Institute, 30 May 2017
Last year was full of contradictions. Climate action made substantial strides forward, with momentum building on many fronts: The Paris Agreement went into effect with record-breaking speed; countries amended the Montreal Protocol to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the most potent class of greenhouse gases; and the world created a global market-based mechanism to reduce CO2 emissions from civil aviation, to name just a few.
Then the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States suddenly raised doubts about whether the country will continue to play a leadership role and cooperate with other nations on climate policies. President Trump’s derisive comments about climate change and the equivocation (at best) that his cabinet appointees have shown for international climate policies could put the United States at odds with the world.
31 May 2017
Ann Jeannette Glauber of World Bank: ‘Indonesia’s 2015 fires cost twice as much as tsunami clean-up’
By Leona Liu, CIFOR Forests News, 31 May 2017
How can sustainable landscape management attract more finance towards sustainable rehabilitation, peatland restoration and conservation?
How can we best mobilize the scale of finance needed to meet restoration targets? What is needed and from whom? What are some of the considerations for financing for large scale private investments, donor contributions and public sector investments?
[USA] A new proposal on California’s cap-and-trade program emerges as vote is delayed
By Chris Megerian, Liam Dillon and Melanie Mason, LA Times, 31 May 2017
A coalition of business-friendly Democrats is detailing their own ideas for cap and trade, a centerpiece of California’s fight against global warming, the latest bid in a crowded field of efforts to extend the program.
Cap and trade requires polluting companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions, and lawmakers have been considering a push from Gov. Jerry Brown to extend the program beyond 2020.
The new plan would force the program to sunset in 2025, earlier than previous proposals from other lawmakers. It would also direct revenue from the program toward improving air quality and helping agricultural and trucking companies lower their emissions by replacing aging equipment.
Scoop: Trump is pulling U.S. out of Paris climate deal
By Jonathan Swan, Axios, 31 May 2017
President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Details on how the withdrawal will be executed are being worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. They’re deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal — which could take 3 years — or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme.
1 June 2017
Trump’s withdrawal from Paris is bad news for the ICAO emissions deal
By Aaron Karp, Air Transport World, 1 June 2017
I expect to hear a lot of talk over the coming days, particularly at the IATA AGM in Cancun that starts June 4, about how the Paris climate agreement and ICAO’s Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) are separate international accords and the withdrawal of the US from Paris doesn’t necessarily mean the US is turning its back on the historic ICAO emissions agreement it championed during the Obama administration.
But the hard truth is that CORSIA, in ICAO’s own words, “complements” Paris. The two agreements are inexorably linked.
Brazil assaults indigenous rights, environment, social movements
By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres, Mongabay, 1 June 2017
“The first five months of 2017 have been the most violent this century,” Cândido Neto da Cunha, a specialist in agrarian affairs at the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) in Santarém, Brazil, told Mongabay. According to the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), which has been compiling statistics on rural violence since 1985, 36 people have already been assassinated in rural conflicts this year.
The latest violence came on 24 May when nine men and a woman were killed in what seems to have been a deliberate massacre on the Santa Lúcia estate in the rural district of Pau D’Arco located 860 kilometers (535 miles) south of Belém, the capital of the state of Pará.
China is getting serious about fighting climate change at home. Abroad, its investments tell a different story
By Jonathan Kaiman, LA Times, 1 June 2017
Pakistan’s Thar region is a swath of desert in the country’s south long associated with poverty, drought, famine — and coal.
Now, with some help from China, it could soon power the country.
China has signed billions of dollars in agreements with Pakistan to help the country alleviate its chronic energy shortages, primarily by burning coal. New projects will involve mining billions of tons of the fossil fuel annually in the region — home to some of the world’s biggest coal deposits — and building five new coal-fired plants to help power Karachi, a metropolis of 20 million people about 300 miles away.
