REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
Climate forest deal stalled: 6th year with no Norwegian payments to Guyana government
Development Today, December 2017
The USD 250 million Norway-Guyana climate forest deal that began in 2009 was supposed to involve annual payments by Norway linked to Guyana’s efforts to protect its standing forests. But as 2017 draws to a close, the sixth year passes with no Norwegian result-based climate funds transferred to the government of Guyana. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
Virgin Atlantic’s carbon offsetting problem
SumOfUs, December 2017
Virgin Atlantic’s carbon offsetting scheme is misleading its customers.
A new report by environmental NGO Fern claims that carbon offsetting isn’t just failing to offset passengers’ carbon footprint, but is doing nothing to stop the destruction of the rainforest. And even resulting in “serious human rights issues.”
Customers pay to offset the carbon cost of their flights in good faith. But companies like Virgin are betraying that faith.
11 December 2017
Failing forests: The World Bank’s flagship REDD+ programme ten years on
Rainforest Foundation UK, 11 December 2017
More than a dozen environmental NGOs have today written to the World Bank to call for the suspension of its flagship programme to reduce emissions from tropical deforestation and degradation (REDD+) on its tenth anniversary, expressing concern that the programme has not yet prevented a single gram of forest carbon from entering the atmosphere.
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) was formally launched at the 2007 UN climate conference in Bali with the aim of establishing a market-based system for paying developing countries to prevent carbon emissions from forest loss. The governments of Norway, UK and Germany along with other donors have committed more than US$1.1 billion to the FCPF.
Why did climate scientists emit 30,000 tonnes of C02 this weekend?
By Peter Kalmus, The Guardian, 11 December 2017
This weekend, 25,000 Earth, Sun, and planetary scientists from across the US and abroad flew to New Orleans for the annual American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. These scientists study the impact global warming is having on Earth. Unfortunately, their air travel to and from the meeting will contribute to that warming by emitting around 30,000 tonnes of CO2.
As an Earth scientist and AGU member myself, I know the importance of their work. Still, there’s something wrong with this picture. As scientists, our work informs us – with dreadful clarity and urgency – that burning fossil fuel is destroying the life support systems on our planet. There’s already more than enough science to know we need to stop. Yet most scientists burn more than the average American, simply because they fly more.
BNP Paribas Securities Services planning platform for voluntary offsetting of carbon emissions
Hedge Week, 11 December 2017
BNP Paribas Securities Services is planning to launch ClimateSeed, a platform that aims to bring together investors and organisations committed to carbon offsetting projects.
This initiative is part of BNP Paribas’ long-standing commitment to help combat climate change and promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
ClimateSeed will act as a centralised platform where investors and companies looking to invest in voluntary carbon offsetting projects will be able to connect easily to projects carriers looking for funding.
The ClimateSeed platform will reinvest 100 per cent of its profits in its development and initiatives designed to enhance its impact.
Taxes on Meat Could Join Carbon and Sugar to Help Limit Emissions
By Emily Chasan, Bloomberg, 11 December 2017
Move over, taxes on carbon and sugar: the global levy that may be next is meat.
Some investors are betting governments around the world will find a way to start taxing meat production as they aim to improve public health and hit emissions targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Socially focused investors are starting to push companies to diversify into plant protein, or even suggest livestock producers use a “shadow price” of meat — similar to an internal carbon price — to estimate future costs.
[Pakistan] REDD+ strategy to increase carbon stock in KP forests prepared
DND, 11 December 2017
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has prepared a comprehensive strategy for reducing emission from desertification and forests’ degradation (REDD+) for sustainable conservation of forests, countering negative effects of green houses’ gases and enhancement of carbon stocks in forests of the province.
The first ever strategy on REDD+ program prepared by KP Forests Department has been finalized in the two days provincial workshop organized by Forestry Planning and Monitoring Circle (FP&MC) held at Pakistan Forests Institute (PFI) Peshawar.
Tree plantations could help Peru meet forest restoration goal
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 11 December 2017
Peru has set a goal of restoring forest on some 3 million hectares of degraded land, but the country still lags behind its neighbors when it comes to scaling up tree plantations to meet both environmental and societal needs.
Although tree plantations could provide ecosystem services, as well as income for communities and businesses, there is a need for more research, training, financial and fiscal incentives, and secure land tenure, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
[USA] California’s hellish fires: a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future
By Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, 11 December 2017
In Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol,’ the Ghost of Christmas Future appears to Ebenezer Scrooge to show what will happen if he doesn’t change his greedy, selfish life. California’s record wildfires are similarly giving us a glimpse of our future hellish climate if we continue with our current behavior.
