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.
A new film launched today by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, takes a satirical look at how tribes are often destroyed in the name of ‘development’. The 2-minute animation ‘There You Go!’ shows how ‘development’ can rob self-sufficient tribal people of their land, livelihood and pride, and turn them into beggars. In the short film, based on a comic book by author Oren Ginzburg, development experts claim they want to bring ‘sustainable development’ to an imaginary forest-dwelling tribe – who end up destitute, in a slum.
3 February 2014
By McKenzie Funk, Time, 3 February 2014 | The pharmaceutical giant Bayer has made a remarkable — and lucrative — discovery. Allergies are on the rise. The company’s eye-and-nose ointment Bepanthen, already good for more than $200 million in annual sales, could soon be in even higher demand. Bayer mentions this in its annual response to the watchdog CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, which surveys the greenhouse-gas emissions of the world’s largest corporations. The CDP celebrates companies that cut carbon, of course, but also celebrates brutal honesty, awarding prizes and A rankings to those that give a true and full accounting of how climate change could affect their bottom lines. Bayer is a winner on both counts. Though still high, its emissions are down nearly 40% from 1990 levels. And the company is transparent about what it believes a warming world will bring.
By Elga Reyes, Eco-Business, 3 February 2014 | Global beauty and cosmetics firm L’Oreal announced on Thursday its commitment to end deforestation from all its supply chains by 2020 – a move that builds on its pledge towards greater corporate social responsibility made in October last year. Called the ‘Sharing Beauty With All’ sustainability commitment, the company behind brands like Garnier, Maybelline and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, plans to attract one billion new customers while making a positive impact on the world by 2020.
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 February 2014 | In the following, I explore some further thoughts on suitable indicators for forestry and landscapes. These have crystallized through an intensive dialogue over the past year on the need for new partnerships and cross-cutting solutions that are not restricted by sectoral silos, governance layers or political boundaries. The SDG process has, by and large, set out with such ambitions, and signals are strong for constructing an SDG framework that is integrated by design. This constitutes an inherent tension for sectors that traditionally define their goals within an established institutional landscape. The forestry sector is no exception to this, and it will be challenging to refrain from using the sector’s traditional boundaries as a starting point when defining targets and indicators.
By Will Turner, Human Nature – Conservation International Blog, 3 February 2014 | Like many places in the tropics, Borneo is burning — and the consequences are widespread… Though it’s hard to track the number of deaths from these fires and their long-term impacts, airborne particulates from previous fires here were associated with a 5- to 25-fold increase in cases of pneumonia alone, a disease consistently one of the biggest causes of death of both the elderly and young children in the region. Burning forests are not the only health threats to the island’s people. Borneo’s rivers are plied by barges scouring river sediments for gold. The process they use releases tons of mercury into the rivers where families catch fish and practice aquaculture. Mercury contamination damages riparian ecosystems and results in smaller, more toxic catches for thousands who depend on rivers for their food security and livelihoods.
BBC News, 3 February 2014 | The extent of corruption in Europe is “breathtaking” and it costs the EU economy at least 120bn euros (£99bn) annually, the European Commission says. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem has presented a full report on the problem. She said the true cost of corruption was “probably much higher” than 120bn. Three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased… Originally, the report was also supposed to have included a chapter assessing corruption within EU institutions as well as within member states. But that idea was dropped.
By Ari Phillips, ThinkProgress, 3 February 2014 | Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change due to its location, population and environmental degradation. According to a 2013 report from the Asian Development Bank, Pakistan has one month of water supply on hand. The recommended amount is 1,000 days. 80 percent of Pakistan’s agriculture relies on irrigation from the overstressed water system… Deforestation is not an easy problem to address. Each of Pakistan’s five provinces has its own deforestation laws. There is a strong timber mafia that has a hold over many local and timber officials. And recently a shortage of natural gas for heating and cooking has led to an increase in the country’s middle-class cutting down trees for energy use. Pakistan’s population has more than quadrupled since it was founded in 1947, and the country now has an estimated 180 million residents.
4 February 2014
By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 4 February 2014 | The U.K. achieved its first national carbon budget and target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol treaty, according to final data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. British output of the six gases regulated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol averaged 604.5 megatons a year from 2008 through 2012, the department said today in a report on its website. That’s 22.5 percent less than in 1990, the base year, and compares with a goal of a 12.5 percent cut. Emissions were 36.3 megatons below a five-year cap set by the nation’s first binding carbon budget. The figures show Britain is complying with international and domestic commitments to fight climate change. The U.K. has pushed for the European Union to apply more ambitious emissions reduction targets as countries craft a new worldwide agreement in 2015 to replace Kyoto from 2020 onwards.
