REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
Why Carbon Pricing Isn’t Working
By Jeffrey Ball, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2018
For decades, as the reality of climate change has set in, policymakers have pushed for an elegant solution: carbon pricing, a system that forces polluters to pay when they emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Among the places that have imposed or scheduled it are Canada, China, South Korea, the EU, and about a dozen U.S. states. Much as a town charges people for every pound of trash tossed into its dump, these jurisdictions are charging polluters for every ton of carbon coughed into the global atmosphere, thus encouraging the dirty to go clean.
16 July 2018
Protecting tropical forest carbon stocks may not prevent large-scale species loss
Lancaster University press release, 16 July 2018
Tropical forests are rich in carbon and biodiversity. As the world seeks to curb human-induced climate change, will protecting the carbon of tropical forests also ensure the survival of their species?
A study published today in the leading journal Nature Climate Change suggests the answer to this question is far from straightforward.
Investments designed to prevent massive carbon losses from the world’s tropical forests are likely to be least effective for biodiversity in the most ecologically valuable forests, according to research by an international team, led by scientists from Lancaster University’s Environment Centre (UK) and The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA).
ICAO Sets Reporting Rules for CO2 Offset Scheme
By Cathy Buyck, AINonline, 16 July 2018
Describing it as a “landmark decision,” the International Civil Aviation Organization Council last month approved a package of rules and standards to ready its planned Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) for takeoff. The global-market-based measure, which aims to cap the growth of international aviation carbon dioxide at 2020 levels, starts with a pilot phase in 2021 but all airlines producing annual CO2 emissions above 10,000 tonnes will need to measure and report their emissions on cross-border flights from January to allow for the calculation of a sectoral 2020 emission baseline.
You’ve heard of a carbon footprint – now it’s time to take steps to cut your nitrogen footprint
By Ee Ling Ng, Deli Chen, and Xia Liang, The Conversation, 16 July 2018
Nitrogen pollution has significant environmental and human health costs. Yet it is often conflated with other environmental problems, such as climate change, which is exacerbated by nitrous oxide (N₂O) and nitrogen oxides (NOₓ), or particulate smog, to which ammonia (NH₃) also contributes.
One way to understand our nitrogen use is to look at our nitrogen footprint. This is the amount of reactive nitrogen, which is all forms of nitrogen other than inert nitrogen gas, released into the environment from our daily activities that consume resources including food and energy.
Intersectionality is important for forests too
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 16 July 2018
Aristocrats are like the enduring ironwoods, and commoners are like the strangling fig that kills. And yet, when Center for International Forestry Research Senior Associate Carol J. Pierce Colfer lived for a year in the Indonesian Dayak community from which this tenet arose, it was a commoner – a very clever, sharp-tongued commoner who could argue down all of his upper-class rivals – who was elected Head Man.
“This was important because decisions the Head Man made could be undercut by this factional antagonism,” she says. And this class divide was only one element in the community’s narrative, at different times sharing the stage with age, gender, and underlying animist belief systems mixed with religious differences between Catholics and Protestants; at other times, hidden behind the curtain while others came to the fore in different sub-plots. “But you wouldn’t know all that unless you spent time there.”
Mapping the Critical Role of Indigenous Peoples in Global Conservation
By Stephen Garnett and James Watson, National Geographic, 16 July 2018
Hazda, Aranda, Orang Asli, Yanomami and Cherokee – Indigenous Peoples have many names around the world. With such diversity in names and cultures, some people might not be aware of the many things that Indigenous Peoples share. One is deep cultural attachment to their land and sea – an attachment that goes far beyond mere ownership.
Another, too often, has been dispossession of that land. Indigenous Peoples are the first peoples. Over the centuries, second, third, fourth peoples have invaded and colonized their lands and dis-empowered the original inhabitants.
Pay more attention to forests to avert global water crisis, researchers urge
Mongabay, 16 July 2018
Australia’s Murray Darling basin covers more than a million square kilometers, 14 percent of the country’s landmass. It’s the site of tens of thousands of wetlands, but increasing demand for water has stretched its resources to the limit.
Many of the basin’s wetlands and floodplain forests are declining — several former wetlands and forests have even been consumed by bushfires, which are becoming more frequent every year. Yet when Australian officials sought to introduce strict water allocation rules, they met with fierce resistance from farmers in the region who depend on irrigation for their livelihood.
Beat protectionism and emissions at a stroke
By Michael A. Mehling, Harro van Asselt, Kasturi Das, and Susanne Droege, Nature, 16 July 2018
Two huge multilateral issues — free trade and climate change — top policymakers’ agendas in 2018. This offers a chance to couple them.
