REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
Petition: The Biofuture Platform: neither clean nor green
Rainforest Rescue, November 2018
Policymakers and industries in more than 20 countries have signed on to a “Biofuture Platform” that would use biofuels, bioplastics and biomaterials as an alternative to fossil fuels. The consequences for land, food production, ecosystems and human rights would be dire.
26 November 2018
Can artificial intelligence stop corruption in its tracks?
By Vinay Sharma, World Bank, 26 November 2018
The amount of goods and services that governments purchase to discharge their official business is a staggering $10 trillion per year — and is estimated at 10 to 25 percent of global GDP.
Without effective public scrutiny, the risk of money being lost to corruption and misappropriation is vast. Citizens, rightly so, are demanding more transparency around the process for awarding government contracts. And, at the end of the day, corruption hurts the poor the most by reducing access to essential services such as health and education.
Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California
By Jonathan Overpeck, The Conversation, 26 November 2018
Rains in northern California have helped firefighters contain the Camp Fire, which now ranks as the state’s most deadly wildfire. But unfortunately, all signs point to worsening events ahead in the North American West. Critically, the risk extends well beyond California, and better forest management alone won’t solve the problem.
Germany postpones decision on coal exit until February
By Marcus Wacket, Reuters, 26 November 2018
Germany has postponed until February a decision on how fast Europe’s largest economy should phase out brown-coal-fired power plants and whether the government should compensate utilities as well as regions that could face job losses, a commission said.
With brown coal mines the only truly domestic resource in a country reliant on energy imports, Germany faces wrangling over when to abandon coal-burning to meet ambitious climate goals by 2030, as it also wants to be free of nuclear energy by 2022.
[Germany] Greenpeace offers EUR 384m for RWE lignite assets
By Nora Kamprath Buli, Montel, 26 November 2018
Greenpeace’s German utility arm on Monday presented a EUR 384m takeover plan for RWE’s lignite assets in a bid to close all plants – nearly 9.6 GW in total – by 2025.
However, RWE has rejected the offer.
“You cannot really take the Greenpeace offer seriously,” RWE said in an emailed statement to Montel, arguing the proposal was detrimental to the interest of the firm, as well as regional and federal German authorities, which would be asked to finance part of this deal.
Sparking debate over fire use on agricultural land in Indonesia
By Anggrita Cahyaningtyas, CIFOR Forests News, 26 November 2018
“I can keep my land fertile and I’m able to work regardless of the season, but my neighbor who uses the burning method has difficulties during the rains because their land becomes a swamp,” said Akhmad (Taman) Tamanuruddin, addressing delegates at the launch of a new peatland research center in Indonesia.
[USA] ‘I don’t believe it’: Trump dismisses grim government report on climate change
By Caitlin Oprysko, Politico, 26 November 2018
President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed a grim report on climate change produced by his own government, saying he didn’t believe the report’s prognosis of dire economic fallout.
Trump was asked by reporters whether he had read the report, which was released on Friday in what critics said was an attempt to bury the news over a holiday weekend.
“I’ve seen it. I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump responded.
27 November 2018
World must triple efforts or face catastrophic climate change, says UN
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 27 November 2018
Countries are failing to take the action needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change, a UN report has found, and the commitments made in the 2015 Paris agreement will not be met unless governments introduce additional measures as a matter of urgency.
New taxes on fossil fuels, investment in clean technology and much stronger government policies to bring down emissions are likely to be necessary. Governments must also stop subsidising fossil fuels, directly and indirectly, the UN said.
A living planet begins with thriving forests
By Alistair Monument, Mongabay, 27 November 2018
In my lifetime, global wildlife populations have seen an overall decline of more than half.
That’s a statement of such enormity that it’s hard to process.
The evidence comes from WWF’s recent Living Planet Report 2018, which shows that, on average, populations of mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles declined by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014. And the trends are still going in the wrong direction. My children could be reading about many of these species — such as orangutans and Amur leopards — in history books if conservation actions are not ramped up.
Climate-warming El Niño very likely in 2019, says UN agency
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 27 November 2018
There is a 75-80% chance of a climate-warming El Niño event by February, according to the latest analysis from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization.
The last El Niño event ended in 2016 and helped make that year the hottest ever recorded by adding to the heating caused by humanity’s carbon emissions. The 2019 event is not currently forecast to be as strong as in 2016.
5 Things You Need to Know About the UN Emissions Gap Report
By Kelly Levin, Taryn Fransen and Mengpin Ge, World Resources Institute, 27 November 2018
Each year, the UN’s Emissions Gap Report takes stock of where global greenhouse gas emissions are headed versus where they need to be if we are to avoid the worst climate impacts. This is our “emissions gap,” and it’s contributing to many of the escalating heat waves, droughts and extreme storms we’re seeing in communities around the world. Scientists and modelers have come together once again to measure the size of the emissions gap and explore what can be done about it.
