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REDD in the news: 1-7 December 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.

 
CIFOR Explores REDD Engagement in Peru and Indonesia
Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), December 2014 | Ahead of the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Lima, Peru, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) released two info briefs on REDD , one focusing on Indonesia, and the other on Peru. Titled ‘The Legitimacy of Multilevel Governance Structures for Benefit Sharing – REDD and other low emissions options in Peru,’ the first brief explores governance frameworks for benefit-sharing noting that regional dialogues on REDD benefit-sharing are largely taking place without the participation of local governments, indigenous organizations, producer groups and the agriculture sector… The Indonesia brief also suggests that as the REDD process develops safeguards, attention should be paid to the clear definition of all rights holders and coherence with the ongoing decentralization process in the country.

UN-REDD Newsletter, December 2014
UN-REDD Programme, December 2014 | In the December 2014 edition of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, we invite you to: Read about the high-level dialogue event that will be hosted by the UN-REDD Programme at the UNFCCC COP20 on 8 December. Watch a new video from the REDD+ Academy including interviews with participants of the inaugural session. Get updates on the Programme’s work on Forest Reference Emission Levels and Forest Reference Levels, Governance and Anti-Corruption and the contributions from indigenous peoples (IP) and civil society organizations (CSOs). Get REDD+ highlights from Argentina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Viet Nam.

1 December 2014

Carbon Colonialism: How the Fight Against Climate Change Is Displacing Africans
By Nafeez Ahmed, Motherboard, 1 December 2014 | Carbon trading—one of the biggest weapons touted by governments and business in the global fight against climate change—could end up killing the planet. In Africa, human rights campaigners say, it is already killing people… According to British film-maker Dean Puckett, who is currently on the ground in Embobut forest in west Kenya capturing extraordinary footage of recent events, the plight of the Sengwer has only worsened dramatically since Kim’s intervention… A repo​rt out earlier this month from the Oakland Institute, an environmental think tank in California, investigates the case of Uganda to show how carbon offsetting—where companies invest in conserving forests to register their carbon emission reductions—is actually destroying local communities… A new ​paper in the Elsevier journal Geoforum by Connor Cavanagh, … highlights how a separate carbon offset initiative at Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda not only failed…

UN climate talks begin as global temperatures break records
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 1 December 2014 | A key UN climate meeting in Peru has opened with negotiators attempting to advance a new global agreement. One hundred and ninety-five nations have committed to finalising a new climate pact in Paris by 2015’s end. The process has been boosted by recent developments, including a joint announcement on cutting carbon by the US and China. The two weeks of discussions have started amid record-breaking global temperatures for the year to date. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), the global average temperature over land and ocean from January to October was the hottest since records began in 1880. Speaking at the opening ceremony in Lima, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that the conference had to make history. “2014 is threatening to be the hottest year in history and emissions continue to rise, we need to act urgently,” she told the negotiators.

The COP20 Climate Conference in Lima: Will it amount to more than ‘a hill of beans’?
By Jonathan Shopley, The CarbonNeutral Company, 1 December 2014 | there are two critical measures of success for the Lima COP as a staging post to Paris. First, in order to make the NDCs meaningful, they will need to be based on common systems of accounting to ensure ‘clarity, transparency and understanding’… That takes us to the second measure of success. Nations have been asked to prepare their Intended NDCs (INDCs) by March 2015… This is a hugely important issue as highlighted by PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index (2014). It reports that on current trends, the 2oc carbon budget will be spent by 2034. De-carbonisation of 6% each year is needed to keep on track, compared to the 1% being achieved currently. Lima will be an opportunity to gauge whether we are on track, or have a realistic chance of getting on track.

Will Lima climate talks pave way for a binding treaty in Paris in 2015?
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 1 December 2014 | When, on Monday morning in Peru, 4,000 diplomats from the world’s 196 countries start their mammoth session to negotiate a new legally-binding global climate deal, they will know they are in the last chance saloon. COP 20 in Lima is the last full meeting before Paris in a year’s time, when the deal is due to be signed. If countries cannot bury most of their differences on the major issues by Friday week, then the chances of a meaningful agreement next year are slim. The result of failure would be that developing countries are condemned to unchecked climate change for another generation, and the UN process which relies on consensus to get results is fatally undermined.

Wednesday In Lima: Indigenous Organizations To Propose Use Of Life Plan Success As Benchmark For REDD+
Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 December 2014 | Indigenous people across the Amazon have created “Life Plans” to dock their traditional economies and ways of life with the global economy. These plans are built communally in a process that harnesses indigenous traditions, and they have become a fundamental instrument for territorial governance. A small but growing number of indigenous organizations have begun to use REDD+, (reducing emissions from forest deforestation and degradation) to jump-start their plans, and on Wednesday the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve of Peru and the Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes (FENAMAD) will propose a method for using the progress of indigenous life plans as a REDD+ benchmark. FENAMAD says it has worked in coordination with COINBAMAD, the indigenous council that covers a portion of the Madre de Dios region, and COHARYIMA, another indigenous organization, to build a collective methodology for regarding the lives of the native communities.

Social injustice dogs two promising climate solutions
By Marianne Lavelle, The Daily Climate, 1 December 2014 | Two of the UN climate talks’ biggest greenhouse gas solutions also happen to be two of the negotiators’ most difficult human rights problems. At the sessions that open in Lima today, nations will be asked to weigh new safeguards for the clean energy projects – particularly hydropower – encouraged under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. Negotiators will also consider impacts to indigenous rights under the UN’s primary effort to halt deforestation, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation effort, or “REDD.” … “If you put a fence up and evict people from the land they’re using in the name of protecting the forest, that is a real problem,” said Allison Silverman, attorney with the Center for International and Environmental Law, which is working to strengthen human rights safeguards in the REDD forest protection effort.

A realistic approach to linking carbon markets
By Jessica F. Green, The Washington Post, 1 December 2014 | Three weeks ago, the U.S. and China announced a landmark bilateral agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Secretary of State John Kerry heralded the agreement as a key step toward reinvigorating international negotiations on climate change. His theory will be tested this week, when diplomats will converge on Lima, Peru to negotiate the next steps of the climate change regime. Although there is some optimism, the prospects remains highly uncertain. The Kyoto Protocol expired in 2012, and so far, only a handful of countries have renewed their commitments, comprising only 12 percent of global emissions. Countries have set themselves a deadline of December 2015 to agree to Kyoto’s successor, but agreement appears a long way off. For starters, countries have not yet decided upon what the legal form of such an agreement would be, let alone agreed upon substantive commitments.

