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REDD in the news: 29 September – 5 October 2014

REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (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.

 
Here’s some music to listen to while you read. Alexi Murdoch singing All My Days from his 2006 album Time Without Consequence:

29 September 2014

Corporations Are Not Going to Save Us From Climate Disruption
By Rachel Smolker, Truthout, 29 September 2014 | Clearly, the United Nations is not going to do what is necessary to change the path we are on, but rather is mired in blame and conflict, relegated to endlessly reenacting and rehashing the history of colonialism, apparently utterly incapable of taking any steps that could be construed as challenging to the economic status quo much less calling out capitalism. Why? Because the UN itself is beholden to corporate puppet masters. With apparent naïveté, the UN insists on taking its cue from the very corporations who are responsible for degrading the planet, destroying lives and creating the crisis in the first place. This is pervasive throughout institutions and governments across the globe, not only the UN. The reason is money. With a handful of corporations owning and controlling most of the world’s wealth, little can be funded and executed on a large scale without the funding, involvement and decision making of the handful of ultra wealth.

The road to zero-deforestation: Lessons from Brazil
By Chris Meyer, Alisha Staggs and Dana Miller (EDF), GreenBiz, 29 September 2014 | What do companies, governments, civil society organizations and indigenous peoples have in common? Despite their differences, they share a common interest in reducing deforestation, which accounts for 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Leaders from all of these groups met Sept. 23 at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York City to spark action on climate change issues including deforestation. The Climate Summit hoped to rally action around two forest efforts, creating incentives to reduce deforestation in tropical countries through REDD+ policies (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and eliminating deforestation from the supply chains of commodities such as palm, beef, soy and paper.

As DRC Emerges from Civil War, Government Seeks $50 Million per Year to Protect Forests from Surging Development
By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, 29 September 2014 | The forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) do not get nearly as much attention as those in Brazil and Indonesia, even though the DRC’s forests rank right in the middle of those countries on the list of the top three forested areas in the world. The DRC holds 155 million hectares of forests, more than 50% of all of Africa’s forests, and the country’s iconic Congo Basin is second only to Brazil’s Amazon forest in size – roughly 540 million hectares – and is larger than the 90 million hectares of forests in Indonesia. Brazil and Indonesia are both beneficiaries of pledges potentially valued at up to $1 billion from Norway to support their efforts to conserve their forests. But the DRC has yet to receive that level of commitment from either donors or the private sector, in large part because the civil war that led to the deaths of six million people in the country…

[Cambodia] These Deals Help Save the World
By Michael D. Goldhaber, The American Lawyer, 29 September 2014 | Terra Global will devote some of the proceeds of carbon credit sales to fuel-efficient cookstoves and sustainable farming practices to stop the clearing of new land for vegetable plots by migrant farmers. It will also support 13 community groups to patrol the forests with motorbikes—including a group of Buddhist monks. To date, Terra Global’s trades have not been very profitable because existing markets for carbon credits are limited. The U.S. hasn’t ratified the Kyoto Protocol, nor has it passed a cap-and-trade law. Markets such as California are limited to local offsets, and the European Union excludes forestry credits. So Oddar Meanchey must rely on the “voluntary market.” That means depending on companies in the social responsibility vanguard like The Walt Disney Company, eBay Inc., and Microsoft Corporation to voluntarily buy emission reductions in a quest for carbon neutrality.

Is the EU’s carbon market safe from fraud?
By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 29 September 2014 | Perhaps the one positive thing to come out of the spate of cyber-attacks on the EU carbon markets from 2009 to 2011 was that it forced the European Commission to tighten up its lax security measures… The fact that carbon credits are a virtual commodity made them particularly vulnerable to VAT fraud, says Stig Schgolset, head of carbon market analysis at Reuters Point Carbon… In late 2011, the EU voted through new security measures including “know-your-customer” checks, a 24-hour delay on permit transfers between registry accounts; the “four eyes principle” that requires at least two people to authorise a permit transfer; and stopping anyone who has been convicted for money laundering, tax fraud or terrorist financing in the past five years from having carbon accounts. Since then no incidents of carbon market fraud have been recorded and a spokesman for the Commission said the new measures were working effectively.

