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REDD in the news: 10-16 December 2018

REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

Guidance and Conditions for Attracting Private Sector Investments to National REDD+
IETA, December 2018
This paper is designed to provide high level guidance to governments who are interested in attracting private investment to finance activities being implemented within the context of a national or subnational REDD+ program.
The estimated amount of finance needed to halt deforestation globally through sustainable agriculture and REDD+ is US$200 billion annually, of which current funding levels are around US$1 billion mostly provided from donors, governments and other non-private investor sources. This leaves a large gap that needs to be sourced through the financial sector and market-based investments.

10 December 2018

Innovations in forest monitoring lie at the forefront of the climate change battle
UN-REDD Programme, 10 December 2018
Amid growing urgency to step up action on climate change, the participants of the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, are discussing what is needed to reach the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal to keep the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Tropical forests are undervalued assets in tackling two of the most significant challenges of our time – climate change and sustainable development. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is a key nature-based solution to climate change, while also triggering many non-carbon benefits arising from REDD+ policies and actions, which include poverty reduction, enhancing biodiversity, improving forest governance and protecting other vital environmental services.

COP24: vital to keep big polluters away from climate policy
By Pascoe Sabido and Frieda Kieninger, EU Observer, 10 December 2018
In heavily coal-reliant Poland, the ongoing round of international climate talks is marred by the sponsorship of coal and gas companies.
Tackling climate change is not compatible with giving the fossil fuel industry a place at the negotiating table. With stakes this high, it is vital to keep big polluters away from climate policy-makers.
The recently released report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made very clear that a 1.5C increase in global temperatures will have even more dramatic consequences than previously feared.

Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world’s biggest investors
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 10 December 2018
Global investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.
The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers and marks the largest such intervention to date. They say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced.

The US, still in the Paris Agreement, is trying to decide its future
By Sara Stefanini and Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home News, 10 December 2018
Despite Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris Agreement, the US is still very much in the accord and zealously setting the tone of international climate change negotiations.
While the White House touted its fossil fuel industry on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Poland, state department negotiators were deeply engaged in talks on the future of the Paris deal.

COP24 Strengthens Climate Action of Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples
UNFCCC, 10 December 2018
Local communities, indigenous peoples and governments’ partnership and engagement in the climate change process has culminated in a milestone at COP24 in Katowice.
Parties agreed to launch the work of a facilitative working group that will scale up consideration of the experiences of local communities and indigenous peoples with climate change and efforts to respond to it.

Indigenous People and Traditional Communities Gain Formal Platform, Push For Stronger Language On Rights
By Declan Foraise, Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 December 2018
Indigenous people have long been among the most responsible stewards of the land, but they’ve also been among the most underrepresented constituents at global climate talks. That’s changing, with the launch this past weekend of a new Platform for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, which is a representative body designed to link the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to indigenous people and traditional communities.
The Platform was mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, which emerged from the 21th Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC in Paris at the end of 2015. Its evolution continued at COP22 in Marrakech, where Parties agreed on a plan for incrementally developing it in cooperation with local communities and indigenous peoples. Finally, on December 8, it became operational.

Fancy New Airports Can’t Fix the Most Harmful Part of Air Travel
By Jack Bittle, Medium, 10 December 2018
You wouldn’t know it navigating the LaGuardias and Newarks of the world, but airports are getting bigger and fancier. As air travelers fly millions more miles every year, countries are turning away from the utilitarian facilities of decades past and toward awe-inspiring structures designed by celebrity architects.
The supersized airports of the future will have two things in common. The first will be their nature-oriented design — they’ll all be made of glass, soaked with light, filled with trees and other greenery. The second is that they will all help kill the planet.

This Year’s UN Climate Talks—Brought to You by Coal?
By Shannon Osaka, Mother Jones, 10 December 2018
There’s a specter hanging over the COP24 climate talks, that happened last week in the small city of Katowice, Poland. It’s not the goalpost-moving report that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two months ago about the need to limit warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (instead of 3.6 degrees). It’s not the conspicuous absence of prominent US politicians—with the exception of former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who parachuted in, Terminator-style, to brag about his four low-emission Hummers. (Wait, what?)

Hope for Brazil’s forests?
By Helen Burley, Global Canopy 10 December 2018
Fears about the potential impact of Brazil’s incoming president on climate emissions from deforestation have been prevalent at the UN climate talks in Katowice (COP24), with indigenous communities from Brazil among those raising the alarm.
Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to pull the country out of the Paris Agreement and talked about the need for more development in forest areas.

Climate change a ‘secondary’ issue, says Brazil’s environment minister
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 10 December 2018
Brazil’s new environment minister believes that global warming is “secondary”, that many environmental fines are “ideological” and has been accused of altering plans for an environmentally protected area in order to favour businesses.
Ricardo Salles, the former environment secretary for São Paulo state, was recommended for his new role by business and agribusiness groups and announced as minister in a tweet on Sunday by the far-right president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro.