INDCs, REDD , And The Alphabet Soup Of COP 20
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 December 2014 | By far the simplest, most accessible introduction to the talks is the Guide to the Negotiations, which the Institute of la Francophonie for Sustainable Development (IFDD) publishes every year, along with an even simpler Summary for Policymakers… LULUCF pre-dates REDD, and negotiators harvested the LULUCF accounting rules to make REDD. Then came the Bali Action Plan, with its two separate negotiating tracks, and LULUCF was in the Kyoto negotiating track, while REDD was in the other track. What’s more, because REDD was going to be a voluntary activity involving massive payments, its accounting mechanisms evolved, while LULUCF’s didn’t. On top of that, LULUCF has a ton of loopholes, not the least of which is that countries can choose which activities they report and which they don’t – rendering it, in the views of some, meaningless.

Forum links science, policy, sectors at turning point for climate, development
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 December 2014 | The UNFCCC COP20 in Lima is around the corner, and expectations are mounting again on how far the world’s countries are prepared to go in handling causes and effects of climate change. Lima is the last main stop en route to a new climate deal in Paris next year, following a high-profile UN Climate Summit in New York in September. There are new reasons for optimism. We recently noted an opening move by US and China, while Norway remains a champion of the forest game. The EU is committing to substantial emission reductions. The Green Climate Fund is growing, and so is, seemingly, the political momentum. At the same time, there are some clouds in the sky. Guarding local and indigenous people’s rights to forests can be outright dangerous. One major concern is that increasing demand for food affects the climate. Reconciling the world’s climate ambitions with the world’s development ambitions could also be better articulated.

Bolivia’s battle in Lima: Joint adaptation and mitigation approach to REDD+
By Purple S. Romero, Forests Climate Change, 1 December 2014 | Call it Bolivia’s hour. When negotiators met in June for the 2014 mid-year climate change talks, Bolivia pushed for a joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) approach to REDD , or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. REDD is a voluntary mechanism where developing countries are paid for the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks. To be eligible to receive results-based payments, countries must demonstrate emission reductions from the REDD activities, implementation of REDD safeguards and establishment of national forest monitoring systems, among others. Bolivia pointed out that the 2013 Warsaw package also approved alternative policy approaches to results-based payments and that the joint mitigation and adaptation approach is an example of this alternative mechanism.

[Indonesia] The future of Papua’s biodiversity is alarming
By Freddy Pattiselanno and Agustina YS Arobaya, The Jakarta Post, 1 December 2014 | Papua (both Papua and West Papua provinces) is a complex piece of the planet, partly because of its convoluted tectonic history that forms mountainous areas, prominent lakes, swamps and mangroves where Indonesia’s largest mangrove ecosystem is nestled at the head of Bintuni Bay. The north-western part of Papua is also part of the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area, containing the world’s greatest diversity of coral-reef fish, with more than 1,650 species in eastern Indonesia alone. Papua’s abundant coastline is magnificent, placed together with more than 1,000 fringing islands like Raja Ampat, Biak, Supiori, Yapen and the satellite islands of Cenderawasih Bay, which also contribute significantly to Papua’s astonishing features.

[New Zealand] Mighty River contests paying for carbon units
Carbon News, 1 December 2014 | MightyRiverPower has claimed in the High Court that it shouldn’t have to pay for carbon units issued for years prior to the start of its contract with New Zealand Carbon Farming in 2013, which it entered as part of its effort to offset emissions from electricity generation. New Zealand Carbon Farming, the country’s largest supplier of post-1989 bulk carbon credits, began a case in the High Court in Auckland on Monday last week, suing MRP for $34.7 million over liability for carbon credits the listed energy company was contracted to buy. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Seeing Peru’s forests through the trees
By Alex Pashley, Al Jazeera English, 1 December 2014 | In an Amazonian timber yard bordering Bolivia and Brazil, Nelson Kroll names stacks of rough-hewn hardwoods, pointing out shihuahuaco and pumaquiro species freshly felled from select tracts of the Madreacre logging concession. “In this campaign we’ve cut 39,000 cubic metres of round timber, which is about one tree every two hectares,” Kroll, head of the sustainable tree farm, told Al Jazeera. But lining the floors of European and American households isn’t the private-public partnership’s only source of income. Madreacre earns up to $200,000 a year in carbon credits through emissions captured by its forest. The company gets paid to leave trees in the ground… Madreacre’s 100,000-hectare forest stripped 700,000 tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere last year. The captured CO2 is monitored by the UN Measuring, Reporting and Verification system, converted into credits, and then traded on world carbon markets.

[Philippines] Yeb Saño, vocal critic of west, dropped from Lima climate talks
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 1 December 2014 | Yeb Saño, one of the most vocal critics of rich countries in international global warming negotiations, has not arrived at the latest UN climate conference in Lima and is believed to have been dropped by the Filipino government as its chief negotiator. The move coincides with the Philippines apparently leaving the ‘like minded developing countries’ (LMDC) group, a powerful bloc of nations regarded by the US and Europe as the main obstacle to a new global agreement. Saño, who has headed the Filipino diplomatic delegation to the talks for three years and is director of the government’s climate change commission, became one of the few iconic figures in the 2012 talks after an emotional speech when he broke down in tears and called on rich countries to act urgently for the climate.

[PNG] Illegal Logging Wreaking Havoc on Impoverished Rural Communities
By Catherine Wilson, IPS, 1 December 2014 | Rampant unsustainable logging in the southwest Pacific Island states of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, where the majority of land is covered in tropical rainforest, is worsening hardship, human insecurity and conflict in rural communities. Paul Pavol, a customary landowner in Pomio District, East New Britain, an island province off the northeast coast of the Papua New Guinean mainland, told IPS that logging in the area had led to “permanent environmental damage of the soil and forests, which our communities depend on for their water, building materials, natural medicines and food.” Four years ago, a Malaysian logging multinational obtained two Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABLs) in the district, but local landowners claim their consent was never given and, following legal action, the National Court issued an order in November for the developer to cease logging operations.

[USA] California Republicans seek cap-and-trade exemption for fuels
By Jeremy B. White, The Sacramento Bee, 1 December 2014 | Returning to an issue that has divided legislative Democrats and permeated campaigns, Republicans on Monday announced a pair of bills preventing California’s cap-and-trade program from expanding to cover oil and gas. A sweeping 2006 law aimed at reducing carbon emissions launched a system requiring industries to purchase permits covering what they put into the air. Producers of transportation fuels have yet to be required to buy permits, but that will change on Jan. 1. With oil companies and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warning of a spike in gas prices, a group of Democrats last year sent a letter to the California Air Resources Board urging a delay. While a bill doing so never got a hearing, the industry bankrolled advertisements during the election slamming candidates who support cap-and-trade. Republican lawmakers chose the first day of the 2015-2016 legislative session to announce their bill.