This year, California experienced its worst and most expensive wildfire season on record. This surprised many, because while the state recently had its worst drought in over 1,200 years, the 5-year drought ended in 2016. However, California was hit by the opposite extreme in 2017, with its wettest rainy season on record.
[USA] Cost of California Carbon Credits Likely to Increase, Study Says
By Richard Nemec, Natural Gas Intel, 11 December 2017
California’s much-debated cap-and-trade carbon emissions program, now extended to 2030, could experience significant price spikes for the carbon credits over the next 12 years, according to a recent discussion paper by The Brattle Group.
Near-term, the paper predicts prices in the program run by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and participated in widely by operators in the oil/gas industry “will remain near the floor,” but long-term it “will need to rise substantially” unless technology breakthroughs massively decrease emissions outside of the power generation sector.
12 December 2017
One Planet, Worlds Apart
Demand Climate Justice, 12 December 2017
As French President Emmanuel Macron convenes a “One Planet Summit” in Paris to mark the second year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, activists from around the world challenge governments to rise to the climate change challenge by cutting their support for fossil fuels.
The December 12th Summit was preceded by a special “climate finance day” and attracted hundreds of representatives from media, business, and dozens of Heads of State. It aims to accelerate the roll out of the Paris Agreement by providing a platform for new public and private partnerships, in particular those that seek to mobilize climate finance, which is hoped to motivate/encourage governments to increase their national targets for pollution cuts and finance transfers.
Sowing the Seeds of Sustainable Forest Restoration
By Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff (FAO), IISD, 12 December 2017
The benefits of restoring damaged and degraded landscapes go well beyond the territory itself, helping mitigate climate change and provide other ecosystem services, and offering more tangible impacts such as food, fuel, jobs, and income for rural communities. It is estimated that more than 2 billion hectares of the world’s degraded landscapes have potential for forest and landscape restoration, providing opportunities for combating poverty and hunger, reviving biodiversity, and building the resilience of both people and ecosystems.
Colombia develops guidelines for biodiversity offsets
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 12 December 2017
When a company builds a mine, dam, highway or other infrastructure, how can it compensate for, or ‘offset’, the loss of biodiversity resulting from the project?
One way is by investing in the conservation of an ecologically equivalent area that is at least as large as the area affected by the project. Another is ecological restoration, which involves recovering an ecosystem with characteristics similar to those of the affected area, so there is no net loss of biodiversity — and ideally, there could be a net gain, known as a ‘net positive impact’.
Dutch government sued over denying access to information on aircraft CO2 rules
Transport and Environment, 12 December 2017
The Dutch government is being taken to court for refusing to publish documents about a controversial CO2 standard for aircraft – in violation of EU law. NGOs Natuur & Milieu and Transport & Environment (T&E) and environmental lawyers ClientEarth say that by withholding decisions and research about the CO2 standard, emission trends, biofuels and offset rules – all of which were drafted or developed behind closed doors at UN aviation agency ICAO – civil society and experts have been prevented from examining claims of ICAO’s effectiveness in addressing aviation’s climate impact.
Carbon Colonialism: The Failure of Green Resources’ Carbon Offset Project in Uganda
Oakland Institute, 12 December 2017
As the One Climate Summit begins in Paris, the Oakland Institute’s new report, Carbon Colonialism: Failure of Green Resources’ Carbon Offset Project in Uganda, lays bare the false solutions to climate change promoted by Western corporations and institutions in Africa. This scathing exposé reveals how Green Resources, a Norwegian industrial forestry and carbon offset project, continues to undermine food security and livelihoods by excluding people from their own land in Kachung, Uganda. The project, supported by a number of international financial institutions, illustrates how climate change is increasingly misused as a pretext to impose a new form of colonialism in Africa.
[UK] Six found guilty in £2.7m ‘boiler room scam’
By Jack Gilbert, City Wire, 12 December 2017
Six individuals have been found guilty over a ‘£2.7 million boiler room scam’ following a criminal prosecution brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
In a statement issued last night the FCA said three people had been found guilty over their roles in a boiler room investment scheme which resulted in £2.7 million of losses for investors.
Another three individuals have already pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at an upcoming date at Southwark Crown Court.
The identity of the defendants cannot be revealed because of reporting restrictions, the FCA said. These details, which include information about the investigation, will be released at a later date.
