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REDD in the news: 7-13 July 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.

Business and politics in Indonesia’s expanding palm oil sector

By Patrick Anderson, Inside Indonesia, July-September 2014 | Despite having KPK launch large numbers of investigations into the oil palm and pulpwood plantation sectors, elected officials are still prepared to take the risks associated with receiving bribes in order to amass the funds necessary to run for office. The coalescence of interests between plantation companies and local political elites remains strong, so new cases seem to appear every day. While KPK’s efforts are laudable, reform of Indonesia’s election laws will also be necessary, so that political parties and their candidates can access sufficient funds to run election campaigns without relying on illicit funding sources. Without removing the incentives for corruption, Indonesia’s forests and the people whose livelihoods depend upon them, will continue to suffer.

Survey Informing the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 Now Open

By Allie Goldstein, Forest Carbon Portal, July 2014 | For the fifth year running, Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace is collecting data about forest carbon projects around the world to include in our State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 report. This is the only market-wide, freely available research tracking performance-based payments for emissions reductions in forests (last year’s report available here).

FCPF Carbon Fund Selects Three Country Programmes

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), July 2014 | The ‘Chair’s Summary’ of the tenth meeting of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund (C10) has been released, with Duncan Marsh, C10 Chair, highlighting the selection of Chile and Viet Nam into the Carbon Fund pipeline. The Republic of the Congo, which also presented its Emission Reductions Program Idea Note (ER-PIN), was provisionally selected. C10 also heard presentations on possible future submissions from Cambodia, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia and Madagascar. The meeting also considered methodological issues related to buffers and a registry of transactions, and in particular, approved an approach for developing guidelines for buffers and a risk assessment tool. According to the Chair’s Summary, significant discussion focused on the pricing approach from REDD+.

[Australia] Market-based approaches to emissions reductions

Carbon Market Institute, July 2014 | his week, as the Australian Senate convenes to begin the debate to repeal the Carbon Pricing Mechanism and we anticipate the imminent introduction of the Government’s proposed Emissions Reduction Fund through the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014, it is important to remember that policy makers around the world are also introducing and implementing policies that limit emissions growth to meet internationally agreed emissions reduction targets. This briefing note is a high level overview of the main policy options available to governments to meet their emissions targets and the market based approaches used by some of Australia’s key trading partners.

7 July 2014

Big Agriculture Looks to Africa

By Michael Kourabas, Triple Pundit, 7 July 2014 | As the world begins to awaken to the looming food crisis — how we will feed 2 billion more people by the year 2050 — investors are turning to a place not typically associated with its agricultural bounty, but a region that National Geographic Magazine (NatGeo) is calling “The Next Breadbasket”: sub-Saharan Africa. In its July edition, NatGeo’s Joel K. Bourne Jr. (aided by predictably stunning photos from Robin Hammond) points a wide lens at the issues raised by the creation of giant agricultural developments in sub-Saharan Africa, including some of the potential benefits as well as the likely pitfalls.

[Australia] International carbon permits could offer big reductions at modest cost: CCA

By Lexi Metherell, ABC News, 7 July 2014 | The Climate Change Authority has found that Australia could cut its emissions by more and it would cost less if the nation bought carbon credits overseas. The authority says the emissions reduction target could be lifted from the current five per cent to 19 per cent for half a billion dollars. That’s a fifth of the price of the Government’s planned Direct Action scheme… Lexi Metherell: The Authority’s chairman Bernie Fraser says permits are cheap and the Government should buy up now. Bernie Fraser: If we can improve our performance by acquiring some of these permits, they’re contributing to reductions and emissions in other countries, it has the same effect on global warming as if we were to do it all domestically, but we can’t do it all domestically in the short-term.

[Australia] Carbon farming initiative will fail farmers and rural communities

By Penny van Oosterzee, The Conversation, 7 July 2014 | Australian farmers and rural land owners are being told that they will be given powerful and direct incentives to store carbon in the land under the federal government’s new climate policy. But is that really true? Both as a researcher and as a revegetation practitioner who’s looked into the practical costs of complying with the expanded Carbon Farming Initiative under the Emissions Reduction Fund, what I’ve seen to date makes me concerned that – paradoxically – the one thing this initiative will not to do is encourage carbon farming. In fact, Australia’s climate policies and systems have been, and continue to be, stacked against the land sector.

