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REDD in the news: 9-15 June 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.

9 June 2014

Forests, land use and the Green Climate Fund: Open for business?

By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 June 2014 | The Green Climate Fund (GCF) passed a major milestone at the 7th Board meeting in Songdo, South Korea in May. The 24 member Board have now agreed on the remaining six essential items to enable the capitalization of the fund and have set down a timetable of meetings in June and November 2014 to coordinate financial contributions. Industrialized countries have committed to provide funds rising to US$100 billion per year by 2020 to support adaptation and mitigation actions by developing countries. These funds are expected to come from a mix of public and private sources.

Nature Is Talking And Africa’s Legislators Are Listening

By Miriam Gathigah, IPS, 9 June 2014 | Africa’s climate change legislative frameworks, though a step in the right direction, have come under fire for not being ambitious enough to meet the challenge of a changing climate. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an emerging global actor in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), has been criticised because its REDD+ projects are not supported by a legally binding framework, leaving forest communities in a legal void and vulnerable to economic exploitation. But Jean-Claude Atningamu, a legislator in the DRC, admitted that while his country may have strategies and policies in place, a law on REDD+ is yet to be developed. “We have just begun these processes and we are grappling with many challenges,” he told IPS. He said that although indigenous communities were not benefiting from climate change financing, it was not because of a lack of political goodwill to do so.

Chinese official plays down emission cut expectations

By David Stanway, Reuters, 9 June 2014 | Any near-term regulation of China’s greenhouse gas emissions would likely allow for future emissions growth, a senior government official said on Monday, discounting any suggestion of imminent carbon cuts by the biggest-emitting nation. Sun Cuihua, deputy director of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission, said it would be a simplification to suggest China would impose an absolute cap on greenhouse gas emissions from 2016. No decision had yet been taken on a cap and the timing of such a measure was under discussion, she said. Several options were being considered and China would choose policies in accordance with its conditions and stage of development. “Our understanding of the word ‘cap’ is different from developed countries,” Sun told a conference.

[Indonesia] Case in Kalimantan points to progress in protecting forests for food security

By Katherine Shea, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 June 2014 | As the links between tropical forests and food security have become ever clearer in recent years, experts at a recent conference pointed to an example of expanded dialogue to alleviate the drivers of deforestation that threaten food security in many forest communities. Recent research by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has highlighted the contributions that forest-based foods make to nutrition in rural communities. In the face of competing land-use demands, many forests in Southeast Asia are being lost to extractive or agricultural activities. These topics were central to discussions at the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta in May.

Latin America’s Forests Need Laws – and Much More

By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 9 June 2014 | Latin America’s parliaments have failed to protect the forests and to guarantee their sustainable use, despite the fact that a number of countries have laws on forests, legislators from the region said at a global summit in the Mexican capital. There are problems in areas such as respect for the rights of local communities, budget allocations for the protection of forests, land tenure guarantees, forest floor carbon ownership, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from sustainable use of forests. “We aren’t working with the communities, and we don’t have the technical capacity to include international standards; the government is fearful and more worried about bringing in forest investment in activities like mining, without any responsibility for the environment,” Colombian Senator Mauricio Ospina of the left-wing Alternative Democratic Pole told IPS.

[New Zealand] Carbon Partnership: Breaking New Ground

By Kelley Hamrick, Forest Carbon Portal, 9 June 2014 | Consultancy Carbon Partnership has finished designing and developing a new methodology for New Zealand forests – specifically, for its Rarakau project. While this first project covers only 1,000 hectares, it is part of a larger program that applies to indigenous forests nationally. Since these forests existed before 1990, they didn’t qualify for New Zealand’s compliance markets. Instead, Director Sean Weaver created his own methodology for the voluntary carbon markets. However, the voluntary market presents its own challenges: buyers usually prefer the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for forestry projects. While elements of the methodology were created with VCS, the overall project has been verified under the lesser-known ISO14064-2 carbon standard – principally because Carbon Partnership and its funders could not afford the transaction costs of the VCS path.

US states consider carbon trading schemes

By Barney Jopson, Financial Times, 9 June 2014 | A number of US states are starting to consider carbon trading schemes to meet limits on greenhouse gas emissions put forward in President Barack Obama’s latest climate change initiative. The signs of interest show that although Mr Obama’s proposals for more sweeping cuts in power plant carbon emissions have been criticised in parts of the US, particularly coal-producing regions, there are others that accept his strategy.

