REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
27 August 2018
Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise
By Nafeez Ahmed, Motherboard, 27 August 2018
Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources.
Climate change and species extinctions are accelerating even as societies are experiencing rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments. Contrary to the way policymakers usually think about these problems, the new report says that these are not really separate crises at all.
How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the World
Climate Reality, 27 August 2018
So what does the climate crisis look like around the world? It’s a big question and to make it easy, we put together a library (of sorts) of posts exploring the crisis across the Earth. Here are five nations experiencing climate change in five completely different ways.
‘Minecraft’ Mod Adds Climate Change, Carbon Tax
By Wajeeh Maaz, Motherboard, 27 August 2018
Climate change is staring us in the face. Areas of the Bering Sea in the Arctic are far above freezing temperatures, North America is suffering some of the worst wildfires in its recorded history and tropical cyclones are destroying people’s homes. Despite the very present nature of the threat climate change poses, less than half of the US population sees climate change as an imminent threat.
But if you think you can come up a solution to climate change, there’s a new testing ground: Minecraft. Developer Nick Porillo has made a new plugin for Minecraft that adds climate change to one of the most popular video games ever made.
Study finds widespread degradation, deforestation in African woodlands
By John C. Cannon, Mongabay, 27 August 2018
Deforestation rates in southern Africa’s woodlands are five times higher than prior estimates, according to recent research published Aug. 2.
More deforestation, combined with widespread degradation of these savannas, translates to three to six times the loss of carbon as compared to previous estimates, Edward Mitchard and his colleagues write in Nature Communications.
“Deforestation and degradation are not just focused on dense tropical forests,” Mitchard, an environmental scientist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said in an interview. Wooded savannas, the largest of which lie in southern Africa, are also at risk, he added.
Cambodia: Last Hope for Indochina, or on its Last Breath?
By Gregory McCann, Asia Sentinel, 27 August 2018
Cambodia, which contains within its borders some of Southeast Asia’s most important virgin forest, is under attack. Nowhere is that illustrated more dishearteningly than the Phnom Tnout district in the northern part of the country, where an American-Australian couple run an ecotourism outpost called Betreed Adventures
But ecotourism, it seems, can’t satisfy everyone quickly enough. Local villagers living on the outskirts of the Phnom Tnout forest began petitioning to have Ben and Sharyn Davis, the couple who run Betreed, and their family evicted, to enable the locals to cut the forest down to plant more crops. The petition-gathering back in April began to look a bit rowdy, with tensions beginning to spill over, and things have got progressively worse in the months since.
How to save Indonesia’s last seasonal forests
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 27 August 2018
Indonesia is down to its last tropical seasonal forests – and they’re entirely unprotected.
The forests are found in the Tanimbar archipelago in Maluku Province, due directly north of Darwin, Australia, on the border of the Banda and Arafura seas. One of the most unconnected parts of the archipelago, Tanimbar has no formal port of entry, and population lingers around 100,000 scattered across the 30 or so islands in the group.
[Indonesia] South Kalimantan hopes for more rain to cope with forest fires
By Sukarli, Antara News, 27 August 2018
The people of South Kalimantan hope that rain would fall again to send away haze of smokes that begin to blanket some areas in the province.
The people in Banjarmasin and Banjarbaru and surrounding areas breathed with relief after rainfall for two hours clearing the air from haze.
Three days earlier, smokes from forest and bush fires blanketed a large area in South Kalimantan causing inconvenience in 13 district areas especially in rural areas.
[Indonesia] Five concession areas in W. Kalimantan sealed following forest fires
Jakarta Post, 27 August 2018
The Environment and Forestry Ministry sealed land owned by five holders of plantation concessions in Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan over the weekend after authorities discovered fires in the areas.
The five companies were identified only by their initials: PT SUM, PT PLD, PT AAN, PT APL and PT RJP.
“The move is aimed at creating a deterrent effect,” Rasio Ridho Sani, the ministry’s law enforcement director general who led the operation in Kubu Raya, said in a press statement on Sunday. “The government is serious in handling [forest fire] cases.”
Tanzania and Togo pledge AFR100 land restoration targets
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Landscape News, 27 August 2018
Tanzania and Togo made significant commitments to restore forested landscapes under the AFR100 Initiative ahead of the Third AFR100 Annual Partnership meeting currently underway in Nairobi.
Tanzania pledged to restore 5.2 million hectares and Togo pledged to restore 1.4 million hectares as part of overall African country-level commitments to restore 100 million hectares of degraded landscapes across the continent by 2030.
