REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
Isolated Nomads Are Under Siege in the Amazon Jungle
By Scott Wallace and Chris Fagan, National Geographic, October 2018
The tread marks in the blood-red earth are deep—and fresh. Tainaky Tenetehar climbs off his dirt bike for a closer look.
“From this morning,” he says, with the conviction of a veteran tracker attuned to any sign of human movement in these lawless borderlands.
Through binoculars, he scans the rolling hills of fire-scorched savanna that lead out to a tree-crowned ridge in the distance. Here, on one of Brazil’s most hotly contested frontiers—where denuded scrubland pushes up against old-growth forest and private homesteads breach the boundaries of Indian land—the tire tracks bear a singular, ominous meaning.
“Loggers,” Tainaky says. The enemy.
17 September 2018
FAO launches a set of thematic readings on REDD+ mitigation actions
FAO, 17 September 2018
The Paris Agreement provides a landmark global commitment to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our time: to keep global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Country commitments are reflected in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); REDD+ appears in many of them as a prominent component of the fight against climate change. Indeed, mitigation actions in land use, land-use change and forestry are referenced in 83 per cent of all countries’ NDCs.
[Australia] Coalition wants to boost emissions reduction fund – but what did voters get for $2.3bn?
By Adam Morton, The Guardian, 17 September 2018
With Scott Morrison’s new environment minister, Melissa Price, flagging a boost in support for the emissions reduction fund – the centrepiece of the Coalition’s much-derided Direct Action climate policy – it is worth revisiting just what taxpayers have pocketed for the $2.3bn that has been spent on their behalf.
The summarised view among those who have looked into the scheme ranges from “difficult to know” to “not much we wouldn’t have had anyway”.
[Indonesia] Wings of Paradise: Drawing attention to rainforest destruction
Greenpeace, 17 September 2018
For too long the story of Indonesian forests has been painted with the darkness of burning rainforests, disappearing species and displaced communities.
Greedy palm oil companies, that only seem to be driven by the bottom line whatever the cost to humanity or biodiversity, have played a major role in this.
Little or nothing is known about the beauty of the spectacular Birds of Paradise that call the forests of Papua home. So far, around 40 different species of these birds have been found, and they’re considered by some to be among the most beautiful creatures on earth.
[UK] FCA bans former Deutsche Bank trader
By Katie Marriner, Money Marketing, 17 September 2018
Former Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar, who was sentenced to more than five years in prison in July, has been banned by the FCA.
In April last year, the FCA issued a decision notice to Bittar that imposed a £6.5m fine. Bittar referred that notice to the Upper Tribunal.
[UK] Four jailed over £2.4m carbon credit fraud
By David Campbell, Citywire, 17 September 2018
Four men have been jailed for almost 13 years by Southwark Crown Court over their part in a £2.4 million conspiracy to miss-sell carbon credits to 130 investors.
Company director Sandeep Dosanjh and senior brokers James Lanston and Charanjit Sandhu had earlier admitted their involvement in fraudulent sales made via two businesses, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd, between January 2012 and August 2013, in the then-fledgling carbon market.
[USA] The Message from Last Week’s Climate Summit Is Clear
By Rhea Suh, Natural Resources Defense Council, 17 September 2018
In San Francisco, leaders made unprecedented commitments to fighting global climate change, invigorating the movement, and sending a strong signal to President Trump that, despite his efforts, he won’t stop our progress.
The global effort to fight climate change became a tale of two cities last week. In Washington, President Trump pressed his reckless assault on our environment and health. In San Francisco, meanwhile, some 4,000 state, city, tribal, and corporate delegates from around the world rallied around an unprecedented slate of actions to dramatically strengthen efforts to fight the central environmental challenge of our time.
18 September 2018
Carbon Forward 2018: Will international carbon trade thrive under the Paris Agreement?
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 18 September 2018
The world’s biggest carbon offset market is set to sunset in 2020, with governments at odds over how the UN CDM’s thousands of projects and billions of carbon credits should be subsequently treated under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
Carbon Pulse is gathering carbon traders, analysts, regulators, and a host of other experts in London from Oct. 16-18 for the third annual Carbon Forward conference – an event geared to helping emitters and investors navigate the evolving European and global carbon markets.
