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REDD in the news: 2-8 December 2013

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A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

[Indonesia] Call for action on agrofuels – please help us to keep up the pressure!

Down to Earth, December 2013 | We have between now and 12th December 2013 to urge the EU Governments to put forward a strong proposal on how to fix the failing biofuels policy. If you live in the EU, please help us to support the calls from Indonesia by contacting your Energy Ministers and Prime Ministers/Presidents, by email, phone, letter or Twitter…

Norway reserves USD 80 million for Amaila hydro dam in Guyana

Development Today, December 2013 | Guyana and Norway remain committed to the Amaila Falls dam project, though IDB has removed it from its active pipeline and future financing remains unclear. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

2 December 2013

‘Landscapes approach’ dovetails with REDD , scientist says

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 December 2013 | A proposal to alleviate deforestation could benefit greatly from a cross-sectoral, holistic approach to land management, according to a top forest carbon expert. The broad thinking of a “landscapes approach” is useful for planning and land-use assessments, which can integrate multiple options and generate helpful scenarios key to devising strategies for maintaining forests’ carbon and forests’ health, said Martin Herold, an associate scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. A landscapes approach seeks to ensure that all uses of land in a given area — and all the human users of that land — are being addressed by integrated, sustainable policies.

The “COP for forests”: Analyzing the Warsaw decisions

By Michelle Kovacevic, Forests Climate Change, 2 December 2013 | Emotional monologues, huddles, then a mass exodus – this year’s UN climate negotiations were dramatic but fruitful for forests, experts say, with a framework for REDD+, support for communities adapting to climate change, and a tentative plan for the successor to the Kyoto protocol all pushed through in the final hours. “Despite slow progress in many other parts of the UN climate agenda in Warsaw, there was real progress in overarching decisions pertaining to forests,” said Louis Verchot, research director at the Center for International Forestry Research. “REDD+ was once again the bright spot in the negotiations. And with the large number of agreements that were finalized, Warsaw is likely to be remembered as the REDD+ COP,” he said.

Use Hansen high-res forest cover maps wisely, experts say

Forests Climate Change, 2 December 2013 | In pioneering new research published in Science, a team led by Matthew Hansen from the University of Maryland, has analyzed 650,000 freely available Landsat images to visualize changes in forest cover at a whopping 30-meter resolution. “This is the first global wall-to-wall annual forest cover map available at such a high resolution that covers more than one decade,” said Arief Wijaya, post-doc researcher at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)… “The data could potentially be useful for REDD+, but further analysis will be needed to ensure we accurately estimate human-induced forest area change,” he said. One case study shows that Hansen’s forest loss estimate for Indonesia from 2009-2012 is almost triple the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s national deforestation estimates (17,000 square kilometers/year versus 6,500 square kilometres/year).

Green for Green: The Buyers That Stand Behind Forest Carbon

By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 December 2013 | It might not be immediately apparent why insurance giant Allianz, retailer Marks & Spencer, energy company Eneco, airline Qantas or Brazilian cosmetics producer Natura Cosméticos would invest their money in forest carbon offsets – sometimes from projects on the other side of the world – but they do. Our most recent State of the Forest Carbon Markets Report tracked 19.7 million tonnes of forest carbon offsets that companies had purchased voluntarily. These companies are not required by law to reduce carbon emissions, yet they purchase enough offsets to cancel out the annual emissions of a small country like Honduras or Niger.

COP19: the UN’s climate talks proved to be just another cop out

By Joseph Zammit-Lucia, The Guardian, 2 December 2013 | What would be a productive way forward? The first, overwhelming need is not for a legally binding agreement but for an atmosphere of positive co-operation. We can achieve this – over time – by converting these UN-sponsored meetings into conferences of achievement. Government delegations should be invited to share with others what they have done right, how they have done it, what they have learned, and what they are planning to achieve further progress. Other governments can take whatever they want from these experiences and adapt them to their own circumstances. Small groups of countries whose interests may coincide can, if they wish, form formal alliances to work together to achieve progress. Larger, wealthier countries can offer help and support in technology transfer and financial assistance on a bilateral basis.

World’s carbon markets now cover 20% of emissions

By Nilima Choudhury, RTCC, 2 December 2013 | Believe it or not, the statistics indicate carbon trading is growing – nationally and internationally. As of December 2013, 17 countries have carbon pricing mechanisms either running or planned. According to a recent study by the World Bank these cover greenhouse gas emissions of 10 GtCO2e/y, equal to 21% of the 50 GtCO2e emitted globally. Historically the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) have dominated global markets. Both have suffered from plummeting carbon prices in the past year, a result of the economic slump post 2008 and the over-supply of credits. But both markets are likely to be eclipsed by China, which is on course to roll out its fourth of seven pilot schemes, which will see it become the world’s epicentre of carbon trading. According to the government, by 2014 it could cover 700 million tonnes of emissions, and by 2020 it could be worth US$ 3.5 trillion.