2 December 2014

Two Global Challenges, One Solution: International Cooperation to Combat Climate Change and Tropical Deforestation – Working Paper 388
By Antonio G.M. La Viña and Alaya de Leon, Center For Global Development, 2 December 2014 | This paper provides an analysis of the international political dynamics around the reduction of tropical deforestation and forest degradation as a climate mitigation strategy, emphasizing the necessity of an enabling environment and sustainable financing to support the scaling up of these efforts globally. After describing the evolution from the 1990s of international cooperation to combat tropical deforestation, the paper focuses principally on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and how it provided an impetus for a renewed effort on this issue. The paper describes the complex process through which the climate and tropical forest agenda got inserted into UNFCCC processes, from its marginal role in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) created by the Kyoto Protocol to the emergence of REDD+…

Theory to practice: New paper lays out conditions for landscape approach to succeed
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 December 2014 | A new research paper lays out conditions for “landscape approaches” to work on the ground—an important step in translating the vaunted sustainable development framework from theory to practice. By no means a new concept, the landscape approach—billed as an inclusive and equitable way to balance competing land-use demands—has gained broader currency in recent years to address increasingly complex environmental, social and political challenges.

Why Aren’t Forests More Prominent on the Agenda for COP20 Climate Talks in Lima?
By Frances Seymour, Center For Global Development, 2 December 2014 | Conserving the world’s tropical forests is a critical element of any global strategy to protect against climate change—and promote development, for that matter—but we haven’t heard much about it being on the agenda for the COP20 climate talks in Lima starting this week. One reason for that: negotiations on forests were largely completed at COP19 with agreement on the Warsaw Framework on REDD+, and a new CGD Working Paper explains how. But the stakes for forests in Lima remain high – see below for more on why. First, let’s understand how the forest-related negotiations got out in front of the others.

New Report Highlights Need for Country-Level Approaches to REDD+ Benefit Sharing
The Forests Dialogue, 2 December 2014 | REDD+ benefit-sharing needs to be designed with forest-dependent communities firmly in mind, recommends a new report by The Forests Dialogue (TFD) in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Involvement of forest-dependent communities in designing and sharing benefits for REDD+ can lead to more sustainable land uses, thereby reducing deforestation and degradation, says the report, released today at the 20th session of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. The new report, Country Options for REDD+ Benefit Sharing, offers unique insights linking international aspirations to mitigate climate change with practical options on the ground that can reduce deforestation and degradation. The report stems from a series of international dialogues with 250 key forest stakeholders from 25 countries which took place in the United States, Vietnam, Ghana, Peru and Mexico over the past two years.

Emissions targets are biggest challenge for Lima climate talks
By Michael Jacobs, The Guardian, 2 December 2014 | The commitments made in the last two months by the EU, US and China are substantial, and politically bold. But they follow years of inadequate effort to cut emissions. And this means they are almost certainly not enough to hold average global temperatures below the 2C rise since pre-industrial times which the international community has set as its goal. Averting dangerous climate change will depend, of course, not just on the level of global emissions in 2025 or 2030, but what action is taken over the rest of the century. But analysis shows that, even if other countries make comparable reduction pledges, global emissions in 2025 and 2030 are likely to exceed a plausible trajectory towards 2C. Since countries are due to put forward their pledges – in UN jargon, ‘Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions” (INDCs) – in early 2015, there is a clear risk that the Paris conference will be labelled a failure even before it starts.

UN Carbon Price Heads Toward Zero as Eligibility Deadline Nears
By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 2 December 2014 | United Nations carbon credits for December fell to a record as holders of the offsets seek to sell them before they expire in March. Front-year Certified Emission Reductions dropped 20 percent to 0.04 euros ($0.05) a metric ton today on London’s ICE Futures Europe, the lowest since the contract began trading in 2008… “We’re now seeing people realizing that it could go to zero,” Andy Ager, head of trading in Budapest at Vertis Environmental Finance, said today by e-mail. “They’re having to accept that it’s not just a possibility, but it’s becoming a reality.” Factories and power stations in the EU may use CERs as well as Emission Reduction Units from other developed countries to cover 1.54 billion tons of greenhouse-gas emissions, according to Andrea du Rietz, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. EU installations have used 1.2 billion CERs and ERUs from January 2008 through October.

More Governments Putting a Price on Carbon
TechWire.net, 2 December 2014 | The momentum for putting a price on carbon to help keep the earth cool has gathered surprising speed ahead of the next round of UN climate negotiations that opened Monday in Lima. “I think we are coming into the event with a head of steam that many of us weren’t really expecting,” said Dirk Forrister, president of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), in a briefing to reporters last week. Supporters of carbon pricing say it will force companies to lower their use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels, increase efficiency and propel the use of alternative energy. Carbon pricing got a big boost in September at the special UN climate leadership summit in New York, when 74 countries, 23 states and provinces and more than 1,000 businesses and investors backed a global initiative to assign a cost to fossil fuel emissions blamed for global warming.

Carbon 101: Faced with teaching a complex topic, scientists get creative
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 December 2014 | “When we go to the field and we want to present our work to villagers and local government staff, we don’t want to lie and say, ‘Oh, it’s about forest management,’ ” said Manuel Boissière, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD). “No, we’re talking about REDD+ and we’re talking about carbon, so we have to be clear about it.” … “When we went to Papua [to do fieldwork], every time we entered a village, we explained our study during community meetings,” Boissière said. “So that they know what we are doing. We then asked for authorization from local people to conduct our research, and it’s up to them to say yes or no.” There was a common refrain at these meetings, he said. “Often they say, ‘Look, before we tell you yes or no, we want to know more about what this carbon thing is.’”

Global Landscapes Forum 2014 is carbon neutral
Center for International Forestry Research, 2 December 2014 | The Swiss-based company South Pole Carbon has agreed to support an offset project for reforestation in Colombia to make up for the Forum’s CO2 emissions. The Director of Forestry and Land Use for South Pole Carbon, Christian Dannecker, says it “naturally made sense” for them to make GLF carbon neutral. “The Forum brings together key decision makers from across the world who may have a big impact on designing upcoming climate change policy. […] South Pole is a leading company, which works in Analysis, Policy and Action. All this helps firms, the public sector and other organizations in achieving their sustainability targets.”

[Botswana] #HuntersNotPoachers: Bushman appeals to Prince William ahead of USA visit
Survival International, 2 December 2014 | Ahead of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the United States this week, a Botswana Bushman leader has appealed to Prince William for help in recognizing that tribal peoples who hunt for food are not poachers. The couple are scheduled to visit New York and Washington D.C., where Prince William will launch his “United for Wildlife” initiative in the United States – a consortium of conservation organizations such as Conservation International and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) aiming to tackle the illegal wildlife trade. But initiatives like United for Wildlife – which uses the slogan #WhoseSideAreYouOn – risk criminalizing tribal peoples like the Bushmen in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Baka “Pygmies” in Cameroon by failing to openly acknowledge their rights to live on their ancestral land and hunt for food.

