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REDD in the news: 3-9 November 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 Focuses on South-South Learning
Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), November 2014 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (UN-REDD) released the November 2014 edition of its newsletter highlighting a regional workshop in Africa to facilitate South-South learning and the exchange of experiences on developing national REDD programmes. The workshop included participants from 21 countries in Africa as well as representatives from Ecuador and Mexico who concluded that having realistic expectations and a dedicated team of specialists are critical to the success of REDD programmes. Also in Africa, the newsletter reports on a sub-regional workshop on national REDD processes targeting francophone countries. Other workshops mentioned in the newsletter include training on national forest inventories in Solomon Islands, the inaugural REDD Academy for the Asia-Pacific region, and the thirteenth UN-REDD Policy Board Meeting.

UN-REDD Programme launches REDD+ at UNFCCC COP20 web resource
UN-REDD Programme, November 2014 | The UN-REDD Programme has launched a web resource page for information related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) at the upcoming 20ths Conference of the Parties to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP20)… The UN-REDD Programme’s UNFCCC COP20 web resource page can be accessed at: bit.ly/LimaCOP20

3 November 2014

Remarkable Opportunity for Global Economy in Upcoming Climate Change Talks
By Christiana Figueres, Bloomberg BNA, 3 November 2014 | An estimated $90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure over the next 15 years: the crucial question is whether this will go into the old brown economy of the past or a new, resource-efficient, low-carbon economy of the future. Even if climate change were a chimera, there are multiple challenges that require a sustainable development path. These range from addressing declining natural resources, losses of biodiversity, eradicating poverty and generating decent jobs to improving public health and arresting pollution to our air, land and seas. The fact that climate change is real, with the risk assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painting ever more sobering pictures of the costs of inaction, adds further urgency to how we invest now and into the future.

Negotiating the landscape approach
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 November 2014 | In just over a month, the second Global Landscapes Forum will kick off in Lima, Peru. The past year has seen a surge of interest and engagement in taking a landscape perspective to key development challenges – new research, partnerships, numerous blogs, seminars, panels and conferences, innovative work on finance, and recent policy initiatives that align well with the landscape thinking like the GCF Rio Branco Declaration and the Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture. In short – landscapes are receiving a lot of attention. There appears to exist a broad consensus that it is a good idea to work across sectorial boundaries and find combined solutions in landscapes. The widespread assumption is that we would have a better chance of meeting some critical challenges of our time—food security, poverty, climate change, safe water supplies, biodiversity conservation—by working together on the ground.

Two Shipowners to Be Awarded Combined $500,000 under New Carbon Credits Scheme
Ship & Bunker, 3 November 2014 | Global paints and coatings company Akzo Nobel N.V. (AkzoNobel) has announced it expects two shipowners to be awarded carbon credits with a combined value of almost $500,000 as a result of the shipowners’ use of AkzoNobel’s Intersleek coatings. The credits are to be awarded under a new voluntary carbon credit methodology developed by AkzoNobel and Switzerland-based The Gold Standard Foundation (GSF). The two shipowners were not named but it is understood the credits will be available to them after they made the switch from using biocidal antifouling hull coatings to AkzoNobel’s biocide-free Intersleek product.

[Australia] Climate policy ‘a business case to destroy our forests’
By Giles Parkinson, Echonetdaily, 3 November 2014 | Australia can now say it has a climate change policy again – of sorts – after the Senate voted through the Direct Action package following the agreement between the Abbott government and the Palmer United Party led by aspiring coal baron Clive Palmer. Environment minister Greg Hunt hailed the passage as ‘real and practical action to achieve our emissions goals and targets without a carbon tax’. The rest of the Coalition, the Palmer United Party, independent senator Nick Xenophon and The Business Council of Australia shared his enthusiasm, but few others were impressed. The Greens were particularly appalled by details in the Direct Action package that will allow for Tasmania native forests to be cut down and burned to generate electricity.

[Indonesia] The forestry crisis and an urgent invitation to President Jokowi
The Jakarta Post, 3 November 2014 | Not many knew the inner thoughts of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo when he decided to merge the ministries of environment and forestry, but it strikes a measure of hope as well as caution. The hope is that the environmental perspective will be the beacon to stall and reverse deforestation and forest degradation. On the cautious side, there is concern that environmental management could be subordinated to the pattern of production for profit that has long guided forestry ministries in the past. There is also the huge challenge to make the new ministry work in terms of bureaucratic effectiveness. The optimistic view is that things will be different under our new President. Jokowi is very different from our past presidents.