13 December 2017
Credit where credit is due: big businesses urged to prevent collapse of voluntary carbon market
Farm Africa, 13 December 2017
As world leaders head home from the One Planet Summit, which was held in Paris yesterday to mark the two-year anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, international NGO Farm Africa is urging big businesses who have signalled support for the 2015 agreement to help make it a reality by ensuring a healthy future for the voluntary carbon market.
The NGO has issued a stark warning that endangered tropical forests such as those in the biodiversity hotspot the Bale Mountains Eco-region in southern Ethiopia are at risk if anticipated income from the sale of carbon credits fails to materialise.
Community forestry pays off for Nepal
By Christi Hang, CIFOR Forests News, 13 December 2017
Around the Chitwan National Park in Southern Nepal, forests are supporting the emergence of a host of sustainable local businesses.
Growing businesses in tourism, all-natural products and timber sales are popping up across the forest landscape, boosting local incomes, especially for women, while encouraging sustainable forest management.
The momentum behind this change comes from a decades-long push to hand over forest management rights to local communities who depend on the forests for their livelihoods.
14 December 2017
Flying home for Christmas? Carbon offsets are important, but they won’t fix plane pollution
By Susanne Becken and Brendan Mackey, The Conversation, 14 December 2017
Australia is an important player in the global tourism business. In 2016, 8.7 million visitors arrived in Australia and 8.8 million Australians went overseas. A further 33.5 million overnight trips were made domestically.
But all this travel comes at a cost. According to the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard, all Australian domestic trips and one-way international journeys (the other half is attributed to the end point of travel) amount to 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for 2016. That is 2.7% of global aviation emissions, despite a population of only 0.3% of the global total.
Brazil tops Places to Watch for deforestation, satellites show
TRT World, 14 December 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.
Brazil topped the list of the world’s most important Places to Watch for deforestation on Wednesday, in a new initiative that uses near real-time satellite to highlight forest loss.
Satellites detected more than 50,000 hectares of tree cover loss – equivalent to more than 60,000 soccer fields – since October in the Kayapó Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian Amazon, Global Forest Watch (GFW), a U.S.-based charity said.
EU must not burn the world’s forests for ‘renewable’ energy
By Prof John Beddington et al, letter to the editor the Guardian, 14 December 2017
The European Union is moving to enact a directive to double Europe’s current renewable energy by 2030. This is admirable, but a critical flaw in the present version would accelerate climate change, allowing countries, power plants and factories to claim that cutting down trees and burning them for energy fully qualifies as renewable energy.
Even a small part of Europe’s energy requires a large quantity of trees and to avoid profound harm to the climate and forests worldwide the European council and parliament must fix this flaw.
15 December 2017
[Zambia] Luambe National Park Now The World’s Most Carbon Neutral
CNBC Africa, 15 December 2017
Luambe National Park in Zambia has achieved a conservation milestone this week as it became the most carbon neutral National Park in the world.
Luambe’s carbon neutral status is a result of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) implemented by BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (http://BioCarbonPartners.com), in partnership with the Zambian Government. This world-first level of carbon neutrality means the emissions of all tourism and conservation management activities within with the park are offset, including all international tourist airline travel. Platinum is the highest possible carbon rating available from BCP.
16 December 2017
Climate Change Is Increasing Forest Fires, and the Cost Will Be Huge
By Lou Del Bello, Futurism, 16 December 2017
The skyrocketing cost of putting out this year’s record-breaking forest fires in British Columbia is serving as a stark warning about the economic toll of climate change.
Fire-related expenses averaged $182 million between 2006 and 2016, but in the first nine months of this year, more than $500 million was spent fighting the flames, while costs associated with reconstruction and other damages remain unknown.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the region’s two biggest forest fires alone caused more than $127 million in insurance damage.
17 December 2017
Brazilian police foil million-dollar fraud to export precious wood to China
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 17 December 2017
Two Chinese entrepreneurs paid millions of dollars to a Brazilian company that bribed environment officials of an Amazon state to illegally export precious hardwoods to China. But in a rare success against rising deforestation in the Amazon, Brazilian police and prosecutors were able to stop the scheme before exports started in earnest and said they saved the state from $30m worth of potential environmental damage.
This week prosecutors presented details of two connected, year-long operations that have seen 31 people charged, including the two Chinese entrepreneurs, Brazilian businessmen, environment officials and the former head of the environmental licensing institute of the state of Amapá, on the eastern edge of the Brazilian Amazon.