Is Big Business Really Responsible for the Loss of Indonesian Forests?
By Erik Meijaard, The Jakarta Globe, 29 September 2014 | A few years ago, I was talking to a local community on the forest frontier in West Kutai district in East Kalimantan. They were saying themselves that communities in their area were the biggest driver of deforestation through illegal logging and fire. Because of the high number of coal exploration concessions given out in the area, communities were actively opening up forest wherever they could to claim “ownership” and drive up land prices. This had been much reduced since the anti-illegal logging actions instigated in 2008 by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. But by their own admission, those communities were looking for any signs of weakness from police and army enforcing anti-illegal logging legislation, to take up their land-clearing activities once again.

[Indonesia] New ministries to face uphill battle
By Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, 29 September 2014 | Meanwhile, to deal with the country’s chaotic land management, Jokowi also plans to turn the National Land Agency (BPN) into the Agrarian Ministry. Andi of the transition team said the ministry was aimed at expediting the land consolidation processes necessary to support Jokowi-Kalla’s ambitious development programs. “In the past, development programs were frequently hampered by land disputes. Jokowi wants a system that is able to settle this kind of issue more effectively, so he can ensure that his programs can be delivered on time,” he said. Jokowi’s ambitious programs, such as the development of ports as part of his vision for a maritime axis, would need to procure massive amounts of land, Andi said.

Indonesia’s Haze Central
By Zubaidah Nazeer, The Straits Times, 29 September 2014 | At first glance, this room on the fourth floor of a commercial building in central Jakarta could pass off as a conference room. But three large wall-mounted flat television screens displaying wind direction, weather data and real-time maps of 11 provinces betray its real function – a “situation room”. This is the nerve centre where updated information on hot spots across Indonesia’s fire-prone provinces is tracked by 12 officials. They gather and process the information before disseminating it every morning to others, including provincial police chiefs and local governments. “What we are doing is to organise information… and it is amazing how organised data makes a difference,” said Mr Agus P. Sari, an official manning the data at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Management Agency (BP REDD+), the agency that oversees the situation room.

World Bank accuses itself of failing to protect Kenya forest dwellers
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 29 September 2014 | A leaked copy of a World Bank investigation seen by the Guardian has accused the bank of failing to protect the rights of one of Kenya’s last groups of forest people, who are being evicted from their ancestral lands in the name of climate change and conservation. Thousands of homes belonging to hunter-gatherer Sengwer people living in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani hills were burned down earlier this year by Kenya forest service guards who had been ordered to clear the forest as part of a carbon offset project that aimed to reduce emissions from deforestation. The result has been that more than 1,000 people living near the town of Eldoret have been classed as squatters and forced to flee what they say has been government harassment, intimidation and arrest.

Should Norway be paying Liberia to stop cutting down its forest?
By Steffen Böhm and Katherine Rockett, The Conversation, 29 September 2014 | First, are US$300m and US$150m, as in the Peru and Liberia deals respectively, enough to change decisions and development paths for the long term? The underlying problems generating deforestation are complex and require multiple approaches to correct, including changes in buying behaviours of companies and consumers in the industrialised world. Indeed, deals have been struck with Liberia and other countries before, but deforestation has continued and hence their results have been mixed. Some have claimed that changes to deforestation rates have generally followed trends begun before the Norwegian interventions and have been driven by other indigenous changes in attitudes, laws, and enforcement. So, deals with Norway alone will not be enough. Political will and leadership in developing countries, and being able to confront economic elites, are essential to address the drivers of the problem.