28 August 2018
Progress on National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+: A Win-win for Forests and Climate Action
By Julian Fox (FAO), IISD, 28 August 2018
Harnessing the potential for climate action (SDG 13) offered by forests through protection, restoration, and sustainable management (SDG 15) has been constrained by the challenge of measuring and reporting emission reductions or enhancements accurately. In 2013, the Warsaw Framework on REDD+ under the UNFCCC completed REDD+ decisions related to requirements for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of emission reductions or enhancements from forests. How far have countries progressed in the five years since 2013? Where are the remaining gaps and how can we maintain and enhance progress? National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) that generate accurate and transparent forest information for national decision making and international MRV reporting for REDD+ can create a win-win for forests and climate action.
Forest landscape restoration assessments: What do they say about tenure?
By Rebecca McLain, CIFOR Forests News, 28 August 2018
The 2011 Bonn Challenge launched an ambitious global forest landscape restoration (FLR) initiative aimed at restoring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020, a goal that the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests subsequently expanded to 350 million hectares by 2030.
The Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) developed jointly by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Resources Institute has emerged as an important tool for facilitating the development of national and sub-national FLR plans.
Wanted: Team Coach for the Green Climate Fund
By Niranjali Manel Amerasinghe and Joe Thwaites, World Resources Institute, 28 August 2018
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a major source of finance for developing countries seeking to address climate change. The biggest of the climate funds, to date, the GCF has committed $3.5 billion for 74 projects around the world. From off-grid renewable energy solutions and ecosystems restoration to climate information services in vulnerable areas, the GCF aims to support transformational climate action in developing countries.
Guest post: Six key policy challenges to achieving ‘negative emissions’ with BECCS
By Clair Gough, Sarah Mander, and Naomi Vaughan, CarbonBrief, 28 August 2018
Biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) features as a key technology for delivering the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is included in many pathways developed using integrated assessment models (IAMs).
Although technical challenges remain, arguably the toughest hurdles for BECCS are non-technical. In a recent paper published in the journal Global Sustainability, we set out six key policy and governance challenges to delivering global net-negative emissions with BECCS.
How Brazil can beat the odds and restore a huge swathe of the Amazon
By Danilo Ignacio de Urzedo and Robert Fisher, The Conservation, 28 August 2018
Over the past few decades the international community has watched as the destruction of Earth’s largest forest has intensified. Deforestation has been eating away at the Amazon’s fringes, mainly for commercial cattle ranching and agricultural plantation. The agriculture, livestock, mining and infrastructure sectors have been promoted due to powerful financial and development pressures for high profits and economic growth.
Meanwhile, indigenous peoples, traditional communities and smallholders have had their livelihoods imperilled, while carbon emissions have increased, water quality and quantity have declined, forest fires have increased, and wildlife has been lost.
[Democratic Republic of Congo] MAÏ-NDOMBE : Remarkable achievements with the Integrated REDD+ project – PIREDD
WWF, 28 August 2018
The Integrated REDD + Plateaux Project, operational since 2016 and implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Component 1 of the Improved Forest Landscape Management Project managed by the Forest Investment Program (FIP) in the DRC, has accomplished great achievements with communities of Mushie, Kwamouth, Bolobo and Yumbi in the province of Mai-Ndombe.
[Indonesia] Steady as Murdiyarso goes
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 28 August 2018
On 28 June 2004, Indonesia’s environment minister Nabiel Makarim opened the Indonesian parliament (DPR) public hearing by holding up a copy of national newspaper KOMPAS, saying that he hoped the other senators had read the morning’s opinion piece. The article, penned by an Indonesian forester, proffered the many reasons why Indonesia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol and was the final cherry atop a heap of academic papers this scientist had also compiled to support the case. The Protocol was ratified later that day.
[Indonesia] Court receives Jokowi’s cassation petition against forest fire guilty verdict
By Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta Post, 28 August 2018
The Supreme Court has received a cassation appeal filed by the government against a Palangkaraya High Court ruling that found President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo liable in the disastrous forest fires in Central Kalimantan.
Court spokesman Abdullah said the Supreme Court’s administrative division was still checking the completeness of the appeal dossier, after which it would be handed over to the clerks’ division to be given a registration number.
4 killed in Indonesia forest fires; police arrest suspects
AP, 28 August 2018
Police in the Indonesian part of Borneo island have arrested more than a dozen people suspected of starting forest fires that have killed four people in the past month.