Strengthening forest governance is vital for growth of Southeast Asia’s forests
By Jeffrey Williamson, CIFOR Forests News, 10 December 2018
The Greater Mekong Region (GMS) in the transnational region of the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia experienced a 5.1 percent decline in total forest cover from 1990 to 2015, according to a recent study conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Based on current data, this trend is predicted to get worse.

11 December 2018

Activists sound alarm as human rights guidelines are dropped at COP
By Andrew Green, Devex, 11 December 2018
Activists at the climate negotiations marked International Human Rights Day Monday by sounding the alarm over the removal of language from draft guidelines that would encourage protection of human rights within national climate change strategies.
They are concerned that without the guarantees, future development projects that benefit from new climate-related financing mechanisms might move forward without consulting the very communities their construction might affect.

How oil companies are still undermining the Paris Agreement
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 11 December 2018
Climate activists gathered at the United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland, on Tuesday to call out the oil company Royal Dutch Shell for decades of environmental abuses. The protests occurred days after a Shell executive claimed the corporation had a hand in shaping the Paris Agreement.
Only member states of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change are meant to have a say on the text of the Paris Agreement or the implementing rulebook that delegates are currently finalizing at COP24.

Why the world’s smallest nations are making the loudest noise for the climate
Greenpeace, 11 December 2018
Australia’s love affair with coal is tearing a global family apart. Greenpeace campaigner, Kelvin Anthony, is representing Pacific nations at the global climate change talks happening in Poland to convince our neighbour to the West that things must change.
Scattered across the Pacific Ocean, these islands are known for their peaceful serenity. To stop this natural haven from disappearing, Kelvin has been making noise about Australia’s dangerous contribution to climate change at the COP24.

Could aviation loopholes swallow climate progress?
By Annie Petsonk, EDF, 11 December 2018
As bleary-eyed negotiators at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) in Katowice, Poland, struggle through late nights of haggling over rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, one challenge they face is how to energize a global competitive market for cutting climate pollution, while ensuring the integrity of that market.
Technical talks in the far recesses of the giant conference center are focused on two key issues: carbon credit quality, and accurate book-keeping.

Bad news and good news on cutting climate pollution
By Nat Keohane, Environmental Defense Fund, 11 December 2018
Climate change is an urgent threat and we must overcome significant hurdles to address it — beginning with the reckless polices of the Trump administration.
Some countries are on track to meet their commitments under the Paris agreement, some are falling behind, and many will not start in earnest until compliance rules are agreed to at the UN climate conference in Poland.

Amazon suffering ‘epidemic’ of illegal gold mines, 11 December 2018
Illegal gold mining in the Amazon has reached “epidemic” proportions in recent years, causing damage to pristine forest and waterways, a conservation group said Monday as it released an unprecedented new map of the activities.
“Illegal mining in the Amazon, notably in indigenous tribal territories and protected nature zones, has increased exponentially these past years because of the rise in the price of gold,” said Beto Ricaro, a Brazilian anthropologist who coordinated the cartography done by the Amazon Socio-Environmental, Geo-referenced Information Project (RAISG).

‘Fake action’: Australia’s secret path to hitting Paris climate goals
By Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2018
Australia could use a little-known loophole to help meet up to half its Paris climate commitments in a move that analysts warn could undermine the global accord.
Neither Environment Minister Melissa Price nor Labor will rule out counting Australia’s expected credits from beating its 2020 goal under the soon-to-be-superseded Kyoto Protocol against its 2030 Paris pledge.

Half of Costa Rica’s Regrown Forests Are Gone Within Two Decades
By Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Pacific Standard, 11 December 2018
Secondary forests—those that regrow naturally after being cleared or degraded—constitute more than half of existing tropical forests. When they are old enough, they support a wide range of species and store carbon at a higher rate than old-growth forest because the trees grow more rapidly.
But in southern Costa Rica, a country with strong environmental commitments, young forests are ephemeral, a new study claims.

[France] Macron’s Climate Tax Is a Disaster
By Kate Aronoff, Jacobin, 11 December 2018
Hundreds of thousands of French protesters have flooded into the streets and the Right is salivating, broadcasting the “Yellow Vest” (gilets jaunes) riots there — sparked by an environmentally framed fuel tax — as definitive proof that the fight for climate action is a losing battle.