[New Zealand] Rural Equities divests carbon credits, halves Tandou stake to fund dairy conversion
By Suze Metherell, The National Business Review, 29 September 2014 | Rural Equities, the farming group majority-owned by the Cushing family, sold its carbon credits and halved its stake in Australian agricultural company, Tandou, to fund the dairy conversion of its Eiffelton farm and reduce debt. The Hastings-based company gained $250,000 from the sale of its carbon units at $4.20 apiece, it said in a statement. Reducing its stake in Tandou to 6.35 percent, from 12.66 percent, at 44 Australian cents per share saw the company gain $400,000 on book value, taking proceeds of its divestments to $6.3 million.

30 September 2014

Stopping global deforestation will take more than more words
By Peter Kanowski, The Conversation, 30 September 2014 | The New York declaration is yet another entrant on the scene. The first was 22 years ago, at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In that sense the declaration is another coalition of the willing, with the same limitations that have constrained effective global action on forests since the 1992 Rio Statement of Forest Principles. But engaging with major business, and getting commitments, is a vital foundation for forest conservation and climate action. The Declaration is accompanied by a voluntary Action Agenda. This includes more forest conservation deals between the Government of Norway and tropical forest nations – in this case, Liberia and Peru (to which Germany is also contributing). 21 consumer goods companies (beef, palm oil, pulp and paper etc) committed to zero deforestation in a “Supply Chain Revolution”.

8 reasons for hope: Our top take-aways from Climate Week
By Nat Keohane, EDF, 30 September 2014 | Stephan Schwartzman, Senior Director, Tropical Forest Policy: One of the high points of the week, no doubt, came when 35 national and state governments, more than 60 non-profits and indigenous organizations, and 34 major corporations pledged to halve deforestation by 2020 – and to completely end the clearing of natural forests by 2030. EDF was proud to be part of the coalition that put the New York Declaration on Forests together… Christopher Meyer, Amazon Basin Outreach Manager: Indigenous groups from the major rain forest basins pledged to continue to conserve 400 million hectares under their control. Those 400 million hectares are important for cultural and biodiversity purposes globally, but they also hold an estimated 71 gigatons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 11 years of emissions from the United States. I was honored to accompany Edwin Vasquez Campos of the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin…

New York Declaration on Forests elicits praise, concerns
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 September 2014 | For forests, it was a historic moment. The New York Declaration on Forests, signed last week at the UN Climate Summit, was notable not just for its ambition—halving deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030—but also for its broad-based support from governments, corporations and indigenous groups. History will show whether the pact can actually deliver, said experts who lauded the aims of the declaration but expressed concerns about some of its limitations. “This broad support is really something good that has come from Climate Week,” said Peter Holmgren, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “It is not every year that we have heads of states gathered and you hear them speak about forests, agriculture and commitments.”

What’s Wrong With the Radical Critique of the People’s Climate March
By Jonathan Smucker and Michael Premo, The Nation, 30 September 2014 | Last Sunday, we joined 400,000 people in the People’s Climate March (PCM) to demand action on climate change. The next day, we joined with 3,000 others to participate in Flood Wall Street (FWS), disrupting business as usual and naming capital as the chief culprit of climate change. In the days leading up to these mobilizations, a few critics on the left framed a stark dichotomy between these two kinds of actions. The PCM was cast as a depoliticized, corporate-friendly sellout, in contrast to more militant direct action, which Flood Wall Street soon emerged to organize. Chris Hedges, for example, called the PCM “the last gasp of climate change liberals,” and argued that the real resistance would come afterward “from those willing to breach police barricades.” Resistance, according to Hedges, can only be effective “when we turn from a liberal agenda of reform to embrace a radical agenda of revolt.”

[Indonesia] Evidence of illegal logging activity detected by conservation drones in Gunung Leuser National Park
ConservationDrones.org, 30 September 2014 | The ConservationDrones Asia Team and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) flew two separate missions over a part of the Gunung Leuser National Park (Indonesia) between two time periods barely a few months apart. In these two drone images you can see clear evidence of illegal logging within the national park. The loggers even left a strip of forest on the river bank to conceal the patch of logged forest from view. These images were given to park officials who subsequently acted to stop the logging activities.

