REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
25 March 2019
Leaders told to bring plans, not speeches to UN climate summit
By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home News, 25 March 2019
The UN secretary general is calling on world leaders to bring plans, not speeches to a climate summit he is hosting in September.
Representatives of Antonio Guterres wrote to heads of government last week, urging them to “demonstrate a leap in collective national political ambition and massive low-emission movements in the real economy”.
Climate Home News understands organisers do not intend to give politicians the UN podium for speeches, in a departure from the typical format of such events.
Defending the Amazon, and our planet, from “Trump of the tropics”
By Steve Schwartzman, EDF, 25 March 2019
Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro had a lot of common ground to share when they met in Washington last week – racism, misogyny, conspiracy theories, and contempt for science and journalism (the high quality type). They also converge on an early 1900’s view of development and environment as a zero-sum game. The more you have of one, the less there is of the other.
Forest protection efforts earn Indonesia millions
By Hugh Biggar, CIFOR Landscape News, 25 March 2019
An innovative effort to keep trees in the ground and carbon out of the air is paying dividends in Indonesia — the fifth-highest emitter of carbon dioxide globally.
Norway announced on 16 February that it will pay Indonesia for reducing its deforestation by 60 percent in 2017, as compared to 2016. The payment is to be made as part of a REDD+ partnership established in 2010. An acronym for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ – with the ‘+’ including conservation, sustainable forest management and carbon stock enhancement – REDD+ provides a framework for developed nations to pay developing nations for protecting forests.
Indonesia Charts a New, Low Carbon Development Path. Will Other Countries Follow Suit?
By Leonardo Garrido, Sonny Mumbunan and Delger Erdenesanaa, World Resources Institute, 25 March 2019
Indonesia’s recent socioeconomic performance has been impressive. Over the past two decades, the country has cut extreme poverty in half and doubled per capita income.
This economic growth has come at a steep cost, including slashing forests, spewing greenhouse gases, and burning enough coal that nearly 60 percent of Jakarta residents suffer from air pollution-related diseases. Indonesia’s future growth, though, could look very different.
26 March 2019
WWF, human rights abuses and the need to decolonise conservation
By Beth Collier, Media Diversified, 26 March 2019
In the latest controversy for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), they are accused of human rights abuses against indigenous and local communities in Africa and Asia, and having funded paramilitaries who have tortured, sexually assaulted and killed in the course of carrying out the organisation’s mandate.
Buzzfeed reporting has uncovered a catalogue of serious abuses – described as ‘atrocities’ by the Charity Commission, offering further insight into the ethics of this ‘corporate’ NGO’s operations, in addition to those previously reported by Survival International, the UN, and others over recent years.
Nature matters — now is the time to act
By Marco Lambertini, WWF, 26 March 2019
As millions around the globe turn off their lights for Earth Hour this Saturday, the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment is set to unite people in showing their commitment to their home, Earth.
Nature underpins all life, but it is in crisis. This is not “doom and gloom” rhetoric — it is the reality we face. We have a choice — to either safeguard the future of our planet for all its inhabitants or watch nature disappear in our lifetime, along with all we need and use for our own lives. The need for action has never been greater. The choice is ours.
Is climate change making it harder for forests to recover after fires?
By Jonny Bairstow, Energy Live News, 26 March 2019
Is climate change making it harder for forests to recover from fires?
The scientists behind a new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) scientific journal certainly seem to think so.
They studied tree ring samples taken from 2,935 Douglas fir and ponderosa pine trees from across the Rocky Mountains and California to figure out when the trees had grown.
U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration could lead to green global economy
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Landscape News, 26 March 2019
Working on landscape restoration projects at a global scale is second nature to Satya Tripathi.
Known for catalyzing trailblazing initiatives with significant socioeconomic outcomes, the U.N. assistant secretary-general and head of New York office at UN Environment is mulling how best to leverage a new opportunity.
FSC is a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber
FSC, 26 March 2019
FSC is one of the founding members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), an independent platform that aims to develop a fair, equitable and environmentally sound natural rubber value chain. Members have aligned on a wide-reaching set of priorities for the natural rubber supply chain. They also plan to harmonize standards to improve respect for human rights, prevent land-grabbing and deforestation, protect biodiversity, and increase supply chain transparency and traceability.
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) to partner with AFR100 Initiative
CIFOR, 26 March 2019
Amid preparations for the landmark U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has become the latest partner in the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100).
