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REDD in the news: 18-24 June 2018

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

18 June 2018

Permian Global’s Stephen Rumsey envisions a brighter future for REDD+
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Landscape News, 18 June 2018
“I think at the moment we’re in the darkest hour,” said a financial expert during a Landscape Talk about the next decade of REDD+, at the recent Global Landscapes Forum Investment Case Symposium in Washington.
REDD+, the U.N.-backed scheme to reduce emissions from degradation and deforestation, and enhance carbon stocks, has “become a bit less fashionable recently,” acknowledged Stephen Rumsey, chair of the investment firm Permian Global, which is focused on protecting and recovering tropical rainforests to mitigate climate change. “It needs to come back, because it’s basically a good idea.”

How to take forest landscape restoration to the next level
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Forests News, 18 June 2018
Governments around the world have pledged over 150 million hectares of forested land for restoration, but only five million have been subject to such interventions so far.
“We already know how to restore degraded landscapes at small scales, but uncertainty remains as to how to create a global movement that is well resourced, socially supported and technically competent,” says Jaboury Ghazoul, plant ecologist at ETH Zürich and organizer of the 2018 Latsis Symposium.

Palm Oil on the Precipice
By Gaurav Madan, Friends of the Earth US, 18 June 2018
Last week, a video of an orangutan battling a bulldozer clearing its habitat for palm oil plantation went viral. The footage, from 2013, was just released by International Animal Rescue and calls on consumers to avoid goods with palm oil.
At the same moment, two petitions highlighting the palm oil industry’s role in widespread deforestation and habitat loss called on grocery chain Trader Joe’s to stop selling palm oil products. Each petition collected tens of thousands of signatures.

Thirty Years on: How Jim Hansen was Proved Right On Climate Change
By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, 18 June 2018
It is nearly thirty years to the day that one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Dr James Hansen told a panel of the US senate that the “greenhouse effect was here”.
As the US sweltered in a heat-wave in 1988, Hansen predicted that year would be the hottest year on record and that we all would experience an increase in heatwaves, droughts and storms due to climate change.

“Cryptocurrency systems can’t scale or be trusted” – central banking organisation
By Chris Middleton, Internet of Business, 18 June 2018
The more popular cryptocurrencies become, the less trustworthy and efficient they are, according to a key central banking organisation.
Cryptocurrencies are “not scalable and are more likely to suffer a breakdown in trust” as they grow, according to the annual report from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the umbrella organisation for the world’s central banks.
The BIS is warning the world’s central banks to think hard about the potential risks before issuing cryptocurrencies of their own.

[EU] Member States and Commission warn against further weakening aviation environmental standards
FERN, 18 June 2018
At least six European countries have threatened to pull out of the aviation industry’s sustainability scheme if its environmental standards are weakened any further.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s scheme, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), contains measures to compensate aviation emissions via mass purchase of carbon offsets (including forest offsets), and to increase use of biofuels.

[EU] Action on deforestation: despite well-endorsed petitions, Juncker will not meet
FERN, 18 June 2018
The President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, has turned down a meeting to receive a petition, backed by more than 120,000 signatories, calling for greater European action to tackle the patterns of EU consumption that drive global deforestation.
That petition that Juncker does not wish to discuss is endorsed by more than 20 organisations worldwide, including Fern, and was launched in May 2018, following the Commission’s publication of a feasibility study offering policy options to act on deforestation. The petition urges M. Juncker to uphold the EU’s international commitment to halt deforestation by 2020 by supporting an EU Action Plan to protect forests and respect forest-dependent peoples’ rights.

[Norway] Oil-hungry industry gets big Arctic opening near protected Svalbard waters
By Atle Staalesen, The Barents Observer, 18 June 2018
«The opening of new exploration acreage is a precondition for reaching the targets in our petroleum policy,» Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Søviknes explained as he on Monday announced the new Arctic offer to the oil industry.
Of the nine new licenses issued in the Barents Sea, three stretches north of the 24th parallel. They include a total of six blocks. Another 27 blocks are located on the 73rd parallel.

