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REDD in the news: 31 March – 6 April 2014

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REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, organised by date with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

[Brazil] RMDLT Portel-Pará REDD Project

Carbon Credit Capital, April 2014 | RMDLT protects a threatened area of the Amazon rainforest approximately 177,000 hectares in size, or about the area of Houston. This will prevent around 44 million tons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere over the project’s lifetime. The area is under threat from illegal loggers who create access points for ranchers to clear cut the forest. To prevent such logging the project employs local community members to patrol the forest. RMDLT works with the local community of 130 families to provide sustainable jobs that avoid deforestation, clean cook stoves to reduce emissions and improve indoor air quality, grants them legal land-use rights, and provides a trust fund for sustainable business plans. Additionally, the project provides land-use management training to ranchers in the region to prevent them from degrading the soil in already cleared areas – a lead driver for deforestation.

31 March 2014

How to assess what people want from REDD

By Maryanne Grieg-Gran, International Institute for Environment and Development, 31 March 2014 | If national and local REDD+ programmes close off land and resource use options for such communities, and do not include equitable systems to share benefits with them, the social consequences will be very negative. But this will also threaten the achievement of environmental and climate mitigation objectives as new problems could arise in the future. Deforestation and forest degradation could be displaced to other areas and projects could end prematurely, reversing any forest conservation gains. Therefore, for REDD+ programmes and projects to succeed they must understand — and address — people’s concerns about how REDD+ will affect their livelihoods. They must also provide benefits in the form that these people most value.

Equity remains low on the REDD policy agenda

By Imogen Badgery-Parker, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 31 March 2014 | Government officials in forest-rich developing countries are more concerned about their nation being treated fairly in international negotiations on REDD than about fairness within their own territory, a media analysis of public discourses on REDD has found. REDD — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation — is a U.N.-backed international mechanism that provides developing countries with financial incentives to keep their trees standing and hence maintain and increase carbon stocks. Officials’ failure to address the issues that weaken fairness, or equity, within a country with entrenched inequalities could ultimately undermine the effectiveness of REDD and leave marginalized groups worse off, argue the authors of “Equity and REDD in the media: A comparative analysis of policy discourses.”

IPCC report: War, famine and pestilence – ‘Climate change is happening and no one in the world is immune’

By Steve Connor, The Independent, 31 March 2014 | The negative effects of climate change are already beginning to be felt in every part of the world and yet countries are ill-prepared for the potentially immense impacts on food security, water supplies and human health, a major report has concluded. In the most comprehensive study yet into the effects of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that global warming could undermine economic growth and increase poverty. Scientists identified Britain as one of the countries most at risk from some of the more immediate negative effects of climate change, with the UK and northern Europe warned to expect increased coastal and inland flooding, heatwaves and droughts.

Exxon warns global warming targets ‘unlikely’ to be met

By Ed Crooks, Financial Times, 31 March 2014 | ExxonMobil, the US oil group, said it was “highly unlikely” that the world would cut greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to keep global warming within the internationally agreed limit of 2C. In two reports on the implications of climate change for its business published on Monday, Exxon rejected suggestions that policies to cut emissions would leave many of its oil and gas assets “stranded” – incapable of being profitably developed.

Can you make gasoline that slows down global warming? Google Ventures thinks so

By Ben Popper, The Verge, 31 March 2014 | Cool Planet, a startup headquartered in Colorado, announced a major $100 million round of financing today. Investors include a roster of big names including Google Ventures, BP, General Electric, and ConocoPhillips. Last month the company broke ground on its first commercial plant, located in Louisiana, and this new capital will go towards completing that infrastructure and building two more Louisiana facilities. Like many biofuels companies before it, Cool Planet makes liquid fuel from plant matter, mostly leftover agricultural waste like corn cobs and sugar canes. Its insight was that during this process it could also create biochar, a substance that comes from burning plants under extreme heat and pressure with little to no oxygen. The biochar prevents carbon dioxide from escaping as the plants decay and can be spread on farmland, helping the soil retain water and nutrients, boosting crop yields.

