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REDD in the news: 11-17 February 2019

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

Less Than Zero: Can Carbon-Removal Technologies Curb Climate Change?
By Fred Krupp, Nathaniel Keohane, and Eric Poolet, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2019
Most Americans used to think about climate change—to the extent that they thought about it at all—as an abstract threat in a distant future. But more and more are now seeing it for what it is: a costly, human-made disaster unfolding before their very eyes. A wave of increasingly destructive hurricanes, heat spells, and wildfires has ravaged communities across the United States, and both scientists and citizens are able to connect these extreme events to a warming earth. Seven in ten Americans agree that global warming is happening, according to a 2018 study conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

11 February 2019

One Earth Climate Model
By Karl Burkart, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, 11 February 2019
A state-of-the-art climate model, funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and released by the prestigious scientific publisher Springer Nature, offers a roadmap for meeting — and surpassing — the targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement, proving that we can solve the global climate crisis with currently available technologies. The book, entitled Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement, was the culmination of a two-year scientific collaboration with 17 leading scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), two institutes at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the University of Melbourne’s Climate & Energy College.

Critics attack secrecy at UN body seeking to cut global airline emissions
By Sandra Laville, The Guardian, 11 February 2019
A UN body tasked with cutting global aircraft emissions is covertly meeting this week for discussions dominated by airline industry observers.
The environment committee of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meets on Monday in Montreal behind closed doors to discuss measures to reduce emissions from international aircraft. Domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to Carbon Brief. In terms of emissions, if aviation were a country it would be the sixth largest in the world.

Asia’s forests fast receding
By Michael A. Bengwayan, Business Mirror, 11 February 2019
The destruction of Asia’s forests continues at an alarming pace, averaging 1.8 million hectares a year, or 5,000 hectares a day. Frantic governments are instituting measures to arrest the rapid decline, but so far the success has been very limited.
This is the grim assessment of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization after a comprehensive survey of Asia’s forest resources. UNFAO conducted the survey with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Deforestation is heaviest in Southeast Asia, which produces some of the world’s best timber. According to the survey, Indonesia’s annual deforestation rate of 500,000 hectares is the highest in the region. Second is Thailand with 333,000 hectares; the range of between 100,000 and 150,000 for West Papua, Malaysia, India, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Burma.

Extreme weather hits Chile: World’s driest desert floods
Straits Times, 11 February 2019
The world’s driest desert is flooding and some of the planet’s wettest woodlands are burning.
Welcome to summer in Chile.
Rainfall high up in the Andes mountains has led to torrents of water pouring into the Atacama desert below, sweeping away houses.
Meanwhile in the south, blistering temperatures have fuelled forest fires, leading the government to declare some regions a disaster area.

RIP India’s Most Pristine & Dense Forest Area In Chhattisgarh As It Gets Coal Mining Clearance
By Meenu Katariya, ScoopWhoop, 11 February 2019
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the Union environment ministry has granted clearance to coal mining, in the densely forested areas of Chhattisgarh.
The mine falls in one of the most pristine and dense forests of Central India, known as Hasdeo Arand. The biodiversity-rich area, about the size of 800 football fields, has been cleared for mining.
Parsa opencast coal mine, will be operated by a unit of Adani Enterprises Limited, in the forested Surguja and Surajpur districts of Chhattisgarh.

Air pollution rise in northern Thailand attributed to 149 controlled forest fires
The Thaiger, 11 February 2019
Concern grows as the air pollution problem in the North and North-east regions of Thailand threatens to affect the health of the public.
Phrae (northern Thailand) was the worst affected area in Thailand on Monday morning with the PM2.5 reaching 102 micrograms per cubic metre and the Air Quality Index (AQI) level of 212, while PM10 hit 132 micrograms.

[USA] 18 million trees just died in California, continuing worries of major wildfires yet to come
By Tony Bizjak, The Sacramento Bee, 11 February 2019
An estimated 18 million trees have died in California wildlands and private property in the past year, many of them victim of recent droughts and bark beetle infestations, the latest federal tree mortality count has found.
In total, an estimate 147 million trees, many Sierra conifers, have died in California since the start of the state’s drought years in 2010.

12 February 2019

Climate and economic risks ‘threaten 2008-style systemic collapse’
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 12 February 2019
The gathering storm of human-caused threats to climate, nature and economy pose a danger of systemic collapse comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report that calls for urgent and radical reform to protect political and social systems.
The study says the combination of global warming, soil infertility, pollinator loss, chemical leaching and ocean acidification is creating a “new domain of risk”, which is hugely underestimated by policymakers even though it may pose the greatest threat in human history.