REDD+ allows for forest inventory in Vanuatu

Radio New Zealand News, 9 June 2014 | A regional advisor on the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme says Vanuatu is already benefitting from REDD+ through projects such as an inventory of Santo’s forest. Bjoern Hecht from the German agency for International Co-operation is in Vanuatu to train Department of Forestry staff on how to conduct a forest inventory on the country’s biggest island. Direct carbon funding has not yet kicked in under the REDD+ programme. But Mr Hecht says the inventory is a direct result of climate change funding provided through the German environment ministry which wouldn’t be available without the funding for preparing for REDD+. “So we have a methodology for measuring the forest resources, for climate change, and that’s how we use the funding. The funding will already benefit Vanuatu by improving the forest management. If the credits come later on or not, doesn’t even matter…”

Venezuela urges civil society to boost “boring” UN talks

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 9 June 2014 | Venezuela plans to canvass civil society for their views on climate change during a four-day meeting in July—an attempt to rejuvenate “boring” UN talks, according to the country’s chief climate negotiator. The meeting will focus on the “social impact of climate change”, said Claudia Salerno, who outlined her intentions during UN negotiations taking place this week in Bonn. “It is a humbling process for us [the government], and it is an empowering process for people,” she said, adding that it was an opportunity to “change the debate a little bit”, including issues such as gender, health and ethics—topics which are frequently sidelined in favour of discussions such as reform of the energy and transport sectors.

Zimbabwe: Gender Sensitive Redd+ Crucial

By Jeffrey Gogo, The Herald, 9 June 2014 | Many Zimbabweans mistakenly think that the terms “gender” and “woman” are synonyms and can be used inter-changeably as they refer to the same thing. That is an understandable mistake, but not excusable.Gender and woman are two asymmetrical words that may be linked, but neither means nor refers to the same thing. A woman or girl, like a man or boy, is a two-legged thinking being built by God Almighty from the dust of the earth, into whose nostrils received the breath of life from the Creator. The term “gender” refers to the socially-constructed differences between male and female, according to the World Bank. Unlike “sex”, there is nothing biological about gender.

10 June 2014

Carbon Markets Keep Multiplying, but Do They Work?

By Katie Gilbert, Institutional Investor, 10 June 2014 | Judging from the flurry of recent launches, carbon markets are booming. Eight new venues opened for business in 2013, and roughly 40 countries and 20 subnational jurisdictions elsewhere have a put price on carbon dioxide, according to a May report from the World Bank Group. The total value of carbon credits being traded in these markets is about $30 billion. Notwithstanding all of this activity, the emissions pricing and trading concept has yet to take off. As more governments get on board, the price of credits is falling, prompting experts to admit that they’re losing faith in carbon markets as a tool to tackle climate change. “The jury is definitely still out on whether carbon markets are working,” says Anja Kollmuss, a Zurich-based senior policy researcher at Carbon Market Watch, a watchdog group based in Brussels. “In theory, they’re beautiful policy instruments,” Kollmuss notes.

[Canada] Comox Valley looks to Cowichan for carbon marketplace inspiration

Comox Valley Echo, 10 June 2014 | Once again the Comox Valley Regional District has turned to an offshore project to source dirt cheap carbon credits, but plans to use the rest of the money to retrofit recreation facilities and develop a local marketplace for green projects. After agreeing to spend $4,218 on the Someshwara Small Hydropower Project in India to meet the provincial carbon neutral deadline of June 2, $48,507 will be left over to spend locally. But local government officials are turning to the pioneering work done in the Cowichan Valley, in an effort to spur businesses and organizations here to think green. “There’s a lot of groundwork that needs to be done on it,” said Brian Roberts, program lead for the Community Carbon Marketplace with Cowichan Energy. “It’s like an economic development initiative where you use greenhouse gas emissions as a currency.”

How selective logging could help protect Indonesia’s forests

By David Gaveau, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 June 2014 | Most governments consider establishing protected areas like national parks where human presence is forbidden as the best way to conserve tropical forests. However, given economic demands, societal pressure on land, and the cost of forest protection, protected areas are unlikely to ever constitute more than a minor part of the tropical landscape. Some conservationists now propose combining protected areas with logging concessions to sustain larger forest landscapes than possible via protected areas alone. When logging concessions — parcels of natural forest leased out to companies to harvest natural timber — are additional to protected areas, they present an opportunity to maintain larger and better-connected forest landscapes. This approach has the merit of generating income and employment — arguably making it easier to gain political and public support for conservation.

