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REDD in the news: 20-26 January 2014

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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.

20 January 2014

Study highlights link between tree cover and nutrition in children

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 January 2014 | Children living in areas of Africa with heavy tree cover tend to have more nutritious diets, adding credence to research showing that forests play a key role in food security, according to a new paper published in Global Environmental Change. Boosting production of such energy-rich crops as rice, maize and wheat is often seen as essential to achieving global food security, but if this comes at the expense of forests, this might actually undermine nutritional security. “Our research shows that children in Africa living in communities surrounded by forest cover have higher dietary diversity and more fruit and vegetable consumption,” said Amy Ickowitz, an economist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “In these areas, dietary diversity increases with tree cover, suggesting that in heavily treed areas, children have healthier diets.”

[Malaysia] Sarawak Oil Palm Owners Show True Colours – And Let Taib’s Cat Out Of The Bag!

Sarawak Report, 20 January 2014 | The Sarawak oil palm industry has shown its true colours with its recent vitriolic attack on the Indonesian company Wilmar, which has announced that it intends to reform practices that have been destructive to the environment. It is clear from the press release that they issued at the end of last week that nothing matters to the Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (SOPPOA) except their own profits, despite various attempts at greenwash over the years… SOPPOA have told us that the actual plan is to plant 3 million hectares of oil palm and to ignore all the basic international guidelines in the process. Sarawak remains the only state in the world that has not banned the further destruction of peat jungle.

Promoting Low Carbon Development in Sudan: Aims and Gains

Sudan Vision Daily, 20 January 2014 | UNDP is keen to support Sudan’s capacity to evolve as a country with low carbon development. The aim of this initial plan is to enable the preparation of a detailed project document for the development of Sudan Low Carbon Development Strategy. This should help support investment in Green House Gas mitigation. Once a Low Carbon Development Strategy is in place, low carbon development projects, that seek carbon revenues, can be identified. These will reflect those priority sectors already identified in the Sudan National Communications report and the National Clean Development Mechanism strategy. Sudan welcomes investment in the areas of agriculture, solar energy, dams’ electricity and alternative energy. Minister of Environment, Forests and Urban Development, Hassan Abdul Gadir Hilal confirmed that Sudan encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the context of sustainable development programmes.

21 January 2014

Life Beyond Emissions Trading

By Oscar Reyes, Corporate Europe Observatory, 21 January 2014 | What would fill the void if the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) were allowed to collapse? This briefing shows that ending the ETS would not leave a climate policy void. Emissions trading has awarded huge subsidies to some of the EU’s most polluting industries while at the same time failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and undermining other environmental measures. As the EU debates a 2030 climate and energy package, it should seek ambitious targets for greenhouse gases, renewable energy and energy efficiency – but targets are not enough. The EU should take a greater role in directly regulating greenhouse gas emissions at source.

Australia’s CO2 Group CEO quits as new govt policy hits carbon business

By Stian Reklev, Reuters, 21 January 2014 | CO2 Group Ltd, Australia’s biggest carbon project developer, said its chief executive has resigned as proposed changes to Australia’s climate policy force the company to pursue new growth areas. Andrew Grant will leave his position after a decade heading up the company, according to the company statement on Tuesday. “Recent changes in government policy, the proposed abolition of the current carbon pricing regime and continuing uncertainty in the carbon market generally has led the company to reduce the scale of its carbon operations and pursue new growth areas,” it said. CO2 Group’s main business has been developing offset projects, mostly within forestry, that develop carbon credits that can be sold to companies wishing to use them to meet government-imposed targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

China carbon markets risk missteps unless more open

By Stian Reklev, Reuters, 21 January 2014 | China’s moves to establish the world’s second-biggest emissions trading market risk being undermined by a lack of transparency, including a failure to release data on permits issued and even whether emissions will go up or down under the schemes. Guangdong province and four Chinese cities have launched carbon markets, with two more pilots due to be launched over the next few months, as the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases seeks to limit its impact on climate change. Successfully operating the pilot schemes is seen as vital for the foundations of a national scheme for China, particularly after the missteps Europe has faced developing the world’s biggest emissions market. “It is crucial for any emissions trading scheme to publish reliable and timely information about how many permits are issued and will be issued in future years, and how this compares to previous emissions levels,” said Frank Jotzo, a professor at the ANU…