[Indonesia] Primary forest is vanishing

The Jakarta Post, 7 July 2014 | A new study has shown that between the years of 2000 and 2012, the country lost 38 percent of its primary forest, with adverse effects on the nation’s biodiversity. “Indonesia’s deforestation rate is increasing, with significant consequences for the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity,” the World Resources Institute (WRI) said. WRI researcher Ariana Alisjahbana said that the most notable aspect of deforestation was that it occurred within official areas that are supposed to restrict forest clearing, such as national parks and protected forests. The new data showed that the problem was worsening, with the country’s primary forest loss increasing by an average of 47,600 hectares (ha) each year, with an increasing proportion occurring in wetlands, triggering massive greenhouse gas emissions from peat soils.

[Indonesia] Todd Lemons: Ecosystem Entrepreneur

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 July 2014 | Then he learned of a practice called avoided deforestation, which grew out of new thinking in the late 1980s among innovative organizations like Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Brazilian NGO SPVS. The idea was to generate carbon offsets by saving endangered rainforest rather than by planting new trees. “That resonated with me,” he says. “If you could earn money by protecting a virgin forest – that’s cool.” It might have been cool with him, but it wasn’t cool with some of the more traditional environmental groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. As the Kyoto Protocol took shape in the 1990s, they made sure avoided deforestation wasn’t part of it… On the economic front, Lemons found that, despite all the talk to the contrary, REDD wasn’t a lucrative endeavor, and it probably never would be – especially compared to Palm Oil.

How measuring trees in Panama is benefitting indigenous groups, forests and the climate

By Chris Meyer, EDF, 7 July 2014 | Indigenous peoples have relied on the rainforests for their survival for thousands of years. Their knowledge of the forests and dependence on the lands make them effective protectors of the forests — and particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The indigenous group Organization of Embera and Wounaan Youth of Panama (OJEWP) formed teams that recently started measuring and recording the size of trees in the territories of five indigenous communities, with technical guidance from academics from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and McGill University. Access to this accurate forest carbon stock data for indigenous territories is crucial for indigenous peoples when they discuss policies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) with government officials… Deforestation accounts for as much as 15% of all manmade global warming pollution.

8 July 2014

How to decarbonise the global economy

By Jeffrey Sachs, The A-List (FT.com), 8 July 2014 | But how can such low-emission levels be met at the same time as the world economy is growing? The research teams identified three main pillars for deep decarbonisation. First, a shift to low-carbon electricity produced by (country-specific) mixes of wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and fossil fuels combined with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Second, the electrification of personal vehicles, buildings and some industrial processes, powered by the low-carbon electricity supply. Third, massive energy efficiency, for example through improved building designs that dramatically reduce the need for external energy to fuel heating, cooling and ventilation. Fourth, outside of the energy system, a shift from net global deforestation and land degradation to net reforestation and land rehabilitation, making the terrestrial biosphere a net carbon sink rather than source.

International Report Charts Path to Deep Carbon Cuts

By Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic, 8 July 2014 | Governments around the world are failing in their commitments to address climate change, a group of international science institutions warn in a new report, saying the window to prevent catastrophic warming will soon close. “The world is engaged in an unrecognized, massive gamble with the future of the planet,” economist and author Jeffrey Sachs warned at a news conference discussing the report, “Deep Decarbonization Pathways.” Produced by 30 scientific institutions from the 15 countries that emit the most greenhouse gases, the report was presented to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday morning. Sachs, who directs Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York, said a full report will be released next spring, but the contributors felt it was important to release the interim results now, ahead of the next global discussions on climate change in Paris in September.

ClimeCo Corporation Ranked 2nd Among Top Global Wholesale Carbon Offset Providers

ClimeCo Press Release, 8 July 2014 | ClimeCo celebrates its nomination of ” Runner-Up, Best Global Wholesale Provider” of voluntary carbon offsets , as announced by Environmental Finance. “It is an honor to be recognized by our peers and clients,” stated ClimeCo president William Flederbach. “As the only U.S. based provider nominated to this category, ClimeCo’s position among its larger global market of peers is reinforced. This acknowledgement demonstrates the growth of our seasoned and qualified team , all experts within their individual areas of concentration.” Within the Climate Action Reserve, ClimeCo is the largest producer of U.S. voluntary carbon credits, managing projects that generate in excess of three million credits per year.