Greenpeace report on P&G’s palm oil sources could spur industry change

By Erica Gies, The Guardian, 31 March 2014 | Could Procter & Gamble taking steps to clean up its palm oil sourcing practices set an example for others to follow? Greenpeace thinks so. The NGO is using the lever of P&G’s big name in an attempt to spur industry-wide change in the sourcing of palm oil. The campaign group recently concluded a year-long investigation into P&G’s supply chain, looking at the source of the palm oil the multinational uses as an ingredient in its household brands such as Head & Shoulders shampoo and Gillette shaving gel. Greenpeace also launched a petition, since signed by more than 300,000 consumers globally, calling on P&G to improve its practices. “If a well known company like Procter & Gamble can show leadership to clean up supply chains, we expect other companies will follow,” said Bustar Maitar, global head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia Forest Campaign.

REDD Bonds For Brazil – And The World

By Rupert Edwards, Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 March 2014 | Norway, Germany, the UK and the US drew headlines at December climate talks in Warsaw last year when they unveiled a new financing mechanism designed to help small developing countries – as well as individual states within larger ones – save endangered rainforests. It works by promoting climate-safe agriculture, and its funding will be quoted in tons of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. Technically, that makes it a “REDD+” initiative, but it’s not an offsetting mechanism. That means it won’t tap into the vast pools of private funding from companies looking to reduce their carbon footprints. It is, however, typical of the “payments for performance” that governments seem willing to endorse without reservations – and that makes it something you can take to the banks, meaning borrow against, which is something you can’t yet say about offsetting.

[Brazil] Uncontacted Indians ‘abandoned to their fate’ as loggers and drug smugglers invade

Survival International, 31 March 2014 | Survival International warned today that the uncontacted Amazon Indians recently photographed from the air have been abandoned to their fate after drug smugglers and illegal loggers overran a government post that had been monitoring the Indians’ territory. The Indians, near the Xinane river in Brazil’s Acre State, are just over the border from Peru, where activists have long denounced the scale of illegal logging in isolated Indians’ territories. The recently-photographed group also faces a serious threat from a road reportedly built into the area by the Acre state government – regional indigenous organizations have said this could devastate the uncontacted Indians on the Xinane River. Previous road-building projects in the Amazon have wiped out countless tribes.

[Guyana] Annai now able to measure forest carbon

Stabroek News, 31 March 2014 | Annai is one of several Amerindian communities which are now able to measure the carbon contained in their forests and the north Rupununi village hopes to become the first community to join a scheme under the Guyana-Norway partnership and receive funds for protecting its forests. “The north Rupununi communities are probably the only communities that are ready to opt in,” Chief Executive Officer of the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) Ivor Marslow told Stabroek News. Over the past two years, the 16 communities of the north Rupununi have been implementing the first Community Monitoring, Reporting & Verification (CMRV) project in Guyana, which, among other activities, quantified the amount of carbon in the biomass of the communities. [R-M; Subscription needed.]

[USA] Lower Power Bills For Nearly 12 million Californians

By Bob Moffitt, Capital Public Radio, 31 March 2014 | Utilities bought or were given carbon credits last year under California’s cap and trade system. Those that increased their supply of green energy had fewer emissions. That meant they had more credits to sell on the cap and trade market. The billion dollars in sales will go to rate payers for investor-owned utilities. Edward Randolph with the California Public Utilities Commission says the amount of the discount depends on the progress each utility made toward using more green energy. “PG&E’s customers’ credits will be a little bit lower because PG&E starts with a fairly clean portfolio where some other smaller utilities, the credit is much higher because they had a higher dependence on coal in the past.” Customers of Liberty Utilities, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric and Pacific Power will also receive the credit.

1 April 2014

Deforestation of sandy soils a greater threat to climate change

By Kevin Dennehy, Yale News, 1 April 2014 | Deforestation may have far greater consequences for climate change in some soils than in others, according to new research led by Yale University scientists — a finding that could provide critical insights into which ecosystems must be managed with extra care because they are vulnerable to biodiversity loss and which ecosystems are more resilient to widespread tree removal. In a comprehensive analysis of soil collected from 11 distinct U.S. regions, from Hawaii to northern Alaska, researchers found that the extent to which deforestation disturbs underground microbial communities that regulate the loss of carbon into the atmosphere depends almost exclusively on the texture of the soil. The results were published in the journal Global Change Biology.