19 June 2018

Risky business: Tenure issues main deterrent for investment
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 19 June 2018
“It’s the biggest risk to look at,” said Sylvia Wisniwski, Managing Director of Finance in Motion investment advisory. “When land use conflicts arise, sometimes you can lose the entire investment. With big investments of 20 billion or so, you don’t have possibility of failure.”
“The first question an investor is going to ask is, ‘What’s my land tenure risk? How do I know I still have this asset? Is it really mine?’ ” said MaryKate Bullen, Associate Director of Sustainability and Communications at New Forests asset management firm.

Ex-Nasa scientist: 30 years on, world is failing ‘miserably’ to address climate change
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 19 June 2018
Thirty years after a former Nasa scientist sounded the alarm for the general public about climate change and human activity, the expert issued a fresh warning that the world is failing “miserably” to deal with the worsening dangers.
While Donald Trump and many conservatives like to argue that climate change is a hoax, James Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.

Food For Thought – Meat, Dairy And Fish Firms At Risk From Failing To Tackle Climate And Antibiotics
By Mike Scott, Forbes, 19 June 2018
The spotlight has fallen on sectors including oil and gas, minerals, electricity and automotive, illuminating how they will be disrupted by climate change and efforts to tackle it.
Now the risks to the food sector are being highlighted, in particular the meat, fish and dairy sector, whose intensive farming methods are increasingly coming under scrutiny not just for their contribution to climate change but also a raft of other issues such as overuse of antibiotics, water and fertilizer. The industry is also facing the challenge of a switch to healthier diets and an increase in the number of vegetarians and vegans.

Shell, British Airways working with waste-to-fuel company to produce sustainable jet fuel
By Maurice Smith, JWN Energy, 19 June 2018
Velocys has received £4.9 million of funding to deliver the next development phase of a waste-to-sustainable jet fuel project that the company is developing in the U.K. with Shell and British Airways.
As part of the funding package a grant of £434,000 has been secured from the Department for Transport (DfT) under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C).

[New Zealand] Kiwi pours 500k into alleged scam: ‘I’m not a Dumbbell’
NZ Herald, 19 June 2018
A Kiwi man has poured $525,000 into what is believed to be a sophisticated global investment scam and is warning others against being taken in.
Authorities are looking into the apparent ruse which has allegedly duped other Kiwis out of their life-savings.
Manfred Bredl, 63, believed he was investing in a groundbreaking carbon emissions scheme, reportedly backed by the Mexican government.
But promises of a NZ$1.8 million cash windfall by charismatic, smooth-talking operators failed to materialise and Bredl now fears he’s lost the lot in a sophisticated con.

‘Huge mistake’: Britain throwing away lead in tidal energy, say developers
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 19 June 2018
Britain is throwing away its opportunity to rule the global wave and tidal energy sector due to lack of government support, a series of leading developers have told the Guardian.
The nation is currently seen as a world leader in capturing renewable energy from the oceans but some companies are already heading for new shores. This is putting other countries, such as France and Canada, in prime position to capitalise on the jobs being created by the emerging industry, the companies say.

20 June 2018

Earth’s intact forests vanishing at accelerating pace: scientists
AFP, 20 June 2018
Earth’s intact forests shrank by an area larger than Austria every year from 2014 to 2016 at a 20 percent faster rate than during the previous decade, scientists said Wednesday as the UN unveiled an initiative to harness the “untapped potential” of the land sector to fight climate change.
Despite a decades-long effort to halt deforestation, nearly 10 percent of undisturbed forests have been fragmented, degraded or simply chopped down since 2000, according to the analysis of satellite imagery.

