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REDD in the news: 12-18 October 2015

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.

 
Duality in climate science
By Kevin Anderson, Nature Geoscience, October 2015
The commentary demonstrates the endemic bias prevalent amongst many of those developing emission scenarios to severely underplay the scale of the 2°C mitigation challenge. In several important respects the modelling community is self-censoring its research to conform to the dominant political and economic paradigm. Moreover, there is a widespread reluctance of many within the climate change community to speak out against unsupported assertions that an evolution of ‘business as usual’ is compatible with the IPCC’s 2°C carbon budgets. With specific reference to energy, this analysis concludes that even a slim chance of “keeping below” a 2°C rise, now demands a revolution in how we both consume and produce energy. Such a rapid and deep transition will have profound implications for the framing of contemporary society and is far removed from the rhetoric of green growth that increasingly dominates the climate change agenda.

12 October 2015

A Tale of Two Food Prizes
By Eric Holt-Giménez, Truthout, 12 October 2015
Founded in 1986 by the “father of the Green Revolution” Norman Borlaug, the World Food Prize typically celebrates technological innovations that increase agricultural yields. This is because the award committee assumes that there is not enough food in the world to feed everyone. Actually, over the last four decades we have consistently produced 1 ½ times enough food for every man, woman and child on the planet. Yet, over a billion people are still hungry and malnourished because they are too poor to buy food. Awarding the Word Food Prize to BRAC should be a reminder that poverty, not scarcity, is the main cause of world hunger.

The fragile state of the world economy
By James Meadway, New Economics Foundation, 12 October 2015
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest Financial Stability Report adds to the chorus of voices now warning about the fragile state of the world economy, including the Bank of International Settlements. The collapse of a major debt bubble in the “emerging markets” (the less wealthy countries who now constitute 60% of the world economy) points towards the appearance of what Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane has called a “trilogy” of debt crisis. The first was the “Anglo-Saxon” crisis that peaked in 2008. The second was the Eurozone crisis of 20011-12, centred on peripheral eurozone members. The third wave is now appearing in the Global South, with China as the most dramatic example.

El Niño could leave 4 million people in Pacific without food or drinking water
By Ben Dohery, The Guardian, 12 October 2015
Two dozen people have already died from hunger and drinking contaminated water in drought-stricken Papua New Guinea, but the looming El Niño crisis could leave more than four million people across the Pacific without enough food or clean water. The El Niño weather pattern – when waters in the eastern tropical Pacific ocean become warmer, driving extreme weather conditions – may be as severe as in 1997-98, when an estimated 23,000 people died, forecasters believe. In Papua New Guinea’s Chimbu province in the highlands region, a prolonged drought has been exacerbated by sudden and severe frosts which have killed off almost all crops. The provincial disaster centre has confirmed 24 people have died from starvation and drinking contaminated water.

Guest Post: Financing to Protect Forests: Will Carbon Markets Deliver?
By Brian Murray, Council on Foreign Relations, 12 October 2015
Carbon markets, long seen as a promising vehicle for monetizing the environmental value of intact forests, have so far failed to deliver on that promise. Though there has been progress toward including forests in an agreement at the UN’s climate summit in Paris later this year, the use of carbon markets to pay for their protection faces substantial hurdles… Diplomats have worked hard to reach agreement on those controversial governance issues, and an agreement has been reached in principle that forests will be included in some form in the Paris agreement. But regardless of the details hammered out in and after Paris, a unified global carbon market including REDD+ does not appear to be in the works. Any agreement in Paris is likely to be built “bottom up,” through national emissions reductions pledges (rather than “top down,” through a global set of targets).

French Government Grants New Oil Exploration Permits in the Run-Up to the Climate Summit
By Maxime Combes, Basta!, 12 October 2015
French Ministers of the Environment and the Economy, Ségolène Royal and Emmanuel Macron, have just granted three new exploration permits for liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. These permits relate to exploration areas in the Seine-et-Marne (Paris region) and in districts of the Lower Rhine and Marne (Eastern France). The ministers have also extended two other fossil fuel permits until the end of 2018, in Moselle (Eastern France) and off the island of Juan de Nova, in the “French Southern and Antarctic Territories”, between Madagascar and Mozambique. The five executive orders were all issued on September 21st [1]. This marks a clear policy shift for the French government, which had hitherto restrained from granting too many oil licenses. Canadian oil company Vermilion Energy was awarded the Champfolie permit in Seine-et-Marne, as an extension to its Chaunoy concession, already one of the largest-developed oil deposits in the Ile-de-France region.

