REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
9 July 2018
African countries up their REDD+ safeguards game to take ownership of national processes
By Steve Swan, UN-REDD programme, 9 July 2018
In October 2017, I stated that, “no country in Africa has yet to meet the REDD+ safeguards requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)”. Referring to the status of REDD+ safeguards progress in Africa, captured in a regional workshop on ‘Navigating the Transition from REDD+ Readiness to Implementation,’ I went on to declare that, “no country in the region has an operational safeguards information system, and no African country has made a start on a summary of safeguards information”.
China CORSIA withdrawal reports inaccurate, official tells media
Carbon Pulse, 9 July 2018
Reports that China has withdrawn from the voluntary first phases of the UN’s CORSIA aviation offsetting scheme are inaccurate, according to a representative of China’s delegation to ICAO. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
10 July 2018
Pessimism grows over expected start date for China carbon trading
By Emily Feng, Financial Times, 10 July 2018
Chinese industry players are more pessimistic than ever about when the nation will begin trading in a national carbon market, despite announcements of a limited rollout at the end of last year, according to the largest survey of market expectations.
Nineteen per cent of those surveyed expected China’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be fully functional by 2020 or earlier, down from 47 per cent in 2017’s survey results, according to an annual report by the China Carbon Forum, a non-governmental organisation that tracks carbon trading.
[Ehtiopia] Forests: The greenest pastures?
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 10 July 2018
How can you keep farms productive for generations while reducing the impact on the environment? In sub-Saharan Africa, the answer might be forests – and cow poo.
Agricultural intensification – producing more food on less land – has relieved the hunger of millions, through a combination of improved crop variety, fertilizers and irrigation. This “Green Revolution” has improved food security in many countries, but it has also had unforeseen environmental and social consequences. Farming the same land over and over can deplete the nutrients in the soil, and to restore them, the conventional approach has relied on chemical fertilizers and fossil-fuel guzzling machinery to distribute them.
11 July 2018
Future of tropical forests: Time for a paradigm shift
Fern, 11 July 2018
Ten years after the introduction of REDD+, what is there to celebrate? What challenges remain? At the Oslo Tropical Forest Summit on 27-28 June 2018, key forest stakeholders explored these questions. The flurry of discussions left mixed views and a sense of déjà vu, but core truths emerged.
Forests are part of the climate equation, and although REDD+ failed to deliver on its promises to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, it was commended for bringing indigenous peoples’ rights to the fore, and for providing a framework to share climate responsibilities more fairly. Whether REDD+ will deliver over the next ten years remains to be seen, but better technology, more data and increasing financial rewards alone cannot save forests. We also need improved governance and stronger recognition of communities rights’ to their forests.
As Indigenous Groups Wait Decades for Land Titles, Companies Are Acquiring Their Territories
By Laura Notess and Peter Veit, World Resources Institute, 11 July 2018
The Santa Clara de Uchunya community has lived in a remote section of the Peruvian Amazon for generations. Like many indigenous groups, this community of the Shipibo-Konibo people have traditionally managed and relied on forests for hunting, fishing and natural resources.
But in 2014, someone started cutting down large sections of the community’s ancestral forests.
[Indonesia] A brief explainer of the blue economy
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 11 July 2018
Carbon-rich coastal ecosystems are rocketing to the forefront of global actions on climate change, and uncomfortable terms like “plastic oceans” and “water wars” are casting a growing shadow over the future of the world’s collective water resources. Yet, ocean-based economic growth – the “blue economy” – shows no signs of slowing, leaving only the option of harnessing its expansion to reverse dangerous trends and protect the health and wealth of oceanic ecosystems.
[Madagascar] Who pays the price for tropical forest conservation?
By Emily Yeung, Alternatives Journal, 11 July 2018
Earth’s tropical forests serve as valuable carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots, vital to maintaining the diversity of life on the planet. While protecting tropical forests should remain a priority for environmentalists everywhere, many based in the developed world often fail to recognize the true costs of global forest conservation. This is especially true in developing countries where lower-income communities abutting forest conservation projects can be hurt by efforts to preserve globally significant ecosystems located in their backyard.