How The REDD Community Leverages Online Learning To Protect Our Forests And Reduce Carbon Emissions

By Breen Byrnes (WWF), Huffington Post, 1 April 2014 | Last year, as part of our work in supporting REDD , we launched an online learning platform called REDD Community. REDD is a complex, constantly changing topic, and we realized that the diverse people working on this topic would benefit from having a central place to find the latest information and learn and share with others. REDD Community is designed as a collective learning tool for REDD practitioners around the world — all organizations, government agencies, and international bodies who want to establish partnerships and contribute their expertise in an online information sharing environment.

UNFCCC Releases Workshop Summary on Ecosystems with High-carbon Reservoirs

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 1 April 2014 | The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat has published a report of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) workshop on technical and scientific aspects of ecosystems with high-carbon reservoirs not covered by other agenda items under the Convention, held on 24–25 October 2013, in Bonn, Germany. The report presents information provided by scientific experts, government representatives, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and international and regional research programmes and organizations on such aspects, including coastal marine ecosystems, in the context of wider mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Can military decentralization tactics bring innovation to conservation?

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 April 2014 | Conservation programs must be better able to respond to the growing and often “complex” challenges associated with preserving the world’s forests and protecting livelihoods by looking to other sectors, such as the military, for new and innovative solutions, according to a recent report. “Looking at complex systems and their associated ‘wicked problems’ has been a focus of research in various fields including mathematics, computing, psychology, knowledge management, military studies and business studies,” said Edward Game, conservation planning specialist for The Nature Conservancy and lead author of the paper Conservation in a wicked complex world: Challenges and solutions. “The challenges that complexity pose for military engagement are often similar to those that arise in conservation,” he said.

The Next Big Thing You Missed: How We Can Manufacture Forests Like Toyota Makes Cars

By Marcus Wohlsen, Wired, 1 April 2014 | For a young industrial engineer, Shubhendu Sharma couldn’t have landed a gig much sweeter than Toyota. As the originator of “just-in-time production,” Toyota pioneered the lean manufacturing movement that helped make it a dominant global automaker. But when a venerable Japanese forestry expert visited the company’s Bangalore factory to plant some greenery, Sharma was captivated by the idea of engineering a new kind of efficiency. He wondered if Toyota’s wildly successful strategy for quickly and efficiently making cars could be applied to growing trees. The result is a startup called Afforestt.

DRC logging is out of control as Chatham House study lays bare

By Raoul Monsembula, Greenpeace International, 1 April 2014 | Almost all of the logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo is illegal, says a new report by the UK-based think tank, Chatham House. Though the figure of 87% is a startling one, it is not surprising for those of us here at Greenpeace who have been working on forestry issues in the Congo Basin. We welcome the findings of the study as they underpin and reinforce much of the work we have been doing, along with organisations like Global Witness and local NGOs, to combat what is the “organised chaos” of the DRC’s logging sector. Of the experts Chatham House interviewed for the study, the bulk said that between 60 and 80 per cent of logging in the country is estimated to be illegal. This is the highest proportion of any of the countries researched.

Carbon market ‘hot air’ undermining EU’s climate strategy

By Ed King, RTCC, 1 April 2014 | Billions of excess carbon allowances are undermining Europe’s emissions trading scheme and its efforts to address climate change. That’s the finding of the Sandbag Climate Campaign, a London-based NGO which has calculated that over 2 billion excess carbon credits are now floating around the EU-ETS, driving down prices and reducing penalties for carbon polluters. Sluggish economic growth in the EU means demand for allowances is low, with 2013 verified emissions falling below the EU’s annual ‘cap’ for the fifth consecutive year. Without any Europe-wide efforts to cancel these outstanding permits, Sandbag’s head of policy Damian Morris says they are likely to accumulate until 2020.

2 April 2014

Climate change: we must terminate this market madness

By Andrew Simms, The Guardian, 2 April 2014 | Trusting that some vague notion of the market will come to save us is deeply misguided. That is partly why, perversely, the very industries that pose the greatest threat in terms of climate change would never rely on it. If the UN’s estimate of $30bn a year sounds a lot to help protect tropical forests, it’s worth remembering that an amount 63 times greater goes in subsidy alone to the fossil fuel sector globally. Already this year thick clouds of smoke from forest fires in Indonesia are filling the air of major cities. These add to a huge human death toll from pollution-linked respiratory problems just as they also signal how we are compromising tropical forests that are the lungs of the world. It’s a problem pushed by market mechanisms. If Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to give advice on tackling fires at home, he could set an even better example by making sure his investments don’t metaphorically pour petrol on them abroad.

