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REDD in the news: 8-14 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.

Evicted by charity
By Sophie Pritchard, New Internationalist, December 2014 | In 2011 WWF was accused of supporting timber companies through its Global Forest Trade Network. According to a Global Witness report, the rules of the network were so flimsy companies were sourcing illegal timber and abusing local communities while sporting the WWF logo as a seal of approval. WWF is known for its involvement in various industry round tables and certification schemes such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); its corporate relationships earn it millions. Wildlife Conservation Society has long worked with FSC-certified Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), a timber company operating near Nouabale-Ndoki National Park. They work in partnership to track down poachers, who are apparently more of a problem than a timber company. Following much criticism of its destructive operations and resulting financial difficulties, CIB was bought by Olam International, described by Greenpeace as a ‘Congo-trashing company’…

8 December 2014

Forest groups want climate schemes that violate rights to be suspended
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 8 December 2014 | Human rights are being systematically violated in the world’s tropical forests as conservationists, big business and governments ignore indigenous people and scramble for land in advance of a global climate deal. As politicians from 190 countries arrived in Lima, Peru, for the second week of the UN climate summit, forest communities from nine countries said they faced rising infringements of their rights as agribusiness, mining industries, hydro schemes and conservation groups exploited forests for their own purposes. The groups – from Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malaysia and Latin America – were critical of pledges made by governments and conservationists to stop deforestation, because their commitments largely ignored the 400 million people estimated to live in forests and depend on them.

Forest Announcements Pave Way for Climate Action
UNFCCC press release, 8 December 2014 | At the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, a group of five countries has taken steps towards improved national and global forest action. Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico formally submitted information and data on the status of their greenhouse gas emission reductions in the forest sector to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is required to access finance for forests. Action on reducing deforestation and sustainably managing forests is crucial for climate ambition. Global deforestation accounts for more than 20 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, President of the UN Climate Change Conference and Environment Minister of Peru said: “The knowledge of forest inventories and their carbon stocks is essential to be able to take action on forests. We can see that countries are doing their work and bringing the real value of forests home to their citizens.”

Addressing Climate Change Requires Real Solutions, Not Blind Faith in the Magic of Markets
By Kristen Lyons, IPS, 8 December 2014 | Carbon markets are championed by those who believe that carbon emissions taking place in one part of the world can be offset by their capture or sequestration in another. Plantation forestry is a key sector in the carbon market, with many projects established in some of the poorest parts of the world, based on the assumption that they will confer benefits to the environment and the local people. But does all the hype about carbon markets really stack up? Research on the Norwegian company Green Resources – engaged in plantation forestry and carbon offset on the African continent – raises many questions about who benefits from the carbon market projects. In-depth research over two years in Uganda, where Green Resources has licence to over 11,000 hectares of land, demonstrates how local communities are the losers of such projects. A recent report, The Darker Side of Green: Plantation Forestry and Carbon Violence in Uganda…

New Climate Deal Could Tap Existing Offset Programs
By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 December 2014 | The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has its share of critics and is in serious need of reform, but can still play a valuable role in supporting national climate policies and facilitating the flow of carbon finance, according to market observers. With the 20th Conference of Parties (COP 20) climate negotiations here in Lima laying the groundwork for the climate deal expected to be finalized during the Paris COP in 2015, much of the discussion has centered on the potential new market mechanisms that could emerge from the negotiations. However, Miles Austin, Executive Director of the Climate Markets and Investment Association, questioned the need for new market mechanisms, given the ones that currently exist, including the CDM and the Joint Implementation. “We actually have some very well-functioning methods both within the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and external to it,” he said…

Are we closer to carbon emission targets?
New Straits Times, 8 December 2014 | The recent UN Environment Programme’s Emission Gap Report says carbon emissions should hit net zero between 2055 and 2070 for the world to stay within the 2°C target — beyond which there will be dangerous changes to the global climate. Some have argued that concrete actions will only take place when we put a price on carbon. A carbon price is a monetary value attached to a tonne of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere. Placing a price on carbon emissions will increase the costs associated with the use of fossil fuels, thus encouraging industries to switch to cleaner fuels and adopt energy-efficient practices.

Lima climate talks: pledge to plant 20m hectares of trees
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 8 December 2014 | Eight Latin American countries have pledged to combat deforestation and restore an area of land twice the size of Britain by 2020. The move is part of a global plan to plant hundreds of millions of trees and save over 1bn tonnes of CO2 a year. Much of the land to be replanted and improved in Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica, has been deforested in the past 15 years and is now used for subsistence farming or is unusable after being intensively farmed. But it will be restored either as natural forests, or as “agro-forestry” which mixes trees with crop lands and “silvo-pasture” which combines trees with animals.

Helen Clark – Speech At the Side Event of the UN Chief Executives Board On Forests and the UN-Redd Programme, UN Climate Change Conference – COP20, Lima, Peru
By Helen Clark (UNDP), 8 December 2014 | Thus, the UN-REDD Programme is strengthening its support to developing countries through a new Strategic Framework. It will support efforts to contribute to climate change mitigation through the implementation of REDD+ activities as agreed under the UNFCCC negotiations. The new Strategy will align closely with the elements of REDD+ which are specified in the Cancun COP agreement, and then elaborated upon in the Warsaw Framework. It will help countries address issues associated with the Cancun Agreement on Safeguards. It will see a greater focus on preparing countries to receive results-based payments.

Participants at Voluntary Meeting on REDD+ Exchange Views on Future Meetings
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 8 December 2014 | Antonio Garcia Revilla, COP 20/CMP 10 Presidency, and Tomasz Chruszczow, COP 19/CMP 9 Presidency, co-facilitated the first annual voluntary meeting on the coordination of support for the implementation of REDD+ activities in developing countries, which took place alongside UNFCCC COP 20. At the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland, in 2013, delegates adopted Decision 10/CP.19 on the coordination of support for the implementation of activities in relation to mitigation actions in the forest sector by developing countries, including institutional arrangements, agreeing to encourage national entities or focal points, parties and relevant entities financing forest-related activities to meet to discuss these matters on a voluntary basis, in conjunction with the first sessional period meetings of the subsidiary bodies.

Countries Present REDD+ Reference Emission Levels to COP 20 President
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 8 December 2014 | On the sidelines of the Lima Climate Change Conference, the Government of Peru organized an event which gave parties an opportunity to submit REDD+ forest reference emission levels (RELs) and/or forest reference levels (RLs) to the President of the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the UNFCCC, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, and the UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary, Richard Kinley. The event, titled ‘Peru and the UNFCCC: Showcasing REDD+ Implementation in Developing Countries,’ also aimed to demonstrate leadership in moving REDD+ forward, by presenting actions that will reduce emissions and highlighting the role of the UNFCCC in supporting countries to implement their commitments. In opening remarks, Pulgar-Vidal said the submission of RELs and RLs signified that countries recognize the value of forests and the need to manage them sustainably, despite the hard work required.

Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia And Mexico Submit Forest Data For Reference Levels
Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 December 2014 | Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico today formally submitted information and data on the status of their greenhouse gas emission reductions in the forest sector to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Such data is required for establishing a forest reference emission level for these countries. Reference levels in turn constitute benchmarks to assess the performance of developing countries in the implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, plus conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks and sustainable management of forests). Actions on REDD+ establish a financial value for maintaining carbon stored in forests and reducing emissions from land-use changes by using a performance-based approach.

UN-REDD COP 20 Event Examines REDD+ Post-2015
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 8 December 2014 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (UN-REDD) organized a high-level dialogue to explore a post-2015 vision for REDD+ as a catalyst for sustainable development and the 2016-2020 role of UN-REDD. The side event, ‘Looking Forward: REDD+ Post 2015,’ convened on the margins of the Lima Climate Change Conference. In opening remarks, Helen Clark, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, said that, as the largest terrestrial store of carbon, forests must be at the center of post-2015 development efforts. Noting that 13 million hectares of forest are cleared annually, accounting for around 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Clark highlighted UN-REDD’s efforts to support readiness activities in 56 countries to implement the Warsaw Framework for REDD+.

CIF Pledges Reach US$8.3 Billion
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 8 December 2014 | The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has received approximately US$765 million in funding for its four programmes, bringing total CIF contributions to approximately US$8.3 billion. The additional financing will enable the CIF to expand into more countries and bridge a financing gap faced by some of its programmes. At its November 2014 meeting, the CIF Trust Fund Committee decided that the CIF would continue to: operate alongside the Green Climate Fund (GCF); work to trigger investments at scale for immediate climate action in 63 middle income and developing countries; and facilitate learning on technologies and methods for mitigation and adaptation.

Unilever CEO: Deforestation is the most urgent climate challenge
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, said natural disasters – many linked to climate change – cost his multinational consumer-goods corporation $300 million annually, and that left unchecked “climate change has the potential to become a significant barrier to our growth.” “Deforestation is not one of the great challenges in the fight against climate change, it is the most important and most immediate and most urgent challenge,” he told about 1,300 climate change negotiators, government ministers, scientists and other experts at the Global Landscapes Forum, which CIFOR organized in Lima on the sidelines of the annual climate change summit. “We’re not yet acting at either the speed or the scale that the problem demands, but we can win this battle.”

Climate goals not achievable without landscape-level focus, says World Bank VP
By Laura Deal, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | Feeding a growing population while curbing deforestation and tackling climate change will require fundamentally managing landscapes differently, said a top climate policy expert. On the need to take an integrated landscape approaches to sustainable development, “the science is now crystal-clear, [and] the economics are compelling,” said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group’s vice president and special envoy for climate change, at the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum. The forum, organized by the Center for International Forestry Research on the sidelines of the UN climate talks, brought together climate change negotiators, government ministers, scientists, civil society and other experts.

Landscapes approach strengthens all sectors
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | It’s amazing, the interest in and contributions from so many partners to this forum. We really need to think hard about where we go from here. I would start by saying that this year we really need to focus on the how. Last year it was pretty much about the what. What is this? Why are we here? Why should we start working together? We figured out it’s a good idea, but now we need to dig in and figure out what’s the how? And why do we believe in the landscape approach in the first place? I think the answer is simply that all of us agree—and if somebody doesn’t please raise your hand—that healthy landscapes are necessary for delivering both on the climate challenge, and on all aspects of sustainable development.

