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REDD in the news: 12-18 May 2014

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.

12 May 2014

Realising the dream…exploring routes to results-based finance for REDD

By Zoe Cullen, The UN-REDD Programme blog, 12 May 2014 | The UNEP Finance Initiative and the UNDP Green Commodities Programme convened a workshop in Jakarta, with the support of UNORCID, on behalf of the UN-REDD Programme to discuss the use of results-based finance for REDD+. Essentially this is finance that rewards achievement of certain desired impacts, such as forest conservation, and there are many potential variations of results-based payments. There has been much talk of green bonds that generate capital to invest in commercially viable green investments. They offer enormous potential to drive sustainable investments in commodity supply chains, for example. Recent work by ForestTrends highlights the potential for jurisdictional REDD+ bonds to support forest conservation and development of sustainable agricultural supply chains across an administrative landscape, such as a state or province.

Q&A: Peg Putt on ‘decoupling’ economic growth to save the climate

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 May 2014 | The concept of “green growth” is an oxymoron, said a delegate involved in discussions about how Asia might best shift to a green economy at the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia. We must decouple economic growth from material consumption and the use and abuse of natural resources, urged Peg Putt, a former parliamentarian and Green Party leader in the Australian state of Tasmania, speaking at a session titled “Green Growth in Southeast Asia”. “Escalating demands on the planet’s limited resources are obviously going to end in tears — we’re already seeing very bad effects all over the world — the presumption that we can continue to have our lifestyles and fix it all with technology is a massive assumption to make and I don’t know if it’s correct,” she said.

Landfills pressure Australia government to allow U.N. carbon credits: paper

Reuters, 12 May 2014 | Australian landfills, set to make total windfall profits of up to A$200 million ($187 million), if the country’s carbon tax is repealed have proposed using some of the revenue to buy millions of U.N.-issued carbon credits, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday. Landfills have for the past two years been charging customers upfront to pay for future carbon emissions under the previous Labor government’s carbon pricing scheme. But if the Liberal government, in office since September, succeeds in repealing the carbon tax this July, they will not have to pay for the pollution after all – despite having collected around A$200 million from customers. The industry has proposed to the government buying international carbon credits for up to A$20 million and pocketing the rest, the Herald wrote, citing industry sources.

Sustainable development in the Congo Basin: Moving beyond the biodiversity agenda

By Denis Sonwa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 May 2014 | Forest biodiversity conservation has been the main environmental priority in central Africa. The bonds between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) seem to be strong with REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). Some of the Aichi targets (5, 7, 11 & 15) of the CBD and the environmental safeguards of REDD (UNFCCC) are good links between the two conventions. REDD has thus emerged as one way for biodiversity conservation in the Congo Basin. Adaptation to climate change, which seems to be closer to the development of communities, did not receive the same attention as REDD in the UNFCCC priorities in the region. With the support of the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC/ECCAS), CIFOR and partners are implementing a project on synergy between adaptation and mitigation.

13 May 2014

Briefing Paper: Development For Whom?

AIPP, 13 May 2014 | With the Asia region becoming the new investment and economic development hub, indigenous peoples face increasing marginalization and violations to their individual and collective rights. Asia is home to around 2/3 of the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples and they share a common situation as other indigenous peoples in other parts of the world – they are part of the most marginalized and at the bottom rung of the development ladder. Even with this, indigenous peoples have been maintaining and sustaining their culture, traditions, and their strong connections to their lands and territories for their sustenance and continuity of their ways of life.

[Brazil] New Amazon Forest Law: Will It Stick?