Gauging the impact of tropical forest logging: Winrock develops new method for quantifying carbon emissions

Science Codex, 2 April 2014 | Researchers at Winrock International have developed a first-of-its-kind method for estimating carbon emissions from forest degradation caused by selective logging in tropical regions. Refined over a period of 15 years and tested in six countries, the approach is highlighted in an article authored by Winrock’s Ecosystems Services experts, Timothy Pearson, Sandra Brown and Felipe Casarim — published April 1 in Environmental Research Letters. Until now, efforts for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in developing countries have focused on deforestation, which has proven, robust methods for estimating associated carbon emissions. In contrast, there are no well-established methods for estimating carbon emissions associated with forest degradation.

[Australia] Tasmania set to allow logging in areas previously protected by peace deal

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 2 April 2014 | Tasmania’s new Liberal government is set to outline an expansion of logging in areas earmarked for protection, despite the forestry industry voicing its support for the peace deal that set out the reserves. Will Hodgman, the Tasmanian premier, is expected to unveil the government’s alternative plan to the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, or TFA, within the next week. The new plan may allow for an escalation of logging in areas of forest due to be set aside for protection under the agreement. The Liberals have vowed to tear up the peace deal, which was struck between loggers, environmentalists and the previous government to end decades of conflict over the state’s forests.

[EU] Frankfurt prosecutors charge two in carbon fraud case

Point Carbon, 2 April 2014 | Frankfurt prosecutors on Wednesday said they have brought charges against two British citizens for tax fraud amounting to 31 million euros ($42.76 million) involving carousel trading of European Union carbon emissions certificates. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Protestors call for the release of Papuan political prisoners in Indonesia

Survival International, 2 April 2014 | Around 100 protestors demonstrated today outside the Indonesian embassy in London to call for the unconditional and immediate release of all Papuan political prisoners. 76 of the protestors were handcuffed and had their mouths taped shut to represent the 76 political prisoners currently being held in Indonesian prisons. The protest was organized by Tapol, Survival International, Amnesty International and the Free West Papua Campaign. According to data from Papuans Behind Bars, the number of political arrests more than doubled in 2013 compared to the previous year, and reports of torture and ill treatment of political detainees have increased. West Papua’s tribal people continue to be arrested for peaceful activities and are often charged with treason or incitement, which can carry lengthy prison sentences.

[Indonesia] No agreement on concession maps at ASEAN haze meeting

By Woo Sian Boon, Today, 2 April 2014 | The 16th sub-regional ministerial steering committee meeting between ASEAN’s environment minsters concluded this afternoon (April 2) in Brunei with the impasse on the sharing of concession maps still not breached. A joint statement released after the meeting said that countries have been urged to share hotspot areas that cause transboundary haze on a government-to-government basis instead. Speaking to Singapore media after the meeting, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan described the meeting as “tough”, with “many contentious moments” as each of the five countries discussed solutions to tackle the transboundary haze that has plagued the region annually.

The Fight to Save Indonesia’s Forests

By Dana Maclean, The Diplomat, 2 April 2014 | Amidst rapidly accelerating countrywide deforestation in Indonesia, indigenous Dayak communities in Borneo, Central Kalimantan, are fighting to stave off oil palm plantations from clearing their traditional forests. In the face of national economic development plans to expedite the mono-crop oil palm business, one community continues to stand strong despite fears that they are waging a losing war. “Our struggle has not been easy. Our village is being ambushed, and we feel surrounded on all sides now,” says Anang Sugitu, 47, the village secretary for Gohong village, roughly two hundred kilometers from Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan.

