REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
G20 Carbon Price Signals Insufficient to Reach Paris Agreement Goals
IHS Markit, September 2018
A new IHS Markit report highlights shortcomings in the G20 approach to carbon pricing and other market mechanisms. The world’s largest economies have made market-based mechanisms a central feature of their climate change mitigation strategies. Carbon pricing, subsidy management, and fiscal incentives are being used by the Group of 20 (G20) countries to varying degrees, but the current implementation of these mechanisms is unlikely to result in sufficient emission reductions to realize the Paris Agreement objectives.
The State of Jurisdictional Sustainability: Synthesis for practitioners and policymakers
Earth Innovation Institute, September 2018
Jurisdictional approaches to sustainable development hold tremendous potential for advancing holistic, durable solutions to the intertwined issues of tropical deforestation, rural livelihoods, and food security. With many jurisdictional experiments underway around the world, the time is ripe for a systematic assessment.
24 September 2018
Guest post: Credible tracking of land-use emissions under the Paris Agreement
By Giacomo Grassi, Jo House, Werner Kurz, and Glen Peters, CarbonBrief, 24 September 2018
The global modelling community and national governments apply different methods to measure and report land-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Both methods can be justified, but the differences make it difficult to track progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In a new paper in Nature Climate Change, we quantify the differences in independent estimates of land-related GHG uptakes and emissions (known collectively as “fluxes”) between those reported by countries in their GHG inventories and those produced by the global modelling community. It explores the reasons for these differences and outlines ways to reconcile them.
Carbon Markets Update: ETS Reforms, Carbon Markets Alignments and Blockchain for Carbon Impact
By Beate Antonich, IISD, 24 September 2018
In August and September, carbon market practitioners discussed New Zealand’s emissions trading reform proposals and price signals resulting from the European Union’s Market Stability Reserve. During the Global Climate Action Summit, the EU and California committed to deepen their engagement on carbon pricing solutions. The Summit also showcased a Blockchain application for verification and carbon credit, such as tested with Gold Standard in a pilot project in Thailand.
Veridium Sells $5M Worth of Its Tokens to BKCM, Other VC Firms
By Anatol Antonovici, Cryptovest, 24 September 2018
Veridium Labs, a startup that leverages blockchain for the carbon credit markets, announced on Friday that several leading venture capital firms and institutional investors had acquired its tokens. The list of buyers includes Brian Kelly Capital Management, BlockTower Capital, Pink Sky Capital, and JCH Capital PTY. The VC firms invested a total of $5 million. Veridium secured the funds just before the launch of its presale planned for October 1.
According to Veridium, the group of VC firms and serial entrepreneurs support the blockchain startup as they want to speed-up innovation and help Veridium’s vision of leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT) for the carbon credit industry.
[Australia] Opera House goes carbon neutral five years ahead of schedule
By Helen Pitt, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2018
The Sydney Opera House was notoriously behind schedule on most things during the 14 years it took to build but on Monday it will be five years ahead of schedule when it meets its target to reduce emissions and become carbon neutral.
This move puts it up there with New York’s Empire State building and Paris’s Eiffel Tower as global architectural icons which are actively working to become world symbols of energy efficiency, its Environmental Sustainability Manager Emma Bombonato said.
Could Indonesia’s mega-fires return in 2019?
By Joe Sandler Clarke, Unearthed, 24 September 2018
Scientists are warning that 2019 could see the first major test of Indonesia’s new anti-fire measures, which have been criticised by some environmental groups for not going far enough.
Three years ago dramatic forest fires in Indonesia released huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, causing more than $16bn of damage to Indonesia’s economy and leaving much of south-east Asia coated in a thick, toxic, yellow haze.
Amid ongoing evictions, Kenya’s Sengwer make plans to save their ancestral forest
By Anthony Langat, Mongabay, 24 September 2018
One morning in May, David Kisang, 50, sat outside his tiny dome-shaped hut, with its walls made of sticks and black polythene for a roof, sipping tea. His two red calves grazed behind the hut while his cattle and merino sheep grazed further afield, outside the bamboo-stick enclosure surrounding his compound. From where he sat he could scan two grassy glades in Embobut Forest, where hundreds of cattle and merino sheep belonging to other Sengwer grazed.
[UK] Total announces major gas discovery off Shetland
BBC News, 24 September 2018
Energy company Total has announced a major gas discovery off Shetland.
Initial tests at a site on the Glendronach prospect indicated there could be about one trillion cubic feet of gas which could be extracted.
Total’s Arnaud Breuillac said the discovery could be commercialised by using the current Laggan-Tormore infrastructure.
Total has a 60% stake in the site. Energy company SSE and chemicals firm Ineos each have a 20% interest.
25 September 2018
Land rights and accountability mechanisms key to meeting landscape restoration targets
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Landscape News, 25 September 2018
Degradation of natural resources reduces employment opportunities for at least 11 million young Africans entering the job market every year, and soil and nutrient depletion on croplands cost the continent 3 percent of its gross domestic product. Climate change magnifies the challenge.