The partnership aims to ensure effective alignment of CIFOR’s restoration activities within the AFR100 framework; maximize collaboration and knowledge sharing among partners and contribute to achieving AFR100’s restoration goals.
AFR100 is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030.
Global coal use up as greenhouse gas emissions rise
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 26 March 2019
Greenhouse gas emissions from energy production rose strongly again last year, according to new data from the International Energy Agency, with a young fleet of coal-fired power plants in Asia accounting for a large proportion of the increase.
Energy demand grew at its fastest pace this decade, with a 2.3% increase globally driving rises in fossil fuel consumption. Coal use in power stations was a third of the increase in energy consumption, and together gas and coal were responsible for nearly 70% of the growth in energy consumption, and while demand for solar and wind power also increased, it was by much less overall.
[Brazil] The Story of the Surui Forest Carbon Project
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 March 2019
The Surui Forest Carbon Project was the first indigenous-led conservation project financed through the sale of carbon offsets. It dramatically reduced deforestation within the territory during its first five years of operation (2009-2014), but was suspended in 2018 after the discovery of large gold deposits in the territory sparked a surge in deforestation.
Cambodian indigenous communities win back their sacred land from Vietnamese rubber developer
Inclusive Development International, 26 March 2019
Twelve indigenous communities in Cambodia’s northeastern province of Ratanakiri scored a major victory today when the government announced it was returning to them 20 spirit mountains and dozens of other spiritually significant areas that had been grabbed by the Vietnamese agribusiness giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL). The communities have been embroiled in a decade-long land conflict with HAGL since their ancestral lands were granted to the company to develop large-scale rubber plantations.
[Indonesia] House Speaker Slams EU Plan to Phase Out Palm Oil
By Aditya L. Djono, Jakarta Globe, 26 March 2019
Indonesia is adopting a tougher stance against the European Union’s plan to phase out the use of palm oil in renewable transport fuel.
On Tuesday (26/03), it was the House of Representatives speaker Bambang Soesatyo’s turn to slam the EU plan, officially called the Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II).
Bambang’s criticism followed a threat from a Trade Ministry director who said on Monday the Indonesian government will encourage palm oil companies to file a lawsuit against the EU if the union does not back down on the policy.
27 March 2019
‘Fake news’: UN aviation body blocks online climate critics
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News, 27 March 2019
The UN’s aviation body is blocking climate critics on Twitter, accusing them of “fake news” and “spam”.
A number of campaigners and researchers complain they have been barred from following the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) account, after posting messages about aviation emissions.
Icao’s combative approach to public engagement has drawn wider criticism, with environmental journalists describing it as “spectacularly ill-judged” and “self-defeating”.
The two ends of a same stick: Illegal logging is not only about cutting trees
By Thuận Sarzynski, Environmental Ideas, 27 March 2019
There are many reasons why someone would like to cut the forest illegally. Farmers may want to expand their field to grow more crop and have more to eat or sell on the local market, large agrobusiness may want to grow one crop on a large scale to make a lot of money, timber traders may want to cut precious tropical wood to sell it at a very high price.
3 Ways Well-Intentioned Forest Laws and Their Enforcement Can Block Restoration
By Maite Knorr-Evans, Will Anderson, Ruth Nogueron, Tina Schneider and René Zamora Cristales, World Resources Institute, 27 March 2019
Picture a Guatemalan landholder who wants to put her land to good use. She plants her trees, waits for them to grow. She even receives a government subsidy for restoring her previously degraded land. Her trees remove carbon from the air, help clean the local river and provide habitat for many native birds. Yet when she goes to cut some of the trees for timber, she learns it is illegal to do so. A law designed to protect water quality prohibits cutting trees within 25 meters of a river. She decides to abandon the restoration project in favor of more profitable enterprises like growing sugar cane or cattle ranching.
While this story is fictitious, situations like this happen all the time in countries around the world. Paradoxically, laws that protect forests can hinder their restoration.
No more fires in Indonesia? Blazes on Sumatran peatland say otherwise
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 27 March 2019
Forest fires have intensified in Sumatra, raising questions about the government’s claims it has succeeded in tackling the annual problem.
An area spanning nearly 26 square kilometers (10 square miles), or about 5,000 football fields, has gone up in smoke in the province of Riau, according to local media reports. Eleven of the 12 districts that make up the province have been affected, with thousands of people suffering from breathing problems due to the haze from the fires.