Row simmers over EU’s 2030 carbon targets hours before deadline

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 21 January 2014 | A row is still simmering within the European commission over landmark targets for greenhouse gas emissions, hours before they are published on Wednesday. The row, which jeopardises international negotiations on climate change, has been generated in part by the UK Liberal Democrats’ U-turn on renewable energy. At stake is whether the EU opts for a 35% or 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and whether the bloc sets a firm target for renewable energy generation by 2030. The UK government is strongly opposed to a target for renewable energy generation, and its opposition has led to the impasse.

[India] The Carbon Cycle

Business World, 21 January 2014 | TThanks to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), green technology and its industrial use became everyone’s pet project over the past decade. “CER (certified emission reduction, an emission unit or carbon credit issued by the CDM) trade was seen as a brilliant idea in its inception phase, as it introduced financial incentives for non-polluters, in a bid to achieve a kind of economic equilibrium between participating nations and states,” says Namita Vikas, senior president and country head, Responsible Banking, Yes Bank. However, with the international price of a carbon credit falling over the past two years —from €24 to a meagre 84 cents now — business interest in clean technology is waning. “Without credits, it is no longer attractive for businessmen to adopt clean technology,” says Assaad W. Razzouk, group CEO and co-founder, Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, a consultancy for clean energy solutions.

[Indonesia] Long struggle against Indonesia oil palm land grab

GRAIN, 21 January 2014 | Sudarmin Paliba stands on a hillside, looking down through row upon row of oil palm trees. “This is where we had our fruit trees, and at the bottom we grew paddy rice,” he says. One morning in 1994, Sudarmin and other farmers from the Buol District of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, were walking to their farms when they came upon a team of workers, guarded by soldiers, chopping down trees in the surrounding forests. They were told that a road was being built. But soon they came to understand that this was just the beginning of a much larger operation. All of their customary lands and forests had been signed away without their knowledge or consent to one of Indonesia’s richest and most powerful families for the creation of a massive 22,000 ha palm oil plantation.

Kenyans Earn First Ever Carbon Credits From Sustainable Farming

Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 January 2014 | The Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP) last week became the first organization to earn carbon credits under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for locking carbon in soil. The credits represent a reduction of 24,788 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to emissions from 5,164 vehicles in a year. These are the first credits worldwide issued under the sustainable agricultural land management (SALM) carbon accounting methodology. The program, which Ecosystem Marketplace profiled in 2011, works by promoting sustainable or “climate-safe” agriculture that has also proven to increase yields in some cases. The KACP involves 60,000 farmers on 45,000 hectares. Results so far show that SALM can help increase farmers’ yields by up to 15-20%, the World Bank says. These productivity gains come from greater soil fertility and help counteract the effects of increasingly extreme weather conditions.

[Pakistan] India plans new dam on Chenab violating Indus water treaty

By Khalid Mustafa, The International News, 21 January 2014 | In an alarming development, India plans to build another dam on the Chenab River with the name of 1,380 MW Kirthai hydropower project in Held Kashmir, breaching the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The new project will not only damage water interests of Pakistan but will also inflict a huge blow to the environment of the lower riparian country.In a small stretch of the Chenab river basin, India is building numerous mega hydropower projects and dams to meet its energy demands. However, in doing so, it is aggravating environmental issues in Pakistan and threatening water security… India completed the Kirthai Project Design Document on September 4, 2013, and applied the carbon credits from UN for clean energy to be produced from the said project.

[Paraguay] Study reveals world’s highest deforestation rate on uncontacted tribe’s land

Survival International, 21 January 2014 | A new scientific study has revealed that Paraguay’s Chaco forest – the last refuge of the uncontacted Ayoreo tribe – is being devastated by the world’s highest rate of deforestation. The study by the University of Maryland found that ’Paraguay’s Chaco woodlands (…) are experiencing rapid deforestation in the development of cattle ranches. The result is the highest rate of deforestation in the world.’ These dramatic satellite images show the astonishing extent of forest destruction in the Chaco between 1990 and 2013 – and also that the area claimed by the Ayoreo (red outline) is one of the last remaining patches of forest left.