New carbon map will help protect the DRC’s rainforests
By Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay, 1 June 2017
Researchers have compiled the first-ever carbon map of rainforests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The DRC is home to 60 percent of the Congo rainforest, the second-largest contiguous tract of tropical forests in the world. These forests not only store an immense amount of carbon but also harbor more than 15,000 plant and animal species, making the Congo rainforest one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. But the DRC’s forests are facing significant threats from firewood collection, logging, mining, and slash and burn agriculture, as well as the impacts of poaching.
Communities Manage Ethiopia’s Forests to Improve Livelihoods, Resilience, and Shared Benefits
World Bank, 1 June 2017
The Chilimo forest is one of the few remnants of a dry, mountainous forest that once covered Ethiopia’s Central Plateau. At one time under threat from deforestation, the Chilimo forest is now under the sustainable management of local community cooperatives. Local forest communities are empowered to protect, manage, and decide on how to use the benefits accrued from the forest.
On May 5, 2017, the government of Ethiopia, with support from the World Bank, officially launched the Oromia Forested Landscape Program to build on the successes of the Chilimo forest and expand activities across Oromia Regional State. The launch was celebrated with a tree-planting ceremony and a visit by government, World Bank, and development partner representatives keen to learn from the experiences and challenges encountered by the community. The event also included a meeting with forest cooperative leaders and a celebration to kick-off of the new state-wide program.
ALLCOT to develop a project in Senegal to reforest mangroves which will generate carbon credits
ALLCOT press release, 1 June 2017
ALLCOT Group, a sustainability company that serves clients on three continents, will develop a project in Senegal to reforest mangroves that will generate carbon credits.
The company plans to undertake a programme of several small projects (known as a Programme of Activities) in the regions of Casamance and Sine Saloum.
ALLCOT has signed an agreement with Oceanium, a Senegalese environmental protection group, and with the mayors of different local communities.
[USA] With Democrats divided, Assembly rejects a plan to extend California’s cap-and-trade program
By John Myers, LA Times, 1 June 2017
An effort to extend the life of California’s landmark climate change program failed in the last hour of a long Assembly session on Thursday, a sign of how the program’s fate has divided Democratic lawmakers.
Assembly Bill 378 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) would have added 10 years to the life of the state’s cap-and-trade program, under which greenhouse gas emissions are limited and businesses pay for pollution permits that exceed the limit. The current program’s legal authority runs until 2020.
2 June 2017
Carbon markets unfazed by news Trump pulls out of Paris deal
By Rebecca Howard, New Zealand Herald, 2 June 2017
Carbon markets in Europe and in New Zealand are taking news the US will put out of the Paris Agreement in their stride as countries around the world reaffirm their commitment to the accord.
In a widely expected outcome, Donald Trump said the US will begin negotiations to either re-enter the accord or start a new deal on “terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.”
Prices of European carbon credits dipped from 5.10 euros (NZ$8.10) per tonne of CO2 on May 30 to 5.05 euros on June 1, according to data on the European Energy Exchange, but did push up from 4.48 euros at the beginning of May. There may be some action when the market reopens later in the global trading day but “it was hardly a surprise,” said Nigel Brunel, director, financial markets for OMF. In New Zealand the market has been weaker over the last few weeks but “indifferent to Trump,” he added.
[Indonesia] Eyes on the livelihoods of peatland communities
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 2 June 2017
It’s not just the types of trees that grow in the forests – and, in some cases, the orangutans or Probiscis monkeys that live in them – or the way the rivers wind like thread through islands of wild green that make each peatland landscape unique. Each peatland ecosystem also derives its identity from the people that call it home.
Despite their oft-remote locales, these communities are directly impacted by changes in the global market. Demands for chewing gum in Japan, for instance, can change how a farmer in Central Kalimantan chooses to use his plot of land, and an uptick in natural body creams can fatten the wallets of smallholders in Sumatra.