Indonesian government’s concession policy prioritizes companies over forest communities
By Robert S. Eshelman, mongabay.com, 3 November 2014 | A report by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) analyzes 100 of these conflicts around the world in the mining, oil and gas, logging and agricultural sectors and examines how and why they come about. The report focuses on several emerging economies, including Brazil, Colombia, Liberia, Peru, and Indonesia. In Indonesia, the report says, 30 percent of the country has been handed over by the government to some type of extractive industry. Often permits are granted without the knowledge or approval of local communities, raising “grave” human rights concerns. “It’s crazy that local communities are not often seen as equal partners in the decisions regarding their land,” says Bryson Ogden, Private Sector Analyst at RRI.

UK to pledge “strongly” to Green Climate Fund
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 3 November 2014 | The UK will pledge money to the Green Climate Fund in November, energy minister Amber Rudd said today, in an effort to keep key international climate change talks on track. Speaking at Chatham House in London, Conservative minister Amber Rudd said that the UK would donate “strongly” to the UN’s green bank during a pledging session in Berlin this month. The UK is still discussing the figure, but she said that “the signs are that it will be good”. The money will be used to help poor countries cut their emissions and prepare for the increasing impacts of climate change. The Green Climate Fund was set up in 2010 to gather and disburse these funds.

[UK] How To Spot A Pension Scam
By Jim Atkins, iExpats, 3 November 2014 | The Pensions Regulator reckons more than £500 million has been scooped up by pension scammers in the past couple of years and is warning retirement savers to be careful in their dealings with cold-calling salesmen who have eyes on their cash. Pension loans – Borrowing money from your pension is not legal except for special arrangements under a small self-administered scheme (SSAS), so anyone offering this facility is probably promoting some kind of scam. Offshore investments – Sending cash to invest offshore, especially in property or commodities, is generally a scam. Over recent years, these have included esoteric deals offering fabulous returns from resort developments, land banking, plantations and carbon credits, to name but a few. Free pension reviews –IFAs do not cold call or send out unsolicited texts or emails. If you receive one, the sender is probably a scammer trying to lure you into transferring your pension so they can swipe a fee.

[USA] Despite campaign rhetoric, coal country readies for low-carbon future
By Ken Silverstein, Christian Science Monitor, 3 November 2014 | When the campaign trail runs through coal country, the refrain is usually the same: Proposed coal-killing environmental rules must be stopped. But in coal-dependent states from Colorado to Georgia, regulators are quietly preparing for a low-carbon future… The biggest resistance is coming from West Virginia officials. The state’s attorney general, joined by other coal producing states, is mounting the central legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan. It says that EPA does not have the authority to regulate emissions “beyond the fence” – or the designated boundaries – of a specific power plant. Thus, the whole notion that different industries can swap carbon credits among themselves and especially across state lines – a solution the federal plan envisions – just won’t fly, the suits says. That’s easily countered, say EPA’s friends. The cap-and-trade program set up … to trim SO2 emissions has survived legal challenges.

[USA] Hyundai and Kia fined $100m for misleading customers on fuel economy
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 3 November 2014 | Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay $100m (£62m) in fines and forfeit $200m in credits for misleading customers about the fuel economy of more than a million cars sold in the US. Monday’s fine for the South Korean car-makers is the largest in the 50-year history of the Clean Air Act, and could set a precedent for Ford and other car companies audited for similar practices… The companies will also give up 4.75m carbon credits. Those credits had allowed Kia and Hyundai to go on selling the big gas-guzzling models that remain popular with American consumers. The EPA said they were worth more than $200m.

[USA] Spelman College Teams Up With Chevrolet On Carbon Neutrality
By Antonio Pasolini, Justmeans, 3 November 2014 | Since it was founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, and having renamed itself as Spelman College in 1924, the educational institution has blazed many a new trail, not least​ as a​ leader in the education of women of African descent. Like other educational entities in the U.S., Spelman College currently aims at becoming carbon neutral, an initiative that is already yielding results. Recently, the institution announced that it has entered a partnership with Chevrolet to sell the automaker carbon credits, which will help the college rake in up to $100,000. The partnership was one of the highlights of the program of the Campus Sustainability Day at Spelman, which took place on October 22. The nation-wide event is designed to celebrate sustainability, providing a platform for colleges and universities ​to exchange ideas and knowledge on sustainability.

Zimbabwe: Kariba Redd+ Removes Tonnes of Carbon Emissions
By Jeffrey Gogo, The Herald, 3 November 2014 | Over 30 years, the Kariba REDD+ is expected to generate 196,5 million carbon credits from reduced emissions associated with deforestation. Since inception, Carbon Green Africa has issued 2,8 million credits, but is still holding nearly 1,4 million offsets that remain unsold, possibly due to buyer apathy. Each credit equals a tonne of carbon dioxide. This year, 25 000 credits have been sold at an average $2 per unit. That’s about $50 000 shared according to the proportion of shares held by the participating rural council. Mbire holds 34 percent, Nyaminyami 29 percent, Binga 20 percent and Hurungwe 17 percent. In 2014, the project sold over 1,4 million credits, at a price Mr Ndondo refused to reveal, only saying “it was much lower.”