[Tanzania] Payment for Preservation of Forests

Norwegian Embassy, 21 January 2014 | Trial payments have now been conducted in some of the pilot projects funded by the Norwegian Embassy. In African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) project in the Kolo Hills, 13 villages received as much as 102 million TSH (63 750 USD) for their efforts to preserve the surrounding forests. The activities included conservation farming, seedling nurseries and planting of trees.Through the activities and the trial-payments the villages earned the sum of money. Before receiving the check each village spent time deciding how to divide the money generated from their effort.

22 January 2014

Cambodian communities best placed to prevent illegal logging

By Fran Lambrick, mongabay.com, 22 January 2014 | A study on deforestation in Cambodia has found that forests are better protected when local communities are given the responsibility to manage them locally… Research by the Universities of Exeter and Oxford looked at how effective community forestry is in reducing deforestation and supporting livelihoods in the Prey Long forest area of Cambodia. Prey Long forest is one of the last lowland evergreen forests of mainland Southeast Asia. Banteng – wild Cambodian cattle – roam the grassy clearings, and pangolin hide in the shadows. Prey Long is home to an endemic forest type – deciduous swamp forest – and to many rare tree species including krunueng, targeted by loggers for it’s high value on the illegal timber market.

EU outlines 2030 climate goals

By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 22 January 2014 | The European Commission has outlined its plans for climate and energy policy until 2030. The Commissioners want a binding target to reduce carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels. Renewables will need to provide 27% of EU energy by 2030, but while the target will be binding at EU level there will be no mandatory targets for member states. The policy proposals are subject to review by heads of government. Green groups have said the new targets lack ambition and the 40% emissions cut is “dangerously low”. This wide ranging White Paper will have a significant impact on the way Europe generates its power from 2020 onwards. The Commission wants to give clarity to investors in renewable energy while at the same time maintaining their leadership role in global climate negotiations.

EU Ban on UN Carbon May Flag End of Offset Market, Nomisma Says

By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 22 January 2014 | A proposed European Union ban on the use of United Nations carbon credits in its emissions market may signal the end of the international offset market, according to energy consultant Nomisma Energia srl. The European Commission today set out emissions targets for 2030 that only allow the import of carbon credits if an ambitious global climate deal is agreed in Paris next year, the EU’s executive arm said on its website. The commission wants to cut emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030… “The EU decision might be the end of the CDM as a market,” Matteo Mazzoni, an analyst at Nomisma Energia in Bologna, Italy, said in a phone interview today. “There will still be some trading and people will try to extract something from their investments in projects, but without any new demand there isn’t much of a market anyway.”

Why the National Assembly should hold public hearings on the Guyana Forestry Commission

By Janette Bulkan and John Palmer, Stabroek News, 22 January 2014 | This commentary is a partial analysis of the annual reports for years 2005-2012 from the Guyana Forestry Commission tabled in the National Assembly on 07 November 2013, at the same time as some of the backlog of reports from other government agencies. It is a requirement of the Guyana Forestry Commission Acts 1979 and 2007 for annual reports and audited accounts to be tabled by the appropriate Minister yearly at the National Assembly1. So far as we know, the Assembly has received no apology from the Minister for his failure to comply with this legal requirement.

[UK] Three arrested as part of FCA boiler room probe

By Iona Bain, FTAdviser.com, 22 January 2014 | In a recent statement, the FCA stated that it executed search warrants at addresses in Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire with the help of the City of London Police. The individuals, who had not been charged at the time of going to press, include two men aged 32 and 41 and one woman aged 32. A spokesman for the FCA stressed that the arrests were not linked to other ongoing investigations into boiler-room fraud and that it could not confirm any further details. Boiler rooms involve the hard-sell of worthless or low-value shares to unsuspecting customers, with unauthorised businesses often cold-calling customers and making false promises about the investments’ potential.