[USA] California’s cap-and-trade air quality benefits mostly go out of state
By Lisa Owens Viani, Phys.org, 11 July 2018
During the first three years of California’s five-year-old cap-and-trade program, the bulk of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions occurred out of state, thus forgoing in-state reductions in harmful co-pollutants, such as particulate matter, that could improve air quality for state residents, according to a new study led by San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley researchers.
The study assessed how patterns of greenhouse gases and associated air pollutants changed through time and with respect to environmental equity between 2011 and 2012, prior to the start of California’s cap-and-trade program, and from 2013 through 2015, after carbon trading began.
[USA] California meets its 2020 emissions goal early
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 11 July 2018
California reached a critical emissions reduction milestone: The state’s greenhouse gas emissions dipped below 1990 levels in 2016, according to data released Wednesday by the California Air Resources Board.
That’s four years earlier than California’s goal of reaching 1990 levels by 2020—a huge accomplishment and one that proves states can slash emissions and experience economic growth.
[USA] Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit
By Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate News, 11 July 2018
One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change.
Joseph Stiglitz, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2001 and has written extensively about environmental economics and climate change, makes an economic case that the costs of maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy are “incalculable,” while transitioning to a lower-carbon system will cost far less.
The government, he writes, should move “with all deliberate speed” toward alternative energy sources.
12 July 2018
Repositioning forests in rural economic development
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 12 July 2018
Every time we pick out a new end table or order a burger, there could be an impact on forests. Rising incomes and ensuing changes of lifestyle and consumer demands, particularly in the world’s skyrocketing Asian markets, don’t come without taxes on the environment – unless we change our strategy, says Jack Hurd, Asia-Pacific Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy. At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, we spoke to him about rethinking how forests factor into development, if they are to keep giving us the things we want and need.
The importance of collective action
By Kavita Prakash-Mani, WWF, 12 July 2018
The 2018 UN High Level Political Forum to review the Sustainable Development Goals is underway and next week 47 countries will present voluntary national reviews, to demonstrate their progress in meeting goals 6, 7, 11, 12 and 15. All eyes and ears will be on the ministerial representatives as we urgently need to see more encouraging reporting of success on the SDGs, especially environmental goals, including those (such as Clean water and sanitation, Responsible consumption and production, and Life on land) being reviewed this year. However, we can not expect governments alone to achieve the goals.
Cameroon crisis threatens wildlife as thousands flee to protected areas
By Amindeh Blaise Atabong, African Arguments, 12 July 2018
Around midday in the lush bushlands of western Cameroon, Nsong Gabriel enters a small makeshift hut to get a cup of the local brew. He carries his old rifle in one arm and drags along his rewards from his hunt with the other: a porcupine, caught in a trap he laid the previous day, and two monkeys.
He complains that this has been a relatively unproductive expedition. “Most often, I get alligators, porcupines, monkeys, antelopes, snakes and bush swine,” he says. But it is at least something, and he will be able to trade the animals for essentials.
“I exchange them for a bit of cash and basic items like maggi, salt and rice brought in by those who come here to buy bush meat,” he explains.
China’s falling emissions raise climate hopes
By Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network, 12 July 2018
Say it softly, but a look at China’s falling emissions of carbon dioxide may suggest that there could be some good news on the climate change front.
Over recent years China has supplanted the US as the world’s biggest emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases, mainly because of the country’s booming economy and its reliance for energy on coal, the most polluting of fossil fuels.
Reforms to EU ETS raise emissions prices, make system more relevant – analysis
Clean Energy Wire, 12 July 2018
German energy think tank Agora Energiewende*, together with the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), has published a new analysis of the recent reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). After remaining in the single digits for years, the cost of each emissions certificate has risen to and stabilised at roughly 15 euros in the wake of the recent changes to the system, Agora Energiewende writes in a press release. Next decade, excess certificates will begin to be removed from the market so as to give regulated firms greater incentive to reduce their emissions. “The recent reform to the emissions trading system has taken an important first step to once again making carbon pricing a relevant part of the climate policy toolkit,” says Felix Matthes, research coordinator for energy and climate policy at Öko-Institut.