More and more countries are shielding domestic producers from foreign competition — a process known as protectionism. Since January, US President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs of up to 50% on many imports, including washing machines, solar cells, soya beans, steel and aluminium. Hopes that allied countries would be exempt were dashed after a tumultuous G7 meeting in June.
UK politicians ‘failing to rise to the challenge of climate change’
By Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 16 July 2018
The government’s official climate change adviser says politicians and policymakers are failing to rise to the challenge of a rapidly warming planet and will be judged harshly by future generations unless they act now.
Lord Deben, chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC), said “anyone who read the news” could see mounting evidence of alarming trends – from melting polar ice to record heatwaves and rising sea levels. He called on politicians to “make the connections” between these events and act with more urgency.
17 July 2018
How the blockchain industry can help lower carbon footprints
By Andy Tan, IT ProPortal, 17 July 2018
In the first month of 2018, the cryptocurrency market surpassed the $700 billion mark in market size. While it had a rise in popularity in the late 2000’s, crypto has become a household name in the past one to two years.
Individuals can earn cryptocurrencies in a variety of ways. One of the first of which is simply to buy them from a brokerage that allows users to purchase a cryptocurrency of choice with a credit card, PayPal account, or other types of payment. Similarly, exchanges exist where cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for fiat currency. Both systems have a low barrier to entry, making it a popular choice among investors and general consumers.
Crosscheck needed: Can new supersonic aircraft meet standards to protect our health and climate?
By Brad Schallert, WWF, 17 July 2018
If you’ve taken a commercial flight, you’ve probably heard the pilot or lead flight attendant call out “prepare for crosscheck.” It’s code for “before the plane can take off, arm the doors to allow the safety slides to deploy in an emergency.” Start-up companies are designing new supersonic jets, but they must follow good procedure and complete an “environmental crosscheck,” so they meet current environmental standards to safeguard people’s health and the climate.
[Liberia] REDD+ Technical Group Re-strategizes
Daily Observer, 17 July 2018
A group comprising of state and non-state actors under the banner of the REDD+ Technical Working Group (RTWG) are convening in Ganta, Nimba County, to restructure its term of reference (ToR), to enable the RTWG effectively perform its leadership role in the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation process in the country, a release said.
[USA] CalPERS’s New Policy Is a Good Step Forward for Forests and Human Rights
By Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth US, 17 July 2018
With the Trump regime on an all-out rampage against human rights and the environment, it’s hard to find good news these days. But there are venues for change that evade Trump’s ’s myopic vision, and its important that we find these venues and celebrate victories when we have them. One story to celebrate this week is the publication by CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, of an expanded set of principles to address the environmental and social risks and impacts of its investments.
US Courts must stop offering blanket protection to banks, victims of Ponzi scammer argue
By Maria Nikolova, Finance Feeds, 17 July 2018
Several hundred investors in a Ponzi scheme run by notorious fraudster Renwick Haddow have sought to rebuff efforts by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. to dismiss their complaint that the bank aided the scammer.
Let’s recall that the plaintiffs – investors in the Bar Works entities, operated by Haddow, have pled causes of action for: knowing participation in a breach of trust (Count 1), aiding and abetting embezzlement (Count Two), aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty (Count Three), aiding and abetting conversion (Count Four), aiding and abetting fraud (Count Five), unjust enrichment (Count Six), commercial bad faith (Count Seven), and gross negligence (Count Eight).
18 July 2018
US Govt seeks to intervene in SEC case against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, Finance Feeds, 18 July 2018
The United States Government is seeking to intervene in the civil case against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow. Several documents, filed with the New York Southern District Court today, state the Government’s request to intervene in the civil case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and to stay this civil action in its entirety until the completion of the trial or other disposition in the parallel criminal case.
[USA] Republicans Move to Kill Carbon Tax Before It Gains Any Momentum
By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg, 18 July 2018
A new, Republican-led effort to tax carbon dioxide emissions isn’t likely to make it to a vote in the House of Representatives anytime soon – but opponents aren’t taking any chances.
The House voted 229-180 Thursday along mostly party lines to pass a resolution condemning the very idea of a carbon tax as “detrimental” to the U.S. economy. The measure, advanced by Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, won the support of seven Democrats. Six Republicans broke ranks to vote against the resolution, and two lawmakers dodged declaring a position by voting present.