In response, numerous countries and corporations are engaging in landscape restoration across the continent, while indigenous peoples and local communities are reasserting their role in preserving and recovering the natural capital to the benefit of society as a whole.
Nations halt funding to UN environment programme as outcry over chief grows
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 25 September 2018
Two countries have halted their funding to the UN Environment programme following sharp criticism of its leader’s frequent flying in a draft internal audit.
The audit also said Erik Solheim, a former Norwegian environment minister, had “no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules” and had claimed unjustified expenses. Now, Denmark and Sweden have frozen their funding until the audit is finalised.
Forest Conservation Is Part of the Climate Conversation Too
By Jason Daley, Sierra, 25 September 2018
When it comes to discussions about climate change, things like clean energy, carbon credits, and even climate engineering get a lot of attention. But one important solution has gotten lost in the mix: conserving forests. That’s why the North Carolina–based Dogwood Alliance, a group that advocates for southern forests, just released a new platform and report focusing on the role of America’s forests in solving the climate crisis.
When forest protection and economic renewal grow hand in hand
Global Environment Facility, 25 September 2018
Underlina Cavalcante dos Santos is a pineapple producer in Acre, Brazil, earning what she describes as a good, stable livelihood for her family in the community of Bonal.
Pineapple, a short-term cash crop with immediate benefits, is just one piece of this community’s thriving agroforestry system that also includes rubber trees, peach palm and other forest species in the restoration of 11,000 hectares of abandoned pastureland.
[Kenya] More milk, less emissions from forests
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Forests News, 25 September 2018
African countries must respond to an increasing demand for food while delivering on their national commitments to the global climate agenda. Meanwhile, the land use sector accounts for up to 40% of the continent’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Kenya is one of the countries facing this intertwined challenge. The Mau Forest, located in its highlands, is the largest remaining montane forest complex in East Africa, but it is under pressure by a growing community of smallholders contributing some 80% of the national milk production.
[UK] Beckham’s ex brother-in-law accused of conning investors
FT Adviser, 25 September 2018
David Beckham’s former brother-in-law was part of a company which used his links to the football superstar to scam nearly £1mn from investors, a court heard.
Darren Flood, 39, who was married to Victoria Beckham’s sister Louise Adams, was allegedly part of a boiler room fraud which tricked people into “worthless” investments.
26 September 2018
While economic growth continues we’ll never kick our fossil fuels habit
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 26 September 2018
We’re getting there, aren’t we? We’re making the transition towards an all-electric future. We can now leave fossil fuels in the ground and thwart climate breakdown. Or so you might imagine, if you follow the technology news.
So how come oil production, for the first time in history, is about to hit 100m barrels a day? How come the oil industry expects demand to climb until the 2030s? How is it that in Germany, whose energy transition (Energiewende) was supposed to be a model for the world, protesters are being beaten up by police as they try to defend the 12,000-year-old Hambacher forest from an opencast mine extracting lignite – the dirtiest form of coal? Why have investments in Canadian tar sands – the dirtiest source of oil – doubled in a year?
Arctic thaw imperils climate goals
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 26 September 2018
Austrian researchers have bad news for those nations alarmed about climate change: the Arctic thaw means the chances that the world will exceed the global warming limit set by international agreement are high – and getting ever higher with every tiny shift in the planetary thermometer.
Warming in the Arctic is the fastest on the planet – and any warming will release ever more methane and other forms of stored carbon from the thawing permafrost.
Carbon finance: The role of the World Bank in carbon trading markets
Bretton Woods Project, 26 September 2018
Over the past two decades, the World Bank Group (WBG) has emerged as a major actor in initiatives to build carbon trading markets, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and beyond. The WBG currently acts as a trustee for 15 individual carbon funds and facilities. It maintains that the primary function of these funds is to encourage the development of a global carbon market and support carbon pricing and other instruments aimed at reducing global carbon emissions. The WBG has been active in the ‘proof of concept’ of carbon trading schemes – sometimes alternatively referred to as emissions trading systems (ETS) – creating the first-ever carbon fund with the establishment of the Prototype Carbon Fund in 1999. Since then, its activities have expanded considerably: According to a 2017 approach paper by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), the WBG’s total carbon finance portfolio tops $4.8 billion.
UN recruits Mike Bloomberg to lead green finance push
By Megan Darby, 26 September 2018
The UN named Mike Bloomberg to lead a year-long green investment drive in New York on Wednesday.
The billionaire businessman and former New York mayor is charged with steering private finance towards clean energy and climate resilience projects around the world.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a statement this would contribute to the global target of raising $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries by 2020. It is set to be a key theme of a climate summit at UN HQ next September.
7 reasons avoiding double counting of emissions reductions helps countries, and the environment
By Alexc Hanafi, EDF, 26 September 2018
Meeting the Paris Agreement’s ambitious goal – to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial level” – will necessitate dramatic reductions in total emissions of greenhouse gases.