Nepal: Understanding the role of communities in reducing emissions from forests
By Gloria Pallares, UN-REDD, 11 December 2018
The ‘Himalayas’ is Sanskrit for ‘abode of snow’, and this range is indeed the third largest deposit of frozen water in the world after the Artic and Antarctica. But this is not the only type of landscape present in Himalayan countries. With altitudes ranging from 59 to 8,848 meters, Nepal also has sub-tropical, temperate and sub-alpine forests that provide vital services to people and are also important from a biodiversity and climate perspective.

12 December 2018

Governments, researchers underestimate impact of inefficient land-use on climate change
Princeton University press release, 12 December 2018
Policymakers and researchers have underestimated the effect that changes in land management and people’s diets would have on limiting greenhouse gas emissions and countering the effects of climate change, according to a study led by Princeton University.
The researchers report in the journal Nature Dec. 13 that the inefficient use of land for agriculture and even alternative-fuel production greatly increases greenhouse gas emissions. They provide a “carbon benefits index” for calculating whether efforts to combat climate change are helped or hurt by switching agricultural production from corn to soybeans to tropical fruits, or from cropland to grazing land or bioenergy, or back to forest.

UN chief attempts to revive flagging climate change talks
By Fiona Harvey, Ben Doherty, and Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 12 December 2018
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has made a dramatic intervention to revive flagging climate talks in Katowice, Poland by flying back to the conference and preparing a personal call to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
“We’re running out of time,” he told the plenary. “To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal.”

Tropical Countries Far Short Of Meeting Deforestation Targets
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 December 2018
f we’re to prevent global temperatures from rising to a level more than 1.5ºC (2.7ºF) above pre-industrial levels, we must dramatically improve the way we manage our forests, farms, and fields.
That’s a key lesson from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) recent Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, and it’s one reason countries like Indonesia, Colombia, Peru, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), which is a pledge to end deforestation by 2030.
Unfortunately, none of those countries have created climate action plans (NDCs, or “Nationally Determined Contributions”) that will achieve that goal, and neither have Brazil or Myanmar, according to research by the Rainforest Foundation Norway.

Why greens are turning away from a carbon tax
By Zack Colman and Eric Wolff, Politico, 12 September 2018
Taxing carbon to tackle climate change is one of those big ideas that have long held a kind of bipartisan sway in Washington — endorsed by Al Gore and former members of Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet, economists from both parties and even Exxon Mobil.
But environmentalists are increasingly ready to look elsewhere.

Stakes are high at UN climate talks
By Lou Leonard, WWF, 12 December 2018
It’s not an understatement to say that there’s a lot riding on future of international climate diplomacy at this round of UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland (known as “COP 24”). Three years ago, the Paris Agreement sent an unmistakable signal to private sector markets that the world economy will decarbonize in coming decades. It is vital to the global climate transition that the signals from COP 24 in Poland are even stronger.

COP24: International bodies commit to ‘climate neutrality’ as Katowice talks heat up
By James Murray and Madeleine Cuff, Business Green, 12 December 2018
A group of 15 international bodies have today announced they are to make their operations ‘climate neutral’ in a move designed to slash global emissions by over two million tonnes a year.
The coalition of agencies, which unveiled the new pledge on the sidelines of the COP24 climate summit in Katowice this afternoon, includes a host of international development banks, as well as the OECD Secretariat, the International Paralympic Committee, and the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability group.

Veneration Of Power Leading To Climate Catastrophe
Media Lens, 12 December 2018
In a recent media alert, we presented a few rules that journalists must follow if they are to be regarded as a safe pair of hands by editors and corporate media owners. One of these rules is that ‘we’ in the West are assumed to be ‘the good guys’. This seriously damaging narrative, flying in the face of historical evidence and endlessly crushing state policies, ensures that the public is kept ignorant and pacified. The consequences have been deadly for millions of the West’s victims around the world, and now mean climate catastrophe that could end human civilisation.

Al Gore: Technology capturing CO2 emissions is “nonsense”
By Amy Harder, Axios, 12 December 2018
Al Gore is optimistic the world will effectively address climate change despite being pessimistic on technology scientists say is critical to that end.
Why it matters: Gore’s remarks, made during an interview with Axios on Wednesday, put him at odds with a number of experts and scientists. A seminal report issued in October by a United Nations scientific panel found the technology, which captures carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, to be critical to keeping global temperatures below a level that would avoid the worst impacts of a warmer world.

The triple challenge of our time: a stable climate, food security and space for nature
By William Baldwin-Cantello, WWF, 12 December 2018
Averting dangerous climate change, feeding a growing global population a healthy diet and creating space for nature. That is the triple challenge of our time.
In the last few months, a wealth of warnings and new knowledge have emerged, including in a stark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), setting an urgent tone as climate negotiators meet in Poland for COP24.

Australia likely to use controversial Kyoto loophole to meet Paris agreement
By Ben Doherty, The Guardian, 12 December 2018
Australia appears likely be allowed to exploit a controversial climate loophole, using carryover carbon credits from the Kyoto protocol to meet its Paris agreement targets.
New Zealand has already ruled out using the carryover credits, saying it would discourage other countries from the practice.

