REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
23 October 2017
Forest Fires Stoke Record Loss in World Tree Cover
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 23 October 2017
Forest fires in Brazil and Indonesia contributed to a record loss in global tree cover in 2016, equivalent to the size of New Zealand, that could accelerate deforestation blamed for climate change, an independent forest monitoring network said on Monday.
Man-made global warming increased the risks of wildfires by adding to extreme heat and droughts in some regions, according to Global Forest Watch (GFW). This year, California and Portugal have been among places suffering deadly blazes.
Indonesia not ready to bury REDD+
By Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 23 October 2017
Two years have passed since Indonesia’s REDD+ Agency and the National Council on Climate Change merged into the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF). Few developments have been heard since then, raising questions about where the initiative is going and how it will unfold.
Last month, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) invited around 50 representatives of REDD+ key stakeholders at the national level, including government agencies, civil society organizations, the private sectors, donors and academics, to share their knowledge of REDD+ related activities in Jakarta.
[USA] Will carbon credits pave the way for new suburban sprawl in San Diego and beyond?
By Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Tribune, 23 October 2017
California’s climate policies have significantly raised the bar on suburban sprawl in recent years, effectively requiring developers to design ever-greener projects to avoid costly litigation.
Now the county of San Diego and a major local developer have embraced what they see as a potential solution to these tightening requirements — carbon credits.
24 October 2017
Green activists decry EU vote in support of ‘bad bioenergy’
By Frédéric Simon, EURACTIV.com, 24 October 2017
Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s environment committee voted in support of a proposal to phase out biofuels yesterday evening (23 October) but “completely failed” to secure climate friendly use of biomass in heating and electricity, green groups have said.
The Parliament’s environment committee voted yesterday evening on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, which set targets for the EU up to 2030.
The report by Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout was adopted with a narrow majority of 32 votes in favour, 29 against and 4 abstentions.
Sharing the benefits of REDD+ in Indonesia
By Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 24 October 2017
After its introduction in Indonesia more than five years ago, REDD+, originally conceived as a carbon emissions reduction scheme has undergone a range of transformations, evolving from a market-based mechanism to one with a greater focus on non-monetary benefits for communities and their forests.
The latest innovation in the implementation of REDD+ in Indonesia is the long-awaited establishment of a Public Service Unit, or BLU — an entity that will serve as a funding mechanism for projects related to climate change and environmental issues, which will include the mandate to fund REDD+ projects.
[Peru] Chasing the illegal loggers looting the Amazon forest
By Richard Conniff, Wired, 24 October 2017
The cargo ship Yacu Kallpa rode impatiently at anchor off Iquitos, Peru, a ramshackle city on a bend in the broad, turbulent waters of the Amazon River. She was a midsize ship, a tenth of a mile long, low-slung, with a seven-story superstructure in the stern and plumes of rust fanning down the hull from her main deck scuppers. She was like any other cargo ship in the world, but with a dark history. At that moment, in November 2015, she needed to get out of town fast.
[USA] Two graphs that explain why California wildfires will only get worse
By Molly Taft, ThinkProgress, 23 October 2017
The deadly wildfires that ripped through Northern California this month are just the latest in a season of record-defying natural disasters in the United States. As the death toll passed 40, reports of Californians hiding in pools as their houses burn and scenes of devastated homes and vineyards added to 2017’s apocalyptic picture of how climate change is impacting America today.
Drier and drier conditions and creeping temperatures in the American Southwest, linked to climate change, serve to create tinderbox conditions for massive, catastrophic fires to explode. Experts agree the state can expect devastating fires like the ones in Napa Valley to become the new normal, even though California is one of the states leading the way on climate action.
25 October 2017
Protecting forest dwellers goes hand in hand with protecting forests, Whitehall told
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 25 October 2017
Activists have marched through Whitehall to urge the UK government to give more support to environmental defenders who risk their lives protecting rainforests, rivers and the climate.
The demonstration on Tuesday was led by indigenous leader Candido Mezúa, who bore a banner reading “Guardians of the Forest: end the devastation of the forest and the killing of forest people.”
Prince Charles: Companies chased away from Amazonian rainforests now destroying plains
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 25 October 2017
The loss of rainforest in the Amazon has been a familiar cause for activism for more than 30 years, but the partial success of efforts to protect it is moving the spotlight to a new landscape: Brazil’s cerrado.
Environmentalists fear that measures to reduce the exploitation of the Amazon rainforest for commodities such as soy and beef have pushed some of those activities into formerly less exploited regions such as the cerrado, a vast tropical savannah covering more than 2m sq km.
