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REDD in the news: 13-19 November 2017

REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

Paradise Papers sweep IFU, Finnfund into tax haven storm
Development Today, November 2017
The use of tax havens by two Nordic aid-financed funds is under scrutiny after leaked confidential documents known as the Paradise Papers show that their investments in a joint forest plantation investment in Asia were routed through Cayman Islands. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

13 November 2017

A forgotten promise to forests? (commentary)
By Karen Petersen (WWF) and Josefina Braña-Varela (WWF), Mongabay, 13 November 2017
The lungs of the planet let out a long sigh of relief when given their own special place in the Paris Agreement in 2015. It’s not every day the trees in our collective backyard get such a prominent nod of respect for the important role they play in safeguarding human existence. But there it was, spelled out clearly in the landmark climate accord, with language urging all countries to conserve and enhance forests.
The math shows that halting climate change is impossible without forests. Combined with phasing out fossil fuels and a transition to clean energy, reducing emissions from forests is critical. As new research suggests, the land sector — which includes forests — could provide more than one-third of the overall cost-effective emissions reductions the world needs by 2030. Notably, forests have the potential to deliver over two-thirds of those reductions. There are very few cost-effective and practical ways to combat climate change, and ending deforestation and scaling-up reforestation are two especially important methods.

Fossil fuel emissions will reach an all-time high in 2017, scientists say — dashing hopes of progress
By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 13 November 2017
Global carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise again in 2017, climate scientists reported Monday, a troubling development for the environment and a major disappointment for those who had hoped emissions of the climate change-causing gas had at last peaked.
The emissions from fossil fuel burning and industrial uses are projected to rise by up to 2 percent in 2017, as well as to rise again in 2018, the scientists told a group of international officials gathered for a United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

Carbon emissions set to rise in 2017
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 13 November 2017
The world’s carbon emissions are expected to show a lurch upwards this year, by around 2%, after three years of staying virtually level. This is a significant setback to efforts to slow the speed at which the Earth is warming, and shows the fragility of the international climate treaty, the Paris Agreement, scientists say.
From 2014 to 2016 global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew hardly at all. This stable period, following a growth in emissions of more than 3% annually in the 2000s, fed hopes that many countries were succeeding in separating successful economy-building from increases in world temperatures.

COP23: Bonn talks edge forward with release of climate action plan update
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 13 November 2017
The UN’s COP23 climate talks in Bonn took a step forward this afternoon, with the publication of a major update on the current state of play for a key part of the negotiations.
The co-facilitators of the talks published a 179 page overview of parties’ positions on the contents and review mechanism for countries’ national climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the UN jargon.

Canada, Britain to tout coal phase-out as U.S. champions fossil fuels
By Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, 13 November 2017
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and her British counterpart, Claire Perry, will launch an international alliance to phase out coal-fired electricity at the Bonn climate summit this week, signalling a sharp contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump’s promotion of coal as an important global energy source.
Ms. McKenna will take the stage at the annual United Nations climate summit to showcase Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including a national carbon pricing plan and federal-provincial moves to shut down traditional coal-fired power by 2030.

The Congo Basin’s demise will affect the whole planet
By Caxton Central, Alberton Record, 13 November 2017
The vast forest of the Congo Basin is the second largest tropical rainforest on earth and is considered to be the lungs of Africa. Supporting an astonishing range of life, its 500 million acres also help sustain life across the whole planet.
The Congo Basin spans six countries – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

[Indonesia] Toward a low-carbon society
Editorial, Jakarta Post, 13 November 2017
Countries are gathering at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, to discuss how to collectively put the Paris commitment into action.
Indonesia, which pledged to cut emissions by 29 percent by 2030 through its own efforts and by 41 percent with international cooperation, has chosen to focus its climate plans on forestry, planning to create a low-carbon, forest-based economy in which the government, local administrations, businesses and the people work together to benefit from forests while preserving them.

[USA] Protecting rivers and watersheds gets a $30 million boost from Enterprise
By Lisa Brown, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 13 November 2017
The foundation arm of Enterprise Rent-A-Car is donating $30 million to The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to preserve and protect rivers and watersheds in the U.S. and internationally.
The Clayton-based rental car giant’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation said the gift over five years is expected to benefit 150 million people.
The four areas of focus for the donation include supporting efforts to reduce the amount of excess nutrient runoff that enters the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The donation will also help fund the restoration of watersheds and improve water quality on the Colorado River and in wetlands and major rivers in Canada and Europe.