[USA] JustGreen Helps National Parks Conservation Association Offset their Carbon Footprint

JustGreen press release, 2 April 2014 | JustGreen Lifestyle, a Just Energy Group Inc. (NYSE/TSX: JE) brand and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) are currently partners in an effort to help preserve our national parks and promote greener travel. As part of the partnership, JustGreen Lifestyle has donated carbon credits to offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the operation of NPCA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. You can learn more about calculating greenhouse gas emissions offsets at the EPA Clean Energy Calculator.To further support efforts to reduce climate change, JustGreen Lifestyle has recently launched Green Your Park Travel products for NPCA members and the general public, which will enable them to offset the carbon emissions associated with their travel to and from our national parks. JustGreen will donate 5 percent of every carbon offset product purchased to support NPCA’s efforts to reduce air and climate pollution…

3 April 2014

Climate change will ‘lead to battles for food’, says head of World Bank

By Larry Elliott, The Guardian, 3 April 2014 | Battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to 10 years as a result of climate change, the president of the World Bank said as he urged those campaigning against global warming to learn the lessons of how protesters and scientists joined forces in the battle against HIV. Jim Yong Kim said it was possible to cap the rise in global temperatures at 2C but that so far there had been a failure to replicate the “unbelievable” success of the 15-year-long coalition of activists and scientists to develop a treatment for HIV. The bank’s president – a doctor active in the campaign to develop drugs to treat HIV – said he had asked the climate change community: “Do we have a plan that’s as good as the plan we had for HIV?” The answer, unfortunately, was no.

Will there be enough food? Thoughts on the IPCC WGII report

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 April 2014 | The IPCC’s Working Group II report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability was released earlier this week. A major effort by a group of over 300 scientists, this is one of the most important studies for all of us concerned with the future of humanity. The report is important for several reasons: It reconfirms that human-induced climate change is increasingly affecting us, and that the evidence is considerably stronger than before. It creates a platform for finance and action to adapt to the changes. It suggests that climate change adaptation is a matter of managing risks and changes to risks associated with climate variability and long-term climatic changes. This last point is important. All human enterprises carry some elements of risk and the report focuses on how climate change will create both unique risks and changes to other sources of risk in different environmental services and economic sectors…

Knotty problems? There are solutions

By Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace Canada, 3 April 2014 | I have a saying: when you have a knotty problem, widen the circle of brains working on it and see what happens. Often this means collaborating with others that have seemingly divergent interests. But solutions will undoubtedly emerge. The market for wood and paper products is fiercely competitive these days. With a shrinking demand for paper products due to digitalization, changes in market demand due to events like the US housing crisis, and growing global wood fibre players like Brazil and Russia competing with Canadian forest products, companies must walk a tightrope through this landscape to succeed.

UN Tells Oil, Gas Industry to Leave Fuel in Ground

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 3 April 2014 | In a world that has never produced so much oil and gas, the United Nations is seeking to persuade producers they need to leave three-quarters of their reserves in the ground and explore cleaner energy to combat climate change. “The fossil fuels we do use must be utilized sparingly and responsibly,” Christiana Figueres, UN climate chief, said in the copy of a prepared speech to the industry. “Three-quarters of the fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground.” The UN is seeking to enlist industry support to cut carbon emissions as 194 countries stewarded by Figueres work to devise a new treaty to fight climate change by the end of next year. UN scientists said in September that the world since the industrial revolution has already emitted more than half the carbon that’s compatible with keeping temperature gains within a safe range.

Oil industry can be ‘solution’ to climate change says Figueres

By Ed King, RTCC, 3 April 2014 | The UN’s climate chief has appealed to the oil and gas industry to become the solution rather than the problem to addressing the causes of global warming. In a speech today at the London headquarters of IPIECA, the industry’s association for environmental and social issues, Christiana Figueres said she wanted fossil fuel companies to drive investments in renewables and technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide. “We need, and are undoubtedly moving towards a new, sustainable energy mix. What is exciting is that the oil and gas industry can actually be part of the solution,” she said. Figueres told the audience of oil executives a “stark reality check” awaited fossil fuel companies who ignored the problem, citing the ‘carbon bubble’ concept of fossil fuel reserves that cannot be used if the planet is to avoiding heating to dangerous levels.

China’s Shenzhen issues 2014 carbon permits

By Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev, Reuters, 3 April 2014 | Authorities in China’s southern city of Shenzhen, China’s oldest carbon market, said on Thursday they had issued around 30 million carbon permits for the 2014 compliance year to participants in its emissions trading scheme. The market, launched last June, regulates carbon dioxide emissions from more than 630 local companies as part of China’s efforts to rein in rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions. The issue of permits for the current calendar year ensures trading can continue, as China’s emission markets only allow spot trading. The Shenzhen government said last year it would issue a total of around 100 million permits for the period from 2013 to 2015, although some of them would be held in government reserves to supply new facilities and damp sudden price spikes.

