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REDD in the news: 1-7 September 2014

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

UNFCCC Overview of REDD-plus
By Dick Nemitz, UNFCCC, September 2014 | Outline of Presentation: Overview of current REDD Web Platform; Options for the setup of the information hub. Decision 9/CP.19. The COP – Paragraph 9: Decides to establish an information hub on the web platform on the UNFCCC website as a means to publish information on the results of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, and corresponding results-based payments; – Paragraph 19: Requests the secretariat to improve and further develop the web platform on the UNFCCC website to include the information referred to in paragraphs 11 and 12 above, and to make the information available in a simple, transparent and easily accessible manner;

1 September 2014

Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change
University of Cambridge press release, 1 September 2014 | A new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that – if current trends continue – food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050. The study’s authors say we should all think carefully about the food we choose and its environmental impact. A shift to healthier diets across the world is just one of a number of actions that need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change and ensure there is enough food for all. As populations rise and global tastes shift towards meat-heavy Western diets, increasing agricultural yields will not meet projected food demands of what is expected to be 9.6 billion people – making it necessary to bring more land into cultivation.

Eat a plant and spare a tree
By Alex Kirby, Eco-Business, 1 September 2014 | A study published in Nature Climate Change says that on present trends food production on its own will reach – and perhaps exceed – the global targets for total greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Healthier diets – defined as meaning lower meat and dairy consumption – and reduced food waste are among the solutions needed to ensure food security and avoid dangerous climate change, the study says. More people, with more of us wanting meat-heavy Western diets, mean increasing farm yields will not meet the demands of an expected 9.6 billion humans. So we shall have to cultivate more land. This, the authors say, will mean more deforestation, more carbon emissions and further biodiversity loss, while extra livestock will raise methane levels.

Web of mistrust snags forest-protection programs in Cambodia
By Chris McCall, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 September 2014 | Forest-based goods such as bamboo, rattan, and yes, edible spiders — a delicacy in Cambodia — can provide an incentive to protect tropical forests in the Southeast Asian country. But formalized programs to promote sustainable trade in such products while boosting local people’s incomes have left communities there disillusioned, new research has found. This disillusionment can undermine the projects and threaten the protection of the forests that provide such goods, known as non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Why? A recent study, “No forest, no NTFPs for rural communities in Cambodia,” noted numerous reasons including: gaps in information regarding local communities’ access to markets; a lack of capacity to process raw NTFPs into marketable items; ambiguity over payment of royalties on NTFPs, which squeezes profit margins; and a lack of trust in local government tasked with aiding the projects.

Chile Carbon Tax Coming Up This Week
By Sandy Dechert, CleanTechnica, 1 September 2014 | This week, the government of Chile holds a final vote on its first carbon taxation scheme, also the first in South America, a measure to make fossil fuel generators pay for emitting greenhouse gases. The Chile carbon tax is part of a larger program of wide-ranging tax revisions introduced by the country’s popular center-left president Michelle Bachelet, partly to enact social reforms promised in her recent election. Though Chile has the highest per capita income in South America (near $20,000), comparatively little graft, and low unemployment rates, the nation still suffers what the Washington Post calls “some of the developed world’s highest levels of inequality.” The newspaper quotes Batchelet as saying the goal of her tax proposals is a “more cohesive, democratic, and just society.”

France underlines commitment to “legally binding” agreement at Paris climate summit
BusinessGreen, 1 September 2014 | The French government has stressed it wants to deliver a “legally binding” climate change agreement at the UN’s Paris summit in late 2015, arguing that it represents the primary goal of the crucial meeting. Speaking at the Annual French Ambassadors Conference in Paris late last week, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is expected to have a central role at the UN climate summit, indicated that success or failure of the summit would be measured against its ability to deliver a legally binding agreement.