1 October 2014

The US-Africa Leaders Summit: Perspectives from the Congo Basin
By Denis Sonwa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 October 2014 | The recent US-Africa Leaders Summit brought attention to several initiatives that seek to improve resilience and biodiversity in Central Africa—and illuminated opportunities and challenges for future development in this region. The theme of the summit in Washington was “Investing in the Next Generation” – and two summit sessions were of particular relevance to the next generation of communities and forests of the Congo Basin. One session sought to address the problems of wildlife trafficking in Africa, a rampant problem that threatens the biodiversity of continent – and especially the Congo Basin, an area of critical biodiversity.

[Kenya] Sengwer: Conservation Vs Communities
By Dean Puckett, Kickstarter, 1 October 2014 | A film about the Sengwer tribe of the Embobut Forest, Kenya, being evicted from their ancestral land in the name of conservation. I have just returned from a month of filming an indigenous tribe, the Sengwer as they struggle to remain on their ancestral land in the Embobut Forest of the Cherangani Hills, Kenya. I have some truly breathtaking and heartbreaking footage but in order to capture the full spectrum of Sengwer life and investigate further, the outside influences in the evictions of this community, I need to go back for one more month. Since 2007, repeated attempts at evicting the Sengwer from the Embobut Forest in the Cherangani Hills have been made by the Kenyan Government in the name of conservation. Between 2007 and 2013, the World Bank funded a programme called the Natural Resource Management Programme (NRMP) overseen by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).

[USA] Reviving a forest
By Dale Rodebaugh, The Durango Herald, 1 October 2014 | When most people had their feet up Sunday, an Oregon tree-planting crew, hired by the U.S. Forest Service, was placing the last of 234,000 1-year-old Engelmann spruce seedlings on Missionary Ridge north of Durango. The project complements the planting last year of 189,000 seedlings of the same species on land where aspen has not come back or where there is no evidence of spruce or fir regeneration. The two-year project covered 763 acres burned in the 2002 Missionary Ridge, which scorched most of 72,000 acres… The reforestation is paid for by the Disney Corp. through the National Forest Foundation. The corporation is making a voluntary contribution to offset its carbon emissions. Disney will receive carbon offsets once trees reach 4.5 feet in about 20 years, Fitzgerald said. The Forest Service doesn’t deal in carbon credits, which are marketable, Fitzgerald said.

2 October 2014

Counting trees to save the woods: using big data to map deforestation
By Nigel Sizer, Loretta Cheung and James Anderson, The Guardian, 2 October 2014 | [F]orests are under more pressure today than ever. Between 2000 and 2012, the world lost a net 1.5 million square kilometres of tree cover, an area roughly the size of Mongolia. The clearing and burning of forests is responsible for between 12-20% of greenhouse gas emissions. In response, a major declaration on forests was signed at the UN climate summit in September, committing to end global deforestation by 2030. But one major barrier to curbing the destruction of forests around the world remains: the lack of reliable data that tells us precisely when and where it’s happening. To fill this data gap, we created Global Forest Watch (GFW) – an online platform combining hundreds of thousands of satellite images, high-tech data processing and crowd-sourcing, to provide near-real time data on the world’s forests.

Forests are emerging out from the shadow of fossil fuels in climate debate
By Andrew Simms, The Guardian, 2 October 2014 | Forests seem to be emerging from the 1980s environmental ghetto of concerns where they appeared to be consigned. For years they’ve been in the shadow of fossil fuels in the climate change debate. But there’s now a rising awareness that their loss as habitats is driving the current mass extinction of animal species, and they were centre stage at the recent UN climate summit in New York with their own new declaration. Coinciding with the summit, the UK pledged money to help end illegal timber entering Europe and promote ‘public private partnerships’ to ‘manage forests sustainably.’ However well intended, the New York forest declaration foresees the logging of natural forests continuing for another 16 years, which in terms of business and political horizons is effectively forever. It is also too late to halt critical climate feedbacks. Take away the cloak of good intentions and it could easily become a business as usual initiative.