4 November 2014

UN Climate Change Report 2014: The End Of The IPCC?
By Philip Ross, International Business Times, 4 November 2014 | The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, has been a leading voice in discussions about global warming since the panel was formed 26 years ago, and it has devoted countless hours and resources to understanding the planet’s complex and ever-changing environment. Now, the future of the United Nations’ leading climate body is uncertain, as experts wonder whether the panel’s merits outweigh its shortcomings. The panel has had its issues, not least among them a “cumbersome approval process,” Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University professor and lead author of the of the second part of the agency’s most recent climate change report, told the Associated Press. It takes the agency a lot of time and manpower to assemble its reports (five in all), including using “scientists who otherwise would be doing research,” he said.

[Australia] Xenophon wants carbon credits trading reserve
Sunshine Coast Daily, 4 November 2014 | Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has vowed to bring a private senators bill to parliament to create a “strategic reserve” to trade carbon credits globally, if the Abbott government does not take on his concerns. Sen Xenophon was one of the key players, along with Clive Palmer, who negotiated a deal last week with Environment Minister Greg Hunt to secure his emissions reduction fund. However, while four of his five demands were met, the creation of a strategic reserve to allow Australian businesses to use up to 20% of the fund to trade emissions internationally was rejected. It was a proposal that has previously been supported by the renewable energy sector and wider business community on economic grounds. While he previously said the government’s opposition to the measure was because of “some bizarre ideological” reason, he said an international climate report released on Monday had increased the urgency of the reserve to be created.

[Indonesia] Environmental values of forest resources
By Edi Purwanto (Tropenbos International), The Jakarta Post, 4 November 2014 | It is true that the scope of the Environment and Forestry Ministry is broader than forestry issues. However, in a tropical country, bad forest management is often the major root cause of environmental problems, such as the annual haze problem, drought, flooding, erosion, river pollution, coastal sedimentation or coral reef destruction. The huge and invaluable environmental services provided by forests have led to inter-connecting environmental degradation and catastrophe when the forests are in a degraded state. As such, the union of the environment and forestry ministries is the right decision, just like killing two birds with one stone.

[Indonesia] Jokowi Green on Environmental, Forestry Policies
By Adelia Anjani Putri & Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Globe, 4 November 2014 | Indonesia, under President Joko Widodo and Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, faces an uncertain path going toward sustainable development and striking a balance between economic progress and protection of its forest, land and sea, experts say. While Joko’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, kicked off several environmental policies such as a moratorium on the issuing of new forest-clearing concessions and the establishment of a body to oversee programs under the Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism, the incumbent has not yet made any promises on whether to continue with those initiatives. He has, however, shown a high degree of awareness the ongoing destruction of the country’s forests and the need to protect them, says Nasir Jamil, a legislator from the opposition Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). “He knows the importance of protecting the forests.”

[Indonesia] South Kalimantan make efforts to climate change
BorneoPost Online, 4 November 2014 | The government of South Kalimantan Province along with the local assembly agreed to make efforts and actions in relation to recent climate change, Antaranews reported. Envoy of South Kalimantan DPRD Ibnu Sina conveyed this on Workshop Of Indonesian Experts Association For Climate Change And Forestry Of Kalimantan Region- APIKI Indonesia 3-4 November 2014 at the BP-REDD Mayapada Tower II Building, Jakarta, on Monday. According to Ibn Sina, in his email to Antaranews Kalsel, local government and DPRD efforts related to climate Change was to set up programs on the Regional Environmental Agency and the Forest Agency. Among are forestfire control programs, control of environment destruction, rehabilitation and restoration of natural resources reserves, conservation of natural resources and environmental development, and construction of Banua Botanical Garden.

[Indonesia] Project ‘discovers’ uncharted forests—and charts new direction in land-use planning
By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 November 2014 | By developing a more detailed map, researchers have shown that protected forest in Maluku province occupies more than double the area previously believed — a discovery with profound implications for land planners. But now that local and provincial governments have bought into the new map, the real trick will be to persuade the national government to join them. These findings are all part of a four-year research and development project known as CoLUPSIA, which stands for Collaborative land-use planning and sustainable institutional arrangement for strengthening land tenure, forest and community rights in Indonesia. The multidisciplinary project, which focused on West Kalimantan and Central Moluccas (Maluku), wrapped up earlier this year. It was a partnership between CIFOR and CIRAD, two national and two local NGOs and two local universities.

