REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
14 May 2018
Forests are growing again where human well-being is increasing, finds new study
By Jamie Carr, The Conversation, 14 May 2018
Countries with high levels of human well-being are more likely to show increasing forest growth. That’s the finding of a new study by a group of Finnish scientists, published in PLOS ONE. Their work shows that countries exhibiting annual increases in the amount of trees typically score highly on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), a scoring system that uses measures of life expectancy, education, and income to assess development status. Meanwhile, countries with a net annual forest loss typically score lower on the HDI.
Carbon emissions could be halved by avoiding waste from food, clothing and electronics
By Josh Gabbatiss, Independent, 14 May 2018
The UK could halve its annual carbon emissions by avoiding waste from products like food, clothing and electronics.
Resource inefficiency is a major source of emissions, and one that has been largely overlooked in the response to climate change.
Fast fashion, wasteful eating habits and our demand for the latest mobile phone or electronic gadget all have roles to play, but so does the waste that occurs on a larger scale and relies on government interventions to address.
15 May 2018
From Paris to Poland: Keeping Climate Action on Track
Climate Reality, 15 May 2018
Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ was everywhere. The British royal family welcomed Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking new musical Hamilton premiered. (You could say it’s done pretty alright since then.) And don’t forget that time two llamas made a great escape in Arizona.
It’s also the year that the world came together to sign the most ambitious global climate agreement ever at the UN’s COP 21 conference. The Paris Agreement was historic — leaders from 195 nations and parties met for two long weeks and, at the end, agreed to work to address climate change together.
Blockchain Fan IBM Helps Issue a Digital Coin for First Time
By Camila Russo, Bloomberg, 15 May 2018
International Business Machines Corp., which has developed several blockchain-based projects, is now getting into the digital token game.
IBM is partnering with blockchain company Veridium Labs Ltd. to transform carbon credits into digital coins that can be traded on a decentralized exchange. The tokens will be issued and managed on the Stellar network.
[Canada] True test of reconciliation: respect the Indigenous right to say No
By Pam Palmater, Canadian Dimension, 15 May 2018
Conflict is coming. There is no getting around that fact. Anyone who believes that reconciliation will be about blanket exercises, cultural awareness training, visiting a native exhibit at a museum or hanging native artwork in public office buildings doesn’t understand how we got here. Reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples has never been about multiculturalism, diversity or inclusion. Reconciliation is not an affirmative-action program, nor is it about adding token Indigenous peoples to committees, advisory groups or board rooms. We cannot tokenize our way out of this mess that Canada created. Real reconciliation requires truth be exposed, justice be done to make amends and then Canada’s discriminatory laws, policies, practices and societal norms be reconciled with Indigenous rights, title, treaties, laws and jurisdiction. That process of truth, justice and reconciliation will be painful. It requires a radical change. Nothing less than the transfer of land, wealth and power to Indigenous peoples will set things right. The true test of reconciliation will be whether Canada respects the Indigenous right to say ‘no.’
Colombians Work to Reconcile Cattle Farming And Forests
By Maria Paula Rubiano, World Crunch, 15 May 2018
An ambitious project to make livestock farming sustainable in Colombia is yielding results almost a decade after its implementation in 83 districts. Its lesson so far is that livestock and trees can coexist, and farmers can make money without cutting down the forest.
Anyone observing the 43 million hectares Oxfam estimates are used as farming land in Colombia will see that the worst of its countryside’s endemic problems are in livestock rather than crop farming.
German court backs jail term for Deutsche banker’s role in carbon tax fraud
Reuters, 15 May 2018
Germany’s federal supreme court on Tuesday sentenced a former Deutsche Bank employee to three years in prison for his role in a carbon emission permit trading scheme designed to curb global warming but used to fraudulently collect tens of millions of euros of sales tax.
The ruling by the Federal Court of Justice affirmed the 2016 lower-court conviction of Helmut Hohnholz, formerly a regional sales manager with Deutsche’s global markets division.
From the soil to the law, climate change efforts in Indonesia
By Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 15 May 2018
Despite growing pressures of development and urbanization, community members from Sendangsari village in Indonesia’s Yogyakarta province improved the local economy through sustainably managing their teak forest.