Indigenous leader: Development efforts in forests must be inclusive, respect rules
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | Global agreements on forests and climate change must safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples, said a Latin American indigenous leader who called for setting clear rules over development initiatives that affect the forests they live in. “At the global level, forests are where indigenous peoples are living,” said Cándido Mezúa Salazar, Chairman of the National Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples of Panama, speaking on 7 December before an audience of 1,700 people at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru. “We’re not saying that we are the owners of all the forests of the world, no. But we do have an influence on them because the forests are part of our lives. And we must respect that. But how can we manage this if we do not have clear rules?”

Innovation expert: Ingredients for landscape success are here—and they’re working
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | Early successes in Brazil and Indonesia are proof positive that low-emissions sustainable development is practicable, according to a land-use policy expert. Speaking to more than 1,000 participants at the Global Landscapes Forum—organized by the Center for International Forestry Research on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Lima, Peru—Daniel Nepstad, Executive Director of the Earth Innovation Institute, laid out the changes that have taken place in parts of the two countries and how they could be replicated with three key “ingredients”: positive incentives, shared metrics and reliable monitoring. “We have too many definitions of success,” Nepstad said. “A typical Mato Grosso [Brazil] farmer has to deal with seven different definitions of success in dealing with deforestation. And that contributes to their frustration.” And despite landscape-level successes, smallholders like those face worse burdens, he said.

UN development leader: Climate change undoing development gains
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | Climate change is “undermining” the many gains made in the Millennium Development Goals, says the UN’s top development official, who added that sustainable landscapes are essential for climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development overall. “It is therefore encouraging to see that key elements of sustainable landscapes feature among the 17 goals and 169 targets proposed by the General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals,” said Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). “These include the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems; sustainable management of forests; reversing land degradation; and halting biodiversity loss.”

Amazon Indians report more death threats after activists slain
By Mitra Taj and Caroline Stauffer, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 8 December 2014 | Indians on the Peru-Brazil border say they continue to receive death threats from loggers after the murder of four local chiefs in a remote forest region overrun by illegal felling. The September slaying of Ashaninka leader Edwin Chota and three of his companions followed rising deforestation rates in the Amazon last year, and has deepened concerns that loggers will target tribes as they become more active opponents. The tensions highlight the lawlessness of one of the world’s most biodiverse borders, long a flashpoint for competing visions of development and conservation. In recent years, Indians in the borderlands have clashed with outsiders seeking timber, oil, gold and control of drug trafficking routes to Brazil, where the soccer World Cup fuelled demand for Peruvian cocaine. Campaign group Global Witness says the violence questions Peru’s commitment to protect its carbon-rich forests…

Alliance COICA and WWF to make progress on the concept and implementation of Amazon Indigenous REDD+
WWF, 8 December 2014 | This project represents an alliance between COICA and WWF, with support from Germany, to implement pilot cases of the ‘Amazon Indigenous REDD ’ in Madre de Dios, Peru and Inirida, Colombia. The project will also include a test case in Ecuador. The ‘Amazon Indigenous REDD ’ proposal is an innovative approach to REDD collectively developed by the Amazon Basin Indigenous Peoples and their key allies—coordinated by COICA. This proposal actively contributes to REDD at a global level, with a focus on environmental and human rights. The experiences from the pilot cases will be used to improve technical elements of the ‘Amazon Indigenous REDD ’ proposal. The improved concept will then be presented to governments and international organizations for consideration and support.

REDD Early Movers Program Expands To Ecuador and Colombia
By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 December 2014 | The governments of Norway and Germany today committed up to $65 million apiece to Colombia and Ecuador, expanding the REDD Early Movers (REM) program to these two rainforest nations. The contributions will be distributed over three years, starting in 2015 through the end of 2017, as payments for verified emissions reductions – if reduced deforestation is achieved. A joint statement was signed today by all four countries at an event at the European Union Pavilion at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks. “The best contribution we can make as donors is to demonstrate that we are willing to pay for the results,” said Hege Araldsen, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ecuador, Chile, and Peru.

[EU] The Energy Boom You Haven’t Heard About: Wood Pellets
By Christina Nunez, National Geographic, 8 December 2014 | Deep in the forests of the U.S. South, tree scraps are fueling a little-known but controversial energy boom: wood pellets. Long used to heat homes in the country’s Northeast, they’re now destined for a new market. Europe is importing the pellets in ever higher volumes, burning them for electricity to meet renewable energy targets. The demand has transformed the U.S. industry, prompting a doubling of biomass exports last year. More than half of the exports go to the United Kingdom, where the utility Drax is converting three of its six power plants to burn wood pellets instead of coal. Drax is setting up shop in the U.S. to feed those plants, building two pellet mills in Louisiana and Mississippi that are slated to open next year. Maryland-based Enviva, a Drax supplier, has opened five wood pellet mills in the last four years.

[Guyana] Baishanlin still logging, no sign of value added
By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 8 December 2014 | Despite saying that they would do so amid a public outcry, logging company Baishanlin is yet to begin work on a wood processing plant at its Moblissa site even as the company continues to use the defunct Coomacka sawmill at Linden as the base for packing containers of logs for export. The Chinese firm is also building tugs and barges even as its Guyanese employees complain of mistreatment at the hands of company officials. Months after Baishanlin cleared acres of land at the Demerara River waterfront at Moblissa, no construction activity for a processing plant has started. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Peru official: Time to boost evidence basis, pace of landscape-level policies
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 December 2014 | Making land-use policy decisions based on sound evidence is a fundamental part of public policy–and remains a fundamental challenge, according to a Peruvian environmental official who also warned that the pace of climate change was raising the urgency for action. Speaking on 6 December at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Fabiola Muñoz-Dodero, the Executive Director of the Peruvian National Forest and Wildlife Service, said that even with the best available scientific evidence, landscape decisions made by governments “look a bit different when they trickle down” and thus required broader participation from all stakeholders. “When you go out into the field, you can see out in the regions the application of what had been decided was completely different,” she said.

Inaction on climate change costly “credibility risk” for New Zealand
Shanghai Daily, 8 December 2014 | New Zealand’s failure to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions could cost the country between 3 billion and 52 billion NZ dollars (2.29 billion and 39. 77 billion U.S. dollars), according to Treasury figures released by an environmental sustainability campaign group Monday. New Zealand had a target of a 50-reduction on 1990 emission levels by 2050, but the government had no low-carbon development plan for meeting these targets, as required under a 2010 UN agreement, according to the document released by the Sustainability Council. It said changes to the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2012 had resulted in Environment Ministry forecasts that gross emissions by 2030 would be just 0.4 percent lower than if the government had taken no action.

New Report Highlights Problems with Forest Carbon Trading Scheme in Nigeria
Social Action, 8 December 2014 | A new report released today highlights how forest dependent communities in Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, are losing rights and livelihoods, as their forests are being locked down by the government, which seeks cash through a United Nations backed ‘carbon trading’ scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The report, ‘_Seeing REDD: Communities, Forests and Carbon trading in Nigeria_’, by Nigerian organisation, Social Action, was presented today in Lima, Peru at an event at the People’s Summit on Climate Change, which coincides with the 20th Conference of Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in the Peruvian capital city. The report shows how the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism is having a devastating effect on the economies of affected communities around the Cross River forests.

[Uganda] Eco-stoves clients stuck as refund stalls
By Chris Kiwawulo, New Vision, 8 December 2014 | Scores of people who bought Eco-stoves on the understanding they will get a refund from the UN for saving the environment say Eco-stove Systems, the maker of the stove who made the promise has failed to pay them and neither is it directing them to the concerned UN office. Located in Wakaliga-Nateete in Rubaga division, Kampala, Eco-stove Systems sells the environmentally-friendly stoves at between sh650,000 and sh1.5m depending on the size. The stove comes with a solar system attached. The company says it attaches German and British solar systems to the stove which burns stones and charcoal dust to generate energy for cooking, lighting and charging electric appliances. The clients, who have now lost hope, suspect that Ecostove Systems staff could have used the idea of a refund to bait unsuspecting customers. “We were told that officials from the United Nations would visit us after one year of using the stoves and refund our money…”

[USA] Fuel to the fire? Fuel exports soar under Obama
By Dina Cappiello, Bloomberg, 8 December 2014 | Pollution linked to global warming keep rising even though the world’s two largest carbon polluters have pledged to combat climate change, with the U.S. committing to deeper cuts and China saying its emissions will stop growing by 2030. It’s a dangerous trajectory the U.S. is stoking with record exports of dirty fuels, even as it reduces the pollution responsible for global warming at home. The carbon embedded in those exports helps the U.S. meet its political goals by taking it off its pollution balance sheet. But it doesn’t necessarily help the planet. That’s because the U.S. is sending more dirty fuel than ever to other parts of the world, where efforts to address the resulting pollution are just getting underway, if advancing at all. While the exported fuel has gotten cleaner, in the case of diesel, about 20 percent of the exports are too dirty to burn here.

9 December 2014

Deforestation cuts into climate change goals
The Star Online, 9 December 2014 | Mines, palm oil plantations, large farms and mining projects are contributing to an alarming pace of forest destruction, a new report has found, hampering efforts to curb global warming. Satellite imagery indicates that more than 30,000 hectares of forest are lost daily, said the report “Securing Forests, Securing Rights”, launched in Peru on Monday by a coalition of rights groups during international climate change talks. Forests play a key role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; chopping them down worsens global warming. Over the last decade an average total of 13 million hectares of forest have been cleared annually, with tropical forests particularly affected. “The expansion of industries like mining, palm oil and agribusiness are the hidden drivers of deforestation,” Helen Tugendhat, a coordinator with the Forest Peoples Programme, one of the groups who researched the report, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Much Maligned REDD+ Gets a Boost from Above for Climate Mitigation
By Justin Catanoso, National Geographic, 9 December 2014 | “It is a REDD+ day,” cheered Manual Pulgar Vidal, minister of the environment of Peru, and president of UN negotiations in Lima, called the COP20. “It is a day to celebrate because we are getting closer to REDD+ implementation in developing countries.” Richard Kinley, deputy executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the body governing for the talks, added: “Significantly enhanced action to reduce global emissions is required in all sectors, and it is required from now on. Land use is one of the key sectors in this area, identified with great potential with many options where there can be a difference. REDD+ is at the heart of this.”