Blockchains could help clean up the planet—if they don’t become environmental problems themselves
By Mick Orcutt, Technology Review, 18 September 2018
Distributed ledger technology can help heal the world, the World Economic Forum argues. A new report by the organization lays out 65 “existing and emerging use cases” for which blockchains could be used to address environmental problems, from natural disasters to water scarcity and, of course, climate change. Concepts like peer-to-peer energy trading could make power grids more efficient and resilient, while decentralized systems would help disseminate critical information in the aftermath of a disaster. As for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions? “Tokenized” carbon credits can help with that.
Shocking NASA images shows how forest fires, exhaust fumes and sandstorms are polluting the atmosphere
By Jonas Lotz, Business Insider Deutschland, 18 September 2018
Every time you breathe in, you’re inhaling what NASA call ‘aerosols’. In the majority of cases aerosols are harmless particles in the air and are perfectly safe when they occur in the form of dust or fog in low concentrations.
In the case of exhaust gases like soot, oil or smoke, however, these nanoparticles can give rise to serious health problems, and it isn’t just nanoparticles produced industrially that can be dangerous; even nanoparticles from forest fires can be harmful.
ICAO and EASA come together to support aviation in South East Asia
International Airport Review, 18 September 2018
Cheaper, safer and more environmentally sustainable aviation with less delays will be enabled by the ASEAN Single Aviation Market and Seamless ASEAN Sky. Challenges and opportunities were discussed at the first ICAO-EASA forum on Civil Aviation in South East Asia.
For the first time, the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) joined forces to bring together South East Asian aviation stakeholders and discuss the future of air transport in the South East Asian region.
[Indonesia] CIFOR works with local communities to find best practices to prevent forest fires and restore peatlands
CIFOR, 18 September 2018
Indonesia’s Riau province suffered greatly from wildfires in 2015, with 24 people killed and 103,000 premature deaths. Experts predict that this year will also be a critical year for fires as higher temperatures are expected combined with the fact that nearly 56% (5 million hectares) of Riau is peatlands, which are fire prone if dried and degraded, and have the potential to release massive amounts of carbon.
[Mexico] Locally controlled forest enterprises are the whole enchilada
By Duncan MacQueen (IIED), Rights and Resources, 18 September 2018
Mexico’s forests laws mean that 80% of its forests are owned by communities; the country has more than 3,000 community forests in total. Why Mexico is backing community forestry – and how community groups are ‘Scaling up locally controlled forest enterprises’ – were the topic and title of a workshop in the southern state of Oaxaca from 27-29 August, 2018.
Under the watchful eye of Monte Alban, from where the ancient Zapotecs once ruled, experts from 17 countries agreed to form a coalition that builds support for locally-controlled forest enterprises and increases collaboration between support agencies.
19 September 2018
Diverse forests are stronger against drought
University of Utah press release, 19 September 2018
Diversity is strength, even among forests. In a paper published in Nature, researchers led by University of Utah biologist William Anderegg report that forests with trees that employ a high diversity of traits related to water use suffer less of an impact from drought. The results, which expand on previous work that looked at individual tree species’ resilience based on hydraulic traits, lead to new research directions on forest resilience and inform forest managers working to rebuild forests after logging or wildfire.
Solving The Carbon Problem One Blockchain At A Time
By Dr. Jemma Green, Forbes, 19 September 2018
Climate change is one of the most challenging collective problems the world has faced to date. Whether we will be able to curb our carbon emissions quickly enough to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change is still very much in question.
In the search for solutions to this global challenge, much of the work to date has focused on climate agreements that create marketplaces to put a price on carbon, thereby creating a compliance carbon market. There are also voluntary carbon markets that have made some headway, allowing businesses to offset their carbon emissions by funding certified greenhouse gas reduction projects such energy efficiency projects, renewable energy projects or rainforest rehabilitation.