[Canada] Changes to cap-and-trade may lead to 2-cent increase at pump
By Geoffrey Vendeville, Montreal Gazette, 2 December 2014 | Starting Jan. 1, Quebec’s cap-and-trade system will expand to cover refineries and fossil fuel distributors, such as Esso, provincial Environment Minister David Heurtel said in the government’s economic update on Tuesday. The move might lead to a two-cent per litre increase at the pump if these companies decide to shift costs onto consumers, he explained. “We have a planetary imperative to put a price on carbon. Our survival depends on it. All the experts, all the science say so,” Heurtel said. Quebec’s cap-and-trade system, established in December 2011, requires smokestack companies to buy credits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The number of credits are reduced by 1 to 2 per cent per year to wean the province off fossil fuels. The money raised in government auctions of carbon credits is funnelled back into the private sector to help companies pay to convert to green technology.

[Fiji] A precious forest in the Pacific
By Carmen Meyer, Deutsche Welle, 2 December 2014 | How do we keep our forests? REDD+, an international climate and forest conservation program, is one way in which communities are trying to answer that question. In Fiji, two villages are taking part in the project but in very different ways: While the forest owners in Emalu have forgone any use of their primary forest leaving its biodiversity untouched, the people of Nakavu have opted for sustainable forestry. Both approaches are designed to protect the forest ecosystem which in turn helps boost the forests’ ability to capture and store carbon emissions. What’s more, the locals may have another source of income: Financial compensation under the REDD+ program for retaining their forests as carbon sinks.

[UK] Critics denounce latest ‘zero carbon homes’ exemptions as ‘nonsensical’
By Alex Stevenson, The Ecologist, 2 December 2014 | With continuing Coalition in-fighting over the troubled ‘zero carbon homes’ programme, writes Alex Stevenson, a plan is afoot to allow homes on smaller developments to meet a less demanding energy performance standard – but still carry the ‘zero-carbon’ label. Critics denounce the plan as ‘nonsensical’… The first serious dilution came last June when the Queen’s speech included measures to allow developers to ‘offset’ some of the carbon emissions from the homes they build, by buying in carbon credits from elsewhere… The current frontline is over the government’s plans to exempt developers in England working on smaller sites of ten houses or fewer from having to meet parts, or even all of the zero carbon standard. One proposal being consulted on would exempt developers of such homes from having to offset the impact of their homes’ carbon footprint via the ‘allowable solutions’ provision.

3 December 2014

Indigenous People Call For Scaled Up REDD As Study Highlights Precarious State Of Territorial Forests
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 December 2014 | “All across the Amazon, the only thing standing between forests and destruction is us, the people of the forest,” said Jorge Furagaro of COICA (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica, Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin), a federation of indigenous people across Latin America, as he presented the findings of a peer-reviewed paper appearing in the academic journal Carbon Management. Entitled “Forest Carbon in Amazonia: The Unrecognized Contributions of Indigenous Territories and Protected Natural Areas”, the paper says that trees on indigenous and protected lands store more than half of the carbon content of the Amazon, but that more than half of those trees are in danger of being destroyed, while roughly 14% of indigenous territories have still not been officially demarcated.

Fossil fuel investors risk being stranded by tougher climate rules
By Alex Morales, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2014 | A major threat to fossil fuel companies has suddenly moved from the fringe to centre stage with a dramatic announcement by Germany’s biggest power company and an intriguing letter from the Bank of England. A growing minority of investors and regulators are probing the possibility that untapped deposits of oil, gas and coal — valued at trillions of dollars globally — could become stranded assets as governments adopt stricter climate change policies. The concept gaining traction from Wall Street to the City of London is simple. Limits on emissions of carbon dioxide will be necessary to hold temperature increases to 2 degrees, the maximum climate scientists say is advisable. Without technologies to capture the waste gases from combusting fossil fuels, a majority of known oil, gas and coal deposits would have to stay underground. Once that point is reached, they become stranded.

Give The Gift Of Environmental Sustainability
LifeStraw® press release, 3 December 2014 | LifeStraw® Carbon Credits offer a memorable holiday gift for environmentally-conscious people. Each credit, which can be purchased for $12.95, reduces one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere. Additionally, each credit contributes to the provision of safe water for one family in Kenya. A carbon credit, or carbon offset, is a financial unit of measurement that represents the removal of one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere. Carbon offsetting is the process by which businesses and individuals compensate for their CO2 release by funding certified greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. LifeStraw® Carbon Credits are derived from LifeStraw® Carbon for Water, a certified greenhouse gas reduction project launched in 2011 by LifeStraw® manufacturer Vestergaard. Then, nearly 880,000 LifeStraw® Family water purifiers were delivered to 91 percent of households (four million people) without access to safe water in rural Kenya.

REDD+ on the ground: New book offers insights, lessons from across the tropics
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 December 2014 | From the Amazon forests of Peru and Brazil, to the Congo Basin and Tanzania, to Vietnam and Indonesian Borneo, more than 300 initiatives have emerged in the past five years experimenting with the idea of REDD+. That’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation—an initiative to tackle climate change by keeping carbon locked in standing forests. The idea of paying people in developing tropical countries to protect their forests, generating carbon credits, and selling them on an international carbon market, gained prominence at the 2007 UN climate change summit in Bali. It generated excitement and funding—and controversy. By 2009, REDD+ pilot projects were being set up across the tropics. A group of scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) set out to independently analyze 23 of these diverse initiatives. Lessons from the first stage of that research is explained in a new book…

Thursday in Lima: Indigenous Life Plans And REDD Finance, Bringing It Together
By Ann Clark Espuelas, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 December 2014 | A consortium of nine environmental and indigenous organizations called AIME (Accelerating Inclusion and Mitigating Emissions) has over the past two years been quietly making tremendous strides in how we look at some of the thornier parts of climate change—and offering real hope. Thursday, the group will present some of their work at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The presentation will cover a groundbreaking project in the Brazilian Amazon involving indigenous people and their role in keeping carbon locked in trees; a way to connect the Life Plans of indigenous communities with the difficult task of reducing emissions in the atmosphere; and how an overhaul of the typical approach to climate change mitigation is necessary—and possible.

REDD+ on the ground: For one initiative in Indonesia, politics in the peatlands
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 December 2014 | It’s a cautionary tale. The experience of a highly politicized carbon emissions reduction initiative in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province is a lesson in the importance of such projects communicating with the outside world, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP)—a joint initiative of the Australian and Indonesian governments—aimed to demonstrate an effective, equitable approach to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia’s largest expanse of degraded peatlands. “It’s a very isolated place,” said Stibniati Atmadja, who carried out research on KFCP for CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, which has just published a new book analyzing 23 such initiatives across the tropics, including KFCP.