[UK] Aviation industry is carbon criminal, while supermarkets slash emissions

By Elisabeth Braw, The Guardian, 10 June 2014 | Britain can be proud of itself: it’s already more than halfway to its target of a 34% cut in greenhouse gases by 2020. At the current speed, the country will have few problems reaching its ambitious target of an 80% reduction by 2050. “The 2008 Climate Change Act is a world-leading piece of legislation”, explains Andrew Raingold, executive director of the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leaders from business and politics advocating a sustainable economy. “The big challenge is putting it into practice. The follow-up pieces are what will help us get to our goal, but that’s also an area where we’re weak.”

11 June 2014

Carbon majors and climate justice

By Naderev (Yeb) Saño and Julie-Anne Richards, Eco-Business, 11 June 2014 | It seems only fair and reasonable, therefore, that all fossil-fuel entities, but especially the carbon majors, pay a levy on each ton of coal, barrel of oil, or cubic meter of gas they produce to a new International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, which would help to fund efforts to address the worst effects of climate change. Furthermore, given that the effects of climate change today are the result of past emissions, the carbon majors should pay a historical levy, too. If set initially at a relatively low $2 per ton of carbon, these levies could raise $50 billion annually, though the rate should increase each year. The revenues could support vulnerable countries’ efforts to develop long term plans to deal with climate change, as well as finance pilot projects aimed at minimizing loss and damage, sharing information, and replicating best practices.

Carbon Market and Atmospheric CO2 Capture Technology Could Reduce Global CO2

ecopreneurist.com, 11 June 2014 | The author of the carbon market concept found in the UN Kyoto Protocol, Graciela Chichilnisky, who is currently the Professor of Economics and Statistics at Columbia, has another ace up her climate change sleeve, and this one isn’t nearly as nebulous as the idea of buying and selling carbon credits, but could play an important role in a carbon market. Global Thermostat, where Chichilnisky is CEO and co-founder, has what they believe to be a commercially viable atmospheric CO2 capture technology, which uses readily available process heat to remove carbon dioxide from the air, essentially converting a power plant from a CO2 producer into a carbon-negative facility.

The Bonn UN climate talks: What’s at stake and what’s next?

By Ros Donald, Carbon Brief, 11 June 2014 | What are the parties discussing this week? The talks over the 12 days in Bonn focus primarily on tackling countries’ commitments to cut emissions before 2020. But they also touch on key points related to a new global deal, intended to replace Kyoto, which is scheduled to be agreed at the COP in Paris next year. The UNFCCC says the negotiations are an important step towards that goal. And some issues have moved to the forefront of the agenda for the Bonn talks.

Experts: Forests’ genetic diversity, crucial for adaptability, facing greater risks

By Katherin Shea, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 June 2014 | The diversity of genetic material of trees is in danger of being lost due to deforestation and monocrop forestry, putting the livelihoods of millions of forest-dependent people at risk, experts at an international conference said. Forest tree species have evolved into some of the most genetically variable organisms on Earth, playing a crucial role in improving forest-related industries, climate change adaptation, food resources, disease, and pest resilience, according to a new report released by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Rwanda introduces greenhouse gas monitoring system

Shanghai Daily, 11 June 2014 | Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources has unveiled a new monitoring system to cut greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation. Adrie Mukashema, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Natural Resources in charge of forests, said Tuesday the greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting scheme is a reflection of Rwanda’s commitment to protecting its forests and encouraging sustainable development. “Even though we have little”, she said, “we make sure that what we have is sustainably managed”. The east African country has 700,000 hectares of forest covering 28.8 percent of land in the country… Rwanda is one of the 10 Central African countries that received funding, 400,000 U.S. dollars, from the Congo Basin Forest Fund to develop a reporting system. The country has been working on a REDD+ reporting system since last May and it will be sent to the UN for approval later this month, according to officials.