19 July 2018
IBM thinks blockchains can help reduce carbon emissions
By Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review, 19 July 2018
The world is moving toward a “token-driven economy” in which all kinds of assets, from stocks and bonds to real estate and fine art, will be represented by crypto-tokens on blockchains—and this will unlock massive amounts of value. At least that’s what IBM, which hopes to build software platforms for trading these tokens, is betting. And one of the first things it plans to help digitize has a bonus feature: it benefits the environment.
Preventing corruption in forest conservation: the difference civil society monitoring makes
Transparency International, 19 July 2018
Although deforestation contributes nearly a fifth of the world’s carbon emissions, large-scale destruction of forests often goes unchecked by authorities, making it ripe for corruption.
To prevent this, in 2016 the UN launched Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a programme designed to conserve forests in developing countries. REDD+ incentivises forest conservation by rewarding countries that cut down fewer trees.
The world’s biggest farms pollute more than any oil company
By Chase Purdy, Quartz, 19 July 2018
The world’s biggest meat and dairy operations combined pump more greenhouse gas into Earth’s warming atmosphere than any one of the largest fossil-fuel giants.
A report published this week by the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) shows the top five animal agriculture companies emit more greenhouse gases than Exxon-Mobil, Shell, or BP.
Colombia peace deal brings new threat to country’s rainforest
St John’s College, University of Cambridge press release, 19 July 2018
A historic peace treaty which brought an end to half a century of violence has led to mass deforestation in Colombia, scientists have warned.
The 2016 peace deal formally ended 52 years of civil war in Colombia that left at least 220,000 dead and more than seven million people displaced.
After four years of talks, a treaty was signed between the Colombian Government and guerrilla groups including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Their main founders were small farmers and land workers who had banded together to fight inequality in Colombia.
DRC set to reclassify national parks for oil, open rainforest to logging
By John Vidal, Mongabay, 19 July 2018
Concern is mounting for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) vast forests and rich wildlife as logging concessions and licenses to explore for oil in protected areas are prepared ahead of presidential elections later this year.
A moratorium on industrial logging, in place since 2002, has been broken with three concessions reportedly handed out by DRC environment minister Amy Ambatobe to Chinese-owned logging companies since February.
[EU] Carbon rises 4% to exceed EUR 17/t
By Julia Demirdag, Montel, 19 July 2018
European emissions prices rose nearly 4% on Thursday trading, trading above EUR 17/t mark for the first time in seven years, largely due to utility buying.
The EUA Dec 2018 last traded EUR 0.39 higher at EUR 16.80/t, but hit an intraday high of EUR 17.06/t earlier in the day on Ice.
“We have seen quite high auctions and fundamentals are still tight for EUAs at the moment,” one trader said, while others noted prices moved higher on utilities hedging ahead of the August reduction in carbon credits.
“Still, the continued strong gains are a surprise to the market,” the traded added, noting that EUAs have gained more than EUR 1/t over the past ten days.
Palm oil from Indonesia’s shrinking forests taints global brands – Report
Reuters, 19 July 2018
Palm oil sourced from illegally cleared rainforest areas in Indonesia has flowed through traders to major consumer goods brands despite widespread commitments to cease purchases of non-sustainable oil, a new report says.
Palm oil companies Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), Wilmar , Musim Mas Group and Golden Agri Resources sold oil from 21 “tainted” mills to more than a dozen global brands including Nestle and Unilever , according to the report by Eyes on the Forest (EoF), a coalition of environmental NGOs including WWF-Indonesia.
Indonesia fights forest fires ahead of Asian Games next month
The Straits Times, 19 July 2018
Indonesia has been hit by forest fires again.
This blaze in Ogan Komering Ilir, in South Sumatra province, was still raging on Tuesday.
The Indonesian government has also detected 29 hot spots in Riau province on Sumatra Island in the past two days.
It responded by sending helicopters to extinguish the fires, ahead of the Asian Games which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra next month.
Driving positive change for forests and people of the Greater Mekong
By Thibault Ledecq, WWF, 19 July 2018
I like to say that in the Greater Mekong region, we are at the center of the world. We live in the middle of Asia, where half of the world’s population lives and where most of the region’s endangered species such as tigers, elephants and pangolin are also present.
I landed in Laos in 1998 and was excited to start my work in the Greater Mekong. In the following years, I have been lucky to travel across the region and have enjoyed discovering all of the different type of forests and biodiversity.
[UK] Liverpool to use blockchain technology to become world’s first climate-positive city
edie.net, 19 July 2018
Liverpool City Council has announced a new partnership with a blockchain platform company to offset more than 110% of its carbon emissions, with the city announcing its bid to become the world’s first climate-positive city by the end of 2020.
