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REDD in the news: 25-31 August 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.

25 August 2014

2014 SADC Peoples Summit Declaration: “We reject externally driven false solutions to climate change such as REDD+”
No REDD in Africa Network, 25 August 2014 | The NO REDD in Africa! Network (NRAN) was at the 2014 SADC Peoples Summit in Bulawayo City, Zimbabwe. The summit final declaration brings strong demands to the Heads of States. The Rejection of the False Solutions to Climate Change, such as REDD+, is one of the demands. The SADC Peoples called on SADC member states and Governments to: “Reject externally driven false solutions to climate change embedded in for example the existing REDD Plus, Green Revolution and Climate Smart Agriculture proposals”.

Historic Wildfires Burn Through Canada As Sub-Arctic Forests Heat Up
By Jeff Spross, Climate Progress, 25 August 2014 | Wildfires are taking off in Canada as the country goes through one of its hottest and driest summers in decades. Wildfire activity in the Northwest Territories is more than six times higher than its 25-year average, and as of August 23 a total of 162 wildfires were burning in British Columbia. The latter province has seen 1,269 wildfires so far this year, along with 314,895 hectares of land burned — almost equivalent to 2010, when the province lost 337,149 hectares to various blazes. The fires have cut through the boreal forests that lie just outside the Arctic Circle throughout Canada, aided by the hottest and driest summer the Northwest Territories have seen in 50 years. According to Canada’s National Post, the fires can kick smoke up to 10 or even 15 kilometers into the atmosphere, leaving massive plumes that can be spotted by satellite and seen as far away as Portugal.

[Colombia] The Forest, The Farms, And The Finance: Why The Tolo River People Turned To Carbon Finance
By Tanya Dimitrova, Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 August 2014 | Vergara is at the forefront of deforestation in this region, in part because land is so cheap here, and cattle ranching is so lucrative. That disparity left the forest at a disadvantage: living trees delivered no income, while cleared land did, and the desire that the Tolo River people had to save the forest was outweighed by their need to feed their families. To balance that disparity, they turned to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which would make it possible for them to earn money by saving trees. The amount of money would depend in part on the amount of carbon stored in the trees they saved and in part on demand for carbon offsets. The advantages of REDD are clear: it conserves tropical forests and unique natural biodiversity; it reduces our global impact on climate; and it fosters sustainable rural community development.

EU carbon prices edge lower ahead of increased supply
Reuters, 25 August 2014 | European carbon prices edged lower in thin trade on Monday ahead of an increase in supply from government sales of carbon allowances. Front-year EU Allowance (EUA) futures closed at 6.34 euros, down 4 cents on Friday’s settlement. Liquidity was poor with around 4 million allowances of all vintages changing hands across all platforms as many traders were absent from their desks due to a national holiday in Britain. “The biweekly UK auction on Wednesday as well as the prospect of auction volumes going back to pre-August level in September could slow down the upward trend we have seen recently,” analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said in a weekly report on Monday.

Tanzania: Olmotonyi Forestry Institute Up for Face Lift
By Yasinta Amos, Tanzania Daily News, 25 August 2014 | Norway has pledged to help improve the Arusha-based, Olmotonyi Forestry Training Institute’s infrastructure while Finland promised to equip the college and provide capacity building. The government of Finland, through its National Forest and Beekeeping Programme (NFBKP mark II) will equip Olmotonyi Forestry Training Institute with teaching equipment and provide capacity building training programmes to its teaching staff. “Norway (on the other hand) through its ECOPRC programme will provide scholarship programmes for our 32 students, in addition to donating two Toyota Land-cruiser trucks and a Toyota Coaster Minibus to the Institution,” revealed the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Selestine Gesimba, during the FTI Olmotonyi’s 74th Graduation Ceremony.