[USA] Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks
By Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, New York Times, 13 November 2017
The Trump administration’s debut at a United Nations climate change conference — a full-throated defense of fossil fuels and nuclear energy — was met with noisy protest and a barrage of harsh questions from delegates frustrated by the White House’s view of global warming and how to address it.
George D. Banks, special adviser to President Trump on international energy issues, led a panel with top American energy executives to promote coal, natural gas and nuclear power as answers to driving down global greenhouse gas emissions.

14 November 2017

Tourism and travel make Paris targets unachievable
Delft University of Technology press release, 14 November 2017
In the year 2100, tourists will be flying nine times as many kilometres as in 2015, and the average travel distance for all tourist journeys is set to double over the same period. Aviation, 90 percent of which is tourism, must be severely restricted if we are to meet the climate targets. This conclusion was drawn by Paul Peeters, who will be awarded his PhD for his thesis on this subject at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft, The Netherlands) on Wednesday 15 November.

Microsoft Sets New Carbon Target to Help Meet Paris Climate Deal
By Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg, 14 November 2017
Microsoft Corp. joined a growing number of companies pledging to curb their emissions in line with the international efforts to keep global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.
The world’s biggest software company by revenue set a new target to cut carbon dioxide by 75 percent between 2013 and 2030, which is scientifically aligned with the landmark Paris Agreement, according to a blog posting Tuesday by Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Aviation climate deal could undermine Paris Agreement
Carbon Market Watch press release, 14 November 2017
A new Columbia Law School report reveals major shortcomings in how the UN aviation body (ICAO) interprets transparency and public participation requirements. The report’s findings come amidst a closed meeting in Montreal that kick-starts the approval of rules for ICAO’s new carbon offsetting scheme. A separate Carbon Market Watch analysis on the scheme’s impact on the Paris Agreement calls for an urgent overhaul of the ICAO decision making process in line with countries’ obligations and international common practice.

UN climate fund allocates US$500 million for forest recovery
By Adisti Sukma Sawitri, Jakarta Post, 14 November 2017
A global fund set under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has allocated US$500 million for countries to fund their forest recovery and preservation programs.
German Secretary of State Jochen Flasbarth said countries that reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) programs could access the financing from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through a payment mechanism in which the nations will be paid based on the results of their programs.
“We should stop deforestation,” he said on the sidelines of COP23 climate conference.

Ebola outbreaks linked to forest loss
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 14 November 2017
News of an Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) outbreak strikes fear not only in Africa where it originates, but around the world. In humans, the virus produces severe symptoms such as bleeding from the eyes, nose and mouth, loss of consciousness, seizures and eventual death.
First discovered in 1976 in Central Africa, the worst outbreak happened between 2014-2016 when the virus rapidly spread through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, killing more than 11,000 men, women and children. Cases were also reported in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As REDD Talks Progress In Bonn, Question Arises: Who Can Use The Term “REDD+”?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 14 November 2017
Towards the end of summer, climate negotiators learned of three trademark applications that were filed in May of this year. One was for the logo “REDDPLUSX”, which is described as a carbon credit brokerage. Another was for the logo “RRU”, which are proposed carbon credits generated by saving or supporting forests under the Paris Agreement.
But it was the third, for the logo REDD+, that raised eyebrows across the climate community.
It raised those eyebrows because scores of organizations already use the acronym “REDD+” to describe activities that reduce greenhouse gasses by saving or reviving endangered forests. The acronym is generally spelled out as “‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks”, and it describes as set of mechanisms that generate “reduction units”, which might one day be worth billions of dollars as the world implements the Paris Climate Agreement.

