REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
17 December 2018
Climate change: The massive CO2 emitter you may not know about
By Lucy Rodgers, BBC News, 17 December 2018
Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.
But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint.
Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.
If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world – behind China and the US. It contributes more CO2 than aviation fuel (2.5%) and is not far behind the global agriculture business (12%).
India is ‘planting forests’ to forestall the impending water crisis. It is a fool’s errand
By Peter Smetacek, Scroll.in, 17 December 2018
India is again wasting valuable time, effort and resources on a national scale as it races to forestall an impending water crisis. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is conducting massive afforestation drives, planting native species. But a forest is a self-sown, self-regenerating community of plants and dependent organisms, from microbes to elephants. A forest, by definition, cannot be “planted”. Since afforestation is interpreted to mean the planting of forests, it is an oxymoron. What is created when one plants trees, native or exotic, is a plantation.
[Nigeria] Climate Change: Draft Policy Document on Forest Emission Ready Soon, Says Minister
By James Emejo, This Day, 17 December 2018
The Minister of Environment, Mr. Suleiman Hassan, on Monday said a draft national Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) for the country will soon be ready for presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the document represented an advancement of the earlier sub-national FREL developed under the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) programme and submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after a successful technical assessment.
[Thailand] Report: Forest governance needed to ensure good cuts of greenhouse gases and healthy forests, says experts
By Piyaporn Wongruang, The Nation, 17 December 2018
Somsak Sae-Lao an assistant village chief in the small Nan community of Pang Kob, still has no idea whether his villagers could be subject to any benefits for helping protect surrounding forest under a global scheme known as REDD+, if implemented here.
The village has unresolved overlapping claims with Khun Nan National Park on a high mountain, thus becoming uncertain about their land rights.Since 2009, ambitions for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions have intensified, when most of the worlds heads of state gathered at the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen (COP15), and the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation known as REDD+ has been pushed as part of the efforts to help relief climate change, including at the latest conference that ended on Friday in Poland.
18 December 2018
Katowice Forest Declaration: It’s in the way that you use it
FERN, 18 December 2018
The Ministerial Katowice Declaration on Forests for the Climate, issued by the Polish presidency to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP24), contains many welcome elements; these may yet be undone by its more ominous context.
We finally have the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, but global climate action is still inadequate
By Kate Dooley, The Conversation, 18 December 2018
Three years after the Paris Agreement was struck, we now finally know the rules – or most of them, at least – for its implementation.
The Paris Rulebook, agreed at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, gives countries a common framework for reporting and reviewing progress towards their climate targets.
Yet the new rules fall short in one crucial area. While the world will now be able to see how much we are lagging behind on the necessary climate action, the rulebook offers little to compel countries to up their game to the level required.
An economist’s take on the Poland climate conference: The glass is more than half full
By Robert Stavins, The Conversation, 18 December 2018
The global climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, that wrapped up on Dec. 15 had a challenging mission. Three years ago in Paris, 196 countries and regions agreed to curb global greenhouse gas emissions Now they had to agree on rules and guidelines for how to do it.
Two urgent realities hung over the negotiations. First, U.S. President Donald Trump announced in June 2017 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement in November 2020 – the soonest that any nation can actually do so. Second, although countries that are responsible for 97 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have pledged to make cuts, the initial reductions will surely not be enough to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. So, a key question is how the Paris Agreement can facilitate increased ambition over time.
COP24 report: The vital role of land use in climate mitigation
Climate-KIC, 18 December 2018
With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key EIT Climate-KIC COP24 session summaries are available online for those who cannot attend—and for review for those present. These summaries aim to extract important debates, dialogues, and learnings from each session.
On 6 December, EIT Climate-KIC hosted a panel discussion at COP24 ‘Enhancing the role of land use for climate change mitigation’, led by Daniel Zimmer, Director of Sustainable Land Use.
So What Just Happened at the Climate Talks?
By Michael Jenkins, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 December 2018
I’m writing this post from Washington, DC, where we just experienced the wettest year on record. In Paris, officials struggle to contain violent protests triggered by a fuel tax increase designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Residents of Canada, Sweden, and the US West are still picking up the pieces after record-breaking wildfire seasons. In other words, we are seeing the signs that climate change is going to be painful – and there’s no avoiding that.
This was the context of the global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, which wrapped up their 24th year-end summit this past weekend, just as word broke that greenhouse-gas emissions had jumped another 3 percent in 2018, the steepest rise in seven years.
Indigenous leader urges EU to impose sanctions on Brazil
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 18 December 2018
Brazil’s foremost indigenous leader has called on the EU to impose trade sanctions to prevent ecological disaster and a “social extermination” by her country’s far-right president-elect, who takes office on 1 January.
Jair Bolsonaro has terrified indigenous communities by promising to take every centimetre of their land, designate rights activists as “terrorists” and carve a motorway through the Amazon, which could deforest an area larger than Germany.
Brazil’s biggest tribal reserve faces uncertain future under Bolsonaro
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 18 December 2018
The indigenous leader and campaigning photographer who fought to create Brazil’s biggest tribal reserve warned it could be threatened under the far-right government of the president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, as a major retrospective exhibition opens.
Bolsonaro has said the Yanomami reserve, which at 9.6m hectares (24m acres) is twice the size of Switzerland, was too big for its indigenous population.
