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REDD in the news: 6-12 October 2014

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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.

 
UN-REDD Newsletter Touts Climate Summit Commitments
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), October 2014 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (UN-REDD) released the October 2014 edition of its newsletter, which highlights the New York Declaration on Forests and commitments made during Climate Summit 2014. The Declaration aims to cut the loss of forests in half by 2020 and end deforestation by 2030. Commitments made at the Summit in support of the declaration included a mix of private sector, provincial and country-level actions, including a pledge by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Uganda and several other countries to restore over 30 million hectares of degraded lands, more than doubling the 20 million hectares already pledged to date under the Bonn Challenge. The New York Declaration mobilized over US$1 billion in funding, according to the newsletter.

Planting for the Future: How Demand for Wood Products Could Be Friendly to Tropical Forests (2014)
Union of Concerned Scientists, October 2014 | Demand for wood products such as paper, furniture and construction materials is a major cause of damage to tropical forests—and that demand is projected to increase over the next half-century. The good news is that there are ways to satisfy that demand sustainably. The UCS report Planting for the Future combines economic modeling with ecological theory and data to evaluate the impact of increased demand on tropical forests, and shows how innovative management practices, reinforced by effective policy and consumer awareness, can meet projected wood product needs while also conserving forests.

6 October 2014

UN biodiversity report highlights failure to meet conservation targets
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 6 October 2014 | International efforts to meet targets to stem the loss of wildlife and habitats are failing miserably, according to a UN report. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, published as nearly 200 countries meet on Monday in South Korea in a bid to tackle biodiversity loss, paints a damning picture of governments’ efforts to meet a set of targets agreed in 2010 to slow the destruction of species’ habitats, cut pollution and stop overfishing by the end of the decade. Conservationists said the lack of progress, nearly halfway to the 2020 deadline for the targets, was a troubling sign and a reality check. The situation of the planet’s most threatened species, which include 90% of all lemurs and species such as the blue-tongued forest giraffe and spoon-billed sandpiper, is getting worse rather than better. “The average risk of extinction for birds, mammals, amphibians and corals shows no sign of decreasing,” the report says.

[Indonesia] New law scraps local govts’ power in mining
By Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post, 6 October 2014 | The new Provincial Administrations (Pemda) Law scraps local administrations’ power to issue mining permits, overlapping the 2009 Mining Law, which is likely to be revised. The Mining Law grants local administrations rights in the mining sector, including issuing permits for mineral and coal mining activities. However, the Pemda Law has removed all authorities previously granted to regency and municipal administrations. Thus, control over mineral and coal businesses will be in the hands of central and provincial governments. Both contradicting laws will remain in effect unless one of them is called off, according to law expert Todung Mulya Lubis. “If one law takes away authority while the other law doesn’t do the same, we cannot say that the authorities [of a regency and municipality] have been withdrawn, unless the Mining Law is amended. This shows that we have no clear policy to avoid this overlap,” Todung said.

World Bank chief steps in over evictions of Kenya’s indigenous people
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 6 October 2014 | The president of the World Bank will appeal directly to President Uhuru Kenyatta to resolve a Kenyan human rights crisis in which thousands of indigenous forest people have been forcibly evicted from a reserve in the name of water conservation. After a board meeting in Washington, Jim Yong Kim said: “I will personally reach out to President Kenyatta and the government of Kenya to offer our full support in order to bring together the Cherangany-Sengwer people and all the key parties. Everyone’s goal is surely to find a lasting, peaceful resolution to this long unfinished business of land rights in Kenya.” The meeting was the last chance that the Sengwer indigenous people had of being allowed to remain in parts of the Embobut forest in the Cherangani hills, where they have lived for centuries as hunter gatherers.

[USA] Green Mountain Energy’s Giant Rain Barrel is Message Board for SXSW Eco Attendees
Green Mountain Energy Company press release, 6 October 2014 | Offsetting SXSW Ecos Carbon Emissions: For the fourth year in a row, Green Mountain is working with SXSW Eco to calculate and offset the estimated carbon footprint of attendee travel to the event. Following the event, Green Mountain will calculate those carbon emissions and support projects aimed to reduce the same amount of carbon. This year, some of the emission reductions will come from third party-verified projects completed by Wildlife Works, an organization that helps prevent deforestation in Kenya and the Congo. Deforestation has many devastating effects, including the reduction of fresh water supply.

