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REDD in the news: 29 June – 5 July 2015

REDD in the newsREDD-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.

 

29 June 2015

Fight against deforestation failing, says WWF
By Marino Donati, Supply Management, 29 June 2015
International efforts to achieve zero net deforestation are lagging well behind a target, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Of the 14 nations included in a new study, by WWF and think tank Climate Advisers, only Indonesia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have set targets to succeed by 2020, the target advocated by WWF. Papua New Guinea and The Democratic Republic of the Congo have targeted zero net deforestation by 2030. WWF said that achieving zero net deforestation by 2020 in these 14 countries could save three gigatonnes in annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, more than the annual emissions of Germany and India combined. However, up to 95 per cent of these reductions could be conditional on international finance from wealthier governments or the private sector, the report warns.

When planting trees becomes a shallow PR gesture
By Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, 29 June 2015
Last week we learned that the Cox’s Orange Pippins – and other fruit trees – planted in 2009 on land acquired by Greenpeace and celebrities including Emma Thompson and Alistair McGowan to stop Heathrow’s third runway, had expired in a tangle of rank grassland. Nick Clegg had planted one tree; David Cameron had adopted another. The trees died because our attention span is closer to that of a mayfly than a mighty oak. A cynic might claim they had served their purpose: 100,000 people signed up as beneficial co-owners of Greenpeace’s orchard, the third runway was supposedly defeated, and the charity and its celebrity backers quietly sold the lease back to a local landowner for £1. Beware the celebrity bearing saplings may be a better aphorism for our times, with Madonna also criticised for receiving generous tax breaks for creating a tree nursery that will screen her new mansion in the Hamptons.

Rich countries’ $100bn promise to fight climate change ‘not delivered’
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 29 June 2015
Rich countries are very, very far from raising the billions they promised to help poor countries fight climate change, jeopardising the prospects of reaching a global warming deal at Paris, the world’s rising economies warned. As a key United Nations meeting got underway, Brazil, China, India and South Africa said they were disappointed in rich countries’ failure to make good on a promise six years ago to mobilise $100bn a year by 2020 for climate finance. The funds, intended to help developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for sea-level rises, extreme weather and other consequences of climate change, are seen as a crucial element to reaching a global warming agreement at the end of the year.

‘Paris deal on climate change should reflect differentiated responsiblities’
The Economic Times, 29 July 2015
The developing countries’ bloc of Brazil, South Africa, India and China have underscored that the ambitious Paris Agreement on climate change to be adopted later this year should “fully reflect” differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries. Developed countries should take the lead by undertaking ambitious emission reduction targets, ministers from the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) bloc said as they met for the 20th Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change here over the weekend. India was represented by Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ravi Prasad along with Brazil’s Minister for the Environment Izabella Teixeira, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China Xie Zhenhua.

[Canada] Greenhouse gas emissions from B.C. forests on dramatic rise
By Gordon Hoekstra, The Vancouver Sun, 29 June 2015
B.C.’s forests experienced heavy carbon losses between 2003-2012, a dramatic change from the previous decade whey they were absorbing carbon, an analysis by the Sierra Club of B.C. shows. The province’s forests emitted an estimated 256 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere between 2003 and 2012. In the previous 10-year period, they absorbed 441 million tonnes from the atmosphere, according to a report released this month by the environmental group. The key factor was the loss of the forests to absorb carbon because of the mountain pine beetle epidemic. The beetle epidemic killed vast tracts of lodgepole pine trees in B.C.’s Interior, peaking in 2005. Net emissions from B.C.’s forests are estimated by accounting for logging minus the amount of carbon stored in wood products, wild fires, slash-burning of logging waste and the reduced carbon sequestration capacity.