Taking back carbon ‘imperative’ to stop planet overheating, backers say
By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 19 September 2018
With climate-changing emissions still inching higher – and resulting threats from extreme weather surging – sucking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere must become an urgent priority, backers of “carbon removal” efforts say.
“The math is quite simple,” Manish Bapna, executive vice president of the Washington-based World Resources Institute, told a panel discussion on the fledgling approach this week.
Don’t deploy negative emissions technologies without ethical analysis
By Dominic Lenzi, William F. Lamb, Jérôme Hilaire, Martin Kowarsch, and Jan C. Minx, Nature, 19 September 2018
In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a special report on keeping global temperature rise within 1.5 °C of pre-industrial levels. Governments requested the report at the 2015 Paris climate conference. Policymakers want to know what further steps would be needed to stay well within the 2 °C threshold, above which the risks of climate change become more dangerous.
20 September 2018
Indigenous groups unite to reject global capitalist climate summit
By Hector Aguilar, El Tecolote, 20 September 2018
Last week, San Francisco hosted the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), where leaders from all over the world including Gov. Jerry Brown met Sept. 12-14 to discuss climate change and solutions.
Also held last week, in direct opposition to the GCAS, was Solidarity to Solutions (Sol2Sol) week. The event was hosted by several community organizations including Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice, Indigenous Environmental Network and Right to the City.
Carbon Prices Are Too Low to Reduce Emissions
By Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, 20 September 2018
Carbon prices are spreading throughout the world’s largest economies. The only problem for climate hawks: They’re nowhere near high enough to produce a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions.
That is the conclusion of a report issued yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The findings echo the analysis of previous studies and underscore the challenges facing countries, states and cities coming out of the recent climate summit in San Francisco.
Brian Kelly Capital Management and BlockTower Capital Join Veridium as Lead Token Buyers
Veridium press release, 20 September 2018
Veridium Labs Ltd, the environmental blockchain technology company that has partnered with IBM to build tokenized carbon credit markets, announces today strategic purchases from key lead token buyers: Brian Kelly Capital Management, BlockTower Capital, JCH Capital PTY, and Pink Sky Capital. The investment of $5 million comes just before the start of Veridium’s presale, scheduled for October 1st.
IBM-Linked Veridium Labs Announces $5 Million Investment Prior to ICO
By Ian Edwards, Bitsonline, 20 September 2018
Veridium Labs, which earlier this year partnered up with IBM and Stellar to tokenize carbon credits, said on September 20th that it has received a fresh $5 million USD investment from well-known crypto investors like Brian Kelley Capital Management and BlockTower Capital. The news comes just shortly before Veridium holds its ICO on October 1st.
Indonesian president signs 3-year freeze on new oil palm licenses
Mongabay, 20 September 2018
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a moratorium on new licenses for oil palm plantations.
The presidential instruction, signed on Sept. 19, will remain in place for no more than three years, according to the policy document, seen by Mongabay.
Environmentalists previously called on Jokowi to impose no limit on the duration of the moratorium, arguing it should remain in place until it achieves its goals.
21 September 2018
A Suspense Novel Filled With Murder — And Carbon Trading
By Mitch Teich, WUWM, 21 September 2018
The complex world of carbon trading and energy speculation might not seem, at first blush, to be fertile ground for a suspense novel. But it’s familiar territory for writer Paul Schueller — who might not seem, at first blush, to be a likely candidate to write suspense.
Schueller is the founder and CEO of Port Washington-based Franklin Energy, a company that works to help utilities become more energy efficient and save consumers money. His novel, the first he’s written, is called “The Squeeze,” and features an intricate plot involving partners in a carbon trading business, a possible murder, and underhanded business dealings.
REDD Dawn: The 60-Year Evolution Of Forest Carbon
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 September 2018
The Paris Climate Agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising another 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Farenheit), and one way it aims to achieve that is by funneling money into forest conservation and sustainable farming through a mechanism known as REDD+, which stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, plus other land uses”.