West Kalimantan police chief Didi Haryono said Tuesday that two of the 27 people wanted by police died in blazes they started to clear land for planting. He said 14 people have been arrested so far.
[Kenya] Murkomen urges state to stop evicting forest people
By Stephen Rutto, The Star, 28 August 2018
Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen has asked the state to allow the indigenous Sengwer community to live in Embobut Forest.
The senator said on Sunday he misses life in the forest where his community lived before being evicted by the state. Murkomen was born in Koropkwen inside the forest.
The leader of Majority in the Senate broke his silence about the marginalised hunter-gatherer community whose culture has been disrupted by frequent evictions.
Settlers Face Eviction in Kenya as Gov’t Plan to Save Trees
By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network, 28 August 2018
Some 40,000 settlers in the Maasai Mau forest in Kenya face imminent eviction by the Kenyan government which says it is protecting the forest in the name of conservation.
Deputy President William Ruto said those who encroached on the forest should be flushed out but in a humane manner. “We respect every Kenyan’s rights. No force should be used as they are Kenyans and not animals,” Ruto said.
Ruto’s calls for negotiations were dismissed by Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko who declared that the evictions were non-negotiable and that there would be no compensation.
Sucking carbon from air, Swiss firm wins new funds for climate fix
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 28 August 2018
A small Swiss company won $31 million in new investment on Tuesday to suck carbon dioxide from thin air as part of a fledgling, costly technology that may gain wider acceptance from governments in 2018 as a way to slow climate change.
Climeworks AG, which uses high-tech filters and fans to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a cost of about $600 a tonne, raised the money from investors including Zurich Cantonal Bank.
[USA] Carbon Offsets for Urban Trees Are on the Horizon
By Maria Dolan, City Lab, 28 August 2018
The evidence is in: Urban trees improve air and water quality, reduce energy costs, and improve human health, even as they offer the benefit of storing carbon. And in cities across the country, they are disappearing.
A recent paper by two U.S. Forest Service scientists reported that metropolitan areas in the U.S. are losing about 36 million trees each year. The paper, by David Nowak and Eric Greenfield, was an expansion of the same researchers’ 2012 study that found significant tree loss in 17 out of the 20 U.S. cities studied.
[USA] SB 100: We are Californians. We don’t wait. We build the future economy here.
By Arnopld Schwarzenegger, Medium, 28 August 2018
People have always brought their ambition to California.
From our early pioneers to generations of immigrants from around the world and the rest of the United States, we all come here to find the golden dream by the sea.
When I was growing up in Austria, I was called to this land of limitless possibilities. It wasn’t only America that inspired me. California, in particular, motivated my wildest dreams. I knew then, as I know now, that this isn’t a state that hesitates to leap forward, but one that is always moving, always improving, always building the future instead of wishing for the past.
29 August 2018
Bangkok Climate Talks: Time to Deliver Real Progess on the Paris Agreement Rulebook
By Yamide Dagnet and Nathan Cogswell, World Resources Institute, 29 August 2018
Since the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in December 2015, negotiators have been grappling with how to set it in motion with a strong framework of rules and operating procedures, commonly known as the “implementing guidelines” or “the Paris Rulebook.” These guidelines are essential to drive a fair and effective process that will support all countries to achieve zero-carbon, climate resilient transformation in the coming decades.
Keep calm and carry on flying and eating steak: UN Climate Change ad criticised
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News, 29 August 2018
UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) took down a video promotion entitled “Keep calm and offset” hours after posting on Wednesday, following criticism.
Viewers complained the advert for its Climate Neutral Now scheme appeared to mock green lifestyle choices and downplay the urgency of the climate challenge.
Published on Facebook and Twitter, the video struck a jokey tone, showing a man trying to give up his car, flights, steak and even breathing to cut his carbon footprint.
[EU] Carbon price hits decade high in boost for cleaner fuels
By David Sheppard, Financial Times, 29 August 2018
The price of carbon credits in the EU has hit the highest level in a decade in a move that should start to encourage switching to cleaner fuels.
The jump in prices, which rose above €20 a tonne and have almost tripled this year, is a victory for the EU which has worked to reform its carbon trading system after a decade-long slump in prices following the financial crisis. That arguably slowed the phase-out of coal and other highly polluting fuel sources.
Fires and haze return to Indonesia as peat protection bid falls short
By Aseanty Pahlevi, Hans Nicholas Jong, and Zamzami, Mongabay, 29 August 2018
Like their compatriots across Indonesia, a group of residents in the Bornean city of Pontianak celebrated the country’s Independence Day on Aug. 17 with a flag-raising ceremony.