[Ecuador] REDD+ Progresses Without Indigenous Representation
By Haley Hansel, Pachamama Alliance, 29 June 2015
REDD+ is an international effort to give monetary value to carbon stored in forests, but although it’s aim is to decrease deforestation, the logistics of its implementation are concerning to many indigenous groups. As it stands, the conversation surrounding REDD+ is primarily one between national governments and large corporations without the inclusion of the indigenous people that call the forests their home. This is troubling to indigenous people and groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network because omitting the local voices from the conversation leaves them vulnerable to governments bargaining away their rights and freedoms and not equitably sharing the revenues. By not consulting with the owners and users of the forests, governments are arguably putting money ahead of a just implementation of REDD+.

[Guyana] Transfer pricing in log exports is a good example of why forensic audits in the natural resources sector are urgently needed
By Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 29 June 2015
In response to the letter ‘Where is the fraud?’ (Stabroek News, 26 June 2015), the following notes might help readers. Customs fraud has nothing to do with the ton-miles costs of moving forest products by road in Guyana or by Panamax ocean container ships. Customs fraud is when and where there is non-compliance with the Customs Act (cap. 82:01, especially sections 157, 158 and 216 (d) and (e)) and associated GRA procedures. The requirements are summarised in the Guyana Revenue Authority’s webpages http://www.gra.gov.gy/exports/ commercial/general-items – ‘Commercial Exports – General Items – OUTGOING CARGO’. Note that the webpage which the GRA provides for ‘Forestry products’ is blank.

[Indonesia] Where, when, why: Human-orangutan conflict in Borneo
By Jack Hewson, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 June 2015
A 90 kilogram full-grown male orangutan is sitting in your garden, eating mangoes stolen from your mango tree. You are unhappy about this. So how do you get rid of him? According to conservation scientist Erik Meijaard, the best method is to find some friends, form into a line, and move forward waving your arms and shouting. “Sometimes the big males are not very intimidated, in which case setting off firecrackers usually helps to persuade them to leave,” says the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) consultant scientist. Unfortunately these techniques are not common knowledge on the island of Borneo, home to more than 85 percent of the world’s remaining wild orangutans, where instances of human-orangutan conflict often end violently. “In confrontation situations I hear that sometimes people can go beserk. In one story I heard villagers just set an entire tree on fire with an orangutan in it,” Meijaard says.

[Laos] Participatory Land Use Planning to support healthy forests
SNV World, 29 June 2015
SNV, through the REDD+ project supported by USAID LEAF, is supporting villages in Houaphanh Province to use their land more sustainably, with the goal of reducing deforestation and forest degradation. Over the past year, SNV, in collaboration with the Lao Department of Forestry (DoF) and the Provincial and District Agriculture and Forestry Offices, has introduced participatory land use planning (PLUP) approaches to communities in Xam Tai and Viengxay Districts, Houaphanh Province. PLUP engages target village clusters in activities that aim to reduce deforestation and forest degradation rates in their local areas, and help to work towards the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the country’s forestry-land use sector.

Why haven’t Madagascar’s famed lemurs been saved yet?
By Julia P G Jones, The Conversation, 29 June 2015
So would REDD+ finally solve the problems of tropical forest conservation (and save those lemurs)? Unfortunately many challenges remain. A significant one is how the funds will be used to actually slow deforestation? In Madagascar the funds from REDD+ pilot projects have been used in part to fund community forest management: where legal management responsibility for forests is transferred to communities. Recent research from Madagascar provides some evidence that this can indeed slow deforestation but it is far from a panacea. A review of community forest management interventions around the world found there is limited evidence that the approach can deliver the hoped-for environmental, or local welfare, benefits.

Pakistan to set up carbon markets to cut emissions, lure investment
By Aamir Saeed, RTCC, 29 June 2015
Pakistan will set up a carbon market with technical assistance from China to cut greenhouse gas emissions and lure foreign investment. The ‘Carbon Neutral Pakistan’ project will receive 7.752 million rupees (US$76,205) in state funding out of its total cost of 313.96 million rupees (US$3.85m) in next year’s Public Sector Development Programme. Pakistan’s parliament gave final approval to the project in next year’s budget on June 23 along with 39.752 million rupees ($390,779) in the programme to combat climate change. The developing country is vulnerable floods, droughts and extreme weather and needs up to US$15 billion a year to climate-proof its economy and cut emissions. Pakistan pumped out nearly 150m tonnes of CO2 in 2008, which are rising at 6% a year, according to its climate change ministry.