But while REDD+ came of age in the Paris Agreement, it was born thirty years ago, in 1988 – not so much to save the planet as to help poor farmers in Guatemala manage their land more sustainably – and its germination began three decades before that, in 1958, at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
The Oldest Trick in the Book: Why Crypto ‘Boiler Room Scams’ Are so Effective
By Rachel McIntosh, Finance Magnates, 21 September 2018
Think back to a year ago. Bitcoin and other kinds of cryptocurrency were just starting to regularly appear in major news sources across the globe. China was in the midst of instituting a sweeping set of bans against crypto; a growing number of companies were looking for reasons to tack the word ‘blockchain’ onto their names.
Perhaps most significantly, however, was the sheer magnitude of the big “crypto boom” that was continuing to gain momentum. Cryptocurrency exchanges and exchange apps like Coinbase suddenly found themselves with way more new users than their systems were capable of handling; everyone wanted in on the crypto scene.
UN environment chief criticised by UN over frequent flying
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 21 September 2018
The globe-trotting travels of the UN’s environment chief have been sharply criticised in a draft internal audit as “contrary to the ethos of carbon emission reduction”.
Erik Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, was travelling for 529 out of the 668 days audited, spending $488,518 (£370,380), according to the report. The audit also said he had “no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules” and claimed unjustified expenses.
[Brazil] ADM: Matopiba Sourcing Could Link Company to Deforestation
Chain Reaction Research, 21 September 2018
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is a large multinational trader and processor of agricultural commodities. In 2017, it generated USD 60.8 billion in revenue and USD 1.6 billion in net profit and employed over 31,000 people. ADM owns more than 30 silos in Brazil, as well 13 oilseeds processing plants. It also has operations in eight Brazilian ports. ADM sources a portion of its soybeans in the Cerrado, a vast biodiverse savannah region facing high rates of soy expansion and conversion of native vegetation. This could expose ADM to deforestation risks in its supply chain.
[USA] The big news on forests you may have missed during the Global Climate Action Summit
By Christina McCain, EDF, 21 September 2018
Last week marked another significant achievement in California’s climate leadership, as the state hosted side-by-side global gatherings of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), and the tenth annual meeting of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, a multi-lateral organization of subnational jurisdictions, which California helped launch in 2008.
22 September 2018
By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 22 September 2018
Katey Walter Anthony has studied some 300 lakes across the tundras of the Arctic. But sitting on the mucky shore of her latest discovery, the Arctic expert said she’d never seen a lake like this one.
Set against the austere peaks of the Western Brooks Range, the lake, about 20 football fields in size, looked as if it were boiling. Its waters hissed, bubbled and popped as a powerful greenhouse gas escaped from the lake bed. Some bubbles grew as big as grapefruits, visibly lifting the water’s surface several inches and carrying up bits of mud from below.
This was methane.
23 September 2018
Opec predicts massive rise in oil production over next five years
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 23 September 2018
World oil production will soar to new records over the next five years, as a dramatic expansion in demand from airlines offsets the arrival of electric cars, according to a report from Opec.
In a forecast that will dismay environmentalists – and which questions the theory that oil company reserves will become “stranded assets” – Opec’s annual report significantly revised production estimates upwards.
Tackling climate change to be key talking point at UN summit
By Frank Jordans, AP, 23 September 2018
With global temperatures rising, superstorms taking their deadly toll and a year-end deadline to firm up the Paris climate deal, leaders at this year’s U.N. General Assembly are feeling a sense of urgency to keep up the momentum on combating climate change.
That’s why, in between discussing how to tackle wars, poverty and deadly diseases around the world, leaders will be devoting substantial time in New York this week to the question of global warming and how to rein it in.
Turning rainforest to furniture – Global markets gobble up the Congo Basin
By Bill Laurence, ALERT, 23 September 2018
The rainforests of Central Africa’s Congo Basin are disappearing before our eyes.
New research is suggesting a major cause is demand for furniture in the United States – furniture manufactured from African timbers that in turn are imported from China.
A new study from the University of California examines timber exports from five Central African countries to China between 2001 and 2015.
During that period, China more than doubled its wood imports from the Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest rainforest, and is now its biggest timber importer.