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REDD in the news: 26 February – 4 March 2018

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

26 February 2018

Climate: The travel question
By Katya Gordon, Lake County News Chronicle, 26 February 2018
In Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Flight Behavior,” a hard-working, blue-collar mom is approached by an environmentalist who reads her a “sustainability pledge.” He wants her to consider what she can do to lower her carbon footprint.
By the end of the pledge, he is squirming, as well he should.
“Fly less,” he says.
The woman squints up at him. “Fly less?”
She hasn’t flown in her entire life. Her concept of a night out is a burger at McDonald’s. In this singular interaction, Kingsolver pinpoints the uncomfortable truth for many of us who eat organic foods, drive a Prius and even install a solar panel or two. Often the biggest footprint, and the least questioned, is our travel habits.

When rights to land doesn’t mean rights to resources
By Deanna Ramsay and Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forests News, 26 February 2018
As indigenous communities around the world gain recognition of rights to their ancestral lands, their rights to resources on those lands remain less certain. Research has found that the right to benefit from resources like timber, oil, gas, or even carbon stored in trees and soil, is not always guaranteed to indigenous peoples through land rights formalization processes by states.

Financing a natural rubber plantation in Indonesia, promoting sustainable development and green jobs
UNEP, 26 February 2018
The Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF), a partnership between UN Environment, World Agroforestry Centre, ADM Capital and BNP Paribas, today announced its inaugural transaction, a landmark US$ 95 million Sustainability Bond to help finance a sustainable natural rubber plantation on heavily degraded land in two provinces in Indonesia. The project incorporates extensive social and environmental objectives and safeguards. Planted areas will serve as a buffer zone to protect a threatened national park from encroachment.

Indonesia braces for return of fire season as hotspots flare up
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 26 February 2018
Forest fires are underway in Indonesia as the rainy season tails off, marking the return of potentially widespread burning that threatens to once again blanket parts of the country in a toxic haze and belch out huge volumes of carbon dioxide.
Authorities reported that fires had flared up in the two Sumatran provinces of Riau and South Sumatra, and in the Bornean provinces of West and Central Kalimantan. Twenty-three of the 90 hotspots recorded across the country were in West Kalimantan, where thick smoke blanketed the provincial capital Pontianak and disrupted flights.

27 February 2018

The Dirt On Soil Carbon
By Melissa Gallant, Ecosystem Marketplace, 27 February 2018
Late last year, on the eve of global climate talks in Bonn, Germany, the National Academies of the Sciences published a paper called “Natural Climate Solutions,” which showed how we could simultaneously feed more people while slashing greenhouse gas emissions just by improving the way we manage our forests, farms, and fields.
Specifically, the paper identified 20 nature-based “pathways” that, combined, could get us 37 percent of the way to meeting the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. The pathways ranged from saving forests to managing fertilizer more effectively to improving the way we graze cattle, and the total emission reductions the paper identified were 30 percent higher than those identified in previous studies.

[Australia] Biggest polluters get clear path to hike emissions under plan
By Nicole Hasham, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 February 2018
Australia’s biggest polluting companies would more easily jack up their greenhouse gas emissions under a Turnbull government proposal that critics say undermines multi-billion dollar efforts to tackle climate change.
The proposed change was prompted by feedback from businesses, including the petroleum industry, which said emissions rules did not adequately allow their businesses to grow.
The Department of the Environment and Energy last week released a consultation paper outlining planned changes to the “safeguard mechanism”, which is supposed to ensure pollution reductions bought through the government’s $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund are not offset by emissions increases elsewhere in the economy.

[Indonesia] ‘SOS’: the rainforest distress call carved into Sumatra’s oil palms
By Kate Lamb, The Guardian, 27 February 2018
Dramatically carved into the landscape of a Sumatran oil palm plantation that borders one of the world’s most unique rainforests are three ominous letters: SOS.
The message stretches half a kilometre alongside a snaking river; a bird’s-eye view gives the eerie sense the land has been given voice, and is issuing a mayday.
“From the ground, you would not suspect anything more than just another palm oil plantation. The aerial view, however, reveals the SOS distress signal,” says the Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic.