Amazon rainforest grew after climate change 2,000 years ago: study

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 8 July 2014 | Swathes of the Amazon may have been grassland until a natural shift to a wetter climate about 2,000 years ago let the rainforests form, according to a study that challenges common belief that the world’s biggest tropical forest is far older. The arrival of European diseases after Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492 may also have hastened the growth of forests by killing indigenous people farming the region, the scientists wrote in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “The dominant ecosystem was more like a savannah than the rainforest we see today,” John Carson, lead author at the University of Reading in England, said of the findings about the southern Amazon. The scientists said that a shift toward wetter conditions, perhaps caused by natural shifts in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, led to growth of more trees starting about 2,000 years ago.

[Australia] New senate set to vote on carbon tax

Climate Control News, 8 July 2014 | The new senate was sworn in yesterday with the government moving quickly to push for a vote to repeal the carbon tax. With the new senate in place the government now has the numbers to repeal the tax with a few amendments from Clive Palmer and the Palmer United Party (PUP) senators. Repeal of the carbon tax will be backdated to July 1, 2014 with the legislation set to go before the senate later this week or early next week. Palmer has agreed to vote with the government if the Climate Change Authority (CCA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is retained and Australia moves to a zero-rated emissions trading scheme.

Trudeau’s carbon tax will hurt Canada’s economy

By Lorne Gunter, Welland Tribune, 8 July 2014 | “Carbon pricing” is simply a euphemism for “carbon tax.” When a politician talks about establishing a price on carbon in the name of stopping global warming (as federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau frequently does), what he really means is he wants to tax oil production, manufacturing and private vehicle use in the hope that by punishing energy companies, manufacturers and drivers he can force them to reduce their emissions. However, no market exists for carbon emissions except where governments force companies to buy or sell “carbon credits.” Therefore, there is no such thing as a natural “carbon price.” The concept is entirely artificial. Admittedly, Europe has a carbon exchange, but it’s not a real marketplace like a stock exchange. It wouldn’t exist if the EU’s commissioners hadn’t dictated that companies put a price on their emissions and pay extra for emissions above their mandated limits.

Rimba Raya Conservation Distributes Water Filters in Seruyan Regency, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

PT Rimba Raya Conservation Press Release, 8 July 2014 | PT. Rimba Raya Conservation (PT. RRC) in May and June 2014 distributed 750 units of water purification systems to six out of nine partner villages in the Seruyan Hilir sub-district and Danau Sembuluh sub-district, Seruyan regency, Central Kalimantan province. Via a press release, Vice President of Public & Government Relations, PT. Rimba Raya Conservation, Nisa Jalil, stated that the six villages received the water filters including Ulak Batu, Palingkau, Telaga Pulang, Jahitan, Muara Dua, dan Tajung Rengas. The distribution of the water filters to the villages is a part of the implementation of the Seruyan Regency’s community villages development framework and a part of the obligation of PT. RRC as the ecosystem restoration licensee to implement the REDD+ concept (emission reduction through the degradation and deforestation).

[Kenya] Government to review Act to increase forest cover

By Judith Akolo, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, 8 July 2014 | The government is in the process of reviewing the Forest Act to enable it to conform to the Constitutional requirement of realizing the 10 per cent forest cover in the country. Conservation Secretary Gideon Gathaara said the global climate change debate has presented a unique opportunity for Kenya to aid in looking afresh at the forestry sector and strategically positioning the country in addressing the challenge of global warming. Speaking at a workshop on Climate Change in various forest types in Sub-Sahara Africa, Gathaara said the government policy towards realising a 10 per cent forest cover by the year 2030 is critical in reversing the high rate at which global warming is evolving. Kenya has so far achieved a 7% forest cover, up from a meagre 2% recorded five years ago, when the country’s water towers such as the Mau Forest, diminished because of deforestation.

9 July 2014

U.N. meeting on forest conservation takes place in Peru

Andina, 9 July 2014 | Senior officials from 53 countries are gathering in Lima to review forest conservation initiatives and discuss future conservation efforts worldwide, within the framework of the UN-REDD Program’s Policy Board annual meeting held prior to the COP20 Summit… It should be noted that Peru has the experience of a project begun by UNDP in 2012 “Strengthening capacities of Indigenous People for their informed participation in the design and implementation of the REDD+ mechanism in Peru.” This project provided technical support to local Peruvian Amazonian indigenous organizations, and was aimed at encouraging the consultation and participation process of indigenous communities in the REDD+ preparation proposal.