[USA] California-Chiapas, other climate-change plans could see new life
By Carolina Lopez, The Explorer, 25 August 2014 | The concept was complex and controversial: California companies would be allowed to exceed limits of carbon-dioxide emissions by paying to protect rainforests abroad. The pollute-locally, restore-globally strategy was put forth in a 2010 memorandum of agreement between then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and representatives from the states of Chiapas, Mexico, and Acre, Brazil. The goal was to create incentives for the countries to move forward in developing programs to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. California companies would pay to preserve tropical forests that scientists say are key to slowing the generation of greenhouse gases and climate change. But four years later, the program in Chiapas has stalled. The state officials who made the agreement are out of office and Mexico’s national government now has its own climate-change policy with which state governments must coordinate.

[Vietnam] Investors destroy forests as they lease land in Dak Nong under false pretenses
Eco-Business, 25 August 2014 | Thousands of hectares of forests in the central province of Dak Nong have been eliminated due to a policy that allows investors to lease forest land. Many investors have leased land not to develop forest plantation projects but to clear land for rubber growing, or to sell the land to buyers. Arrests of some investors have been made by the Dak Nong province. The police have arrested Hoang Throng Hieu in Xuan Thoi Thuong Commune of Hoc Mon District in HCM City for damaging forests. Hieu is chair and deputy director of Phuong Linh Dak Nong Company Ltd. In 2012, Phuong Linh Dak Nong signed a contract with Quang Tin Forestry Company, a state-owned enterprise specializing in forest protection, development and business, for setting up a joint-venture to develop forests and grow rubber on the forested land. While waiting for the provincial authorities’ approval of the project, Hieu hired Hung Linh Company and one individual to illegally bulldoze 39 hectares…

26 August 2014

Study gauges relative importance of forest incomes
By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 August 2014 | Meat. Woodfuel. Spices. Forests provide all these and more, yet the role of these products on rural livelihoods is still coming into focus. A comparative study on the relative role of these non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in supporting livelihoods in three West African countries has reaffirmed the benefits of seeing forests in a wider context. The study examined the relative importance of forest-related income for some 1,000 rural households in Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana that have varying access to markets and forests. It also aimed to uncover regional patterns in a larger ecological, social and political context. In so doing, researchers highlighted the different roles that NTFPs play, or might play, in a landscape context.

Coal To Be Hardest Hit By Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign
By Mike Scott, Forbes, 26 August 2014 | [W]hile divestment campaigns such as 350.org’s are gaining momentum among high-profile but relatively small investors such as Storebrand, the Norwegian fund, and Stanford University, for bigger institutions selling out of fossil fuels is more problematic, says a new white paper from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the research group. The paper looks at what divestment on a trillion dollar scale would look like. Oil & gas and coal companies form one of the world’s largest asset classes, worth nearly $5 trillion at current stock market values, the paper says. “Fossil fuels are investor favourites for a reason,” it adds. “Few sectors offer the scale, liquidity, growth, and yield of these century-old businesses vital to today’s economy.” It is no surprise, therefore, that the world’s largest investors – the likes of Blackrock and JP Morgan – and governments ranging from Norway and Russia to India and Colombia are key shareholders in the sector.

Road Expansion Imperils Thai Natural Area
ALERT press release, 26 August 2014 | An international scientific group has decried the Thai government’s plan to dramatically enlarge a roadway through one of its most important natural areas. A two-lane road, called Highway 304, cuts through the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai (DPKY) Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site in central Thailand renowned for its outstanding biodiversity. Now the Thai government wants to enlarge it into a much larger, four-lane highway. “From an environmental perspective it’s truly dangerous,” said William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Australia and director of ALERT, the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers. “This is a hotspot for nature – the largest tract of surviving forest in central Thailand and a globally famous tourist destination,” said Professor Lian Pin Koh at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

27 August 2014

‘Landscape approach’ defies simple definition — and that’s good
By Terry Sutherland, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 August 2014 | The terms “landscapes,” “landscape approaches” and “integrated landscape management,” among similar “landscape-focused” terminology, underpin much of the discourse in contemporary research, donor and development circles related to conservation, agriculture and other land uses. The plethora of terms is both confusing and yet pervasive. As such, an agreed understanding on what such “landscape approaches” represent conceptually or actually look like on the ground remains elusive. In an attempt to provide a guiding framework to the landscape approach, the Center for International Forestry Research and partner institutions described 10 principles that characterize such an approach. These 10 principles emphasize adaptive management, stakeholder engagement and dialogue, and multiple objectives.