Indonesia promises to address forest destruction
By Patrick Anderson, Asian Currents, 3 December 2014 | In late November, after a month in his new job, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo (Jokowi), travelled to Riau Province, Sumatra, to see for himself the forest destruction that causes smoke and haze to blanket Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore. Jokowi was blunt about the activities of oil palm and pulpwood companies: ‘If they are indeed destroying the ecosystem because of their monoculture plantations, they will have to be terminated. It must be stopped, we mustn’t allow our tropical rainforest to disappear because of monoculture plantations like oil palm.’ … The president’s visit to Riau builds on the work of his new Minister for Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, who confirmed that the current moratorium on issuing new licences for forest use will be maintained until May 2015.

[South Korea] Big firms brace for CO2 emissions cap
Eco-Business, 3 December 2014 | The South Korean government on Tuesday notified local companies of their carbon dioxide emission quotas as the country is set to launch a platform next year to trade carbon credits amid growing concerns in the business sector. The Ministry of Environment said 525 Korean companies would be subject to the emissions restriction from 2015 to 2017, the first phase of the trading system. The aggregate quota for the 525 businesses is set at 1.598 billion tonnes over the next three years. The quota system involves 84 firms in the petrochemicals sector, 40 in steel, 38 in power generation and energy, 24 in automobiles, 20 in electromechanics and electronics and five in airlines.

4 December 2014

Our Message events at and surrounding the UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima, Peru Dec. 2014
Indigenous Rising, 4 December 2014 | We are in a historic moment wherein world leaders will continue drafting a new global treaty agreement on climate change this year in Lima at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference on Parties (COP). The final agreement is then expected to be signed in 2015 at the COP 21 in Paris. Having the voices of our Indigenous communities at this global meeting on climate is critical, and we need your help getting there.

UN carbon market fights for its future at Lima talks
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 4 December 2014 | Carbon markets are a cost-effective way to tackle climate change, say proponents, and should be supported by a deal next year in Paris. It is a hot topic in Lima, where negotiations are under way to produce a draft agreement. But the UN’s flagship carbon market project, the Clean Development Mechanism, has crashed due to lack of demand. “We are in crisis,” Hugh Sealy, chair of the CDM board, tells journalists bluntly – and he blames technocrats in Brussels. He is speaking in a personal capacity, in a desperate bid to salvage a future for the CDM.

The forest that fights climate change
By Will Turner (Conservation International), Eco-Business, 4 December 2014 | When we think about causes of climate change, we think smokestacks and tailpipes. Google “solutions for climate change” and you might get recommendations to change your light bulbs, recycle and travel less. Yet a major driver of global warming consistently goes under the radar: the destruction of natural ecosystems, especially rainforests. Forests, it turns out, are heavy hitters in atmospheric cycles. Through photosynthesis and respiration, trees and other plants take in and release gigatons of carbon annually. Earth’s forests are literally made of carbon, a dominant component of everything from branches, foliage and roots to leaf litter, soils and peat deposits. Spread that over millions of square kilometers and one can begin to comprehend this astonishing fact: The Earth’s remaining forests contain about 860 billion tons of carbon — more than the entire atmosphere.

Giving Communities a Say in Rainforest Protection
World Bank, 4 December 2014 | Local communities are among a forest’s most important stewards, and giving them a voice is one of the most powerful ways to protect forests. For indigenous and forest-dependent peoples, forests mean food, livelihoods and can be a path out of poverty. This is why the World Bank is strengthening efforts on social inclusion to preserve natural forests, and support the communities that depend on them. For many years, the World Bank has been supporting governments and communities to protect and conserve natural forests. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation or REDD+, which provides incentives for developing countries to protect their standing forests, is one example of how the World Bank is engaging with countries.

Genetically Engineered Trees: An Environmental Savior Or A Dangerous Money-Making Scheme?
By Christine Graef, MintPress News, 4 December 2014 | Organizations against genetically engineered (GE) trees are working across four continents to call for an end to the scientific manipulation that they say damages the environment, infringes upon the rights of indigenous people, and has negative consequences for the health of people, flora and fauna. The Eastern Band of Cherokee attended an October gathering in the mountains of North Carolina to protest GE trees as a form of colonization. Their concerns were focused on a process of imprinting DNA from a species of wheat onto American chestnut trees. “I’m very concerned that GE trees would impact our future generations and their traditional uses of trees. Our basket makers, people that use wood for the natural colors of our clay work–there would be no natural life, no cycle of life in GE tree plantations,” said Lisa Montelongo of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

Planet Reboot: Fighting Climate Change With Geoengineering
By Erin Biba, Time, 4 December 2014 | It’s not crazy to think humans could come up with ways to change the makeup of the planet; after all, humans have already reengineered the Earth by accident. Across the planet we’ve torn down carbon-capturing forests to make room for farms, so we could feed our growing populations. And David Edwards, a professor of conservation science at the University of Sheffield, is starting to think that one of the best ways to geoengineer the planet is to figure out a way to bring those forests back. When he went to the tropical Andes Mountains of South America to talk to farmers about their experiences working the land, he found that it wasn’t at all uncommon for the locals to try to sell him their farms. “They physically manhandled me, in a nice way, begging me to buy their farms,” he says… Paying farmers as little as $1.99 per ton of carbon dioxide … compared with the $7.80 per ton average paid globally for permanent carbon credits in 2013…

Carbomap Teams Up with rapidlasso
Carbonmap press release, 4 December 2014 | Just in time for ELMF 2014 in Amsterdam, Carbomap Ltd. and rapidlasso GmbH have teamed up to further the development of tools that better exploit full-waveform LiDAR for the forestry and carbon market. This partnership brings together many years of expertise in processing discrete and full-waveform LiDAR with a wealth of experience in applying this technology within forestry and biomass applications.

In ‘Landscape Game,’ greed is good—but being ‘green’ is better
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 December 2014 | Say you have a plot of forested land in Amazonia to invest in. Do you log it for quick cash, or preserve it for carbon credits? Do you clear it for oil palm or dig in for the long haul and build a tourist eco-lodge? Poultry farm or coffee agro-forest? These are actual decisions being made daily throughout the tropical world—and they have global ramifications for the climate, for biodiversity and for economies. And now you can get in on the action. Virtually, at least. In 2007, Herry Purnomo, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and professor at Bogor Agriculture University in Indonesia, invented “Landscape Game,” a board game designed for players to maximize revenue while balancing the economic and ecological trade-offs of the “landscape approach” to sustainable development.