“The fires in Riau these past two months have been severe,” Muhammad Teguh Surya, executive director of the environmental NGO Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan, told Mongabay. “And the worst thing is that this thing hasn’t caught much attention. Instead, the president said there are no more fires, even though fires are raging hard [in Riau].”
The Carbon Brief Profile: Indonesia
By Daisy Dunne, CarbonBrief, 27 March 2019
Indonesia was the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2015. It is the 16th biggest economy and the largest in southeast Asia. Its emissions stem from deforestation and peatland megafires and, to a lesser extent, the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
The country recently overtook Australia again to become the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal. It plans to substantially increase its domestic coal-powered generation – partially in a bid to help close the “electricity gap” between its wealthy and less-connected islands.
Indonesia threatens to quit Paris climate deal over palm oil
Reuters, 27 March 2019
A senior Indonesian minister warned on Wednesday (March 27) Southeast Asia’s biggest economy could consider exiting the Paris climate deal if the European Union goes ahead with a plan to phase out palm oil in renewable transportation fuel.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, has lashed out at the EU after the bloc classified palm oil as a risky crop that caused significant deforestation and ruled that its use in renewable fuel should stop by 2030.
Speaking at a palm oil forum, Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister overseeing maritime and natural resources, said the EU “should not underestimate Indonesia” and pledged the government would firmly defend its national interest.
Smartphones and Satellite Imagery: Bringing Environmental Enforcement to the Peruvian Amazon
By Tom Bewick and Sarah Ruiz, Global Forest Watch, 27 March 2019
For the community monitors of Buen Jardin de Callaru, a remote community deep in the Peruvian Amazon, the day began early. They had been coordinating with Peruvian enforcement authorities for weeks. The objective: to arrest the culprits of illegal deforestation. To make such an arrest in Peru, authorities have to catch the culprits in the act, which is why it was crucial the group set out as soon as the sun rose.
US-China soy trade war could destroy 13 million hectares of rainforest
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 27 March 2019
The Amazon rainforest could be the greatest casualty of the trade war between the United States and China, warns a new study showing how deforestation pressures have surged as a result of the geopolitical jolt in global soy markets.
Up to 13m hectares of forest and savannah – an area the size of Greece – would have to be cleared if Brazil and other exporters were to fill the huge shortfall in soy supply to China that has suddenly appeared since Donald Trump imposed hefty tariffs, according to the paper published in Nature.
28 March 2019
The destruction of the Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 28 March 2019
Why do we wait until someone has passed away before we honour them? I believe we should overcome our embarrassment, and say it while they are with us. In this spirit, I want to tell you about the world-changing work of Polly Higgins.
She is a barrister who has devoted her life to creating an international crime of ecocide. This means serious damage to, or destruction of, the natural world and the Earth’s systems. It would make the people who commission it – such as chief executives and government ministers – criminally liable for the harm they do to others, while creating a legal duty of care for life on Earth.
What on Earth is REDD+?
By Sophie Bertazzo, Conservation International, 28 March 2019
So: What is “REDD+”?
REDD+ is a United Nations-backed framework that aims to curb climate change by stopping the destruction of forests. REDD stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”; the “+” signifies the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Sustainable rubber: setting the wheels in motion
By Alistair Monument, WWF, 28 March 2019
Unsustainable rubber production threatens rainforests and human rights — but a new industry platform has the potential to change business as usual.
Think about the environmental impacts of cars, and what comes to mind? Carbon dioxide emissions? Air pollution? The construction of new roads, perhaps?
Worse tropical winds will kill more trees
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 28 March 2019
Worse tropical winds will spell worse danger to forests, in a cycle that feeds on itself. Hurricane Maria, which in 2017 slammed into Puerto Rico, shut down the electricity supply for the entire US island of 3.3 million people, and claimed almost 3,000 lives. And it also killed or damaged at least 20 million trees, or possibly 40 million.
If what happened in the track of Maria is a pointer to the future, then hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones will join drought, wildfire and men with chainsaws as a new threat to the world’s tropical forests, the biggest absorbers of carbon on the terrestrial surface.
[Australia] ‘Common sense’: Littleproud backs Victoria plan to earn carbon credits by forest conservation
By Gregg Borschmann, The Guardian, 28 March 2019
The agriculture minister, David Littleproud, is breaking ranks on federal forest policy and backing a long-stalled proposal for Victoria to earn carbon credits through native forest conservation – a move which suggests curbing logging.