Shell makes climate pitch as UN talks target zero carbon planet
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 9 December 2014 | The role of fossil fuel lobbyists at UN climate talks came under fire on Monday, as activists mobbed a side event in Lima. In T-shirts emblazoned with “Get the FF out”, protesters descended on a panel discussion held by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. Speakers had to fight their way through the throng, replete with TV cameras, to get to their seats – although the crowd quickly dispersed when the event started. In it, Shell adviser David Hone set out two projections of future energy use, both of which entailed levels of warming scientists consider dangerous. Negotiators are aiming to limit global temperature rise to 2C, a goal the International Energy Agency sees as attainable. In line with that, they are seriously considering a target of zero net emissions by 2050. That means any remaining emissions from fossil fuels will have to be buried or offset with strategies like large scale tree planting.

Rachel Kyte’s challenge for science: make landscape approaches easy for countries to use
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 December 2014 | Rachel Kyte, Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank Group, says the scientific and civil society community needs to assume responsibility for developing tools to make ‘landscape approaches’ easier to apply on the ground. Speaking on the sidelines of the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru, she said: “There’s an urgent need to bring our technical knowhow, our programmatic knowhow, the different stakeholders, and the financing mechanisms that have been developed, together in packages that are easy for developing country governments to use… That’s going to be absolutely fundamental if we’re going to get to speed and scale.” Rachel Kyte’s opening keynote speech can be seen here.

Paula Caballero: See Sustainable Development Goals through landscapes prism
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 December 2014 | Paula Caballero, Senior Director of Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank, says the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are currently under development should be seen through the prism of landscapes. “That means that we don’t just look at the obvious targets that focus on terrestrial ecosystems, or forests, or water or oceans, but that we take those targets that might not be so obvious – like women’s participation for example – and put a landscape lens on them,” she said on the sidelines of the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru. “There are a whole range of issues that are outside of the ‘usual suspect’ targets that provide critical entry points for having landscapes be what I call a sort of organising principle of the SDGs.”

Brazil’s taps run dry as deforestation worsens
Associated Press, 9 December 2014 | The cutting of trees, scientists say, is hindering the immense jungle’s ability to absorb carbon from the air — and to pull enough water through tree roots to supply gigantic “sky rivers” that move more moisture than the Amazon River itself. More than two-thirds of the rain in southeastern Brazil, home to 40 percent of its population, comes from these sky rivers, studies estimate. When they dry up, drought follows, scientists believe. It’s not just Brazil but South America as a whole for which these rivers in the sky play a pivotal meteorological role, according to a recent study by a top Brazilian climate scientist, Antonio Nobre of the government’s Center for Earth System Science. The study draws together data from multiple researchers to show that the Amazon may be closer to a tipping point than the government has acknowledged and that the changes could be a threat to climates around the globe.

Building BRICS in Restoration—The China-Brazil Landscape Restoration Exchange
By Kathleen Buckingham, Lars Laestadius, Aaron Reuben (IUCN), Vera Lex Engel (São Paulo State University-UNESP), Aurelio Padovezi (TNC) and Phil Covell (Forest Trends), World Resources Institute, 9 December 2014 | Brazil’s Tijuca National Park in Rio de Janeiro has been celebrated for over a century as an example of large-scale restoration. But it’s less than one-thousandth the size of China’s 4-million-hectare (nearly 10- million-acre) restoration of the Loess Plateau. While the Chinese project is much bigger, Brazil can boast of restoring lands rich in biodiversity. What can Brazil and China learn from each other from their experiences in landscape restoration? A new long-term cooperation between Chinese and Brazilian experts, which will soon include experts from other countries, aims to answer that question. Brazil and China’s global influence is vast. Brazil and China are both BRICS, a group of major emerging national economies that also includes Russia, India and South Africa.

World Bank and GEF Partner with Colombia for Forest Conservation
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 9 December 2014 | The World Bank announced the approval of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project to support improved forest governance and sustainable land management in Colombia. The project intends to balance conservation goals with the needs of local populations through investments in agroforestry, support for protected areas management, institutional capacity building for indigenous and community land management, and the development of cross-sectoral strategies for sustainable land management. In addition to providing local benefits, the project is the first commitment delivered under the Vision Amazonia, an initiative by the Government of Colombia to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its forested areas. As such, the project also contains elements to enhance monitoring and reporting on forest-based emissions.

[Indonesia] To include local people in REDD+ activities, four conditions required, study finds
By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 December 2014 | This month in Lima, experts are debating how to safeguard the rights of local communities in global forest-carbon initiatives. Half a world away, a new study has drawn lessons from such initiatives on the ground in Indonesia—and are painting a more nuanced picture of the conditions for enabling local people to help carry out, and benefit from, efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+). The literature on active participation among rural people in REDD+ projects has largely revolved around local involvement in measuring and reporting the carbon stocks held in forests—known as participatory measurement, reporting and verification (or PMRV). But the literature has been narrowly focused on only one part of the “MRV,” experts say.

ITTO and Japan Release Updated REDD+ Information Booklet
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 9 December 2014 | The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Government of Japan released an updated version of the REDD booklet highlighting relevant findings from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The booklet also contains information on the Warsaw Framework for REDD adopted at the nineteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The booklet explains why REDD is important for addressing climate change and describes it as a mechanism that is already being implemented in a number of countries in parallel to ongoing discussions under the UNFCCC. The booklet further explores how REDD is currently being implemented, including the challenges countries are facing.

A $150m award: Baker Botts loses another Russian case as Quinn Emanuel secures pay-out against gas giants
Legal Business, 9 December 2014 | Core Carbon struck a deal in 2005 with Rosgaz, which is 50% owned by Gazprom, and Centregasservice to repair leaking gas pipes. With leaks of methane gas from the aging Russian pipelines, the Danish group repaired more than 150,000 parts to reduce emissions by around 8 million tons a year. However, relations between the parties soured and a three-man tribunal at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce agreed with Core Carbon that the Russian parties had broken the contract by refusing to finalise documentation. This meant that Core Carbon was unable to claim carbon credits, an international market set up under the UN’s Kyoto agreement, for its work. As a result, an arbitral tribunal made up of One Essex Court’s Peter Leaver QC, Swedish firm Setterwalls’ Per Runeland and sole arbitrator Professor Michael Reisman awarded Core Carbon $150m in damages.

10 December 2014

From South America to Africa, “Capitalist” Solutions to Climate Change Seen as Path to Catastrophe
Democracy Now!, 10 December 2014 | Nnimmo Bassey: Unfortunately, I would like to be hopeful—I’m an incurable optimist—but with regard to the Conference of Parties on climate change, I believe that there was a big derailment right from Copenhagen at COP 15. So, there is no real reason to think there’s going to be something that we can say, yes, finally, the world is on track to tackle global warming. We’re still seeing situations where nations are haggling and debating over figures, nothing to show that there is an understanding that climate change is something that has been scientifically investigated and that there must be a way to evaluate aggregate actions by different countries that would add up to a result that will tackle the problem.

A climate idea comes of age: Zero emissions
By Karl Ritter, Associated Press, 10 December 2014 | Pulling a worn, yellowed copy of the 1992 U.N. climate change convention from her handbag, Farhana Yamin points to the paragraph that states its goal: To stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous warming. It doesn’t provide any guidance on how to do that. But Yamin does. And, in a historic first, dozens of governments now embrace her prescription. The global climate pact set for adoption in Paris next year should phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, says the London-based environmental lawyer. “In your lifetime, emissions have to go to zero. That’s a message people understand,” said the Pakistani-born Yamin, who has been instrumental in getting that ambitious, some say crucial, goal into drafts being discussed at U.N. talks in Lima this week.

Gender inequality merits greater attention in climate decisions: panel
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 December 2014 | Scientists and indigenous leaders at a gender session at the Global Landscapes Forum—on the sidelines of the annual UNFCCC climate change conference in Lima, Peru—stressed the need to consider how climate change might affect men and women differently, and to incorporate gender into studies of both mitigation and adaptation. “Power relations determine experiences, education and opportunities, and that means the impacts of climate change will be unevenly distributed,” Eleanor Blomstrom from the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) told the audience. Gendered power structures have impacts in rural villages—and in the international negotiations. Even within the UNFCCC itself, she said, there is a strong gender imbalance. On the board of the Green Climate Fund, for instance, there are 21 men and three women; on all the other UNFCCC boards and bodies men also significantly outnumber women.

NASA Study Shows 13-year Record of Drying Amazon Caused Vegetation Declines
By Ellen Gray, NASA, 10 December 2014 | With global climate models projecting further drying over the Amazon in the future, the potential loss of vegetation and the associated loss of carbon storage may speed up global climate change. The study was based on a new way to measure the “greenness” of plants and trees using satellites. While one NASA satellite measured up to 25 percent decline in rainfall across two thirds of the Amazon from 2000 to 2012, a set of different satellite instruments observed a 0.8 percent decline in greenness over the Amazon. The study was published on Nov. 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the decline of green vegetation was small, the area affected was not: 2.1 million square miles (5.4 million square kilometers), equivalent to over half the area of the continental United States. The Amazon’s tropical forests are one of the largest sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide on the planet.

Bangladesh minister: Poor nations expect too much climate aid from west
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 10 December 2014 | Poor countries have been piling too much pressure on the rich west, Bangladesh’s environment minister Anwar Hossain Manju has suggested. “We are probably expecting too much from the industrialised and developed countries, because today all countries are suffering from social, political, economic problems,” he said. He pointed out that war and unemployment had sapped financial resources. “It’s not a question of expecting anything particularly from any country or organisation,” he said. “Our approach is let us put our hands into our pockets and see how much we can afford. No country can do everything.” The government of Bangladesh has invested $10 billion over the last three decades in preparing the vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change.

[Brazil] Part 3: REDD safeguards and the IMC
By Sarah Hutchison, WWF, 10 December 2014 | This is the third and final blog in a series that have recorded a Q and A session with Pavel Jezek from the Acre Government, in south west Brazil. In the first blog, Pavel explained his role and how Acre is using the REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards standard. In the second, he discussed the benefits and challenges of this safeguards process, how the Government is working with indigenous people in Acre and his reflections on topics on the agenda of the Lima hosted UN climate change conference later this year. In this final blog, Pavel discusses safeguards work elsewhere in Brazil, working with international partners and the future for Acre’s work in this area.