Global Forest Coalition Forests and IMFP’s: Impressions from Durban
By Philip Owen, Global Forest Coalition, 12 October 2015
I was asked to represent the GFC at ‘The Forest Dialogue’ (TFD). This was a meeting of leaders in the industry, with representatives from Sappi, Mondi, Stora Enzo , WWF and other very large corporations and institutions. In these circles there is a opposite view than that held by environmental / social activists. Industry representatives predict growth of “Intensively Managed Forest Plantations” (IMFP’s) due to the rising demand for wood as a fuel for ‘bioenergy’… I argued that IMFP’s are not sustainable; that they impact extremely negatively on soil, water and biodiversity resources and that this is leading to a collapse in ecosystem integrity. I argued that there must be real change in the model, that there should be diversity incorporated within plantation compartments, that wider ‘ecological corridors’ should be established, that indigenous timber species should be cultivated for a longer rotation, higher value product.

The Rapid and Startling Decline Of World’s Vast Boreal Forests
By Jim Robbins, Yale Environment 360, 12 October 2015
The boreal forest wraps around the globe at the top of the Northern Hemisphere in North America and Eurasia. Also known as taiga or snow forest, this landscape is characterized by its long, cold and snowy winters. In North America it extends from the Arctic Circle of northern Canada and Alaska down into the very northern tip of the United States in Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Minnesota. It’s the planet’s single largest biome and makes up 30 percent of the globe’s forest cover. Moose are the largest ungulate in the boreal, adapted with their long legs to wade in its abundant marshes, lakes and rivers eating willows, aspen and other plants. In the southern boreal forest of northern Minnesota, moose were once plentiful, but their population has plummeted. Thirty years ago, in the northwest part of the state, there were some 4,000; they now number about a hundred. In the northeast part, they have dropped from almost 9,000 to 4,300.

Can nations reach a strong agreement at COP 21?
By Fiona Harvey, Ensia, 12 October 2015
Scientists agree: we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions drastically in the next decade if we are to avoid the worst ravages of climate change. World governments agree: the way to do that is to forge a global agreement at the climate talks scheduled for this November and December in Paris. Such an agreement would run from 2020 to 2030 and beyond, and encompass all the world’s economies, developing and developed, big and small. With less than two months until that meeting convenes, major issues remain unresolved. Whether they can be settled in the short time available will determine whether Paris is a success — and whether the world can measure up to the major tasks ahead. A measure of the urgency of the problem is the current refugee crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Forests and food: Get your facts straight!
By Bronwen Powell, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 October 2015
As someone with a PhD in Human Nutrition, working at CIFOR – the Center for International Forestry Research – has offered me many opportunities to discuss food security and nutrition with a wide range of researchers, policy makers and practitioners from conservation, forestry, and natural resource management. And I’ve come to realize that misconceptions about food security and nutrition are all too common. This is understandable given the rapid change in food security and nutrition knowledge. Here are the top three pitfalls I have encountered. Assumption #1: Protein is the reason humans need animal source food You find statements like this throughout articles on bushmeat. But while this “obsession with protein” was abandoned years ago in nutrition research, it persists in the research on forests and food security…

Climate change could triple Amazon drought, study finds
By Chelsea Harvey, The Washington Post, 12 October 2015
While the Brazilian government, in particular, has taken major steps to cut down on agriculture-related deforestation in the Amazon, climate change itself has become a serious threat to the trees. Rising temperatures will likely cause widespread drought throughout the Amazon basin, which could cause forests to degrade and release their carbon stores. That’s the message of a study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which explores the extent to which drought will increase in the Amazon throughout the century and finds that the total area affected by severe drought will triple by the end of the century.

Evo Morales Closes Climate Change Summit in Bolivia
teleSUR English, 12 October 2015
In his closing remarks of a three-day climate change summit near Cochabamba, Bolivian President Evo Morales said that capitalism is to blame for climate change, and that the conclusions made at the summit will be directly taken to the Paris climate change conference later this year. “For now, we are discussing a problem left to us by capitalism: climate change,” said Morales.

Bolivia INDC calls for global carbon budget, destruction of capitalism
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 12 October 2015
Bolivia became the 151st party to submit its INDC on Sunday, calling for a global carbon budget skewed towards poorer nations and continuing its opposition to the use of carbon markets. In the document, the South American nation called for a distribution of the remaining global carbon budget taking into account historical responsibility, ecological footprint, capacity development and technological capacity. This would give non-Annex I (developing) UNFCCC nations a 89% share and 11% to Annex I (developed) nations. It said that for a lasting solution to the climate crisis we must destroy capitalism and proposed 10 structural solutions including “eradication of the commodification of nature and carbon markets which promote climate business millionaires and do not solve the problem of the climate crisis.”