[Indonesia] For REDD+ Chief, a Chance to Catch Up on Pledges
By Adelia Anjani Putri, The Jakarta Globe, 4 November 2014 | When Indonesia signed a $1 billion deal with Norway in 2010 on a program to halt deforestation, then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono set up a task force to oversee the program’s initiatives for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD . Since then, the task force has become the main national institution to handle all REDD related affairs in an attempt slow the world-leading rate at which Indonesia is losing its forests. The Jakarta Globe’s Adelia Anjani Putri spoke with Heru Prasetyo, chairman of the REDD Management Agency, or BP REDD , to discuss the programs under his office’s supervision and public awareness of forestry issues, during a recent UN-sponsored workshop on REDD in Yogyakarta.

[Mexico] Police Arrest Eight Indigenous People for Defending Communal Forest
teleSUR, 4 November 2014 | Approximately 600 state riot police invaded the territory of the indigenous community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, arresting eight people committed to the defense of the ancestral Otomí-Mexica forest. Eight Ñatho (Otomi) indigenous people were arrested while peacefully blocking the way of a bulldozer belonging to the Autovan company that is destroying communal forest land to build a super highway from the Toluca Airport to Naucalpan in the central State of Mexico. A statement issued by the Indigenous Peoples’ Front in Defense of Mother Earth charges that community members were arbitrarily arrested simply for demanding to see documentation that justifies the destruction of the forest in violation of international treaties that protect indigenous rights and protective orders that prevent the destruction of the forest.

[Nigeria] Delta Presents Forest Conservation Strategies to Qualify for REDD Programme
By Bennett Oghifo, This Day Live, 4 November 2014 | The assessment of the applicant state’s presentation is done objectively, said the leader of the REDD+ team to Delta state, Mr. Moses Ama, who represented the National Coordinator, Mr. Salisu Dahiru. Ama said eight states have shown interest to come on board the REDD+ programme. “The pilot state was Cross River and during our international meetings we presented the size of Nigeria, asking for more states to be introduced into the programme. We were able to get approval for two additional states to be prepared for the REDD and carbon marketing programme.” He said REDD is a programme that stands on the pillar of transparency, explaining that it is not what can be done and abandoned half-way.

5 November 2014

UN climate talks: one month, three knotty problems
By Teresa Ribera and Thomas Spencer, RTCC, 5 November 2014 | COP20 is a crucial springboard to Paris COP21, where a new global agreement should be agreed. The week of discussions in Bonn brought some further clarity, but also anxiety about the pace and complexity of negotiations. The week was also marked by political agreement in the EU to its 2030 climate and energy package. This package has strong domestic motivations, notably energy security in the face of on-going instability in Ukraine, through which much of EU gas transits. It is also, however, the EU’s “contribution” to the international negotiations. The EU agreement represents the first major player to come forward with its contribution. The US and probably China are expected to come forward around March 2015.

Scientists call for zero option on CO2 emissions
Eco-Business, 5 November 2014 | European researchers have confirmed once again that there is only one effective way to limit climate change: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels must be reduced to zero. There are other greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollutants that contribute to global warming, and it would certainly be good to reduce these. But cuts in atmospheric methane emissions from cattle, or black carbon from diesel engines, coal mines and coal-burning cooking stoves, or other pollutants would not in the long run make a significant difference. These pollutants are short-lived. They stay in the atmosphere from days to a decade, while CO2 lasts thousands of years. And if CO2 emissions were reduced sharply, some of those short-lived pollutants would in any case be reduced along with them.

Brazil: Rich nations must reduce carbon emissions
By Brad Brooks, AP, 5 November 2014 | Brazil’s environment minister said Wednesday that her nation will be a protagonist at an upcoming climate change conference in Peru and will hold developed nations accountable for strong commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Minister Izabella Teixeira said she wants developed nations like the United States to detail their plans to reduce carbon emissions at the next round of global negotiations set to take place next month in Lima, Peru. Teixeira spoke to The Associated Press on the sidelines of a Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training session in Rio de Janeiro, led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. She said the Peru summit is essential for creating the roadmap for a global agreement to reduce emissions that will be negotiated at a Paris climate summit next year. “We want (developed) nations to make promises for strategic reductions of emissions – that is what we’re looking for in Lima,” Teixeira said. “What’s their plan?”