[UK] Carbon-for-development projects can help businesses engage with employees

By Zelda Bentham (Aviva), The Guardian, 22 January 2014 | We’ve been carbon neutral since 2006 for our operational emissions. Initially, our projects were focused around things like renewable energy, but over time we’ve integrated these with our social investment work. It makes sense for us. Our business is helping our customers make provision for the future, whether that’s through long-term savings or through life and general insurance. If our offsetting approach can reduce our impact on climate change, while also helping put communities on a sustainable path to development, then we can help their [the communities’] futures as well… This content is brought to you by Guardian Sustainable Business in association with ClimateCare. Produced by Guardian Professional to a brief agreed and paid for by ClimateCare. All editorial controlled and overseen by the Guardian.

[UK] Carbon offsetting can benefit business as well as communities

By Fran Leedham (Jaguar Land Rover), The Guardian, 22 January 2014 | Our first opportunity to get involved in this more integrated style of offsetting, bringing social benefits as well as carbon benefits, came when we helped to get a clean cook stove project off the ground in Uganda. At the time there was no recognised system for measuring the carbon reductions from this type of project, so ClimateCare developed a methodology that now enables the carbon reductions to be calculated and independently verified. Financing options can be quite complicated and for this project we gave seed funding and then purchased the emissions [in the form of voluntary carbon credits] for the first four years, which enabled the stoves to get on to the market… This content is brought to you by Guardian Sustainable Business in association with ClimateCare. Produced by Guardian Professional to a brief agreed and paid for by ClimateCare. All editorial controlled and overseen by the Guardian.

[UK] Jonathon Porritt: Carbon offsetting can help achieve development goals

By Jonathon Porritt, The Guardian, 22 January 2014 | I very much welcome this model, although it isn’t entirely new of course. When talk of offsetting first kicked off, organisations such as WWF always used to talk about “offsetting done well”, by which they meant a social element being built into the approach. There has always been a sense that purely getting the tonnes of CO2 sorted was never good enough. One of the challenges with this though is that there’s sometimes a mismatch in the way companies manage environmental and social issues. Those that see offsetting as a legitimate, strategic part of their total carbon management are much more likely to join the dots between the two than those who adopt a fairly superficial approach… This content is brought to you by Guardian Sustainable Business in association with ClimateCare. Produced by Guardian Professional to a brief agreed and paid for by ClimateCare. All editorial controlled and overseen by the Guardian.

[USA] Obama: China and India carbon emissions could leave us “underwater”

By Ed King, RTCC, 22 January 2014 | Barack Obama has warned that “we’ll be four feet underwater” if China and India end up consuming energy like the USA. The US President’s remarks, made at a Democrat fundraiser in Seattle, reflect concerns that the world’s top emerging economies hold the key to preventing dangerous levels of climate change. Scientists say that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, warming temperatures around the world could lead to melting ice-caps at the north and south poles, resulting in sea levels rising 26-82cm by 2100. Despite its relatively late industrialisation, China’s emission levels have rapidly caught up with the rest of the world. It’s now second in the all-time carbon pollution list behind the USA.

23 January 2014

Lord Stern: I should have been fiercer in climate change review

By Larry Elliott, The Guardian, 23 January 2014 | Stern is in Davos beating the drum for an organisation called the New Climate Economy, headed by the former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón. Its aim is persuade finance ministers rather than simply environment ministers that tackling climate change should be a top priority. This makes sense. Finance ministers hold the purse strings and dictate economic policy. They are much higher up the political food chain than environment ministers. So what sort of pitch is Stern making? Firstly, governments do not have to make a trade-off between growth and preventing climate change. On the contrary, action to slow global warming could result in a period of “discovery, innovation and investment”.