Liverpool City Council (LCC) will conduct a year-long trial with the Poseidon Foundation to use a blockchain platform to offset the carbon impact of all products and services in the city by supporting global forest conversation projects.
20 July 2018
A Global Heat Wave Has Set the Arctic Circle on Fire
By Adam K. Raymond, New York Magazine, 20 July 2018
From Japan to Sweden, and Oman to Texas, a global heat wave is setting records, igniting wildfires, and killing dozens all across the world this week.
The south-central region is home to the highest temperatures in the U.S. this week, with nearly 35 million people living under excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to be in the triple digits across Texas this weekend, marking the most severe heat wave in the state since 2011.
[Brazil] Indigenous ‘man of the hole’ has lived alone in Amazon rainforest 22 years
CBC News, 20 July 2018
A Brazilian government agency has released footage of an Indigenous man who is believed to have lived in isolation, uncontacted, in the rainforest for 22 years.
The man, with hair down to his knees and wearing only a loincloth, was captured on video as he chopped down a tree.
Funai, the government’s Indigenous agency, believes the man, known as the “indigenous man in the hole” is the last surviving member of his tribe.
“In the 1980s, disorderly colonization, the establishment of farms and illegal logging in [the state of] Rondonia led to repeated attacks on the isolated Indigenous peoples who had lived there until then, in a constant process of expulsion from their lands and death,” Funai said in a news release posted Wednesday.
New Trase Yearbook highlights deforestation linked to exports of Brazilian soy
Trase, 20 July 2018
New analysis from Trase identifies the deforestation risks associated with the supply chain of one of the world´s most traded agricultural commodities — Brazilian soy, linking the companies and consumer countries to the regions where the soy is grown.
The Trase Yearbook 2018, Sustainability in forest-risk supply chains puts the spotlight on the trade in Brazilian soy against a backdrop of growing global dependence on crops that are increasingly produced in just a few countries in the world.
Chinese cooperation is good news for Mozambique’s forests
By Wenbin Huang, WWF, 20 July 2018
Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, is more than 11,000km away from Beijing, the capital of China. But when it comes to forests, the two countries are closely connected.
Around 90 per cent of Mozambique’s timber exports go to China. Chinese companies are increasingly active in the forestry sector in Mozambique, both in managing forests and in processing timber products.
[USA] GOP candidate calls woman ‘naive’ for asking about climate
By Scott Waldmann, E&E News, 20 July 2018
Body heat is making Earth warmer, and climate change is caused by the planet’s movement toward the sun.
Those are the claims of Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, former state Sen. Scott Wagner. At a town hall event on Wednesday in Glenside, Pa., he described a teenage woman as “young and naive” when she asked about his positions on climate change. Wagner told her he cared more about fixing sewage overflows than about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
21 July 2018
Nine activists defending the Earth from violent assault
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 21 July 2018
Individually, they are stories of courage and tragedy. Together, they tell a tale of a natural world under ever more violent assault.
The portraits in this series are of nine people who are risking their lives to defend the land and environment in some of the planet’s most remote or conflict-riven regions.
[Indonesia] One Map Policy to be launched soon
The Jakarta Post, 21 July 2018
The government will soon launch the so-called “One Map Policy” to resolve prolonged overlapping land use problems, which often cause social and economic conflicts in many parts of the country.
With the One Map Policy, spatial information and their statuses such as mining, plantation and forest conservation areas, if overlapped, can be tracked easily. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
22 July 2018
Africa sees 1st carbon-neutral brewery amid climate change concerns
AP, 22 July 2018
A South African brewery is said to be the first in Africa to go carbon-neutral as more businesses across the continent adjust to climate change, and as consumers become more careful about the products they buy.
Darling Brewery, in a village near Cape Town, decreased its carbon footprint by using water and energy more efficiently – then brought it to zero in April by purchasing carbon credits at a reforestation project in Zimbabwe.
[Nigeria] 2018: Nasarawa to plant over 20,000 trees
News Agency of Nigeria, 22 July 2018
Nasararwa State Government has purchased more than 20,000 assorted trees seedling for planting to check environmental degradation in the state.
Gov. Umaru Al-Makura disclosed this on Saturday while launching the 2018 tree planting campaign in the state towards controlling desertification and degradation.
He explained that the tree planting exercise would start from Lafia, the state capital in view of the population explosion and its attendant environmental pollution through emission that could only be mitigated by afforestation.