Testing Carbon Pricing in Brazil: 20 Companies Join an Innovative Simulation
By Nicolette Bartlett, World Bank, 10 December 2014 | Over the past few years, carbon pricing has risen on the corporate agenda – from the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group’s (CLG) Carbon Price Communiqué to the UN Climate Leadership Summit in September, where 73 countries and over 1,000 companies came together to publically lend their support for carbon pricing… One Brazilian business group that CLG has been partnering with is taking a novel approach. Empresas Pelo Clima (EPC) implemented an ETS Simulation using live corporate data to engage Brazilian companies in discussions around what a robust cap and trade market might entail and how it could be designed and implemented. The ETS Simulation is delivered in partnership between the Rio de Janeiro Green Stock Exchange (BVRRio – Bolsa Verde do Rio de Janeiro) and EPC through the Center for Sustainability Studies of the Business Management School at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV-EASP).

[India] Pressure rising on Delhi to target ambitious carbon cuts
By Nivedita Khandekar, RTCC, 10 December 2014 | India’s contribution to global carbon emissions was only 7% last year, yet there are fears being expressed in the western world that rapid population growth and development will mean this vast country will soon be a major polluter − like its neighbour, China. For the world, it is a continued worry that if the country soon to have the largest population in the world develops − as China has − by burning coal, climate change will surely get out of control. No commitments on climate change have so far been made by India, as it waits to see what the developed countries offer to prove they are serious about aid, technology transfer, and targets to reduce their own emissions.

[Indonesia] Editorial: Papua Must Not Be Ignored Any Longer
The Jakarta Globe, 10 December 2014 | We can never solve a problem if we do not intend to solve it in the first place. That’s what we feel about the government’s intentions in Papua. Statement after statement remains just rhetoric since the region became part of Indonesia in 1969. Then and now, we still have the same problems: conflicts, severe poverty and backwardness. The problems there have never been a priority, first because this won’t provide any political benefit to policy makers in Jakarta, and second because the conflict and instability in the nation’s easternmost region has seen too much money divided among too many from the local level to the capital. For a long time, the elites in Jakarta have treated Papuans as outsiders, and saw Indonesia as only comprising of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi — the country’s most populated islands — because what matters for them is voters and the interest of the majority.

[Indonesia] Aceh Set to Create Its Own New and Totally Preventable Disaster
By Eric Meijaard, The Jakarta Globe, 10 December 2014 | In the run-up to the tenth anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2004, which claimed the lives of around 200,000 of Aceh’s people, there is much concern that Aceh seems now to be deliberately steering itself towards yet another, entirely avoidable disaster – one that will harm yet more people and cause even more long-term economic damage to the province. The concern is about the province’s new spatial plan, legalized at the provincial level as Qanun 19/2013. The national government admits that it is seriously flawed, as evidenced by the Ministry of Home Affairs’s response to the Qanun (SK Mendagri 650-441), outlining at least 27 points that must be corrected or amended before the spatial plan could be accepted and approved by national government and explicitly stating that if the corrections and amendments are not addressed, the spatial plan will be rejected.

Latin American countries pledge to restore 20 million ha of degraded land
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 December 2014 | An initiative to restore forests and make use of degraded land throughout Latin America and the Caribbean has been launched at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru. Seven Latin American countries pledged to work with research organizations and the private sector to restore a total of 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 – in an effort dubbed Initiative 20×20. Mexico was the largest contributor with 8.5 million hectares pledged, followed by Peru with 3.2 million hectares, Guatemala with 1.2 million hectares and Colombia with 1 million. Ecuador, Chile and Costa Rica also joined the commitment. Alongside representatives of the seven countries, Peru’s Minister of Agriculture Juan Manuel Benites Ramos told a full house: “The forest we are losing is putting at risk our future in terms of availability of water and land.”

Peru trials forest-loss monitoring system suitable for REDD+
environmentalresearchweb, 10 December 2014 | The UN’s REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programme requires accurate national forest monitoring. Peru has the largest extent of Amazon Basin rainforest after Brazil – 60% of the nation’s total land area is humid tropical forest. The country’s capital, Lima, is also the site of the UNFCCC negotiations taking place this week. “While several methods for forest monitoring have been tested in Peru, they have shortcomings regarding replicability, cost and/or timeliness,” said Peter Potapov of the University of Maryland, US, and colleagues in a press release. “The Peruvian Ministry of Environment (Ministerio del Ambiente MINAM), which is responsible for forest monitoring, is searching for an efficient, easy to implement and repeatable protocol for annual and multi-year forest monitoring.”

[Peru] Mapping Carbon in the Amazon
By Rebecca Maxwell, Geolounge, 10 December 2014 | In order to produce the most detailed carbon maps, they turned to remote sensing, specifically satellite imagery and LiDAR. Staff scientist Greg Asner and his team at the Carnage Institute for Science surveyed rainforests in Peru and measured areas of the forest that ranged in carbon content from zero near the coast to 150 metric tons per hectare, or 2.47 acres, deeper in the rainforest. They were able to find those areas that contained the highest concentrations of carbon as well as those at the highest risk for development.

REDD+ on the ground: In Tanzania, funding and enthusiasm ‘faded away’
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 December 2014 | Jane Goodall is known worldwide for her decades of work with chimpanzees in the Gombe forest of Western Tanzania. It’s less well known that the NGO she founded, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), has been experimenting with how REDD+—touted as the next big idea for tackling climate change by reducing deforestation—could help protect the apes’ habitat, and the livelihoods of the people that live around them. That’s a lot of people. The Masito Ugalla ecosystem, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is one of the poorest parts of the country, and burdened with a high rate of population growth. In 2009, the Norwegian Government offered to fund projects across Tanzania that would pilot the concept of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and forest Degradation). The idea was to pay communities to keep forests standing through the sale of carbon credits that could be traded internationally.

11 December 2014

On forests and climate, diverse experts discuss road to Paris
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 December 2014 | Leaders—from an indigenous organizer to a judge to a CEO—at the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum outlined the steps needed between now and next year’s critical climate meeting in Paris if forests are to be a part of the solution to climate change. And they are a vital part of that solution, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark told the opening plenary. “A two-degree climate change scenario is not possible without making real progress on sustainable landscapes including in our forests,” she said. The 2014 Global Landscapes Forum was organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

REDD is the best route forward
mydigitalfc.com, 11 December 2014 | At present, REDD is happening haphazardly across the globe, with varying levels of success. Before REDD can become a successful programme, a range of political and technical challenges stand in the way. Critics argue that developed countries must not be absolved of their domestic responsibilities to cut carbon dioxide emissions. There are concerns, too, about the negative impacts REDD payments might have on forest-dependent communities, primarily through further weakening of their land and resource rights. Furthermore, limiting the expansion of agriculture could have impacts on the supply of food and other agricultural products. REDD projects and programmes also need to be “additional”, that is, they must lead directly to reductions in deforestation and degradation that would not have happened simply as a result of wider changes in the economy.

Protecting mangroves can lower disaster risks, offer cash: experts
By Saleem Shaikh, Reuters, 11 December 2014 | Better protecting the world’s fast-disappearing mangroves could have big economic, social and environmental benefits, experts said at the U.N. climate talks in Lima this week. Besides protecting shorelines from extreme weather and providing fish a safe place to breed, mangroves could play a big role in trapping climate-changing carbon emissions, something that has so far been largely overlooked, they said. The world needs to ensure that, at both national and international levels, “mangroves have a place in REDD+ strategies and other low carbon development strategies such as National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs),” said Achim Steiner, the U.N. Environment Program’s executive director. Right now, an absence of a carbon finance mechanisms for mangroves, and a lack of policy to support mangrove ecosystems … mean hundreds of billions of dollars of potential benefits are being lost, the experts said.

Measurement and Monitoring for REDD+: The Needs, Current Technological Capabilities and Future Potential – Working Paper 392
By Scott J. Goetz, Matthew Hansen, Richard A. Houghton, Wayne Walker, Nadine Laporte, and Jonah Busch, Center for Global Development, 11 December 2014 | This paper presents an overview of the state of measurement and monitoring capabilities for forests in the context of REDD+ needs, with a focus on what is currently possible, where improvements are needed, and what capabilities will be advanced in the near-term with new technologies already under development. We summarize the role of remote sensing (both satellite and aircraft) for observational monitoring of forests, including measuring changes in their current and past extent for setting baselines, their carbon stock density for estimating emissions in areas that are deforested or degraded, and their regrowth dynamics following disturbance. We emphasize the synergistic role of integrating field inventory measurements with remote sensing for best practices in monitoring, reporting and verification.

Lima climate talks agree on just one paragraph of deal with 24 hours left
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 11 December 2014 | Negotiators working on a deal to fight climate change have agreed on just a single paragraph of text, casting a shadow over the prospects for a strong outcome in Lima. The talks – scheduled to end at noon local time on Friday after 10 full days – are intended to provide a clear blueprint for a global agreement to find climate change by the end of next year. But while negotiators descended on Lima in a positive mood, buoyed by recent commitments from the US and China, the talks have fallen into a rut. “We are going backwards,” said Alden Meyer, who monitors the climate negotiations for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Those at the talks still have every expectation that Lima will produce some kind of agreement by Friday evening, or more likely early Saturday morning – but the paralysis is in stark contrast to the upbeat backdrop to the summit’s opening.

The Climate Talks Find an Enemy at COP20: The Fossil Fuel Industry
By Jamie Henn, Huffington Post, 11 December 2014 | The UN Climate Talks in Paris next December are shaping up be high noon for the fossil fuel industry. Over the last week, negotiators here in Lima have been working on the draft of a new climate agreement that world leaders hope to ratify in Paris. Up for debate is everything from forest management to climate finance. The text is complicated, sprawling, and a jungle of acronyms and jargon. But one theme is emerging loud and clear: if the world is serious about addressing the climate crisis, we must get off fossil fuels–completely. This is a new frame for the climate negotiations and it’s revolutionary in its implications. The last time the world attempted to finalize a climate treaty was in 2009 in Copenhagen. Back then, the debate revolved around managing greenhouse gas emissions and the percentage reductions that rich countries were willing to commit to. Or, as it turned out, unwilling to commit to. The talks were a debacle.