It’s war in the Amazon, says Brazil’s top environmental law enforcer
By Fabiano Maisonnave, Climate Home, 14 November 2017
That is how Luciano Evaristo, director of Brazilian environmental law enforcement agency Ibama, described the latest developments in the fight against deforestation.
The last major incident took place on 27 October, when a mob torched Ibama’s office and four pickup trucks in Humaitá, in the state of Amazonas, after a crackdown on illegal mining operations in Madeira river. Another environmental agency, Chico Mendes Institute of Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio), also had its office destroyed. In response, the federal government sent army troops to patrol the city.
“We have lost 14 pickups this year alone criminal attacks against Ibama,” said Evaristo on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

[Fiji] A-G: Forests Vital In Our Climate Change Survival
By Jyoti Pratibha, Fiji Sun Online, 14 November 2017
Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Climate Change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has stressed the importance of forests in our climate change battle.
Forests, he told COP23 delegates in Bonn, would help us lower global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. He was speaking on Forest Day: Rising to the Challenge: Collaborative Action in Forests to Address Climate Change and Promote Sustainable Development.
He said Fiji stood with the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) and all vulnerable nations in firmly focusing on the target of limiting global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above that of the pre-industrial age, as the world agreed in Paris two years ago.

Germany, Britain inject $153 million in Amazon climate change fight
By Jake Spring, The Guardian, 14 November 2017
Germany and Britain will provide a combined $153 million to expand programs to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, according to a statement from the Brazilian government on Tuesday.
Roughly $88 million will go to a program in two Brazilian states that pays indigenous peoples and farmers in exchange for maintaining forest cover. It also provides funding for related sustainable economic development projects.
For the first time, the program will grow to include the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top producer of soy beans, where the rapid expansion of soy and beef farms have made it a hotspot for deforestation. The money will pay to continue the program already underway in the far western state of Acre.

[Indonesia] Development or destruction? An inside look at APP’s mega paper mill
By Robin Hicks, Eco Business, 14 November 2017
Burning season is in full swing in Indonesia.
The annual haze caused by slash-and-burn forestry hasn’t been as intense as in previous years, and neighbours Singapore and Malaysia haven’t complained of smoke and the smell of burning wood drifting across their borders.
But a state of emergency was declared in Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and South Kalimantan in July, and fires continue to break out, even as the rainy season approaches.

[USA] Gov. Jerry Brown is no climate action hero
By Jean Su (Center for Biological Diversity), Sacramento Bee, 14 November 2017
Gov. Jerry Brown seemed surprised by what greeted him at the United Nations climate conference in Germany on Saturday. Less than a minute into his remarks, Californians living near fracking, oil refineries and Aliso Canyon stood up and decried the destruction that Brown’s industry-pandering fossil fuel polices have had on their lives.
I bellowed with them, our collective words silencing the audience. Met with demands of “keep it in the ground” from Richmond’s refinery communities, Brown yelled back, “Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here.”

15 November 2017

Bigotry against indigenous people means we’re missing a trick on climate change
By Prakash Kashwan, The Guardian (Supported by GEF), 15 November 2017
Prejudice against indigenous people is visible and ingrained in cultures everywhere, from US football team names (the Washington Redskins for example) to Hindu folk tales where the forest peoples are rakshasas, or demons.
But it’s arguable that these prejudices also influence our science and policy. Take, for example, the specialised method of rotational farming used by many indigenous farmers all over the world but particularly in the global south. Farmers use seasonal fires to clear and farm parcels of natural landscapes and rotate their crops while the previously farmed parcel is allowed to regain fertility and natural vegetation – a method known as swidden agriculture. This technique helps preserve the soil quality and creates variation that helps counter the dominance of a few species and promotes biodiversity. It also helps prevent larger wildfires of the type that ravaged California recently, leaving 41 people dead and causing financial losses worth $30bn (£22.7bn). After decades of neglect, the US Forest Service is now embracing the Native American methods of fire management.

Putting supply chains on the climate agenda
By Helen Burley, Global Canopy Programme, 15 November 2017
Supply chains don’t feature heavily on the agenda at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks taking place in Bonn (COP23). But if the global community is going to achieve the ambition set in the Paris Agreement, the deforestation risks around the trade in agricultural commodities from tropical forest zones must be addressed.
The climate risks from deforestation are widely recognised. Tropical forest loss and forest degradation contribute 16–19% of gross global greenhouse gas emissions. And these numbers are set to increase with forest loss in the last year hitting record highs.

Addressing Climate Change: Why Forests Matter
World Bank, 15 November 2017
Forests cover nearly a third (31 percent) of the world’s land surface, just over 4 billion hectares. That’s the equivalent of Brazil, Canada, China, and the United States combined.
But forests don’t just span an enormous portion of our planet’s terrain, they also play a vital role in regulating the climate and are critical to addressing the impact of climate change.
Developing countries are expected to suffer the most from changes in climatic patterns. Higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, rising sea levels and increased frequency of weather-related disasters like hurricanes, floods and wildfires are creating immense challenges when it comes to agriculture, food, and water supplies. International and national discussions on forests and climate change have largely been focused on the value of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+). At its core, REDD+ aims to change incentive structures in favor of protecting forests.