Why fossil fuel divestment won’t be easy
By Simon Evans, The Carbon Brief, 27 August 2014 | There’s a growing global campaign to stop investments in the fossil fuel industry. The British Medical Association, the World Council of Churches and Stanford University are among those pledging to take their money out of oil, coal and gas firms. But if the idea catches on, it won’t just cause headaches for oil moguls. Investment managers will be scratching their heads too. If they can’t invest in fossil fuel firms, where should they put their money? Clean energy firms simply aren’t big enough to soak up $5 trillion currently invested in oil and gas firms, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). But divesting from coal would be much more feasible, it finds.

China’s carbon emission down by 5%: Premier Li
Xinhua, 27 August 2014 | China’s carbon emission has declined by 5 percent this year, the largest progress in recent years, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday. “China’s economy maintained medium-high growth in the first half of this year while its carbon emission has achieved the largest reduction this year, down by 5 percent year on year,” Li said in his talks with Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, an island country in the Caribbean. Browne is on his first China visit since his government took office in June. Climate change has been a major topic of discussion for the two leaders during his visit to Beijing. Li stressed the Chinese government attaches great importance to climate change and has made arduous efforts in this regard. He said China’s 1.3 billion people must understand the importance of energy and environment to realize modernization.

[USA] California drivers brace for costly new gas tax
By William La Jeunesse and Laura Prabucki, Fox News, 27 August 2014 | Californians already pay the nation’s second highest gas tax at 68 cents a gallon — and now it will go up again in January to pay for a first-in-the-nation climate change law… “I think it’s terrible,” added Lupe Sanchez, pumping $4.09-a-gallon gas at a Chevron near Santa Monica… When gas prices go up, motorists typically blame oil companies, Arab sheiks and Wall Street speculators. This time they can blame Sacramento and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for passing a bill requiring California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The tax on carbon already raised about $1 billion in revenue by requiring manufacturers and utilities to buy credits for each ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. At the beginning of next year, the law will apply to oil and gas. Refiners and distributors say they will pass another $2 billion in costs on – largely to consumers.

[USA] Southern Oregon University Sells Carbon Credits to Chevrolet
Southern Oregon University press release, 27 August 2014 | Southern Oregon University is participating in Chevrolet’s carbon-reduction initiative. It is selling carbon credits for the new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified Raider Village residence halls to Chevrolet for one year. This unique program enables the university to receive funding for reducing the campus’ carbon footprint through green building practices. “Chevy’s efforts offer an exceptional opportunity to recognize top-performing, LEED-certified projects, while encouraging them to continue to operate in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate global climate change,” said Chris Pyke, Ph.D., vice president of research for the U.S. Green Building Council.

28 August 2014

Can Carbon Neutral Make a Comeback?
By Katie Gilbert, Institutional Investor, 28 August 2014 | In early August, CaixaBank, Spain’s third-largest lender, made a purchase that looks positively nostalgic: voluntary carbon credits to offset its greenhouse gas emissions. The credits, validated by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established in the Kyoto Protocol and now overseen by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), were generated from a wind farm and a natural-gas plant in Colombia. They’re meant to offset the 658 metric tons of carbon that Barcelona-based CaixaBank produced through its power use, water consumption, waste management and employee travel last year.

Time to Recognize Community Forest Rights to Combat Climate Change
By Tony La Viña, The Jakarta Globe, 28 August 2014 | In December, climate negotiators will converge in Lima, Peru, for the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It will mark a milestone for the Durban Platform on Enhanced Action, the process established in 2011 that is supposed to end with a new climate change agreement at the 2015 COP in Paris. As the new agreement takes shape, it is clear that forest landscapes will be part of the negotiating agenda. An essential component of the agreement must be the recognition of a critical approach to climate change mitigation: the recognition of community forest rights. A new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), “Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change,” finds overwhelming evidence that strengthening community forest rights can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions…

With an eye on carbon cash, Cameroon boosts forest monitoring
By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 28 August 2014 | Cameroon has set up a national system to monitor forest carbon in an effort to earn carbon cash and protect the country’s expansive but disappearing forests. According to a 2013 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Cameroon lost 4.4 million hectares (10.9 million acres), or 18 percent, of its forest cover between 1990 and 2012. Experts blame the losses on poor governance and weak law enforcement, resulting in a failure to control logging. Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Ngole Philip Ngwesse, said at the launch of the new monitoring system this month that the satellite surveillance system will reinforce other government measures in place that aim to protect forests, improve their sustainable use and help the country earn added income.

