REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
1 April 2019
Claims, Credibility and Landscape Approaches
By Patrick Mallet (ISEAL) and Akiva Fishman (WWF), Business Fights Poverty, 1 April 2019
The idea is a compelling one. Rather than looking at individual sites, suppliers or sectors, these approaches recognize that issues like deforestation, habitat conversion, land rights and rural development are often best addressed at a larger scale – across whole landscapes or jurisdictions. Bringing together all stakeholders – producers, sourcing companies, governments, civil society, NGOs, and investors – to work towards common goals has the potential to drive large-scale, lasting improvements.
Can We Avoid an Uninhabitable Earth? Nature Can Help
By Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy, 1 April 2019
Hardly a day goes by without another report of extreme weather: just this past month, we have witnessed devastating cyclones in southern Africa and the midwestern United States, when coverage of the Alabama tornadoes had barely dropped under the newspaper fold. As with many of these occurrences, the aftermath has required a reckoning with our preparedness for disaster and, essentially, our relationship with nature.
30 Die Fighting Forest Fire in China
By Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, 1 April 2019
A forest fire in southwestern China turned deadly over the weekend when winds shifted unexpectedly, trapping firefighters and local officials in a maelstrom. The bodies of 30 people who could not escape were found on Monday, officials announced, even as the fire continued to burn out of control.
Among those who died were the chief of a regional forestry bureau in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, and his deputy, state media reported. The officials had traveled to the scene of the fire, which broke out on Saturday in a remote location at altitudes nearing 13,000 feet, and had not been heard from since.
UN finally tells the truth about Laos
By Peter Janssen, Asia Times, 1 April 2019
Communist-run Laos has had a relative knack for staying out of the news for its human rights abuses, endemic corruption and sub-par performance in providing services to its citizens. But now finally someone of prominence is speaking out.
Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, visited the land-locked nation from March 18-28, winding up his trip with an unusually forthright 23-page statement on the bleak situation in Laos that will be submitted in June to the UN Human Rights Council.
Questions remain as Vietnam reaches major REDD+ milestone
By Michael Tatarski, Mongabay, 1 April 2019
In late 2018, Vietnam became the first Asia-Pacific country to reach eligibility for results-based carbon reduction payments under the UN-REDD Program, fulfilling its safeguard requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Under UN parlance, this nine-year period was called Phase 1, and focused on readiness. Akiko Inoguchi, a Laos-based Forestry Officer at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has been involved with UN-REDD work in Vietnam from the start. She wrote a recent reflection on that effort for the UN-REDD Programme’s official website.
2 April 2019
Restoring natural forests is the best way to remove atmospheric carbon
Simon L. Lewis, Charlotte E. Wheeler, Edward T. A. Mitchard, and Alexander Koch, Nature, 2 April 2019
Keeping global warming below 1.5 °C to avoid dangerous climate change requires the removal of vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as drastic cuts in emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that around 730 billion tonnes of CO2 (730 petagrams of CO2, or 199 petagrams of carbon, Pg C) must be taken out of the atmosphere by the end of this century2. That is equivalent to all the CO2 emitted by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and China since the Industrial Revolution. No one knows how to capture so much CO2.
These Countries Have Prices on Carbon. Are They Working?
By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, New York Times, 2 April 2019
The idea of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions to help tackle climate change has been slowly spreading around the globe over the past two decades.
This week, Canada’s federal government took the latest step when it extended its carbon-pricing program nationwide by imposing a tax on fossil fuels in four provinces that had declined to write their own climate plans.
World Bank Land and Poverty Conference: Stand For Her Land
By Augusta Dwyer, CIFOR Forests News, 2 April 2019
At this week’s 20th Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference in Washington DC, a new campaign called Stand For Her Land has been launched. “Land rights are a major factor in women’s entrepreneurship, their strength, for their families, their communities, and their countries”, said Kristalina Georgieva, interim president of the World Bank at the opening session.
This makes Rosa Luz Duran’s paper presented here particularly salient.
Her study, Gender Gaps in forest tenure reforms in Peru: the impact of expectations on the household incomes of native communities, looked at the differences in perceptions of benefits from Peru’s 1978 legal reforms to land tenure in indigenous areas, and their effect on household income.