Cool Effect Carbon Projects Capture the Imagination, While Improving Lives
By Jan Lee, Triple Pundit, 15 November 2017
If you were to pick your favorite way to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, what would it be?
Would it be helping an endangered species survive in Madagascar’s rainforest? Or perhaps funding the creation of new and safer cookstoves that support small business development? Or a biogas project in a rural community that helps convert solids to power and methane to low-carbon energy?
A few years ago, these might not have been the examples we would have readily thought of when we considered ways to reduce carbon emissions, and certainly not when it came to the idea of purchasing carbon offsets.

Countries move to adopt aircraft emissions standard at varying pace
By Kerry Reals, Runway Girl Network, 15 November 2017
European regulators have set the wheels in motion to incorporate the new global aircraft CO2 emissions certification standard, adopted earlier this year by the ICAO Council, into EU law.
Similar action is also being taken in Canada, the home of Bombardier. Meanwhile, the process of implementing the new standard on Boeing’s turf appears to be underway, albeit at a slower pace.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced earlier this month that following a stakeholder consultation period, during which state and industry groups provided “generally positive” comments, it had submitted an ‘Opinion’ on the proposed measure to the European Commission.

Brazil’s oil sale plans prompt fears of global fossil fuel extraction race
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 15 November 2017
Brazil is planning a fire-sale of its oil resources before shrinking global carbon budgets push down demand and prices, environmental groups have warned.
The focus of concern is a government proposal for up to $300bn in tax relief to companies that develop offshore oilfields that opponents claim would use up 7% of humanity’s emission budget if global warming is to be kept below 2C.
Climate Observatory, WWF, Greenpeace and other groups say the subsidies could spark a get-it-out-of-the-ground race with fossil fuel rivals such as the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway and the UK.

Ghana implements interventions to address issues of deforestation
By Josephine Naaeke, Ghana News Agency, 15 November 2017
Mr John Peter Amewu, Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has said Ghana has committed itself in implementing a number of interventions to address the issues of deforestation and forest degradation to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Speaking at a World Bank side event at the ongoing climate summit in Bonn, Mr Amewu said interventions including; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through the implementation of the Ghana Forest Investment programme and the REDD+ project being funded by the World Bank and a national REDD+ strategy which would be implemented in the next 25 years have been put in place.

Indigenous groups win greater climate recognition at Bonn summit
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 15 November 2017
Indigenous groups claimed a victory at the UN climate talks in Bonn on Wednesday as governments acknowledged for the first time that they can play a leadership role in protecting forests and keeping global temperatures at a safe level.
Long marginalised and often criminalised in their home countries, the “first peoples” – as they often refer to themselves – also achieved breakthroughs in terms of official international recognition of their rights, autonomy and participation in negotiations.
This represents considerable progress for the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples, whose territories are estimated to contain 20% of the world’s tropical forest carbon and often have to defend it against encroachments by loggers and farmers.

COP23: UK government beefs up tropical forest protection with £62m of funding
By James Murray, Business Green, 15 November 2017
Climate change minister Claire Perry announces fresh support for two major forest protection initiatives.
The UK government yesterday announced £62m of funding is to be provided to projects tackling deforestation in Latin America, as part of its latest move to honour the climate funding commitments made in the Paris Agreement.
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed £19m would be invested through the Partnerships for Forests (P4F) initiative in Colombia, Brazil and Peru, while a further £43m has been earmarked for the UN-backed REDD for Early Movers (REM) initiative. The UK government will partner with the German government to support two Brazilian States, Acre and Mato Grosso, to reduce deforestation through the REDD scheme.

16 November 2017

Groundbreaking “Carbon Pricing Report” Released by Indigenous Environmental Network and Climate Justice Alliance at COP 23
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance press release, 16 November 2017
While city, state, and national leaders gather at the UN Climate Talks to launch and implement platforms and agendas that promote carbon trading, carbon offsets, and REDD+, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Climate Justice Alliance take a bold stance to reject and challenge these so-called innovative solutions by releasing the “Carbon Pricing Report: A Critical Perspective for Community Resistance.”
This report provides in-depth context to why carbon market systems will not mitigate climate change, will not advance adaptation strategies, will not serve the most vulnerable communities facing climate change impacts and only protect the fossil fuel industry and corporations from taking real climate action.