7 October 2014

[Australia] Federal parliament considering National Water Commission oversight functions
By Colin Bettles, The Land, 7 October 2014 | Legislation has been introduced into federal parliament to axe the National Water Commission (NWC) and transfer its oversight functions to other commonwealth agencies. Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Senator Simon Birmingham says the Productivity Commission (PC), Bureau of Meteorology, ABARES and the Department of Environment will now assume the NWC’s tasks of scrutinising water reforms… The Department will also take on the role of advising the clean energy regulator on effectiveness of water resource plans under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) regulations 2011.

Brazil’s rainforests are releasing more carbon dioxide than previously thought
Phys.org, 7 October 2014 | Because of the deforestation of tropical rainforests in Brazil, significantly more carbon has been lost than was previously assumed. As scientists of the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) write in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the effect of the degradation has been underestimated in fragmented forest areas, since it was hitherto not possible to calculate the loss of the biomass at the forest edges and the higher emission of carbon dioxide. The UFZ scientists have now closed this knowledge gap. According to their calculations, the forest fragmentation results in up to a fifth more carbon dioxide being emitted by the vegetation. To estimate the additional carbon emissions at the forest edges, the UFZ scientists developed a new approach that integrates the results from remote sensing, ecology and forest modelling.

Unprecedented Case Filed at International Criminal Court Proposes Land Grabbing in Cambodia as a Crime Against Humanity
By Andrew Simms (Global Witness), Huffington Post, 7 October 2014 | A case brought to the International Criminal Court this week could change the way we view the problem of “land grabbing” and trigger a major review of how the human rights violations that result are considered under international law. Land grabbing is rampant globally. Each year, in countries such as Cambodia, millions of hectares of land are illegally taken from the people who live on it, often through violence and intimidation, to make way for mining, timber or agricultural plantations. The institutions who should provide justice to the victims of land grabbing are often the very groups driving the problem – national governments and their elites who frame land seizures as an unfortunate but inevitable step on the path to economic development, and quash any resistance.

[Indonesia] Editorial: Good for plantations
The Jakarta Post, 7 October 2014 | It is not good to change the rules of the game while the match is still in play. But we should still commend the old House of Representatives for its approval of a new law on plantations one day before it ended its five-year term late last month even though the old law was only 10 years of age while plantation business licenses normally last for 35 years. First of all, the final text of the new law abolishes the 30 percent maximum cap on foreign shareholding at a plantation company, as stipulated in the bill, and instead authorizes the government to regulate foreign share ownership restrictions through one of the dozens of presidential regulations and ministerial decrees that have yet to be issued to implement the new legislation. Some investors may still be apprehensive about the upcoming government regulation on foreign investors as regards the maximum shareholding and size of plantations and the type of plantation commodities…

Indonesia a force for change on climate change
By Dimas Muhamad (Indonesian Foreign Ministry), The Jakarta Post, 7 October 2014 | Saving forests is not only ecologically altruistic for 100 years to come but it is also a lucrative investment today. It should also be a wake-up call for the international community. Scapegoating countries with high deforestation rates will not make the problem go away. There are those who decry deforestation in developing countries while being oblivious to historical deforestation in developed countries to support their industrialization in the past. We should not be completely flabbergasted when people in poor and developing countries do the same thing today.

Dubai’s Green Credentials for Hillary Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Zawya, 7 October 2014 | The Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence was launched by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2011 as a public-private partnership to fast-track clean energy project development in the last years of the Kyoto Protocol. The Centre is the first body of its kind in the region and aims to leverage Dubai’s economic potential in carbon through the Clean Development Mechanism and other best practices. The DCCE is a key component of the Supreme Council’s efforts to develop a sustainable-energy economy for Dubai and plans to offset several million metric tons of carbon annually by selling carbon credits on the international market. Dubai Carbon conceptualises, manages, executes and monetises greenhouse gas reduction measures. By doing so, it addresses climate change and promotes sustainable development across the region in an economically viable way.

[Guyana] An impossible balancing act? Forests benefit from isolation, but at cost to local communities
By Anna Ikarashi, mongabay.com, 7 October 2014 | The indigenous people of the Amazon live in areas that house many of the Amazon’s diverse species. The Rupununi region of Guyana is one such area, with approximately 20,000 Makushi and Wapishana people living in isolation. According to a recent study published in Environmental Modelling & Software, a simulation model revealed a link between growing indigenous populations and gradual local resource depletion. The Makushi and Wapishana people depend traditionally on hunting, fishing, and subsistence agriculture in the Amazonian Guyana. They cultivate cassava and process it into flour for long-term storage. Animals also play an essential role in their lives, as some species are hunted for food while others are used for spiritual purposes.