Vanuatu forest staff to undertake Santo inventory

Radio New Zealand, 11 June 2014 | What is the current situation in terms of the carbon credit system, did Vanuatu already benefit from that fund? Bjoern Hecht [GIZ]: I’d say yes but that’s a bit abstract. So, the REDD+ programme is a preparation programme at the moment. I think Vanuatu will take about three or four more years to get into a position where they can start benefitting from carbon funding. This is only if the efforts are being made and they succeed in implementing these things. But, for example, this forest inventory is the result directly out of these international climate change negotiations because it’s funded through the German environment ministry and this money is climate change money – the forest inventory wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have the funding for preparing for REDD+. So we have a methodology for measuring the forest resources, for climate change, and that’s how we use the funding. The funding will already benefit Vanuatu by improving the forest management.

12 June 2014

Steps Towards Paris 2015

By David Hone (Shell), The Energy Collective, 12 June 2014 | National climate negotiators and a number of Energy/Environment Ministers are currently meeting in Bonn as the global climate deal process slowly edges forward. Whether the steps being taken are big or small remains to be seen, but there are at least steps, so that is a start. The most well publicized have been those of the United States and China who are both active domestically with action on emissions. In the case of the USA this is the EPA rules that gained heavy media coverage and for China it is the notion that they will peak their coal use at some point in the reasonable future, perhaps as early as 2020. The idea of peak coal in China is also starting to appear in government conversations and is not just something emanating from the Chinese academic community.

Oil and Coal Must Be Phased Out Entirely by 2050 to Stop Catastrophic Warming

By Stephen Leahy, Motherboard, 12 June 2014 | If we really want to maintain a livable climate, and prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2˚ Celsius, then no nation, anywhere, can burn any oil, gas, or coal at all after 2050, according to a striking new analysis of the latest climate science. “The world must start preparing for a rapid decarbonization of the energy and industry sectors within the next decade… and get to zero emissions by 2050,” Bill Hare, a climate scientist at Climate Analytics, told me in an interview from Bonn, Germany, where the latest round of international climate negations are underway. What Hare is saying is that, in the near future, every country—and every economy—will no longer be able to rely on burning fossil fuels for energy and transport.

Next big idea in forest conservation? Learning from innovations to make REDD work

By Liz Kimbrough, mongabay.com, 12 June 2014 | A scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Brazil, Dr. Amy Duchelle coordinates research on the effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and co-benefits of REDD+ initiatives at the sub-national level in Latin America as part of CIFOR’s Gloal Comparative Study on REDD+… “The most exciting thing that I see happening in conservation are the ‘messy’ multi-stakeholder processes being led by governments at multiple levels towards reducing deforestation in their jurisdictions,” Duchelle told mongabay.com. Since its inception, however, REDD has had its ups and downs. Duchelle believes the biggest hurdles REDD+ needs to overcome in order to be a success are “political will, genuine stakeholder participation, secure land tenure, private sector engagement, incorporation into broader low emissions development strategies that go beyond the forest sector.” She adds, “Not small challenges!”

Brazil’s World Cup also a test bed for climate change

AFP, 12 June 2014 | Beyond the spectacle of 32 nations battling for the greatest prize in football, the World Cup is also a test bed for tackling climate-damaging carbon emissions from major events. The world’s biggest sports fest is a major source of carbon, but FIFA says this year’s event should break new ground in addressing the problem. It describes the 2014 show as a “stepping stone” towards “sustainable” World Cups by evaluating and reducing the carbon footprint. From 2018, World Cups go into a new, greener phase, because environmental protection will be a mandatory requirement in hosting the contest. FIFA estimates the Brazil event will produce about 2.7 million tonnes of emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) — roughly the total emissions of Iceland over a six-month period.

SGS shuts low-carbon project auditing business

By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 12 June 2014 | International certification firm SGS said it will no longer provide auditing services for clean energy projects in developing countries seeking to earn carbon credits, citing concerns over costs and falling demand. Geneva-headquartered SGS, the second major auditor to pull out of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) this year, will also surrender its accreditation under the carbon trading programme, it said in a release on its website dated June 10. “SGS’ decision reflects the continuing contraction in the CDM market and its continuing concerns with the costs and risks associated with the CDM accreditation process,” it said. “SGS thanks all its clients for their custom over the last 10 years and regrets that the current state of the carbon market prevents our continued involvement.”