CDP: Many Businesses Still Unaware of Supply Chain Risks Due to Deforestation

By Jennifer Elks, Sustainable Brands, 2 December 2013 | In a year of extreme weather events, commodity price spikes and supply chain disasters, the latest data from CDP’s forests program reveals that the business community remains largely unaware of the deforestation risks in their own supply chains, threatening shareholder value. CDP’s forests program’s annual report, The Commodity Crunch: Value at Risk from Deforestation, highlights the fact that most companies must do more to engage. On behalf of 184 investors with US$13 trillion in assets, CDP’s forests program, formerly The Global Canopy Programme’s Forest Footprint Disclosure Project, asks companies to disclose their exposure to deforestation risks through their use of five agricultural commodities that are responsible for most deforestation: palm oil, soy, biofuels, timber and cattle products.

Ivory and Illegal Timber Seized in INTERPOL-coordinated Operation across Africa

UNEP News Centre, 2 December 2013 | More than 240 kg of elephant ivory and 856 timber logs have been seized and 660 people arrested during an INTERPOL-coordinated operation combating ivory trafficking and illegal logging across Southern and Eastern Africa. As part of INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom and Project Leaf, the operation jointly targeted ivory smuggling and illegal logging, with smugglers often concealing ivory inside charcoal containers or welded chambers of trucks used to transport logs across borders. Also seized were 20 kg of rhino horns, 302 bags of charcoal, 637 firearms, nearly 2,000 rounds of ammunition, 30 chainsaws, 200 kilos of cannabis and khat, 65 pellets of heroin, 47 animal parts and 44 vehicles… “Through this INTERPOL operation, we have identified major networks involved in the smuggling of elephant ivory and we have also seized significant amounts of ivory, as well as illegal shipments of timber and charcoal,” said Heri Lugaye, Assistant Superintendent of Police at the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

[Kenya] Firms suffer as carbon credit market collapses

By Jackson Okoth, Standard Digital Business, 2 December 2013 | A number of firms especially those in energy consuming activities such as cement manufacturing, sugar production, tea farming and electricity generation are sitting on huge but worthless carbon credits. This is after the price on the global credit market collapsed more than a year ago, leaving them with worthless projects. “We have firms that had set up fully fledged operations in energy-saving projects but have earned little or no carbon credits when the market in Europe collapsed,” said Job Kihumba, chairman of the African Carbon Exchange (ACE). When the Kyoto Protocol came to an end in December 2012, the global carbon credit collapsed with prices falling from 18 Euros per carbon credit to less than one Euro. A new protocol that follows Kyoto is expected to be signed in 2015.

[PNG] SABL Case Study No.5: Belden Namah and Bewani Palm Oil Limited

PNGexposed Blog, 2 December 2013 | SABL Commission of Inquiry Report 1: Pages 125-143. ”What was particularly unacceptable … is the fact that this SABL was granted to an entity which had already been sold for ‘cash’ by its original one man owner (Mr Belden Norman Namah) to another one man owner (Mr Jimmy Tse). The latter had nothing in common with the resource owners. He particularly did not have their informed approval under law to be the sole owner of the SABL title holder” [p138].

Tanzania must reimburse misused aid funds

Development Today, 2 December 2013 | Finland and Sweden are demanding the reimbursement of aid funds after revelations of corruption related to a local government reform programme in Tanzania. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[UK] Farmers sought for carbon trading trial

By Jez Fredenburgh, Farmers Weekly, 2 December 2013 | Farms are needed to help map the UK’s soil carbon content, in the first stage of a project to enable farmers to enter the emissions trading market. AR Carbon, a government-funded project, is seeking farms to provide soil sampling sites. The soil’s carbon content will be tested monthly and will help to create a UK-wide map. The second stage of the project will support farmers to increase their soil’s carbon content and sell this as carbon credits in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). As part of the Kyoto Protocol, the ETS capped countries’ emissions and created a market for businesses with reduced emissions to sell their credits to higher polluters. “We want to be able to tell people that the carbon you’ve got in your soils is a tradeable asset,” says Richard Page, co-founder of AR Carbon. “We’d really like farms of all shapes and sizes to come forward.”

[UK] Investing conmen: Four ways fraudsters try to get hold of your savings

By Marc Shoffman, Daily Mail, 2 December 2013 | The caller may claim carbon credits are ‘the new big thing’ in commodity trading, industries now have to off-set their emissions, the government is focusing on green developments or that it is a growing market. However, while there is a market for trading carbon credits, they are rarely sold on the secondary market and are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They are therefore not suitable for casual investors. Projects generating carbon credits are usually based overseas and authorities in the UK have no way of controlling the quality or validity of the schemes. Salesmen may tell you that credits are provided by a supplier authorised by the FCA. Even if this is the case, you would still not be protected if something went wrong as the products are unregulated.