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 February 2014 | Rather than slowing down with age, trees grow faster as they get larger, new research shows — which means they also absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, a finding that could have implications for the management of forests with old-growth stands. A paper, Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size, published earlier this month in the journal Nature, found that a single older, larger tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as is contained in an entire mid-sized tree. While the report’s findings might seem counterintuitive, they are not entirely surprising, says Louis Verchot, director of forests and environment research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
By Helen Davidson, The Guardian, 4 February 2014 | Fallout from the federal government’s request to Unesco to remove 74,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest from world heritage listing has erupted into a war of words and pictures over the status of the disputed land. On Friday the Coalition announced it would follow through on an election commitment to request a rollback of last year’s 170,000 hectare extension of world heritage listed forest. The final proposal sought to delist a smaller area of 74,000 hectares but was met with strong opposition from environmental groups, the Tasmanian state government and representatives of the timber industry. A spokesman for the environment minister, Greg Hunt, told Guardian Australia the delisting sought to remove areas from the world heritage extension that the government considers “detract from the overall outstanding universal value of the property and diminish its overall integrity”.
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 4 February 2014 | The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced US$14.55 million funding for the Ghanaian project ‘Engaging Local Communities in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) /Enhancement of Carbon Stocks,’ which benefits from the support from the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) Forest Investment Program (FIP). The project aims to support REDD+ in the Western and Brong Ahafo regions of Ghana. It will restore degraded forests, promote climate-smart agroforestry and cocoa production, and establish woodlots for charcoal production. The project targets the participation of local communities in REDD+. Supported activities will include capacity building, the provision of seeds and equipment, and financial incentives for agroforestry, forestry and alternative livelihoods.
Stabroek News, 4 February 2014 | The Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources will not pursue disciplinary measures against Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud over his neglect to reveal the granting of a permit to Muri Brasil Ventures Inc for surveying in the New River Triangle area. Following the disclosure of Persaud’s granting of the Permission for Geo-graphical and Geophysical Survey (PGGS) in the ecologically-sensitive area, the lack of transparency over the deal was several criticized.
By Jon Austin, Southend Standard, 4 February 2014 | A company boss accused of conning investors out of £1.6million through a “carbon credits” scam flew out to tell clients face to face he lost their money. Matthew Ames, 38, from Goldfinch Lane, Thundersley, told Isleworth Crown Court he flew to Prague and the Republic of Ireland to tell investors their money was gone after the Financial Services Authority forced him to liquidate the firms in March 2011… He denies two counts of fraudulent trading in connection with The Investor Club and Forestry for Life he ran from a converted farm barn in Dunton Road, Laindon… Ames admitted he “jumped the gun” in telling an investor he had purchased land in Brazil to protect rainforest to generate carbon credits. The court heard he told John Ferguson he had bought the land “out of his own funds”. When later quizzed proof he said he only had an “option” to buy it but this fell through.
5 February 2014
By Ilaria Bertini, Blue and Green Tomorrow, 5 February 2014 | Developed and developing countries need to join forces in order to reduce emissions from land use and halve deforestation by 2020, but this would cost up to $12 billion (£7.4 billion). The findings appear in a report released on Monday by the Interim Forest Finance Project – a coalition formed by the Global Canopy Programme, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, Fauna & Flora International and the UNEP Finance Initiative. It warns that rich countries participating to the so-called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) scheme are reducing emissions by 3%, leaving the hard work to developing countries where forests are located.
By Medilyn Manibo, Eco-Business, 5 February 2014 | A new report by the Interim Forest Finance Project has called on the international community to inject US$12 billion to stimulate demand for the flagging global REDD+ initiative under the United Nations. The report, launched by Global Canopy Programme (GCP), the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and UNEP Finance Initiative on Friday, calls on governments, donor agencies and financial institutions to significantly increase the finance available to stimulate demand for emission reductions and meet the supply generated by REDD+ projects which are already helping reduce deforestation.
By Ganesh Paudel, Republica, 5 February 2014 | Whether we will really benefit from REDD is a matter of doubt. Our responsibility at this time is to conduct discussions and researches about REDD and carbon sequestration in community forests. The more pragmatically we present the data, the higher our chances of getting REDD payment. There are several unsettled issues regarding REDD, both at the national and international levels. At the international level, issues like trade option, permanence of carbon and avoidance of leakage, rights of indigenous people (who are the conservers of forest), baseline selection, accounting for emission, etc are unsettled. At the national level, social and governance issues like benefit sharing, corruption, identification of potential areas and organizational management are emerging.
6 February 2014
By Joji Cariño (Forest Peoples Programme), CNN, 6 February 2014 | At the end of last October, Elisa Lascoña Tulid was shot at point blank range in front of her husband and four-year-old daughter. She died as the result of retaliation for daring to defend the rights of her people to the lands where they live and farm in the Philippines’ Quezon Province. Her story was not unique in 2013, nor was it limited to the Philippines. In Thailand, assassins reportedly killed Prajob Nao-opas after he demanded a clean-up of dangerous industrial toxins that were polluting farming communities in Chachoengsao Province. In Colombia, gunmen killed Adelinda Gómez Gaviria, who led a campaign against a gold mine that was damaging her community’s farmland. Pedro César García Moreno, another Colombian leader, was shot, likely for his role in resisting yet another mining operation. The murders of these community leaders took place against a backdrop of an inexorable grab for land in tropical forest regions…
By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 6 February 2014 | Progress toward securing the land rights of forest communities has slowed around the world, with some hard-won gains threatening to be rolled back in some countries even as others see advances, forest experts said this week. In Indonesia, for instance, the country’s constitutional court last year annulled an effort by the government to claim ownership of traditionally indigenous-controlled forests, and the president promised to put the ruling into practice, changes seen as important victories. But in Brazil, the growing political clout of big soybean farmers means pressure is growing to weaken protections for indigenous reserves in the Amazon forest and to allow some forest land to be used for agriculture, said Raul Silva Telles do Valle, policy and rights coordinator at Brazil’s Instituto Socioambiental.
