REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
Gendering Climate Initiatives: REDD+ Impacts on Perceived Well-Being
Global Landscapes Forum, 2019
This brief presents results and recommendations based on work carried out by CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ on the gendered impact of the implementation of 16 REDD+ initiatives across six countries: Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania and Vietnam.
28 January 2019
World’s three biggest rainforests face year of precarious politics
By Sara Stefanini, Climate Home News, 28 January 2019
Political uncertainty hangs over large swathes of the world’s tropical forests this year, raising the risk of more destruction and carbon emissions.
Recent leadership changes in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and presidential elections in Indonesia this April, are fuelling concerns that politics could side with industries such as palm oil, timber, mining and agriculture in the world’s three biggest rainforest countries.
Hedge Funds See More Juice in Carbon Market’s Two-Year Rally
By Matthew Carr and Vanessa Dezem, Bloomberg, 28 January 2019
The speculative fervor that made European carbon allowances the hottest commodity of 2018 shows little sign of abating with more hedge funds seen doubling down on expectations for higher prices.
Some 15 to 20 funds have begun or are considering multi-month or multi-year bets in Europe’s market for emission rights, according to Louis Redshaw, the former head of emissions at Barclays Plc who now advises investors including funds on the market. Buyers as far afield as the U.S. and India are getting into carbon.
[Brazil] Bolsonaro government reveals plan to develop the ‘Unproductive Amazon’
By Jan Rocha, Mongabay, 28 January 2019
With Brazil’s Bolsonaro administration not even a month old, the new president’s Chief of Strategic Affairs last week announced plans to build a bridge over the Amazon River in Pará state in order to begin developing what he called an “unproductive, desertlike” region – a reference to the Amazon rainforest.
Maynard Santa Rosa, a retired army general and one of seven military ministers in the new government, said the administration plans major construction projects centered on the Trombetas River, which flows into the Amazon from the north, so as to integrate the region into the “national productive system.”
[Canada] B.C. forests contribute ‘hidden’ carbon emissions that dwarf official numbers, report says
By Ryan Patrick Jones, CBC, 28 January 2019
“Uncounted forest emissions” represent a major hole in B.C.’s climate plan and show the need for a provincial forest emissions-reduction strategy, according to a new report by an environmental group.
Climate-warming carbon emissions released from B.C. forests in both 2017 and 2018 were more than three times higher than emissions from all other sources combined in 2016, the report from Sierra Club B.C. estimates.
German coal exit will have limited price impact – traders and analysts
Reuters, 28 January 2019
The price effect of Germany’s roadmap for an exit from coal mining and burning by 2038 is likely to be limited because the extent of coal plant closures was largely expected, traders and analysts said on Monday.
A government-appointed commission on Saturday proposed to more than halve coal-burning capacity by 2030 and to retire carbon emissions permits in tandem with plant capacity.
While tighter coal power supply would be bullish, price effects will be offset by increased expansion of renewables such as solar and wind power, where production costs are falling, said the German arm of UK researchers Aurora.
[New Zealand] Council critics of iwi carbon credit deal labelled ‘racist’
By Anusha Bradley, Radio New Zealand, 28 January 2019
Two Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillors are being accused of racism after raising concerns about a deal the council has done with local iwi, Ngāti Kahugnunu.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s deal to loan 100,000 carbon credits to iwi is being described by councillors Debbie Hewitt and Fenton Wilson as “deeply concerning”.
The loan lacked transparency, was rushed through without proper consultation and gave preferential treatment to iwi over other groups, they said.
However, those in favour of it including Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngāhiwi Tomoana have hit back at the accusations, describing its critics as racist.
29 January 2019
Fast food giants under fire on climate and water usage
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 29 January 2019
A coalition of investors is calling on McDonald’s, KFC, and other fast food suppliers to take swift action on climate change.
The group, with around $6.5 trillion under management, want the chains to cut carbon and water risks in their dairy and meat suppliers.
Animal agriculture, they argue, is one of the highest emitting sectors without a low CO2 plan.
McDonald’s says it has put in place strong climate targets for suppliers.
SDG Knowledge Weekly: WEF 2019, Digitalization, Inequality, and Inclusive Growth
By Adam Fishman, IISD, 29 January 2019
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place from 22-25 January 2019 in Davos, Switzerland, to mixed reviews. This SDG Knowledge Weekly focuses on papers and articles on issues that took the spotlight at Davos, such as climate change, data and digital economies, inequality, economic uncertainty, and increasing political volatility.