[China] Hubei’s carbon exchange starts trading

Eco-Busines, 3 April 2014 | Hubai Province became the sixth Chinese area to launch a carbon market yesterday as China deepens efforts to use market mechanism to slow a rapid growth in emissions and energy use. The China Hubei Emission Exchange traded 510,000 tonnes of carbon allowances at 21 yuan (US$3.38) each yesterday, the lowest among China’s existing carbon markets. Twenty-two companies, including Hubei Energy Group and PetroChina, were involved in 19 trades yesterday.

REDD Pledges Delivering In Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

By Ramiro Escobar, Forest Carbon Portal, 3 April 2014 | Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2013 report found that 80% of the world’s REDD (Reduced greenhouse gas Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) credits originated in Latin America during 2012, and that Brazil leads the region in funding commitments to REDD. Beyond that, however, the funding picture has always been a bit nebulous. Until now. Forest Trends’ REDDX Initiative has been following REDD+ finance in 14 countries – six of them Latin American. It finds that, out of $111,334,638 pledged to those three Latin American countries, $54,052,851 – or nearly half – has been delivered to date. “It surprised everyone,” says Marta Echavarria of Ecuador’s EcoDecision, an organization specializing in ecosystem services markets.

Ethiopia Luanches [sic] Project To Support Efforts To Reduce Emissions

Bernama, 3 April 2014 | A project aimed at supporting Ethiopia’s REDD (Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation) Monitoring, Reporting and Validation (MRV) activities has been launched here. The two-year project, being carried out with the co-operation of various German organisations, will help to get high resolution satellite images to measure the carbon absorption capacity of forests. The satellite images will help scientists to know the storage capacity of the forest of 900,000 hectares of land in all parts of the country. The information gathered from those images will help Ethiopia access the carbon trade, a mechanism allowing the offset of emissions in developed countries by the investment in emission reduction projects in developing countries.

EU ‘unhappy’ climate change is off G20 agenda

The Australian, 3 April 2014 | Europe is unhappy with Australia’s decision to drop climate change from the G20 agenda and is lobbying the Abbott government to reconsider. European Union officials say Australia has become completely “disengaged” on climate change since Tony Abbott was elected in September last year. They are disappointed with the Prime Minister’s approach, saying Australia was considered an important climate change player under Labor. One well-placed EU official has likened the change to “losing an ally”. The EU has a long-running emissions trading scheme which was going to be linked to Australia’s market. But Mr Abbott has pledged to scrap the carbon price in favour of his direct action policy. Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan. “You have a huge amount of scientists and economists saying the direct action policy isn’t going to work,” the official, who did not want to be named, said in the Belgian capital Brussels this week.

Open letter from Oil Palm Smallholders Union (SPKS) and Sawit Watch (SW) to the governments of Indonesia and the European Union concerning the gaps between the theory, global strategy, and practices of the sustainable palm oil

SPKS, 3 April 2014 | SPKS and Sawit Watch take note that Indonesia’s February 2014 trade balance still recorded outstanding export performance of crude palm oil (CPO), with the European Union as main export destination… Sustainable Palm Oil is renowned familiar catchphrase of all palm oil stakeholders including the governments, business actors, palm oil producers, and the markets. Regardless of the battles of each lobbying group towards sustainable palm oil trade, they end up bubble talks if there is no binding commitment to improve the circumstances in the upstream level.

International boiler room gang – based in Spain – handed combined sentence of more than 50 years

By Imogen Calderwood, The Olive Press, 3 April 2014 | A Spanish boiler room conman has been handed 10 years in prison, for his role in a transatlantic investment fraud scheme. American lawyer Lawrence S. Hartman, a friend of Costa del Sol’s notorious missing conman Nigel Goldman, was sentenced at a court in Florida this week. He is the last in the group of well-known fraudsters, who swindled nearly €100 million out of their victims, to be sentenced. Hartman, along with British co-conspirators Paul Gunter, Richard Pope and Simon Odoni (pictured), engaged in a boiler room scheme that involved selling worthless stock to their victim investors. The trio were earlier handed a combined sentence of more than 42 years in July 2013.