One-third of world’s new vegetation in China and India, satellite data shows
By Daisy Dunne, CarbonBrief, 12 February 2019
China and India are “leading the world” in “greening” the landscape, a study finds, with the two countries accounting for one-third of the new forests, croplands and other types of vegetation observed globally since 2000.
The results, published in Nature Sustainability, also show that China alone accounts for a quarter of the human-caused greening observed since 2000 – despite containing only 6.3% of the world’s landmass.

Climate change is killing off Earth’s little creatures
By Bill Laurence, The Conversation, 12 February 2019
Climate change gets blamed for a lot of things these days: inundating small islands, fueling catastrophic fires, amping-up hurricanes and smashing Arctic sea ice.
But a global review of insect research has found another casualty: 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. It confirms what many have been suspecting: in Australia and around the world, arthropods – which include insects, spiders, centipedes and the like — appear to be in trouble.

Former UNFCCC Boss Yvo de Boer Still Working the Climate Puzzle, but From a Different Angle
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 February 2019
Yvo de Boer values his solitude and his garden – both of which he neglected while serving as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from mid-2006 to mid-2010.
“My work in the climate change negotiations was about a very complicated political process,” he says. “I still believe that’s important, but I also believe the simple things in life are important, and that examples of success are important, too.”

Zooterra Partners with Wildlife Works to Reimagine how People Support Nature Conservation
Zooterra press release, 12 February 2019
Zooterra, a leading innovator in wildlife and habitat conservation consumer engagement, today announced the signing of a strategic partnership with Wildlife Works, the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) program development and management company, with the goal of democratizing engagement around nature conservation.
Starting March 4th, users on Zooterra’s patent-pending platform will be able to buy digital collectibles, called “terras”, each linked to one hectare of the Kasigau Wildlife Corridor, a 200,000 hectare (500,000 acre) area of dryland forest in southeastern Kenya protected by Wildlife Works. Three different conservation projects from the Kasigau Wildlife Corridor will be supported with each terra purchase on the Zooterra platform: aerial surveillance, wildlife water pans, and efficient agricultural techniques.

Amazon at risk: Brazil plans rapid road and rail infrastructure expansion
By Sue Branford, Mongabay, 12 February 2019
“We are going to create a second revolution in Brazilian agribusiness,” declared Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas in a 2018 interview with Mongabay.
“Mato Grosso state produced 62 million tons of grains on 9 million hectares (34,700 square miles) of land in 2017. There are another 14 million hectares (54,000 square miles) of land, currently used as pasture, available for arable farming. We can easily produce 120 million tons of grain from Mato Grosso alone, without cutting down a single tree!” he said. “The big problem is lack of infrastructure and the high cost of freight.”

Canada’s forests actually emit more carbon than they absorb — despite what you’ve heard on Facebook
By Robson Fletcher,CBC news, 12 February 2019
You might have heard that Canada’s forests are an immense carbon sink, sucking up all sorts of CO2 — more than we produce — so we don’t have to worry about our greenhouse gas emissions.
This claim has been circulated on social media and repeated by pundits and politicians.
This would be convenient for our country, if it were real. Hitting our emissions-reduction targets would be a breeze. But, like most things that sound too good to be true, this one is false.
That’s because trees don’t just absorb carbon when they grow, they emit it when they die and decompose, or burn.
When you add up both the absorption and emission, Canada’s forests haven’t been a net carbon sink since 2001. Due largely to forest fires and insect infestations, the trees have actually added to our country’s greenhouse gas emissions for each of the past 15 years on record.

Wildfires destroy 41,200 hectares of forest land in Chile
Xinhua, 12 February 2019
Wildfires have destroyed 41,200 hectares of forest land in southern and central Chile, the country’s National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) said on Monday.
The figure represents an increase of 45 percent from last year in the area of forest land razed in the fire season, it said, adding it estimated a total loss of 70,000 hectares this season.

Deforestation Surge in the Colombian Amazon, 2018 update
Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, 12 February 2019
The Colombian Amazon is currently experiencing a deforestation surge (see graph).
The surge started three years ago (2016) and peaked in 2017 with the highest annual deforestation on record (214,744 hectares).
Deforestation remains high in 2018: 156,722 hectares (based on early warning alert data). If this estimate is confirmed, it would be the second highest on record (behind just 2017).