Surrounded by the village’s lush greenery, members of the Wono Lestari Community Forest Management Unit explained to some 20 journalists how the community accomplished this. They acquired a SVLK (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu) license, boosting exports by allowing the EU to import their teak without due diligence. The village women also began processing previously unwanted vegetables and tubers into snacks, herbal jamu health drinks and gluten-free flours.
[Kenya] Amnesty urges conversion of Embobut into community forest to protect the Sengwer
By Jeremiah Wakaya, Capital News, 15 May 2018
Amnesty International is calling for the conversion of the Embobut into a community forest under the Community Land Act (2016) and Forest Conservation Management Act (2016) to protect the rights of the indigenous Sengwer people.
In a report captioned “Families Torn Apart: Forced Evictions of Indigenous People in Embobut Forest, Kenya”, the human rights group has called for the immediate cessation of the latest spate of evictions of the Sengwer from the 22,000-hectare forest in Elgeyo Marakwet.
Kenya: Sengwer evictions from Embobut Forest flawed and illegal
Amnesty International, 15 May 2018
The Sengwer Indigenous people of Embobut Forest, Kenya are being forced from their homes and dispossessed of their ancestral lands by the grossly flawed, illegal and violent actions of the Kenyan government, Amnesty International said in a new report launched today.
The report, Families Torn Apart: Forced Evictions of Indigenous People in Embobut Forest, Kenya, looks at the implementation of the government’s 2013 decision to relocate and resettle all residents of Embobut Forest in order to reduce deforestation.
[UK] Introducing Empire Oil: A DeSmog UK Special Investigation
By Chloe Farand, DesmogUK, 14 May 2018
The UK likes to brag about its credential as a global climate leader. But a new DeSmog UK investigation reveals that beneath the green veneer lies some dirty business.
At the centre of it all is the City of London and its junior stock exchange, the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
DeSmog UK’s new three-part investigative series Empire Oil: London’s Dirty Secret, lifts the veil on a “boys’ club” that generates wealth for The City from environmentally damaging activities in politically unstable regions.
The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 15 May 2018
Never mind that the new environmental watchdog will have no teeth. Never mind that the government plans to remove protection from local wildlife sites. Never mind that its 25-year environment plan is all talk and no action. We don’t need rules any more. We have a pouch of magic powder we can sprinkle on any problem to make it disappear.
This powder is the monetary valuation of the natural world. Through the market, we can avoid conflict and hard choices, laws and policies, by replacing political decisions with economic calculations.
16 May 2018
The way scientists set climate goals has given the world a false sense of hope
By Akshat Rathi, Quartz, 16 May 2018
Ever since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015, there has been a sense of buoyancy in the environmental community. That optimism was shaken briefly when Donald Trump announced the US would pull out of the agreement, but then restored quickly as every other country in the world recommitted to the cause of keeping global average temperatures from rising by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels or, better still, 1.5°C.
Veridium Labs teams with IBM and Stellar on carbon credit blockchain
By Ron Miller, Tech Crunch, 16 May 2018
Veridium Labs has been trying to solve a hard problem about how to trade carbon offset credits in an open market. The trouble is that more complex credits don’t have a simple value like a stock, and there hasn’t been a formula to determine their individual value. That has made accounting for them and selling them on open exchanges difficult or impossible. It’s a problem Veridium believes they can finally solve with tokens and the blockchain.
[Brazil] Oil palm for the people
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 16 May 2018
Palm oil might seem an odd proposition for reducing poverty and preserving rainforests. In recent years, the negative environmental and social impacts associated with its cultivation have become widely known.
In the Brazilian Amazon, however, there are hopes that the relatively-new palm oil industry will avoid some of the mistakes made in other parts of the world, and provide opportunities to benefit local people, help avoid deforestation and recover degraded lands.
Leaked report warns Cambodia’s biggest dam could ‘literally kill’ Mekong river
By Tom Fawthrop, The Guardian, 16 May 2018
A Chinese-backed plan to build Cambodia’s biggest dam could “literally kill” the Mekong river, according to a confidential assessment seen by the Guardian which says that the proposed site at Sambor is the “worst possible place” for hydropower.
The report, which was commissioned by the government in Phnom Penh, has been kept secret since it was submitted last year, prompting concerns that ministers are inclined to push ahead regardless of the dire impact it predicts on river dolphins and one of the world’s largest migrations of freshwater fish.