Guyana seen as weak link in Norway forest initiative
Stabroek News, 1 September 2014 | The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had singled out Guyana as a “weak element” among the countries that the Scandinavian country is partnering with to protect forests in the fight against climate change but another government agency viewed Guyana more positively. In its Synthesising Report covering the period 2007 to 2013 of its real-time evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), a Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) report noted that the institutional responsibilities for NICFI have been somewhat simplified, with only the Ministry of Climate and Environment and NORAD now directly engaged in NICFI. It was stated, however, that wider diplomatic views and considerations from Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain important as NORAD is a directorate under that Ministry.

[Indonesia] More Than 1,000 in Aceh Protest Ban on Illegal Gold Mining
By Nurdin Hasan, The Jakarta Globe, 1 September 2014 | Traditional gold miners in the Pidie district have slammed Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah’s recent ban on illegal gold mining, demanding that he proves claims that their activities cause environmental destruction. More than 1,000 traditional gold miners from the Geumpang and Mane subdistricts staged a protest against the new ban at the Geumpang bus terminal on Saturday. They spread a 50-meter-long white cloth dotted with their bloody fingerprints. “We will hand over this cloth to the Aceh governor as proof of our fight till the last drop of blood for our right to keep our gold mining businesses,” said Muhammad Abet, one of their leaders. Muhammad Nasir, a coordinator of the rally, also called on Zaini to annul the ban.“Whatever happens, we will not close and abandon our businesses. If the government thinks our activities are not environmentally friendly, then it should show us how to make it environmentally friendly,” Nasir said…

Nine Indonesian Ministries declared support for indigenous people through REDD+
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Ekuatorial, 1 September 2014 | Nine ministries and institutions officially declared their support for indigenous people’s recognition and protection, in Jakarta, on Monday (1/9). The National Programme for the Recognition and Protection of Customary Communities through REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest and Peat-land Degradation) was launched in the present of Indonesia’s Vice President, Boediono. The program was supported by Coordinating Ministry of People’s Welfare, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of the Environment, National Land Agency, the National Geospatial Information Agency, National Commission on Human Rights, and REDD+ Agency.

2 September 2014

Ebola and bushmeat in Africa: Q&A with leading researcher
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 September 2014 | Tens of millions of Africans rely on bushmeat and wild fish for up to 80 percent of their protein, and recent calls to end the trade in the food because of links to Ebola virus outbreaks could never be enforced, said Robert Nasi, Deputy Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). He said that people living in Africa’s Congo Basin annually eat about 5 million tons of bushmeat — from caterpillars to elephants. “That’s about the equivalent of the cattle production of Brazil or the European Union. Bushmeat is the cheapest protein available beside caterpillars.” Nasi — who has been studying the bushmeat trade for 10 years — said producing the same amount of meat by cattle ranching would require converting up to 25 million hectares of forest into farmland — roughly the size of Great Britain.

China’s pilot carbon markets at a glance
By Zhang Shouzhi, Hu Ke and Xu Beibei (King & Wood Mallesons), Lexology, 2 September 2014 | Being the world’s largest developing country and largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China started in 2009 an ambitious campaign, largely on its own initiative, to reduce its carbon intensity (measured by emission per unit of GDP) by 40-45% in 2020 from 2005 levels. The 12th National Five-year Plan set two mandatory goals of reducing energy intensity by 16% and reducing carbon intensity by 17% in the term of 2011-2015. The Chinese government is taking measures to further adjust the industrial structure, to optimize energy structure, to improve energy efficiency, and to control energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission.

China brings forward carbon permits plan
By Lisa Murray, Financial Review, 2 September 2014 | China is accelerating plans to introduce a national carbon trading market, with a framework expected to be in place by 2016, as the government puts environmental policy at the top of its agenda. The National Development Reform Commission said over the weekend it would finish its draft rules for how the scheme would work by the end of this year and send them to the State Council, China’s cabinet, for approval. It then expects to set emissions caps and allocate carbon credits under a national framework. Some provinces would be ready to operate under the new system by 2016 but others would be given more time to prepare, Sun ­Cuihua, a senior NDRC climate official told a conference in Beijing.