More peatland fire disasters for Indonesia?
By Joshua Martin, Environmental Paper Network, 12 February 2019
New report says pulp companies and government are not transparent with restoration plans for fire-prone peatlands, and its analysis shows the restoration obligations of pulp producers APP and APRIL.
In 2016, the government of Indonesia announced a new regulation aimed to protect peatlands in response to the massive fires that burnt 2.6 million hectares of peatlands, killing 19 people, releasing 1.75 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and causing losses for US $16.1 billion. The government mapped peatlands, and decided to protect half of them, including large areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan that had been drained for industrial pulpwood plantations (hutan tanaman industri, HTI) and palm oil estates over many years. The areas designated for protection cannot be developed – and if already converted, cannot be re-planted after harvest – while the companies have the duty to restore them.

Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo Sign Landmark Deals with World Bank to Cut Carbon Emissions and Reduce Deforestation
World Bank, 12 February 2019
Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ­­– two African countries with globally significant forest resources – have signed landmark agreements with the World Bank that reward community efforts to reduce carbon emissions by tackling deforestation and forest degradation.
Mozambique signed an Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) on February 1, unlocking performance-based payments of up to US$50 million for the country. DRC’s ERPA was signed late last year, paving the way for future payments of up to $55 million for verified emission reductions. The payments will come from the Carbon Fund of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a global partnership housed at the World Bank.

Creating opportunities for a new forestry economy in Mozambique
By Karin Kaechele, World Bank, 12 February 2019
When I tell people that I am a forest specialist, they sometimes assume my work is forest first, people second. But the really exciting part of my job is that better forests make better communities.
There is mounting evidence that forest management improves people’s livelihoods all over the world. Standing forests are worth much more than cut ones and we are setting out to prove this in Mozambique, where protecting forests is among the fastest and most affordable ways to cut emissions and promote sustainable development.

[UK] Fraudster sentenced to eight years now on the run from London police
By Hope William-Smith, Money Marketing, 12 February 2019
An Essex man sentenced to eight years behind bars last month over a £2.4m carbon credit scheme fraud is on the run, City of London police confirm.
Sami Raja of Grays mis-sold carbon credits to 130 victims in 2012 and 2013 and was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

13 February 2019

World is halfway through its hottest decade
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 13 February 2019
Here is a climate forecast that climate scientists, meteorologists, politicians, voters and even climate sceptics can check: the next five years will be warm, and will probably help to complete the hottest decade ever.
They will on a global average be at least 1°C higher than the average temperature of the planet 200 years ago, before the accelerating combustion of fossil fuels.

[Indonesia] Jokowi saves forests, but fails to resolve land, mining conflicts
Jakarta Post, 13 February 2019
While praised for its progressive efforts in preserving forests and stopping forest fires, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration still faces criticism for doing less in preventing the harmful practices of mining.
Environment watchdog Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said Jokowi’s efforts in protecting the environment in the last four years had been “half-hearted”.

[Malaysia] UNESCO World Heritage Site threatened by oil palm plantations
Bruno Manser Fonds, 13 February 2019
Sarawak’s most prominent tourist attraction, the UNESCO-protected Gunung Mulu National Park, is threatened by a major oil palm development in its immediate vicinity. The Malaysian company Radiant Lagoon Sdn Bhd has already started deforestation work for a 4400 hectare oil palm plantation in the Mulu forests which will adversely affect an important wildlife corridor between the Mulu National Park and the primary forests of Brunei.

Group to partner UN to reduce emission in Nigeria
Daily Trust, 13 February 2019
The Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a civil society group is to partner government to achieve Nigeria’s target for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degraded Forests (REDD).
The chairman of the network’s board of trustees, Dr Ibrahim Choji, who stated this during a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s REDD+ office in Abuja, recently, said the visit was part of the activities for the commencement of the World Bank funded Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) project in Cross River and Ondo states.

[USA] California has 149 million dead, dry trees ready to ignite like a matchbook
By Umair Irfan, Vox, 13 February 2019
California has just emerged from two back-to-back years of record-setting wildfires, including the Camp Fire, the state’s single most deadly and destructive blaze on record, which killed at least 86 people in October 2018.
This week, the state received a fresh warning sign of why the risks of massive, devastating blazes like it are growing.
According to the US Forest Service’s latest aerial survey of federal, state, and private land in California, 18 million trees throughout the state died in 2018, bringing the state’s total number of dead trees to more than 147 million. The concern is these trees could be matchsticks for another conflagration, or that the decaying timber could maim a hiker, a ranger, or a firefighter.