[Swaziland] “Even a small country can bring a big change in the world”
UN Development Programme, 12 July 2018
The kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, is an African lower middle-income country. This small, landlocked monarchy in southern Africa, is known for its wilderness reserves and festivals showcasing traditional Swazi culture.
The country is ‘a low-volume consuming Party’ as per the Montreal Protocol. Nonetheless, eSwatini feels the impacts of climate change firsthand as the majority of the country’s employment is provided by its agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
[USA] Protecting Land And Storing Carbon: Nature Conservancy Taps A New Market For Conservation Projects
By John Dillon, VPR, 12 July 2018
A Nature Conservancy project in northern Vermont will store carbon to meet California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The group says proceeds from the sale of these “carbon credits” will pay for future land protection projects.
It’s no surprise that people who work for The Nature Conservancy would be very much into nature.
Jim Shallow, director of strategic conservation initiatives for the Vermont chapter, was describing the new forest project on Burnt Mountain. But he kept interrupting himself each time he heard a new bird song.
13 July 2018
Mangroves and their deforestation may emit more methane than we thought
By Morgan Erickson-Davis, Mongabay, 13 July 2018
Mangroves, the dense tangled forests that buffer land from sea in many coastal areas of the tropics, are renowned for their ability to store carbon and help fight climate change. But new research finds mangroves may emit more carbon as methane than previously estimated – emissions made even worse by deforestation.
The ability of mangroves to sequester carbon in the ground – termed “blue carbon” – is unparalleled, with previous research finding a tract of mangrove can bury 40 times more carbon than a similarly sized area of rainforest.
Why Congo’s decision to open national parks to drilling isn’t really about oil
By Patrick Edmond and Kristof Titeca, African Arguments, 13 July 2018
Last month, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) triggered international outrage when it confirmed that it was considering opening up two of its national parks to oil exploration. It said a committee would put together plans to declassify parts of Salonga and Virunga in a bid to increase oil production.
Both national parks are renowned UNESCO world heritage sites. Salonga is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve and contains several endemic endangered species. Virunga is one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas and is home to hundreds of the critically endangered mountain gorillas.
Disaster-Focused Headlines from the Congo Often Hide Signs of Progress
By Molly Bergen, World Resources Institute, 13 July 2018
In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) northwestern city of Mbandaka, health workers spent recent months racing to contain the latest Ebola outbreak — including the first urban cases in the country since 1995. While the crisis appears to be abating, 28 people died from this bout of the disease.
Forests are the basis of life on earth, Mr Juncker, and deserve your attention
By Hannag Claustre Mowat (Fern), Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 July 2018
It’s easy to appear alarmist when talking about the state of the world’s forests. Yet sober analysis – not scaremongering – makes protecting them one of our most urgent tasks.
Consider the data released last month by Global Forest Watch: 2017 was the second worst year on record for tropical tree cover loss. Every minute the equivalent of 40 football fields of trees vanished. The findings, if anything, seem grimmer when broken down nationally.
Colombia suffered a 46 percent increase in tree cover loss in 2016; Brazil experienced its second highest rate of recorded tree cover loss ever; in the Democratic Republic of Congo tree cover loss exceeded previous records.
Scientists: North American forests may be near carbon-storage limit
By Nick McCann, Missoula Current, 13 July 2018
Once believed to play a crucial part in combating climate change because of their ability to store and absorb carbon dioxide, new research shows North American forests have reached 78 percent of their capacity to capture carbon.
The study, published Friday in the journal Nature Communications, looks at 140,000 plots across the United States and Canada. The researchers studied the growth of forests in recent decades and made projections about the future.
14 July 2018
15 July 2018
Glimmers of Hope
The World At 1°C, 15 July 2018
When we think about climate change we usually focus on worsening impacts — the droughts, fires, famines, and floods that sometimes make the headlines. What we tend to think of less frequently are the countless efforts of people from all walks of life to make the world a better place. But as Paul Hawken wrote in his book Blessed Unrest, “If you look at the science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart.”