Indonesia’s costly haze problem
By Karishma Vaswani, BBC News, 12 October 2015
Flights cancelled, agricultural land destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people around the region suffering from respiratory illnesses. This is something that has happened pretty much every year – for the last 18 years. Indonesia’s forest fires and the resulting haze have caused havoc and headlines across Asia, which has put the government there under pressure to put the fires out. That might explain why Indonesian police are on a roll. On Monday they’ve named another 12 companies as suspects in starting the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan. But while Indonesia’s police chief Badrodin Haiti was unwilling to tell the BBC who the companies are, he was happy to stress that two of them are from Malaysia and China and that another one under investigation is from Singapore. Pointing the finger outside of Indonesia can be useful especially at a time when the government there is under pressure…

Indonesia to Stop Complying with European Union’s Palm Oil Standards
Indonesia Investments, 12 October 2015
The Indonesian government will (temporarily) stop using sustainability standards designed by the European Union regarding crude palm oil (CPO). Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said the current strict standards of the European Union hurt the domestic palm oil industry, especially smallholders. Moreover, Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s two largest CPO producers and exporters, are to set up a new intergovernmental palm oil council that will design new rules and standards regarding sustainable palm oil production.

Raking In The Profits From Malaysia!
Sarawak Report, 12 October 2015
In May of this year an angry and desperate strategy was put into play by the conspirators who had taken billions out of Malaysia’s 1MDB development fund. Patrick Mahony, a Director of PetroSaudi International, flew over to Bangkok to lay accusations of blackmail against a former fellow Director, Xavier Justo, who had moved to Thailand. It was the first step in a carefully executed plan to try to seize back the initiative in response to exposures based on evidence provided by Justo, which had opened up a dangerous series of official investigations against PetroSaudi and 1MDB.

13 October 2015

DIALOGUE: Is there a future for international carbon trading?
By Ben Garside and Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 13 October 2015
In the run-up to next month’s climate summit in Paris, all major emitters have submitted INDCs focusing on domestic efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. So what are the prospects for international carbon trading? A growing number of national and sub-national governments turn to carbon markets to meet their future GHG emission goals, but while a large number of developing nations are interested in selling carbon credits in an international market there is little interest in buying. New Zealand, South Korea and Switzerland are the only Annex I nations to have made it clear in their INDCs they will contribute demand in an international market, in addition to a limited contribution from Japan through its Joint Crediting Mechanism. The major emitters – China, the EU and the United States – all ruled out using foreign offsets or permits to help meet their targets.

Paris talks should set $25/t CO2 tax, emissions target for shipping -OECD think tank
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 13 October 2015
UN climate negotiators should this year set a $25/tonne carbon tax on international shipping as one of several measures for the sector, an OECD-affiliated think tank said this week, a move rebuffed by the industry. The International Transport Forum (ITF), an intergovernmental body of 57 member countries, made the recommendations in a discussion paper published on Monday, adding that that the levy would have a marginal impact on maritime trade while raising $26 billion for the UN’s Green Climate Fund and returning a portion of the cash to poorer nations. An ITF spokesman stressed the paper represented a lower level of advice by its officials intended to stimulate wider debate, rather than a more formal move agreed by its membership, which is larger than the 33 OECD industrialised nations and includes China, India and Russia.

Methane release from melting permafrost could trigger dangerous global warming
By John Abraham, The Guardian, 13 October 2015
But what has scientists focusing on methane is the way it is released into the atmosphere. Unlike carbon dioxide, which is emitted primarily through burning of fossil fuels, methane has a large natural emission component. This natural emission is from warming permafrost in the northern latitudes. Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. Much of the permafrost is undisturbed by bacterial decomposition. As the Earth warms, and the Arctic warms especially fast, the permafrost melts and soil decomposition accelerates. Consequently, an initial warming leads to more emission, leading to more warming and more emission. It is a vicious cycle and there may be a tipping point where this self-reinforcing cycle takes over.