Forest Carbon Offsets for Sale: To You and Me
By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, 2 October 2014 | Code REDD is hoping to harness the enthusiasm demonstrated by these marchers and like-minded individuals to tap into a new source of potential support for REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) projects. The organization’s strategy for increasing demand for REDD has always centered on corporate education, public policy and REDD+ community building, said Kate Dillon, Director, Membership Development, for Code REDD. “But we realized there was a piece missing and that piece was people,” she said at a Climate Week NYC 2014 event. “People drive demand. People are what motivate the private sector and the public sector decision making, so we feel it’s essential to engage the general population in forest conservation and helping them to understand the role of forests in climate regulation.”

‘Expect the unexpected’: starting successful partnerships in fragile states
By Sue George, The Guardian, 2 October 2014 | Fragile states … are often unable to meet their citizens’ basic needs. According to the World Bank, progress to ending extreme poverty is much slower in fragile states than elsewhere and it estimates that by 2030 40% of the world’s poor will live in states that are fragile or affected by conflict. As a result, many organisations working in various parts of the development sector have projects designed to improve this situation… Smith Lomas then described Practical Action’s experience of working in Sudan with a network of 150 civil society women’s organisations which, in turn, reach 170,000 people. The project has enabled 6,000 families to switch from using charcoal for cooking, to using liquid petroleum gas stoves instead. Practical Action worked with a UK-based private sector carbon broker to help the network issue the country’s first ever carbon credits.

Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon News – October 2, 2014
Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 October 2014 | The People’s Climate March clogged the streets of Manhattan on September 21 as 400,000 people gathered to call for ambitious action at the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit the following Tuesday. The march in New York City was echoed by more than 2,000 other rallies in 162 cities around the world, from Paris to Melbourne to Rio de Janeiro. It was the largest civil demonstration about climate change in history, and the more than 120 heads of state that attended the Summit took notice. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s summary illustrates, many commitments came out of the Summit, but among the most ambitious in terms of emissions reductions was the New York Declaration on Forests through which government, business, civil society and indigenous leaders pledged $1 billion to end deforestation by 2030. If successful, the pledge would prevent the emission of between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

‘We won’t be here forever’ – Cambodian forest defender immortalised on film
By Fran Lambrick, The Ecologist, 2 October 2014 | In 2011, in Cambodia’s northern Prey Lang forest I witnessed as a forest defender, Chut Wutty, prepared a group of community campaigners to enter the CRCK rubber company concession. They wanted to investigate the extent of deforestation it had caused. The group were tired, for ten days they had been patrolling through the forest hunting for illegal loggers. “We’re doing this for our children”, Wutty said, “We won’t be here forever.” Wutty is the subject of my documentary ‘I Am Chut Wutty’, which recently premiered in London – and which is showing again in Oxford tomorrow (Friday 3rd October, see below).

[Canada] Art Sterritt’s mix of charm and tough-mindedness gets things done on his people’s terms
By Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun, 2 October 2014 | First Nations leader Art Sterritt, recipient this week of a $100,000 environmental award from California’s Stanford University, is a no-nonsense negotiator who can simultaneously charm and intimidate allies and adversaries. The award, which recognizes “unheralded individuals who have made significant contributions to global sustainability,” goes to an accomplished artist and ex-fisherman who has played a key leadership role in two major political battles… He cut a deal with the B.C. government to obtain carbon credits in exchange for the deal to dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that would be emitted if there were large-scale logging. These credits can then be sold to companies to off-set their emissions, eventually funnelling “hundreds of millions” of dollars to First Nations, according to Sterritt.