As people take to the streets, presidents feel the heat
By Corey Watts, Peru this Week, 11 December 2014 | While an estimated 15,000 people marched yesterday through the streets of Lima yesterday, in a hot and crowded press hall at COP20, the Presidents of Peru, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia announced a new “Pacific Alliance” on climate change; jointly pledging to work together “with one voice”. Fanning herself now and then, Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, spoke of the sense of urgency attending COP20 in Lima, widely regarded as the penultimate step towards a new international climate treaty in 2015. “If we do not reach an agreement in Paris we will be too late. We cannot fail now,” Dr Bachelet said. Their Excellencies agreed on a thirteen-point declaration, promising to help each other and the world deal with climate change which, the declaration says, “constitutes a major threat”… On Monday, the World Bank called on all countries to price carbon and to cease subsidizing fossil fuels as “necessary but insufficient steps”…

FCPF Highlights Funding Commitments, Stakeholder Participation
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 11 December 2014 | The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has highlighted the full commitment of the FCPF US$465 million pipeline and the entry of Guatemala, Indonesia and Peru into the Fund. The information was included in the September to November edition of its newsletter, which puts a particular focus on stakeholder participation, listing the new indigenous peoples and civil society organization (CSO) representatives to the Readiness Fund and the Carbon Fund. The newsletter also includes a feature article on the engagement of indigenous peoples in REDD+ national programmes in Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua. With regard to meetings and presentations, the newsletter provides an overview of discussions at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), held at the margins of the Lima Climate Change Conference, on the need for healthy landscapes in order to achieve climate change goals of net zero emissions.

International law stays silent on the responsibility for climate change
By Stephen Humphreys, The Guardian, 11 December 2014 | Elsewhere, the law has had nothing to say on this important issue. The global economy is underpinned by law, but you would think it had nothing to do with climate change. Climate-related cases have been absent from international courts – even from disputes involving human rights, investment or the environment. While there have been cases heard in some national courts, particularly in the US, they do not progress far. The weak legal response to climate change means that big polluters are getting off lightly. It is clear that 60% of proven oil reserves must be left in the ground if we are to have even a remote chance of limiting global warming to two degrees. Yet oil companies and exporters continue to drill and explore, to enjoy their assets and hedge against future losses, as though climate change were a mere financial risk rather than an existential threat to peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

Traditional herders face uncertain future, forum hears
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 December 2014 | African herders who have traditionally moved livestock from place to place, following seasonal forage and water supplies, increasingly find their old paths blocked by land speculators and investors, experts say. In other parts of the world too, similar problems plague indigenous people who practice shifting cultivation in forests, clearing small plots of land to plant crops for several years and then moving to a different area and allowing the forest to take over again. The languages, traditional knowledge and beliefs of the world’s 370 million indigenous people are invaluable for the sustainable management of natural resources and for food security, Susan Braatz, senior forestry officer for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said during a panel discussion at the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru.

strong>[Australia] Spencer land clearing case continues
By Jesse Davies, The Land, 11 December 2014 | Grazier Peter Spencer’s landmark case against the Commonwealth and State of NSW has continued in the Federal Court this week. Mr Spencer is fighting for compensation for the Cooma property he owned until 2010, which he alleges went bankrupt due to the enactment of the Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 and the Native Vegetation Act 2003. The case hit the headlines when Mr Spencer staged a 52-day hunger strike in an elevated wind tower on his property in 2010… Mr Spencer’s claim for awards from both governments is centered on the argument the Commonwealth placed overbearing pressure on NSW to hasten and tighten its land clearing laws to aide its own Kyoto Protocol targets. Among other projects, Mr Spencer has claimed he is entitled to compensation for the lost opportunity to establish a wind farm, a commercial firewood business, and profit from the carbon stored on his heavily timbered property.

UN condemns Botswana’s treatment of Bushmen
Survival International, 11 December 2014 | The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has condemned Botswana’s treatment of Africa’s last hunting Bushmen following her visit to the country last month. Farida Shaheed voiced concerns over restrictions placed on Bushmen over access to their ancestral homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, as well as the government’s contradictory policy of evicting the Bushmen in the name of wildlife conservation, while pursuing mining and tourism inside the reserve. “The fear amongst affected people is that once the elders have passed away, nobody will be entitled to live in the reserve. Furthermore, insisting that people relocate outside the reserve for wildlife conservation purposes is at odds with allowing the continuation of mining and tourism activities,” Ms Shaheed wrote in her report. She demanded that the Botswana government “clarify the matter.”

Analysis: EU carbon market reforms heading for an early start
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 11 December 2014 | Reforms to reduce a glut of emissions in Europe’s carbon market look increasingly likely to kick off in 2017, four years earlier than initially proposed, as support grows among lawmakers for an early start. A draft proposal on the reforms published in November has attracted 115 amendments from European lawmakers seen by Reuters in a leaked document late last month. Several of the amendments call for an earlier start to the MSR. Bringing forward the plan to take hundreds of millions of surplus permits out of circulation has the backing of Germany and Britain, as well as major energy companies such as Britain’s SSE and Drax and Sweden’s Vattenfall. These firms fear that in the absence of a strong EU-wide carbon price, countries will start introducing domestic legislation to curb emissions, creating uncertainty about future carbon costs.

[India] Javadekar warns against doing away with interests of poor at Lima climate talks
By Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 11 December 2014 | Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar gave a couched warning at the Lima climate change talks that India was committed to stand up for protecting the interests of the poor at the cost of standing alone at multilateral forums. Speaking at the high-level segment of the two week long climate change negotiations, Javadekar said, “We, in India, are committed to protecting the interests of the poor. We did it in WTO (World Trade Organization) for ensuring food security of our people.” The statement from the environment minister came on a day when developed countries led by the US refused to accept poverty eradication, food security and sustainable development as an overriding requirement of developing countries under the Paris 2015 climate change agreement.

[Indonesia] Swift action on forest fires by President Jokowi
By Wimar Witoelar, The Jakarta Post, 11 December 2014 | On Nov. 27, in the Riau Islands province, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo studied the dried peatland and man-made canals that locals were building to prevent the further drainage of precious water in the peat. He held impromptu talks with victims of peat-based forest fires. The President made some announcements off the cuff. Obviously he had thought about the issues for some time. President Jokowi said plantation permits had to be reviewed if they were indeed destroying the ecosystem; they would have to be terminated. “We must not allow our tropical rainforests to disappear because of monoculture plantations like oil palm,” he said. In his remarks in Sungai Tohor, the President described the community-built canal dams as very good and that they must be made permanent. He further said it was best for peatland to be given to the community to be managed for sago.

Indonesia Vows: We Will Be Ready For Results-Based REDD Payments By End Of 2016
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 December 2014 | After announcing his country’s reference levels for forests and deforestation earlier this week, Heru Prasetyo, head of Indonesia’s REDD Agency, BP REDD (Badan Pengelola REDD ), said their system is advanced enough to begin measuring performance for results-based REDD payments by the end of 2016. “By the end of 2017, Indonesia will be operationally and institutionally ready to implement its payments-for-results agenda,” said. “Right now, we’re developing the infrastructure, doing payments for performance, but by 2016, we promise our people and the world, that we will be earning payments for results in REDD .” He recapped in detail the successful implementation of programs that he outlined in an interview earlier, and expressed confidence that the reference levels submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be approved.

[Indonesia] Strengthening environmental safeguards
By Peter Oksen and Taswin Munier, The Jakarta Post, 11 December 2014 | Protecting the environment starts with policymaking as well as the development and design of projects. Environmental safeguarding tools can minimize hidden environmental costs and should be brought to the forefront of the environmental agenda by the new Environment and Forestry Ministry. Most previous plans and projects in Indonesia have resulted in the accelerated degradation of natural resources. This will eventually create costs. Those who will have to bear the costs are the affected locals, the state and hence its tax payers. From an international point of view, the resulting loss of unique biodiversity and climate change impacts are of very high concern. Environmental costs are often hidden costs as they are not well known and not included in the economic calculations used for evaluating the profitability of a project.

Korea, Cambodia team up to tackle deforestation
By Suk Gee-hyun, The Korea Herald, 11 December 2014 | The Korea Forest Service on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia to prevent deforestation and degradation in the Southeast Asian country, government officials said Thursday. Under the MOU, the two countries will cooperate on United Nations-led REDD+ programs ― standing for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation ― that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by preventing forest degradation and deforestation in developing countries. “Cambodia has a big presence among the REDD+ countries. Cambodia’s experience and our business know-how from Indonesian projects will help us gain certified emission reduction credits,” a KFS spokesman said. The agreement was reached during the Korea-ASEAN special ministerial meeting on forestry held in Busan.

[Malaysia] Kelantan takes steps to conserve 300,000ha and gain carbon credits
The Star Online, 11 December 2014 | The Kelantan government has taken steps to protect the state’s 300,000ha of forested land in its initiative to improve its carbon credits and, at the same time, contribute to creating a better environment. Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said the measures to enhance carbon credits and to conserve more forested areas were vital as forest cover would also enlarge the water catchment areas in the state. “The state government is very concerned with the environment and we will get the help of all related agencies to improve the natural environment of Kelantan. “We are confident that the move to protect forested areas will increase our carbon credits. “Carbon credits is a permit which allows a country or organisation to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions and which can be traded if the full allowance is not used,” he said yesterday.

Peru’s indigenous people call for environmental protections
PBS, 11 December 2014 | As delegates from around the world gather in Lima, Peru, to work on a framework on climate change, thousands of Peruvians flocked to the capital to demand better protection for their lands and cultures. As part of our Culture at Risk series, Jeffrey Brown reports from Lima on the struggle to balance the protection of remote indigenous communities with industry and growth.

COP 20: Will climate commitments be enough to protect the Peruvian Amazon?
By Ginger Cassady, Rainforest Action Network, 11 December 2014 | According to Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo, two companies logged around 15,000 hectares of primary rainforest in recent months without an environmental impact assessment or permits for forest clearing or change of land use: around 13,000 hectares north of the town of Pucallpa in Ucayali, and about 2,000 hectares near Tamshiyacu in Loreto. This is only the beginning. The same companies and others have applied for permits to log more than 106,000 hectares of mostly primary rainforest in the region of Loreto according to the newspaper El Comercio. Similar interests exist in Ucayali and San Martin. Their objectives: to cash in on timber and forest land and establish huge industrial palm oil and cacao monoculture plantations.