[Cameroon] Logging roads a useful proxy for detecting forest degradation, research finds
By Chris McCall, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 November 2014 | Logging roads can offer a simple, accurate way to estimate how much vegetation is removed by loggers, a study in Cameroon has found. The method enables researchers “to see in an indirect way” the ecological effects of so-called selective logging, says Denis Sonwa, a senior scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a co-author of the study. This type of logging tends to remove the largest trees and can lead to gaps in the canopy. Sonwa said this method can provide useful data inexpensively, as the road network associated with logging can either be field-measured or captured by satellite images, which are already widely available to researchers. The fact that the satellite images can be used to give reliable proxies for estimating the trees that are harvested means that this data source is very valuable in supporting sustainable forest management planning, he said.

[Canada] Preserving forest land
By Deborah Pfeiffer, Penticton & South Okanagan News, 5 November 2014 | The mayor and council, with the exception of Helena Konanz, were in support of re-designating the land for parks and recreation at Monday’s meeting. “I am so pleased to move this,” said Councilwoman Katie Robinson. “Any day you get to vote for trees is a good day in Penticton.” Mayor Garry Litke said the property had been previously designated for residential use in the Northeast Sector Plan, in anticipation of major growth in Penticton. But the cost to do so would be prohibitive in such rugged terrain, he added. Its best known use now is as the popular mountain biking area, Three Blind Mice, and there has been work done already to improve the trails there. Investigation by staff has further shown that the change would result in a qualification for the Avoided Forest Conversion, whereby local government could generate carbon credits for dedicated forest areas.

South Korea carbon trading unlikely to deliver climate target, say analysts
By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 5 November 2014 | South Korea’s new carbon market is unlikely to deliver the country’s carbon reduction goals because heavy emitters will be oversupplied with carbon credits from the outset, a new analysis has found. According to Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, South Korea’s carbon trading market, which launches on 1 January 2015, will allocate 53 mega tonnes of CO2 more than is required by businesses during the scheme’s initial two year trading period. The analysis shows the energy sector is likely to be under allocated, requiring generators to purchase allowances, but the industrial sector is likely to have a sizeable surplus of allowances that is likely to hold down the carbon price set by the scheme. The report warns that the carbon market is unlikely to deliver South Korea’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below a business as usual scenario by 2020.

[UK] ‘Heartless’ carbon credit investment firms shut down by High Court
Professional Adviser IFAonline, 5 November 2014 | Two fraudulent investment companies that raised more than £850,000 from the public for near worthless carbon credits have been ordered into liquidation by the High Court. Carbon Green Capital and Agora Capital were shut down in the public interest by the High Court last month, following petitions presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills. An investigation into the two companies on behalf of the Insolvency Service found that Carbon Green Capital, a limited liability partnership (LLP) trading out of offices in Lime Street, London, had sold carbon credits to members of the public as investments by making false and misleading claims as to the likely investment returns. The company received in excess £274,000 from members of the public.

[USA] NFU Concerned About United Nations Climate Report
Radio 570 WNAX, 5 November 2014 | The latest United Nation’s report says humans are having a growing influence on climate change which if not dealt with could lead to irreversible impacts. National Farmers Union’s Vice President of programs Chandler Goule says the report should be an awakening to Americans to work together to find ways to implement mitigation steps to deal with the problem. Goule says U.S. agriculture could take a leadership role in helping address the problem by sequestering carbon and working on developing carbon credits as well as continuing to push for renewable fuels to have a beneficial impact on greenhouse gases. He says the Federal Government can also help by investing in climate mitigation and providing production tax credits for wind and solar energy.

6 November 2014

Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’
By Rob Nixon, New York Times, 6 November 2014 | “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” is a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable. Klein’s fans will recognize her method from her prior books, “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies” (1999) and “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” (2007), which, with her latest, form an antiglobalization trilogy. Her strategy is to take a scourge — brand-­driven hyperconsumption, corporate exploitation of disaster-struck communities, or “the fiction of perpetual growth on a finite planet” — trace its origins, then chart a course of liberation. In each book she arrives at some semihopeful place, where activists are reaffirming embattled civic values. To call “This Changes Everything” environmental is to limit Klein’s considerable agenda. “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming,” she contends, “but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed…”

Study Sees Sustainable Ag Driving Surge In Ecosystem Investing
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 6 November 2014 | They call it “conservation impact investing,” and the authors of a new report entitled Investing in Conservation: A landscape assessment of an emerging market define it as “investments intended to return principal or generate profit while also driving a positive impact on natural resources and ecosystems.” Co-authored by EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest division, the report says that $23 billion flowed into conservation impact investing over the past five years. The public sector, in the form of development finance institutions (DFIs) like the International Finance Corporation, accounted for $21.5 billion of that, with private investments accounting for just $1.9 billion.