‘Defending our existence’: Colombian tribe stands in way of oil exploration
By David Hill, The Guardian, 2 April 2019
Pablo Maniguaje, an indigenous Siona man, is wearing a white-sleeved tunic and peccary tooth necklace. To the right, out of sight, is the Putumayo River, running downstream towards Peru and the main trunk of the Amazon.
Maniguaje is talking about his territory. He is keen to emphasise its importance to the Siona people. “The trees, the water, the air … That’s life for us,” he said. “What else is there?”
[India] Forest fires threatening Odisha’s flora and fauna
By Satyasundar Barik, The Hindu, 2 April 2019
Odisha had registered a sudden jump in forest fires across the State resulting in massive damage to flora and fauna.
As many as 5,332 fire spots had been noticed since November 1 last, the beginning of forest fire season, in the State. The month of March had alone registered 4,495 fire spots.
As per statistics generated by SNPP (Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite, only 385 fire spots were recorded February while in January, only 55 fire incidences were detected.
Indonesia’s shifting coal money 1: Sandiaga Uno and hte offshore dealings of Berau coal
Global Witness, 2 April 2019
Berau Coal, one of Indonesia’s largest coal companies, paid at least US$43 million between 2010 and 2012 to an obscure offshore company in the Seychelles called Velodrome Worldwide Limited.
A new report from Global Witness concludes that one of Indonesia’s best known politicians, Sandiaga Uno – who is running for Vice-President in the upcoming elections – and who with partners was a controlling owner of Berau, had a hand in these payments and may have benefited from them in some way. What’s more, these payments had serious consequences for Berau Coal and its other investors.
Q&A: REDD+ Safeguards Work in Mongolia
By Enkhjargal Damia and Charlotte Hicks, UN-REDD Programme, 2 April 2019
Enkhjargal Damia and Charlotte Hicks of the UN-REDD Programme sat down with three members of Mongolia’s National Technical Working Group on Safeguards and Safeguard Information System. These three individuals come from diverse sectors – government, NGO and media – but have all played an integral role in the development of Mongolia’s safeguards approach.
3 April 2019
Carbon Institute partners with Cool Effect to create university carbon offset guide
The Carbon Institute, 3 April 2019
In the interest of facilitating further engagement by academic institutions with greenhouse gas emission abatement, the Carbon Institute has partnered with Cool Effect, a Bay Area-based carbon offset exchange, to produce a guide to help universities purchase high quality carbon credits. Carbon credits are a fast and cost-efficient means for individuals and organizations to lower their climate impact, particularly in areas where emissions are too difficult or costly to reduce, including waste, water, business travel, purchased goods, and fuel. A coast-to-coast roundtrip flight, for example, can be offset for about the price of two cups of coffee.
As palm oil production ramps up in Africa, communities work to avoid problems plaguing other regions
By Rachel Cernansky, Ensia, 3 April 2019
For many consumers, palm oil has become synonymous with environmental devastation in Southeast Asia. The industry has brought mass deforestation to the region, shrunk orangutan habitat beyond recognition and compromised local livelihoods. Indonesia, in the process, rose to become the third-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a partnership between stakeholders in the palm oil industry, such as producers, retailers and NGOs, was created over a decade ago to make the industry more environmentally and socially responsible. It helped, but critics argue the industry is still a long way from sustainable.
Liberia: ‘Our Last Bastion of Hope — Our Forest’ FrontPageAfrica Editor Tells Stakeholders as He Launches Forest Radio Hour
Front Page Africa, 3 April 2019
Journalist Alaskai Moore Johnson has told a group of Liberia’s forest stakeholders that the nation’s forest is its last bastion of hope and so all must be done to fully protect it for present generation and posterity.
Speaking on behalf of Mr. Charles Coffey, President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the FrontPageAfrica editor further told these people who are on the frontline talking care of the nation’s forests that every Liberian needs to protect these lands.
He added: “Everything seems to be failing but the forests are our last hope. Let’s do all to protect them.”
[Australia] Why Adelaide Airport has been growing crops next to its runway
In Daily, 3 April 2019
A business case is being finalised for a project to grow a commercial farm crop to reduce runway air temperatures at Adelaide Airport.
Trials at Adelaide Airport in conjunction with state-owned utility SA Water have been ongoing for the past three years and have shown the cooling effects of lucerne can drop air temperatures by more than 3C on warm days.