3 December 2013

Help the people, save the trees

By Jaspreet Kindra, IRIN news, 3 December 2013 | Is this good enough? Well, no. Raja Jarrah, climate advisor with the NGO, CARE International, answers the question candidly, “As with almost all the decisions on REDD+, the wording leaves a lot of room for interpretation… the spirit of the decision might be seen as making it ‘mandatory to report on safeguards’, but what it actually does is ask countries to provide their ’most recent summary of information on how all of the safeguards’… have been addressed and respected.” He points out that neither “summary” nor “information” is defined. The language also does not stipulate how this information will be verified by indigenous peoples and local communities. Jarrah thinks the Warsaw decision has not really taken the issue forward since Cancun.

Ready — Or Not. Abrupt Climate Changes Worry Scientists Most

By Richard Harris, NPR, 3 December 2013 | An expert panel at the National Academy of Sciences is calling for an early warning system to alert us to abrupt and potentially catastrophic events triggered by climate change. The committee says science can anticipate some major changes to the Earth that could affect everything from agriculture to sea level. But we aren’t doing enough to look for those changes and anticipate their impacts. And this is not a matter for some distant future. The Earth is already experiencing both gradual and abrupt climate change. The air is warming up slowly, and we’re also seeing rapid changes such as the melting Arctic ice cap. Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, says abrupt change is the bigger worry. “When you think about gradual changes you can kind of see where the road is and know where you’re going,” Barnosky said at a news conference unveiling the report Tuesday.

Bloomberg LP Launches First Tool That Measures Risk of ‘Unburnable Carbon’ Assets

By Elizabeth Douglass, InsideClimate News, 3 December 2013 | In a move that underscores Wall Street’s growing unease over the business-as-usual strategy of the world’s fossil fuel companies, Bloomberg L.P. unveiled a tool last week that helps investors quantify for the first time how climate policies and related risks might batter the earnings and stock prices of individual oil, coal and natural gas companies. The company’s new Carbon Risk Valuation Tool is available to more than 300,000 high-end traders, analysts and others who regularly pore over the stream of information that’s available through Bloomberg’s financial data and analysis service. The move significantly broadens and elevates the discussion of “stranded” or “unburnable” carbon reserves—expanding it beyond climate groups and sustainability investors to the desks of the world’s most active and influential investors and traders.

Australia Urged to Buy Carbon Credits for Cheaper Emission Curbs

By Mike Anderson, Bloomberg, 3 December 2013 | Buying carbon credits near record low prices in global markets would cost-effectively ensure Australia meets its pledge to cut emissions by 5 percent, an industry group told the nation’s new government. Purchasing carbon credits from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism would give the government an insurance policy if its plans for reducing emissions fall short, according to a recommendation from The Australian Industry Group, which has a membership of 60,000 businesses. Certified Emission Reductions from the UN fell to a record low of 20 euro cents ($0.27) on April 17 as nations have failed to boost demand outside Europe for the so-called carbon offsets. “It’s raining soup in international carbon markets, and we should be out there with a spoon,” Tennant Reed, lead policy adviser for the group, said in an interview yesterday at the Carbon Expo in Melbourne.

[Brazil] Breaking news: Guarani leader and film-star murdered

Survival International, 3 December 2013 | Guarani Indian leader and film-star Ambrósio Vilhalva was murdered on Sunday night, after decades of campaigning for his tribe’s right to live on their ancestral land. Ambrósio was reportedly stabbed at the entrance to his community, known as Guyra Roká, in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state. He was found dead in his hut, with multiple knife wounds. He had been repeatedly threatened in recent months. Ambrósio starred as the main character in the award-winning feature film Birdwatchers, which portrays the Guarani’s desperate struggle for their land. He traveled internationally to speak out about the tribe’s plight, and to push the Brazilian government into protecting Guarani land, as it is legally obliged to do.

[China] Longyuan sells credits on Beijing ETS

By Karl-Erik Stromsta, Recharge News, 3 December 2013 | Chinese wind giant Longyuan has sold 10,000 carbon credits to PetroChina within Beijing’s newly implemented carbon market, heralding a new source of potential revenue for Chinese renewables developers. China has launched – or will imminently launch – seven pilot carbon markets, covering certain cities and regions, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province. Each of the pilot markets will allow companies to buy offsets – known as Chinese Certified Emissions Reductions (CCERs) – to help meet some of their legally binding obligations. In Beijing – where 40% of carbon emissions are now covered by the ETS – companies can meet 5% of their obligation via CCERs. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

In Sierra Leone, Port Loko District Forestry Officer Expresses Concern over Massive Deforestation: Sierra Leone News

Sierra Leone News, 3 December 2013 | Morison Koroma, Officer-in-Charge of the Forest Cover in the Northern district of Port Loko with direct responsibilities to both Forestation and Deforestation has expressed deep fear over what he referred to as “indiscriminate burning of Charcoal in his area of responsibility”. The Port Loko District Forestry Officer said he is particularly worried over what stands to be the potential environmental hazards in terms of Global Warming and Climate Change, when all the Trees shall have been cut down.