Peru to award coastal Blocks 3 and 4 on December 13
Platts, 11 December 2014 | Peru will announce the winning bid for north coastal production Blocks 3 and 4 on Saturday, the government said Thursday. Colombia’s Omega Energy and Peruvian engineering group Grana y Montero handed in bids for the lots in the Talara Basin previously operated by Interoil Exploration and Production ASA, state oil contracting agency Perupetro said in a statement. Block 3 produces on average 2,800 b/d of crude oil, while Block 4 produces 900 b/d, according to Perupetro. Both blocks will be jointly operated with state oil company Petroperu. Interoil began an arbitration process against Peru after the government refused to renew the company’s contract for the two blocks last year… Peru, which has lined up $33 billion in energy projects over the next decade, is struggling to ease bureaucratic obstacles to oil and gas investment even as crude oil production slumped to 69,588 b/d in September, half of the more than 140,000 b/d produced in 1994…

[South Africa] Joburg to power the city with waste
By Thandi Skade, Destiny Man, 11 December 2014 | The idea is to extract gas from waste generated from your trash, to produce electricity as an alternate source of energy to ease strain on the overburdened national grid. The city anticipates that by 2016, around 19 megawatts of electricity will be produced – enough electricity to power 16 500 medium-sized houses, The Star reports. The project will become the biggest landfill gas-to-energy project in the country once completed. A similar project being piloted at the Robinson Deep landfill in the south of Joburg has already shown good results, Pikitup GM for disposals David Harris said… Further than a tool to help alleviate the power crisis, retrieving the methane gas from waste means harmful biogases aren’t being emitted into the environment – an initiative that could earn the city carbon credits on international markets.

[USA] Kerry intervenes in stalled Lima climate talks
By Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 11 December 2014 | John Kerry visited stalled UN climate talks in Lima and issued an impassioned warning that future generations will not be able to forgive today’s leaders if they get “bogged down in abstract debates” over how to combat global warming. “I know discussions can be tense and decisions can be difficult,” the US secretary of state said, as the two-week talks entered their final stretch with no final agreement in sight. “But the fact is we simply don’t have time to sit around going back and forth about whose responsibility it is to act,” he said, adding tomorrow’s generations would judge inaction as “a massive collective moral failure of historic consequence”. “They will want to know how we together could possibly have been so blind, so ideological, so dysfunctional and frankly so stubborn that we failed to act on knowledge that was confirmed by so many scientists, in so many studies over such a long period of time,” he said.

12 December 2014

Leaked secret Lima draft decision: The real reason why G77 group got the climate talks put on hold
By Nitin Sethi, Business Standard News, 12 December 2014 | The G77 and China group asked for a sudden halt to the discussions on the Lima decisions on Thursday morning. They pointed out to the co-chairs of the negotiations that they were working on a proposal which would break the impasse at the climate talks. But the real reason was a leaked draft decision text that some members of the G77 delegations had got hold of early morning when it was inadvertently put on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) website for a brief while and then withdrawn… “The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities has been almost completely sacrificed in the new proposal we accessed,” said one of the key negotiators from the G77 group that had reviewed the draft. “We hope to give them a more balanced option instead. All the G77 countries are working on it collectively,” he added.

People’s Climate March in Lima Unites Citizen Voices of the Americas
By Keith Peterman, Huffington Post, 12 December 2014 | Yesterday, I joined an estimated 15,000 people who took to the streets of downtown Lima, Peru for the largest climate march ever in South America… But, indigenous peoples at the march offered me a counter view, “Financialization of nature is a false assumption. REDD+ asks us to reduce emissions and stop deforestation. However, pollution keeps happening in the northern countries. Our countries in the south are used as the lungs to absorb northern pollution.” I would summarize their collective views by stating that 80 percent of pollution is from sources other than deforestation. They want to save their forests, but the major greenhouse gas emitters cannot buy-off their climate responsibility through minimal financial contributions to REDD+.

Keep the forests standing for people and the planet
By Ibrahim Thiaw [UNEP], Al Jazeera English, 12 December 2014 | The implementation of REDD+ and the launch of markets for the carbon credits that underpin the new value of the world’s forests – and the green economies that prosper in these forests – will be a primary topic at the ongoing international climate change negotiations at COP 20, taking place in Lima, Peru, from December 1-12. Last year’s negotiations provided guidelines on financing, transparency, and monitoring. This year, the stakes are higher and yet the world keeps losing more and more tree cover. The 56 countries involved in the UN-REDD Programme, including Paraguay and Nigeria, are looking at REDD+ to stop this trend, help people who depend on forests, and mitigate the climate change impacts that threaten us all. At Lima and beyond, we need to continue down the path of REDD+ implementation so that we, as a global society, can finally safeguard our forests.

U.N. carbon scheme investors unlikely to get lifeline from Lima
By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 12 December 2014 | Hundreds of companies in developing countries that invested in projects to generate UN-backed carbon credits had hoped the Lima climate talks would yield measures boosting the price of the credits, but they are likely to be disappointed. Negotiators and carbon market experts say that discussions at the UN climate conference have not seriously addressed a collapse in carbon credit prices as diplomats focus on the type of commitments countries are expected to make in a new treaty expected next year. “Our clients were hopeful of some type of decisions on that,” said Melissa Hirschheimer of Eqao Consulting which assisted many companies in Brazil develop and register projects at the UN. Investors had hoped the talks, which conclude Friday, would include immediate commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase demand for the UN’s Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) credits or measures for CER purchases by some governments.

Lima endgame: where are climate talks heading?
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 12 December 2014 | It was late Thursday when some important news trickled through. No decision had been taken on decision making at the UN climate talks. Instead, after two weeks of talks, this particular decision was postponed until the 2015 Paris talks in 12 months time. It seemed in keeping with the Lima summit. Despite a warm atmosphere and positive build-up, little appears to have changed. As of 10pm on Thursday night delegates were still waiting in the conference area’s giant tents, waiting news on a new set of proposals for an agreement here. It is day 10 and UN climate talks in Lima are entering their endgame. But old habits can be hard to ditch.

No Lima deal better than bad one, say ‘like minded’ countries
By Ed King, RTCC, 12 December 2014 | An influential coalition of countries participating in the UN climate talks have indicated they would be prepared for an agreement to be postponed until early 2015, according to a leaked document. Negotiations in Lima are aimed at providing a set of guidelines for countries aiming to participate in a global emissions reduction deal, scheduled to be signed in Paris next December. A set of briefing notes sent to RTCC suggests the like minded development group of countries, which includes Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia and India, told Peru’s environment minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal they could not accept proposals currently on the table.

Women of 2014: Naomi Klein
By Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 12 December 2014 | No one pays the slightest bit of attention to Naomi Klein as she wanders into the lobby of her London publisher’s offices. I’m not surprised. The scourge of 21st-century capitalism has arrived in a jacket and sensible jeans, carrying a smart backpack. She looks more like a holidaying librarian than the anti-globalisation firebrand once voted one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals. “Hi,” she says, sounding perky for someone who has spent the past three and a bit weeks promoting a new book in three countries and 11 cities, including Los Angeles, New York and her home of Toronto.

Lima climate summit extended as early optimism is overtaken by discord
By Suzanne Goldberg, The Guardian, 12 December 2014 | Climate talks in Lima ran into extra time amid rising frustration from developing countries at the “ridiculously low” commitments from rich countries to help pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The talks – originally scheduled to wrap up at 12pm after 10 days – are now expected to run well into Saturday, as negotiators huddle over a new draft text many glimpsed for the first time only morning. The Lima negotiations began on a buoyant note after the US, China and the EU came forward with new commitments to cut carbon pollution. But they were soon brought back down to earth over the perennial divide between rich and poor countries in the negotiations: how should countries share the burden for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and who should pay? The talks were designed to draft a blueprint for a global deal to fight climate change, due to be adopted in Paris late next year.

Activists: Climate Talks Have Done Nothing to Avert Catastrophe, But Hope Lies in People’s Action
Democracy Now!, 12 December 2014 | Winnie Byanyima: Well, we are worried, because the clock is ticking, and we are coming towards the end of this meeting, but we don’t see the breakthrough yet. It’s very important that this meeting sets the stage for Paris, for us to get a strong deal in Paris next year. A strong deal should include a commitment by the developed countries to put money down to support the poor countries to adapt, to be able to cope with the climate impacts that they are already facing. The question of financing is critical here. The second piece of success for us is that there should be an agreement to have a review of the pledges that will be made in Paris, so that we know whether the commitments meet the science and are fair, that each country is contributing their fair share of keeping the world out of a dangerous climate disaster.

Just Outside The Peru Climate Talks, More Personal Calls For Protection
By Jesse Vogel, Climate Progress, 12 December 2014 | As negotiators face the final days of the U.N. climate negotiations, with the aim of forging a new international agreement next year, protesters marched the streets of host city Lima, demanding protection for indigenous communities of South and Central America and those most vulnerable to climate change. “We want our coca! We want our maize! We want transnational oil companies out!” they chanted, hoisting colorful puppet versions of the staple crops and emanating an energy far different from the staid atmosphere of the conference rooms. Protesters here say that in order to protect the planet, negotiators have to protect indigenous communities. We are out in the streets demanding the government to hear the voices of the people, to hear the voices of the indigenous,” said Miguel Cerda, a full-time activist with the Ecuadorian organization the Yasunidos.