An open letter on COP23 from Walmart and WWF
By Kathleen McLaughlin (Walmart) and Sheila Bonini (WWF), Green Biz, 16 November 2017
We need to pick up the pace. That is the imperative on everyone’s mind as representatives arrive in Bonn, Germany for the COP23 climate negotiations.
At COP23, governments are convening to discuss next steps for implementation of the Paris Agreement, which aims to achieve net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. To accomplish that, world leaders must establish more aggressive emissions reduction targets — now.

An early warning system for locating forest loss
By Sue Palminteri, Mongabay, 16 November 2017
A satellite-based alert system can now detect fine-scale deforestation in near-real time, enabling managers or rangers in tropical forests to respond to early stages of deforestation.
Anyone can now register to receive free weekly alerts of tree cover loss, created by the Global Land Analysis & Discovery (GLAD) lab at the University of Maryland, through Global Forest Watch (GFW), the online forest change monitoring platform. The GLAD alerts identify areas of likely recent tree cover loss within pixels of 30 meters on each side.

The policy dilemma of aviation emissions
By Ryan Katz-Rosene, Policy Options Politiques, 16 November 2017
The news these days is rife with stories about the impending electric vehicle (EV) revolution, and for the most part, it’s a good-news story: EVs are expected to take over the global automobile market in the next few decades, thereby helping to reduce the transport sector’s carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, we hear almost nothing in the media about the rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from air travel, which seem poised to negate some of the gains made from EVs. Unfortunately, unlike the shift towards electrification of automobiles and the growth of renewables, there are no good policy options on the table for adequately reducing emissions from aviation.

Could a Marshall Plan for the Planet Tackle the Climate Crisis?
By Kate Aronoff, The Nation, 16 November 2017
This week, world leaders are convening along a sleepy stretch of Germany’s Rhine River for COP23, the first UN climate talks to be held since Trump announced he will withdraw United States from the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate deal arrived at in 2015.
Yet while the administration’s fossil-fuel boosterism has grabbed headlines about COP23 stateside, the UNFCCC process has more problems to reckon with than the White House. The gap between the goals laid out in Paris and the mitigation plans now on the table are vast, and bridging it—which requires decarbonizing the world economy by mid-century at the latest—may well prove the greatest collective challenge humanity has ever faced. It will also mean rethinking long-held beliefs about how economies should measure success, and what the role of the state should be in shaping economic activity.

Counting the carbon cost of forest destruction
By Julianna Photopoulos, Horizon – The EU research and innovation magazine, 16 November 2017
The world is losing its trees, but at what cost? Better estimates of deforestation and degradation could shed light on the amount of CO2 emitted, refine climate models and help developing countries better manage their forests.
Forests cover about 30 % of the world, according to World Bank estimates, and they act as important keystones for life. Home to millions of species, they capture and store carbon dioxide and provide us with clean water and timber. Forests are also known to play an important role in regulating the climate.

At CoP 23, Ministers Call for Urgent Joint Action in Light of Accelerating Threats
CAFI, 16 November 2017
“Further, Faster Ambition Together” has been the motto of the Climate Conference these last two weeks (CoP 23). This call to reboost joint action was taken to heart during the CAFI event convened by Nicolas Hulot, French Minister for Ecological and Solidarity transition. Against a background of dramatic acceleration of deforestation in the Central African region, Ministers from Central African and donor countries gathered to reflect on CAFI’s successes and challenge, and reflect on how to enhance efforts.

Closing Remarks by Magdy Martínez-Solimán: REDD+ in Asia Pacific, COP23
By Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP, 16 November 2017
On behalf of UNDP, I would like to thank you and your teams for having presented some really relevant information about progress on REDD+ in your countries, and links to the SDGs and your Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCCC.
It has been an honour for UNDP to host this event, and I am delighted to see that it has generated interest among delegates to COP-23.