World Bank Group President: This Is the Year of Climate Action

World Bank, 23 January 2014 | In corporate boardrooms and the offices of CEOs, climate change is a real and present danger. It threatens to disrupt the water supplies and supply chains of companies as diverse as Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil. Rising sea levels and more intense storms put their infrastructure at risk, and the costs will only get worse. CEOs know this. They also know there is opportunity in how they respond. But while there are stand-out leaders, many others are holding back until they have more certainty about what governments will do. This week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called on government leaders to break out of the small steps of business as usual and provide that structure. First, by putting a price on carbon and by having financial regulators require companies and financial institutions to assess their exposure to climate-related risks and disclose it.

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change

By Coral Davenport, New York Times, 23 January 2014 | In the United States, the rich can afford to weigh in. The California hedge-fund billionaire Thomas F. Steyer, who has used millions from his own fortune to support political candidates who favor climate policy, is working with Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former Treasury secretary in the George W. Bush administration, to commission an economic study on the financial risks associated with climate change. The study, titled “Risky Business,” aims to assess the potential impacts of climate change by region and by sector across the American economy. “This study is about one thing, the economics,” Mr. Paulson said in an interview, adding that “business leaders are not adequately focused on the economic impact of climate change.” Also consulting on the “Risky Business” report is Robert E. Rubin, a former Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.

The Silver Bullet Of Climate Change Policy

By Bob Litterman (Kepos Capital) and Gernot Wagner (EDF), Forbes, 23 January 2014 | Everything we know from decades of the study of human behavior would lead us to believe that carbon pollution will go down as the price on emissions increases. The only interesting question is by how much. The prescription then for anyone seriously concerned about climate change is simple: price carbon to the point where its now unpriced damages are incorporated into the price, and get out of the way. It’s simple. It works. It’s conservative to the core. It’s also a silver bullet solution if there ever was one.

Why the cost of carbon pollution is both too high and too low

By Gernot Wagner, EDF, 23 January 2014 | The number originally reached in 2010 wasn’t $40. It was a bit more than half as much. What happened? In short, the scientific understanding of the impacts of rising seas had advanced by so much, and the peer-reviewed, economic models had finally caught up to the scientific understanding circa 2007, that a routine update of the cost of carbon number resulted in the rather dramatic increase to near $40 per ton. (There are twenty pages of additional scientific prose, if you want to know the details.) In other words, we had been seriously underestimating the cost of climate change all along. That’s the exact opposite of what you hear from those who want to ignore the problem, and the $40 itself is still woefully conservative. Some large companies, including the likes of Exxon, are voluntarily using a higher price internally for their capital investment decisions.

Davos: The shifting nature of power and the shifting power of nature

By Kumi Naidoo, Eco-Business, 23 January 2014 | One of the most challenging weeks of my working life starts today: the week of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Over 2,500 Presidents, Prime Minsters, CEOs, Celebrities and Academics with a smattering of civil society, will be holed up in a small and posh mountain resort in Switzerland to discuss, in the words of the WEF, “improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.” At a moment when 20th century power structures, typified by the Davos devotees, try to squeeze the last buck out of a denuded environment and a failing industrial complex, new power structures are emerging, together with new threats, new solutions and new opportunities.

[Australia] CO2 Group calls ‘Timberrr!’ on Direct Action

By Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 23 Januaty 2014 | Yesterday we reported that the long-time chief executive of the CO2 Group, Andrew Grant, would be departing the company. CO2 Group is one of a very small number of Australian listed companies that are focused on the opportunities flowing from the need to reduce carbon emissions. Importantly, CO2 Group are probably one of the best positioned companies (in addition to landfill and coal mine methane power producers) to benefit from government’s Direct Action Emission Reduction Fund. Yet the departure of its chief executive seems to signal a vote of no confidence in the ERF by the board of CO2 Group.

[Cambodia] Military Continues to Cut Down Forest – And Carbon Credits

By Phorn Bopha and Zsombor Peter, The Cambodia Daily, 23 January 2014 | Cambodian soldiers are continuing to cut into community forests in Oddar Meanchey province that are meant to anchor what is intended to be the country’s first forest-based carbon credit trading scheme, local villagers and NGOs said Wednesday. Yan Sna said he and about 50 fellow Banteay Ampil district villagers found four or five armed soldiers using a bulldozer to clear a part of their official community forest on Monday. Mr. Sna said the troops had already cleared about 200 hectares of the forest, whose produce the local community relies on to feed themselves and earn a living. “I asked them why they were doing this and they said their superiors gave them permission to clear the forest,” Mr. Sna said. “I depend very much on collecting mushrooms and firewood here; it will affect many people.”