Market-based approaches that follow well-established “rules of the road” for emissions accounting and transparency have a powerful role to play in helping countries to meet their near-term commitments as efficiently as possible, and in encouraging and even accelerating the broad and ambitious long-term climate action that the Paris Agreement demands.
BlackRock’s Big Palm Oil Problem
By Karina Gonzalez, Friends of the Earth U.S., 26 September 2018
In January, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, released a statement touting the need for corporations to address climate change. Yet BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has nearly $600 million invested in palm oil, making it the largest U.S. investor in this unsustainable industry. Palm oil companies have a long and well-documented history of destroying rainforests, clearing and burning carbon-rich peatlands, abusing workers and displacing indigenous communities — none of which is good for the climate. Despite these horrors, consumer brands continue to drive demand for palm oil, and investors like BlackRock continue to finance it.
What do Brazil’s elections mean for the country’s forests?
By Arnaldo Carneiro Filho, Trase, 26 September 2018
Brazil is going to the polls next week to elect a new president and the results could have major consequences for how the country manages its natural resources. Brazil’s environment has not been a big issue in the run-up to the election, which has instead been dominated by drama around the personal circumstances and profiles of the lead candidates. But the policies advocated by many of the front-runners will have major ramifications for Brazil’s biodiversity — and the global climate.
Preventing total forest loss in Uganda
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Landscape News, 26 September 2018
Uganda will be completely without forest cover by 2050 at its current rate of tree loss, say the creators of a short documentary film produced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for Nature in conjunction with its New Generation Plantations project.
The population of the East African country — now equal to almost 43 million — doubles every 12 years, according to the documentary, titled A Journey Without a Map. Only 1 percent of households can access clean fuels and cooking technologies, and 93 percent of people rely on biomass — mainly charcoal — for cooking, putting a huge strain on natural forests.
27 September 2018
World ‘nowhere near on track’ to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 27 September 018
The world’s governments are “nowhere near on track” to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit.
A massive, immediate transformation in the way the world’s population generates energy, uses transportation and grows food will be required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and the forthcoming analysis is set to lay bare how remote this possibility is.
Under-fire UN environment chief forced back to HQ
By Damien Carrington, The Guardian, 27 September 2018
The UN’s environment chief, under fire over huge travel expenses and rule-breaking, has been forced leave the UN general assembly in New York early and return to his Nairobi headquarters to deal with the growing crisis.
The problems for Erik Solheim, Norwegian head of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), include the Netherlands becoming the latest nation to withhold millions of dollars in funding until the issues are resolved.
Fixing the Crisis of Confidence in the Green Climate Fund
By Jacob Waslander and Patricia Quijao Vallejos, World Resources Institute, 27 September 2018
The Green Climate Fund’s mandate couldn’t be more crucial: accelerating climate action in developing countries by supporting transformational investments in adaptation and emissions reduction. Projects already financed by the GCF range from solar power in Mongolia and improved water management in Colombia, to climate-resilient agriculture in Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.
“Transformative” LDN Project Shows Early Signs of Success in Brazil
By Wangu Mwangi, IISD, 27 September 2018
A blog published on the website of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) discusses early results of a project to reverse degradation in the dryland region of north-eastern Brazil that is implemented under the framework of actions to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030, one of the targets under SDG 15 (life on land).
Latin America and the Caribbean can make history by signing an environmental democracy treaty
By Leo Heileman, UN Environment, 27 September 2018
Living on a healthy planet is a fundamental right of every human being. We cannot postpone the benefits of environmental democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean anymore. That is why UN Environment calls on all countries in the region to ratify the historic Escazú Agreement.
The region can make history by signing this agreement, the first binding treaty in the world that grants environmental rights the same legal status as human rights. On September 27, an official opening for signature ceremony will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in the framework of 73rd session of the global organization’s General Assembly.
Maasai Villagers Win a Major Victory in the East African Court of Justice in Case Against Tanzanian Government
Oakland Institute, 27 September 2018
On September 25, 2018, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) awarded a major victory to four Maasai villages fighting for their rights to their land in northern Tanzania. The case revolves around violent government-led evictions of Maasai villagers in Loliondo – which included burning their homes, arbitrary arrest, forced eviction from their villages, and confiscating their livestock – that took place in August 2017, as well as the ongoing harassment and arrest of villagers involved in the case by the Tanzanian police. The four villages named in the case are legally registered owners of their land.
28 September 2018
Poland pushing forest agenda as climate host, leak shows
By Natalie Sauer, Climate Home News, 28 September 2018
Poland will ask all nations to agree on forests’ central role in the fight to curb climate change when they host UN talks later this year, a leaked document has revealed.
In a draft statement intended to be adopted by all governments at this year’s major climate conference, host country Poland emphasised the “essential role of carbon sinks in mitigating climate change” and called on states to ensure “that global forest carbon stocks are maintained and further enhanced by 2050”.
Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100
By Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 28 September 2018
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.
A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.