Forests need to be at the forefront of the global policy agenda
By Hermine Kleymann, WWF, 27 November 2018
Controlling climate change, halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity and achieving sustainable development for all: these are three of the biggest global challenges of the coming decades. And forests are central to all of them.
In Africa, where I live, these challenges span across the social structure — from governments struggling to curb climate change and fulfil their commitments under international agreements, to local communities and Indigenous People vying for clean water, energy access and education. Fuelwood, for example, is a looming issue across the continent. Ninety per cent of wood harvested in Africa is used for fuel, yet it is also a leading cause of forest degradation.
100 million hectares in Africa under restoration by 2030
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Landscape News, 27 November 2018
Goal: Bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa under restoration by 2030
Origin story: The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) was launched in 2015 at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris as a country-led effort among African nations. The initiative was endorsed by the African Union and initially joined by 10 countries committing 31.7 million hectares of land.
African forest communities must be heard in the fight against climate change
By Laurence Wete Soh and Trésor Nzila, Climate Home News, 27 November 2018
The forest communities already feeling climate change’s deadly impact can help stop it – yet efforts to include them in climate solutions are derisory.
While we are all threatened by climate change, Africa is especially vulnerable.
Droughts, floods and other extreme weather events vary across African regions, but non-climatic factors – such as poverty, hunger and disease – exacerbate climate breakdown’s impact on our continent.
Forests in the global bio-economy: Lessons from Indonesia and Brazil
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 27 November 2018
We know we need to ditch fossil fuels and reduce emissions, and fast. But how can we do so in the context of burgeoning global demand for food, fuel and fiber? Many countries are turning to biological sources to meet these needs. The system they’re building may be nascent, but it already has a name: the bio-economy.
[USA] Climate Change Is Fueling Wildfires Nationwide, New Report Warns
By Kendra Pierre-Louis and Nadja Popovich, New York Times, 27 November 2018
A warmer world makes for a more combustible country. That’s the conclusion in the most comprehensive assessment of the effects of climate change on the United States, released by the Trump administration just weeks after the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.
28 November 2018
From community consultation to active collaboration in REDD+: Local Communities and IPs at the forefront of REDD+ Implementation
By María Ruiz Villar, UN-REDD, 28 November 2018
Often in the past, policies and programs to protect and expand forests have had an environmental or production focus, while the interest, needs and knowledge of people depending on them have not always been taken into account. Since then, the world has learned many lessons and has come a long way in understanding the importance of local communities’ knowledge and engagement in planning and implementing efforts to reduce forest loss.
REDD+ holds a unique position in this matter, as it has the potential to attract international and national attention while increasing support for strengthening communities’ rights and stewardship of forests and land.
3 Issues to Watch at the COP24 Climate Summit
By David Waskow, Yamide Dagnet and Joe Thwaites, World Resources Institute, 28 November 2018
Next month’s UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland (COP24) is seen by many as the most important climate negotiation since 2015, when 196 countries created a vision for a zero-carbon future by adopting the landmark Paris Agreement. This year’s summit is the critical juncture for countries to agree on the rules for turning this vision into a reality, and to set stronger climate action in motion.
[Germany] BMZ launches development and climate alliance
Forest Finest Consulting, 28 November 2018
ForestFinest Consulting/CO2OL supports the initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Development Minister Gerd Müller to establish an “Alliance for Development and Climate”.
The aim of the alliance is to make it easier for companies and organisations to voluntarily, vigorously and effectively finance CO2 offset projects in developing countries – for example biogas plants, wind power, solar energy or reforestation – and thus make their own CO2 balance climate-neutral. The financed projects avoid CO2 emissions or remove them from the atmosphere; at the same time they promote economic and social development locally.
Mexico’s REDD+ still highly centralized
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 28 November 2018
Mexico was among the first countries to launch a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). But the country still struggles to implement that vision, according to a study conducted in the states of Chiapas and Yucatán and published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
The researchers examined the various levels of governance involved in Mexico’s REDD+ strategy and programs to understand how decision-making power is distributed at the national, regional and local levels.
[Peru] Can These Indigenous People Save Their Forest By Logging It Sustainably?
By Steve Zwick, Bionic Planet, 28 November 2018
Five hundred years ago, the Yine people were part of the Incan Empire, which spread over 2 million square kilometers and somehow functioned without money or markets. Today they’re scattered across the Peruvian Amazon, in villages like Bélgica, struggling to maintain their traditional way of life while engaging the market economy that has enveloped them.
Until the 1970s, the people of Bélgica met that challenge in part by tapping the rubber trees that grow naturally in this part of the Peruvian Amazon. In fact, their village is named for the European country of Belgium, where much of their rubber ended up.
[UK] Carbon capture and storage gets £20m ‘sensible reboot’
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 28 November 2018
The UK wants to build its first project to capture and store carbon emissions from industry within the next decade, as part of a rebooted push by ministers to support the technology.
The government scrapped a £1bn carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition in 2015, with the then-chancellor George Osborne saying it was too costly. Earlier efforts had also collapsed.