[UK] Gatwick Airport achieves Level 3+ carbon neutral status
Airport Technology 2 June 2017
London Gatwick Airport has secured the carbon neutral status from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe through its use of 100% renewable electricity and Gold Standard carbon credits to mitigate ground fuel emissions.
As stated by ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec, Gatwick has been officially recognised as the first carbon neutral airport in London and the second busiest in Europe.
The 5 biggest deceptions in Trump’s Paris climate speech
By David Roberts, Vox, 2 June 2017
Yesterday, President Donald Trump gave a speech announcing that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading. The sheer density of bullshit is almost admirable, from a performance art perspective. Trump even managed to get in some howlers that had nothing to do with climate change. He started by citing an act of terrorism in Manila that wasn’t terrorism. He said, “our tax bill is moving along in Congress,” but there’s no tax bill. And so forth.
A proper fact-check would run longer than the speech itself. To keep this quick, I’ve selected the top five deceptions.
How Trump’s climate deal move could impact US industry
By Adam Parsons, Sky News, 2 June 2017
It takes longer to pull out of the Paris accord than it does to withdraw from the EU, so President Trump’s decision is going to stick around until the next presidential election.
By then, we’ll know what sort of an impact it will have had upon the American economy.
For one thing, we’ll have seen whether he managed to reinvigorate all those coal mines.
Donald Trump said the accord was “punishing” America’s coal industry, with a resultant loss of jobs.
But few believe that withdrawing from the Paris accord will actually reverse that decline.
3 June 2017
How Roads Can Cause Economic and Social Meltdown
ALERT, 3 June 2017
In our ALERT blog last week, we presented a new two-minute video we created entitled “Why Roads Are So Dangerous”.
It shows how new roads can be treacherous—even fatal—for wildlife, native forests, and the global environment.
When it comes to nature, the best analogy for roads, we believe, is cancer—a contagious and spreading malignancy.
Brazil’s environment risks political capsize
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 3 June 2017
Brazil faces an unpredictable political crisis as the country’s president fights demands for him to leave office. And as the price of his survival, he is making damaging concessions on Brazil’s environment.
President Michel Temer is facing calls to resign after the owners of Brazil’s biggest meat-packing industry, JBS, alleged he had been involved in bribery and the obstruction of justice.
To retain support in congress, he is now working with the powerful farmers’ lobby, the bancada ruralista, which wants to reduce conservation areas and weaken environmental licensing laws.
Deforestation in Brazil threatens world’s biggest rainforest
CGTN, 3 June 2017
Brazil is in the midst of political unrest, and some suggest the days of the current government could be numbered. So could the days of the Amazon.
It’s the so-called ‘lungs of the world,’ as the rainforest produces 20-percent of earth’s oxygen. But, Brazil’s Congress is debating removing forest protections on nearly 600-thousand hectares. This as deforestation has jumped 30-percent in a year.
Fires burning in the Amazon rainforest are back. Deforestation for cattle grazing and agriculture could reverse all the progress Brazil made in cutting carbon emissions in the last decade.
There was never a better time for the US to leave global climate talks
By Tim Gore, Oxfam, 3 June 2017
Oxfam began campaigning for a global climate agreement in 2007. We have sent teams to every COP and every single negotiating session ever since. Along with many partners and allies, we have held stunts, published papers, generated media coverage, lobbied incessantly and mobilised many many thousands of people to push governments and companies to do more at the UNFCCC for a decade.
4 June 2017
Melting Arctic awaits nitrous oxide release
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 4 June 2017
Scientists have identified a new climate menace in the rapidly warming Arctic. As soils frozen for tens of thousands of years begin to thaw, they could surrender vast quantities of nitrous oxide to accelerate further global warming.
Nitrous oxide or N2O, known also as laughing gas, is one of the minor greenhouse gases, but molecule for molecule it is almost 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And permafrost with the potential to release nitrous oxide covers about a fourth of the Arctic.