Amazon in peril as Brazil cools on climate
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 12 December 2018
The election of an extreme rightwing climate sceptic as president will leave the Amazon in peril, because it radically alters Brazil’s position on climate change.
That process has already begun, with the cancellation of the outgoing president’s invitation to the United Nations to hold its 2019 climate talks, COP-25, in Brasilia.
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is also threatening to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change, claiming that a plot exists to reduce Brazil’s sovereignty over the Amazon.

Development bank halts coal financing to combat climate change
By James Kynge and Leslie Hook, Financial Times, 12 December 2018
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, one of the world’s leading development banks, has voted to adopt a “no coal, no caveats” financing policy and slash lending to oil exploration and production projects as the organisation seeks to combat climate change.
The move, approved on Wednesday by the bank’s board of directors, will bring into sharper relief the activities of Chinese and other development banks that finance huge numbers of coal and oil projects around the world.

Why we are seeing red over India’s National REDD+ Strategy.
By Suhas Bhasme and Nitin D. Rai, Greenmentality, 12 December 2018
India is a surprisingly recent entrant into the REDD+ arena. Surprising because almost all the forest land is state controlled and it would have been easy for a centralised forest administration to have formulated a REDD+ programme early on. However, the first steps towards a REDD+ were initiated by a USAID programme called Forest Plus in collaboration with the Indian government aimed at strengthening REDD+ implementation in India. REDD+ is being crafted as one of a number of instruments employed under the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) to offset carbon emissions. To guide the implementation of REDD+ in India, the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change released in August 2018 the National REDD+ Strategy (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change , 2018); henceforth referred to as REDD+ Strategy.

The Carbon Brief Interview: Saudi Arabia’s Ayman Shasly
By Leo Hickman, Carbon Brief, 12 December 2018
Ayman Shasly is a senior negotiator for Saudi Arabia at both the UNFCCC and IPCC. In his role as an international policies consultant with the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, he is a board member of the Green Climate Fund. He has also worked in China for Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest oil companies.

13 December 2018

Rethinking REDD+
Centre for Science and Environment, 13 December 2018
In the first decade of the 21st century, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) emerged as the most prominent global mechanism to integrate the role of forests in climate change. It was touted as a win-win situation for biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and local livelihoods. Since its formalization in 2006, more than 300 REDD+ initiatives have taken off with mixed results. The mechanism has been enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015, and its implementation is transitioning from smaller, isolated projects to larger, jurisdictional programmes with support from bilateral and multilateral agencies.

COP24: Tropical deforestation risks undermining 1.5-degree warming limit
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 13 December 2018
The world has just 12 years left to halve greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change, but hopes that a solution will come from saving the last great tracts of tropical rainforest are dimming.
Trees and soils are crucial to managing climate change; plants absorb about a third of the carbon dioxide that humans produce, while the earth takes about 10 to 15 percent. Recent estimates suggest that stopping deforestation and other “natural climate solutions” could help achieve 37 percent of the climate target needed to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Combined with a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel, this could be enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. That’s the threshold beyond which a recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns that massive and destabilizing climate events will be inevitable.

From Mars to Ikea, Concerns Emerge About Vague Climate Rules
By Jeremy Hodges, Bloomberg, 13 December 2018
Business leaders at a round of United Nations talks on limiting climate change warned that the rules envoys are drawing up are may be too vague to change the way they work.
From the Swedish furniture supplier Ikea to candy maker Mars Inc. and telephone network operator BT Group Plc, companies are looking for a guide on where government policies on the environment are headed. Delegates from almost 200 nations have been working for almost two weeks in Poland to write the rules accompanying the landmark Paris Agreement.

Can a coalition of ‘superheroes’ save the COP24 climate talks?
By John D. Sutter, CNN, 13 December 2018
Think of them as the Justice League for global warming diplomacy. They’re the “High Ambition Coalition” and they arrived late this week at the beleaguered COP24 climate talks here in Polish coal country, wearing suits and hosting press conferences — hoping to salvage a United Nations treaty that is meant to save the earth.
Dozens of reporters from around the world shoved into a tiny, sweaty conference room Wednesday night hoping to hear what the coalition had to say about the negotiation taking place the talks, which were described by one scientist as a “huge mess.”

COP24: Nations to be given new draft negotiating text
DownToEarth, 13 December 2018
To set the agenda for the last three days of the 24th Conference of Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Katowice, Poland, a draft negotiating text will be given to nations for consideration.
The new textual proposals will be produced by the COP 24 Presidency on the guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) on December 12.