The minister cited concerns over the future of the Australian beekeeping industry and the knock-on impacts for farmers for his support, saying: “It seems as though it is common sense.”
New report lays out low-carbon development path for Indonesia
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 28 March 2019
With every tree felled and every piece of coal burned for energy, Indonesia is inching closer to its ecological tipping point. And once it passes that point, the country’s economy will greatly suffer, leading to an increase in poverty, a higher mortality rate and lower human development.
That’s the conclusion of a new government-sanctioned report, titled “Low Carbon Development: A Paradigm Shift Towards a Green Economy in Indonesia,” which paints a grim picture of Indonesia’s future should it continue with its current development model.
[South Korea] Manufacturers Have Trouble Securing Carbon Credits Due to Sharp Decline in Trading
By Jung Suk-yee, Business Korea, 28 March 2019
Korean manufacturers that need to secure excess carbon credits are in trouble as the trading volume of carbon emission has plummeted amid skyrocketing emission permit prices.
The market price of the carbon emission permit hit an all-time high at 26,500 won (US$23.31) per ton on March 26. The average price in 2015 when the market opened was 11,007 won (US$9.68) per ton but the figure has been increasing by 106 percent to 156 percent on-year every year since then. It has also risen by more than 4,000 won (US$3.52) per ton this year.
The problem is that the trading volume is on the decrease.
29 March 2019
BNP Paribas AM unveils quant carbon offset fund
By Jessica Beard, City Wire, 29 March 2019
BNP Paribas Asset Management has stepped up its commitment to responsible investing with the launch of a new quant climate carbon fund.
The Theam Quant Europe Climate Carbon Offset Plan is managed with the use of a systematic investment strategy, which aims to capture the performance of European liquid equities with high ESG standards.
The strategy selects these according to their carbon footprint and the robustness of their energy transition strategy.
Can DRC’s community forests lift people out of poverty?
By Ahtziri Gonzalez, CIFOR Forests News, 29 March 2019
In the quest to reduce poverty, community forestry is an attractive endeavor. So much so that multiple countries with tropical forests have placed it at the heart of their rural development strategies, giving local communities the rights to directly manage forests and decide how land will be used.
Underpinning community forestry is the proven belief that local people are best placed to manage the resources on which they rely. And by it being done sustainably, poverty can be alleviated, social mobility enhanced, and the ecological protection of the forest achieved.
But between theory and practice, lies a disconnect.
Large share of CO2 emissions from tropical deforestation driven by Europe and China’s consumption of agricultural commodities
By Caspar Trimmer and Cristiane Fontes, Trase, 29 March 2019
Agricultural and forestry production is the main cause of tropical deforestation and the second largest source of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, as several recent studies have shown. Some 80 percent of global forest loss is driven by the expansion of grazing land and cropland, and an estimated 14.5 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are linked to livestock supply chains alone, as reported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
New REDD+ strategy seeks to broaden involvement of women, youths
Guyana Chronicle, 29 March 2019
Provisions for the involvement of women and youths in the protection and preservation of the environment were the main concerns of stakeholders at the hosting of a workshop on Guyana Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Readiness activities on Tuesday.
The workshop, geared towards the private sector and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), was hosted at the Cara Lodge and saw discussions on the newly-designed REDD+ Communication and outreach strategy and action plan.
30 March 2019
[Zambia] Over 2000 people target in Lufwanyama
ZNBC, 30 March 2019
Over two thousand Lufwanyama residents on the copperbelt Province are this year expected to start benefiting from the forestry reserve based project funded by the United Nations.
The five hundred thousand United States dollars programme, called Reduced Emission from Deforestation and forestry Degradation (REDD+) is being implemented by a Kitwe based private company Universal Environment Limited.
Programme Coordinator Professor Royd Vinya says the main objective of the project is to conserve over one hundred thousand hectares of forest land for the next 30 years.
31 March 2019
These indigenous Malaysians are in the fight of their lives
By Jarni Blakkarly, SBS News, 31 March 2019
The Temiar people of northern Malaysia are blockading logging trucks, fighting to maintain their traditional way of life and protect the rainforest.
The river running alongside Cunex village, in the northern Malaysian state of Perak, used to provide fish for dozens of people, but ever since the logging started several years ago, the food source has dried up.
Forest loss damages aquatic food chains, of which many humans benefit from.
Now the river is mostly respite for children to cool off in during the day’s scorching heat – which often climbs above 35 degrees.