Brazil to launch new satellite to track deforestation
The New Age Online, 4 December 2014 | Brazil will launch a satellite from China Sunday to keep an eye in the sky on deforestation in the Amazon, the National Space Agency (Inpe) said Thursday. An agency spokesman said the launch of the Cbers-4 satellite was scheduled for 0326 GMT December from Tayuan, China, about 750 kilometers (460 miles) southwest of Beijing. Brazil and China will share the $30 million cost of sending the two-ton satellite into a 778-kilometer high orbit, the spokesman added.Both countries participated in the development of the satellite, which has four cameras in its payload module. The launch comes a year after its predecessor satellite failed to enter orbit because of a fault with the launch vehicle, China’s Long March 4B. Cbers, standing for China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite, will allow Brazil to keep a close watch from space on deforestation in the Amazon…

The Politics of German Finance for REDD+
By Till Pistorius and Laura Kiff, Center For Global Development, 4 December 2014 | The concept of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and its framing of forest protection as a climate mitigation approach mark a clear paradigm shift – after decades of up-front financing of traditional ODA projects REDD+ follows the logic of ex-post payments for measured and verified performance within much larger jurisdictions. Germany has been among the major donor countries supporting forest protection for a long time: during the last three decades it has continuously supported developing countries in their efforts to cope with unsustainable use and conversion of forests through direct programming and activities within its bilateral development cooperation. Convinced of the urgency to facilitate an effective transformative change in the global land sector, Germany continues its support and is also among those countries that promoted REDD+ early on.

[Peru] Giant stone face unveiled in the Amazon rainforest (video)
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 4 December 2014 | A new short film documents the journey of an Amazonian tribe hiking deep into their territory to encounter a mysterious stone countenance that was allegedly carved by ancient peoples. According to Handcrafted Films, which produced the documentary entitled The Reunion, this was the first time the Rostro Harakbut (i.e. the countenance of the Harakbut people) has been filmed. Today, the monument—and the indigenous people in the Peruvian region—are imperiled by an influx of illegal loggers, miners, and colonists. “It was three days of rough hiking to get there, but then it was glorious,” Rainforest Foundation U.S. Program Manager, Tom Bewick, who was along during the expedition, told mongabay.com “The Rostro is extraordinary, and it really has the feeling of a guardian of the forest. Luis and Jaime, the main protagonists in the film, were genuinely awestruck.”

Peru Deforestation Study – Making Visible the Invisible
By AIDESEP and Forest Peoples Programme, 4 December 2014 | The report, Revealing the Hidden: Indigenous Perspectives on Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was compiled by Peru’s national indigenous peoples’ organisation (AIDESEP) and international human rights organisation, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and is based on the analysis and perspectives of Peru’s indigenous leaders and organisations whose lives, lands and livelihoods are threatened by deforestation on a daily basis. These threats became all too real for Edwin Chota and the leaders of the Ashéninka community of Saweto in Ucayali who were murdered by logging mafia in September 2014 in reprisal for their longstanding efforts to protect their lands from illegal logging and secure title to their territory.

[USA] California, Quebec Carbon Auction Raises $407M
Environmental Leader, 4 December 2014 | All 33.8 million carbon allowance sold out at California and Quebec’s first joint carbon auction, held Nov. 25, which raised about $407 million. The cap-and-trade auction sold all 23.1 million allowances to release carbon emissions this year, with companies paying 12.10 a ton for the 2014 carbon credits. California and Quebec also sold all 10.8 million allowances offered to release emissions in 2017. These carbon permits sold for $11.86 a ton. California and Quebec linked their cap-and-trade programs Jan. 1.

Locals, expats encouraged to compete in UN-backed forest photo competition in Vietnam
Tuoi Tre News, 4 December 2014 | Locals and expats living in Vietnam are all welcome to make submissions to a photo competition jointly organized by the Vietnamese agriculture ministry and a United Nations forest protection program. The “Forest and Life” photo competition was launched on November 28 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in cooperation with the UN-REDD Vietnam program.

5 December 2014

Tenure, finance issues leave REDD+ “falling short of the mark,” researcher says
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 December 2014 | Financing and land tenure have snagged a global mechanism aimed at curbing carbon emissions through avoided tropical deforestation, according to a leading expert. The initiative, REDD , “is not heading in the direction that was expected, and it’s falling short of the mark,” according to William Sunderlin, principal scientist at CIFOR. Sunderlin is a co-editor of “REDD on the Ground: A Case Book of Subnational Initiatives Across the Globe,” a book of case studies published 3 December about 23 REDD initiatives in six countries. Once considered a leading option for slowing climate change when it was conceived in 2007, REDD is struggling in the absence of an international agreement that could help to assure financing to pay for the opportunity costs of local people in tropical forest countries to avoid converting forest areas for other uses, such as agriculture.

Biodiversity protection is key to REDD+ success, study shows
By Anna Ikarashi, mongabay.com, 5 December 2014 | Protecting biodiversity may be crucial for successfully storing carbon in forests, scientists say. A recent publication on Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation suggests that biodiversity loss –especially through hunting – will hinder the success of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects. As an initiative to combat climate change by storing carbon in forests, REDD offers incentives to avoid deforestation and forest degradation. REDD+ goes further to encourage conservation, sustainable management practices, and the increase of carbon storage in forests, rather than simply aiming to keep forests intact.

Survey highlights REDD+ controversies over community monitoring
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 December 2014 | Responses to a survey about community forest monitoring and benefit sharing highlight some of the controversies and philosophical sticking points of REDD+, panelists said on the sidelines of the UNFCCC climate conference in Lima, Peru… Niki De Sy, a PhD student at Wageningen University and part of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, was involved in conducting the survey at COP19 in Warsaw last year, focusing on the role that communities could play in monitoring their forests, and how the REDD+ benefits should best be distributed. With colleagues, De Sy explained the results at a side event at COP 20 in Lima this week. “We had about 25 respondents for every question—so it’s not a scientific study, but it does indicate some of the issues where there are still questions and where there’s still a lot of debate going on.”

COP20: Is Voluntary Action the New Normal?
By Jonathan Shopley, The CarbonNeutral Company, 5 December 2014 | We know that the outcomes from the COP20 climate negotiations in Lima are going to be critical to the deal that nations hope to conclude in Paris this time next year. In our preview of Lima, I laid out the challenges, knowing already that a binding top-down agreement is virtually out of the question. What we’re looking for in Lima are signs that bottom-up commitments by all nations will be made, measured, and actioned and that reductions in aggregate put us on a path to a stable climate. There is no silver bullet, and all avenues are being explored in Lima through hundreds of discussions and negotiation sessions during these two weeks.

‘Stranded assets’: Will efforts to counter warming render energy reserves worthless?
By Alex Morales, The Washington Post, 5 December 2014 | A major threat to fossil fuel companies has suddenly moved from the fringe to center stage with a dramatic announcement by Germany’s biggest power company and an intriguing letter from the Bank of England. A growing minority of investors and regulators are probing the possibility that untapped deposits of oil, gas and coal — valued at trillions of dollars globally — could become stranded assets as governments adopt more rigorous climate-change policies. The concept gaining traction from Wall Street to the City of London is simple: Limits on emissions of carbon dioxide will be necessary to hold temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, the maximum climate scientists say is advisable. Without technologies to capture the waste gases from combusting fossil fuels, a majority of known oil, gas and coal deposits would have to stay underground, or stranded.