COP23 Special: The politics of REDD+ in Mexico
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 16 November 2017
If programs for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD+, are to succeed, changes in those emissions must be measured reliably.
Although that may seem a strictly technical task, it also requires local and national political efforts, according to a new paper published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
“People tend to think of MRV — short for measurement, reporting and verification — as something that will be in the hands of technical experts,” says Paulina Deschamps, co-author of the study. “MRV has an important technical component, but it is also part of a political process, so it poses both challenges and opportunities.”

[Norway] World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 16 November 2017
The Norwegian central bank, which runs the country’s sovereign wealth fund – the world’s biggest – has told its government it should dump its shares in oil and gas companies, in a move that could have significant consequences for the sector.
Norges Bank, which manages Norway’s $1tn fund, said ministers should take the step to avoid the fund’s value being hit by a permanent fall in the oil price.

[PNG] Pundari in Germany to share REDD+ experience
By Jemimah Sukbat, Loop, 16 November 2017
The Minister for Environment and Climate Change is currently in Bonn, Germany, to share Papua New Guinea’s experience on REDD+.
Minister John Pundari and his delegation have a side event with Minister counterparts of Myanmar and Mongolia at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The meeting provides a platform for PNG to share its experiences on how REDD+ can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and PNG’s National Determined Contributions (NDC).

17 November 2017

Bonn Climate Summit Coasting Forward, but Acceleration Needed
The Nature Conservancy, 17 November 2017
Over the past two weeks, leaders and representatives from around the world came together to build on the promise of the Paris Agreement.
Andrew Deutz, director of international government relations for The Nature Conservancy, issued the following statement:
“The conference gets a grade of “meets expectations.” The negotiators got down to the orderly business of working out the rules to implement, assess, and advance the Paris Agreement. The processes did not get overly distracted by the U.S. government’s announced withdrawal from the accord. In fact, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron celebrated the energy generated by the leadership of U.S. governors and mayors. Nevertheless, the absence of national U.S. leadership was evident within the negotiating process this week and for driving more ambitious climate action in the future.

Rich Countries Criticised For Lack of Serious Action on Climate Change
By Jaya Ramachandran, InDepthNews, 17 November 2017
As the UN climate talks in Bonn (COP23) drew to a close, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) bashed the rich countries for once again showing poor leadership by not taking serious action on climate change – despite new evidence showing emissions are on the rise.
FoEI’s Dipti Bhatnagar said: “Rich nations, including those calling themselves ‘climate leaders’, have brought crumbs to the table on pre-2020 climate action. But this is meaningless, as they continue to push dirty energy at home and overseas, and fail to support energy transformation in the South. As we learnt this week, emissions are set to rise again for the first time in three years. If nothing changes, then these so-called leaders have booked their spot on the wrong side of history.”

The cost of saving the world is $40 per ton of carbon. Here’s what that means.
By Jeremy Deaton, Quartz, 17 November 2017
This week, diplomats are gathered in Bonn, Germany to hammer out the latest details of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. While the minutiae of the negotiations are important, the real action isn’t at the UN. The climate pact is bottom up, which means it’s up to each country to meet the goals set forth in Paris.
One of the simplest tools for making progress would be a tax on carbon. Few people like taxes in the abstract, but they help address a real, pressing problem. A carbon tax would bring the price of fossil fuels closer to its true cost to the climate and to public health.

How climate finance links forest conservation, peacebuilding, and sustainable food
By Augusto Castro-Nuñez, Devex, 17 November 2017
The scene remains vivid in my head. People packed the hall outside the plenary where heads of state gathered for the 2009 COP15 Copenhagen climate summit. Like my fellow climate change negotiators, my eyes were glued to TV screens that live-streamed the proceedings next door.
At the plenary, then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez said something that immediately sparked my interest. He noted the value of engaging 90,000 families in the country’s rural areas as forest rangers in order to curb illegal coca leaf production — a major cause of deforestation and therefore carbon dioxide emissions.
“Before they destroyed the jungle to plant narcotics, now they take care of the jungle … they are committed to keeping the areas free of illicit drugs,” Uribe said.

Fighting Climate Change In Africa: AfDB Launches Africa NDC Hub With 10 Partners
By Bi Gohe P Botty, Modern Ghana, 17 November 2017
Africa Day , held on 15 November within COP23 in Bonn, was the springboard for the official launch of Africa NDC Hub, the African platform for nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
This African Development Bank (AfDB) initiative is intended to help the 54 African countries fulfil their commitments made under the Paris Agreement – or in other words, to put their respective NDCs into action – without neglecting their own development priorities.