Three firms buy 510,000 African carbon credits in H1 2014

By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 9 July 2014 | Three major international commodity traders bought a total 510,000 African carbon offsets from clean energy project developer ecosur afrique in the first half of 2014, showing some demand still exists for credits from the battered U.N. market. The credits – known as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) are to be delivered to the buyers Vitol, Bunge and Shell Trading before the end of 2015, ecosur CEO Fabrice Le Sache told Reuters on Wednesday. The CERs are sourced from four projects in Burundi and one in Uganda… Le Sache said some CER demand remains, especially for those approved by Swiss-based certifier Gold Standard, a process that is seen as improving their environmental credibility. “There is still demand, we’re still doing deals,” he said, adding that he expects to ink more sales in the near future. Ecosur afrique said it has 20 CDM projects registered in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the region’s largest developer.

UN plans to make its carbon credits available to all

By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 9 July 2014 | The United Nations climate change secretariat is planning to enable local governments, companies and individuals to offset their planet-warming emissions using U.N.-certified carbon credits. It announced on Wednesday that the secretariat’s staff and their families had signed up to buy certified emission reductions (CERs) held by a U.N. fund for climate change adaptation to address the emissions they generate at home and work. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, described the move as “just the start”. “We are currently looking at ways to easily allow others, for example individuals, companies, cities, events and the wider U.N. system, to calculate their emissions and carry out a simple transaction to offset them with a broad range of available U.N.-certified offset credits,” she said in a statement.

Scale of Amazon rainforest carbon loss revealed

By Megan Darby, RTCC, 9 July 2014 | Logging, burning and developing plantations in the Amazon rainforest is releasing 54 million tonnes of carbon a year, Brazilian and British scientists have found. The impact of wildfires, selective logging and the encroachment of pastures and plantations on the rainforest is harder to monitor than that of wholesale deforestation, they said. This study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, shows such degradation could account for up to 40% of the carbon loss caused by deforestation in the region. The researchers said efforts to conserve forests, such as the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) programme (see factbox below), will “remain limited in their success” unless they address these problems.

[Brazil, Indonesia] Communities willing to mitigate climate change — with a little help, research shows

By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 July 2014 | Local communities are willing and able to take part in tree-based climate change mitigation activities — provided that they receive some assistance, new research in Brazil and Indonesia shows. In Brazil’s eastern Amazon region, researcher Émilie Coudel has been studying compliance with legislation that compels landowners to maintain 50 percent to 80 percent of natural vegetation on their property, or restore tree cover to that level if the forest has become degraded… In another example, preliminary results from research in Indonesia shows that forest dwellers have been found to conduct efficient monitoring of the carbon stored in forests, but they should get something back from that work if it is to continue. Monitoring carbon is a fundamental aspect of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) programs, which link financial incentives for conservation with carbon stored in forests.

EU Parliament to consider carbon price fix this fall

By Timothy Cama, TheHill, 9 July 2014 | The European Union’s Parliament will start work this fall on a measure aimed at increasing carbon dioxide prices in the emissions trading system by setting supply controls. Giovanni La Via, chairman of the Parliament’s environmental committee, said told Bloomberg News his panel would consider a proposed measure “carefully and comprehensively.” A draft measure unveiled in January would remove and reserve excess carbon pollution credits to keep prices high. La Via said Parliament is in a “very early stage” of considering the proposal and has not even completed a first read on it. Excess emissions permits rose above 2.1 billion allowances last year, a record under the cap-and-trade program, Bloomberg said. Prices hit a record low of 2.46 euros per ton in April 2013.