Avoided Deforestation Could Land On Green Climate Fund
By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 December 2014 | It was a heavy lift to get countries to pledge the $10 billion seen as a crucial source of early financing for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) by the end of this year’s Conference of Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. Now comes the even harder part: the race to commit some of that funding to projects that will prove the GCF works ahead of the climate talks in Paris in 2015. The GCF was established during COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico to support projects, programs, policies and other actions that contribute to low-carbon and climate-resilient development in developing countries. Funding under the GCF will be split 50-50 toward adaptation and mitigation activities, including REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) projects. The GCF is designated as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Global change, climate change upend livelihoods, food security in the Amazon
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 December 2014 | In an indigenous village deep in the Amazon forest, a family clears a small plot in the forest, plants cassava or other crops for a couple of years, and then moves elsewhere, leaving the plot to be overtaken by forest. “Slash and burn,” as it is sometimes called, is a farming technique that has been shown to have sustained forest dwellers for thousands of years, providing a varied, healthy diet with low environmental impact. But global changes and climate threaten both that traditional lifestyle and forest people’s food security, Lars Løvold, special adviser for the Rainforest Foundation Norway, said at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima. The 2014 Global Landscapes Forum was organized by CIFOR, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

[Australia] People use cars too often for small trips and should cycle more, says councillor
By John Masanauskas, Herald Sun, 12 December 2014 | Greens councillor Cathy Oke said more should be done to encourage cycling for trips up to 7km such as cutting speed limits and creating more bike lanes. “But we must also focus on the 1-2km trips where too many are still done by car,” she said. Cr Oke’s comments were in her report of a cycling conference she attended recently in the Netherlands at a cost to ratepayers of $5700. She went to the Influentials Program cycling study tour, visiting seven Dutch cities over five days and meeting mayors and transport experts… The Netherlands Government picked up Cr Oke’s accommodation costs while city council ratepayers forked out $5731 for her airfare and incidentals. Carbon emissions resulting from the flight were offset with the purchase of carbon credits, the report said.

Why Is Conservation So Much Harder in Indonesia Than Elsewhere?
By Erik Meijaard, The Jakarta Globe, 12 December 2014 | Over the past few weeks I was able to do some pretty exciting traveling in a range of countries including Bhutan and India. What struck me between the countries I visited and Indonesia were the differences in societal attitudes towards wildlife and the effectiveness of conservation implementation. In the little Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, people believe that putting a bird in a cage reins in its free spirit and is therefore considered unacceptable. Hunting of wildlife is reportedly pretty rare and the country maintains about 75 percent of its land area as forest. Birds show themselves with little fear for their lives, in great numbers as well as diversity. In India, I was in total awe watching nearly 100 Indian rhinos peacefully grazing together with wild water buffalo, elephant, swamp deer and other species. Like Bhutan, there are virtually no caged birds.

Norwegian parliament grants indigenous peoples pivotal role
Rainforest Foundation Norway, 12 December 2014 | The Norwegian Storting (parliament) recently approved spending NOK 3 billion on rainforest protection in 2015. During deliberations over the fiscal budget, the Storting provided clear guidance regarding the direction of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. The entire Storting agrees that the land rights of indigenous peoples and forest peoples play a key role in terms of the protection of rainforests in the long run. It also emphasised that the Climate and Forest Initiative shall safeguard biological diversity and lead to reforms in the system of governance in forest countries.“We agree wholeheartedly with the decision of the Storting. The parties in the Storting demonstrate that they understand that any lasting protection of the forests cannot be achieved without granting indigenous peoples a pivotal role. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples are the true guardians of the rainforest”, says Dag Hareide…

[UK] Boiler room fraudsters ordered to pay £843k
By Jun Merrett, Citywire, 12 December 2014 | Two men involved in a £70 million boiler room fraud have been ordered to pay £843,000 between them after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud. In 2010 Philip Morris and Daniel Gooding were among the nine fraudsters found guilty of conducting the boiler room scam following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Gooding has been ordered to pay £726,000 which will go to the scam’s victims. The SFO believes his total criminal benefit from the fraud was £8 million but following an investigation, it was believed the total amount to be realised was £726,000. Morris has been ordered to pay £117,000 which will also go to the scam’s victims. His total criminal benefit from the fraud was £489,000 but the total amount to be realised was £117,000. Both were given six months to satisfy the order; if Gooding fails to pay he will be given a default sentence of four years, and Morris two years and three months.

13 December 2014

Coping With The COP
By Nnimmo Bassey, nnimmo.blogspot.com, 13 December 2014 | At the Peoples’ Summit Against Climate Change (Cumbre De Los Pueblos) held in Parque de la Exposicion, miles away from the Little Pentagon, citizens from all over the world offered real solutions to climate change… At a session on Systemic Alternatives, Pablo Solon stressed the need to get to the root of the problem. “Climate change is not only about greenhouse gases. You cannot limit emissions without cutting extraction,” he said. Citizens rose up against Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and other carbon offset mechanisms in all their manifestations. REDD was shown to be mostly a way of giving polluters permit to pollute and to displace poor forest dependent communities. Sadly this may end up being one of the major props for the Paris COP in 2015, according to some observers.

Lima climate talks: Peru summit continues through night
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 13 December 2014 | Talks have continued well past the official close of business on the final day of a key UN climate summit in Peru aimed at advancing a new global treaty. The negotiators in the capital, Lima, are tasked with preparing a text to serve as the basis for a new compact to be signed in Paris next year. But long-running divisions between rich and poor continue to hamper progress. US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that the world is “still on a course leading to tragedy”. He said a deal was “not an option – an urgent necessity”. Negotiators have been meeting in Lima for almost two weeks to prepare the elements of the new treaty. A new text has been produced by the chairman of the talks in an effort to get a decision. But environmental groups say that it is far too weak and threatens to leave many issues unresolved.

A look back at the UN Climate Change Conference
CCTV America, 13 December 2014 | Climate talks rarely finish on time and these are no exception. Cracks have emerged along familiar fault lines on who should bear the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions… Most delegates say the text is far from perfect and no single country appears to be completely satisfied. But time is running out to find a compromise. Some observers say a bad deal is worse than no deal. “What we don’t want to see here is something that locks us in to low ambition that locks developing countries into having to make commitments that they don’t actually have the capacity to meet because there’s no finance,” said Brandon Wu, from ActionAid International.

Frantic efforts to save Lima climate change talks
By Emilz Gosden, Lima and Harriet Alexander, Telegraph, 13 December 2014 | “We have built our world on fossil fuels and we are trying to get rid of the fossil fuels. It’s massive,” said Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary. On Saturday night the talks even looked on the brink of collapsing. The main talks had been postponed, as leaders said there was “no consensus”. Behind the scenes frantic efforts began to reach some token agreement. But no one was optimistic, given the complexity of the negotiaions and the kaleidescope of competing factions. In one corner stand the wealthier nations, among whom the United States has played an uncharacteristic leading role, urging all countries to accept the draft now on the table.

196 Nations Plod Forward on Climate Change Deal
By Coral Davenport, New York Times, 13 December 2014 | Negotiators from around the globe were haggling Saturday over the final elements of a draft climate change deal that would, for the first time, commit every nation to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions — yet would still fall far short of what is needed to stave off the dangerous and costly early impacts of global warming. Delegates from the world’s 196 countries have been working for two weeks here, in a temporary complex of white tents at the headquarters of the Peruvian Army, to produce the framework of a climate change accord to be signed by world leaders in Paris next year. Though United Nations officials had been scheduled to release the plan on Friday at noon, longstanding divisions between rich and poor countries kept them wrangling through Friday night and well into Saturday.

Investors gamble forest preservation will pay off in carbon markets
By Marcelo Teixeira, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 December 2014 | Some private investment companies are looking to profit from preserving forests in developing countries, betting that the emissions reductions can be sold in future carbon markets. London-based Permian Global said on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks in Peru this week that it will invest $100 million in projects to avoid deforestation in Latin American countries. Permian and other investment companies, such as Hong Kong-based InfiniteEARTH and Brazil’s Biofilica, are hoping that a new U.N. climate change deal, due to be agreed in a year’s time, will let forest-based offsets be used in compliance markets and traded internationally. That means emissions reductions from a project that prevents deforestation in Indonesia, for example, could be sold in Europe or in the United States. It is a risky bet, but one that could guarantee good returns if it is successful.

Closing words from COP20: Time to Take Power from the Polluters
Corporate Europe Observatory, 13 December 2014 | As the UN climate talks – COP20 – wrap up in Lima, CEO took part in a press conference to reflect on what two weeks of negotiations mean for climate justice and the road to Paris. Organised by the Institute of Climate Action and Theory, CEO was joined by with Michael Dorsey (board member of Sierra Club) and Jagoda Munic (Chair of Friends of the Earth International). What’s on the table only deepens the climate crisis: it does nothing for those already being affected by climate change, like in the Philippines, or those who will be affected in the future, i.e. all of us. Rich countries and their dirty industries are setting the agenda: Like in Warsaw, the voices of polluters are drowning out the voices of real people and communities on the front line. Instead of an energy transformation the message appears to be fossil fuels full steam ahead.

Can human rights replace equity for the Philippines?
By Denise Fontanilla, adoptanegotiator.org, 13 December 2014 | I just watched in shock as one of our diplomats, Val Roque, told the world that we—or at least my delegation, as I am not sure whether I want to be associated with them myself right now—aligned with no bloc, and that while they regretted the lack of reference to loss and damage and human rights, they were willing to suck it up and accept the text as is. Two days ago interviewed the delegation’s spokesperson, Tony La Viña, who said that while he was (of course) not willing to share our country’s list of non-negotiables, he said that our priorities in Lima are the inclusion of adaptation in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, as well as financial, technological, and capability-building support for this; reasonable mitigation commitments which will not limit our ability to develop; and of course the new focus on human rights, which Dean Tony described as “nearly a red line for us in all parts of the text.”

Ghosts of the Past Haunt Lima
By Hamish M, The Verb, 13 December 2014 | Panic has set in after the Lima climate conference failed to produce an agreement by the Friday deadline, and delegates face a potential repeat of the Copenhagen meltdown of 2009. After negotiations stalled yesterday over fundamental issues of the draft text—responsibility, loss and damage, and adaptation—the co-chairs suspended talks to produce a final draft that they hoped would be acceptable to all parties. Frustrated delegates were forced to wait long until the night as the opaque drafting process took place behind closed doors… In a worrying sign, many parties voiced concerns that they had not been consulted on the re-drafting process. To the shock of the conference, Sudan protested that entire Africa Group had been left out. Rubbing salt into the wound were revelations voiced by the Marshall Islands that developed nations had enjoyed advance viewing of the new text, raising serious concerns over the much-lauded transparency…

World set for climate disaster, say activists, as Lima talks falter
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 13 December 2014 | Frustrated climate campaigners have claimed that the world was on course for an unsustainable four-degree rise in temperatures, as two weeks of negotiations for a climate change agreement headed for an unsatisfying conclusion. The proposals, still under discussion on Saturday, a day after the talks were scheduled to end, were too weak to keep global warming to the agreed limit of two degrees above preindustrial levels, setting the world on course to a climate disaster, according to developing countries at the summit. “We are on a path to three or four degrees with this outcome,” said Tasneem Essop, international climate strategist for WWF. She said the final draft text, a five-page document put forward for approval on Saturday, offered little assurance of cutting emissions fast enough and deeply enough to curb warming. “We are really unhappy about the weakening of the text.”