Experimentalist governance in climate finance: the case of REDD+ in Brazil
By Vanessa C. Pinsky, Isak Kruglianskas, and David G. Victor, Climate Policy, 29 January 2019
One of the most significant impacts of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been the establishment of a participatory process for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). We analyse the case of Brazil, the country whose land-use emissions from deforestation and forest degradation have declined the most. Through semi-structured interviews with 29 country policy experts – analysed in full text around 7 categories of activities that existing literature identifies as central elements of an effective governance system – we find weak links between the international REDD+ system and what actually happens on the ground inside Brazil.
‘The river is dying’: the vast ecological cost of Brazil’s mining disasters
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 29 January 2019
The Brazilian government has been urged to step up punishments for environmental crimes after the deadliest mining disaster in decades.
The torrent of mud and iron ore tailings that engulfed the community of Brumadinho on Friday continues to inflict a toll on residents, river systems and freshwater species.
[India] Building institutional foundations for community forest management
By Rucha Ghate and Harini Nagendra, Down To Earth, 29 January 2019
“After our village institution is eroded, you want us to take care of forests?” This statement by a village elder from a tribal village in Gadchiroli poses a fundamental question — how do we protect and restore our forests and our local institutions, in a time of great change?
The effects of climate change are clear and visible. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report warns that the world is 1.2°C warmer compared to pre-industrial levels. These impacts will only become stronger in the coming decades.
[Kenya] Minority Sengwer tribe vows to battle for forestland
By Stephen Rutto, Standard Digital, 29 January 2019
Members of the Sengwer community wants to be allowed to return to Embobut Forest.
The community was evicted from the forest in 2014. However, it has maintained that the forest is part of its ancestral land and it should be allowed access to it.
The community’s representatives said the Sengwer intend to file a petition at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Arusha.
Landmark project to help Peru coffee farmers combat climate change
By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 29 January 2019
Thousands of coffee farmers in Peru hope to produce higher and more profitable crop yields to better cope with the impact of climate change under a landmark United Nations-backed project.
More than 1.3 billion people live on farmland that is deteriorating and producing less, putting them at risk of worsening hunger, water shortages and poverty, the U.N. says.
Land degradation could displace 135 million people by 2030 unless action is taken to restore their land, says the U.N.
30 January 2019
Germany wants to phase out coal. Is it moving fast enough?
By Benjamin Storrow and Jean Chemnick, E&E News, 30 January 2019
Germany is pulling the plug on coal. But Europe’s top carbon emitter now faces questions about whether it is moving fast enough to scrap the carbon-intensive fuel.
On Saturday, a government commission recommended the nation phase out coal by 2038. The plan calls for retiring roughly a quarter of the country’s coal fleet by the end of 2022, spending $46 billion to support mining-reliant regions over the next two decades and preserving parts of the Hambach Forest, where a German utility’s plans for a lignite mine sparked protests and court challenges last year.
31 January 2019
UN Environment “walks the talk” on carbon neutrality
UN Environment, 31 January 2019
Did you know that UN Environment has been carbon neutral since January 2008? In fact, about a third of United Nations agencies are now carbon neutral.
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset.
Human carbon emissions to rise in 2019
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 31 January 2019
Stand by for a year in which global warming can only get worse as human carbon emissions climb still further. British meteorologists warn that although 2018 broke all records for greenhouse gas emissions, 2019 will see even more carbon dioxide take up long-term residence in the planetary atmosphere.
And it will happen for two reasons, both of them nominally at least under human control. The overall release of carbon dioxide from power stations, factory chimneys, cement quarries, car exhausts and so on will continue to rise with fossil fuel combustion, even though there has been greater investment than ever in renewable resources such as wind and solar energy.
5 climate change takeaways from Davos 2019
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Landscape News, 31 January 2019
Dozens of private jets flew into Switzerland in late January for the 2019 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF), which convened more than 100 governments and 1,000 businesses in the Alpine ski resort of Davos to discuss globalization’s future.
Yet, climate change and inequality were two of the issues that dominated the event.
Here are five things to know about the role environmental concerns played this year and the personalities that championed climate action…
Could a superplant save the planet?