Gold, Lumber, Cattle and Now, Energy – Cycles of Wealth in Brazil’s Amazon
By Mario Osava, The Wire, 25 October 2017
The burning down of the local forest, on June 29, 1979, was the first step towards the creation of the city of Paranaita, in a municipality that is now trying to shed its reputation as a major deforester of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and has named itself “the energy capital.”
Two large hydropower plants, one of which is still being built, have changed life in Paranaita. But its future is not yet clearly defined between the rainforest, cattle-breeding and soy and maize monoculture that have advanced from the south, deforesting the west-central state of MatoGrosso, which is the southeastern gateway to the Amazon jungle region.
Fewer forest fires, land burned in Indonesia this year
By Francis Chan, The Straits Times, 25 October 2017
The number of forest fires across Indonesia fell by more than 30 per cent this year as fire prevention and enforcement efforts, started after the transboundary haze crisis in 2015 sent air pollution to record levels, continue to bear fruit.
The 2,400 hot spots recorded thus far this year as the dry season ends is less than the 3,563 picked up by satellites run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over the same period last year.
26 October 2017
Moving Ahead with REDD+ to Combat Climate Change
By Tiina Vähänen (FAO), IISD, 26 October 2017
The forest is no place for impatience.
From a great oak tree rising out of a tiny acorn, to tropical palm cover spreading across the Amazon basin, forests need time to grow. So does the successful climate-change mitigation programme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Make no mistake: REDD+ is maturing as countries build the necessary systems to reap the results-based rewards of participation. But, much work and fresh challenges lie ahead as countries move from readiness to implementation.
We Need To Talk About The Cow In The Room
By Zephie Begolo, Huffington Post, 26 October 2017
Next month, world leaders will convene at COP23 in Bonn to embark on the second round of discussions about the future of our planet following the Paris Climate Talks in 2015. They will consider targets for energy, transport and industry. They will talk about how we need to build a ‘grand coalition’ of action between all levels of government, business and civil society. They will deliberate over long-term strategies for keeping the global temperature below 2C degrees above pre-industrial levels to ensure that this planet is habitable and sustainable for future generations.
The one thing they won’t be talking about, however, is the cow in the room.
New science suggests the ocean could rise more — and faster — than we thought
By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 26 October 2017
Climate change could lead to sea level rises that are larger, and happen more rapidly, than previously thought, according to a trio of new studies that reflect mounting concerns about the stability of polar ice.
In one case, the research suggests that previous high end projections for sea level rise by the year 2100 — a little over three feet — could be too low, substituting numbers as high as six feet at the extreme if the world continues to burn large volumes of fossil fuels throughout the century.
Brazil: Uncontacted people threatened by forest fire in Amazon
Survival International, 26 October 2017
Forest fires are raging in an indigenous territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon, threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.
Neighboring Guajajara Indians are attempting to contain the blaze and demanding greater support from government.
Campaigners are concerned that the current wave of fires could wipe out the uncontacted Awá and are calling for urgent action.
RTRS, retailers and fast food giants back call for urgent action in Brazil’s Cerrado
By Jane Byrne, Feed Navigator, 26 October 2017
The Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and other stakeholders have endorsed a manifesto calling for an end to the destruction of forests and native vegetation in the Cerrado region of Brazil.
The Cerrado Manifesto was published in September 2017 by a range of Brazilian organizations including WWF-Brazil, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Earth Innovation, CI-Brazil, Greenpeace Brazil, IPAM and Imaflora. It is the focus of a series of high-level meetings and workshops in London and in Brussels, which commenced this week [23 October).
The Manifesto stated that the Cerrado is one of the great natural regions of the world but has already seen half of its original area destroyed. It holds around 5% of the world’s biodiversity. It also stores the equivalent of 13.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Indonesian NGO WALHI Marks Thirty Seven Years of Activism
By Robert Hii, Huffington Post, 26 October 2017
If you have never heard of WALHI, the acronym stands for “The Indonesian Environment for Environment.”. As the group marks thirty-seven years of activism in Indonesia, it has become one of the most influential groups in speaking up for social and environmental justice in Indonesia.
WALHI’s extensive scope of work covers the rights of people, empowering women, sustainable livelihoods and environmental issues. Established in 1980, it is now one of the largest non-profits in Indonesia with independent offices and grassroots constituencies in twenty-seven provinces in Indonesia. Their most prominent work is to support local communities in agrarian conflicts to ensure the access of local communities to natural resources and the preservation of indigenous customs.
[Norway] The World’s Largest Wealth Fund Could be Advised to Dump Climate Baddies
By Sveinung Sleire, Bloomberg, 26 October 2017
Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund may soon be advised to dump the worst emitters of gasses that contribute to climate change, according to its watchdog.