[UK] Consultants fear mis-selling as forex brokers discover new options
By Fiona Maxwell, FX Week, 7 October 2014 | The film Boiler Room, released in 2000, tells the story of pump-and-dump stock-broking practices at fictional firm JT Marlin in New York. Its brokers lie to gullible investors, sell them shares in fictional or failed companies, and leave them to suffer the consequences. It is a horrible depiction of the industry. Surprisingly, in the UK’s foreign exchange broking sector, the film is also used as an induction video for new recruits, according to James Ducker, a director at Benchmark Treasury Pricing in Cambridge, who spent two years working in forex brokerage. “When I was interviewed for a job as a forex broker, they told me to watch the film Boiler Room, because that was a good indication of what I was going to walk into. Boy, were they right. It was a nightmare at those places – it’s hard sell by telephone and the end-users don’t know what they’re being sold,” he says.

8 October 2014

Lawmaker proposes carbon trading to tackle climate change in Australia
By Stian Reklev, Reuters, 8 October 2014 | An Australian senator released on Wednesday a proposal to penalise companies failing to meet carbon emission targets and give firms access to the international carbon market, in a move to try and break a deadlock in the country’s climate policy. Australia’s conservative Liberal party government in July repealed a tax on climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions for its 350 biggest companies, claiming the scheme was too costly while achieving little in terms of emission cuts. But the country, the developed world’s biggest carbon emitter per capita, has since been left without a climate policy because the opposition parties in the senate reject the government’s alternative plan. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who has sought a key role in finding a solution to the climate policy stand-off, proposed amendments he said would put Australia back on track to meet its target of cutting emissions to 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020.

[Laos] Two years ago: AEPF9 and UNDP – Sombath Somphone
sombath.org, 8 October 2014 | Two years ago, Sombath worked closely with government authorities, the United Nations Development Program, and the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Minh Pham, to organise nation-wide consultations in preparation for the 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum. One result of this process was the report “Listening to the People’s Voice,” released on October 8th. The next day, Mr. Pham issued a statement disassociating himself from the report, asserting it was only a draft, but no alternatives were ever offered. Minh PhamTwo months and one day later, Mr. Pham and UNDP joined in celebrating the 2012 International Human Rights Day. The theme was “Inclusion and the Right to Participate in Public Affairs.” A UNDP press release highlighted the event. But when Sombath was abducted five days later, there was no such publicity, nor have there been any public expressions of concern since.

9 October 2014

UN sets six month deadline for delivery of draft climate agreement
By Ed King, RTCC, 9 October 2014 | Countries have less than six months left to agree on the rough outline of a global climate change agreement, according to the two UN officials coordinating the process. Artur Runge Metzger and Kishan Kumarsingh say they are “greatly encouraged” by progress on developing a draft text, but warn time for negotiations is running out. “October is the time to start reaching out genuinely to each other and build bridges,” they write in what the UN terms a ‘scenario note’. “We encourage you to deepen your discussion with a view to moving towards common ground wherever possible or, where not, arriving at limited and concrete options.” They say the draft text of a proposed climate deal to limit warming to below 2C needs to be ready by May next year so it can be translated into all of the UN’s official languages.

Next big idea in forest conservation? Empower youth leaders
By Liz Kimbrough, mongabay.com, 9 October 2014 | Want to save forests? Don’t forget the youth, says Pedro Walpole, the Chair and Director of Research for the Environmental Science for Social Change, a Jesuit environmental research organization promoting sustainability and social justice across the Asia Pacific region. “Youth leadership in environmental management is key,” Walpole told mongabay.com. “Most of all we have to learn from the youth what are their insecurities and challenges in engaging in what will become the era of sustainability and simplicity rather than development.” Currently living in Mindanao in the Philippines Walpole says much of his time is spent “focused on peace building and serving the educational and ecological interests of the Pulangiyen people through the Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center which promotes mother tongue-based, multilingual education for peace in the area.”

[Australia] Compensation loss hits Alcoa
By John Dagge, Herald Sun, 9 October 2014 | Alcoa ays the loss of carbon tax compensation measures has driven up electricity bills at its alumina refineries. The global aluminium giant said the scrapping of compensation measures for high electricity users granted under the carbon tax had driven energy costs higher. Alumina is a white powder extracted from bauxite and used to make aluminium. Alcoa’s three alumina ­refineries in Western Australia are the biggest single source of alumina in the world, producing nine million tonnes a year. The details were revealed in a third-quarter update from Alcoa Australia’s US parent company, Alcoa Inc, released overnight on Wednesday. “Loss of carbon tax credits in Australia drove higher energy costs,” it said in a results presentation covering the three months to ­September. “Results (in the alumina division) were partially offset by lower alumina price index-based pricing and higher ­energy costs in Australia.”

