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REDD in the news: 18-24 March 2019

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

18 March 2019

Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it?
By Phil McDuff, The Guardian, 18 March 2019
Climate change activism is increasingly the domain of the young, such as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the unlikely face of the school strike for climate movement, which has seen many thousands of children walk out of school to demand that their parents’ generation takes responsibility for leaving them a planet to live on. In comparison, the existing political establishment looks more and more like an impediment to change. The consequences of global warming have moved from the merely theoretical and predicted to observable reality over the past few years, but this has not been matched by an uptick in urgency. The need to keep the wheels of capitalism well-oiled takes precedence even against a backdrop of fires, floods and hurricanes.

When WWF’s conservation looks like colonialism, it’s time for a new approach
By Sophie Grig, The Independent, 18 March 2019
Scores of innocent people have been beaten up, raped and murdered in a series of atrocities which were committed by guards funded by WWF and then covered up, according to an in-depth investigation released by BuzzFeed last week.
Sadly, these revelations are only the tip of the iceberg. Around the world, in the name of “conservation”, thousands of families have been forced into destitution with no recourse or appeal.

5 Reasons Why the Paris Agreement is a Joke (and How We Can Fix It)
By Sasja Beslik, Medium, 18 March 2019
The Paris climate agreement is a joke. And I should know — I was there when it was drafted.
Three and a half years ago, I was one of the hundreds of politicians and heads of industry who convened in Paris with a singular goal: Devise a plan to combat global warming and avoid a global environmental disaster.

Africa Climate Week: Groups express concerns over forest decline
Modern Ghana, 18 March 2019
Civil society and indigenous forest communities have expressed concerns over the accelerating decline of forests in African countries, and called on drastic measures to reverse the trend.
Around 100 participants from 20 forest-dependent countries across Africa are meeting on the sidelines of the UN “African climate week” to share experiences and exchange ideas on various efforts spearheaded by governments to address deforestation and forest degradation, popularly known as REDD, in Africa.

Can African Countries Benefit from the Paris Agreement’s Recognition of Carbon Markets?
By Mandy Rambharos, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 March 2019
The African Union’s Agenda 2063 eloquently articulates the shared desires and aspirations for a sustainable and prosperous continent. Prosperity is elaborated, among others, as an environment with ecosystems that are healthy and preserved, with climate resilient economies and communities. The means to achieve this kind of development lies in cooperation domestically, regionally and internationally. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement suggests this kind of cooperation as a means to promote sustainable development, among other benefits.

Brexit Turmoil Unsettles Europe’s Carbon Market
By Ewa Krukowska and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 18 March 2019
Britain’s maneuvering on how to leave the European Union is starting to unsettle the region’s carbon market.
The European Commission on Monday vowed to “do its utmost” to protect the integrity of the emissions trading system, which could be flooded with unneeded permits if the U.K. crashed out of the EU without a deal leaving companies there holding carbon credits they no longer need.

[Malaysia] Sarawak forest fires spread, Bomba battling flames in nine districts
The Star, 18 March 2019
Firefighters in Sarawak are battling wildfires that have spread to nine districts over the past 24 hours.
Multiple hotspots have been detected, with firefighters working hard to contain these fires throughout the night.
In an update Monday (March 18) Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department reported wildfires in Miri, Kuala Baram, Tatau, Marudi, Bario, Limbang (northern Sarawak), Mukah, Daro (central Sarawak) and Sri Aman (southern Sarawak).

19 March 2019

Trees and forests are key to fighting climate change and poverty. So are women
By Patti Kristjanson, The World Bank, 19 March 2019
According to IUCN’s ‘Global Forest Watch’, from 2001 to 2017, 337 million hectares of tropical tree cover was lost globally – an area the size of India.
So, we appear to be losing the battle, if not the war, against tropical deforestation, and missing a key opportunity to tackle climate change (if tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank 3rd in emissions) and reduce poverty. A key question, then, is what can forest sector investors, governments and other actors do differently to reverse these alarming trends?

Europe caught in a loop of climate change and forest fires
By Gordon Davidson, The Scottish Farmer, 19 March 2019
Forest fires are now an Europe-wide worry, with experts concerned that the climate changes producing the unseasonally dry conditions will only be further aggravated by the carbon released during the resultant massive blazes.
A coalition of land and forestry bodies has called on the European Union to show a firm commitment to encouraging forestry management practices that will help prevent or lessen such fires, so forests can be left standing to make a positive contribution to carbon capture.