By Jeff Tollefson, InsideClimate News, 13 May 2014 | The same could be said for Brazil’s vaunted “Codigo Florestal,” or Forest Code. Enacted in 1965, this is the law that limited the amount of forest that could be cleared in any given area—up to 20 percent of the total area for large properties in the Amazon, more for smaller properties and in other regions. It also prescribed how much forest must be retained along riverbanks and set standards that protect slopes. From an ecological perspective, it was hard to beat. But the Forest Code, like the carefully planned architecture of Brasilia, has been utterly overwhelmed by reality. There’s a saying here that some laws stick, some don’t. The old Forest Code simply didn’t stick. Enforcing the regulations on the poor and generally lawless frontier was impossible. For land barons clearing massive tracts for cattle or smallholders cutting some trees to make by, protecting forests seemed like a luxury.

[Canada] People protest forestry plan in Fredericton

Metro, 13 May 2014 | A large crowd gathered in front of the New Brunswick legislature today in Fredericton to protest the government’s new forestry strategy, which they say will lead to an increase in clear-cutting and a reduction in government monitoring of forestry companies. The 10-year plan announced in March will allow the forestry industry to harvest an additional 660,000 cubic metres of softwood a year — a hike of 20 per cent from existing levels. Tracy Glynn, forestry campaigner with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says the proposed reduction in forest will result in a decrease in the population of various wildlife. Glynn says she’s concerned there will be increased clear-cutting by the major forestry companies. Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud has said the forestry strategy will see the addition of 500 new jobs in the woods and generate more than 1,200 construction jobs as 40 mills in the province begin to modernize.

Scientist urges specialized policy responses for Africa-China timber trade

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 13 May 2014 | A popular global narrative portrays China’s business interests in Africa as single-minded, driven by a powerful nation hungry for natural resources to fuel its ever-growing domestic and international industrial needs regardless of the social and environmental costs. A counter-narrative suggests that African states should choose economic partners based on their own interests, and that new Chinese forms of aid, trade and investment represent a welcome alternative to Western development models that have failed to effectively address poverty in Africa. In fact, there are a wide variety of business models and trade networks connecting the Chinese market to African investment opportunities and natural resource supplies, research shows.

The ‘black hole’ of Chinese carbon trading

By Pitta Clark, Financial Times, 13 May 2014 | One man is scrolling slowly through his emails. Another is flopped across his desk doing a good imitation of being asleep. It is a Wednesday afternoon at the China Beijing Environment Exchange, a centrepiece of China’s closely watched efforts to test carbon markets, and the action is not exactly frenzied. “There are currently around two to three trades a day,” says Yang Wang, the exchange’s carbon trading centre director. That is up from two or three a week in November, when Beijing became the third of four Chinese cities and two provinces to launch a pilot emissions trading system since June. With more schemes on the way, experts say China will soon be regulating about 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide, or nearly 10 per cent of the annual emissions that make it the world’s biggest carbon polluter.

[Fiji] Germans aid forest projects

By Repeka Nasiko, Fiji Times Online, 13 May 2014 | Working with rural communities to educate and implement programs related to reforestation and reducing carbon emission are some of the assistance provided by the German Agency for International Cooperation. Agency program director and senior adviser Dr Wulf Killmann said the agency was working with Department of Forestry to ensure the industry’s social and environmental sustainability was viable for the future. “We have been involved in forestry and land use issues in the region for more than 25 years,” he said. “In 1988 we started our first project with the Fiji Forestry Department and we have been working here since then.”

India: tribes face harassment and eviction for “tiger conservation”

Survival International, 13 May 2014 | Survival has received disturbing reports that several tribal villages are facing imminent eviction from Tiger Reserves in Odisha in eastern India, despite the villagers’ desperate appeal to stay on the land and to involve them in protecting the forest. Testimony obtained by Survival shows that tribes in Similipal Tiger Reserve, who have been living with the forest’s wildlife for generations, are determined to stay on their land, but have been facing years of harassment and pressure from forest guards to force them out of the reserve. A Munda man from Jamunagarh, one of the villages slated for eviction, told Survival, ‘We are very much dependent on the forest…We don’t have any conflict with the wildlife. We don’t hunt or cut down trees. If we leave we will face a lot of hardship… Please don’t displace us!’