[USA] NAVF in the Coalition for Maximizing the Use of Offsets in the California Cap-and-Trade Program
Native American Venture Fund press release, 27 February 2018
Native American Venture Fund (“NAVF”) joined the Coalition of broad spectrum of industry leaders, carbon credit developers and forest conservation organizations (“the Coalition”) to work with Carbon Resources Board (“CARB”) in maximizing the number of offsets in the Cap-and-Trade Program.
In a letter to Richard Corey, Executive Officer of CARB, the Coalition asked to continue to recognize the value of offsets as a foundational cost-containment mechanism and seek to maximize their use. In addition, the Coalition encouraged CARB staff to address current offset program rules which create cost and/or obstacles to full offset utilization, especially for smaller covered facilities.

28 February 2018

Brazil court upholds forestry law changes in blow to environmentalists
By Jake Spring, Reuters, 28 February 2018
Brazil’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld major changes to laws that protect the Amazon and other biomes, reducing penalties for past illegal deforestation in a blow to environmentalists trying to protect the world’s largest rainforest.
Congress agreed to sweeping revisions in the law in 2012 that included an amnesty program for illegal deforestation on “small properties” that occurred before 2008 and reduced restoration requirements in others.

Oil palm landscapes: Indonesia’s game of palms
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 28 February 2018
East Kalimantan is one of five Indonesian provinces located on the island of Borneo, where forests are facing increased pressure due to the accelerated expansion of oil palm plantations. The province has become the focus of research into Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes, with parallels drawn from Kalimantan to Colombia.

[Indonesia] Government to relax forest moratorium for military installations
By Anton Hermansyah, Jakarta Post, 28 February 2018
The government is planning to revise a 2017 presidential regulation on forest moratorium to make way for the construction of military installations.
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said on Wednesday the regulation stipulated that new licenses for developments in primary forests and peat lands could only be issued for the development of the government’s strategic projects, but it was unclear if military-related developments were included.
Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has requested that the regulation be revised.

[Malaysia] Another hidden link between your retirement funds and rainforest destruction: Maybank, the world’s largest financier of palm oil
By Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth US, 28 February 2018
The global palm oil sector is projected to be worth $88 billion by the year 2022. Palm oil exported from Indonesia, West Africa, and Central America has become the go-to fat for use in thousands of consumer products, from baked goods and ice cream to cleaning products and cosmetics. It’s in Nestlé’s chocolates, in PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay snacks, in Campbell’s cookies and crackers; it’s the stuff that makes your Nutella and your Krispy Kreme doughnuts so fatty. Add to this the fact that you can burn it as a biodiesel and you’ve got a miracle crop, and a boon for investors.

1 March 2018

Frances Seymour Gives Pardee Center Lecture on Deforestation and Climate Change
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, 1 March 2018
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future recently hosted a special lecture by Frances Seymour, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute, exploring the role of tropical forests in efforts to mitigate climate change and advance sustainable development. Seymour’s talk was centered around her recent book, Why Forests? Why Now?: The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change, published by the Center for Global Development.

CAFI Statement on illegal logging concessions awarded in DRC
Central African Forest Initiative, 1 March 2018
On February 22 and 27, Congolese authorities, including the Minister for Finance and the Minister for the Environment, convened the 4th Steering Committee of FONAREDD (DRC National REDD+ Fund) in Kinshasa.
On behalf of the CAFI Executive Board, the French and Norwegian representatives expressed deep concern over the three recent logging concessions awarded by the Ministry of Environment, to two Chinese timber companies.
This measure taken by the Government is in direct breach of the 2002 moratorium and the partnership principles outlined in the CAFI Letter of Intent.
As a result, CAFI has urged DRC to immediately revoke the concessions, and stipulated that no new transfers would be made to CAFI projects in Congo until this occurs.

2 March 2018

Payments to protect carbon stored in forests must increase to defend against rubber
University of East Anglia press release, 2 March 2018
Payments to protect carbon stored in forests must increase to defend against rubber plantations
Efforts to protect tropical forests in Southeast Asia for the carbon they store may fail because protection payments are too low – according to University of East Anglia research.
A study published today in Nature Communications finds that schemes designed to protect tropical forests from clearance based on the carbon they store do not pay enough to compete financially with potential profits from rubber plantations.