COP24: Consensus on global emission reduction key to carbon markets’ success
By Padmini Gopal, DownToEarth, 13 December 2018
Negotiations on the rules for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement—the Article concerned with the setting up of carbon markets—moved at snail’s pace over the first week of the 24th Conference of Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Katowice, Poland.
With just a few days left to agree on the terms for carbon markets, parties have been struggling to come to a consensus on certain elements of Article 6.

The winding path to transformational change
By Erin O’Connell, CIFOR Forests News, 13 December 2018
In its first 10 years, REDD+ has inspired much enthusiasm and hope for a global transition away from practices that threaten tropical forests, toward lasting climate mitigation. Despite unexpected challenges and a funding pot that lacked the depth to trigger global mobilization, REDD+ is beginning to deliver on its potential – if more slowly than expected.
A new book, Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions, which has launched at this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Katowice, Poland, takes stock of the efforts taken so far to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) at multiple scales.

COP24: Nations complicit in ignoring bioenergy climate bomb, experts say
By Justin Catanoso, Mongabay, 13 December 2018
Today, it’s being called the bomb that could explode the United Nations carbon climate emissions accounting system ­– and possibly destabilize the global climate.
When first conceived, this bomb was thought to be a boon: turn trees and woody biomass into wood pellets. Burn that woody biomass at power plants instead of coal to generate electricity. Plant more trees where the wood was harvested to offset the emissions produced by burning pellets. Then call it green and celebrate a sustainable way to reduce coal emissions.

UNEP Brief Highlights REDD+ Benefits for SDGs, Aichi Targets
By Catherine Benson Wahlen, IISD, 13 December 2018
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) has released a brief on ‘Planning for REDD+ Benefits Beyond Carbon,’ which shares results from the UN-REDD Programme. The brief underscores the potential contributions of UN-REDD Programme projects on planning for REDD+ to the SDGs and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

NASA and FAO jointly develop a new forest and landscape monitoring tool
By Aditya Chaturvedi, Geospatial World, 13 December 2018
A new way of looking at the dense forests and tall trees has been devised as NASA and FAO( UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization) joined hands to create a new open-access tool. The initiative, which is backed by Google Earth Engine Team and the US governments SilverCarbon Program, permits any user to monitor change in landscape patterns across the globe.

Climate finance and indigenous communities
By Temo Dias, The Ecologist, 13 December 2018
With COP24 brimming with big talk, glossy posters and greenwashing, a group of indigenous activists and leaders have travelled the distance from the Peruvian Amazon to deliver passionate speeches.
These activists are revealing contradictions at the heart of current climate funds that coexist with destructive industries and governmental corruption.

China demands developed countries ‘pay their debts’ on climate change
By Fiona Harvey and Ben Doherty, The Guardian, 13 December 2018
China called on rich countries to “pay their debts” on climate change at global talks on Thursday, criticising developed countries for not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance to help poor countries do the same.
The trenchant intervention by Xie Zhenhua, the minister who leads the Chinese delegation and a veteran of the UN climate negotiations, came as China faced increasing pressure to shift its stance on some of the key rules required to implement the 2015 Paris agreement.

Greenland’s icecap melt picks up speed
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 13 December 2018
Greenland’s icecap – the largest single store of frozen freshwater in the northern hemisphere – is melting faster than ever, according to two separate studies using two different approaches.
Surface meltwater started flowing over the surface and percolating through the ice at a greater rate in the mid-19th century and accelerated dramatically during the 20th and the first decades of the 21st century, according to a new study of ice cores taken more than 2,000 metres above sea level.

One map to rule them all: Indonesia launches unified land-use chart
By Basten Gokkon, Mongabay, 13 December 2018
The Indonesian government has published a long-awaited map that, for the first time, unifies all land-use data from a host of disparate sources.
The fractured nature of the land-use maps in force across the sprawling archipelago has led to overlapping claims and conflicts, which in turn have given rise to environmental damage and human rights abuses.
The unified map was launched Dec. 11 in Jakarta by President Joko Widodo.

US dominance in oil markets is only going to get bigger, the IEA says
By Holly Ellyatt, CNBC, 13 December 2018
The U.S. might have been left out from the big summit between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Vienna last week but the country’s influence over global oil markets is only going to get stronger, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in its latest report.
“While the U.S. was not present in Vienna, nobody could ignore its growing influence,” the IEA said in its December report, published Thursday. “Last week’s meeting reminded us that the Big Three of oil – Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States – whose total liquids production now comprises about 40 percent of the global total, are the dominant players, ” the IEA said.