China approves controversial nitrous dioxide carbon offsets

By Stian Reklev, Reuters, 23 January 2014 | China will allow big emitters to use offset credits from nitrous dioxide (N2O) destruction to meet domestic climate targets, giving its nod to a type of project that has been banned in other carbon markets. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published on Wednesday a list of more than 120 new types of projects eligible to earn carbon credits that can be sold to power generators and manufacturers facing emission caps under China’s fledgling carbon markets. The list included destruction of N2O emissions from the production of adipic acid, a component in nylon, sparking concerns that the market might be flooded with “junk” offsets with limited or no environmental value. “China should ban the use of credits from industrial gas projects, or discount their value,” said Lin Jiaqiao with Beijing-based Greenovation Hub.

EU climate & energy plan diluted by US fracking revolution

By Kieran Cooke, RTCC, 23 January 2014 | On the face of it, this week’s EU climate and energy package, with its targets for cutbacks in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and the uptake of renewable energy up to the year 2030, looks impressive. The central element in the package is a binding EU-wide 40% reduction in GHG emissions over 1990 levels by 2030. Significantly, this has to be achieved “through domestic measures alone” – meaning member states can’t meet emissions reductions obligations by making offsetting GHG cutbacks in other countries… “We have to take into account that the 40% target is the death knell of 2°C and probably much more aligned with 4°C once all the trading/CDM/offsetting scams are factored in”, says Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester in the UK and deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

24 January 2014

Next big idea in forest conservation? Using drones to catch poachers, monitor forests

By Liz Kimbrough, mongabay.com, 24 January 2014 | Koh is an Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide, has authored many prominent scientific publications, and has received numerous professional honors and awards, including a Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship and being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum… “I am a co-founder of ConservationDrones.org which is a nonprofit that seeks to introduce the technology of low cost unmanned aerial vehicles to conservation workers in the tropics. Over the past 2 years, we have been working closely with partners from many parts of the world, including WWF Nepal, Wildlife Institute of India, WCS Belize, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme and the Jane Goodall Institute to bring this technology to the field.”

Turning REDD data into knowledge

Forest Climate Change, 24 January 2014 | The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) has developed a free tool (reegle Tagging API) that automatically tags documents on renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate relevant subjects using consistent, standardized categories across five different languages… Denise Recheis from REEEP talked to ForestsClimateChange.org about their recent expansion of the tool to index REDD+ information. Q: Why did you decide to include REDD+ in the tagging tool? Following our presentation during the Climate Knowledge Brokers event in November, the Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank expressed interest in the tool to categorize and organize their large collection of resources dealing with REDD+ (particularly related to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s web-platform).

Gore Joins UN Backing EU’s 2030 Climate Plan

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 24 January 2014 | United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said the European Union has been unfairly criticized for dropping nationally-binding renewable energy targets. The bloc two days ago proposed to cut greenhouse gas output by 40 percent by 2030 and to boost the share of renewables in its energy mix to 27 percent. While the emissions target would be split into national targets for the 28 member states, the renewables goal wouldn’t be split between them. That’s led to criticism from environmentalists and lobby groups that the EU is retreating from wind and solar power. “I am actually encouraged by what the EU has done, and I think they’ve gotten a little bit of unfair criticism,” Gore said today in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Ban said he agreed with Gore.

Davos highlights business risks of ‘climate complacency’

By Celine Herweijer (PwC), 24 January 2014 | With the heavyweights and luminaries of business, politics, academia and media in town, you can feel the power and influence drip off events like the melting icicles on the eves trying to survive the morning sunshine. The discussions are upbeat this January in Davos – an economy in recovery. But the spring in the step of the CEO’s outlook is tempered by a recognition that there are systemic risks in the global economy which threaten the long-term return to business as usual. climate change is one that is featuring widely. Davos this week has 23 dedicated events over four days on climate change. This prominence reflects the recognition at the top rungs of the Forum that public-private action on climate change has to ramp up in the lead up to reaching the critical 2015 global climate deal.