[USA] Methane from Appalachian coal could generate carbon credits in California

By Katie Colaneri, StateImpact Pennsylvania, 3 December 2013 | Methane emissions from coal mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia could soon become a valuable commodity on California’s cap-and-trade carbon market. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports a company called Verdeo has struck such a deal with one of Pennsylvania’s biggest coal producers. Verdeo would pay Consol Energy to destroy the methane emitted from vents at a Washington County mine in order to generate carbon credits that Verdeo would sell to companies in California.

4 December 2013

Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 4 December 2013 | Norway, the United States and the United Kingdom unveiled a new finance initiative at the Conference of Parties (COP19) in Warsaw. The Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (BioC ISFL) will initially select between four and six jurisdictions and funnel between $30 million and $50 million into each of them in the next year – beginning with Ethiopia’s Oromia state. While most of the funds themselves had already been committed for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus pro-forest activities), governments had not previously offered details on how they will be deployed. The new initiative answers that question, and is designed to support the preconditions that companies say they need if they’re to develop sustainable supply chains.

Q&A on the forest agreement in Warsaw

By Jeff Tollefson, Nature News Blog, 4 December 2013 | Building on several years of negotiations, countries inked a major agreement on forest conservation at the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw on 23 November. The deal formally integrates forest conservation into the international climate agenda by enabling wealthy countries to offset their emissions by paying poor tropical countries to protect their forests. The framework is known as REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The plus sign refers to an additional component that would reward countries for enhancing their forests. Nature talked to Doug Boucher, director of the tropical forests and climate initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington DC, about the agreement in Warsaw.

Green Climate Fund seeks big bucks

By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 4 December 2013 | One… hundred… billion dollars. Cue an outburst of Dr Evil-like pinky chewing in the offices of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF), just opened in South Korea. While the Austin Powers movie character threatened to destroy a major city every hour unless he was paid a large sum, the trustees of the GCF say that unless they get the aforementioned amount by 2020, developing countries won’t be able to adapt to the worst impacts of climate change. So far, they’ve barely got enough readies to keep the lights on in their shiny new Songdo headquarters. Back at the ill-fated end-of-the-world-party that was the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, the rich countries promised to deliver the 100 billion sum by 2020. As a measure of good faith they said they would provide $10bn a year in fast-track finance, for three years, from 2011. But so far, the fast-track seems to be made of molasses.

How Microsoft harvests carbon offsets to save forests

By TJ DiCaprio (Microsoft), GreenBiz, 4 December 2013 | As part of tonight’s conversation, we will be discussing the role of corporations in supporting conservation at scale as a way to offset carbon pollution. This is a commitment that more and more companies are making each year as part of their global environmental stewardship efforts to reduce the impact of their operations and help mitigate climate change. How can corporations help? As they work to reduce the impact of their operations on the planet, many corporations are turning to carbon offsets as a tool to reduce their unavoidable carbon liability. Carbon offset projects that support forest conservation not only offset emissions but also enable economic development and sustainability. This approach can be particularly attractive for businesses and community development. Corporations can have a meaningful impact both locally and globally.

Forest Wars

The Commonwealth Club, 4 December 2013 | This past August, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa abandoned a plan to save the Yasuni rainforest, one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. Meanwhile, climate change mitigation strategies like REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) are helping to protect millions of forest acres in the Congo, Kenya and Brazil. Though some corporations see forests as places to extract resources, Microsoft and others see conservation as a way to offset pollution. Are trees worth more standing or cut down? Can we protect the forests and still support economic development to lift countries out of poverty? Join us for a conversation about the struggle between dollars and deforestation in the journey to create a more sustainable future.

Strong laws can boost sustainable development in Africa — expert

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 December 2013 | Land acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa are on the rise and investment trends are shifting, increasing the need to close tax loopholes and improve legal frameworks, a top forestry scientist says. Historically, such transactions have been characterized by developed countries in the Northern Hemisphere investing in developing countries in the Southern Hemisphere, but increasingly they involve one southern nation investing in another — in 2012 an estimated $1.9 trillion in foreign direct investments occurred among emerging economies, according to Andrew Wardell, research director of the forests and governance portfolio with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Research shows that it’s not just the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — snapping up land, but such players as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore making purchases in such countries as Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Mozambique and Gabon.”