14 December 2018

Approaching the point of no return
By Margarita Florez, Rights and Resources Initiative, 14 December 2018
As world leaders gather in Poland this week to hold a critical dialogue on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the world’s tropical forests ought to take center stage. Ample evidence has shown that the ambitious pledge of the Paris Agreement—to keep global warming as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible—will be virtually unattainable if the world’s remaining tropical forests are not safeguarded. These landscapes, however, will continue to be in peril until we secure the land and resource rights of the communities who have served as guardians of the forest for thousands of years.

ICAO CORSIA Update: Compliance Complexities Under ICAO’s New Carbon Offsetting Scheme
JDSupra, 14 December 2018
Airlines and airline associations have broadly welcomed ICAO’s new carbon offsetting scheme, scheduled to commence on January 1, 2019. However, the scheme’s Standards and Recommended Practices (the SARPs) impose an immediate compliance obligation on international airlines and raise a number of potential risks for aircraft financiers and lessors.

15 Leading International Organizations Announce Joint Climate Neutrality Commitment At COP24
By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, 14 December 2018
A group of 15 leading international organizations, including six global development banks, announced on the sidelines of the COP24 UN climate change conference a joint commitment to make their operations climate neutral.
Announced at the COP24 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland on Wednesday, the 15 international organizations committed to carbon neutrality by promising to measure their greenhouse gas emissions, reduce them where possible, and compensate the unavoidable ones with credible carbon credits — a not so insignificant commitment, considering that, together, the organizations produce over 2 million tonnes of CO2 annually and boast more than 50,000 staff.

The influence international NGOs wield in Katowice climate change talks
By Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 14 December 2018
What roles do North-based think tanks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) specialising in climate change play in negotiations? One obvious answer is they engage in advocacy under full public gaze, with public campaigns; interpret science and policy facts to influence the negotiations towards agreements they think are best.
Then, at another level, they engage and lobby with governments to convince them to do what they believe is the best route to fight climate change.

Hope for ‘decent’ climate talks outcome
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 14 December 2018
The likelihood of a deal at global climate talks in Poland has increased after a new draft text was released.
The outline decision contains plans for a common rulebook for all countries, with flexibility for poorer nations.
There are also calls for all countries to increase their carbon cutting commitments by 2020.

You, Too, Are in Denial of Climate Change
By David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 14 December 2018
You, too, are in denial.
We all are, nearly every single one of us as individuals, even those of us who are following the bad news that suggests “the climate change problem is starting to look too big to solve”; every nation, almost none of them meeting their climate commitments, and most (not just the United States) publicly downplaying the threat; and even many of the alliances and organizations, like the IPCC, endeavoring to solve the crisis.

Will Double-Counting Dust-Up Crush Katowice Climate Conference?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 14 December 2018
Year-end climate talks (COP24) remain stalled here in Katowice, in part because of a three-year-old proposal to let developing countries keep credit for emission reductions that they sell internationally to meet other countries’ targets. The so-called “double-counting loophole” would only apply to the early years of the Paris Agreement, which takes effect in 2020, and it includes a caveat that the countries would balance out the double counting at a later date, via one of three different options currently in the text.

COP24 fails to deliver on mandate for carbon market cooperation – IETA
IETA press release, 15 December 2018
IETA is deeply disappointed that climate negotiators failed to fulfil their mandate to deliver rules for market cooperation as part of the Paris Agreement “rule book” at COP 24 in Katowice today.
In a year when the scientific community urged governments to scale up action to address climate change towards achieving a 1.5 degree Celsius goal, negotiators delayed decisions on rules that would have delivered a valuable signal to business.

Deforestation Risk in Colombia: Beef and Dairy Sectors May Expose Investors
Chain Reaction Research, 14 December 2018
During the last two years, Colombia, the world’s second most biodiverse country, has seen rapidly increasing deforestation. This report discusses the political changes that led to this surge in deforestation. It then focuses on the cattle supply chain, the most important sector exposing investors to deforestation risk in Colombia. In this report, CRR discusses the economic role of the cattle sector in Colombia and maps the key supply chain actors in the beef and dairy sectors. Some of these actors are listed companies that might expose investors to deforestation risk.

Laos: Six Years On, Civil Society Worldwide Demands Answers to the Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone
Focus on the Global South, 14 December 2018
On the eve of the sixth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned organizations, reiterate our calls for the Lao government to conduct an independent, impartial and effective investigation to reveal his fate and whereabouts.
Sombath was last seen at a police checkpoint on a busy street of the Lao capital, Vientiane, on the evening of 15 December 2012. Footage from a CCTV camera showed that Sombath’s vehicle was stopped at the police checkpoint and, within minutes, individuals forced him into another vehicle and drove him away in the presence of police officers. CCTV footage also showed an unknown individual driving Sombath’s vehicle away from the city center. The fact that police officers were present at and witnessed Sombath’s abduction and failed to intervene strongly indicates state agents’ involvement in, or acquiescence to, human rights violations committed against Sombath, which include the crime of enforced disappearance. Later that evening, witnesses reportedly saw Sombath at a police holding facility in Vientiane yet to date officials have provided no information about what he was doing there and subsequently what happened to him.