[Indonesia] Greenpeace: Paper giant cut forests during conservation pact
By Stephen Wright, AP, 16 May 2018
Greenpeace has ended a five-year truce with one of the world’s largest paper companies, accusing it of cutting down tropical forests in Indonesia during the entire time the two were cooperating on conservation.
The announcement Wednesday, triggered by an Associated Press investigation, abruptly ends a landmark 2013 agreement in which the environmental group suspended a global campaign against Indonesia’s Sinarmas and its Asia Pulp & Paper arm in exchange for commitments to end deforestation, land grabs and conflicts with local communities.
17 May 2018
Factoring in land rights in the push for sustainable landscapes
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Landscapes News, 17 May 2018
What do land rights have to do with building the investment case for sustainable landscapes? According to land administration specialist Frank Pichel, a great deal.
“Whether you look at conservation, climate change, service delivery, infrastructure or equitable access to finance… they all have property right angles,” says Pichel, who will be a speaker at the Global Landscapes Forum Third Annual GLF Investment Case Symposium in Washington, on May 30.
Study claims Bitcoin energy consumption is exploding — leaving us totally rekt
By Jack Morse, Mashable, 17 May 2018
Bitcoin is the way of the future — as long as that future just so happens to include shocking levels of energy consumption increasing at a jaw dropping rate.
So claims a new study published yesterday in Joule which, unfortunately for all the hodlers out there, paints a pretty dire picture. Specifically, one painted in ash. It says that by the end of this year Bitcoin electricity use could triple, approaching the consumption rates of the entire country of Austria.
Climate change on track to cause major insect wipeout, scientists warn
By Damien Carrington, The Guardian, 17 May 2018
Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis.
Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, the scientists warn. Their research shows that, even with all the carbon cuts already pledged by nations so far, climate change would make almost half of insect habitat unsuitable by the end of the century, with pollinators like bees particularly affected.
Chilean villagers claim British appetite for avocados is draining region dry
By Alice Facchini and Sandra Laville, The Guardian, 17 May 2018
British supermarkets are selling thousands of tonnes of avocados produced in a Chilean region where villagers claim vast amounts of water are being diverted, resulting in a drought.
Major UK supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl source avocados from Chile’s largest avocado-producing province, Petorca, where water rights have been violated.
[Ghana] Stakeholders Dialogue To End Commodity Driven Deforestation
Modern Ghana, 17 May 2018
The Tropical Forest Alliance in collaboration with Proforest and the Government of Ghana have begun a four -day meeting to find measures to reduce the rampant destruction of forests and find ways to generate better revenue from it.
Dr Moses Ama, Representative from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+), Nigeria, addressing the participants in Accra on Wednesday, noted that even though a variety of landscape and jurisdictional initiatives were being developed towards protecting forests, they overlapped considerably in their aims and objectives.
[Guyana] Community meetings underway on reduced emissions from forestry activities
Stabroek News, 17 May 2018
Countrywide community meetings have begun under the consultancy for stakeholder participation on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Readiness Activities in Guyana.
According to a press release yesterday from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Project (FCPF) in Guyana, beginning in early May, stakeholder engagements were held in Moruca, Region One; Mainstay, Region Two; Georgetown, Region Four and; Kwakwani, Region Ten. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
[Pakistan] National strategy to reduce emissions finalised
The Express Tribune, 17 May 2018
The National Strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) was finalised on Wednesday in a consultative workshop involving officials from National REDD+ Office, forest departments of all federating units, forestry experts, academia, civil society and other relevant people.
The strategy has been developed by Indufor of Finland in partnership with CHIP Training & Consulting of Pakistan. Indufor Group is one of the world’s leading forest consulting service providers.
18 May 2018
Brazil has the tools to end Amazon deforestation now: report
By Giovanni Ortolani, Mongabay, 18 May 2018
Brazil has no reason to further deforest the Amazon, as there is plenty of degraded land available for agribusiness growth and profit. This is the positive pragmatic message put forth in “A Pathway to Zero Deforestation in the Amazon,” a report first launched at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, last November, by the Zero Deforestation Working Group (ZDWG), a coalition of NGO analysts from Greenpeace, Instituto Centro de Vida, Imaflora, Imazon, Instituto Socioambiental, Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Obaseki shares Edo’s success story in forestry mgt in Ghana
Vanguard, 18 May 2018
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, joined participants drawn from across the globe at Africa’s maiden top-level global forest conference held in Accra to call on African governments to reverse the worrying trend of deforestation on the continent.