30 June 2015

New study re-writes the rules of carbon analysis: ANU media center
Australian National University press release, 30 June 2015
A new study published today in Nature Climate Change has found analyses of carbon emissions may be misleading as they failed to include the impacts of policies such as trading schemes, emission caps or quotas… The paper develops a new framework for evaluating the impacts of policy mechanisms in life-cycle analysis and applies it to the issue of whether it is better for the climate to conserve native forests or to harvest them sustainably to produce wood products. Contrary to the findings of many previous life-cycle analyses, the study found that, when policy effects are accounted for, conserving the native forests of southeast New South Wales resulted in better climate outcomes than if they continued to be sustainably harvested.

The hunt for the world’s missing carbon
By Gabriel Popkin, Nature News & Comment, 30 June 2015
Studies from Parker’s group and others reveal that trees around the globe are going through a growth spurt and are absorbing billions of tonnes of the greenhouse gas, meaning that forests are putting a brake on global warming. But there is no guarantee that forests will keep that up, Parker says. “I think of it like these performance enhancers that some stellar athletes use: it bumps up performance, but not for ever.” In fact, studies of some regions suggest that forest growth may already be slowing down. And humans are adding to the problem by cutting down trees, especially in tropical forests. Getting an accurate reading on the status of Earth’s forests is hard because scientists cannot wrap measuring tapes around the roughly 400 billion trees scattered across the planet. So researchers are exploring ways to track forest growth more efficiently, using planes and satellites.

Brazil announces massive reforestation and renewable energy plan with US
By Suzanne Goldenberg and Dan Roberts, The Guardian, 30 June 2015
Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff put climate change at the top of their agenda at their bilateral meeting on Tuesday, with the US and Brazil agreeing to obtain up to 20% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030. Brazil also committed to restoring up to 12m hectares of forest – an area about the size of England or Pennsylvania – in another attempt to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. The White House said the initiatives were part of a new US-Brazil climate partnership, loosely modelled on the historic US-China agreement reached during Obama’s visit to Beijing last November, intended to build momentum for a global deal to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year.

Korea to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 37% by 2030
By Kim Se-jeong, The Korea Times, 30 June 2015
The government has announced it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from the previous projected emission levels for 2030. This means that Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions will be less than 536 million tons in 2030 if the plan is implemented successfully. The target is higher than the Park Geun-hye administration’s four earlier proposals, but still lower than the reduction target set in 2009 under the Lee Myung-bak government. “Considering Korea’s stance in the International community and negative feedback on the four proposals, we decided to present a more ambitious goal,” an official from the Ministry of Environment said.

Invest with confidence: Are planted forests in Latin America a good deal?
By Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 June 2015
Although many more trees per unit of land can be sold, compared to timber extracted selectively from primary forests, investment decisions for establishing large scale tree plantations need careful scrutiny. By focusing on key Latin American countries where plantation forestry is already common, a recent study identified the main advantages and constraints for planted forest investment, the extent to which political and institutional factors affect these investments, and how land prices and investment risk shape such decisions. By applying different but complementary metrics for gauging investment performance by using data from 2005 to 2011, the study sends a few key messages. Excluding land costs, net financial returns on investment in almost all of South America exceeded 10 percent – which applies to investors who bought cheap land decades ago.