Indonesia’s national airline to start using palm oil biofuel
mongabay.com, 28 August 2014 | Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, says it will start mixing palm oil-based biofuel with its jet fuel as part of an initiative to “reduce” carbon emissions, reports The Jakarta Post. Novianto Herupratomo, Garuda’s operational director, said crude palm oil would be mixed into avtur — aviation turbine fuel — starting in 2016. “We hope that the biofuel can be produced on a large scale so the price will be relatively the same as avtur,” was quoted as saying. “Hopefully [biofuel can be] cheaper than avtur.” Garuda claimed the measure is intended to help the environment, but the Indonesian government has recently been pushing palm oil use for biofuels to counter slackening demand. According to The Jakarta Post, Garuda currently uses 1.8 billion liters of avtur a year. Consumption is expected to reach 2 billion liters in 2016.

Alarm over tourists’ encounters with uncontacted Indians in Peru
Survival International, 28 August 2014 | Peruvian Indians have issued an urgent appeal for government action following a spate of encounters between highly vulnerable uncontacted Indians and tourists. Dozens of encounters between uncontacted Mashco-Piro Indians, tourists and settlers have been recorded near the border of the Madre de Dios Reserve in south-east Peru in recent years. Tourists traveling through the area have taken photographs and left items of clothing on the riverbanks for the Indians, sparking fears that “human safaris” are spreading to the region. Amazon Indian organization FENAMAD traveled to the Madre de Dios Reserve last week, and has issued a damning statement against government inaction.

[USA] Your next roadside attraction: Carbon storage
By Marianne Lavell, Boulder Weekly, 28 August 2014 | As you watch the miles roll by on family road trips this summer, look just behind the guard rails to see what some scientists believe is a significant untapped resource in the battle against climate change. Roadside soils and vegetation on federal lands and along U.S. highways are already capturing nearly 2 percent of total U.S. transportation carbon emissions. The land alongside the 4 million miles of U.S. public roadways, already being maintained by federal, stat, and local governments, could be planted with vegetation that helps transfer carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, say scientists. Road banks and berms, in other words, could be managed as valuable “banks” for carbon sequestration.

29 August 2014

REDD+ Learning Session 25: What Drives Deforestation and What Stops It
Center For Global Development, 29 August 2014 | In this webinar hosted by the World Wildlife Fund, CGD research fellow Jonah Busch discusses a recent publication, ‘What Drives Deforestation and What Stops It? A Meta-Analysis of Spatially Explicit Econometric Studies,’ co-authored with Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon. While some findings from the research confirm conventional wisdom, for example, that building roads worsens deforestation, the analysis also shows that contrary to popular belief, factors such as poverty, rising incomes from economic development, and strengthening land tenure, do not necessarily have the expected impacts on deforestation. Jonah discusses how these findings have important implications for REDD+ and how deliberate policies coupled with financial incentives can slow, halt, and eventually reverse the loss of the world’s remaining tropical forests. A Q+A session follows the presentation.

Why carbon markets should top Ban Ki-moon’s climate agenda
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 29 August 2014 | When and if heads of state turn up to Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit next month, there will be many ideas competing for their attention. The UN secretary general has given them 11 hours to cover everything from climate science to finance. Dirk Forrister, head of the International Emissions Trading Association, tells RTCC why carbon markets should top the agenda. He says: “In the business community, they know there are a great number of technological solutions available [to cutting carbon emissions]. But it takes a pricing stimulus to get them into the market place. “You have to have a very clear and consistent pricing signal to motivate business.” IETA has added its voice to a World Bank campaign to put a price on carbon pollution. The World Bank says carbon pricing is “inevitable” if the world is to cut its emissions in a cost-effective way.