3 September 2014

How satellites sound fire alarm in tropical forests
By Keryn Tabor, GreenBiz.com, 3 September 2014 | At the new national park in Madagascar’s remote Baly Bay, villagers convene for an unusual festival. At this annual event hosted by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the villagers wait for the announcement of a yearlong competition’s winners. For this contest, villages are scored on the number of fires that broke out within their assigned zones and how effective their communities were at responding and controlling fire spread. How do the villagers know when and where to respond to a fire in a 1,000 square-kilometer (almost 400 square-mile) area in and around the national park? They use intelligence from NASA satellites, via technology created by Conservation International.

Ebola and forestry — an urgent scientific challenge
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 September 2014 | As a global organization with offices and projects in West and Central Africa, we are keeping a close eye on the Ebola outbreak. We have restricted travel and fieldwork in affected countries, based on health advice. For the CGIAR at large, in which CIFOR is one of 15 research centers, several international meetings in the area have been postponed or moved to other regions. The Ebola outbreaks are major humanitarian disasters, and we all need to act carefully and responsibly and contribute to finding solutions however we can. As a forestry research organization, we are also looking at the renewed and reinforced call for research on the links between Ebola and forest-related activities.

Carbon Credits Give $664 Benefits Per Ton, Imperial Says
By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 3 September 2014 | Carbon-reduction projects generate benefits beyond climate protection of about $664 per metric ton of emissions, according to an Imperial College London University survey. The study into 59 projects showed they bring ecosystem gains including soil protection, water regulation and biodiversity conservation, the university said. The survey’s estimate compares with an average price of $4.90 a metric ton in the voluntary carbon market, where companies and individuals buy credits, Ecosystem Marketplace data show. The research was commissioned by the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance, an emissions industry group. The study, the first to measure non-climate benefits for a wide grouping of projects, seeks to help attract demand in the voluntary market, which shrank 28% last year to $379 million, according to researcher Ecosystem Marketplace.

Unlocking the hidden value of carbon offsetting
The CarbonNeutral Company, 3 September 2014 | Offsetting one tonne of carbon dioxide brings an additional $664 in benefits to the communities where carbon reduction projects are based, according to research published today. The research, carried out by Imperial College London in partnership with the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA), demonstrates how purchasing carbon credits[1] creates economic development opportunities, aids environmental conservation and helps improve people’s lives by delivering household savings, health benefits and improving water resources, among other social benefits. The amount of carbon reduced by such projects has been rigorously measured and independently verified for many years, but to date there has not been academic research conducted to measure and value the impact of investing in carbon offset programmes beyond reducing emissions. This research finds that each tonne of carbon reduced has additional benefits…

Study: Carbon offsets brings over $600 a tonne of benefits to local communities
BusinessGreen, 3 September 2014 | Each tonne of CO2 offset by businesses brings $664 in additional benefits to host communities, researchers at Imperial College London have calculated. The findings suggest many companies investing in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as tree-planting programmes or funding green energy in developing countries, may be having a bigger impact than they realise. The paper, published in partnership with the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA), is based on an assessment of 59 offset projects across the world and investments from 72 businesses. It claims to be the first such study to assess and value the impact of offset programmes beyond the benefits that accrue from reducing emissions.

Why Your Company Should Buy Carbon Offsets
By David Fogarty, Huffington Post, 3 September 2014 | A study released on Wednesday and led by Imperial College London found that offsetting one tonne of carbon dioxide can bring up to $664 in benefits to the communities where carbon reduction projects are based. The biggest share comes from the ecosystem benefits of a carbon-reduction project. Protecting a large area of rainforest, for example, can preserve water catchments and fishing grounds, save valuable plant and animal species, and lock away huge amounts of carbon dioxide. That’s good for everyone on the planet. Other types of carbon offsetting projects including reforestation, wind farms and cleaner burning cook stoves… David Fogarty is a media and communications consultant to foundations, NGOs and companies. He is currently a media consultant to Indonesia’s largest fully verified REDD project – the Rimba Raya forest preservation project in Central Kalimantan.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 September 2014 | Following the tragic death of Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos in a plane crash earlier this month, Marina Silva, Campos’ running mate and a celebrated environmentalist, is taking his spot on the campaign trail. Recent polls predict that Silva will narrowly beat current President Dilma Rousseff, who previously served as Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy. Silva has a green track record. The daughter of rubber tappers, she was a friend of the late activist Chico Mendes, with whom she helped to lead nonviolent protests to protect the Amazon. Under her leadership as environment minister from 2003 to 2008, deforestation rates plummeted by almost 80% as Silva led a crackdown on illegal logging that shut down over 1,500 operations as she worked to establish 20 million hectares of protected areas.