ICAO and forest offsets: Substantial opportunities and exceptional benefits (commentary)
By Lauren T. Cooper, Mongabay, 2 March 2018
If aviation emissions were counted as those of a separate country, that country would be ranked as a top ten emitter. The aviation industry’s activities currently contribute between 3.5 and 4.9 percent of total global emissions, and this is expected to increase to 4.4 to 6.2 percent by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Chile: Forest Fires – Emergency Appeal Final Report
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2 March 2018
On 15 January 2017, Chile was affected by a series of forest fires extending from the Metropolitan Region to the Bío Bío Region. In a short period of time, the number of fires increased despite the constant efforts of the Fire Department, the Civil Defence Brigade and volunteers from different institutions.

[Kenya] Extend logging ban to one year to plan forest cover – Mandago
By Mathews Ndanyi, The Star, 2 March 2018
Governor Jackson Mandago yesterday said the three-month logging suspension should be extended to one year so plans can be developed to increase forest cover.
On Sunday, Deputy President William Ruto said the government had imposed a 90-day moratorium on timber harvesting in all community and public forests “to allow reassessment and rationalisation of the entire forest sector”.

[Thailand] Forest fires in Khon Kaen
By Chakkrapan Natanri, Bangkok Post, 2 March 2018
Wildfires sparked by the hot and dry weather have swept through hundreds of rai of forests in this northeastern province.
They are burning in community forests and forest parks in areas bordering Ban Fang, Nong Rua and Ubon Ratana districts.
The fires have spread due to the extremely hot conditions and abundance of dried leaves and other natural combustibles for fuel.

Zambia takes the keys away from ‘drivers’ of deforestation
World Bank, 2 March 2018
Across Zambia, worsening impacts of climate change including more frequent and intense droughts and floods have led to food, water and energy insecurity, especially among the country’s most vulnerable rural communities.
Clearing forests for agriculture, charcoal and fuelwood production, are among the country’s main drivers of deforestation. The majority of the 1.7 million population in the Province lives in rural areas, and depends on agriculture, forests and wildlife, yet these resources are being lost at a fast pace. This is especially apparent in Zambia’s Eastern Province on the drive from Lusaka to Chipata. Other factors that contribute to the problem include, inadequate support for land use planning, poor agricultural and forestry resources management practices, untapped alternative livelihood options, and poor market access for marketable commodities and cash crops to farmers.

Zim, DRC strengthen ties
By Zvamaida Murwira, The Herald, 2 March 2018
Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to strengthen cooperation in various sectors of the economy, as the two countries seek to deepen bilateral relations.
Some of the areas that have been identified include agriculture, hydrocarbon, energy, health, tourism, conservation and aviation.

3 March 2018

This Flavor-Packed Burger Saves As Many Emissions As Taking 2 Million Cars Off the Road
World Resources Institute, 3 March 2018
Burgers are possibly the most ubiquitous meal on Americans’ dinner plates, but they’re also among the most resource-intensive: Beef accounts for nearly half of the land use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food Americans eat.
Although there’s growing interest in plant-based burgers and other alternatives, for the millions of people who still want to order beef, there’s a better burger out there: a beef-mushroom blend that maintains, or even enhances, that meaty flavor with significantly less environmental impact.

4 March 2018

‘Global deforestation hotspot’: 3m hectares of Australian forest to be lost in 15 years
By Michael Slezak, The Guardian, 4 March 2018
Australia is in the midst of a full-blown land-clearing crisis. Projections suggest that in the two decades to 2030, 3 million hectares of untouched forest will have been bulldozed in eastern Australia.
The crisis is driven primarily by a booming livestock industry but is ushered in by governments that fail to introduce restrictions and refuse to apply existing restrictions.
And more than just trees are at stake.
Australia has an awesome biodiversity, with nearly 8% of all Earth’s plant and animal species finding a home on the continent. About 85% of the country’s plants, 84% of its mammals and 45% of its birds are found nowhere else.

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