Hundreds of Bushmen abused in Botswana – new report
Survival International, 9 October 2014 | A new report from Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has revealed hundreds of cases of beatings, arrests and abuses suffered by the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana at the hands of wildlife officers and police. The report, “They have killed me: the persecution of Botswana’s Bushmen 1992- 2014” details over 200 cases of violent abuse recorded between 1992 and 2014, including a Bushman who died after being tortured; a child shot in the stomach after his father refused police entry to his hut without a warrant; and a Bushman who was buried alive for killing an antelope. The Bushmen were illegally evicted from their ancestral homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in the name of “conservation”. They are accused of “poaching” because they hunt their food, and face arrests and beatings, torture and death at the hands of wildlife officers and paramilitary police.

Brazil unlikely to sustain gains in reducing deforestation without new incentives for ranchers, says study
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 9 October 2014 | Cattle ranchers … are unlikely to be held at bay indefinitely unless they are afforded new incentives for keeping trees standing… The study, which was carried out by Datu Research on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), looked at the costs of recent efforts to curb deforestation for cattle production… “Future efforts will require moving beyond a single supply chain focus. Continued success will require complementing roundtable efforts with innovative measures that work across multiple commodities,” it continues. “By certifying a given jurisdiction, and all commodities produced in it, as ‘deforestation-free,’ authorities would no longer have to track thousands of producers, instead focusing on a single geography.” Datu says this approach could be enforced by satellite monitoring and encouraged by carbon payments under the REDD+ mechanism for avoiding emissions associated with deforestation.

[Cambodia] Obama Pays Tribute to Slain Activists
By Patrick Alley (Global Witness), Huffington Post, 9 October 2014 | If Obama is serious about tackling deaths like these then he should reassess his relationship to the countries they play out in. There is a huge influx of foreign aid into Cambodia, which currently provides the equivalent of nearly half the government budget — nearly $75 million has come from the U.S. this year already. Consumer money matters too. International law states that rare trees like rosewood should stay rooted in Cambodia, but they end up as four poster beds or vanity tables in U.S., European and Chinese bedrooms. Timber legislation like the U.S. Lacey Act needs tougher enforcement if it is to keep illegal timber out of our ports and off our shop floors. Lacey is one of the best tools the U.S. has to keep people like Wutty alive. Chut Wutty was silenced by a bullet. But murder isn’t the only way to silence an environmental defender. You can do it subtly, by destroying their homes, starving them of food…

[Canada] Delays in greenhouse gas rules reflected Alberta’s concerns: source
By Jason Fekete, Ottawa Citizen, 9 October 2014 | The Conservative government’s failure to release long-promised greenhouse gas regulations for the oil and gas industry can be traced back to initial concerns from petroleum producers and later the Alberta government. The federal environment commissioner highlighted this week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been sitting on greenhouse gas regulations for the oil and gas sector for more than a year – sharing them with one province and select industry representatives – but has refused to release them publicly… Alberta’s carbon levy requires large emitters that produce more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year to reduce their GHG intensity (that is, emissions per barrel of oil or unit of energy) by 12 per cent below a baseline. Companies unable to meet the target must pay $15 per tonne of emissions over the target into a clean energy technology fund, or purchase carbon credits to offset their emissions.

Chile developer awards contracts to build, equip 136-MW Nuble hydropower project
HydroWorld, 9 October 2014 | Vial y Vives-DSD of Chile and Andritz Group of Austria have received contracts totaling US$257 million to build and equip the 136-MW Nuble hydroelectric project in southern Chile. Electrica Puntilla S.A. and its subsidiary Hidronuble Spa awarded the contracts for development of the Nuble project, a run-of-river hydro plant on the Nuble River in Chile’s Region VIII… Chilean utility Compania General de Electricidad S.A. originally announced plans to develop Nuble. CGE’s development unit, CGE Generacion, signed an agreement in 2006 with MGM International of the United States for sale of carbon credits from Nuble to help finance its construction.