The last holdout among big palm oil producers joins no-deforestation pledge
By Nathanael Johnson, Grist, 5 December 2014 | The Singapore-based palm-oil business Musim Mas announced Thursday that it will make sure that the oil it purchases hasn’t been harvested in ways that cause deforestation. Musim Mas handles about 18 percent of the world’s palm oil. It was the last of the big palm oil companies that hadn’t agreed to fight against land clearing and human rights abuses. The announcement comes one year after Wilmar International, the biggest player in the palm-oil game, agreed to take a stand on the issue. Since then, all the other major corporations have followed suit. Now 96 percent of palm oil production is covered by a no-deforestation policy.

Lima climate talks split on role of adaptation, finance in new deal
By Megan Rowling, Reuters, 5 December 2014 | Negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Lima are divided over whether governments should include finance and adaptation commitments in the national offers of action they are due to put forward early next year as the building blocks of a new global climate change deal. Some developing countries, including the poorest ones, want adaptation efforts to be part of their contributions, arguing it will help determine their needs for funding and technical aid. The cost of adapting to climate change in developing nations is likely to be at least two to three times higher than previous estimates of $70-100 billion a year by 2050, even with ambitious cuts in planet-warming emissions, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program. But the European Union and Japan said on Friday they want national offers to be focused only on mitigation – actions to reduce planet-warming emissions.

[Brazil] Experts question slowing Amazon deforestation trend
By Fabíola Ortiz, SciDev.Net, 5 December 2014 | Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest fell by 18 per cent this year, according to official government figures, but some experts are surprised by the news and fear the true trend remains upward… But some experts believe the true picture is less promising. Marco Lentini, who heads the Amazon Programme run by conservation body WWF’s Brazilian office, says he found the recent announcement surprising. “We didn’t expect those results since we’ve analysed deforestation data from monthly monitoring system DETER [also from INPE] and other independent sources such as Imazon that have showed an upward trend,” he says… Philip Fearnside, a biologist at the National Institute for Amazonian Research, Brazil, says that he expects deforestation rates to rise next year because of a significant number of new infrastructure initiatives planned for the Amazon, including hydroelectric projects and major roads.

[Brazil] REDD+ on the ground: Unintended consequences in ‘a microcosm of the Amazon’
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 December 2014 | And in 2010, São Félix do Xingu—an enormous, country-sized municipality in Brazil’s Para state—was the front line of global deforestation… A whole series of initiatives—municipal, state, national and NGO-run—set about trying to tackle the deforestation problem, including international NGO The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with a program that was originally labelled a REDD+ initiative, but is now called “The Sustainable Landscape Pilot Program.” … Their success, though, had unintended consequences: Although deforestation in the municipality as a whole has fallen, it actually went up in the areas that had been registered. Why? Because once property owners sign up to CAR, they can access the government agriculture and cattle subsidies they were blocked from receiving because of the blacklist—and this gave them the money they needed to start clearing more forest for pasture, Gebara says.

Indonesia sets reference level for cutting deforestation
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 5 December 2014 | The Indonesian government has agreed on reference levels for measuring reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest and peatland degradation, reports Antara. The Forest Reference Emission Levels (FREL) will be used as a baseline for discussion at climate talks in Lima, Peru as well as potential future agreements on performance-based compensation for curbing emissions from the forestry sector. The levels were determined after a long consultative process, according to Heru Prasetyo, the head of Indonesia’s REDD+ Agency. “This is the result of all the hard work put in for nine years by the BP REDD+ and relevant ministries/institutions to formulate one exact figure to lower deforestation and forest degradation rates,” he was quoted as saying.

Researchers study future of Kenya’s ‘last big mountain forest’
By Joan Baxter, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 December 2014 | The pressure on Kenya’s Mau Forest and the land-use changes occurring in and around it are among the most pressing environmental issues facing the country today, raising questions about the future of the forest—and of the millions of people who depend on the services and products it provides. How do land-use changes affect the water supply that this forest landscape protects—and what does that mean for the people who depend on it? How does the conversion of forest for commercial and smallholder agriculture, ranching or timber plantations affect greenhouse gas emissions? What do the changes in the landscape mean for climate change, its mitigation and people’s ability to adapt to it? These are the precisely the research questions that the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) — together with its international and Kenyan partners — is tackling on landscapes in and around the Mau Forest.

Peruvian National Park secures carbon-backed loan
By Hillary Ojeda, Peru this Week, 5 December 2014 | The National Service of Protected Natural Area’s (Sernanp) signed with Open Plaza to bring the Amazon’s largest loan by a private investment fund to Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park, on Thursday. At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 20) in Lima, the agreement was made public by the Peruvian Environment Deputy minister, Gabriel Quijandria and the US Ambassador to Peru, Brian Nichols. Together they announced the loan secured by 8 million carbon-credits. The funds will be directed to execute tasks concerning the conservation of the park and the Center for Conservation, Research, and Management of Natural Areas (CIMA). In Peru, nearly seven billion metric tons of carbon stocks are stored mostly in its Amazon rainforest. The US alone produced 5.38 billion tons of carbon emissions for 2013, according to new research by the Carnegie Institute for Science (CIS).

COP20: Peru must give indigenous people the means to combat climate change
By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 5 December 2014 | Peru is home to the second largest block of Amazon rainforest after Brazil and has promising forest protection schemes (including REDD+) in four national parks. But the country has a poor record for fighting deforestation, with rampant illegal mining and logging, slash and burn agriculture and insufficient land titling for indigenous groups. Tropical rainforests play a crucial role in the health of our planet, especially as carbon sinks. Their importance is highlighted further given the drastic emissions reductions recommended by last month’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. International donors seem prepared to lay down large sums to protect forests, yet their future still hangs in the balance.

[UK] Former adviser found guilty in £23m investment fraud trial
By Michelle Abrego, New Model Adviser, 5 December 2014 | A former financial adviser has been found guilty of fraud, alongside two other defendants, in a case involving a £23 million unregulated biofuel investment scheme. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) brought the case against the men in August 2013, alleging they had misled investors in the promotion and selling of biofuel investment scheme Sustainable ArgoEnergy. Former financial adviser Stuart Stone, Sustainable AgroEnergy director and chief commercial officer Gary West, and chief executive James Whale were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to furnish false information, fraudulent trading and offences under the Bribery Act 2010 at Southwark Crown Court today.

6 December 2014

At COP20: REDD+ emerging—or REDD+ emergency?
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 December 2014 | The concept of reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation—REDD —is stagnating, although innovations at the sub-national level give grounds for hope, said experts on the sidelines of COP 20 in Lima, Peru. REDD negotiations in Lima have now ended—with word just out there’s been no movement on any of the agenda items under negotiation. But look beneath the international wrangling, and on the ground, in REDD pilot initiatives across the tropics from the Amazon to the dry forests of Tanzania, lessons are being learned and new ideas tried. “Subnational initiatives are the laboratory where the REDD experiment is being carried out,” said CIFOR Principal Scientist William Sunderlin, at a side event presenting a new book that examines 23 such initiatives in six tropical countries. “This is where we’re going to learn what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and what needs to be corrected,” he said.