[Australia] Industry warns loss of Triabunna woodchip mill will be forestry death knell

ABC News, 4 December 2013 | A signatory to Tasmania’s forest peace deal is warning the historic deal could be on shaky ground now that the former Gunns woodchip mill at Triabunna will never reopen. The Tasmanian Forest Agreement (TFA) was signed by forestry and green groups with the understanding the mill would remain in the industry. The mill’s owners, millionaire environmentalists Graeme Wood and Jan Cameron, have announced plans to convert it into a tourist attraction. The Forest Industries Association’s chief executive Terry Edwards says the signatories will meet to discuss the ramifications. “The TFA is a very highly integrated document,” he said. “If you take one thing out of it can disturb the rest of the agreement. One of those issues is that if you can’t use residue from the south of the state, harvesting in southern forests become unviable, sawmills will close, rotary peel veneer mills will close, and eventually Forestry Tasmania itself will become unviable.”

Chemonics International Awards Consortium of ecoPartners, Offsetters and ClearSky Solutions Contract for Colombia REDD Project Development

Chemonics International press release, 4 December 2013 | Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. (“OCS” or the “Company”) (tsx venture:COO)(frankfurt:9EA) is pleased to announce that international development company, Chemonics International LLC (“Chemonics”), has awarded the consortium of Ecological Carbon Offset Partners LLC (“ecoPartners”), ClearSky Climate Solutions LLC (“ClearSky”) and Offsetters, the contract to develop project documentation for their ongoing BioREDD+ program in Colombia, South America. Under the terms of the contract, the team of ecoPartners, ClearSky and Offsetters will be responsible for developing and writing complete Project Design Documentation for four unique REDD+ projects being undertaken by Chemonics and its partners in Colombia. Funded by USAID, the BioREDD+ program in Colombia has run from 2011 and will run through 2014.

[Guatemala] Giving credit where credit is due: Using REDD finance to enhance Sustainable Forest Management

By Kate Dillon Levin (Code REDD) and Jeff Hayward (Rainforest Alliance), Skoll World Forum, 4 December 2013 | These communities in Guatemala deserve credit for pursuing sustainable forestry when the economic incentives for unsustainable land use around them remain strong. Although forests should be more valuable than at anytime in human history, today they are worth more when cleared for cattle, oil palm, soy, or pulp production. And this pressure is only increasing with population growth and global demand for agro-commodities. But a new paradigm of growth is emerging through a mechanism known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). By valuing the carbon stored in forests, REDD+ is changing the economic incentives around land use in developing forest countries. Sales of verified REDD+ carbon credits effectively give these countries and communities the credit they deserve for choosing a sustainable pathway to development.

[Guyana] Come clean on Patil, China Paper MoUs

Stabroek News, 4 December 2013 | Two Memoranda of Understanding for large agricultural projects which were quietly signed by the government with Indian and Chinese companies are raising disquiet as their terms have not been publicized. Dr Rupert Roopnaraine of APNU yesterday stated that the first knowledge of dealings with the D Y Patil Group and China Paper came to his attention through reporting in the Stabroek News. He said that “with these MoUs we are of the firm belief that they need to be fully ventilated and brought to the National Assembly.” Prior to the reportage in the last Sunday Stabroek and Monday’s Stabroek News there had been no information from the government on the details of MoUs clinched with the two companies. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Coal Rush Ravages Indonesian Borneo

By Angela Dewan, Jakarta Globe, 4 December 2013 | Barges loaded with mountains of coal glide down the polluted Mahakam River on Indonesian Borneo every few minutes. Viewed from above, they form a dotted black line as far as the eye can see, destined for power stations in China and India. A coal rush that has drawn international miners to East Kalimantan province has ravaged the capital, Samarinda, which risks being swallowed up by mining if the exploitation of its deposits expands any further. Mines occupy more than 70 percent of Samarinda, government data show, forcing entire villages and schools to move away from toxic mudslides and contaminated water sources. The destruction of forest around the city to make way for mines has also removed a natural buffer against floods, leading to frequent waist-high deluges during the six-month rainy season.

EU, Sabah Launch Programme On Forest Management, Community Development

Bernama, 4 December 2013 | The European Union (EU) and Sabah Forestry Department officially launched a RM16 million programme today, to work together on ‘Tackling Climate Change Through Sustainable Forest Management and Community Development’. The four-year programme aims to contribute to Sabah’s sustainable and low-carbon development, as well as cooperate on a Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degredation (REDD+) strategy to reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation. Through the agreement, both parties will also cooperate in promoting sustainable management of forests, as well as the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The programme will enhance the institutional capacity of the Sabah Government and develop necessary systems and tools to design and implement the state’s REDD+ strategy.

[USA] California cap and trade expanding in 2014 after successful 2013

By Silvio Marcacci, Renew Economy, 4 December 2013 | California’s cap and trade market will expand in 2014 after a successful first year of operations that quelled fears of a European Union-style carbon allowance glut while powering a clean energy economic boom. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced a minimum of 81 million 2014 allowances and 37 million 2017 allowances will be auctioned during 2014, and the minimum reserve price for allowances will be set at $11.34. 2014’s available allowances and minimum reserve price are both increases over this year, when 57 million available 2013 allowances sold at a minimum reserve price of $10.71. But beyond increasing the number and cost of permits, several other developments suggest California’s carbon market will have an even more successful second year of operation.