Oil unlikely to ever be fully exploited because of climate concerns
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 13 October 2015
The world’s oil resources are unlikely to ever be fully exploited, BP has admitted, due to international concern about climate change. The statement, by the group’s chief economist, is the clearest acknowledgement yet by a major fossil fuel company that some coal, oil and gas will have to remain in the ground if dangerous global warming is to be avoided. “Oil is not likely to be exhausted,” said Spencer Dale in a speech in London. Dale, who chief economist at the Bank of England until 2014, said: “What has changed in recent years is the growing recognition [of] concerns about carbon emissions and climate change.” Scientists have warned that most existing fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming and Dale accepted this explicitly.

TTIP: A box of tricks for corporate climate criminals
Corporate Europe Observatory, 13 October 2015
A new briefing in English by AITEC and CEO explains why TTIP, and especially regulatory cooperation, could put a stranglehold on our ability to create the energy transition required to tackle climate change. The new brifing gives examples of how regulatory cooperation in TTIP will enable big polluters to keep polluting and will help corporations tangle up regulations they dislike. Regulatory cooperation could be the weapon to kill legislation to make investment in coal more expensive or to kill regulations to ramp up the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. TTIP is thus a threat to climate justice.

[Australia] ANALYST UPDATE: “Two phase” safeguard scheme emerging
RepuTex, 13 October 2015
Last Thursday, Environment Minister Greg Hunt lodged the administrative rules for the operation of the Emissions Reduction Fund “Safeguard Mechanism”, the final component of the government’s Direct Action Plan policy. The new regulation is largely in line with the government’s earlier draft rules, released in September, providing high emitting companies with headroom to grow emissions, coupled with flexibility to avoid compliance obligations should baselines be at risk of being breached… With no accountability for emission increases, we forecast that covered emissions will increase by approximately 20 per cent through to 2030 under the current design of the safeguard mechanism.

How Brazil curbed Amazon deforestation by 90 percent in 10 years
By Lucy Schouten, Christian Science Monitor, 13 October 2015
Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil has plummeted in the last decade, as the government has made new agreements with farmers and ranchers and enforced laws against those who clear land illegally. Enforcement of existing laws has contributed the most to dropping rates of deforestation, Daniel Nepstad, executive director at Earth Innovation Institute, a research organization for sustainable farming methods, told The Christian Science Monitor. A “command and control strategy” penalizes anyone who clears forests illegally. “It was possible through practical enforcement of previous and new regulations,” Dr. Javier Godar, a research fellow with the Stockholm Environment Institute, told The Christian Science Monitor. He said law enforcement had to improve how the forest was being monitored.

EU cautious on int’l carbon trade, tells market backers to look elsewhere for buyers
By Ben Garside and Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 13 October 2015
Negotiators in Paris must agree robust global standards for measuring national goals ahead of fostering international carbon trade, an EU official said Tuesday, stressing that market proponents should seek credit demand sources outside of Europe. “What is important is countries around the world are embracing carbon pricing (and) the international market as an important complement of their effort post-Paris,” said Mary Veronica Tovsak Pleterski, the European Commission’s director for European and international carbon markets. “Every country is expected to first make their own contribution, and then of course it’s important to ensure the (trade) flows are being set up and the demand is created,” she told an event in the EU Parliament in Brussels.

[Indonesia] Arfak awaits REDD program to overcome climate change
By Muhamad Usman, The Jakarta Post, 13 October 2015
This Pegunungan Arfak regency civil servant indicated that he was aware of the plan to implement the UN Program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation or REDD (the plus being among others sustainable forest management) in the bahamti zone, covering 68,000 hectares. “The Arfak people are fully prepared to cooperate in the realization of the REDD program. We’re convinced that REDD will keep the climate in the Arfak mountain range unchanged so that the local community can grow crops properly,” he said… “We have become confused about the continuation of REDD . There’s no coordination and communication, while we’ve carried on preparation in the regencies. Strategy and action plan documents in some regencies have been prepared, but no more news has come from Jakarta,” [Max Tokede, a forestry lecturer at Papua University] explained.