By Leslie Hook, Financial Times, 31 January 2019
On a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Salk Institute stands like a concrete temple: an open courtyard facing the sea, flanked by two rows of buildings.
The California campus, designed by Louis Kahn in the early 1960s, is one of the most celebrated examples of modernist architecture in the world. Its stark grandeur is as ambitious as the groundbreaking research taking place inside.
The institute was founded by Jonas Salk, the developer of the first safe polio vaccine, who wanted to create a world-class centre for biological research. Funded by a mix of government grants and philanthropic donations, scientists here have long sought cures for deadly diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s.
Will President Bolsonaro withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement?
By Philip Fearnside, Mongabay, 31 January 2019
The frequent shifts and contradictions in the positions of Brazil’s new president may be confusing, but the upshot for climate is ominous. Widely reported statements that President Jair Bolsonaro will keep Brazil in the Paris Agreement have conditions attached that suggest the opposite, while his appointments and policies clearly run counter to Brazil’s 2015 carbon emissions reduction pledge.
Bolsonaro’s denial of anthropogenic climate change and his campaign promises to abandon the Paris Agreement have important implications for deforestation, dams and other developments in Amazonia.
Chile names first woman in eight years to lead UN climate summit
By Natalie Sauer, Climate Home News, 31 January 2019
Chile’s government has nominated environment minister Carolina Schmidt to lead the next UN climate talks – eight years since a woman last held the post.
Schmidt has been named Cop25 president-designate by her government and her biography posted on the UN climate change website last week. She will be elected formally and take on the role at the conference in early 2020.
The president is responsible for shepherding complex and divisive talks towards an ambitious agreement. Of the past 24 UN climate conferences, seven were led by women and none since Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, then South Africa’s foreign minister, in 2011.
[UK] Ex-associate of suspected Bitcoin scammer told he faces jail
The National, 31 January 2019
A former associate of the suspected fraudster Renwick Haddow has been warned to expect a jail term for illegally shifting funds earmarked for investors who lost millions in scams.
Robert McKendrick was ordered to pay more than £14m by a British court last year for his role in projects including an African farming scam after a flashy promotional campaign that duped more than 2,500 investors.
1 February 2019
Palm oil not the only driver of forest loss in Indonesia
Duke University press release, 1 February 2019
Large-scale agriculture, primarily for growing oil palms, remains a major cause of deforestation in Indonesia, but its impact has diminished proportionately in recent years as other natural and human causes emerge, a new Duke University study finds.
“In the late 2000s, large-scale plantations were responsible for more than half of Indonesia’s loss of primary natural forests,” said Kemen G. Austin, a 2018 doctoral graduate of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the study. “This trend peaked from 2008 to 2010, when an average of 600,000 hectares of forest was lost annually — 57 percent of it driven by the expansion of these massive farms.”
2 February 2019
‘The devastation of human life is in view’: what a burning world tells us about climate change
By David Wallace-Wells, The Guardian, 2 February 2019
I have never been an environmentalist. I don’t even think of myself as a nature person. I’ve lived my whole life in cities, enjoying gadgets built by industrial supply chains I hardly think twice about. I’ve never gone camping, not willingly anyway, and while I always thought it was basically a good idea to keep streams clean and air clear, I also accepted the proposition that there was a trade-off between economic growth and cost to nature – and figured, well, in most cases I’d go for growth. I’m not about to personally slaughter a cow to eat a hamburger, but I’m also not about to go vegan. In these ways – many of them, at least – I am like every other American who has spent their life fatally complacent, and wilfully deluded, about climate change, which is not just the biggest threat human life on the planet has ever faced, but a threat of an entirely different category and scale. That is, the scale of human life itself.
3 February 2019
David Wallace-Wells on climate: ‘People should be scared – I’m scared’
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 3 February 2019
David Wallace-Wells’s apocalyptic depiction of a world made uninhabitable by climate chaos caused an outcry when it was published in New York magazine in 2017. Based on the worst-case scenarios foreseen by science, his article portrayed a world of drought, plague and famine, in which acidified oceans drown coastal homelands, dormant diseases are released from ancient ice, conflicts surge, economies collapse, human cognitive abilities decline and heat stress becomes more intolerable in New York City than in present-day Bahrain. Critics called this irresponsibly alarmist. Supporters said it was a long-overdue antidote to climate complacency. Whatever your view, it was among the best-read climate articles in US history. Now he is back with a book-length follow-up.