20 March 2019

Indigenous rights: the pathway to a livable planet
By Nicole DeSantis, UN Development Programme, 20 March 2019
Today is International Day of Forests, a perfect time to recognize the essential role of healthy forests in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including securing livelihoods, providing clean water, protecting biodiversity and meeting our climate goals. It is also a perfect time to recognize the critical importance of indigenous land rights.

Report Finds Global Banks Poured $1.9 Trillion into Fossil Fuel Financing Since the Paris Agreement was Adopted, with Financing on the Rise Each Year
Rainforest Action Network press release, 20 March 2019
A report released today by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, and Honor the Earth, and endorsed by over 160 organizations around the world, reveals that 33 global banks have provided $1.9 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the adoption of the Paris climate accord at the end of 2015. The amount of financing has risen in each of the past two years.

India’s Supreme Court is displacing millions. The Modi government must reverse the decision.
By Arun Agrawal, Washington Post, 20 March 2019
For the past few weeks, the specter of war has hung over South Asia. But buried under the headlines about terrorist attacks, counterstrikes and fighter jet skirmishes is the threat of forced displacement, which now hangs over the heads of millions of indigenous peoples across India.
In February, India’s Supreme Court ruled that indigenous and local households whose land claims had not yet been upheld — roughly 2 million households, or an estimated 10 million people — would be evicted from their homes by July 24.

How Indonesia finally earned nod from Norway for climate fund
By Kharishar Kahfi and Dian Septiari, The Jakarta Post, 20 March 2019
Indonesia’s environment minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, and her Norwegian counterpart, Ola Elvestuen, announced last month that Indonesia was finally set to receive the first part of a US$1 billion payment pledged by the Norwegian government to preserve its vast tropical rainforests. The Jakarta Post’s Kharishar Kahfi and Dian Septiari sat down with the Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia Vegard Kaale about the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) partnership and other fields of cooperation the two countries have to mitigate climate change.

10 billion trees: reversing deforestation, tackling climate change and managing forests sustainably in Pakistan
Global Environment Facility, 20 March 2019
Pakistan has less forest cover, only 5%, due to arid and semi-arid climatic conditions in most parts of the country. But despite poor forest cover, Pakistan is highly rich in both ecosystem and species biodiversity where such ecosystems are still intact.
Due to great variation in physiographic and climatic conditions, Pakistan is home to nine distinct eco-regions: Mangrove, Tropical Thorn, Sub-tropical Evergreen Broadleaved, Tropical Chir, Moist Temperate, Dry Temperate, Sub-alpine, Alpine, and permanent snow fields. The diversity of wildlife ranges from the Blind Indus Dolphin in the South, to the Snow leopard in the rugged mountains in the North.

US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling
By Cassidy Randall, The Guardian, 20 March 2019
In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account.
Drilling had been stalled on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming after it was ruled the Trump administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions. The federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages US public lands and issues leases to the energy industry, to redo its analysis.

21 March 2019

In pictures: standing with the guardians of the forest
Greenpeace UK, 21 March 2019
It’s the International Day of Forests today — an opportunity to shine the light on one of the world’s largest rainforests, the Amazon. Not only does the Amazon play a crucial role in regulating the world’s climate, it is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and home to Indigenous Peoples. But all of this could be lost due to the destructive illegal logging and cattle ranching industries. The pictures below show the beauty of the Amazon as well as the effects of deforestation on Indigenous Peoples like the Karipuna, who depend on the forest.

A Look at REDD+ on International Day of Forests
UNFCCC, 21 March 2019
Forests and their sustainable management play a key role in the global carbon cycle and in tackling climate change. Today is International Day of Forests 2019, with a focus on education – a great opportunity to look at what the UN is doing protect forests through the “REDD+” policy framework.
Forests cover 30% of the Earth’s land surface, their capacity to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere is a critical contribution to reaching the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

International Forests Day: Two heads look to a future of restoration
By Robert Nasi adn Tony Simons, CIFOR Forests News, 21 March 2019
At the beginning of this month the UN announced they will be pulling in political support and financial muscle to back a decade long program of ecosystem restoration.
This announcement rides a growing realisation that degradation is damaging for all living things, including – to use a term coined by UN Environment’s Tim Christophersen– “patient Earth.”
Just since the start of this year, research papers from multiple disciplines have crossed over from science journal to mainstream media, and it couldn’t come a moment too soon.