[Indonesia] Expansion of Central Kalimantan oil palm plantations destroys the environment
By Setiono Sugiharto, The Jakarta Post, 13 October 2015
The massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Sukamara and its neighboring regions such as Pangkalanbun, Air Rupas, Manis Mata, Pontianak, Ketapang, Kotawaringin Lama and Balai Riam have also created another problem — the protracted haze crisis as a result of the deliberate burning of forests. Among other places affected by the smog, provincial capital of Palangkaraya was hit by the worst smog ever recorded this year. Apart from regularly disrupting flight schedules to the capital and its regencies, the haze claimed the life of a nine-day baby and left dozens of people suffering from Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (ISPA). Responding to complaints by aircraft passengers, a staff member of an airline serving the Jakarta — Pangkalanbun route said recently that during the current drought, flight delays were inevitable. He said the visibility was only 200 meters…

[Indonesia] Minister blasts execs of firm that denied burning forest
By Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, The Straits Times, 13 October 2015
Retired general Luhut Pandjaitan, the most senior Indonesian official in charge of tackling the haze crisis, recalls how he once stuck his head out of a helicopter in midair to survey the damage done by forest fires. That was decades ago when he was a young army major. Last Friday, the former Special Forces soldier, now 68, did just that again. This time, over concession land under Bumi Andalas Permai, a supplier to Singapore-based Asia Pulp and Paper. The two companies share the same parent, Indonesia’s Sinar Mas. Mr Luhut, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, saw fires raging over thousands of hectares in the Ogan Komering Ilir regency. This, even though the firm had denied burning the forest to clear land. The retired general landed at the office of Bumi Andalas Permai and vented his frustration.

[UK] Celtic investors targeted by ‘boiler room’ fraudsters
By Rebecca Gray, Herald Scotland, 13 October 2015
Celtic investors are being targeted by suspected ‘boiler room’ fraudsters. Club bosses warned shareholders to be vigilant after some received suspicious calls, asking questions about their investments in the football club. A spate of calls have been reported to officials at Parkhead who issued a warning to those affected. They urged shareholders not to reveal personal details. In a statement, the club said: “Shareholders should be extremely wary of any unsolicited advice, offers, approaches or other communications regarding their shares and personal information. “Following a recent increase in the prevalence of so called ´boiler room´ scams, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries have produced advice warning investors about unsolicited communications concerning investment matters.”

[UK] North-east woman loses £99,000 in ‘boiler room’ scam
Evening Express, 13 October 2015
An investigation is under way after fraudsters scammed a woman out of almost £100,000. The victim, from Oldmeldum, lost £99,000 in a “boiler room” scheme earlier this month. A “boiler room” fraud is where fraudsters posing as stockbrokers convince people to buy worthless shares. Now officers are urging people to be vigilant when online or answering cold calls to ensure nobody else falls victim to such a scam. Detective Inspector Iain McPhail, of Police Scotland’s economic crime unit, reiterated the importance of carrying out simple checks on the legitimacy of a product or service before giving out any financial details.

[USA] Who Wants to Buy a Coal Mine?
By John W. Miller and Matt Jarzemsky Wall Street Journal, 13 October 2015
Tom Clarke received a cold reception when he first approached Patriot Coal Corp. earlier this year. The company and its advisers were trying to sell some of its Appalachian mines after filing for bankruptcy protection. At first they doubted Mr. Clarke’s conservation group, whose mission is “to conserve Virginia’s natural resources to address climate change,” would have the money and know-how the deal required, according to people familiar with the matter. But Mr. Clarke … made his pitch: His Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund Inc. would take control of mining operations and cleanup projects, aiming to sell coal bundled with carbon credits linking it to forestry projects. Patriot, in exchange, would be freed from about $400 million in liabilities tied to the mines but wouldn’t receive a significant cash payment. Patriot accepted the offer.

14 October 2015

Bill Gates calls fossil fuel divestment a ‘false solution’
By Emma Howard, The Guardian, 14 October 2015
Bill Gates has branded fossil fuel divestment “a false solution” and accused environmentalists of making misleading claims about the price of solar power. In an interview with US magazine the Atlantic, the founder of Microsoft and the Gates foundation criticised the global movement that has seen pension funds, universities, churches and local governments commit to pulling $2.6tn out of coal, oil and gas companies. “If you think divestment alone is a solution, I worry you’re taking whatever desire people have to solve this problem and kind of using up their idealism and energy on something that won’t emit less carbon – because only a few people in society are the owners of the equity of coal or oil companies,” he said. “As long as there’s no carbon tax and that stuff is legal, everybody should be able to drive around.”

Exxon’s climate lie: ‘No corporation has ever done anything this big or bad’
By Bill McKibben, The Guardian, 14 October 2015
In the last three weeks, two separate teams of journalists — the Pulitzer-prize winning reporters at the website Inside Climate News and another crew composed of Los Angeles Times veterans and up-and-comers at the Columbia Journalism School — have begun publishing the results of a pair of independent investigations into ExxonMobil. Though they draw on completely different archives, leaked documents, and interviews with ex-employees, they reach the same damning conclusion: Exxon knew all that there was to know about climate change decades ago, and instead of alerting the rest of us denied the science and obstructed the politics of global warming.