[Ecuador] Jim Can, wanted in Belize tax scheme, disputes allegations
By Timothy Sawa, CBC News, 9 October 2014 | In 2013, a California-based stock fraud whistleblower sued Can, and a company he is linked to, for allegedly operating what’s referred to as a “pump and dump” scheme. That’s when a stock is falsely hyped to increase trading volume and lure investors who eventually lose their money once the stock value disappears. George Sharp says he launched his lawsuit against a company called BluForest in order to warn potential investors about Can. “I bought into a particular stock scam as I sometimes do just so I can become involved and look at the scam and expose it for what it is,” he told CBC News in an interview. “I started doing some digging and asking questions and a person came up to me and said, the person you are looking to investigate in this stock scam is Jim Can. “In court documents Can describes himself as a “lender” and “adviser” to BluForest. It’s a company based in Ecuador that claims to sell and buy carbon credits around the world.”

Indonesian Forests to Benefit from PEFC Certification
PEFC, 9 October 2014 | Indonesian forests, home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world, can now benefit from credible, globally recognized sustainable forest management certification following the endorsement of the Indonesian Forestry Certification Co-operation (IFCC) by PEFC, the world’s leading forest certification system. “This endorsement signifies a turning point for Indonesia, a country which is still struggling with combating high deforestation rates,” said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC International. “Forest certification represents an important mechanism to verify and promote sustainable forest management, thus safeguarding the environmental, social and economic benefits that forests provide.”

[South Africa] SNC-Lavalin helps customers prepare for new carbon tax
By Kirsty Jooste, Cape Business News, 9 October 2014 | The implementation of a new carbon tax in South Africa is set for 2016 and will require companies to pay tax on a percentage of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The tax is part of the government’s plan to undertake appropriate national actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 and a further 42% by 2025. This plan follows on commitments made at the 2009 Copenhagen Conference of Parties. “With two years to go before the carbon tax is introduced, it is the ideal time for affected companies to evaluate and implement their most cost effective strategies,” says Jean-Luc Allard, SNC-Lavalin Vice-President of Acoustics, Air Quality and Climate Change, who was recently in South Africa to discuss emission reduction programmes with the company’s local customers. “We’re very involved in carbon management in industries around the world and have been working in this field for the past 20 years.”

[UK] Adviser ‘was paid 65% commission’ on unregulated scheme
By Charles Walmsley, New Model Advisor, 9 October 2014 | A former financial adviser earned commission of 65% from selling an unregulated biofuel investment scheme, prosecutors have alleged in a case which began at Southwark Crown Court this week. Stuart Stone is one of four men facing a series of criminal charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) relating to Sustainable AgroEnergy which the SFO obtained a freezing order against in February 2012. The prosecution allege that Stone – who denies all charges – received a total of £3.1 million commission at varying rates of up to 65% for selling the scheme. Stone faces five charges including conspiracy to furnish false information and bribery. According to the Financial Services Register he was an adviser with Shrewsbury-based Pengwern Wealth Management between 2010 and 2011. The case against Stone and co-defendants Gary West, James Whale and Fung Fong Wong began earlier this week. All four defendants have pleaded not guilty…

10 October 2014

Forest restoration commitments: driven by science or politics?
By John C. Cannon, mongabay.com, 10 October 2014 | The United Nations Climate Summit at the end of September saw a host of governments, agencies and organizations rally around an international agreement aimed at stopping deforestation called the New York Declaration on Forests. In it, three African nations were recognized for their commitments to restore collectively more than 25 million hectares of forest – an area larger than the West African country of Guinea – part of a plan to restore 350 million hectares of forest by 2030. But several organizations declined invitations to sign the pact because they say it fails to lay out “concrete action” to fight climate change, and some experts in the field worry that the announcements are little more than political posturing. Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) pledged to restore huge areas of forest within their borders. Guatemala and Colombia also committed to restoring more than a million hectares each.

Does Changing Everything Need Everyone? Thoughts on Naomi Klein’s new climate change book
By Jamie Clarke, COIN, 10 October 2014 | This week COIN hosted Naomi Klein – one of the most influential leftwing voices of our time – in Oxford as she launched her new book, ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate’. Having read the book, and listened to her speak, I offer here some personal reflections on why I found the ambition of the book (to radically curb the excesses of ‘extractivist’ growth-based capitalism) compelling, but the means by which these ends could be achieved disappointingly lacking in inspiration. Klein has built a formidable reputation for taking aim at the most difficult targets – neoliberalism primarily – and fearlessly speaking truth to power. This Changes Everything… continues this in style, and I think the single biggest contribution this book will make (as Vivienne Westwood, our celebrity introductory speaker for the evening pointed out) is making discussion of the ‘c’ word possible again in mainstream climate change circles.