Companies to miss 2020 zero-deforestation deadline, report says
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 21 March 2019
Major corporations that have committed to eradicating tropical deforestation from their operations by 2020 are not going to meet their self-imposed deadline, a report says.
The Global Canopy’s “Forest 500” report assesses the 350 most influential companies in forest-risk commodity supply chains and the 150 financial institutions that support them, focusing on four commodities: cattle, palm oil, soy, and timber (including pulp and paper).

Six countries, one forest, one future
UN environment, 21 March 2019
One of the world’s most vital ecosystems is set to take a step closer to a sustainable future, with the announcement of a US$63-million programme to stabilize forest cover, peatlands, and wildlife populations across the Congo Basin.
As leaders from around Africa and the world gathered in Nairobi to set the global environmental agenda at the United Nations Environment Assembly and One Planet Summit this month, Global Environment Facility Chief Executive Officer Naoko Ishii seized the opportunity to announce the partnership’s upcoming Congo Basin Sustainable Landscapes Program, a six-country initiative to address environment degradation in the basin.

Why we should save the last tiny scraps of nature
By Bill Laurance, Ensia, 21 March 2019
Scientific thinking changes as new evidence comes to light. One vital new insight is the importance of saving even tiny, isolated remnants of native vegetation.
Decades of research on fragmented habitats has shown that small, isolated patches of habitat are often ecologically depauperate — deficient in top predators and specialized old-growth species, and suffering from a wide variety of ecological woes.
This research correctly shows the vital importance of protecting Earth’s vanishing wilderness areas.

An Open Letter to the World Bank on its 20th Land and Poverty Conference
Oakland Institute, 21 March 2019
As the World Bank’s 20th Annual Land and Poverty Conference gets underway, we urge you to immediately put an end to the Bank’s attack on land rights orchestrated though the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project.
The EBA project was launched in 2013 to push governments to adopt measures and policy reforms favorable to agri-business. The EBA ranks countries on the “ease of doing business” in agriculture. It identifies the “legal barriers” for agribusinesses and prescribes reforms to remove them. With the introduction of a land indicator in the project in 2017, the Bank is now asking governments to ease access to land for agribusiness and ranks countries on their “laws and regulations that impact access to land markets for producers and agribusinesses.” The scores countries obtain are intended to condition aid and investment money.

ASIC seeking restitution for Aussie investors caught in Reforestation Projects carbon credits scheme
Property Observer, 21 March 2019
ASIC is assisting the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom (FCA) in seeking to identify investors who may be eligible for restitution in the failed Reforestation Projects carbon credits scheme intended for land in Sierra Leone, Brazil and Australia.
Following action in the High Court in relation to a series of unregistered collective investment schemes, the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom (FCA) is seeking to identify investors who may be eligible for restitution.

[Australia] Experts propose introducing carbon credits for farmers to farm kangaroos
ABC, 21 March 2019
Before the drought took hold across large areas of inland Australia in recent years, the national kangaroo population was estimated to be more than 45 million.
But recent aerial survey results indicate that kangaroo numbers could have plummeted by more than 50 per cent in some areas.
That’s led to concerns about animal welfare for the kangaroos, and also concern about the financial and emotional toll that dealing with this situation is taking on Australia’s graziers.
As part of the solution, some experts are proposing to “privatise” the common species of kangaroo and give farmers carbon credits for farming them.

[Canada] Rethinking Approaches to Climate Change
By Richard Fidler, Socialist Project, 21 March 2019
Climate change is the most visible, most threatening expression of a larger, planetary ecological crisis, the result of an economic system (capitalism) with an inherent growth and profit dynamic which ensures that the exploitation of natural resources (both renewable and non-renewable) exceeds the carrying capacity of nature. You have read the almost-daily scientific reports, each more alarming than the ones before, on the scope of the crisis. I won’t belabour the point.

Beef and leather companies in China silent on Brazilian deforestation
By Christina MacFarquhar, Trase, 21 March 2019
Are companies in the car seat, furniture, footwear and food industries in China aware of the risk that some of their raw materials could be associated with deforestation in Brazil?
These industries use most of the Brazilian beef and leather imported into China (including Hong Kong), which is the world’s biggest importer of beef and leather from Brazil. Cattle ranching for beef and leather production is the leading driver of deforestation and other native vegetation loss in Brazil.

German trader reported for repeated violations of EU Timber Regulation
Environmental Investigation Agency, 21 March 2019
Evidence of serious repeated violations of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) by a trader of Myanmar teak was today submitted to German and European enforcement authorities by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
The evidence underpins EIA’s concerns that multiple shipments of Myanmar teak for the company Alfred Neumann GmbH since 2013 were purchased from the businesses of corrupt Thailand-based teak kingpin Cheng Pui Chee, aka Chetta Apipatana.