1 July 2015

The Persuaders: Western States Petroleum Association
By Judith Lewis Mernit, Capital & Main, 1 July 2015
Here’s something you probably didn’t know happened in California in the last few years, and maybe it’s something you never imagined could happen: In 2011, two high-ranking state regulators were fired from their posts for pissing off the oil industry. No one really disputes the veracity of that statement; not even Governor Jerry Brown. “They were blocking oil exploration in Kern County,” the Sacramento Bee reported Brown announcing at an event six months later. “I fired them, and oil permits for drilling went up 18 percent.” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, also celebrated without restraint, unconcerned that the people of California might detect her hand guiding the Governor’s pink-slip pen. After the firings, Reheis-Boyd boasted to the Los Angeles Times that her industry once again had a “clear pathway for people to get permits and proceed with drilling in this state.

Of markets and morals, encyclicals and environment, poverty and the pope
By Kenneth R. Richards, The Hill, 1 July 2015
Chief among the exhortations is that climate change must be addressed; the world must reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases. So I was startled by the pope’s statement that discouraged the “strategy of buying and selling ‘carbon credits.’” Philosophy professor John Heath labeled this assertion Pope Francis’ “climate error.” Rob Stavins, a leading environmental economist, echoed the thoughts of many environmentalists when he observed that to protect the environment “we can do more, faster, and better with the use of market-based policy instruments.”

The Pope Is Right On Climate Change. As For His Economics …
By Rich Barlow, Cognoscenti, 1 July 2015
Yet the encyclical scanted a key point: While market forces contribute to the problem, they are unavoidably a vital tool in fixing it. Two favorite strategies among experts for stabilizing the global thermostat both tap two essential elements of markets — price (albeit manipulated by government) and private sector innovation. One approach would be a carbon tax, which would make it expensive to pollute by taxing emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Successful businesses would need to cut their pollution to protect their bottom lines. “Emissions taxes are the Economics 101 solution to pollution problems; every economist I know would start cheering wildly if Congress voted in a clean, across-the-board carbon tax,” Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman wrote.

Flood of emissions pledges boost hopes for global climate deal
By Lisa Friedman, eenews.net, 1 July 2015
Pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions poured in yesterday from across the globe as countries from Korea to Iceland vowed new contributions toward what many hope will be the first truly international climate change accord. China made the biggest splash with a formal declaration to the United Nations of a promise to stop its rise in annual carbon pollution by 2030. The government also said it will slash its emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60 to 65 percent below 2005 levels and boost non-fossil-fuel energy sources — including both renewables and nuclear — to 20 percent. Visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, meanwhile, struck a deal with President Obama in Washington, D.C., for both Brazil and the United States to increase their shares of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2030. Rousseff also promised to eliminate illegal deforestation in Brazil, while restoring or reforesting 12 million hectares (30 million acres)…

EC moves to close MSR loophole in post-2020 EU ETS reform plans -leaked draft
By Ben Garside and Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 1 July 2015
The European Commission has moved to close a potentially massive loophole in the MSR reform in what appears to be a draft of the EU ETS post-2020 proposal leaked on Wednesday, giving a slightly bullish EUA price outlook and tightening free allocations to industry. The undated draft text was leaked and posted on the website of environmental campaigners Change Partnership, providing more clues as to what key changes to the bloc’s carbon market the European Commission is pushing for. The Commission is aiming to publish its final proposal on July 15, despite warning that it could be delayed until September. This will then kickstart a lawmaking process that could last two years or more. While the MSR is due to withhold around 1.6 billion EUAs from the market by the end of the decade, lawmakers left a potential loophole by not fully deciding on the fate of an estimated 700 million allowances unallocated in Phase 3 (2013-2020).

Indonesia’s Forest Fires Reignite, Threatening Protected Areas and Peatlands
By Lisa Johnston, Tjokorda Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi, Susan Minnemeyer and Nigel Sizer, World Resources Institute, 1 July 2015
Extreme haze caused by forest and bush fires throughout Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia has been a perpetual problem affecting the quality of life and economy of local residents and neighboring countries. As this year’s dry season approaches, the fires are just starting to pick up, especially in the fire-prone province of Riau, Sumatra. They’re already threatening some of the most biodiverse and carbon-rich ecosystems in the country—protected forests and peatlands. According to NASA’s Active Fire Data on the Global Forest Watch Fires platform, half of the fire alerts in Riau Province are occurring in protected areas or those where new development is prohibited under Indonesia’s national forest moratorium.