The governor said this at the Tropical Forests Alliance (TFA) 2020 General Assembly in Ghana, where it was revealed that between 2010 and 2015, Africa recorded the highest net annual loss of forests.
[Iceland] Turning carbon dioxide into rock – forever
By Valeria Perasso, BBC News, 18 May 2018
Nested in the snow-covered mountains of western Iceland, a maze of turbines and pipes belches thick billows of steam. This mammoth structure is responsible for providing power to a country where 100% of the electricity comes from renewable sources.
The Hellisheidi power station, 25km (15 miles) outside Reykjavik, is Iceland’s main geothermal plant, and is one of the largest in the world.
“Do you feel the vibrations beneath us?”, says Edda Sif Aradottir, the plant’s manager, splashing snow as she stomps her boot on the ground. “It’s the steam coming into the turbines”.
2018 won’t see repeat of 2015 haze crisis: Indonesian Minister
By Audrey Tan, Straits Times, 18 May 2018
Singapore looks set to see a third straight year with no haze, due in part to Indonesia’s sustained efforts at curbing fires and preventing their spread.
Indonesia’s Minister of National Development Planning Bambang Brodjonegoro said on Friday (May 18) that the 2015 haze crisis would not repeat itself this year.
“In the last few years, including this year, we did not have the haze that happened in 2015,” he said, adding that forestry and peatland management plans have already been implemented.
[Kenya] Opinion: Forest dependent people key in conservation
By Irungu Houghton, Standard Digital, 18 May 2018
Last week, the Environment Ministry’s spirited #PandaMitiPendaKenya campaign rallied Kenyans to plant over a billion trees and restore Kenya’s depleted forest cover. The campaign comes in the wake of reports that emphasise the importance of locally driven forest conservation efforts.
19 May 2018
[Laos] Authority orders paper mill to cease test operations
Vientiane Times, 19 May 2018
Savannakhet province authorities have ordered a paper factory in Xepon district to stop conducting tests until construction is complete, with its operations suspected of causing river pollution.
The Chinese-owned factory, claimed to be the third largest of its type in the world, test ran equipment on May 10 while it was raining and waste from the factory apparently made its way into a small tributary of the Xe Banghieng River.
Speaking to Vientiane Times yesterday, Xepon district Vice Governor Mr Khamla Phommixay said the factory was still under construction, including the waste treatment section.
20 May 2018
Global alliance puts carbon capture back on the agenda
By Jillian Ambrose, The Telegraph, 20 May 2018
The first major international initiative to galvanise technology that traps carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere will be unveiled this week by some of the world’s largest polluters.
The annual Clean Energy Ministerial will play host to the new global co-operation plan to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) to clean up the emissions from power plants and factories.
[Ghana] Government Teams Up With Forestry Advocates To Integrate Small Holder Farmers
Modern Ghana, 20 May 2018
Governments and Private Forest Actors have established the necessity to integrate small holder farmers in protection and usage of forests to yield more productive merchandises and profits especially for the indigenous farmers.
The initiative was out-door by Representatives from Government Institutions, Private Forestry Advocate Institutions including Proforest, Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, Olam International, Global Environmental Facility, and Forest Development Authority, Liberia at a press briefing in Accra yesterday.
Is Iran pulling out of Paris Agreement?
By Maryam Qarehgozlou, Tehran Times, 20 May 2018
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif signed the Paris Agreement on climate change during a ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York, April 22, 2016.
“However, the agreement was brought before the Guardian Council, but the council did not approve it and proposed amendments, so the deal is now being hammered out in agriculture, water and natural resources group of the Majlis,” ISNA quoted Karim Shafie, deputy environment chief for legal affairs, as saying on Saturday.
The Solomon Islands is getting ready to monitor future REDD+ successes
By Maryia Kukharava, UN-REDD Programme, 20 May 2018
A great majority of the Solomon Islands is covered with forests, of which more than half is classified as primary forest. Forests are not only food security and livelihoods of coastal communities in the Solomon Islands, but they also represent an important safety net for possible natural disasters that are not that rare on the islands. Forests can limit earthquake damage, mitigate floods, prevent and rehabilitate landslides.