29 November 2018
Murders of indigenous people fighting for forests hit record high
By Sonia Elks, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 29 November 2018
Rampant corruption and weak laws are fuelling attacks on indigenous people trying to protect their land, with murders more than doubling in five years to a record high, researchers said on Thursday.
Traditional communities play a key role in managing forests and reducing climate change but, under growing pressure from incursions, murders of forest and land defenders hit a record 185 known cases in 2017, up from 83 in 2013, a report found.
Struggling to follow the flow of REDD+ finance
By Christi Hang, CIFOR Landscape News, 29 November 2018
A recent study looking at the financial flows of REDD+, the UN program on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, found that countries with the highest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren’t necessarily receiving the most funds.
The study, which is the most comprehensive REDD+ financing study conducted to date, compares 41 countries receiving public, institutional and private flows of direct and indirect funding. Carried out by scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Öko-Institut and international consulting group COWI, it determined which countries have the greatest capacity for success of REDD+ efforts and tracked funding flows from different sources.
Forests could be a hot topic at COP 24 despite not being on the agenda
By Chris Meyer, EDF, 29 November 2018
Katowice, Poland was an odd location to pick for this year’s UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 24). The city is small and its ambiance may not be very conducive for climate negotiations (it is frigid, dark, and shrouded with coal smog in December). Yet this is where the important task of finalizing the rules of the Paris Agreement will take place. And while not directly on the negotiations agenda, it will be an important venue for discussion on forest policy and actions being taken in the sector.
Interfaith Rainforest Initiative Launched to Protect Colombian Rainforest, Indigenous Peoples
By Catherine Benson Wahlen, IISD, 29 November 2018
Leaders from every major religious faith joined Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous peoples, climate scientists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to launch the Colombia ‘Interfaith Rainforest Initiative.’ Through the Initiative, leaders aim to emphasize the urgent moral responsibility to end deforestation in Colombia and protect the role of indigenous peoples as forest guardians.
[Japan] Tokyo Olympics venues ‘built with wood from threatened rainforests’
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 29 November 2018
Wood from threatened south-east Asian rainforests has been used to build venues for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to complaints filed with organisers.
At least 134,000 large sheets of tropical plywood from Malaysia and Indonesia have been used as concrete moulds to build stadiums, causing what campaigners say is irreversible harm to precious biodiversity reserves.
30 November 2018
Here’s why people are worried about the aviation industry’s plans to cut emissions
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 30 November 2018
The COP 24 global climate talks begin next week in Katowice, Poland, but at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada, delegates from around the world have already been busy negotiating the details of a global carbon market specifically for airlines during a three-week ICAO council session.
REDD+ turns 10, growing into its own
By By Erin O’Connell, CIFOR Landscape News, 30 November 2018
When REDD+ was ushered onto the global stage 11 years ago, it generated a huge wave of excitement and new hope for saving the world’s tropical forests. By making live trees worth more than dead ones, REDD+ was expected to put countries on the fast track to developing carbon-neutral economies and transform their landscapes – both physical and political – in the process.
It was at the 2007 Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Bali that REDD+ was born, surrounded by enthusiasm that, as an integral part of a new climate deal, it could prove a major medicine.
Corruption, Poor Enforcement Hamper Global Efforts To End Deforestation
By Declan Foraise, Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 November 2018
Zanzibar’s Masingini Natural Forest Reserve provides drinking water for much of the island and habitat for dozens of rare and endangered species, but its forests are being illegally clear-cut. Meanwhile, in the Brazilian Amazon, the “lungs of the planet”, recent satellite images show 7900 square kilometers of illegal deforestation in just the last year.
Financing a sustainable blue economy.
By Pavan Sukhdev, WWF, 30 November 2018
If the ten thousand delegates from more than 150 countries who attended the first high-level conference on the “Sustainable Blue Economy” are any indication, interest in the topic seems to be riding high. But will this indicator spell good or bad for a Sustainable Blue Economy, widely understood to mean an inclusive green economy for the ocean?
[Australia] Queensland’s ‘abnormal’ bushfires linked to climate change
By Kate Doyle and Lucy Murray, ABC News, 30 November 2018
Both the bushfires and the heatwave ravaging parts of Queensland have been described as extraordinary and abnormal.
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC CEO Dr Richard Thornton says people need to recognise the changing nature of risk
Bureau of Meteorology Queensland manager Bruce Gunn said records had tumbled in a week of widespread and protracted heatwave conditions, combined with catastrophic fire danger.
[Isle of Man] A call to question bosses of failed firm
IOM Today, 30 November 2018
Liquidators of three failed investment funds are seeking to question two former directors under oath.
The high court heard 3,000 investors had put in £171m into New Earth Recycling and Renewables (Infrastructure) plc and protected cell companies Premier Investment Opportunities Fund and Eclipse Investment Fund. Last audited accounts at the end of 2014 showed the companies had a net asset value of £200m.