5 December 2013

REDD Learning Session 18: The Warsaw REDD+ Framework – COP19 Results

WWF, 5 December 2013 | This is an archive of the session that took place on Thursday, December 5, 2013.

UN CO2 offset supply to stay near recent lows in December

Platts, 5 December 2013 | The supply of UN carbon dioxide offset credits is expected to hold broadly steady near recent low levels in December, according to UN data updated Thursday. Investors have requested a total of only 9.6 million Certified Emission Reductions in December, slightly above November’s 9.5 million — a near three-year low for monthly volume, according to UN data compiled by Platts… The volume of CERs issued has shown a sharp downward trend in 2013, falling from as high as 63 million mt issued in March. CER prices slumped to record lows of below 30 euro cent/mt in 2013 — down from as high as Eur14.00/mt in 2011 — driven by severe oversupply after governments failed to take on binding emissions reduction targets at UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 that would have created demand for the credits after 2012. With only a handful of countries committing to national emissions targets for 2020, the market has been left in chronic surplus…

COP19 Promotes Carbon Colonialism With New REDD Deal

By Melanie Jae Martin, Truthout, 5 December 2013 | In protest of inaction on climate agreements, more than 800 attendees in environmental and development groups walked out of the recent COP19 UN climate summit in Warsaw. Their action followed a walkout of the G-77 group of developing nations. However, inaction did not pose the only threat to the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Rather, the REDD+ agreement reached at COP19 puts developing countries under threat of being colonized for their carbon. There’s a reason why REDD+ was the only agreement reached at COP19 – it serves the big polluters’ interests. If it actually benefited local communities rather than corporate interests, it certainly would have stalled like the other plans on the table.

Unpacking Warsaw, Part Two: Recognizing The Landscape Reality

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 5 December 2013 | As early as the Bali climate talks in 2007, and probably long before that, REDD project developers warned that the negotiators charged with creating a REDD governing regime were ignoring the way REDD was taking shape on the ground. “These people think REDD is about putting a fence around the forest,” said former Cargill executive David Pearse*, shaking his head. “But REDD will only work if you look at it as an ‘embedded option’ in a larger portfolio that involves sustainable land-use.” Eric Bettelheim*, who now runs forest-carbon project developer Floresta Group, offered a similar appraisal. “Most deforestation is caused by small-scale farmers who are acting out of need,” he said. “If you don’t involve those people in your project, you won’t get any results. “Five years on, the track record in voluntary carbon bears that out: with few exceptions, voluntary REDD projects work by helping local people develop sustainable livelihoods

UN Climate Fund may be bond-beating investment

By David Twomey, Eco News, 5 December 2013 | For the first time some institutional investors may consider investment in developing country projects as the United Nations-linked Green Climate Fund (GCF) opens for business. One such investor, the retirement fund PensionDanmark, that’s invested about US$1.8 billion in renewable energy certainly thinks its worth considering. “The GCF could be an interesting partner for pension funds” if it reduces the risks from investing in emerging markets, Torben Moger Pedersen, Chief Executive Officer of PensionDanmark in Copenhagen, told Bloomberg newsagency by phone. “We are facing the same challenges as other pension funds. Yields on government bonds are very low and not an attractive safe haven.”

Australia’s carbon fund a windfall for big polluters -analysts

By Stian Reklev, Reuters, 5 December 2013 | Australia risks wasting up to A$2 billion ($1.8bn) of its planned Emissions Reduction Fund if it goes ahead with moves to give big polluters carbon credits based on historical efficiency levels, analysts Reputex said on Thursday. The A$2.55 billion fund, known as ERF, is the cornerstone of the conservative government’s strategy to achieve its target of cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. Under the policy, set to be implemented next year, the government will set out emissions intensity baselines for industries and power generators based on five-year historical averages, and pay companies that beat those baselines for the emission cuts they achieve.

Down to Earth Special Edition Newsletter – Agrofuels: Impacts in Indonesia, time for policy change in Europe

Forest Peoples Programme, 5 December 2013 | Biofuels – once promoted as the silver bullet for climate change – have turned out to be one of the European Union’s biggest policy mistakes. Europe’s colossal demand for palm oil for biodiesel is encouraging massive expansion of largescale, industrial plantations, driving forest and biodiversity loss and increasing carbon emissions, land-grabs and conflicts, and human rights abuses in Indonesia. Loss of forests and agricultural land threatens the food sovereignty of millions of local and Indigenous people who depend on forests and land to supply food.