[UK] Preston men wanted in connection with 1.17bn international scam
Lancashire Evening Post, 2 October 2014 | Four Preston men are being investigated in Italy over an alleged £1.17bn tax scam. The men are part of a group of 38 people being investigated over defrauding the Italian state coffers out of more than a billion pounds in VAT. It is understood the probe is centred around 40-year-old Imran Yakub Ahmed, of Watling Street Road, 
Fulwood. Documents seen by the Evening Post from the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Milan also name 36-year-old Adam Umerji – one of Lancashire’s most wanted criminals. It is understood Ahmed and Umerji are both in Dubai. Zubare Tailor, 32, of Victoria Mansions, off Navigation Way, and Sarfaraz Patel, 32, of Bullfinch Street, both Preston, are also wanted as part of the investigation… The Home Office said the investigation lies in the hands of the Italian authorities while HMRC said it was unable to comment on individuals. Lancashire Police are not involved in the investigation, a spokesman said.

[USA] ClimeCo Corporation’s Environmental Commodities Footprint Expands with Executive Growth
ClimeCo press release, 2 October 2014 | ClimeCo Corporation, a leading Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) project developer and the largest producer of U.S. voluntary carbon credits under the Climate Action Reserve, celebrates an expansion of its environmental market brokerage platform. Based within the industrial hub of Houston, Texas, Mason Henderson will lead ClimeCo’s private equity fund and brokerage team. Mason brings over 13 years of emissions expertise and 25 years of trading and brokerage experience to ClimeCo. ClimeCo has also established a satellite office in California to expand upon its current platform of cap and trade related activities. Jaclyn Ferlita, accomplished professional within the environmental commodity and emissions aggregation markets, will help organizations navigate the emissions reporting requirements of California Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), and utilize the state’s various regional air quality management programs to conduct environmental credit transactions.

3 October 2014

New Global Declaration “Insufficient” to Tackle Deforestation
By Carey L. Biron, IPS, 3 October 2014 | Heads of state, civil society groups and the leaders of some of the world’s largest companies this week urged their peers to sign on to a landmark new global agreement aimed at halting deforestation by 2030, even as others are warning the accord is too lax… “The 2030 timeline would allow deforestation to continue for a decade and a half. By then the declaration could be self-fulfilling, as there might not be much forest left to save,” Susanne Breitkopf, a senior political advisor with Greenpeace, told IPS. “Equally, private companies shouldn’t be allowed to continue deforesting and sourcing from deforestation until 2020 – they should stop destructive practices and human rights violations immediately.” On Wednesday, a Nigerian development group similarly called into question the declaration’s timeframe.

Global biodiversity targets won’t be met by 2020, scientists say
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 3 October 2014 | World leaders are failing in their pledge to cut the rate at which wildlife lose their homes, according to the the first ever progress report on targets to slow biodiversity loss by the end of the decade. Conservationist called the lack of action a “troubling sign” and a “reality check”. Governments agreed on a set of targets in 2010 to stem the destruction of species’ habitats, increase the number of nature reserves and stop overfishing, but an international team of more than 30 scientists say in a report that, almost halfway towards the 2020 deadline, the Aichi targets are unlikely to be met. Writing in the journal Science, in the same week that a major report by WWF suggested the world had lost half its animals over the past four decades, the scientists say that the state of biodiversity and the pressures on it are getting worse, not better.

Lower the cost of financial capital to reduce exploitation of natural capital
By Stuart Clenaghan, The UN-REDD Programme blog, 3 October 2014 | In my view there is a critical missing link in REDD+ thinking, and that relates to the high cost of finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in developing countries. SMEs are widely acknowledged to be the real engines of economic growth, and account for between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of forest enterprises. Yet SMEs face strong headwinds when it comes to accessing funding. For many SMEs, the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources – or “natural capital” – is a substitute for financial capital. This perspective draws upon insights gained as a co-founder of a private sector sustainable forestry company, striving to deliver strong financial, social and environmental results in Peru (a UN-REDD Programme partner country), as well as my experience of capital markets as a former investment banker.