[UK] Boiler room fraudster given extra jail time for failing to pay £1m

By William Robins, New Model Adviser, 3 April 2014 | A boiler room fraudster has been headed [sic] an extra four years in jail for a scam that took in £1.3 million, for failing to pay a £1 million confiscation order. James Muir Baird, from Braintree in Essex, was originally sentenced to five years and six months’ imprisonment in November 2011, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud, in a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Baird was the main beneficiary and organiser of a fraud that used high-pressure sales tactics techniques to promote worthless share bonds in non-trading companies pretending they were shares in Chinese commodities firms… Baird was ordered in August 2012 to pay a confiscation order of £1,365,168, of which £1,178,850 was to be paid in compensation to victims, within six months or face further imprisonment. Canterbury Magistrates’ court has now extended his sentence.

4 April 2014

[Australia] MP urges farmers to store carbon

South Coast Register, 4 April 2014 | Local farmers can play a role in reducing carbon emissions, according to Gilmore Ann Sudmalis. “Removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the land increases the soil’s organic carbon,” Mrs Sudmalis said, referring to soil carbon sequestration. The result is an increase in farm productivity, adding soil nutrients and helping the soil to hold more water. “Gilmore has large areas of agricultural activity, including 39 dairy farms. Our farmers will be able to store carbon in their land and earn carbon credits. These carbon credits can then be sold back to the government. “This process will be done through the Australian government’s new Emissions Reduction Fund,” said Mrs Sudmalis. The Emissions Reduction Fund is part of the Australian government’s Direct Action Plan for a cleaner environment.

Ban Ki-Moon: EU must agree to a 2030 climate package in June

EurActiv, 4 April 2014 | The UN’s secretary-general has called on EU leaders to set an example and agree on an ambitious 2030 target at a Council Summit in June, that can be taken to a UN conference in Lima three months later, and shape a global, legally-binding treaty by the end of 2015. “Yesterday I [told] President Barroso and President van Rompuy that you must do it [agree a climate package] during the June summit meeting,” Ki-Moon said at a Brussels conference on 3 April. “Lead by example and bring your ambitious target to the UN summit meeting in September. I hope that you will press your leaders of each and every respective country.” The EU executive has proposed a 40% cut in greenhouse gas pollution and an aspirational 27% market share for renewable energies to be achieved by the end of the next decade, that Ban Ki-Moon said he strongly supported.

Pollution Traders Bullish as EU Cuts Permit Glut: Energy

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 4 April 2014 | The cost of polluting is poised to rebound after the European Union began reducing a record glut of permits to rescue the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas market. Carbon prices will climb 37 percent by the end of June, according to the median of 11 trader and analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Options data show traders are the most bullish in three years. Futures that tumbled as much as 92 percent from their peak in 2008 spurred EU lawmakers in March to curb supply in the $47 billion market by postponing sales of some permits. While carbon rallied as traders anticipated the changes, volatility has also increased. Prices fell 30 percent last week as data on emissions from U.K. power plants missed analysts’ estimates. “A lot of traders bought into the revival-of-the-market idea,” Paolo Coghe, a senior analyst for European power, coal and carbon at Societe Generale SA, said April 2.

5 April 2014

Climate meeting to discuss future of fossil fuels

By Frank Jordans, AP, 5 April 2014 | After concluding that global warming almost certainly is man-made and poses a grave threat to humanity, the U.N.-sponsored expert panel on climate change is moving on to the next phase: what to do about it. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, will meet next week in Berlin to chart ways in which the world can curb the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are overheating the planet. It is also trying to give estimates on what it would cost. In the third report of a landmark climate assessment, the IPCC is expected to say that to keep warming in check, the world needs a major shift in investments from fossil fuels — the principal source of man-made carbon emissions — to renewable energy.

6 April 2014

Can Deserts Stop Global Warming? No, but They Help, Study Says

By John Roach, NBC News.com, 6 April 2014 | Te world’s arid areas — deserts filled with scrubby vegetation and sand — are absorbing more of the carbon dioxide that’s being emitted into the atmosphere than expected, a new study shows. While these ecosystems will not stop global warming, scientists said the finding provides a better understanding of the carbon cycle, and thus how the global climate will change in the future. “It is definitely not going to stop it … just now we are understanding the processes that are going on,” lead author Dave Evans, a biologist specializing in ecology and global change at Washington State University, told NBC News. “But we are still seeing huge amounts of carbon accumulating in the atmosphere.”


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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