[USA] Could Maple Syrup Be a Climate Change Solution?
By Lela Nargi, Civil Eats, 3 April 2019
There were still many inches of snow on the ground on January 11, when Jason Gagne, wearing snowshoes, began tapping maple trees throughout his woods in Highgate, Vermont.
In a perfect world, Gagne wouldn’t start until mid-February, when the weather is more hospitable. But, he says, “I’ve got 22,000 trees, and I wanted to be done by March 1.” That’s about when sap starts to run as freezing nights give way to mornings of thaw, commencing six weeks of boiling the sap down to syrup for sugarmakers throughout the Northeast. Fortunately, he was finished by then.
4 April 2019
Well-meaning tenure reforms can’t quash land conflicts
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 4 April 2019
When countries revise their land and forest tenure laws, whereby rights are granted to people who depend on forests for their livelihoods, one goal is to reduce disputes over land and resources.
Despite this, conflicts persist, and sometimes new ones arise: why?
In a multi-country study, researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) sought to find the answer. In it they compared the views of officials responsible for implementing reforms in Peru, Indonesia, Uganda and Nepal, as well as the opinions of those in communities affected.
Brazilian Beef Linked to Deforestation May Re-enter U.S. Market
Chain Reaction Research, 4 April 2019
The United States, the largest beef consumer in the world, is accelerating a process to reopen beef imports from Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter. U.S. President Donald Trump agreed at a meeting in Washington on March 19, 2019 with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro to take steps to resume beef trade between the two countries after the United States cut off imports from Brazil in June 2017 citing concerns over food safety. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in June 2017 that a high amount of beef volumes from Brazil did not meet safety standards after it investigated shipments from meatpackers JBS and BRF SA. The U.S. ban came shortly after Operation Carne Fria, which found that JBS procured a large number of cattle raised in embargoed and illegally deforested areas.
Indigenous leaders decry Colombia’s deadly crackdown on land protesters
By Taran Volckhausen, Mongabay, 4 April 2019
One person has reportedly died and another was injured after police in Colombia cracked down on a protest by indigenous groups demanding a meeting with the country’s president over land rights.
The incident occurred April 2 in the municipality of Cajibío, in Cauca department, an hour before the protesters were due to meet with Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez, El Espectador reported. The newspaper said two indigenous people were wounded; one of them, identified as Deiner Seferino Yunda Camayo, died of his injuries.
DRC must give up plans to establish 22 agro-industrial parks
Oakland Institute, 4 April 2019
The establishment and collapse of the Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial park pilot in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in numerous land rights violations and human rights abuses, pollution and health hazards, misspent funds, charges of embezzlement and corruption, and legal action, according to a new report, The Bukanga Lonzo Debacle by the Oakland Institute.
European emissions trading scheme: CO2 emissions down by 4% in 2018
Carbon Market Data, 4 April 2019
Carbon Market Data, a European company providing carbon market
research and IT services, issued a data summary on the recent release of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme‘s 2018 verified emissions reports.
Based on Carbon Market Data calculations, the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) installations emitted 1,574 million tCO2 in 2018, down by 4% from previous year. This figure is derived from the verified emissions data submitted so far by 94% (in volume) of the 11,200 installations currently included in the trading scheme. These figures include the 28 EU countries.
[Thailand] Battle against forest fires continues as pollution levels rise
The Nation, 4 April 2019
Residents in many parts of the upper northern Thailand continued to suffer dangerous levels of air pollution on Thursday, while officials and volunteers battled forest fires.
The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire monitoring system, as of 2.42am, cited 275 hot spots in the region. The top five worst provinces were Mae Hong Son (114 hot spots), Chiang Mai (35), Lampang (35), Chiang Rai (33), and Phayao (20). Air quality remained poor in Chiang Mai – which ranked second with an air quality index (AQI) of 280 in the airvisual.com ranking of the world’s worst polluted cities as of 1pm – after China’s Shenyang that cited an AQI of 1,505.
UK’s Charity Commission launches investigation into WWF
Survival International, 4 April 2019
Britain’s charity regulator has launched an official investigation into WWF, in a major blow to the embattled organization.
The inquiry follows an explosive report by Buzzfeed News that revealed that WWF funds, equips, and works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people.