World Bank Team hails Liberia’s REDD+ initiatives
The New Dawn Liberia, 1 July 2015
A visiting World Bank team has rated Liberia’s REDD+ initiatives as encouraging, but cautioned that 10 days is not sufficient to complete what is being envisaged for the country in terms of project preparation. The team said there were strategically two angles of the project, including development and climate change, which go together as one cannot happen without the other. According to the New Liberia Media Initiatives, the World Bank team has hailed the government’s Agenda for Transformation or Vision 2030 as an enabling policy framework, which is emerging as well as legislation of lands rights policy, still being highly anticipated. The Bank believes that Liberia being a signatory to the UN efforts on climate change and biodiversity has demonstrated commitment by taking the first few steps despite difficult circumstances since 2009 to become part of the forest carbon partnership and to initiate REDD+.

[USA] United Takes $30 Million Stake in Biofuels Firm
By Gregory Polek, Aviation International News, 1 July 2015
United obtained carbon credits offsets for all passengers and crew on every flight performed by a specially painted Boeing 737-900ER in April under its EcoSkies CarbonChoice program. United Airlines has taken a $30 million equity investment in California-based biofuels supplier Fulcrum BioEnergy, the companies announced Tuesday. The deal marks the single largest investment by a U.S. airline and calls for United and Fulcrum to collaborate on as many as five projects located near the airline’s hubs that would produce up to 180 million gallons of fuel per year. United has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum that offers it the option to buy at least 90 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year for a minimum of 10 years at a cost the companies characterize as “competitive” with conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum expects its first alternative fuels plant to begin commercial operation in 2017.

2 July 2015

Carbon or biodiversity conservation – you can’t have the best of both worlds
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 July 2015
When trying to protect carbon stocks and biodiversity, the expression “to kill two birds with one stone” seems hardly appropriate. And indeed, it seems that the REDD+ stone isn’t hitting the dual targets of storing carbon and protecting wildlife, according to recent research from Indonesia. The new study indicates that it’s hard to find areas where conservation projects would be highly efficient at both combating climate change through carbon storage and preserving the maximum of (threatened) plants and animals. “When you look at where in the landscape those two environmental services peak, their high-priority areas rarely overlap,” says economist Sven Wunder, from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and co-author of the study on the location of carbon, biodiversity, deforestation threats and REDD+ projects in Indonesia.

Paris climate pledges: At a glance
By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 2 July 2015
BusinessGreen runs down the intended national emissions pledges already submitted by countries ahead of a global deal to cut carbon emissions. With the Paris climate talks fast approaching, the nearly 200 countries due to attend the United Nations summit have been asked to submit the national climate action plans and emissions pledges that are expected to provide the basis of any deal. So far fewer than 40 countries have officially filed their pledges under the system of so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). But those that have include some of the world’s biggest economies, including the EU and the US. Drawing on recent analysis from PwC, BusinessGreen takes a look at some of the most important pledges and what they could mean for those countries’ policy and investment landscapes.

A papal call to reconcile the natural, spiritual and industrial worlds
By Eugene Linden, Financial Times, 2 July 2015
Free market conservatives hate it, it fails to address the threat of overpopulation, and it dismisses carbon credits as a way to combat global warming. Nonetheless Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, will ultimately be recognised as one of the most significant events in the modern environmental movement. Above all, it takes a big step towards healing a breach between western religions and nature that dates back to the dawn of monotheism.