UN climate talks run into trouble
By Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 13 December 2014 | UN global warming talks in Lima ran deep into overtime on Saturday after the US and China clashed over a work plan for a global climate deal next year. “Let’s work together,” pleaded the meeting’s chair, Peruvian environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, as the two-week meeting that had been due to finish on Friday continued well past midday on Saturday. “We are very close,” he said. But his optimism was quickly shattered as delegates from China and the US disputed a draft text of the meeting’s outcome that Beijing said needed to be amended to better reflect differences between poor and wealthy countries. US climate envoy, Todd Stern, countered that the US had problems with the text as well, but a failure to reach agreement would be a “serious blow” to global efforts to tackle climate change and time was fast running out.

ADP Final discussion – Who likes what?
By Diego Arguedas Ortiz, adoptanegotiator.org, 13 December 2014 | The ADP began again this morning in a hot and heated Cusco plenary. While we began on a positive note, it seems that the few hours sleep available to negotiators hasn’t helped anyone come to agreement. Last night, we highlighted the key tension points. This morning, we arrived to a room full of conflict, where even the crowd is divided between countries who accept and reject the current draft document. Of note, AOSIS negotiator Ian Fry began early on with a plea to reinstate Loss and Damage within the draft agreement. This call to reject a weakened text was then supported by Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela who all highlighted the lack of equity and balance between adaptation and mitigation as key red lines they were not willing to cross.

Lima climate talks on brink of collapse, extended by 24 hours
By Nitin Sethi, Business Standard News, 13 December 2014 | The Lima climate change negotiations spiralled to the brink of collapse in the wee hours of Saturday morning (Peru time) and were extended by at least a day. A third iteration of the draft text for decisions to be taken in Lima, released at around 1 am on Saturday, promised to open the weekend to uglier battles – largely between developed and developing countries. As countries took a break early Saturday morning to reconvene again in few hours, several delegations, including the large Africa group and the Least Developed countries group, complained that they had not even been consulted for the latest document. Many delegates rescheduled their flights to stay back on Sunday as well. Earlier, on Friday morning, developing countries, including India, resoundingly and collectively rejected the second draft Lima decision text of the co-chairs (that had been released late on Thursday night after first getting leaked).

14 December 2014

UN members agree deal at Lima climate talks
BBC News, 14 December 2014 | United Nations members have reached an agreement on how countries should tackle climate change. Delegates have approved a framework for setting national pledges to be submitted to a summit next year. Differences over the draft text caused the two-week talks in Lima, Peru, to overrun by two days. Environmental groups said the deal was an ineffectual compromise, but the EU said it was a step towards achieving a global climate deal next year in Paris. The talks proved difficult because of divisions between rich and poor countries over how to spread the burden of pledges to cut carbon emissions.

No Justice in Lima Outcome
By Maxime Combes, Mediapart, 14 December 2014 | Late in the night, 194 countries of the UN framework convention on climate change finally found an agreement. Far from satisfactory, this agreement jeopardizes any “historic agreement” in Paris. The climate justice NGOs and movements, including Attac France and the Friends of the Earth France, have released this first analysis. The world faces a planetary emergency: climate change, caused by a system that puts the pursuit of profit above the needs of people and the limits of nature. It is already devastating millions of people across the planet. Climate science predicts we will soon breach critical tipping points and could be locked in to 4-5°c of warming with catastrophic impacts for us all. The Lima Conference should have been a milestone that marked out how governments will take urgent action to tackle climate change and to support vulnerable people across the world to adapt to its locked in impacts.

Climate Decision Threatens Rights of Present and Future Generations
CIEL, 14 December 2014 | Climate talks ended today with a decision that wholly fails to set us on a path that will protect the rights of peoples and communities impacted by climate change. “Countries have failed to represent the interests of their people in these negotiations,” said Niranjali Amerasinghe, Director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “The decision they adopted is empty and does not come close to the ambition required to deal with the climate crisis. It is unacceptable.” The “Lima Call for Climate Action” fails to set concrete milestones for increasing mitigation in the short-term and for scaling up developed country support for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries. The scope of the new 2015 climate agreement is conspicuously silent on loss and damage, an issue that is critical for vulnerable communities and countries.

UN climate talks: Rich square up to poor over emissions cuts
By Simeon Tegel, The Independent, 14 December 2014 | The United Nations climate talks in Lima were at risk of ending in frustration last night after running into extra time amid acrimonious accusations that the 12-day negotiations have caused some governments to move away from the measures needed to avert dangerous levels of global warming. The talks were due to end on Friday, but were extended into Saturday following squabbling, largely on the part of rich countries pitted again poor ones, over technical issues involving who should cut most greenhouse gas emissions, how these cuts should be measured and funding for developing nations. Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate change adviser, described the talks as a “shambles”. He launched a stinging attack on the two diplomats chairing the haggling over the negotiating text, the European Union’s Artur Runge-Metzger and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kishan Kumarsingh, for “ignoring the African countries and other small developing nations”.

Indigenous land rights take center stage in Lima
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 December 2014 | As a boy, Cándido Mezúa Salazar listened to Emberá elders tell stories that explained why the water in the river is cooler at some hours of the day than others, how to fish by day and by night, how to survive in the heat and the cold. “These are things we learn from the landscape,” said Mezúa, who heads the National Coordinating Committee of Indigenous People of Panama, the representative body of the country’s seven indigenous territories. “We are part of the forest; you are part of the forest. Our Mother Earth is suffering, and the message you must take away is that everyone is responsible.” His words during the opening plenary session on the second day of the 2014 Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, underscored the significant role of indigenous peoples in safeguarding forested landscapes and the importance of them having stronger tenure rights to their land.

At Climate Talks in Lima, Not ‘Same as it Ever Was’?
By Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times, 14 December 2014 | Longtime readers will recall how I’ve cited the Talking Heads lyric “same as it ever was” quite often over the years in assessing negotiations aimed at forging a new global agreement on slowing global warming and limiting its impacts. Some observers at the latest round of negotiations, which ran overtime and ended this morning in Lima, Peru, insist things are no longer the way they were, and that a new theme song may be in order. I was not at the talks this year, so I’m drawing on input from a variety of contacts who were. On Monday I’ll be posting reflections from a batch of climate-policy analysts, climate campaigners and others with a range of viewpoints on what was, and wasn’t, a significant step on the path to an international climate agreement at next year’s negotiations, in Paris. I’ll weigh in tomorrow, as well. An excellent starting point is today’s post by Robert Stavins at Harvard.

Big demand seen for landscape approaches in Africa, expert says
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 December 2014 | Paula Agostini, Coordinator of TerrAfrica at The World Bank, said at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima that the message coming from Africa is that there is huge demand on the ground for implementing landscape approaches. “Yesterday we had a meeting of TerrAfrica with representatives from 24 African countries, and they all said there was a lot of demand coming from the bottom up for using the landscape approach,” she said. “Sometimes it makes more sense at the local level because they understand it there—they understand there is a water shortage because their neighbor has cut down all the forest—and it can be easier to explain at the local level than at the national level.”

[Australia] Lima climate talks: tough decisions deferred as UN meeting winds up
By Marcus Priest, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 2014 | Negotiators in Peru are racing to reach an agreement in the dying hours of the United Nations climate change talks and have been forced to defer many of the tough decisions until next year. The scramble came as the Abbott Government was accused of “creative accounting” in the way it reported emissions from land clearing and forestry in a new study by German-based research organisation Climate Action Tracker… Underscoring a key issue in these negotiations of transparency, the Potsdam study found that because of the way in which reference levels were set for these sectors, Australia would actually be able to increase emissions by 26 per cent above 2000 levels in 2020, rather than the cut of five per cent it has promised to meet.

[Brazil] 15,000 more trees for Peugeot project
Times of Malta, 14 December 2014 | In line with the commitments made during the “Kick it to Brazil” operation, 15,000 new trees are to be planted at the Peugeor-Onf forestry carbon sink at Fazenda Sao Nicolau, the site of the project, in Brazil. These saplings will join the two million trees of more than 50 different species already introduced to the project site, a project that started in 1998 and is planned to continue until 2038. Peugeot wanted to give an environmental dimension to the “Kick it to Brazil” operation, by committing to planting a tree for every physical contact made by a person with the“Kick it to Brazil” football on its travels round the world, as well as by offsetting the carbon footprint for the journey in full by purchasing certified credits (VCS – Voluntary Carbon Standard carbon credits) from the Peugeot-Onf forestry carbon sink, reinvesting them in full in the ecological, scientific and socio-economic activities of the project.

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin ships 1,200 containers of logs annually
By Gary Eleazar, Kaieteur News, 14 December 2014 | A significant escalation in logging activities over the last three years in Region Ten has led directly to the destruction of the more than 200 kilometres of roadway between Kwakwani, Linden and Georgetown. According to official figures, an average of 40 heavily laden trucks traverse the worsening stretch of road each day between Kwawkani to Linden. They are also met by others heading to Georgetown, thus destroying that stretch of road also. The majority of the trucks on the Kwakwani to Linden road belongs to, or contracted by Chinese logging company, Bai Shan Lin, which has also significantly escalated its activities in the Region. Bai Shan Lin alone exports an average of 1,200 containers of logs annually. Logs are brought to Georgetown by way of trucks and barges.

Amid deforestation in Myanmar, growing discussions of REDD+ and rights
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 December 2014 | Growing discussions about forest-carbon initiatives in Myanmar could prove beneficial to the rights of local and indigenous communities there, as drivers of deforestation grow in the Southeast Asian country. Naw Ei Ei Min, the Director of an NGO from Myanmar, Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together (POINT) spoke at a civil society session at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima about the development of REDD+ in Myanmar and the challenges faced by indigenous people as they practice shifting cultivation. Due to pressure from external forces and lack of legal protection, they are reducing the traditional amount of time they leave fields fallow, which is driving increasing deforestation, she said. “Since there is no protection in the law, any time there is illegal logging coming in, or if companies get a concession to the area, they have to move, relocate further into the forest,” Min said.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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