UK’s dream is now its nuclear nightmare
By Paul Brown, Climate News Network, 14 December 2018
Thirty years ago it seemed like a dream: now it is a nuclear nightmare. A project presented to the world in the 1990s by the UK government as a £2.85 billion triumph of British engineering, capable of recycling thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel into reusable uranium and plutonium is shutting down – with its role still controversial.
Launched amid fears of future uranium shortages and plans to use the plutonium produced from the plant to feed a generation of fast breeder reactors, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, known as THORP, was thought to herald a rapid expansion of the industry.

15 December 2018

UN climate talks: progress and a call to strengthen national climate pledges
WWF, 15 December 2018
As the UN climate talks conclude, WWF welcomes progress in adopting a rulebook to operationalize the Paris Agreement and a signal from the COP on raising ambition, but remains deeply concerned that countries have yet to show the level of climate ambition needed to tackle the climate emergency.
“World leaders arrived in Katowice with the task of responding to the latest climate science which made clear that we only have 12 years to cut emissions in half and prevent catastrophic global warming. They’ve made important progress, but what we’ve seen in Poland reveals a fundamental lack of understanding by some countries of our current crisis. Luckily, the Paris Agreement is proving to be resilient to the storms of global geopolitics. Now we need all countries to commit to raising climate ambition before 2020, because everyone’s future is at stake,” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice.

U.N. climate talks deadlocked over carbon credit issue
By Agnieszka Barteczko and Bate Felix, Reuters, 15 December 2018
United Nations’ climate talks to agree on the rules of the 2015 Paris Agreement became deadlocked late on Saturday over the monitoring of carbon credits to reduce emissions, in marathon negotiations which have already overrun.
Although a text of the package of rules has been published which shows many points have been settled, a stand-off continues over the accounting rules for future carbon permit schemes.
This has repeatedly delayed the closing plenary, when sparks could fly if there are issues still stoking opposition.

Katowice Climate Deal Leaves Carbon Markets Intact But Incomplete
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 December 2018
Negotiators have signed off on an incomplete set of rules for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, and one of the components they missed is the one providing guidance for creating international carbon markets to accelerate the reduction of emissions under Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Technically, the lack of guidance will not halt the creation of international markets that countries are developing among themselves, and several participants said that so-called “carbon clubs“, which are clusters of countries developing regional platforms, will step up with guidance of their own, as is permitted under the Paris Agreement. Privately, however, market participants acknowledged that the lack of clear global guidance introduces an element of risk that could slow these regional efforts.

New Era of Global Climate Action To Begin Under Paris Climate Change Agreement
UNFCCC press release, 15 December 2018
Governments have adopted a robust set of guidelines for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The implementation of the agreement will benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable.
The agreed ‘Katowice Climate Package’ is designed to operationalize the climate change regime contained in the Paris Agreement. Under the auspices of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, it will promote international cooperation and encourage greater ambition.

Progress and problems as UN climate change talks end with a deal
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 15 December 2018
The UN climate change talks ended late on Saturday night in Poland with a deal agreed on how to put the 2015 Paris agreement into action, but with other contentious problems left to be resolved next year.
Countries thrashed out the complex details of how to account for and record their greenhouse gas emissions, which will form the basis of a “rulebook” on putting the Paris goals into action. But difficult questions such as how to scale up existing commitments on cutting emissions, in line with stark scientific advice, and how to provide finance for poor countries to do the same, were put off for future years.

Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive
By Brad Plumer, The New York Times, 15 December 2018
Diplomats from nearly 200 countries reached a deal on Saturday to keep the Paris climate agreement alive by adopting a detailed set of rules to implement the pact.
The deal, struck after an all-night bargaining session, will ultimately require every country in the world to follow a uniform set of standards for measuring their planet-warming emissions and tracking their climate policies. And it calls on countries to step up their plans to cut emissions ahead of another round of talks in 2020.

“Sufferings of the many” pay for the “luxuries of the few” as COP24 adopts guidelines for the Paris Agreement
Demand Climate Justice, 15 December 2018
As critical negotiations on how to enact the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change drew to a close, legal and policy experts joined grassroots campaigners in sharing alarm at the direction of the talks.
15 year old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg told delegates in a viral speech Thursday that “the sufferings of the many pay for the luxuries of the few,” and the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice led hundreds of activists in a sit-in occupation of the main area of the COP venue on Friday afternoon.