Indonesia Sets Stage for REDD+ Awareness
By Adelia Anjani Putri, The Jakarta Globe, 6 November 2014 | Nearly a hundred journalists, legislators and policy makers from across Asia Pacific attended the world’s very first United Nations’ REDD Academy in Yogyakarta last week — a program intended to inform stakeholders about the progress of programs under the initiative, and the sustainable economy in general… Indonesia embarked on a series of REDD schemes since signing an agreement with Norway in 2010 in which the latter will provide $1 billion if Indonesia manages to lower its emissions by 30 percent by 2020. Heru Prasetyo, the chairman of Indonesia’s REDD Management Agency (BP REDD ), says the workshop will be an example for future ones. “This workshop was the first to be held in the world. After Indonesia, REDD will bring similar events to Argentina and then Africa, but be haven’t decided the country yet,” Heru said in Yogyakarta last Friday. “Indonesia itself is a pioneer in REDD implementation.”

Power and political interest pervade Peru’s land sector
By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 November 2014 | Madre de Dios, a region of Peru best known for its gold fever, is not the only place in the country where a piece of land can be classified as a mining concession and farmer’s field at the same time. Millions of hectares of land in Peru are subject to overlapping claims, giving some indication of the complexity of land-use classification and titling in the country. Decentralization is one of the reasons for this; land-use powers and responsibilities have started to be distributed across government agencies and directorates that often have competing mandates and powers related to land use. A case in point is Peru’s Ministry of Environment, researchers and legal experts say. While it is tasked with advancing REDD+ and other environmental conservation agendas, it doesn’t have many of the powers and responsibilities necessary to fulfill that mandate (see our interactive infographic to explore this for yourself).

Saving Peru’s Amazon Rainforest, One Visitor at a Time
By Alex Pashley, Nearshore Americas, 6 November 2014 | Still, ecotourism has much progress to make if it is to supplant other more reliable sources of cash. While forays by Peru’s military drove out miners and destroyed operations in the buffer zone of the reserve earlier this year, mining still continues. Moreover, the completion of the 2,600-kilometer Interoceanic Highway, connecting the Pacific with the Atlantic, has opened up previously untouched forest in the buffer zone. But now at least there is hope of a brighter future. “Ecotourism has taught us conservation,” says Robin Duran, a guide and a member of the Esa-Eja tribe. “In the past people used to turn to hunting or logging, and perhaps I would be doing the same. (Ecotourism) is the best and only route to protect the rainforest.”

Raising Awareness of Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Pays off in Rwanda
World Bank, 6 November 2014 | Under the Rwanda Electrogaz Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) Distribution project, the Rwanda Energy Group – the national public electricity utility, formerly called Electrogaz – conducted an ambitious countrywide distribution of 800,000 high-quality compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), commonly known as “Energy Savers,” that are up to 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The company bought the CFLs at bulk price, with half the cost financed through the World Bank electricity access scale-up project and the other half through an advance payment for future carbon credits purchased by the World Bank’s Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF).

Sierra Leone News : MAFFS Launches the National Protected Area Authority [NPAA]
By Linda Blyden, Awareness Times, 6 November 2014 | The Ministry of Agriculture, forestry and Food Security has launched the National Protection Area Authority [NPAA] and the Conservation Trust Fund on the 5th November 2014. The NPAA forbids housing construction, quarrying, stone breaking or gathering, logging, charcoal burning, farming, extraction and any form of forest clearance within the national park in accordance with the wildlife conservation Act 1972 and the National Protection Area Authority and the Conservation Trust Fund Act 2012. According to the act, any vehicle transporting stones, charcoal, timber and wood harvested from the National Park will be detained and handed over to the police for prosecution. People should not buy land within the National Park [forested or not]. You will lose it as no one is above the law.

[UK] Gov’t urges public to be wary of investment cold calls
By Peter Walker, FTAdviser.com, 6 November 2014 | Insolvency Service urges the public to not respond to cold calling investment “sharks”, following the winding-up of two companies that sold rare earth elements as investments to the public and two carbon credit companies who were ordered into liquidation in the High Court. The separate cases have been publicised by the government to show the potential for investor detriment from such companies. Chris Mayhew, company investigations supervisor at the Insolvency Service, stated: “I would once more urge investors not to respond to cold calling investment sharks as you stand to gain nothing and risk losing everything.” At the end of August winding-up orders were handed down to Swiss registered Denver Trading AG, and Seychelles registered Denver Trading Ltd, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

[USA] New Global Warming Remedy: Turning Rangelands into Carbon-Sucking Vacuums
By Glen Martin, California Magazine, 6 November 2014 | Perhaps here, at the end of all this happy talk, it’s appropriate to reiterate that previously mentioned caveat: Yes, it’s apparently a very good thing to turn all our kitchen slop into dark, rich compost and spread it on our rangelands. But we also have to stop incinerating the residues of dead dinosaurs. “It’s pretty clear these protocols have the potential to reverse global warming,” concludes [Jeff] Creque [who holds a master’s degree in range science from UC Berkeley]. “But that won’t happen if we continue burning fossil fuels at the current rate. That’s also pretty clear.”