The Council on Ethics is about to put forward its first recommendations based on new climate gas emission guidelines. While a final decision is up to the fund, the proposals should come as no surprise since the investor seems “well prepared,” Johan H. Andresen, the head of council, said in an interview at the council’s office in Oslo on Monday.
27 October 2017
Tropical forest reserves slow down global warming
University of Exeter press release, 27 October 2017
National parks and nature reserves in South America, Africa and Asia, created to protect wildlife, heritage sites and the territory of indigenous people, are reducing carbon emissions from tropical deforestation by a third, and so are slowing the rate of global warming, a new study shows.
An audit of the role protected areas of tropical forest play in preventing global warming shows they are preventing the release of three times as much carbon into the atmosphere as the UK emits each year.
BP and Shell planning for catastrophic 5°C global warming despite publicly backing Paris climate agreement
By Ben Chapman, The Independent, 27 October 2017
Oil giants Shell and BP are planning for global temperatures to rise as much as 5°C by the middle of the century. The level is more than double the upper limit committed to by most countries in the world under the Paris Climate Agreement, which both companies publicly support.
The discrepancy demonstrates that the companies are keeping shareholders in the dark about the risks posed to their businesses by climate change, according to two new reports published by investment campaign group Share Action. Many climate scientists say that a temperature rise of 5°C would be catastrophic for the planet.
Supersonic, super-rich, super-polluting: the next generation of business jets
By Arthur Neslen, Climate Home, 27 October 2017
A new fleet of supersonic jets for the super-rich could be flying over Europe within ten years, sparking calls from environmentalists for the EU to urgently regulate their CO2 pollution.
Concorde, the world’s last commercial supersonic aircraft, generated three times more noise, NOx and CO2 than today’s subsonic planes and contributed five times more to global warming, due to the high altitudes at which it released its emissions.
Brazil’s carbon emissions rose 8.9% in 2016, despite recession
By Fabiano Maisonnave, Climate Home, 27 October 2017
Despite Brazil’s worst recession in history, national greenhouse gases emissions are estimated to have risen 8.9% in 2016 and reached the highest level since 2008, agriculture and illegal deforestation were the main culprits.
The figures comes from the new edition of Seeg (the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Forecasting System), launched on Thursday by the NGO Observatorio do Clima. Seeg uses data produced by government reports and research centres to predict emissions.
Yoko: a former colonial town that encapsulates the ambitions of Cameroon’s REDD+
The Hindu, 27 October 2017
Lying in a buffer zone between the lush southern regions and the northern Sahelian regions of Cameroon, Yoko municipality is launching a project for the protection of its forest, estimated at 135,000 hectares in size. Without cutting down its trees, the town will bring in a stable revenue thanks to the carbon market at international level.
Without resorting to chopping down trees in its municipal forest, Yoko’s town council can rest assured that it will receive billions of FCFA (millions of US dollars) thanks to the adoption of a protection plan covering 29,500 hectares of forest.
28 October 2017
Nestlé, Hershey and Mars ‘breaking promises over palm oil use’
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 28 October 2017
Nestlé, Mars and Hershey have been accused of breaking pledges to stop using “conflict palm oil” from deforested Indonesian jungles, just days before the annual Halloween confectionery frenzy.
The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) says consumers have been “deceived” by promises from the brands to clean up their supply chains which were subsequently delayed, revised or watered down.
29 October 2017
Battle for the mother land: indigenous people of Colombia fighting for their lands
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 29 October 2017
A green-and-red flag flies over a cluster of bamboo and tarpaulin tents on the frontline of an increasingly deadly struggle for land and the environment in Colombia’s Cauca Valley.
It is the banner for what indigenous activists are calling the “liberation of Mother Earth”, a movement to reclaim ancestral land from sugar plantations, farms and tourist resorts that has gained momentum in the vacuum left by last year’s peace accord between the government and the paramilitaries who once dominated the region – ending, in turn, the world’s longest-running civil war.
Obituary: Durban activist Wally Menne, a lion among men
By Tony Carnie, Daily Maverick, 29 October 2017
Wally Menne, 66, who collapsed at his home in Hillcrest and died in hospital on Thursday 26 October, was at the centre of the campaign to halt dune mining at Lake St Lucia in the 1980s, ultimately derailing the ambitions of Richards Bay Minerals to extract titanium from the heart of one of Africa’s oldest game reserves.
He was also a founding member of the Timberwatch alliance and the Durban Climate Action Group, and was respected nationwide for his knowledge of indigenous plants.