[USA] NY Court grants yet another continuance in case against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 13 February 2019
Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox of the New York Southern District Court has granted another request by the US Government to extend the proceedings against Renwick Haddow, known for his Ponzi and bitcoin scams.
Earlier this week, the Judge signed an order to continue the case in the interests of justice. The order effectively grants the Government’s request for a 30-day continuance until March 13, 2019, so that it may continue the discussions with Haddow and reach a disposition of this matter. The Government expects this to be the last request for continuance.

14 February 2019

Climate disasters cost the world $650 billion over 3 years — Americans are bearing the brunt: Morgan Stanley
By Tom DiChristopher, CNBC, 14 February 2019
Climate-related disasters have cost the world $650 billion over the last three years, and North America is shouldering most of the burden, according to a new report from Morgan Stanley.
While governments and corporations are taking steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change, Morgan Stanley says private enterprises need to strongly consider preparing for a world gripped by more frequent and intense weather events, rising sea levels, changes to agriculture and the spread of infectious disease. Those outcomes will have a lopsided effect across industries, raising risks for some and creating opportunities for others.

Nine Things Companies Can Do to Protect Nature at Scale
By Mark Tercek, Medium, 14 February 2019
Protecting the environment should be a no-brainer for business leaders.
Why? Environmental business strategies aren’t just good for the environment, they’re good for business results too. These strategies lower costs and improve companies’ bottom lines. They drive new, high-growth business streams. They help companies recruit and retain the best people. And they address business risks associated with impacts of climate change.

Satellites check oil palm expansion in Borneo
By David Gaveau,, 14 February 2019
Unrestrained extraction of natural resources and relentless expansion of agriculture are responsible for the current environmental crisis, marked by insect collapse and wildlife loss. But the good news is that with satellite and computational technology, it is now possible to keep tabs on legal and illegal landscape changes.
Satellite-based cameras daily capture data and images of the Earth that can be analysed with an inexpensive laptop computer. The human footprint can be monitored at the continental level over long periods of time. Furthermore, in almost real-time, these images can be placed online via web map services, making possible new levels of transparency and accountability in such areas as oil palm plantation expansion.

Tackling deforestation risk in Brazilian cattle exports: 20 key companies in China
By Christina MacFarquhar, Trase, 14 February 2019
In a supermarket in Hong Kong, shoppers stream past aisles of vegetable oils, fruits and other groceries. Over at the meat section, various cuts of meat are available, some of which come from Brazilian cattle.
This is Kai Bo Supermarket, one of the biggest importers of Brazilian beef into China (including Hong Kong), and a major Hong Kong grocery retailer, with over 90 outlets.

Invaded Uru-eu-wau-wau indigenous reserve awaits relief by Brazil’s new government
By Gustavo Faleiros, Mongabay, 14 February 2019
In mid-January, land grabbers invaded Brazil’s Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous Reserve, prompting desperate indigenous peoples ­there – whose legal territory includes one of the last major continuous intact stretches of Amazon rainforest in Rondônia state – to request federal law enforcement intervention. However more than a month later, no significant police help has arrived.

Forest fires tear through south Chile
Euronews, 14 February 2019
Local media reported there were 32 active blazes in several regions in south Chile on Wednesday. Another 48 fires were under control and six more had been put out.
Residents in the town of Concepcion, 320 miles (515 kms) south of Santiago, were seen trying to remove belongings such as furniture from their homes.
Many were surprised by the magnitude of the different fires but winds had made the task to put them out more difficult.
Evacuations were underway. Helicopters flew over the affected area, dropping water on to fires.

[Cote d’Ivoire] How to Produce Forest-Friendly Chocolate
By Griet Ingrid Dierckxsens (UN-REDD), CIFOR Landscape News, 14 February 2019
Sougue Kadjatou is a 45-year-old farmer who lives with her husband and two children in Agboville, a village in Côte d’Ivoire. Her cocoa plantation, where she works every day from morning until early afternoon, is a forty minute walk from the village. “I’m glad they told me to plant banana and timber trees in my cocoa plantation,” she says. “It’s good to plant various trees. The bananas give me something to eat and sell, whereas the timber is a friend of the cocoa. Gives it shade. Later on, I’ll be able to sell the timber for home building and furniture which will hopefully give me enough money to build my own house for my family.”

DR Congo: Post-Election Killings Test New President
Human Rights Watch, 14 February 2019
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s new administration should demonstrate its human rights commitment by impartially investigating and prosecuting the killing of at least 10 people by security forces during post-election demonstrations on January 10, 2019. Many of those killed and injured were protesting Félix Tshisekedi’s disputed election victory in presidential elections held on December 30, 2018.