7 November 2014

[Australia] Old ways are new again: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by fire
By Chris Mawer, ABC Environment, 7 November 2014 | Improving fire management in the tropical savannah of northern Australia has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 500,000 tonnes over the past year. By reintroducing traditional fire knowledge and practices, local land managers have benefited through the sale of carbon credits, as well as helping the environment. “Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from savannah burning represent about three per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions,” said the CSIRO’s Dr Garry Cook at the 2014 annual conference of the Ecological Society of Australia in Alice Springs in September. “Since European settlement, fires in the north have increased in size and severity. This has threatened biodiversity as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

[Guyana] LCDS agreement… Guyana continues to safeguard its forests
Kaieteur News, 7 November 2014 | Amidst intense criticism and speculation that Guyana’s forests are being exploited, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon was pleased to reveal yesterday that following an engagement with a delegation from the Kingdom of Norway, one of the Scandinavian ministers asserted, “Guyana continues to safeguard its forests.” Dr. Luncheon disclosed this to members of the media during a press conference which was held at Office of the President. The Cabinet Secretary said that the nation has seen the ongoing development of what has been a significant feature of the legacy of the former President, Bharrat Jagdeo’s term in office. Dr. Luncheon stated that the payments Guyana has received for its environmental services under the Guyana-Norway agreement, has contributed to the country’s economy. “A delegation recently visited and flowing from that visit was an appreciation of Guyana’s satisfaction with the Norwegian agreement.

[Indonesia] Merging environment and forestry ministries: Quo vadis?
By Daniel Murdiyarso, The Jakarta Post, 7 November 2014 | But beyond bureaucracy and politics, what does this mean for Indonesia’s environment — and for its forests? Indonesia’s high deforestation and forest degradation rates are causing serious local, national and global environmental problems, raising the stakes for the significance of this merger. Many opportunities could arise from the creation of this new ministry. For one, it could help to consolidate the management of issues that used to be under the partial jurisdiction of both ministries. Land and forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, for example, should no longer be a finger-pointing exercise at the national level. Instead, a single ministry could take real, collective action to address the underlying causes of fires, so that fire prevention is more effective than firefighting.

Opportunities lost: Pakistan lags behind S Korea, Vietnam in carbon reduction
By Shahzad Anwar, The Express Tribune, 7 November 2014 | Due to the lacklustre performance of a cell at the Climate Change Division, Pakistan lags far behind China and India in approving projects for carbon credits in the international market. Carbon credits and carbon markets are a component of national and international attempts to cap greenhouse gas emissions and to allow market mechanisms to drive industrial and commercial processes towards lowering emissions. Pakistan has approved only 29 projects of minor value for carbon credits since 2006. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was initiated under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in order to explore cost-effective options to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It is one of the instruments that help developing countries achieve sustainable development, while at the same time contributing to the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC.

[South Africa] Biogas power generation has huge potential for postmining land use
By Robbie Louw, Mining Weekly, 7 November 2014 | The importance of end land use and mine closure planning in South Africa has become increasingly important through substantial regulation and legislation requiring mining land to be left in an improved state… Carbon adviser at Promethium Carbon Katie Ross acknowledges the challenge, but believes that there is significant potential to develop alternative postmining land uses in the mining sector. “Mining companies can consider several postmine land uses, such as the creation of carbon sinks and transforming rehabilitated mine land into energy crop plantations for a renewable biogas production system to supply other industries,” she says.

[Tanzania] UN’s ‘Delivering as One’ pilot project recording significant achievements
By Prosper Makene, IPPmedia.com, 7 November 2014 | Tanzania is a UN ‘Delivering as One Pilot’ country, with UN Agencies working together under one agreed plan aligned to government national priorities. As a collaborative UN programme, The UN-REDD Programme operates as ‘One UN’ bringing together and leveraging the unique capacities of three key agencies – UNDP, UNEP and FAO. Together with its now 56 Partner Countries, the UN-REDD Programme has achieved significant steps in building REDD+ readiness in developing countries around the globe. “We strive to be nimble and responsive, we want to provide world class assistance and technical expertise and we want to ensure that our contribution makes a difference for Tanzanian men and women,” UN Resident Coordinator Alvaro Rodriguez said.