Despite stumbles, Colombia leading the way in ecological restoration

By Martha Cuba, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 June 2014 | Looking back, ecosystem restoration projects in Colombia in recent years have been narrowly focused, poorly planned and inadequately reported overall, a new report says. Looking ahead, there is much reason for optimism for future projects in the South American country, the authors say. In the past two decades, Colombia has witnessed an increase in the number of ecosystem restoration projects as part of a longer-term international trend. A systematic exploration of these projects offers insights into this discipline in a new publication launched by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). La restauración ecológica en Colombia: tendencias, necesidades y oportunidades (Ecological restoration in Colombia: trends, needs and opportunities) presents the findings of a retrospective analysis of ecosystem restoration projects implemented in the Latin American country…

Germany backs EU carbon market reform by 2017

By Ben Garside and Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 12 June 2014 | The German government wants the EU’s carbon market reform plan to be implemented by 2017, four years earlier than the European Commission has proposed, Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Thursday. The European Commission, the EU executive, has proposed setting up a so-called market stability reserve from 2021 to hold and release permits to balance supply in the bloc’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and better respond to economic changes. Analysts say that starting the measure earlier would cut the market’s massive oversupply faster and push carbon prices higher much more quickly.

13 June 2014

Carbon pricing won’t solve climate change. Innovation will

By Matthew Stepp and Megan Nicholson, Christian Science Monitor, 13 June 2014 | Carbon pricing has been the go-to solution for economists and environmentalists alike since climate change was identified as one of the foremost social and environmental challenges of our time. Want a climate rescue plan? Carbon pricing. Want to raise revenue for clean energy deployment? Carbon pricing. It’s the “silver bullet” for other things, too. Want to reduce reliance on foreign oil? Or raise revenue to correct other tax inefficiencies? Carbon pricing… But as long as nations use carbon pricing as their primary solution, climate change will never be addressed – for two reasons: First, it takes a high carbon price to realistically change consumer habits. (Experts suggest around $30 per ton of CO2 to start.) … Second, carbon prices, whether large or small, only raise the cost of fossil energy – they do not lower the cost of alternatives.

Climate Change: Expect the Unexpected

By Lorena Aguilar, Huffington Post, 13 June 2014 | In the past few weeks, three different events/situations have kept me wondering about how climate change is impacting our lives in ways we cannot even imagine. The first surprise came about during a meeting we convened in May, in Washington, DC, where USAID joined with the Global Gender Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to organize a technical workshop on gender and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). A learning exchange for 52 participants from more than twenty countries, the workshop discussions addressed the impact that REDD+ processes are triggering at the national level in relation to land and forest tenure reforms, among other crucial topics. Women’s ownership of agricultural land worldwide is only 5 percent, despite the fact that they produce, in some parts of the world, up to 70 percent of food.

Protecting rainforests could sequester equivalent of a third of global emissions annually

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 13 June 2014 | Eliminating deforestation, peatlands and forest degradation, and forest fires in the tropics could reduce global carbon emissions by two billion tons a year, or nearly a fifth, argues a new study published in Global Change Biology. The research, authored by John Grace and Edward Mitchard of the University of Edinburgh and Emanuel Gloor of the University of Leeds, analyzed various emissions sources and sinks across the tropics. They found that carbon emissions from activities that damage and destroy forests are nearly counterbalanced by forest regrowth, reforestation, and afforestation. Cutting destructive activities would therefore be a substantial net gain in efforts to slow climate change. “If we limit human activity in the tropical forests of the world, this could play a valuable role in helping to curb the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” said Grace, who led the study, in a statement.

[Australia] Doubts over benefits from carbon farming credits

By Sarina Locke, ABC Rural, 13 June 2014 | The Federal Government claims farmers will be the big winners out of its Direct Action Policy, as they stand to directly benefit from the Emissions Reduction Fund. It’s set aside $2.55 billion for the Fund, which farmers are encouraged to apply to for carbon farming projects like tree planting, innovative cropping, and capturing methane from effluent ponds. But experts say the lower price for carbon, after the Carbon Tax is abolished, simply won’t be worth farmers’ efforts. In analysis the Australian Farm Institute is just about to release, executive director Mick Keogh says the price for carbon credits needs to stay high.