But for them, the simple act of hoisting the Red-and-White was a physically taxing endeavor, thanks to the toxic haze billowing from a smoldering plot of peatland nearby. The sound of wood crackling in the fire could be heard as the participants, their surgical masks doing nothing to keep the smoke out of their eyes, stood through the ceremony. When it was over, they returned to what they were doing: working to put out the pockets of fire flaring up from the mulch-rich peat soil.
[Indonesia] 27 people named suspects in forest fires in W. Kalimantan
By Sverianus Endi, Jakarta Post, 29 August 2018
The West Kalimantan Police have named 27 people as suspects in the forest and land fire cases that have caused thick smog, which affected residents in the province.
There were 20 police reports related to forest and land fires with 27 people named suspects, West Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Didi Haryono said on Monday. From those numbers, 14 were arrested and 11 were released, while two other suspects died in the fire.
[EU] Ukip MEP sparks outrage with report denying human role in climate change
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 29 August 2018
A European parliament report that blames climate change on cosmic ray fluctuations, sunspots and planetary gravitational pulls, is so hackneyed and ill-informed it would “make the dinosaurs blush,” climate scientists say.
The non-binding opinion written by Ukip MEP, John Stuart Agnew, has shocked EU lawmakers for its dismissal of climate science – and the support he received to write it from mainstream rightwing and liberal political blocs.
[USA] How California Can Save the Amazon
By Michael Oppenheimer and Steve Schwartzman, New York Times, 29 August 2018
Next month, when Gov. Jerry Brown convenes the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, it will be a chance to mark the huge strides he has made on behalf of the climate, and measure how much remains to be done. Under his leadership, California has cut greenhouse gas emissions well ahead of its own ambitious targets while adding a million jobs and growing into the world’s fifth largest economy.
30 August 2018
Natural Forests Still In Decline Despite Global Coordination Behind New York Declaration On Forests
By Declan Foraoise, Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 August 2018
Four years ago, companies, countries, and indigenous organizations endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), which is a set of ten goals designed to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020 and end it by 2030 – pledges that have sparked a complete realignment of global supply chains, according to an analysis by the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA2020).
Unfortunately, deforestation rates have continued to increase, leaving the world far off track from meeting the 2020 goal, according to the latest NYDF Progress Assessment, which was released this week by the NYDF Assessment Partners, a consortium of over 20 major nongovernmental organizations and research institutions.
The forested path to climate stability
By Belinda Morris and Frances Seymour, Mongabay, 30 August 2018
In 2017, the world lost 39 million acres (nearly 16 million hectares) of tropical forests — an area equivalent in size to Bangladesh — at a near-record rate of 40 football fields every minute for the entire year, according to Global Forest Watch.
Halting and reversing deforestation is critical for climate stability — this alone could reduce the world’s net carbon emissions by up to 30 percent. Furthermore, forests and land offer the most cost-effective way to store more carbon right now. We need to significantly elevate investment in these solutions. Currently, just over 1 percent of global climate mitigation-related development funding is invested in forest and land mitigation strategies.
From fires to floods, this is what extreme weather looks like
Greenpeace, 30 August 2018
Over the past few weeks, images have been flooding in from Greenpeace offices around the world, documenting our current “hothouse” state. In Japan, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, and Korea temperatures have soared, with some beating previous heat records measured in the country.
As a consequence of extreme heat, comes forest fires. In Russia, Greece, and California, these forest fires have caused mass devastation, with millions affected and tragically, lives lost.
We need all sectors of society to take climate action up a level
By Patricia Espinosa and Anne Hidalgo, Climate Home News, 30 August 2018
Next month, the Global Climate Action Summit – one of the largest international gatherings on climate change the world has seen – will be held in San Francisco.
The event, whose theme is “Take Ambition to the Next Level,” aims to serve as a launchpad for accelerated action that will enable the world to meet the goals set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement. It is a golden opportunity to make progress in the effort to combat global warming, but it can be seized only with the involvement of all stakeholders.
Climate change: local efforts won’t be enough to undo Trump’s inaction, study says
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 30 August 2018
Individual cities, regions and businesses across the globe are banding together determinedly to confront climate change – but their emissions reductions are relatively small and don’t fully compensate for a recalcitrant US under the Trump administration, a new study has found.