[Australia] UN calls for ban on logging and mining in Tasmania’s world heritage area
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 2 July 2015
The UN has called for a blanket ban on logging and mining in Tasmania’s world heritage area and demanded the Tasmanian government rethink its new management plan for the vast wilderness. The 21 countries on Unesco’s world heritage committee have ratified a draft decision that the government must “ensure that commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire property” and that a proposed new strategy for the wilderness area is reviewed so that ecological values are fully protected. The Tasmanian government wants to open up nearly 200,000 hectares for logging of some kind – an area that represents 12% of the state’s world heritage area. The new management plan also proposes escalating the building of tourism infrastructure. Tasmania’s world heritage area covers around 1.5m hectares, which is about 20% of the state’s land mass.

EU carbon credit system still ‘at risk of VAT fraud’
By Peter Teffer, EU Observer, 2 July 2015
A loophole allowing carbon-credit tax fraud resulting in losses of several billion euros has not been fully closed, the European Court of Auditors said in a report published Thursday (2 July). The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme market, put in place to reduce carbon emissions, “remains at risk to VAT fraud”, the auditors said in a special report titled The integrity and implementation of the EU ETS. A carousel fraud involving the trade of emission credits in 2008 and 2009 amounted to a loss of €5 billion for national tax revenues. Following the fraud scheme, the EU adopted a directive which gave member states the possibility to implement a VAT reverse charge mechanism, which puts the obligation to pay VAT on the person to whom credits are transferred. This has been seen as a sufficient deterrent. But not all 28 member states have put the mechanism in place.

Germany to mothball largest coal power plants to meet climate targets
Reuters, 2 July 2015
Germany agreed on Thursday to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, after months of wrangling between the parties in chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition. But Merkel and the leaders of her two junior coalition partners also, in effect, agreed to set up a “capacity reserve” system where utilities could switch on the brown coal plants if there were power shortages in the country. An economy ministry spokesman said the decision on brown coal would mean Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. The goal is much more ambitious than the EU-wide target of the same cut by 2030. “Brown coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts will be mothballed. Those plants will not be allowed to sell any electricity on the normal power market,” said a spokesman for the economy ministry after the talks which lasted four hours.

Damming Dissent: Community leaders behind bars in Guatemala after opposing hydro projects
By Sandra Cuffe, mongabay.com, 2 July 2015
Communities engaged in fierce resistance to the dam projects have been experiencing a multi-pronged crackdown by the government. In addition to Méndez and Velásquez, four other men from Santa Cruz Barillas and two indigenous Maya Q’anjob’al leaders from the neighboring municipality of Santa Eulalia are locked up, apparently for their roles in opposing the projects, too. There are outstanding arrest warrants for at least ten other women and men, all of them involved in community-based opposition to hydroelectric projects. Moreover, three activists have been murdered — two of their bodies showing signs of torture.

South African, Brazilian projects win Norwegian CO2 credit tender
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 2 July 2015
The Norwegian government has selected a total of five projects in Brazil and South Africa under its second tender to purchase carbon credits to meet its emission targets, helping prop up ailing demand for carbon-cutting projects. The U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows investors in emission reduction projects located in poor nations to earn carbon credits that governments and companies can use to offset emissions. It has issued developers with more than 1.6 billion carbon offset credits, but a lack of demand and oversupply has led prices to collapse from above 13 euros four years ago. Norway chose two landfill gas flaring initiatives and one project to switch to cleaner fuels at a magnesium plant in Brazil, according to a statement from The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), which manages the tenders.

[UK] Prince Charles: rewire the global economy to stop climate change
By Damian Carrignton, The Guardian, 2 July 2015
Prince Charles has said that “profound changes” to the global economic system are needed in order to avert environmental catastrophe, in an uncompromising speech delivered in front of an audience of senior business leaders and politicians. The heir to the throne – often criticised for his meddling in political affairs – argued that ending the taxpayer subsidies enjoyed by coal, oil and gas companies could reduce the carbon emissions driving climate change by an estimated 13%. Although the prince’s passion for environmental causes is well known, the speech delivered on Thursday evening in St James’s Palace, London was particularly pointed in its criticism of companies that protected vested interests and came with a report that proposed raising taxes on them.