Sime Darby’s Potential Liberian Divestment Emphasizes ESG Risks
Chain Reaction Research, 14 February 2019
On January 22, 2019, Frontpage Africa reported that Sime Darby put its Liberian plantation up for sale. According to the news story, Sime Darby decided on this path as the Liberian government did not meet its obligations. The decision likely relates to the stipulation in Sime Darby’s 2009 concession agreement that states the 220,000 ha concession was “free of encumbrance.” The company reportedly faces “high cost of CSR (corporate social responsibility), small land area planted and high costs of operations.”
In response to the above-mentioned article, Sime Darby has neither confirmed nor denied this information. In a statement shared with Chain Reaction Research (CRR), the company says: “The sources quoted do not represent the official views of SDP or its subsidiary, Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL). SDP acknowledges that the challenges faced by SDPL’s operations as mentioned in the article are ongoing and have been highlighted previously in various media publications.”

15 February 2019

‘The beginning of great change’: Greta Thunberg hails school climate strikes
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 15 February 2019
Greta Thunberg is hopeful the student climate strike on Friday can bring about positive change, as young people in more and more countries join the protest movement she started last summer as a lone campaigner outside the Swedish parliament.
The 16-year-old welcomed the huge mobilisation planned in the UK, which follows demonstrations by tens of thousands of school and university students in Australia, Belgium, Germany, the United States, Japan and more than a dozen other countries.

“It’s Eco-Socialism or Death”
Jacobin, 15 February 2019
The Green New Deal (GND) is now part of the national conversation. But for decades, social movements have been doing the on-the-ground work to resist fossil capitalism and envision a different future. Such grassroots social mobilization — but at a massive scale — is vital to ensuring the GND catalyzes transformative social change.

Promoting nature-based solutions for gender equality
Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, 15 February 2019
As a clean-burning source of energy in the home, and a lucrative means of income, bamboo is helping to bring income and social standing to women across the world.
For Gloria Adu, bamboo has brought big changes to her family. “Bamboo has done so much in my life. It has changed me completely. I’m so happy we now have women in the industry in my country.”

Sustainable Aviation Takes Off at ICAO Meeting
Environment News Service, 15 February 2019
Measures to address aviation’s environmental impact globally were agreed at today’s meeting of the 250 experts on the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, CAEP, a part of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.
The meeting was opened by Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu of Nigeria, president of the Council of ICAO, who said, “In the 35 years since the CAEP was established, the scope of work and the technical areas which it covers have widened. Yet, despite the monumental challenges set before it, the CAEP remains a tremendous example of international cooperation.”

[Australia] Tasmania fires risk ‘wiping out’ ancient species
Al Jazeera, 15 February 2019
Scientists have warned that Tasmania’s ancient rainforest and alpine flora species face an uncertain future following out-of-control fires that consumed vast tracts of wild bushland.
The wildfires have scorched more than 205,000 hectares in the southwest, centre and northwest of the island – fuelled, researchers believe, by climate change.

Indonesian plantation firms dodge US$220 million in unpaid fines years after disastrous land fires
Associated Press, 15 February 2019
Indonesian plantation companies fined for burning huge areas of land since 2009 have failed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties meant to hold them accountable for actions that took a devastating environmental and human toll.
The palm oil and pulp wood companies involved in fires owe more than US$220 million in fines and the figure for unpaid penalties for environmental destruction swells to US$1.3 billion when an illegal logging case from 2013 is included, according to separate summaries of the cases compiled by Greenpeace and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

[Indonesia] Palm oil: Smallholder expansion into peatlands on the rise
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 15 February 2019
The popular narrative about palm oil in Borneo is a David-and-Goliath story.
Deforestation and peatland conversion is largely driven by big business growing oil palm in industrial plantations and exporting to overseas markets, the story goes – while smallholders generally convert tiny patches of existing cropland and produce comparatively few negative environmental impacts.
Media articles and activist campaigns reinforce these messages – and at the same time, oil palm research disproportionately focuses on industrial plantations, says CIFOR Senior Scientist George Schoneveld.
“Smallholders are pretty much invisible,” he says.