Centre drafts stricter alternative to Colonial-era Indian Forest Act, 1927
By Nitin Sethi and Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Business Standard, 21 March 2019
The Union government has proposed an overhaul of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 which the British rulers imposed to take over Indian forests, use them to produce timber, while curtailing and extinguishing rights of millions. But, in the draft law to replace the colonial-era act, the Union government has proposed to not only retain but enhance policing and quasi-judicial powers that the forest officials enjoyed under the original act and provide them yet more. This includes powers to use firearms with exceptional levels of immunity from prosecution.

[Malaysia] Sarawak hit by 176 forest fires in 21 days
By Kandau Sidi, New Straits Times, 21 March 2019
A total of 176 forest fire cases were reported throughout Sarawak in the span of 21 days, affecting a total coverage area of 109 hectares.
Apart from Miri, forest fires were also reported in Bintulu, Kuching and Sarikei, believed to be due to the hot and dry weather affecting the state.
A spokesman for the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Operations Centre said this marked an increase in the number of forest fire cases since early last month.
Last month, a total of 19 bush fires were reported.
“The extreme weather means that fires can easily spread and are hard to contain.
“As such, we are appealing to the people to refrain from conducting any form of open burning,” said the department in a statement.

Alarming photos reveal devastating scale of rainforest destruction in Papua New Guinea
By Josh Gabbatiss, The Independent, 21 March 2019
Photos and footage documenting the devastating impact illegal logging on the people and ecosystems of Papua New Guinea, have been released by environmental campaigners.
One of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, the rainforests that cover much of the country and provide a home for many of its unique species are vanishing fast.
By 2014, nearly one third of the country’s commercially viable forests had been logged and demand from the global timber trade is driving further deforestation and leading to abuses of indigenous communities’ rights.

UK Finance report reveals £50.1m lost due to investment scams in 2018
By Maria Nikolova, Finance Feeds, 21 March 2019
The UK finance industry prevented £1.66 billion of unauthorised fraud during 2018, according to the latest report, Fraud the Facts 2019 published today from UK Finance.
A total of £1.20 billion was stolen by criminals committing fraud last year.

[USA] Bernie Sanders Campaign Becomes 2020’s First To Promise To Offset Carbon Emissions
By Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post, 21 March 2019
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has become the first in the 2020 race to promise to offset the planet-warming gases produced while traveling the country.
In a statement to HuffPost, the campaign said it plans to fund renewable energy projects to compensate for the carbon dioxide spewed by the planes and automobiles in which Sanders and his staff will travel while they barnstorm the nation ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July 2020.

22 March 2019

Top oil firms spending millions lobbying to block climate change policies, says report
By Sandra Laville, The Guardian, 22 March 2019
The largest five stock market listed oil and gas companies spend nearly $200m (£153m) a year lobbying to delay, control or block policies to tackle climate change, according to a new report.
Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil were the main companies leading the field in direct lobbying to push against a climate policy to tackle global warming, the report said.

Malaysia and Indonesia threaten boycott of EU products, say millions of farmers risk losing livelihoods due to palm oil curbs
By Amy Chew, South China Morning Post, 22 March 2019
Malaysia and Indonesia, which account for a combined 85 per cent of the global palm oil supply, have warned that millions of farmers risk losing their livelihoods if the European Union stops using the commodity in its biofuels.
The EU’s proposed move comes following a push by the European Parliament to phase out the use of palm oil starting in 2023, ramping up to a ban in 2030, on concerns palm oil production causes deforestation and aggravates climate change.

23 March 2019

[Ghana] Eighteen Countries converge in Accra to Debate on Deforestation and degradation
Ghana News Agency, 23 March 2019
Eighteen countries have met in Accra to discuss how to mitigate deforestation and improve on afforestation as part of the Africa Regional Consultative workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Conservation (REDD+).
The workshop was funded by the World bank and organised by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a continental coalition of Civil Society organizations in Africa promoting climate friendly and equity-based development.

24 March 2019

[India] Meghalaya: Locals work to revive 27,000 hectares of sacred groves
EastMojo News Bureau, 24 March 2019
An East Khasi Hills community in Meghalaya’s remote village of Mawphlang is working with an aim of conserving and restoring sacred groves covering a stretch of 27,000 hectares of forests.
Under the aegis of United Nations collaborative programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries, Mawphlang’s REDD+ project is the country’s first community-based REDD+ programme.

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