The state of REDD+ (mid-2018 edition)
By Chris Meyer, EDF, 20 June 2018
As the biennial REDD Exchange (REDDx) conference in Oslo approaches, it is a good time to review the progress Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) has made over the last year.
Deforestation still continues to be a significant problem in many parts of the world (tropical and non-tropical), so there is definitely more work to do. However, more and more of the institutional changes necessary to turn the corner on deforestation in the coming years are occurring at all levels of government. Below are some notable areas of progress we’ve seen recently on REDD+.

MAAP-related article published in Science Magazine!
MAAP, 20 June 2018
A new policy article entitled “Combating deforestation: From satellite to intervention” was just published in Science, one of the leading journals in the world.
The authors include members of Amazon Conservation, World Resources Institute (Global Forest Watch), and Planet.

What if Cameroonian consumers wanted legal timber?
By Guillaume Lescuyer, CIFOR Forests News, 20 June 2018
Cameroonians are still not very interested in knowing the origin of the wood they buy, but a growing number of consumers are looking for legal and sustainable products. This is the main conclusion of a recent study I conducted with other scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and partners, which explores the domestic timber market in Cameroon.

21 June 2018

WWF, Partners Challenge Stakeholders to Take Action for 2030 on Forests, Food and Land
By Gillian Nelson, IISD, 21 June 2018
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and a broad coalition of partners have launched a challenge to non-state actors across all sectors of the economy to take concrete action to ensure better forest and habitat conservation, food production and consumption, and land use, estimating that such action can deliver up to 30% of the “climate solutions” needed by 2030.

Some rare good climate news: the fossil fuel industry is weaker than ever
By Bill McKibben, The Guardian, 21 June 2018
If you’re looking for good news on the climate front, don’t look to the Antarctic. Last week’s spate of studies documenting that its melt rates had tripled is precisely the kind of data that underscores the almost impossible urgency of the moment.
And don’t look to Washington DC, where the unlikely survival of the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, continues to prove the political power of the fossil fuel industry. It’s as if he’s on a reality show where the premise is to see how much petty corruption one man can get away with.

[Indonesia] ‘North Sumatran land mafia offered me $21m to win election — then hand over control of government’
Gecko Project, 21 June 2018
In July last year, Abdon Nababan, one of Indonesia’s most prominent activists, announced his intention to run for governor in his home province of North Sumatra. During his decade-long tenure as head of AMAN, the country’s main advocacy group for indigenous rights, Abdon led the organization to a series of high-profile wins. These included a landmark court decision that eroded the state’s legal claim to indigenous peoples’ territories, which have widely been leased out to agribusiness and extractive companies by corrupt politicians. North Sumatra is no exception: Its last two governors were convicted of graft.

22 June 2018

23 June 2018

24 June 2018

[Brazil] Winning farmer support to reduce deforestation
By Daniel Nepstad and João Shimada, Mongabay, 24 June 2018
Strategies for slowing deforestation in the Amazon region of Brazil appear to be weakening. The area of forest cleared in 2017, 6,947 square kilometers, was 50 percent greater than in 2012, 4,571 square kilometers. A strategy course correction is urgently needed to resume the slowdown in deforestation. In a previous Mongabay Commentary, we presented four suggestions for winning the critical support of regional governments in solving tropical deforestation. In this new Commentary, we shift the focus to the Brazilian farm sector.

Fraudsters ‘turning Dubai into the new Costa del Crime’
By Margot Gibbs and Jamie Doward, The Guardian, 24 June 2018
Fraudsters involved in scams costing the Treasury almost £100m have bought a string of luxury apartments in Dubai – now considered to have replaced Spain’s Costa Del Crime as the place to launder money – a major leak of a secret Dubai property database has revealed.
The list of purchasers will be studied closely by British investigators, who have been chasing the missing millions the fraudsters owe the UK and other European countries. All the men are accused of being involved in so-called carousel fraud, which is estimated to have cost the UK £16.5bn in tax revenues between 2005 and 2016.

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