Alert: The Peruvian Government backs down in the fight against illegal logging
Environmental Investigation Agency, 18 December 2018
While the Agency for Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife (Osinfor) has continued to identify illegal harvest and trade of timber in Peru, providing key information that has compelled other agencies to recognize and act upon the seriousness of illegality in the Peruvian forestry sector, on Wednesday, December 12 the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) approved a Supreme Decree that undermines the independence of Osinfor by removing it from the PCM and relocating it within the Ministry of Environment (MINAM). MINAM presented the proposal without consulting – or even informing – Osinfor. The approval of the change also occurred in opposition to the official and public position of Osinfor.
19 December 2018
CORSIA: Counting down to launch
By Ken Pole, Skies, 19 December 2018
International carriers around the globe have been rushing to meet a looming deadline for having systems in place to monitor, report and verify their carbon dioxide emissions in accordance with national regulations and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.
Bunge’s Updated Sustainability Policy Does Not Address Legal Deforestation
Chain Reaction Research, 19 December 2018
Major agricultural commodity trader Bunge updated its commitment to sustainability along its gain and oilseeds supply chains last month in an effort to further curb deforestation. While Bunge has made progress in its sustainability strategy, its update falls short of expectations that the company would address legal deforestation and provide more details about its measures to deal with non-compliance.
Global warming ‘pause’ never happened
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 19 December 2018
Yet another team of researchers has concluded that the much-debated global warming ‘pause’ which preoccupied climate science around the turn of the century simply did not happen.
If their work continues to win support from other researchers, it will leave those who have argued that the pause was real with some explaining to do.
Democratic Republic of Congo presidential elections delayed
By David Pilling, Financial Times, 19 Deceember 2018
Sunday’s presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be postponed a week and will now be held on December 30 after the electoral commission told candidates it was unable to hold the poll on time.
The run-up to polling day, which is already two years behind schedule, has been marred by deadly violence, an escalating Ebola outbreak in the inaccessible east of the country and a fire in a Kinshasa warehouse in which some 7,000 touchscreen voting machines were said to have gone up in flames.
[Vietnam] Forestry contributions to economic development analysed
Vietnam News Agency, 19 December 2018
The forestry sector is playing an increasingly important role in Vietnam’s economy, according to a forestry expert.
Do Anh Tuan, head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, made the statement at a conference in Hanoi on December 18 to analyse the contributions of the forestry sector to growth through the application of input-output charts and the implementation of efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
He noted the sector’s contributions to the economy’s added value rose from only 0.5 percent in 2008-2013 to 2.3 percent in 2013-2018.
20 December 2018
Risks of ‘domino effect’ of tipping points greater than thought, study says
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 20 December 2018
Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of all potential environmental collapses are interrelated and could amplify one another.
The authors said their paper, published in the journal Science, highlights how overstressed and overlapping natural systems are combining to throw up a growing number of unwelcome surprises.
The key decisions on the Paris Agreement implementation rules
Third World Network, 20 December 2018
Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement (PA) in 2015 and its ratification the following year, developed and developing countries had been engaged in a battle of interpretation over the rules for implementation of the agreement.
This battle finally got settled in Katowice, Poland, with the decisions adopted by the Conference of Parties meeting as the Parties to the PA (CMA), late night on Saturday, 15 Dec.
21 December 2018
Why eating less meat is the best thing you can do for the planet in 2019
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 21 December 2018
Recycling or taking the bus rather than driving to work has its place, but scientists are increasingly pointing to a deeper lifestyle change that would be the single biggest way to help the planet: eating far less meat.
A swathe of research released over the past year has laid bare the hefty impact that eating meat, especially beef and pork, has upon the environment by fueling climate change and polluting landscapes and waterways.
“Evaluation must be done”
CIFOR Forests News, 21 December 2018
Scientists attending the U.N. Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland, discussed potential solutions to slow global warming and stay below targets laid out in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
Since 2005, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) has been part of the negotiations, given the importance of forest protection and recovery in keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Brazil’s Amazon forest is in the crosshairs, as defenders step up
By Andrew Revkin, National Geographic, 21 December 2018
In a tiny town in the westernmost corner of Brazil’s vast portion of the Amazon River Basin, a single blast from a 20-gauge shotgun echoed around the world, thirty years ago this Saturday.
The target, fatally struck by 60 lead pellets as he walked out his back door to wash before dinner, was Francisco Alves Mendes Filho, best known as Chico Mendes. Mendes was a rubber-tree tapper and union organizer who’d built a broadening movement to protect Brazil’s rain forests not just for their global ecological and climatic value, but for the sake of the traditional and indigenous communities that lived productively within them.
Brazil’s leadership on climate change
By Thiago de Araujo Mendes, The Guardian, 21 December 2018
Throughout the COP24 climate summit, Brazil urged all parties to work together to enable greater private-sector climate action. Brazil was constantly involved in negotiations to ensure COP24 delivered a workable toolbox to limit global warming. So we warmly welcome the positive outcome of COP24, including the agreement to keep working on a stronger global market mechanism for emission reductions.
Unfortunately, there have been several misrepresentations made about Brazil’s positions (Encouraging signs – but new rifts also exposed by hard-won deal at climate talks, 17 December), which do not help in the work ahead for all countries.
Ten years on, Amazon Fund receives applause, criticism, faces new tests
By Fabíola Ortiz, Mongabay, 21 December 2018
It has been ten years since the Amazon Fund was created and became internationally known as being among the first United Nations REDD+ initiatives to provide international funding to projects that successfully Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.
The major goal, then and now, was to support efforts to reduce high deforestation rates by offering a funded path to sustainable livelihoods for some of the more than 30 million people inhabiting the Amazon basin – Brazil’s portion of the Amazon is 18 million people. Among developed nations, Norway has been the largest funder.