Credible data key to Indonesia’s efforts to solve forest fire, emissions challenges — expert

By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 December 2013 | Accurate information on the causes of wildfires and the amount of carbon emissions they produce is critical if Indonesia is to meet its emissions reductions targets, said experts at an event on the sidelines of the U.N. climate change meetings in Warsaw, Poland. Earlier this year, fires swept across parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra — sending smoke billowing across the narrow Strait of Malacca and causing record-breaking air pollution levels in Singapore and Malaysia. Daniel Murdiyarso, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said that the international media attention the event generated must be translated into funding for more detailed research — and a commitment by the Indonesian government to address the issue. “The haze occurred in the wrong time in the wrong place — and so it got to the attention of media very quickly,” Murdiyarso said.

[Malaysia] RM16m EU-Forestry climate change deal

Daily Express, 5 December 2013 | The Sabah Forestry Department and European Union (EU) on Tuesday launched a RM16 million programme to tackle climate change through sustainable forest management and community development. Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan inked the joint venture together with the EU that was represented by EU Ambassador to Malaysia and Head of Delegates, Luc Vandelbon. The four-year programme aims to contribute to the sustainable and low-carbon development of Sabah. Both parties will also cooperate on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD plus) strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as well as to promote sustainable management of the forests and conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

[New Zealand] NZ ETS to restrict Kyoto Protocol units from 2015

BusinessDesk, 5 December 2013 | New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme won’t be able to trade certain international Kyoto units after 2015, due to the government’s decision restricting access to those markets after the stalled climate change negotiations. From June next year, ETS participants will need to surrender New Zealand Units to meet their obligations after the government decided it will only allow Kyoto Protocol units to be used to account for obligations until May 31, 2015, Acting Climate Change Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement. The affected units are Kyoto Protocol first commitment period Certified Emission Reduction units, Emissions Reduction Units or Removal Units. Bridges said the current hold on issuing Letters of Approval for local entities to participate in clean development mechanism projects will continue, meaning the ETS will operate with restricted access to Kyoto markets from 2016.

Peru’s Culture Ministry blocks expansion of country’s biggest gas project – but for how long?

Forest Peoples Programme, 5 December 2013 | Peru’s Ministry of Culture (MINCU) has issued a report that blocks, at least temporarily, the expansion of the country’s biggest gas project in the Amazon rainforest in a Reserve set aside for the protection of isolated indigenous peoples. One of the reasons given by MINCU is that the company leading the expansion of the Camisea gas project, Pluspetrol, wants to conduct 3D seismic tests in a region which it ‘assumes’ – on the basis of its own fieldwork and previous studies – is inhabited by indigenous Machiguenga people who live in ‘isolation’ from outsiders and are at ‘high risk’ from introduced diseases to which they have little or no immunity.

[Philippines] SP okays MOU for ‘carbon credits’

The Visrayan Daily Star, 5 December 2013 | SGGA officials told the provincial government officials led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday that their study shows that, in Negros, carbon credits to be made per hectare would not go lower than $2,000, said Lacson, chairman of the SP Committee on Environment, who moved for the passage of the MOU. “Since we have an average of 100,00 hectares of forestry land. We are looking at $200M US of carbon credits,” Lacson added. Under the MOU, the province agreed that SGGA will use 50 percent of the monetized funds to develop a range of humanitarian, economic, social and environmental projects for the people of Negros Occidental in the areas of health, education and sustainable livelihood, he said.

6 December 2013

Unpacking Warsaw, Part Three: COP Veterans See Arduous Year Ahead

By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 6 December 2013 | “Can I say it was disappointing?” asked Charlotte Streck, director of Climate Focus. “Probably not, because that would mean that I had expectations.” Streck’s question and answer prompted nervous laughter from a full house at the Wednesday night debrief that Ecosystem Marketplace, McGuireWood LLP and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) held in Washington, DC to take stock of the 19th international climate conference, which concluded in Warsaw on November 23. Her reaction was a far cry from the euphoria that enveloped Warsaw after the “REDD Rulebook” (see sidebar, right) was approved. “At the end you have decisions,” Streck acknowledged. “And that gives hope, at least for a moment. Until you read the decisions and you say Oh god, there’s actually nothing written in it.”

U.N. deal provides state funding for forest protection

By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 6 December 2013 | A U.N. deal on forest protection will attract more government funding to help poorer nations, but could fail to prevent a slump in the fledgling market for carbon credits from projects that cut emissions by slowing deforestation… The Warsaw meeting passed a series of resolutions that could pave the way for REDD’s eventual use as a source of offset credits for regulated markets and encourage richer nations to donate cash to kick-start REDD initiatives… “We had a foundation for the house. Now we have the walls, the plumbing, the electricity and the roof for REDD,” said Chris Meyer, of U.S.-based green group the Environmental Defense Fund(EDF)… Eric Bettelheim of Floresta Group, a developer with REDD projects in Indonesia and Brazil, said it could take years for demand to rise. “Some recent reports say we will have an oversupply of forest-based carbon credits in the voluntary markets that looks like it will continue for some time.”