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 6 February 2014 | An ambitious plan to save the world’s tropical forests by valuing them for the carbon the store may fail to reduce deforestation unless governments and multilateral institutions significantly scale up financial commitments to the program, argues a new report published by the Global Canopy Programme, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, Fauna & Flora International, and UNEP Finance Initiative.
By Stanley Reed, New York Times, 6 February 2014 | European Union lawmakers moved on Thursday to support the bloc’s system for trading carbon-emission permits, hoping to revive Europe’s flagging effort to take a market-incentives approach to reducing greenhouse gases. The officials voted 306 to 276 to quickly put into effect a plan to stimulate the trading system by reducing the number of carbon allowances either sold in auctions or given to big carbon polluters. Europe’s market for trading carbon permits is by far the world’s most ambitious effort of its type. The permits essentially give holders the right to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks. But prices for the permits have been so low that they give industries little incentive to stop burning coal and switch to cleaner forms of energy. The aim of the new move is to reduce the glut of carbon credits that have been depressing prices on the market known as the Emissions Trading System, or E.T.S.
International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), 6 February 2014 | Emissions trading continues to spread around the world, and 2013 was a record year: in total, nine new emissions trading schemes (ETS) started operation worldwide. Five of these new systems are in China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. These Chinese pilot schemes on the metropolitan and provincial levels are planned as a prelude to a transition to emissions trading on the national level; a policy innovation for a country that has traditionally relied on more command and control measures such as bans and standards… “This report represents a unique assembly of information and analysis on where various jurisdictions around the world stand with their emissions trading systems (ETS)” said Constanze Haug, ICAP Project Manager, upon the release.
7 February 2014
By Liz Kimbrough, mongabay.com, 7 February 2014 | Much of Dr. Corey Bradshaw’s work has a singular aim: to keep primary habitats and functioning ecosystems intact. According to Bradshaw, the existing system of carbon trading rules needs to be changed so that primary forests are given a higher value than other forms of land use. “Nothing,” Bradshaw told mongabay.com “can replace primary vegetation, both in terms of biodiversity value and other ecosystem services.” He adds that, “while certainly not ‘innovative’ in terms of concepts, there has yet to be designed a globally effective financial incentive to protect existing forests of sufficient magnitude and quality to preserve biodiversity.”
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 7 February 2014 | In one of the most dangerous regions of the planet, against all odds, a huge yet mysterious population of chimpanzees appears to be thriving – for now. Harboured by the remote and pristine forests in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and on the border of the Central African Republic, the chimps were completely unknown until recently – apart from the local legends of giant apes that ate lions and howled at the moon. But researchers who trekked thousands of kilometres through uncharted territory and dodged armed poachers and rogue militia, now believe the group are one of the last thriving chimp “mega-cultures”. “This is one of the few places left on Earth with a huge continuous population of chimps,” says Cleve Hicks, a primatologist based at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who says the group is probably the largest in Africa. “We estimate many thousands of individuals, perhaps tens of thousands.”
Global Times, 7 February 2014 | Myanmar and Norway are seeking cooperation in environmental conservation sector, state-media reported Friday. The Letter of Intent was signed between Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry of Myanmar and Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway, in Nay Pyi Taw, said the New Light of Myanmar. Both sides mainly discussed on preservation of biodiversity and forests in Myanmar, water resources preservation and water resources administration in Sittoung and Bago river basins, preservation of Inlay Lake. Moreover, cooperation for putting it into world heritage list, implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), promoting cooperation with NGOs in environmental conservation tasks, development and poverty alleviation schemes were also covered by their discussions.
8 February 2014
9 February 2014
By Denis Sonwa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 February 2014 | Deforestation in Central Africa’s Congo Basin is lower than the average rate across Africa — but that is not likely to hold true for long, according to two recent papers that enable a better understanding of past trends while looking to the future. One of the papers explains the history of deforestation trends in the Congo Basin in comparison with other parts of the African continent and the world. In State and evolution of the African rainforests between 1990 and 2010, Mayaux et al. observed that the Congo Basin hosts 90 percent of the continent’s rainforest and contributes to half of annual deforestation of Africa’s tropical forests. But the annual deforestation rate in the Congo Basin is three times and nine times lower, respectively, than that of West Africa and Madagascar, Africa’s two other main tropical forest regions.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.