Norway bets on global warming in Arctic oil and gas drive

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 13 May 2014 | Norway wants to let oil and gas companies drill in Arctic seas that were frozen as recently as the 1980s even though some climate experts say it is too early to trust global warming to keep the ice away. Russia is also showing new interest in the Arctic despite high costs in a region where governments are struggling to set safety rules after BP’s 2010 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst offshore spill in U.S. history. Many companies, including ConocoPhillips and Idemitsu, are applauding a plan by Norway to open the South East Barents Sea – about 1,800 kms (1,100 miles) from the North Pole – to exploration as climate change thaws the Arctic. “For Norway to continue to be a long-term reliable supplier of oil and gas it is important to explore for, and develop” expected large resources in the Barents, deputy oil and energy minister Kåre Fostervold told Reuters.

[USA] Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers

By Coral Davenport, New York Times, 13 May 2014 | The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published Tuesday by a leading government-funded military research organization concluded. The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees.

14 May 2014

IPCC’s outdated climate change communication won’t cut it

By Adam Corner, The Guardian, 14 May 2014 | For almost 25 years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released regular assessment reports warning the world of the dangers of climate change. The scientific knowledge that has been accumulated over this time is astonishing in its breadth and scope. Compiling, collating and synthesising publications from dozens of scientific disciplines, and distilling this into a format that policymakers from across the globe can use as the basis of their national policies on climate change is a phenomenal, painstaking and noble undertaking. But from the perspective of catalysing a proportionate political and public response to climate change, the reports have had limited impact.

EU ETS Emissions Fall, Allowance Surplus Grows in 2013

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 14 May 2014 | Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions capped under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell by an estimated 3% in 2013, to slightly under 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), according to the European Commission. During the same period, the cumulative surplus in emission allowances grew to over 2.1 billion tons CO2e, from 2.0 billions tons CO2e at the end of 2012. Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, welcomed the fall in emissions but cautioned that the growing surplus of emission allowances “risks undermining the orderly functioning of the carbon market.” She added that the Commission has enacted a back-loading measure to address the surplus over the short-term, but emphasized the need for the European Parliament and Council of the EU to move forward on a legislative proposal for a market stability reserve, which the Commission proposed in January of this year.

[Indonesia] New tactic eased conflict over Indonesian plantation use, research shows

By Katherine Johnson, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 May 2014 | Research to improve partnership among stakeholders of a pulpwood plantation on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra has strengthened the negotiating power of local communities, easing two decades of conflict and boosting livelihoods in a region where 48 percent of people live below the poverty line. The research was a response to the failure of the existing partnership between the plantation company and surrounding communities to settle disputes about land ownership, and conflict among locals over compensation payments for land lost to the 296,400-hectare (732,420-acre) plantation. In some cases, the conflicts over who was entitled to compensation had escalated to violence, according to the paper, “Communicative Action to Level the Playing Field in Forest Plantations in Indonesia,” published recently in The Journal of Sustainable Forestry.

Will Indonesia’s next president maintain its climate commitments?

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 14 May 2014 | Indonesia’s widely publicised commitment to cut carbon emissions is likely to be maintained by its next president, an environmental law expert says, even as activists push for long-term protection for the country’s forests and greater recognition of the conservation efforts of forest people. At the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent on its own by 2020, and by 41 percent with sufficient international help. The president is due to leave office after elections scheduled for July 9.

[Thailand] Prayuth orders army to save forests

By Wassana Nanuam, Bangkok Post, 14 May 2014 | Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday ordered all military units to launch a massive crackdown on illegal logging after two major forests were found to have been heavily deforested by gangs. The order was issued during a meeting Gen Prayuth had with senior officers of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) in which they discussed “heavy deforestation” in the Salawin forest reserve in Mae Hong Son province and a major watershed forest in Nan.