A cavalcade of city mayors, regional government representatives and business executives from around the world will convene in San Francisco next month for a major summit touting the role of action beyond national governments to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
Indonesian government appeals ruling on tighter peat fire regulations
By Basten Gokkon, Mongabay, 30 August 2018
Indonesia’s top court is reviewing a lawsuit filed in 2016 by environmental activists calling on the government to pass regulations on forest fires, as the dry season ushers in a new bout of wildfires.
The lawsuit was brought in response to the disastrous fires and resultant haze that blanketed large swaths of the country in 2015. A court in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province in Indonesian Borneo, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in 2017, and the city’s high court upheld the ruling on appeal by the government in September of that year.
[Indonesia] Massive wildfires threaten critically endangered orangutans in Bornean wildlife reserves
By Josh Gabbatiss, The Independent, 30 August 2018
Vulnerable orangutans in West Borneo are under threat from wind whipped wildfires that have been exacerbated by the season’s extreme weather.
Around 100 apes are safely housed in the International Animal Rescue (IAR) centre in Ketapang but local conservationists fear they will not be able to protect them if the blazes head their way.
One large fire is already in the vicinity of the facility where the orangutans are undergoing rehabilitation.
[Ireland] Fresh call for carbon tax increase as minister admits emissions plan isn’t working
By Stephen McNeice, Newstalk, 30 August 2018
There’s a fresh call for carbon tax to be raised to help tackle climate change.
It came as the Environment Minister conceded that the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions isn’t working.
In an interview in the Irish Times, Denis Naughten again acknowledged that recent EPA figures showing rising CO2 emissions are “very disappointing”.
He added that the National Mitigation plan is expected to be radically revised in coming months.
31 August 2018
UN to fight for future of carbon offset scheme
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News, 31 August 2018
The UN climate chief has jumped to the defence of a carbon offset scheme, amid calls to scrap it.
Next week, at talks in Bangkok, negotiators will consider whether to replace or repurpose the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as part of the Paris Agreement. A final decision is due in December.
In a statement released on Friday, Patricia Espinosa touted the scheme as a success story.
Nearly Every Ecosystem on the Planet Will Be Transformed By Climate Change
YaleEnvironment360, 31 August 2018
If nations fail to rein in their greenhouse gas emissions, nearly every terrestrial ecosystem on the planet — from forests to grasslands to marshland —will undergo “major transformations” that will completely change the world’s biomes, warn a team of 42 scientists from around the globe in the journal Science. This will have consequences for everything from food and water security to public health.
EU Carbon Trading Is Working Again – And Power Prices Are Rising
By Dave Keating, Forbes, 31 August 2018
The European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), in which polluters must purchase and trade credits for emitting carbon, has not been functioning well since it was put in place over a decade ago.
The price of carbon has been far too low, because an economic slowdown starting in 2008 meant that far too many free allowances were being given out. EU legislators have enacted a number of reforms to the system over the past three years in order to fix this problem. These included the establishment of a market stability reserve to remove carbon credits of 1.7 billion tons from the market. Carbon trading is back. And now, the effects are starting to be felt.
[India] National REDD+ Strategy released
The Pioneer, 31 August 2018
The national Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy for India prepared by Indian Council of Forestry and Education, Dehradun for the Government was released in New Delhi by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries’ (collectively known as REDD+) aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivising forest conservation. The Paris agreement on climate change also recognises the role of forests in climate change mitigation and calls upon the party countries to take action to implement and support REDD+.
[Papua New Guinea] SABL scandal buried and forgotten
Act Now!, 31 August 2018
The government is trying to bury and forget the SABL land grab scandal in which more than 5 million hectares of land has been stolen from rural communities.
It is using a well tested formula that we see employed almost every time a new corruption scandal is exposed:
First a long-drawn out official inquiry that is delayed by funding and other logistical problems.
Then a further delay before the inquiry findings are tabled in Parliament.
Next a public promise of action and the announcement of a committee to supposedly implement the inquiry findings.
And then nothing – no corrective action, no resignations, no prosecutions, no compensation.
1 September 2018
From Bangkok to Katowice: In whose interests are the climate negotiations?
By Souparna Lahiri, Global Forest Coalition, 2 September 2018
This week the negotiations over the Paris Rulebook and Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) recommence in Bangkok. It reminds me of the 2009 Bangkok intersessional, in the run up to the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties (COP), where there was much expectation in the air and great mobilisations on the streets.
Back then, the US and big developing countries including China and India crafted the Copenhagen Declaration, which demolished the Kyoto architecture of binding commitments to emissions reductions, as well as the essential differences between the climate actions that should be taken by Annex 1 (developed countries) and non-Annex 1 countries.
2 September 2018