[Australia] Experts weigh in on carbon farming
By Stephanie Konatar, Daily Liberal, 29 August 2014 | Those with an interest in carbon farming had the opportunity to ask industry experts at The Emissions Reduction Fund ‘how does it work and can I participate?’. Tuesday’s seminar from the Carbon Market institute was held in the WPCC auditorium and was mostly attended by members of the land sector. The industry affects a lot of different industries so members of the transport, mining and manufacturing industries were also present. It covered an overview and implementation plan for the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), method development to ensure activities can be verified and credited, the end-to-end process for participating in the ERF, transitioning from Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) projects, case studies and example projects and benefits of participating in the ERF.

[Brazil] Three Months Into Partnership, SOCIALCARBON And VCS Verify First Joint Project
By Ben McCarthy, Forest Carbon Portal, 29 August 2014 | Only three months after announcing their partnership, SOCIALCARBON, a certification standard for contributions to sustainable development, and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), a leading voluntary offset standard, have verified their first joint project. The Ecomapuá Amazon REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation or Degradation of forests) project, developed by ecosystem investment company Bio Assets Ativos Ambientais and forest carbon project developer Ecomapuá Conservação Ltda, is located in the State of Pará, Brazil, on the Marajó Island at the mouth of the Amazon River. The project’s goal is to avoid the deforestation of more than 86,000 hectares of tropical forest in an area that has historically converted to agriculture as subsistence farmers move in.

[Panama] Guna Yala and REDD+: A Look at Why Some Resist
By Jes Walton (EcoAgriculture Partners), Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 29 August 2014 | Despite a very real understanding of how climate change impacts them, the Guna have openly rejected REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), a climate mitigation project that calls for the landscape-scale protection of forests in developing countries to absorb carbon created by industrialized nations. Mainland Guna Yala is home to a high percentage of Panama’s best preserved forests, with high levels of plant and animal biodiversity, which have been sustainably and communally owned by the Guna people for centuries. Recently, the government of Panama offered this land up for REDD+ without consulting the Guna, despite the state’s recognition of their rights and ownership of the same lands. This action led to years of tense debate and the eventual withdrawal of the Guna from all REDD+ discussions.

[USA] Five Questions with…a Southern Oregon University Student on Carbon Reduction
FastLane, 29 August 2014 | Chevrolet supports the cause for cleaner air. We’re reimagining manufacturing to lower environmental impact and designing efficient vehicles. But there are other ways to fuel the clean-energy movement beyond transportation and industry. To us, it’s about finding the innovators who are doing big things to leave a smaller footprint. From New York to Florida to Oregon, colleges are aggressively improving their energy efficiency and engaging the next generation along the way. After collaborating with some strong partners, we developed a way to monetize their progress, providing them with ammo to reinvest in even more clean energy technologies.

30 August 2014

Guyana’s CMRV model lauded by WWF
Kaieteur News, 30 August 2014 | Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud yesterday reaffirmed that Guyana stands on firm ground in asserting that its forest is well-managed and has consistently reflected a low deforestation rate of less than 0.1 percent and has reported a verified low rate of illegality. He was at the time speaking at the closing of a weeklong international exchange workshop on Community Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (CMRVs) organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas. The workshop was held at the Arrow Point Resort where participants had easy access to the country’s pristine forest and saw participants from Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, the Congo, Indonesia, Brazil, Nepal, United States, Great Britain, Austria, and the Netherlands.

31 August 2014

[Indonesia] Green education promoted for sustainable development
The Jakarta Post, 31 August 2014 | A newly established collaboration agreed between the Republic of Indonesia and United Nations (UN) agencies will hopefully foster a knowledge exchange to share lessons learned and best practices in promoting green education across Indonesia. “Green schools for sustainable development” agreement signatories, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Agency (BP REDD+), the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID) and the Green School Bali, committed to identifying 1 million “green youth ambassadors” in schools across Indonesia by 2017. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said decision-makers had “tough choices to make”, especially leading up to the Climate Summit and the post-2015 development agenda, concerning the alarming threat that climate change poses to development and the betterment of the living conditions of the poorest.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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