Indonesia’s REDD Agency Inaugurated Four Deputies

Norwegian Embassy in Indonesia, 9 July 2014 | Following the establishment of the REDD+ Agency and appointment of Minister Heru Prasetyo as the Agency’s Chairman in December 2013, President Yudhoyono issued a Presidential Decree (No. 71/M 2014) to appoint four Deputies who will assist Minister Prasetyo in running the Agency’s operation. On Friday, 4 July 2014, The Agency inaugurated Dr. Ir. William Palitondok Sabandar as the Deputy for Operation; Dr. Ir. Agus Pratama Sari as the Deputy for Planning and Funding; Nurdiana Bariyah Darus as the Deputy for Technology, System and Monitoring, and Dr. Ir. Nur Masripatin as the Deputy for Governance and Inter-institutional relations. Deputy for operation will be responsible for the Agency’s day-to-day operation, inter-program synergy and good coordination among stakeholders and partners to implement REDD+ at the national and sub-national levels.

[Indonesia] Call of the Orangutan: Welcome to Camp

By James Askew, Scientific American, 9 July 2014 | It’s taken a bit longer than I’d initially anticipated, but I’m finally at my first field site, Sikundur in North Sumatra, which will be my home for the next eight months. The research and monitoring station is located in the east of the spectacular Gunung Leuser National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, which is home to a host of endemic species including Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants and, of course, orangutans. Although the Leuseur International Foundation established the station many years ago, very little monitoring had been conducted since 2007. Beginning in early 2013 my host organization, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, refurbished the station’s facilities, re-opened 48 kilometers of trails and 20 phenological plots, and has managed the site with six permanent local field staff to monitor the orangutans.

Kenya Reviewing Legislation Act To Increase Forest Cover

Bernama, 9 July 2014 | The Kenyan government is in the process of reviewing the Forest Act to enable it to conform to the Constitutional requirement of realising 10 per cent forest cover in the country, says Conservation Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Gideon Gathaara. The global climate change debate has presented a unique opportunity for Kenya to help look afresh at the forestry sector and strategically position the country in addressing the challenge of global warming, he told a workshop here Tuesday on climate change in various forest types in Sub-Sahara Africa. Gathaara said the government’s policy towards realising a 10 per cent forest cover by the year 2030 was critical in reversing the high rate at which global warming was evolving. Kenya has so far achieved 7.0 per cent forest cover, up from a meagre 2.0 per cent recorded five years ago, when the country’s water towers such as the Mau Forest, diminished because of deforestation.

US, China to Cooperate on Energy and Forests to Tackle Climate Change

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 9 July 2014 | The US and China have announced several joint initiatives with the aim of addressing climate change, including demonstration projects in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and smart grids, a study on natural gas use in industrial boilers, and an initiative on climate change and forests. The announcement was made on 9 July 2014, at the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, China, where US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, and China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang jointly chaired a session on reviewing and strengthening efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution in the two countries.

10 July 2014

Good intentions, collateral damage: forest conservation may be hurting grasslands

By Anna Ikarashi, mongabay.com, 10 July 2014 | Trees absorb CO2 and trap carbon molecules, and countless are lost as forests are felled around the world. So why not plant as many as we can? A recent paper by Dr. Kate Parr and collaborators from the University of Liverpool suggests otherwise; the planting of more trees through international reforestation schemes may actually be harming tropical grasslands, which harbor endemic species and offer unique ecosystem services. Tropical grassy biomes (TGBs) are characterized by an abundance of fire-tolerant grasses that thrive under dry conditions. According to Parr’s study, which was published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, TGBs tend to be miscategorized as forest under international reforestation schemes, which can lead to ineffective management.

Companies donate half a million carbon credits to World Cup

By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 10 July 2014 | Donations of U.N.-backed carbon credits to help reduce the carbon footprint of the World Cup in Brazil have surpassed the half million mark, the local government said on Thursday. Brazilian companies or local branches of multinationals so far donated 545,500 certified emissions reductions (CERs) in response to a campaign that, in exchange, offered publicity in the tournament’s official documents. Tractebel Energia S.A., controlled by GDF Suez, tops the list of donors with 105,000 CERs, followed by chemical giant Solvay Rhodia with 100,000. The Brazilian government said the donations so far can offset 38 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the tournament.

Climate change solution: Scrap subsidies, fund innovation

By Matthew Stepp (Center for Clean Energy Innovation), Christian Science Monitor, 10 July 2014 | Mark your calendars. November 30, 2015 is international climate D-Day. Representatives from 196 countries will meet in Paris for the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to complete negotiations on a new international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2020. Unfortunately, in the lead up to the negotiations there have been few new suggestions that deviate from the norm, signaling that Paris may be doomed to retread the tried-and-failed carbon targets and subsidy policies that will produce good feelings but poor results.