WWF’s main response to the Buzzfeed exposé has been to commission a law firm specializing in “reputation management” to conduct an “independent review.”
5 April 2019
Natural Climate Solutions; Avoiding insult to injury in the face of the climate crisis
By Hausner Wendo and Stephen Woroniecki, Keep it in the ground, 5 April 2019
Natural climate solutions sound great but they aren’t sustainable and fair to local people by default. These schemes must be carefully managed to ensure benefits for biodiversity and for the people who bear the brunt of climate change.
The clearest injustice of the climate crisis is that those that will face its harshest impacts bear the least responsibility.
Verifavia becomes first verification company to announce accreditation under new CORSIA global carbon scheme for airlines
Verifavia press releae, 5 April 2019
Paris-headquartered Verifavia, the world’s leading verifier of aviation and shipping emissions, has become the first verification company to announce its worldwide accreditation under the global Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
The carbon offset market: Leveraging forest carbon’s value in the Brazilian Amazon
Dartmouth College press release, 5 April 2019
As companies seek and are required to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s carbon markets are expanding. A government-run program in the Amazon rainforest in northwestern Brazil transforms forest carbon value into public wealth by focusing on labor rather than land rights. In the Brazilian state of Acre, some of the revenue from carbon credits is distributed to rural laborers and family farmers without land rights. A Dartmouth study just published examines Acre’s forest carbon program, and the benefits and risks associated with this approach, including the potential impact on labor, state power and efforts to prevent deforestation. The study’s findings are published in the Journal of Peasant Studies.
Europe’s food imports devour rainforests
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 5 April 2019
European scientists have worked out how European consumers can reduce tropical forest loss and cut down greenhouse emissions in other countries.
One: stop buying beef, especially from Brazil. And two: be sparing with the oil from tropical palms and soybean plantations.
In theory, this should be news to nobody. Forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and slow global warming. But forests that have been felled for cattle-grazing or burned and cleared for oil plantations are net emitters of carbon into the atmosphere to accelerate global warming and precipitate yet more dangerous climate change.
Is Indonesia prepared to defend its palm oil sector?
By Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta Post, 5 April 2019
The government has shown its commitment to defending the palm oil sector from a negative campaign waged by the European Union (EU), which has been resilient in its stance against the commodity in recent years. However, it has neglected several internal issues that may contribute to the EU’s anti-palm oil policy. The absence of accurate data on oil palm plantations and low engagement with political EU figures may hamper the government’s efforts, according to Indonesia’s palm oil stakeholders. Indonesian Oil Palm Estate Fund (BPDP-KS) president director Dono Boestami revealed recently that the organization had only three sets of data on the palm oil sector’s total land use in Indonesia, all of which come from state agencies.
[USA] California Wildfires Spark Preemptive State of Emergency
By Kateri Wozny, U.S. News, 5 April 2019
As the 2019 California wildfire season approaches, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a 12-month State of Emergency in late March to ramp up forest management projects that will help protect 200 of California’s most wildfire-vulnerable communities.
The proclamation is part of Newsom’s $550 million budget for wildfire relief and efforts.
The governor has been proactive about tackling the ongoing wildfire issue since he took office Jan. 7.
6 April 2019
[Kenya] Yes, you can trade in carbon credits
By Leopold Obi, Daily Nation, 6 April 2019
Natasha Otolo is a programme officer and carbon finance expert at Hivos East Africa. She spoke to Leopold Obi on how small farmers can tap into greenhouse gases reduction efforts.
Let’s begin from the basics, what is carbon credit?
Carbon credit, also known as carbon offset, is a tradable certificate issued per tonne of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases reduced from the atmosphere from an emission reduction project.
The certificate has a value and it is sold in a market.
‘The world’s least unsustainable airline’: Air New Zealand’s climate dilemma
By Charlie Mitchell, Stuff, 6 April 2019
One of New Zealand’s most trusted companies is among its largest climate polluters. Despite a pledge to limit its footprint, the national carrier’s pollution is growing steadily. Charlie Mitchell reports.
One morning each year, business leaders, politicians and journalists meet at a lavish breakfast function on the Wellington waterfront.
The event has all the trappings of a financial presentation – say, the release of an annual report – but its purpose is to recognise something else: Sustainability.
7 April 2019