[Jamaica] Forestry Dept. Spearheads REDD+ Programme
Jamaica Information Service, 15 February 2019
The Forestry Department of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation is spearheading the Government’s national programme to become REDD+ ready.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries was created by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

16 February 2019

Leveragin Blockchain Technology to Reduce Carbon Footprint
By Naveen Joshi, BBN Times, 16 February 2019
Carbon credit management has never been easy. But with blockchain, the tracking and auditing of the greenhouse emissions will become streamlined, efficient, and accurate.
Other planets in the solar system are uninhabitable for us. The scorching heat or the bitterly cold climate of the other planets make it unfavorable for us to live there. Our world has an altogether different set up in that case. We are protected due to the thin layer of gases that safeguard us from the extreme heat and cold. But, we see a rise in the climatic condition of our planet. Climate change is a global issue now. And, we are the reason behind it. The harmful greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere cause an increase in the average temperature of our planet. If we follow the same trend, dreadful consequences are likely to follow soon. As we degrade our environment, we might encounter droughts, floods, extreme heat, shrinking glaciers, and rising sea levels. Greenhouse gases could spell the end of the human race.

El Nino causes Colombian forest fire
Sky News, 16 February 2019
Due to the El Nino phenomenon, a forest fire broke out in a mountainous area near Bogota, the capital city of Colombia.

Greenpeace: Indonesian Firms Failed to Pay Billions in Fines Linked to Forest Fires
By Ahmad Syamsudin, Benar News, 16 February 2019
Plantation owners failed to pay more than a billion dollars in fines imposed by Indonesian courts in recent years for damages caused by agricultural fires and illegal logging, environmental watchdog Greenpeace said Friday.
The courts ruled for the government in 10 lawsuits brought by the state against timber companies and palm oil plantation owners whose land clearing practices caused fires between 2012 and 2015, ordering them to pay fines totaling 2.7 trillion rupiah ($191.4 million), according to Greenpeace.
The announcement came before President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was scheduled to debate challenger Prabowo Subianto in the second of three debates leading up to the April 17 election. Sunday’s square-off is to focus on energy, infrastructure, natural resources and environmental issues.

Indonesia reports reduced deforestation, triggering first carbon payment from Norway
Norwegian government, 16 February 2019
Indonesia confirms that carbon emissions from deforestation declined in 2017. When the emission figures are independently verified, Norway will guarantee payments to Indonesia for approximately 4.8 millions tons of CO2. This will be the first payment for reduced emissions during the climate and forest partnership between the two countries that started in 2010. Halting deforestation is essential for the world to meet the Paris Climate Goals.

[New Zealand] Warehouse’s carbon neutral status just ‘creative accounting’ – critic
Newshub, 16 February 2019
Environmentalists are cautious of The Warehouse’s claimed move to carbon neutrality.
The Warehouse Group has been awarded a certification by CarboNZero for earning credits to reach the environmental milestone, and is receiving praise from the Climate Change Minister.
“I welcome the Group’s commitment and contribution towards reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions,” Mr Shaw said on Friday.
“Achievements like this, and the leadership being shown… is vital if we are to become a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.”
But Coal Action Network spokesperson Cindy Baxter says it’s not ready to give the Red Shed the green light just yet.

[UK] Regional airline Flybmi collapses, blaming Brexit uncertainty
By Lin Jenkins, The Guardian, 16 February 2019
The British airline Flybmi has gone bust, cancelling all flights with immediate effect and blaming Brexit as the main cause of its collapse.
The company, which employs 376 staff and operates more than 600 flights a week, said it faced “several difficulties” in recent weeks including spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme.
“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe,” the airline said in a statement.

17 February 2019

Will China Overrun Latin America?
By Bill Laurance, ALERT, 17 February 2019
If you care about the mega-diverse ecosystems of Latin America and the Caribbean — and the economic health and welfare of its nations — you’ll want to read this brief essay about China’s role in the region’s development future.
Especially about the Amazon, Bolivia’s dam, and Jaguar fangs.
China is the biggest investor in Latin America — spending tens of billions of dollars each year on big road, dam, rail, mining, logging, and fossil-fuel projects.
Those investments could explode with China’s Belt & Road Initiative — by far the biggest development scheme in Earth’s history.

[Fiji] Relevant stakeholders to work together
By Kreetika Kumar, FBC News, 17 February 2019
A research will be carried out under the Fiji REDD-Plus Programme to enable stakeholders to look at ways to build climate resilient societies.
The REDD-Plus programme is a sustainable management system which includes practicing sustainable logging, carbon enhancement and forests conservation.
Forest Minister Osea Naiqamu has emphasized that REDD-Plus program contributes towards the development of a national carbon trading policy.

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