[Brazil] Celestial Green expenses not documented
By Colm Keena, The Irish Times, 10 October 2014 | The auditors to a Dublin carbon credits company, Celestial Green Ventures plc, have said expenditure by the company for which there was no invoices or receipts created a potential tax liability. The company, which has an address on Merchants Quay and at one stage was quoted on the First Quotation Board on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, made a pretax loss of €1 million in 2012, according to accounts just filed. During the year the company spent €219,267 on travel and entertainment, according to an appendix to the accounts that does not form part of the audited statutory financial statements. This compared with €156,161 for 2011. Total administrative expenses during the year were €698,970. The accounts do not record any sales. There was a shareholders’ deficit at year’s end of €1.9 million.

Measuring impact a challenge as China reclaims farmlands for forests
By Kiran Asher, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 October 2014 | China does not usually come to mind when one thinks about reforestation or afforestation. It should. China’s Conversion of Cropland to Forests Program (CCFP) is the world’s largest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) afforestation program. In a recent article, Bennett et al. analyze which household-level and local institutional factors are important in determining survival rates of trees planted on CCFP croplands. Two co-authors from CIFOR, Louis Putzel and Nick Hogarth, have been working closely with colleagues from the National Forest Economics and Development Research Center (FEDRC) of China’s State Forestry Administration to monitor and evaluate the program’s impacts.

What Does Democracy Have to Do With Protecting Indonesia’s Environment?
By Erik Meijaard, The Jakarta Globe, 10 October 2014 | Let’s be clear: the post-Suharto democracy has not been great for forest and wildlife conservation. Many have argued that the decentralization process has created hundreds of little fiefdoms, where district heads and others in power use the revenues from natural resource extraction to fatten their bank accounts and strengthen their political positions. In the Suharto era, protected area management still functioned reasonably well, and forest loss and wildlife poaching where relatively under control. On the other hand, projects like the Suharto-instigated 1-million-hectare Mega-rice project were total disasters, both socially and environmentally. Overall, since Suharto’s fall, things seem to have gone from bad to worse in Indonesia’s seas and forests, with law enforcement nearly absent.

[Suriname] Staying ‘green’ to keep the ocean at bay
By P.D. Paulin, Washington Times, 10 October 2014 | “Suriname is deploying her forests in the fight against climate change,” said Cedric Nelom, Acting Director of the National Institute for Environment and Development (NIMOS). “The Surinamese forests are currently absorbing more carbon dioxide than the country is emitting, effectively making Suriname one of the few carbon-negative countries in the world.” … “So by virtue of our commitment to REDD+ and maintaining our standing forests to the best of our ability, we are in fact continuously serving as both a carbon sink, as well as a vast reservoir of carbon,” Nelom said. And by doing this, of course, Suriname helps to keep rising oceans at bay and out of Paramaribo.

11 October 2014

[Australia] Back to country gives the outback a new lease on life
By Michael McKenna, The Australian, 11 October 2014 | After a two-decade struggle, Michael Ross is about to become one of the biggest land barons in Queensland. Widely known as the “barefoot chairman’’ for his lifelong dislike of shoes, the cattleman and head of the Olkola Aboriginal Corporation will control 850,000ha in central Cape York after the state-federal funded purchase and handover of five pastoral leases, expected in December. It is the latest of 50 million hectares across Australia to become owned and managed by clans as national parks, indigenous protected areas or ­Aboriginal freehold in the past decade… “We are using the early-burn methods of my mother’s people to reduce the level of wild fires across the region, and to bank that as carbon credits,” Ross said. “We will get paid for smoke that doesn’t go into the air; it sounds silly but the old knowledge is starting to pay off in new ways.”

[Indonesia] REDD+ expected to preserve forests, empower local coomunities [sic]
ANTARA News, 11 October 2014 | To address the challenge of climate change, Indonesia has been implementing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) program, with the cooperation of foreign donors, particularly Norway, for the last nine years… While sharing Indonesias REDD+ experiences at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 24, President Yudhoyono said: “Land use and the forestry sector contribute up to one-fifth of worlds earth-warming emissions. Of these land-based emissions, the largest share can be attributed to deforestation and forest degradation. Therefore, addressing the issue of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a must, if we are to stay below the projected two-degree temperature rise by the end of this century.”

12 October 2014


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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