[Australia] No cash in carbon crops

By Sue Neales, The Australian, 13 June 2014 | But, as highlighted by The Australian in recent weeks, and as the Stuarts have discovered, there is no easy road to becoming an approved carbon farmer. While their mulga revegetation project was painstakingly designed by carbon consultants to fit Department of Agriculture and Clean Energy Regulator criteria to make the 5000ha eligible for carbon credit payments of about $400,000 after three years, the Stuarts have never got to first base to apply for CFI approval. The mulga is growing beautifully, storing an estimated four tonnes of carbon a year for every hectare of regrowth. But the Stuarts’ bankers, Rabo­bank, who hold a $2.6 million debt over the crown-perpetual lease property and are therefore classed as holding a joint interest in the station, refused to give their consent for the mandatory 100-year-long carbon farming venture on Mount Morris to apply for CFI carbon credits, as required under Clean Energy Regulator rules.

Brazil’s REDD black box

CAN News, 13 June 2014 | On June 6, Brazil became the first Party to deliver a REDD+ reference emission level to the UNFCCC under new rules established in Warsaw. This should be a reason for celebration: agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) constitutes 24% of global emissions, and Brazil has been reducing deforestation rates in the Amazon. ECO applauds this here and in another article, even if Brazil has stumbled a bit in recent years. Yet, the more ECO looks, the more this REDD gift seems like a black box. Brazil has been a bit shy about its latest accomplishment. According to Brazilian civil society, the numbers behind the submission are surprisingly secret. No open consultations at home before finishing the reference level? No transparency around the data used? But when the Brazilian Climate Observatory asked for a copy of the submission, the proud Brazilian government lost its mojo.

Widening Informed Stakeholder Engagement for REDD in Kenya

The Green Belt Movement, 13 June 2014 | The Green Belt Movement was among the participants who participated in Widening Informed Stakeholder Engagement for REDD (WISE REDD ) project workshop for Kenya component was held on in May 2014 at Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi. WISE REDD is implemented in five target countries (Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru, Suriname, and Vanuatu) to broaden and strengthen informed stakeholder engagement in national Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stock (REDD ) readiness programs, by supporting governments to implement the stakeholder engagement components of their FCPF Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs) and Emissions Reductions Programs (ER Programs).

14 June 2014

U.N. climate talks edge towards 2015 emissions deal

By Ben Garside, Reuters, 14 June 2014 | U.N. climate negotiations made tentative progress on Saturday towards a text for a 2015 deal to bind all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The talks, which were heading to a close on Saturday, drew some 1,900 diplomats from 182 countries to Bonn to line up what their leaders will be prepared to sign up to next year to tackle emissions that U.N.-backed scientists say will cause more severe flooding, droughts and the sea level to rise. Negotiators and observers said signs of action from China and the United States, the world’s top two emitters, had raised hopes but they warned the talks could break down unless rich nations pledged billions of dollars in aid to poorer states by the end of the year.

EPA emissions limits? Brazil sees potential gains

By Stephen Kurczy, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 June 2014 | While many US lawmakers are pulling out their hair over the White House’s newly proposed limits on state carbon emissions, the Brazilian state of Acre sees a green opportunity. Officials here hope that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed limits on greenhouse-gas emissions will spur more demand for “carbon credits” that Acre is collecting by preventing deforestation in this remote northwestern state in the Amazon forest bordering Bolivia and Peru. While the new EPA rules do not directly address international carbon credits from places like Acre, officials in Brazil and the US see it as a crack in the door toward such a protocol. “It’s a good sign,” says Alberto Tavares, who is in charge of managing and selling Acre’s carbon credits. “The US is traditionally not so committed to these limits.”

15 June 2014

Dying to save the Amazonian rainforest

By Jonathan Watts and Karina Vieira, The Guardian, 15 June 2014 | “All I ever did was protect the families who tried to conserve the environment.” That is an increasingly dangerous ambition in Brazil where, according to a recent report by Global Witness, more environmental and land-rights campaigners have been killed than the rest of the world put together. The study found that, on average, one activist has been killed in the country every week since 2002. If that trend continues, four will die during the course of this World Cup, though very few cases are likely to make headlines. Most of the murders occur in remote regions of the Amazon – places like de Lima’s home of Lábrea in Amazonas state, where loggers, ranchers and land-grabbers are seizing property from smallholders, subsistence communities and indigenous tribes. Guns and muscle make the rules. Police are usually either absent, complicit or too weak to deal with the gangs of armed grileiros.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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