[Cambodia] The temples and the trees
By Paul VanDeCarr, UNDP, 17 November 2017
As a young boy, Mean Mon and his family would take refuge in the forests of Phnom Kulen, a mountainous plateau in northwest Cambodia. They were trying to escape the murderous agents of the Khmer Rouge on the one hand, and the incursions of Vietnamese soldiers on the other.
Sometimes the forest was the best bet to avoid them all. It wasn’t comfortable, but the hiding was good as the trees were many.
Nineteen nations say they’ll use more bioenergy to slow climate change
Reuters, 16 November 2017
China and 18 other nations representing half the world’s population said on Thursday they planned to increase the use of wood and other plant matter from sustainable sources to generate energy as part of efforts to limit climate change.
The group would work out collective targets for increasing the use of what they called sustainable bioenergy, they said during talks in Germany among 200 nations on bolstering the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

NASA survey technique estimates Congo forest’s carbon, 17 November 2017
The equivalent of 85 billion tons of carbon dioxide—a huge amount equal to three-quarters of the carbon stored in forests across the contiguous United States—is locked in the living vegetation of one African country that holds much of the second largest tropical rainforest in the world, according to new research.
The study conducted by NASA, UCLA and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Germany produced the first high-resolution map of the amount and distribution of carbon stored in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DRC is the largest country in the Congo Basin and home to a massive and largely inaccessible rainforest that is Earth’s second largest reservoir of carbon in vegetation, second only to the Amazon Basin rainforest. The DRC’s forests cover an area four times the size of California.

COP23: Leaders vie for protection of ‘incredibly important’ African peatland
By Justin Catanoso, Mongabay, 17 November 2017
A few weeks ago, international scientists, government officials and forest advocates visiting a remote community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) confirmed the presence of one of the world’s largest and most important carbon sinks – a vast and deep peatland the size of England.
Here at the 23rd United Nations Climate Summit, COP23, where European and African nations gave presentations over the past two weeks regarding the overlooked importance of peatlands for carbon sequestration, recent word of the huge finding on the border of DRC and the Republic of Congo made the rounds.

Ecuador’s Minister Blames Developed States for Ignoring Financial Pledges
Sputnik News, 17 November 2017
Sputnik has spoken with the Ecuadorian minister of the environment on the climate change issue.
“The Paris Agreement comes into full force in 2020, and we are really worried that commitments of some developed countries are not fulfilled in this period from now to 2020. Some developed countries are ‘washing their hands’ on the issue of not having any commitments at all from now to 2020, so this is something that should be addressed,” Ecuadorian Minister of the Environment Tarsicio Granizo told Sputnik on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in the German city of Bonn.

Opening Remarks by Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Launch of National REDD+ Strategies for Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda, COP23
By Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP, 17 November 2017
I am delighted to join you all on the launch of the National REDD+ Strategies for Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and our partnership with the United Nations Joint Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), I would like to commend African leaders on the great strides they have made in addressing climate change, an instrumental step in delivering on UNFCCC contributions and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is gratifying to see the leadership role Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda have played in the development of their National REDD+ Strategies and the actions they are putting in place to transition from REDD+ readiness to implementation.

U.S. Is Acting ‘Like a 5-Year-Old’ Over Global Warming, EU Official Says
By Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg, 17 November 2017
Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy is starting to undercut progress at the annual talks on fighting global warming.
The U.S. president’s vow to walk away from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change and spur fossil fuels has encouraged countries from India to China to wonder why they should make sacrifices at two weeks of discussions held by the United Nations, which finish Friday in Bonn.
While envoys from almost 200 nations will make progress implementing the Paris deal at this year’s meeting, those involved in the process say the three-decade-old talks are in danger of drifting in the absence of leadership from rich nations and the long-promised $100 billion a year in climate finance for the developing world.

With U.S. backing, Ukraine pushes to privatise Paris climate agreement
By Kate Aronoff, The Intercept, 17 November 2017
Like most documents that travel through U.N. channels, a recent proposal from Ukrainian diplomats is blanketed in jargon and buzzwords, promising to render things “integrated, holistic and balanced” and to promote “ambition.” But this proposal — brought by the Ukrainian negotiating team to this year’s U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties, COP23 — carries more substance than its language might suggest: giving the world’s biggest polluters an official say in how the Paris Agreement gets implemented.
“We have to stop forcing our corporations to do something, but making — I don’t like to say profitable — but, I like to say, make them think about environmental actives as serious business,” Taras Bebeshko, an adviser to Ukraine’s energy minister who presented the proposal on behalf of his delegation this month, told The Intercept.