Strong commitments, then silence from key player in REDD+ policy arena
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 December 2014 | On the REDD stage, one actor speaks prominently under the lights—but remains largely invisible backstage when the decisions are made. The success of the REDD initiative, which seeks to curb carbon emissions through avoided deforestation, rests by design on the inclusion of all forest stakeholders, from national governments to local people and everyone in between. Recently, private-sector entities involved in deforestation and forest degradation became vocal at a series of global REDD events, and a number of transnational, large-scale companies stepped forward to declare zero-deforestation goals for their respective commodity chains. Yet although the private sector has enormous influence over national REDD policies, it is barely visible in the national networks and arenas where stakeholders shape REDD design, according to a comparative study of policy networks in seven countries.

In face of climate change, gender imbalance stretches from fields to forums—expert
By Laura Deal, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 December 2014 | With the international spotlight on the UNFCCC COP20, many stakeholders are preoccupied with the role of safeguards in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), or the Green Climate Fund’s goal of raising $100 billion by 2020. But is there further research on climate issues that hasn’t been done? Gender concerns are gaining increasing recognition in climate change negotiations. At COP20 there will be either a “Women and Climate Day” or a “Gender and Climate Change Day” to further stress the importance of gender-sensitive approaches across landscapes. Although women are believed to be more vulnerable to climate change, data on this issue are scarce.

“Indigenous Peoples Are the Owners of the Land” Say Activists at COP20
By Milagros Salazar, Inter Press Service, 6 December 2014 | The clamor of indigenous peoples for recognition of their ancestral lands resounded among the delegates of 195 countries at the climate summit taking place in the Peruvian capital. “I want my land…that’s where I live and eat, and it’s where my saintly grandparents lie,” Diana Ríos shouted with rage. The 21-year-old Asháninka woman is the daughter of Jorge Ríos, an indigenous leader who was killed in September for defending the forests of his community, Alto Tamaya Saweto, in Peru’s Ucayali jungle region. The families blame his death and the murders of three other native leaders in that area on illegal loggers, and protested Friday at COP20 – the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – to demand formal title to their land. The main demand set forth by indigenous activists at COP20 is focused on gaining recognition of their land ownership…

Ecuador indigenous leader found dead days before planned Lima protest
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 6 December 2014 | The body of an indigenous leader who was opposed to a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, days before he planned to take his campaign to climate talks in Lima. The killing highlights the violence and harassment facing environmental activists in Ecuador, following the confiscation last week of a bus carrying climate campaigners who planned to denounce president Rafael Correa at the United Nations conference. The victim, José Isidro Tendetza Antún, a former vice-president of the Shuar Federation of Zamora, had been missing since 28 November, when he was last seen on his way to a meeting of protesters against the Mirador copper and gold mine. After a tip-off on Tuesday, his son Jorge unearthed the body from a grave marked “no name”. The arms and legs were trussed by a blue rope.

Nicaragua study offers hard lessons for inclusion of women in forest decision-making
By Laura Deal, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 December 2014 | For climate change mitigation initiatives such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), which aim to work directly with local communities, increasing the participation of women in adaptive collaborative management (ACM) methods is a central goal. But integrating women into forest management and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies requires more than just simple on-site training. A slew of challenges—governmental, economic, and social—await researchers and scientists attempting to push their goals too far and too fast, according to one expert. “You can’t start having women try to take on larger public roles without addressing how men and women interact in those communities, in their households, and in more fundamental ways,” said Anne Larson, CIFOR scientist, co-author of Gender, Tenure, and Community Forests in Nicaragua, and speaker at the upcoming Global Landscapes Forum.

[Peru] Mapping Rain Forests to Fight Climate Change
By Mark Schapiro, Newsweek, 6 December 2014 | Greg Asner, an environmental science professor at Stanford University and director of the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Airborne Observatory, spends about half of every year in the jungle or flying above it in his juiced-up Dornier 228 prop plane. From up in the air, Asner’s invention, the Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System, beams a pair of laser signals down at 500,000 pulses per second to measure the carbon embedded in the sinews of every tree, root and plant in the forest. When the signal bounces back, an on-board spectrometer reads it and spits out color-coded results: Red signifies high levels of carbon concentration, signs of a healthy forest; browns signal a forest degraded through logging, mining or agricultural clearing; deep blues emanate largely from urban areas like Lima, signifying the absence of trees.

7 December 2014

Climate smart landscapes – Multifunctionality in practice
World Agroforestry Centre, 7 December 2014 | The World Agroforestry Centre is pleased to formally launch the book: Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice. This book brings together a range of work around landscape approaches specifically looking at the pathways, methods and tools needed for achieving sustainable multifunctional landscapes within the context of climate change. It draws strongly on field experiences and case studies from across the developing world to concretely demonstrate how the concept of taking a landscape approach can be applied both in policy and practice. It presents scientific evidence in a way that is accessible and applicable by mid-career practitioners and policymakers in a bid to bridge science, policy and practice. This includes a section specifically identifying opportunities for private sector involvement in landscape approaches. The book was launched at the Global Landscape Forum held on the margins of the UNFCCC COP20.

Latam countries launch plan to store carbon, fight global warming
By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 7 December 2014 | Eight Latin American countries on Sunday announced an initiative to restore 20 million hectares of degraded forest and farmland, seeking to use this land to store carbon in natural vegetation and cut emissions that cause global warming. Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru and two regional conservationist programs joined the 20×20 Initiative that aims to have all the planned work in this huge area well under way by 2020. The program will count initially with a funding of 365 million dollars from private investors, including Althelia Climate Fund, Moringa Fund, Permian Global, Terra Bella and Rare… Some of the private investors should also receive carbon credits from the activities. There is still no estimate of the amount of emissions reductions that will come from the program.

[PNG] Going to extremes…and loving it
By Ad Crable, Lancaster Online, 7 December 2014 | Don’t be put off by the title of former Lancaster County birdwatcher Andrew Mack’s new book, “Searching for Pekpek.” … But there is also a strong and sobering subtext to the adventure. Mack levels a strong criticism of what he labels “Big Conservation,” the large Western-based conservation groups running the show in efforts to protect threatened areas largely in Third World countries. “Well-intended conservation projects have left a trail of disillusionment across Papua New Guinea and the world,” writes Mack, who has worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Conservation International. He currently is executive director of the Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance, a small nonprofit. Much conservation, he insinuates, is infused with “the subtle and insidious notion of Western superiority.”


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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