Impact evaluations to guide policy
By Vinod Thomas (ADB), Devex, 3 September 2014 | An evaluation of forest protection worldwide found that establishing protected areas is effective in reducing the loss of forest cover. However, the impact of protected regimes — rates of deforestation before and after intervention — were sharper in areas closer to communities and economic activities than in settings far from economic activities. Studies in Latin America found a strong correlation between forest protection and indigenous land tenure and property rights. While protecting pristine forests is equally important, protection of land competing with other economic uses can have relatively high payoffs too. The application of lessons to new challenges remains difficult as there are limits to what can be inferred from historic data. Using an impact evaluation based on past experience to guide future action presents a tough challenge when the problems are new.

[Australia] Tasmanian government rips up ‘job-destroying’ forestry peace deal
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 3 September 2014 | The Tasmanian government has repealed the state’s forestry peace deal after both houses of parliament passed a vote to scrap the plan on Tuesday evening. The termination of the four-year peace deal, which ended a 30-year battle between environmentalists and loggers over Tasmania’s forests, will remove 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) of state-wide native forest from reserves for logging. The Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) bill passed the Liberal-dominated lower house after being amended in Tasmania’s upper house. The bill scraps the forestry peace deal, introduced by the previous Labor government, to allow widespread logging in the protected 400,000-hectare area in six years’ time. The peace deal had provided payment to loggers to move away from felling native forests.

[Guyana] BaiShanLin recognizes it has a responsibility to the Guyanese people
By Chu Wenze (BaiShanLin International), letter to the editor Stabroek News, 3 September 2014 | BaiShanLin recognizes it has a responsibility to the Guyanese people at large, and believes it has an even greater responsibility to those who live in the communities in which it operates. As such, BaiShanLin, at the highest level of management, has been meeting with members of the various Region Ten logging associations and the newly constituted Linden Kwakwani Road Users Association over the last several weeks. These meetings have been extremely productive and have helped to craft new ways in which the company can further assist in community development. BaiShanLin would like to restate that all of its operations are in keeping with the regulations of the forestry sector and laws of Guyana and the company looks forward to making further investments in the country that would help to create even more jobs and contribute to the Guyanese economy.

[UK] Gang raided after targeting BBC reporter in gold scam
By Shari Vahl, BBC News, 3 September 2014 | One of the UK’s largest anti-fraud operations has broken up a gang suspected of running a multi-million-pound gold investment fraud. Eighteen properties were targeted and 13 arrests were made. City of London Police say more than 100 people have lost £2.8m having been cold-called with offers of high returns from investing in gold. The fraud came to light after the gang made the offer to me, not realising I am a fraud reporter with You and Yours. Detectives used information gathered by the programme to trace the suspects through bank accounts believed to have been set up to receive and launder the stolen funds, most of which had been withdrawn in cash or transferred overseas. The gang is believed to have been working out of four so-called “boiler rooms”, cold-calling people at home through fraudulent companies Demmore, Simply Airtime, S+E Future and Vodacell – not to be confused with companies of a similar name.

4 September 2014

Humans damaging wild forests at “alarming” rate, maps show
By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 4 September 2014 | The world’s undisturbed forests are being degraded at an “alarming speed”, researchers said on Thursday, as they released new analysis showing an area three times the size of Germany was affected by logging and infrastructure development in the last 13 years. Using satellite technology and advanced techniques, they found that more than 104 million hectares of intact forest landscapes were degraded between 2000 and 2013 – around 8 percent of the global total. “We can clearly see that business as usual will lead to destruction of most remaining intact forests this century,” said Nigel Sizer, global director of the forest programme at the World Resources Institute (WRI) and head of Global Forest Watch.