Three meetings, five days: climate diplomacy push kicks off

By Ed King and Megan Darby, RTCC, 10 July 2014 | Five days of intensive international climate diplomacy involving the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitters get underway on Saturday in Paris. The three-day Major Economies Forum will be followed by the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, while on Monday leaders of the BRICS group made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa gather in Fortaleza, Brazil for three days of talks. The meetings mark the start of what it likely to be a significant push by the UN seek convergence on how a global climate change deal, scheduled to be signed off in 2015, could work. UK climate and energy minister Greg Barker, who heads to Paris today, tells RTCC more progress is needed working out the basics of that agreement, ahead of a December UN summit in Lima.

[Australia] Clive Palmer blocks carbon tax repeal amid Senate chaos

By Lenore Taylor and Daniel Hurst, The Guardian, 10 July 2014 | Tony Abbott’s “pledge in blood” to axe the carbon tax will have to wait until next week after the Senate processes descended into chaos and the Palmer United party senators voted against the carbon tax repeal. The latest Clive Palmer drama began when the PUP leader rewrote an amendment, insisting that power companies not passing on carbon tax price reductions should be hit with a penalty of 250% of the saving improperly received. Palmer said the amendment had been drafted by the government in a loose way that meant it amounted to a “whitewash” and this amounted to “the government pulling a swifty on us” and “double-crossing us”. According to Palmer the government “reacted violently” to his last-minute revision, with senior ministers inundating him and his Senate leader, Glenn Lazarus, with angry calls.

Lessons for community REDD projects from the Congo Basin

REDD+ Community, 10 July 2014 | Bioclimate has completed a series of policy briefs that build on experiences and insights from the Community PES project. This is a UK Government funded Congo Basin Forest Fund fast track pilot project. The Community PES project was carried out in two community forests in Southern Cameroon between 2010 and 2013. The project continues and PES payments will run until 2016. The focus of the project has been on linking livelihood activities, such as improved agroforestry and NTFP enterprise development, with reduced deforestation and degradation. Other aspects of the project include; establishing a PES Trust Fund, securing land tenure through community forest formalisation, devising equitable benefit sharing within the communities, and constructing cost effective forest and livelihood monitoring systems.

[Ethiopia] Norway pilots a new direction in REDD: planting trees for carbon credits

Development Today, 10 July 2014 | In Ethiopia, Norway is for the first time testing out a model of forest climate aid that includes planted trees and ‘climate-smart’ agriculture in the carbon accounting. [RM: Subscription needed.]

Interview: Forest loss hurting food security in Indonesia

By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 July 2014 | The loss of Indonesia’s forests is not helping the country’s food security, according to a top official with the World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance agency of the United Nations. Indonesian food supply chains are focused on rice, maize and other cereals rich in energy but low on nutrients, said Myrta Kaulard, who until recently was country director of WFP Indonesia. Forest-based foods, on the other hand, offer a wealth of diverse types of foods and nutrients. With forest loss, “what we see is the loss of very healthy traditions,” Kaulard said in an interview with Terry Sunderland, Principal Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)… “People that still live in isolated communities, who rely on traditional knowledge … have much better nutrition levels among their children than people who live in urban areas and are middle class,” Kaulard said.

11 July 2014

UNFCCC REDD Negotiations: Non-Carbon Benefits are still on the table

By Allison Silverman and Niranjali Amerasinghe, Forests Climate Change, 11 July 2014 | At a glance: Non-Carbon Benefits (NCBs) occupied a good portion of the SBSTA discussions on REDD+. Parties believe that NCBs are important to the long-term sustainability of REDD+ but strongly disagree about the need for any specific guidance for incentivizing such benefits. Parties ultimately agreed to continue considering methodological issues next year at SBSTA’s 42nd session, providing the necessary space to discuss issues related to safeguard information systems at SBSTA’s next session in Peru.