3 July 2015

[China] Hubei carbon exchange threatens to purge speculative traders
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 3 July 2015
The Hubei carbon exchange is threatening to cancel the licenses of trading firms making outlier bids or offers in a bid to root out market manipulation, sparking complaints of government intervention. The exchange on Thursday evening warned market participants against making bids or offers that deviate significantly from current price levels. “Effective immediately, we will restrict bids far higher than asking prices and offers far lower than bidding prices,” it said in a statement. The announcement came a week ahead of the deadline for ETS participants to surrender allowances to cover their 2014 emissions. Some of Hubei biggest cement factories are short by over 1 million permits, and according to one source recently had a request to the provincial government to borrow permits from next year’s allocation denied.

[Indonesia] Rampant crime threatens RI forests
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 3 July 2015
Recent data from the government has shown that rampant environmental crime in Indonesia is posing an extraordinary threat to the country’s ecological sustainability. The Environment and Forestry Ministry revealed on Thursday that it is currently handling 169 cases of environmental crime, spanning from Aceh to Papua and including offences such as illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, poaching and waste dumping. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are still many other cases [unreported or still in process],” the ministry’s law enforcement director-general, Rasio Ridho Sani, told reporters after a press briefing at his office in Jakarta. Of these 169 cases, 10 of them are administrative, while 25 are disputes and 134 are crimes. “These numbers do not represent the whole country as this is just the data from seven units out of 77,” Rasio said.

[UK] Common telephone scams to beware of
BT.com, 3 July 2015
Many of us will at some time receive a phone call out of the blue from someone promising us a great way to make money. Often it will be enticing you into investing in something exotic like wine or carbon credits or land in Brazil, The deal on offer will sound fantastic. You’ll be told that the investment is low risk, there’s no way it can lose. And the returns will be unbelievable, far more impressive than anything you can get from your bank or even by sticking your money into a few Ftse 100 shares. Of course, it will all be rubbish. The callers are scammers, trying to get you to sign over your cash into an investment where the only winner will be the scammers. You’ll either be investing in something that doesn’t exist, or which has a value of a fraction of what you’re paying for it.

4 July 2015

[Guyana] ‘Shape up or ship out’
Stabroek News, 4 July 2015
Government will be pushing for logging and other companies operating here to do value-added processing locally and companies that do not fulfill their commitments would have to shape up or ship out, Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman says. “All companies that have given commitments in or by their agreements to do things and they’re not, my view is that you either shape up or you ship out but we just can’t allow our resources to be utilised at a primary level, shipped out,” Trotman, who has been tasked… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Korea Makes Climate Pledge, But Is It Enough?
By Sandy Dechert, CleanTechnica, 4 July 2015
The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is one of the 44 countries that have submitted emissions pledges to the official United Nations INDC list. South Korea is one of the fastest growing emitters in the developed world and is in the top 10 (#7, in April) on the world list… The Korea INDC was the last plan of four that were submitted on June 30, the midway UNFCCC deadline date. The plan calls for a 37% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below the business-as-usual emissions mark of 850.6 MtCO2e by 2030. This pledge exceeds four previously discussed targets of 14.7-31.3%.

5 July 2015

[USA] Will The ‘Just Say No’ Strategy To Thwarting Obama’s Carbon Plan Work?
By Ken Silverstein, Forbes, 5 July 2015
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has curbed the Environmental Protection Agency efforts to enact mercury standards, the coal sector wants to carry forward the same winning mindset — and help kill the same agency’s proposed carbon standards. Will it work? That’s highly unlikely. But it will serve to delay the implementation of the rule that would cut carbon releases by 30 percent by 2030. At issue in both the mercury case decided last Monday and the Clean Power Plan to be finalized this summer is costs — and whether they would be rational in comparison to the benefits produced.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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