Biodiversity, Forests and Oceans Showcased at SIDS International Conference
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 4 September 2014 | Oceans, fisheries, the blue economy and forests featured in a number of events held and publications launched on the occasion of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN executives highlighted the UN’s contribution to SIDS’s sustainable development, including efforts on climate change, disaster risk management (DRM) and oceans, during a high-level side event on ‘The UN System Partnering for the People of SIDS.’ Speaking at the event, Irina Bokova, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General, emphasized the importance of “effective, science-based management, which requires reliable data for sound policy decisions” to manage ocean biodiversity.

[Australia] Carbon emissions from electricity grid rise after carbon price repeal
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 4 September 2014 | Carbon emissions from the electricity grid rose after the repeal of the carbon price, with analysts predicting further increases as coal-fired power takes a greater share of Australia’s energy mix. In the year to August 2014, emissions were 1m tonnes higher when compared with the year to June 2014. This is equivalent to an increase of 0.8% in emissions. The data from the National Electricity Market, which covers about 80% of Australia’s population, shows that the leap in emissions is the largest two-month increase in eight years. Hugh Saddler, energy analyst at pitt&sherry, which compiled the data, said the repeal of the carbon price by the government in July was “probably” the largest factor in the emissions rise. There were a number of other factors, including “unexpectedly low” wind-power generation and an increase in electricity demand after a period when it had fallen.

Botswana government lies exposed as diamond mine opens on Bushman land
Survival International, 4 September 2014 | A $4.9bn diamond mine will open on September 5 in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the ancestral land of Africa’s last hunting Bushmen, exactly ten years after the Botswana government claimed there were “no plans to mine anywhere inside the reserve.” The Bushmen were told they had to leave the reserve soon after diamonds were discovered in the 1980s, but the Botswana government has repeatedly denied that the illegal and forced evictions of the Kalahari Bushmen – in 1997, 2002 and 2005 – were due to the rich diamond deposits. It justified the Bushmen’s evictions from the land in the name of “conservation”. In 2000, however, Botswana’s Minister of Minerals, Energy & Water Affairs told a Botswana newspaper, “the relocation of Basarwa (Bushmen) communities from [the Central Kalahari Game Reserve] is to pave way for a proposed Gope Diamond Mine”…

China will launch world’s biggest carbon market in 2016
The Climate Group, 4 September 2014 | China will launch its eagerly awaited national Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2016, an official anticipated to Reuters last Sunday. Once implemented, this market for carbon permit trading will become the biggest in the world, helping the largest greenhouse emitting nation to axe pollution. China is already experimenting with seven regional carbon market pilots, which were announced in 2011 and operative over the last two years. Each pilot covers a large city – Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Shenzhen – or a province – Chongqing, Guangdong, and Hubei. Together the projects have accounted for almost 4 million tons of carbon emission quotas so far, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, making China the world’s second largest carbon trading market following the European Union’s EU-ETS.

REDD versus indigenous people? Why a tribe in Panama rejected pay for their carbon-rich forests
By Ruxandra Guidi, mongabay.org, 4 September 2014 | There isn’t a word or phrase in the Kuna language for “carbon trading,” and much less for something as complex as REDD+. Standing for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, REDD+ is the worldwide UN backed climate change mitigation scheme that relies on carbon trading within forest landscapes for funding. And yet, since 2008, the Kuna people have been hearing lots about it and referring to it often in their private conversations. “It has something to do with the value of our forests to non-Kuna people,” said a young man to me recently, trying to explain REDD+. “I only know that I don’t agree with it.”

[UK] Arrests made after investors lose average £28,000 on gold leasing and mobile phone minutes scams
By Kyle Caldwell, The Telegraph, 4 September 2014 | Thirteen men have been arrested as part of an investigation into a suspected “boiler room” offering gold leasing, a way of trading the price of bullion, and the chance to invest in airtime minutes in mobile phone operators. More than 100 people have fallen for the scams, losing an average of around £28,000 each. Detectives from City of London Police said the men were believed to be cold-calling people across the country, targeting vulnerable victims. Arrests have been made on suspicion of defraud and money laundering carried out through fraudulent companies Demmore Ltd, Simply Airtime, S+E Future and Vodacell. Boiler rooms use high-pressure sales tactics, such as making repeated calls, to persuade people to buy investments that turn out to be overpriced or even worthless.