Q&A: Better data needed on forest benefits

CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 July 2014 | Apart from employment figures, governments have very little sound data on the exact number of people benefiting from forests, a new report says. The recently released report, “The State of the World’s Forests,” reveals that the formal forest sector employs some 13.2 million people and that at least another 41 million are employed in the informal sector. However, the number of people using forest resources for food, energy and shelter is suspected to be in the billions, while an unknown number of people may benefit indirectly from the environmental services provided by forests, according to the annual report, which is produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

[Australia] Indigenous people in the Kimberley to be hit by carbon tax changes

By David Weber, The World Today (ABC), 11 July 2014 | Indigenous people in the Kimberley region of Western Australia say they stand to lose jobs and future income if and when the carbon price is dumped. Some groups have been generating millions of dollars worth of carbon credits through various carbon abatement schemes. And they’re still hoping Palmer United Party senators can bring in amendments which could allow Indigenous people to benefit from the carbon market… Francis Woolagoodja: Look, we’re trying to be sustainable in our own right and trying to do fire, right way of burning the right way, and we want do it so it’s a viable business and I guess if the Government cuts our funding and cuts out the carbon scheme, then it’s sort of, it’s bad for us where we can’t make some sort of living.

[Australia] Carbon tax chaos: where the government’s plan went wrong

By Matthew Knott, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2014 | The government is attempting to repeal the carbon tax introduced by the Gillard government in 2011. Labor and the Greens want to keep a price on carbon so the government needs the support of six of the eight crossbenchers in the Senate to scrap it. Luckily for the government, all the crossbenchers want to get rid of the carbon tax. Unluckily – at least for now – the Palmer United Party isn’t going to make it easy.

Germany wants aid for emission-cutting projects in poor countries

By Ben Garside, Reuters, 11 July 2014 | Germany is advancing plans for rich countries to encourage the developing world to cut greenhouse gas emissions by subsidising projects, replacing the funding after a United Nations programme has run out of cash. Such a move could yield cuts of around 5 percent of the gap between current government pledges and the amount needed by 2020 to prevent climate change that would lead to rising seas, droughts and flooding. It also could throw a lifeline to owners of those projects that would destroy particularly potent industrial gases who are unwilling to pay for the measures themselves and do not expect their host countries to introduce regulations for years. “Some of the cheapest options available for cutting emissions are at a real risk of stopping for purely political reasons,” said Silke Karcher, an official at Germany’s environment ministry.

[Indonesia] Forest carbon investors impatient for state-backed global market

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11 July 2014 | As U.N. climate talks inch towards creating a government-backed market for forest carbon credits, some private investors say it can’t happen soon enough, as they seek companies and other buyers to suck up their offsets. “Lack of a (global) market is the problem. We rely on the voluntary market. We don’t need the price to be high, but right now there aren’t enough buyers,” said Jim Procanik, managing director of InfiniteEARTH, the company that started Indonesia’s Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve. So far, it is the only forest conservation project in the Southeast Asian nation to sell carbon credits… Hadi Daryanto, secretary general at the Ministry of Forestry, said the voluntary market offers a more flexible mechanism for them. “(Private investment) is suitable for the voluntary carbon market. If they enter the compliance market, they will have to deal with the government.”

UK court shuts 2 firms over carbon, diamond investment schemes

Reuters, 11 July 2014 | A British court has ordered two firms into liquidation after an investigation found they had made nearly 2 million pounds ($3.4 million) through selling carbon credits, diamonds and other commodities to investors using false and misleading information. Pinecom Services Limited and Pine Commodities Ltd were ordered closed by the UK High Court on July 2 after they were found to have continued a business operated by three firms that were shut in the last two years for similar reasons, Britain’s Insolvency Service said on Friday. “The grounds for winding up the companies arise from the connections to companies that this court has previously wound up, namely Tullett Brown Limited, Foxstone Carr Limited and Carvier Limited, all of which were engaged in the trade of selling carbon credits to members of the public,” registrar Christine Derrett of the court said in a ruling, which the Insolvency Service cited in a statement.

12 July 2014

[USA] Bethlehem sells carbon credits to Disney

By Nicole Radzievich, The Morning Call, 12 July 2014 | The wonderful world of Disney will soon include a piece of Bethlehem. The Walt Disney Co., whose fictional forests created cover for characters from Bambi to Snow White, has finalized an environmental deal involving the 20,000 acres of lush woods surrounding Bethlehem’s water reservoirs. Those aging cherry trees that loggers love and pitch pines where songbirds flock will be used to help offset the greenhouse gas pollution Disney generates from enterprises ranging from theme parks to cruise ships. It’s all thanks to the voluntary carbon market.

13 July 2014


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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