[USA] Protesters disrupt genetically engineered trees corporate event

Climate Connections, 14 May 2014 | Demonstrators today interrupted an event hosted by genetically engineered (GE) tree company ArborGen, warning participants to expect growing protests should they plant GE trees. The event brought together landowners and foresters from the industrial tree plantation industry and featured top ArborGen scientists working on GE trees. “We sent a clear message to participants — plant genetically engineered trees and expect resistance,” said Keith Brunner, an organizer with Global Justice Ecology Project. “Invasive GE eucalyptus, planned for deployment across the US South, would irrevocably devastate native ecosystems, exacerbate droughts and lead to catastrophic firestorms. This must be stopped before it is too late.”

15 May 2014

Illegal Brazilian Amazon timber sold globally with legal paper work

By Tica Minami, Greenpeace International, 15 May 2014 | Two years ago, we kicked off an investigation into what was happening in the Brazilian Amazon timber industry and today we released our findings: the timber market is fraught with illegality, and predatory logging is destroying the Amazon bit by bit. Instead of protecting the forest, official checks and balances are being used to ‘launder’ timber from illegal and predatory logging practices in order to sell it in Brazil and globally as if it was legal. Two thirds of Brazilian Amazon timber goes to the USA and Europe, and is found in shops like Lumber Liquidators in the USA and J. Pinto Leitão and Tradelink in Europe amongst many others. It also appears in such diverse projects as the Brooklyn Bridge in the USA, the World Trade Centre in Geneva, and the National Library in Paris. Yet under USA and EU legislation, it is prohibited to import illegal timber.

Brazil laundering illegal timber on a ‘massive and growing scale’

By Jonathan Watts and John Vidal, The Guardian, 15 May 2014 | Illegally logged timber in Brazil is being laundered on a massive and growing scale and then sold on to unwitting buyers in the UK, US, Europe and China, Greenpeace claimed on Thursday. After a two-year investigation, the environmental campaign group says it has uncovered evidence of systematic abuse and a flawed monitoring system that contradicts the Brazilian government’s claims to be coping with the problem of deforestation in the Amazon. In a report released on Thursday, Greenpeace cited five case studies of the fraudulent techniques used by the log launderers, including over-reporting the number and size of rare trees, logging trees protected by law, and over-extraction. It notes how forest management officials are implicated in the wrongdoing and several have previously been fined or detained for similar crimes in the past.

Exclusive: Indonesia’s REDD Boss Outlines National Strategy

By Steve Zwick, Forest Carbon Portal, 15 May 2014 | Heru Prasetyo may have the toughest job in climate change. The former Indonesian Director for PT Accenture, he became the inaugural head of Indonesia’s new REDD+ Management Agency in December. That means he’s charged with developing a national regulatory regime for Reducing greenhouse gas Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus other changes in land-use (REDD+), and that translates into a complete restructuring of the country’s forestry sector, which in turn requires a complete restructuring of the country’s agricultural economy. It’s an economy that the country built on palm oil. It did so with the blessing of a world that gobbles up palm oil by the boatload to make cookies, creams, and soaps. Consumers around the world cheered as Indonesia became the world’s leading producer of the stuff, but environmentalists jeered at the impact that achievement had on the country’s forests…

[UK] Five arrests in suspected boiler room fraud

By Michael Glenister, Money Marketing, 15 May 2014 | City of London Police has warned boiler room scams are on the rise after a raid on a suspected boiler room operation led to five arrests. It says the suspects are believed to have been targeting vulnerable consumers from a number of London offices, and are thought to have been selling overvalued commodities products. The five men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering. They have been held for questioning. Action Fraud, a consumer hotline run by the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, says it has evidence suggesting investors have lost tens of thousands from the suspected scam.

[UK] Police raid boiler room over mis-selling and misspelling

By Michelle Abrego, New Model Adviser, 15 May 2014 | The City of London Police has arrested five men after raiding a suspected boiler room being operated by the self-proclaimed ‘Wolfs of Liverpool Street’ (sic). ‘The Wolfs’ (sic) operated from offices around the City from where they cold-called and sold overvalued commodities, misrepresenting their future potential, and specifically targeted vulnerable people, the police said. The police arrested five men on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering. The men were held at a City of London police station for interview as the investigation continues.