[UK] Police swoop to arrest 13 over £2.8m investment scam
By Jun Merrett, Citywire, 4 September 2014 | The City of London Police has swooped to arrest 13 men involved in a multi-million investment scam. Earlier this morning a nationwide fraud operation with 120 police officer across England arrested the men on suspicion of defraud and money laundering. The City of London Police said the men were believed to have run four boiler rooms, cold calling people to sell them investments in gold leasing and airtime minutes in mobile phone operators through fraudulent companies called Demmore Ltd, Simply Airtime, S+E Future and Vodacell. It added that more than 100 people had fallen for the scam with losses of £2.8 million.

[USA] Chevy helps school an Oregon campus on carbon credits
By Michele Madia, GreenBiz.com, 4 September 2014 | Just as industry can learn much from academia, so, too, can academia benefit from industry’s leadership. A new program initiated by Chevrolet demonstrates this in action. U.S. colleges can use the voluntary carbon market to turn their energy efficiency gains into carbon credits that they can sell to companies. They can reinvest the revenue they receive in even deeper carbon reductions to help them meet campus-wide commitments. I talked with General Motors’ sustainability director, David Tulauskas, who manages the Chevy carbon-reduction initiative, and with Climate Neutral Business Network CEO Sue Hall, who wrote the new methodology and convened a third-party advisor group, including Professor Eban Goodstein from Bard College, to help guide Chevy in this unique partnership between industry and higher education. I also spoke with sustainability coordinator Roxane Beigel-Coryell and student Shaun Franks from Southern Oregon University…

5 September 2014

Top Leaders From China, India to Skip UN Climate Change Summit
By Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat, 5 September 2014 | Reports indicate that neither Chinese President Xi Jinping nor Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plan to attend a U.N. summit of world leaders on climate change. The Climate Summit 2014, to be held on September 23 in New York, was organized by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “to galvanize and catalyze climate action.” U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as other leaders from developed nations, are expected to attend, but the absence of leaders from the world’s two largest developing nations has some worried that the summit will fall flat. The environmentally-focused site chinadialogue argued that Xi and Modi’s absence will hamper efforts to make real progress at the summit.

World’s rainforests could be mapped in 3D at high resolution by 2020 for under $250M
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 5 September 2014 | Mapping the world’s tropical forests with a fleet of airplanes outfitted with advanced LiDAR could rapidly and accurately assess global forest carbon stocks for a fraction of the cost of a typical Earth observation satellite mission — and far less than field-based sampling — argues a new paper published in Carbon Balance and Management. The commentary, authored by a group of prominent scientists from several institutions, reviews recent progress in applying laser ranging technology (LiDAR) to forest mapping and lays out a case for a global campaign to survey the world’s forests in support of REDD+, a program that aims to compensate tropical countries for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. These sources account for roughly 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s the role of business in preventing deforestation? – live chat
By Jenny Purt, The Guardian, 5 September 2014 | Deforestation is a major driver of global warming and responsible for up to 20% of global carbon emissions, as well as a threat to the livelihoods of the 1.6 billion people who rely on forests for food and economic stability. Over the past few years, the issue has risen on the business agenda with a series of ‘no deforestation’ commitments cropping up from some of the worst offenders… On Monday 8 September, 12pm – 1pm BST, we will bring together a panel of experts from the FSC General Assembly in Seville, to answer your comments and questions on the topic of business and deforestation.