UN climate change talks avoid contentious issues in draft agreement
By Fiona Harvey, The Observer, 15 December 2018
The UN met on Saturday in Poland to discuss a draft agreement on climate change, which sources said was likely to pass, as exhausted delegates made compromises on some key issues but left other contentious problems to be resolved next year.
The result will not be the breakthrough campaigners and some countries were hoping for, but will keep discussions alive on formulating key aspects of the implementation rules for the 2015 Paris accord.

16 December 2018

COP24: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Katowice
CarbonBrief, 16 December 2018
This year’s annual UN climate conference concluded late on Saturday evening in Katowice, Poland, after two weeks of tension-filled talks.
Nearly 23,000 delegates descended on the coal-tinged city with a deadline for hashing out the Paris Agreement “rulebook”, which is the operating manual needed for when the global deal enters into force in 2020.
This was mostly agreed, starting a new international climate regime under which all countries will have to report their emissions – and progress in cutting them – every two years from 2024.

What was agreed at COP24 in Poland and why did it take so long?
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 16 December 2018
What was agreed at COP24?
Countries settled on most of the tricky elements of the “rulebook” for putting the 2015 Paris agreement into practice. This includes how governments will measure, report on and verify their emissions-cutting efforts, a key element because it ensures all countries are held to proper standards and will find it harder to wriggle out of their commitments.

UN climate accord ‘inadequate’ and lacks urgency, experts warn
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 16 December 2018
The world has been put on notice that its best efforts so far will fail to halt the devastation of climate change, as countries came to a partial agreement at UN talks that failed to match up to the challenges faced.
Leading figures in climate science and economics said much more must be done, and quickly, to stave off the prospect of dangerous levels of global warming.

Katowice climate summit: Three key outcomes
AFP, 16 December 2018
United Nations climate talks ending on Saturday (Dec 15) in Katowice, Poland, delivered a milestone rulebook for the Paris climate treaty, but failed to dial up national efforts to slash carbon emissions.
The 195-nation pact calls for capping the rise in Earth’s temperature at “well under” 2 deg C, and at 1.5 deg C if possible.

‘We can move forward now’: UN climate talks take significant step
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 16 December 2018
They lacked the drama, excitement and eventual breakthrough that marked the Paris agreement of 2015, but this year’s UN climate talks produced important steps forward in putting the landmark accord into practice.
After last-minute wrangling over wording, late on Saturday night delegates in Poland finally agreed a text that contains most of the “rulebook” needed to guide countries’ implementation of the Paris goals.

The Katowice collapse
Centre for Science and Environment, 16 December 2018
“It is a weak Rulebook that we have got for implementation of the Paris Agreement. This Rulebook is completely insufficient to drive ambitious climate action:” said Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi (India)-based think tank which has been closely tracking the negotiations at the 24th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP).
The Katowice COP also failed to increase ambition of countries to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases as per the findings of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5oC. The refusal of the CoP to take the IPCC report seriously undermines the Paris Agreement.

Katowice: COP24 Climate change deal to bring pact to life
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 16 December 2018
Negotiators in Poland have finally secured agreement on a range of measures that will make the Paris climate pact operational in 2020.
Last-minute rows over carbon markets threatened to derail the two-week summit – and delayed it by a day.
Delegates believe the new rules will ensure that countries keep their promises to cut carbon.

The Guardian view on COP24: while climate talks continue, there is hope
The Guardian, 16 December 2018
The first thing to say about the compromise struck at climate talks in Poland at the weekend is that it came as a relief. Ever since President Trump’s announcement in 2017 that the US would withdraw from the Paris agreement, the question has been whether the UN process could continue to work. Much like the communique that came out of the recent G20, the agreement on a set of rules to implement promises made in Paris shows that while multilateralism has been damaged, it is not dead. Flawed and inadequate though it is, the process that has developed since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in Rio in 1992 is still the best hope we have of staving off the most terrifying impacts of global warming.

Katowice delivers Paris rulebook, but not everyone is happy
By Amitabh Sinha, Indian Express, 16 December 2018
Nearly 200 countries, assembled in the city of Katowice in Poland, early this morning agreed upon, and adopted, a rulebook to implement Paris Agreement, the landmark 2015 global pact to fight climate change.
The Paris Agreement, which will start getting implemented from 2020, replacing the existing Kyoto Protocol, seeks to keep the rise in global average temperatures to well below 2 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

Blue carbon focus could sail Indonesia through Paris targets
By Dominique Lyons, CIFOR Forests News, 16 December 2018
The next U.N. climate talks will be known as the “blue COP,” said a top mangroves expert at the COP24 conference venue in Katowice, Poland, where thousands of delegates from around the world are trying to forge an agreement over how best to tackle global warming.
Daniel Murdiyarso, blue carbon champion and principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) made the remarks about how best to manage carbon stored in the world’s coastal and ocean ecosystems at a side event organized by Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs.

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