World’s biggest palm oil company pledges to halt deforestation

By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 6 December 2013 | One of the world’s largest agri-businesses has pledged to end deforestation throughout its supply chain, in a move that represents a major step forward for companies seeking to source sustainable palm oil, soya beans and sugar. Wilmar International yesterday signed a deal with consumer goods giant Unilever, which has promised that 100 per cent of the palm oil used in its supply chain would by fully traceable by the end of 2014… TFT executive director Scott Poynton said he expected the new deal to transform the palm oil industry. “Few companies dominate their sectors the way Wilmar dominates palm oil,” he said. “[This] announcement… dwarfs in ambition any previous joint commitment in the sector and raises the bar for responsible global agricultural production. We commend Wilmar for its strong new policy, and now is the time for transparent and verifiable implementation.”

[Australia] Abbott’s direct action fund may waste $2 billion, analyst says

The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 2013 | Australia risks wasting up to $2 billion of its planned Emissions Reduction Fund if it goes ahead with moves to give big polluters carbon credits based on historical efficiency levels, analysts Reputex said. The $2.55 billion fund, known as ERF, is the cornerstone of the conservative government’s strategy to achieve its target of cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. Under the policy, set to be implemented next year, the government will set out emissions intensity baselines for industries and power generators based on five-year historical averages, and pay companies that beat those baselines for the emission cuts they achieve.

Image: Boca do Acre, Brazil from orbit

phys.org, 6 December 2013 | This Envisat radar image was acquired over the city of Boca do Acre in western Brazil… This scene is a compilation of three images from Envisat’s radar, acquired on 28 October 2005, 12 September 2008 and 17 September 2010. The individual images are each assigned a colour – red, green and blue – and when combined, reveal changes in the surface between Envisat’s passes. In this image, the colours reveal large areas of deforestation – evident by the large, geometrically shaped plots cut out along linear roads. Satellite observations also support the United Nations’ REDD initiative… REDD gives a financial incentive for developing countries to maintain forested areas. Reducing or preventing deforestation is the mitigation option with the largest and most immediate carbon stock impact in the short term, as the release of carbon as emissions into the atmosphere is prevented.

[Canada] Quebec Carbon Credits Sell for Lowest Price in First Auction

By Edward Welsch, Bloomberg, 6 December 2013 | Quebec sold a third of the carbon-emission allowances offered in its first cap-and-trade auction this week and the permits cleared at the lowest possible price. Bidders purchased 1.03 million of the 2.97 million 2013 permits auctioned Dec. 3, according to results released by the province today. They sold for the floor price of $10.75 per metric ton of carbon dioxide because of the low demand. “It was a surprisingly under-subscribed auction,” William Nelson, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said. “Quebec has done a pretty poor job of signaling the start of their cap-and-trade scheme.” … Nelson said that the province’s failure to sell all the allowances in the first auction was a “one-time freak result,” and that future auctions may fare better. “Those guys who didn’t buy this week, but still need to cover their emissions for the next two years, will eventually have to show up to these auctions,” he said.

[Indonesia] Tripa Update & Aceh Spatial Plan Call to Action

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, 6 December 2013 | Join us for the latest news from Tripa and listen to an update on the current Aceh Spatial Plan. The Acehnese Government is pushing to finalise this plan in the next coming weeks; And a NEW draft governor’s regulation which opens a door for new permits in large critical areas of the Leuser Ecosystem. Ian Singelton will explain the implications of the Tripa Court decision and will announce actions to be taken to combat these potentially devastating new developments in Aceh.

[New Zealand] Beehive seems set to block cheap foreign credits

Carbon News, 6 December 2013 | The Government today is expected to announce moves to restrict the flow of cheap foreign carbon credits into New Zealand. Speculation in the market this week that the Government will move to boost domestic carbon prices has seen prices for Spot NZUs climb as high as $4.10. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

7 December 2013

[Indonesia] Police Uncover Illegal Log Factory

Tempo, 7 December 2013 | The Tasikmalaya Resort Police, West Java, raided two illegal storehouses and a wood processing factory in Gunung Kalong Village, Cibeureum and Jl. Letnan Harun, Indihiang district last Thursday. The teak woods (Tecona grandis) in the factory is believed to be obtained from illegal logging in the land belong to state-owned forestry company Perum Perhutani,Tasikmalaya Administrator in Cikalong region. According to the Police Adjunct Senior Commissioner Noffan Widyayoko, the police had seized about 50 cubic logs in the Cibeureum storehouse and 200 cubic of logs and furniture in Indihiang. Two guards of the storehouses have been brought to the police headquarter for further investigation. Noffan explained that the police had stopped three trucks loaded with firewood from entering Tasikmalaya city. After an inspection, the trucks were also loaded with the teak woods. “The firewoods are only a way to cover the teak woods,” he said.

8 December 2013


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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