Climate change and the V-word

By Gillian Tett, Financial Times, 24 January 2014 | But there is an irony here: Trinidad and Tobago is not just a passive victim of climate change but a perpetrator too. Most notably, the nation has offshore oil rigs and ranks 38th in the world in terms of oil production, producing more than Bahrain and Ecuador combined. In terms of carbon emissions per capita, the nation was the fourth worst offender in the world. However, this second point, Hughes discovered, was almost never explicitly acknowledged by politicians; instead, climate change was invariably discussed as something being imposed from beyond. That V-word – “victimhood” – dominated the debate.

In Ethiopia, drawing a “road map” to a carbon-neutral future

By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 24 January 2014 | In this video, CIFOR scientist Habtemariam Kassa examines the challenges facing Ethiopia’s forests as the country grapples with infrastructural expansion, climate and demographic changes, and the government’s goal of having a carbon-neutral economy by 2025. Along the way, the Center for International Forestry Research is assisting the government in creating a “road map” to develop the forestry sector — and to help policymakers “make decisions that matter for people in the forests of Ethiopia,” Kassa said.

Indonesia’s forest communities become “information brokers”

By Harry Surjadi, Forest Climate Change, 24 January 2014 | For the last 15 months, I have been working with the Ruai Citizen Journalist Training Center and AMAN (the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Indonesian Archipelago) in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. We developed the information broker concept as an independent monitoring system for a scheme aiming to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Preparatory REDD+ activities are underway in Indonesia and are affecting local people in various ways (land ownership concerns; who receives REDD+ benefits and how; how free, prior and informed consent may be obtained etc.). Our project aimed to give a voice to these local people and also set up a transparent information sharing service.

[Indonesia] Sumatran elephant upgraded to critically endangered status

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 24 January 2014 | The Sumatran elephant has been placed on the list of critically endangered species after losing half of its population in a single generation, prompting calls from conservation groups for emergency measures to halt the destruction of its habitat. Deforestation is seen as the primary reason for the collapse in numbers in Indonesia, which until recently was seen alongside India and Sri Lanka as one of the last great refuges for elephants in Asia. The animal is now at risk of becoming extinct within decades. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the risk assessment after tracking the loss of 69% of the animal’s habitat over the past 25 years. With their home forests burned, felled or converted to plantations, the wild population has fallen to no more than 2,800.

25 January 2014

26 January 2014

Climate change: Rainforest absorption of CO2 becoming erratic

By Steve Connor, The Independent, 26 January 2014 | Tropical rainforests are becoming less able to cope with rising global temperatures according to a study that has looked back over the way they have responded to variations in temperature in the past half a century. For each 1C rise in temperature, tropical regions now release about 2 billion extra tonnes of carbon-containing gases – such as carbon dioxide and methane – into the atmosphere, compared to the same amount of tropical warming in the 1960s and 1970s, the study found. Rising levels of man-made carbon dioxide could stimulate the growth of tropical vegetation by providing them with extra “carbon fertiliser” but scientists believe this beneficial effect is probably being outweighed by the detrimental impact on forest growth caused by the extra heat and drought resulting from higher CO2 concentrations.

[Guyana] Amaila Falls Access Road less than two miles from completion – Ramotar

Kaieteur News, 26 January 2014 | Addressing media operatives at Office of the President, President Ramotar told reporters that based on his most recent report, the contractors were less than two miles from the Amaila Falls site. The road has been plagued with troubles ever since the contract was handed to Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall’s Synergy Holdings Inc, for the construction of the Amaila Falls Access Road for US$15.4M. Government eventually took that contract from him and subsequently allocated in excess of US$23M in contracts to more than 10 different companies, along with the Forces Account Department of the Ministry of Public Works, in efforts to complete the project.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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