Tanzania to plant millions of trees in next 16 years to combat climate change
Shanghai Daily, 7 November 2014 | Tanzania’s government on Thursday announced its grand plan of planting millions of trees within the next 16 years to combat climate change. The announcement came at the time when thousands of forest land fall prey of rampant tree felling for fuel wood and timber, which end up causing unprecedented changes in weather patterns in respective areas. “Tree planting programme is part of the government’s mission towards addressing deforestation that leads to high emission of carbon dioxide,” said Binilith Mahenge, Minister of State in Vice President’s Office (Environment), when addressing participants attending the 13th meeting of the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN- REDD) Policy Board members in Arusha.

8 November 2014

[Australia] For nature, for community: BHP’s $13m gift wraps exotic rescue mission
By Sarah-Jane Tasker, The Australian, 8 November 2014 | More than 900m above sea level, on the border of a World Heritage area and an Aboriginal ­reserve, is a stunning 11,000-­hectare parcel of land — home to a rare fish found nowhere else in the world — that has been protected from logging with a $13.4 million fund from the world’s largest miner. The Five Rivers Project in ­Tasmania’s Central Highlands is home to a list of endangered ­species including the Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and the rare Clarence galaxias fish. The land was owned by Gunns before the Tasmanian Land Conservancy step­ped in to protect the spectacular scenery… [T]he project had sold its first carbon credits… BHP Billiton funded the carbon study for the Five Rivers Reserve and the TLC sold voluntary credits on the international market… The Five Rivers Project will be showcased at next week’s World Parks Congress, a global forum on protected areas held in Sydney.

[Guyana] Government never gave up on Amaila – says Cabinet Secretary
Kaieteur News, 8 November 2014 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said on Thursday that “by no means did his Administration ever surrender its intentions to have renewable energy and erect the Amaila hydropower facility.” Dr. Luncheon said that notwithstanding the roadblocks creatred by the parliamentary Opposition, the Administration remains optimistic, especially now with the US$80M that will be made available through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). This money will be transferred to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which remains an important player among the stakeholders involved in furthering the ambitions of the Administration on renewable energy.

[Indonesia] Ministry to stop granting permits for forest use
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 8 November 2014 | The government will impose a moratorium on the issuance of all forest-exploitation permits as part of its effort to slow down the country’s rapid deforestation rate. The moratorium was announced on Friday by the newly installed Environment and Forestry Minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, following a meeting with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the Home Ministry and the National Land Agency (BPN)… Environmental activists, however, were not impressed by the move. Kiki Taufik from Greenpeace Indonesia said on Friday that the new moratorium was nothing new, as the administration of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had actually imposed such a moratorium in 2011… “So if the new moratorium is for six months at most, then we think it’s far from what the public wants because even the last moratorium was extended twice but was still lacking,” Kiki told The Jakarta Post.

[UK] We’re watching you
By Tony Hetherington, Mail on Sunday, 8 November 2014 | A carbon credit investment company exposed by The Mail on Sunday has been closed by the High Court following an investigation by the Government’s Insolvency Service. Carbon Green Capital was set up by conmen Steven Sulley and Christopher Chapman, and marketed carbon credits that it claimed would triple in value. In November 2012, I warned investors to avoid it like the plague. Sulley and Chapman then continued their scam under a different name, Agora Capital Limited. Both have now been wound up after a judge described them as ‘fraudulent’.Investigator Chris Mayhew labelled the businesses as ‘heartless’, adding that they raised almost £1 million by ‘peddling near worthless carbon credits, which in some instances they even failed to supply’. According to Companies House, 28-year-old Sulley is still a director of another carbon credit firm, Pure Carbon Limited, as well as running a wine investment business, DS Vintners & Co Limited.

9 November 2014

[Australia] Carbon Farming
By Sean Murphy, ABC News, 9 November 2014 | Last week, the Senate breathed life into the Abbott Government’s Direct Action climate policy, which features a $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. It ends months of uncertainty in the wake of the carbon tax being axed. But what does it mean for the Carbon Farming Initiative? How will farmers and Aboriginal communities with existing carbon abatement schemes adapt? And will the new system deliver Australia’s promised 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2020?

[UK] Winning the battle against fraud
The Sunday Herald, 9 November 2014 | Watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has seen a rise in fraudulent websites which mimic the brochures of legitimate companies. So convincing is the literature offered that even experienced investors can fall foul of the scams. FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley said: “Those operating investment scams use very sophisticated techniques to build trust and can dupe even experienced ­investors out of their savings. We would caution against anyone taking a risk on a firm or individual who isn’t authorised by the FCA … don’t accept a cold call.” The FCA also said to be wary of time-limited offers, and if risks are downplayed or the returns appear too good to be true.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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