18 November 2017

Bonn climate talks tread a fine line
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 18 November 2017
The Bonn climate talks, this year’s UN climate summit, are over, and delegates are now heading home, most of them probably with a strong sense of relief.
For the media who had sat through the two weeks of negotiation, Bonn proved the sort of job journalists dislike more than most: a story without a headline, process without event, plenty of detail but very few hard-nosed facts. And if you listen to the pundits, the verdict on COP 23, as the talks were known by the UN, probably lies somewhere between “could have been worse” and, looking to 2018, “needs to do better.”

[Ghana] Frimong-Boateng Makes Strong Case For Climate Negotiations At COP23 Bonn
By Josephine Naaeke, Modern Ghana, 18 November 2017
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister for Environment Science, Technology and Innovation has said that Ghana would like to see substantive progress in the climate negotiations on issues such as, finance, adaptation, loss and damage, mitigation and gender.
He said these are important to ensure that ‘we implement our Nationally Determined Contributions and called on developed country parties to ensure sustainable and predictable flows of finance.

[India] State to draw road map to check forest fires soon
By Debabrata Mohapatral, Times of India, 18 November 2017
Wary of large-scale destruction of forest covers due to fire mishaps in summer, the Odisha Fire Service (OFS) has decided to draw a road map to tackle the wildfire. The OFS will identify vulnerable forest stretches that often witnessed inferno in summer and sign an MoU with the forest department for imparting training to the forest officials to effectively contain wildfire.
At present, the forest department hardly engages OFS personnel in dousing forest fires due to inaccessible terrains in jungles where fire tenders cannot move smoothly. “We will apprise the forest department of the capability and expertise of OFS in handling disasters. Even though fire tenders cannot make smooth movement in forests, our personnel are skilled to carry portable fire extinguishers. We will have small vehicles that can easily move in forests without affecting the ecology,” director general of police (fire service) Bijay Kumar Sharma told TOI.

[UK] ‘Is this offer from “Herald Investment Trusts” for my carbon credits a scam?’ TONY HETHERINGTON says beware the crooks cloning websites
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 18 November 2017
In a telephone call out of the blue, Paul Gray of Herald Investment Trusts said I held £5,000 in carbon credits and that it had a buyer lined up. I do have these credits, but had written them off as a bad investment.
All sounded fine until I was told Herald could guarantee a sale for £8,000, but I would have to pay £1,640 into a bank account, to be refunded after the sale.
I think this is just too good to be true, but I have checked and Herald is registered with Companies House.
Tony replies: Yes, this is too good to be true. You were swindled over your investment in worthless carbon credits and this is an attempt to swindle you all over again by someone who has got hold of a list of the earlier fraudster’s victims.
But what about the Companies House registration, showing that Herald is a long-established business?

19 November 2017

Native American Environmental Activists Say Paris Agreement Doesn’t Go Far Enough
By Erin Mundahl, Inside Sources, 19 November 2017
Friday was a busy day for American environmental activists. The UN Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany came to a close. At the same time, the Keystone pipeline suffered a leak in rural South Dakota. Speaking from Germany, where they had joined other environmental protesters who opposed America’s leaving the agreement, Native American environmental activists both praised the goals of the agreement and criticized it for failing to uphold indigenous rights and for supporting carbon offset programs.
“During the COP23 conference there has been engaged discussion on the mitigation of climate change and the implementation of the agreements made in Paris during COP21. However, it’s been a real struggle to get parties, nation-states, to take the sincere steps needed to address the climate chaos we are seeing across the globe,” said Dallas Goldtooth, a Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network.

[Ghana] Humans Asked Not To Underestimate Importance Of Forest
News Ghana, 19 November 2017
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has said the importance of the forest to humanity should not be underestimated but rather be cherished and preserved for the sustenance of humanity.
“The forests are oxygen generating machines, producing the oxygen that we breath in, the forests are also our pharmacy and we get a lot of our drugs from them, the forests are also our super markets so we need to preserve them,” Prof Frimpong-Boateng said during a side-event organised alongside the just ended UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany.

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