Growing economies while avoiding deforestation
By Stephen Donofrio, Corporate Citizenship Briefing, 3 October 2014 | A significant number of companies have made commitments to achieving zero or zero-net deforestation and other related targets. These companies represent all segments of the value chain from producers, traders, consumer goods companies to global financiers. Over the last year, suppliers of more than 55 percent of the world’s palm oil have committed to produce or trade 100% deforestation-free palm oil. And while most commitments to date have been for palm oil, some companies are expanding their commitments to other commodities as well, including soy, beef, and pulp and paper. On the pathway towards meeting these commitments, businesses have an opportunity to achieve in-tandem business and environmental benefits.

Clashing Visions of Conservation Shake Brazil’s Presidential Vote
By Simon Romero, New York Times, 3 October 2014 | From the podium at the United Nations to declarations on the campaign trail, President Dilma Rousseff is celebrating Brazil’s protection of the Amazon. But satellite data released last month shows that Brazil’s annual deforestation rate in the Amazon has climbed again after years of declines, rising 29 percent, leaving her vulnerable to attacks in this nation’s acrimonious presidential race. The vote is on Sunday. “The mantra in Brasília is that they have deforestation under control, but the evidence on the ground shows this is not true,” said Philip M. Fearnside, a prominent researcher at the National Institute for Amazon Research in Manaus, the Amazon’s largest city. Beyond alarming scientists, who note the importance of the vast rain forest to the world’s climate and biodiversity, the sparring over the Amazon symbolizes clashing visions of Brazil’s future.

[Guyana] North Rupununi communities ready to ‘opt in’ to forests payment scheme
By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 3 October 2014 | Armed with information about the natural resources of the area, north Rupununi communities are calling on government to support a project to continue monitoring their communities’ resources and tackle the “clear and present danger” from encroaching threats such as logging and mining. “I think they are more than ready now to implement REDD in their own lands,” said Luis Meneses, the Latin American director of Global Canopy Programme, referring to the United Nations-backed scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

4 October 2014

WWF International accused of ‘selling its soul’ to corporations
By John Vidal, The Observer, 4 October 2014 | WWF International, the world’s largest conservation group, has been accused of “selling its soul” by forging alliances with powerful businesses which destroy nature and use the WWF brand to “greenwash” their operations. The allegations are made in an explosive book previously barred from Britain. The Silence of the Pandas became a German bestseller in 2012 but, following a series of injunctions and court cases, it has not been published until now in English. Revised and renamed Pandaleaks, it will be out next week. Its author, Wilfried Huismann, says the Geneva-based WWF International has received millions of dollars from its links with governments and business. Global corporations such as Coca-Cola, Shell, Monsanto, HSBC, Cargill, BP, Alcoa and Marine Harvest have all benefited from the group’s green image only to carry on their businesses as usual.

US Reduces Indonesian Debt in Exchange for Wildlife Protection
The Jakarta Globe, 4 October 2014 | The United States has struck a deal to reduce Indonesia’s debts in exchange for Jakarta pledging about $12 million for programs to protect endangered species and their habitats on Sumatra island, conservationists said Friday. The move adds to a similar agreement in 2009, under which the Indonesian government pledged $30 million for increased protection of Sumatra’s forests, said NGO Conservation International, which helped broker the deal. The agreement, which was inked this week, will provide additional funds for environmental groups to improve programmes aimed at protecting the Sumatran low-land rainforests as well as efforts to increase populations of threatened animals. The forests of Sumatra, a huge island in western Indonesia, are one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and are home to critically endangered Sumatran rhinos and tigers.

[Tanzania] SUA to develop carbon monitoring centre
By Masembe Tambwe, DailyNews Online Edition, 4 October 2014 | Prospects of accessing carbon funds from the international community will soon be a reality thanks to a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system that will soon be in place. Speaking during the opening of a two day workshop in Bagamoyo, the Vice President’s Office Director of Environmental Division, Mr Richard Muyungi told journalists that human destruction of tropical forests is estimated to contribute up to 20 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, resulting in accelerated global warming. “One mechanism proposed to motivate these emissions is through a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+). This is a proposed financial mechanism to provide incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and the degradation of their forests,” he said.

5 October 2014


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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