16 May 2014

Campaigners say shortcomings in EU carbon permit data harmful

By Ben Garside, Reuters, 16 May 2014 | Investors and environmental campaigners have criticised the European Union for no longer revealing the types of foreign carbon credits each company is using to help meet emission regulations. The lobbyists say the lack of access could discourage future investment in carbon-cutting projects and make it more difficult for companies to select schemes they judge to be more environmentally robust or that have additional benefits such as alleviating poverty. On Thursday the European Commission published data showing how many carbon credits had been used by EU companies to meet their 2013 obligations under the bloc’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). Since 2005 over 13,000 power plants factories and airlines have been allowed to use a limited number of U.N.-backed credits towards their annual requirement to surrender carbon permits for every tonne of CO2 they emit.

Fathom Spotlight: Gilded Carbon-Credited Hull Coatings

Ship & Bunker, 16 May 2014 | Over the past five years, AkzoNobel’s Marine Coatings business, International and The Gold Standard Foundation have been working together to develop a new and unique marine-based methodology to reward the improved fuel efficiency of ships within the international maritime industry… The basic idea behind this initiative is to generate carbon credits for the CO2 emissions achieved by fuel-saving technologies and thereby encourage investments in these technologies… At last week’s presentation, International and The Golden Standard readily admitted that the methodology still suffers from a few drawbacks. For example, the methodology cannot distinguish the fuel savings achieved by different energy-saving devices which is why after the application of Intersleek no other suc devices can be installed if the ship is to remain under the carbon credit scheme.

[USA] ‘Bad boy’ broker Mandell’s boiler room conviction is upheld

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 16 May 2014 | federal appeals court in New York on Friday upheld Ross Mandell’s conviction and 12-year prison term for running an alleged $140 million trans-Atlantic boiler room fraud, rejecting his claim that he could not be prosecuted under U.S. securities laws because much of the case was foreign. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld the conviction and five-year prison term of former Sky broker Adam Harrington for his role in a scheme that prosecutors said ran from 1998 to 2006. It sent the case back to the trial court to modify a provision of an order of forfeiture. Both defendants were appealing their July 2011 convictions by a Manhattan jury for allegedly using high-pressure sales tactics to persuade U.S. and British investors to invest in Sky entities, only to then divert money to enrich themselves and pay undisclosed broker commissions.

17 May 2014

18 May 2014

The hidden forest harvest, quantified

By Arild Angelsen, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 May 2014 | Development experts have long suspected income from forests and other natural environments to be critical for millions of poor people. But what they have not known is to what extent — development actions related to forests and livelihoods have been based largely on fragmented data. Often, data on forest-based incomes were lumped in with agriculture, if counted at all. That could change. A newly released global study led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on the links between livelihoods and environment has amassed a mountain of data — more than 8,300 household surveys in 333 villages in 24 developing countries — and has both confirmed some suspicions and punctured much of our conventional wisdom about environmental income.

US$115M in payments received so far under Guyana-Norway forest pact

Stabroek News, 18 May 2014 | Over four years into a five-year agreement between Guyana and Norway for Guyana to be paid to protect its forests, only US$115 million out of a potential US$250 million in performance-based payments has been awarded and only four projects are in the implementation stage. The Guyana-Norway forests partnership is set to end in 2015 though officials have expressed hope that it could be extended. Thus far, Guyana has only earned US$115 million with payments last being announced in 2011. For 2012, Guyana’s deforestation rate has risen above a benchmark level and thus far there has been no announcements on the payment for that year, which is expected to be cut. Minister of Natural Re-sources and the Environ-ment Robert Persaud told Stabroek News recently that discussions are ongoing on the payment for Year 3 (2012) and are expected to be finalised soon. [R-M: Subscription needed.]


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