[Guyana] GRA soon to occupy parking facility built by Baishanlin
Stabroek News, 5 September 2014 | Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Khurshid Sattaur on Wednesday said that the organisation will shortly occupy the portion of the Lamaha Street railway embankment controversially constructed for it by Chinese company Baishanlin. The lot has been designated for parking by GRA staff and members of the public and has attracted controversy for several reasons. Observers point out that persons using this parking lot would have walk more than two blocks to get to the GRA Head Office. Further, the manner in which Baishanlin was retained to build the lot raised questions. The GRA said that Baishanlin volunteered to do the parking lot and that a fee would then be charged to the GRA for its use. Critics have said this is highly improper given that the GRA has to preside over the tax commitments of the Chinese company. The critics say the tax collecting body should … put such projects out to tender.

[Guyana] Baishanlin still in start-up phase, took big loans
Stabroek News, 5 September 2014 | Logging company Baishanlin is still in its start-up phase in Guyana and it took big loans to initiate the investment, Opposition Leader David Granger was told during a recent meeting with China’s Ambassador Zhang Limin. Granger told Stabroek News yesterday that the meeting was not as a result of the recent heightened scrutiny of Chinese companies operating in Guyana, especially Baishanlin, but rather it was to congratulate him on his recent reelection as the PNCR’s leader. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Heartbreaking Photos of Deforestation in Indonesia, Where They’re Cutting Down Trees Faster Than Anywhere Else
By Terrell Johnson, weather.com, 5 September 2014 | Sumatra and Borneo, two of the biggest among the approximately 17,000 islands that make up the archipelago nation of Indonesia, were once “full of tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutan and exotic birds and plants,” the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper noted in 2013. That was what life was like there just over a generation ago. Today, a jaw-dropping amount of the tropical rainforests where those animals and plants call home has been cut down, chopped up and burned off the land forever to make way for agribusiness like palm oil and pulp and paper production. In a recently released study, the scientific journal Nature Climate Change reported that Indonesia is clearing its land of trees and forests faster than anyplace else on Earth. The country lost more than 3,200 square miles of trees in 2012 alone, an area nearly three times the size of Rhode Island. In Brazil during the same year, an area just over half that size was cut down…

6 September 2014

Worldwide LiDAR of Rainforest Biomass for REDD
By Martin Isenburg, rapidlasso GmbH, 6 September 2014 | A few days ago, Greg Asner together with his colleagues Joseph Mascaro, Stuart Davies, Alex Dehgan, and Sassan Saatchi published a thought-provoking article called “These are the days of lasers in the jungle” which is essentially a “call for action” to map the world’s tropical forests with a fleet of airplanes outfitted with advanced LiDAR to rapidly and to accurately assess global forest carbon stocks. Why would anyone want to do this? In order to properly quantify actual emissions savings for REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD+ is a tropical forest carbon accounting program of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that aims to compensate tropical countries for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation that account for roughly 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

7 September 2014

Political Ecologies of the Green Economy
By Connor Cavanagh, Ekosiasa, 7 September 2014 | While a turn towards green (er) economies and development pathways might potentially lead to enhanced sustainability, these broad concepts also open up for a wide range of interpretations, power struggles and practical implementations. Understandably, then, this emerging policy field has also attracted the attention of scholars and students within critical political ecology. In this workshop, we aim to investigate the various implications of green growth and the green economy from precisely such a perspective, exploring the various ways in which these concepts might interact with existing inequalities, vulnerabilities, and struggles for social justice in the context of global economic and environmental change. Current proposals for pursuing green growth and implementing the green economy perceive entire landscapes as sources of alternative energy, carbon sinks, ‘climate-smart’ agricultural crops, and environmental services.

Despite international warnings, criticisms… Guyana will not end relationship with China — GFC
Kaieteur News, 7 September 2014 | Even though international environmental critics have appealed to tropical countries to be wary of China’s “appetite for destruction” and have deemed the economic superpower as the “kingpin of illegal trade in lumber,” the Guyana Forestry Commission has said that it is unlikely that Guyana will end its relationship with China. “We continue to ensure that all companies respect the laws. I am not worried because the Chinese companies have obeyed our laws,” Forest Commissioner, James Singh, said recently. On Friday, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in collaboration with the Forest Products Development and Marketing Council, held a seminar which focused on the incentives and investment opportunities for value added processing within the forestry sector.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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