New Palm Oil Council Would Drop ‘No Deforestation’ Pledge: Indonesia
By Augustinus Beo Da Costa, Jakarta Globe, 14 October 2015
A new palm oil producer grouping being set up by Indonesia and Malaysia would replace “no deforestation” pledges made by major palm companies in favor of a joint set of standards proposed by the two countries, an Indonesian minister said late Tuesday. Indonesia wants big palm oil companies to row back on the historic pledges made at a climate change summit last year, arguing that they are hurting smallholder producers who cannot afford to adopt sustainable forestry practices. Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of palm oil producer, a key driver of economic growth, and legions of smallholders account for about 40 percent of its palm output. “Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to harmonize and combine our two standards,” Indonesia’s chief natural resources minister Rizal Ramli told parliament.

Even Coal-Mining Giants Now Want a Climate-Change Deal This Year
By Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg, 14 October 2015
Calling for action on climate change is as trendy as it gets for corporations these days. But the latest businesses to declare support for a global deal on greenhouse gases may turn some heads. The 14 companies that issued a joint statement Wednesday endorsing international negotiations include leaders from some of the world’s most carbon-intensive industries: coal miners BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Plc; oil majors Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc; aluminum producer Alcoa Inc.; and the planet’s biggest cement-maker, LarfargeHolcim Ltd.

Not saving the world at COP 21
By Alex Scrivener, Global Justice Now, 14 October 2015
Over the last few months, attempts have been made to present COP 21, the ‘landmark’ Paris climate summit to be held in December as an opportunity to ‘save the world’. The people behind these appeals appear to believe that if only we had a big enough petition or an impressive enough march, the political elite might be persuaded to use the Paris COP to take serious action on climate change. This may sound harmless, if a bit naïve, but the rush to endow the Paris summit with such importance is not just a recipe for disappointment. This message, disproportionately voiced by big organisations based in the global north, also risks drowning out the voices that really need to be heard: those of the biggest victims of climate change who disproportionately live in the global south.

[Kenya] Conserving Forests Will Reduce Co2 And Stall Warming
By Caroline Kibii, The Star, 14 October 2015
REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. This means conservation and sustainable management of forests, as well as enhancement of forest carbon stocks in the developing nations. Global deforestation is projected to contribute 20 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to International Institute for International Development. In addition, forestry is believed to possess low-cost greenhouse gas emission. Deforestation in the context of REDD+ refers to converting forests into other land uses, such as building, agriculture or settlement. REDD+ is a climate change mitigation potential that has been in existence since 2007. Developing countries, including the international climate community, believe it will significantly address environmental degradation while motivating advancement of forest carbon stocks through attaching an economic value to forests.

Hansen calls on Norway to halt Arctic oil work
The Local, 14 October 2015
James Hansen, the campaigning climate scientist, has called on Norway to halt oil drilling in the Arctic to prevent “a dismal future on a planet that will become less and less habitable and governable”. In an open letter to Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Hansen, who heads the climate program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said that how Norway handles the exploitation of the Arctic could have a “massive effect — for better or for worse”. “Norway is strategically poised to play an important role in the fight to avert catastrophic climate change,” he wrote, praising the country’s leadership on rainforest protection and ambitious emissions reduction targets. However, he said that he planned to tell this week’s Oslo climate conference and a meeting in Brussels that all of the positive work the country is doing would be completely negated by a decision to drill in the Arctic.

Norwegian Prime Minister demands global carbon price and end to fossil fuel subsidies
By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 14 October 2015
Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, has called on the world to immediately set a global carbon price and phase out fossil fuel subsidies in order to better drive investment in low carbon technologies. Speaking at a conference hosted by the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce in London today, Solberg argued Norway’s 26 year old carbon tax had been crucial in helping to drive development of “climate friendly” technologies. In what could be interpreted as a thinly veiled attack on the UK government’s recent shake up of clean energy policies, Solberg said it was the job of governments to provide a stable policy framework to allow businesses to confidently invest in low carbon technologies.

[UK] Police warning about online and phone scams
Inverurie Herald, 14 October 2015
Police are warning people to be vigilant against falling victim to online and phone scams following recent incidents in the North-east. Fraudulent activity to be wary of includes phishing, boiler room fraud and online relationships. Phishing is when criminals use fake e-mails or web links to acquire sensitive personal information, such as passwords, usernames, or bank account details. This is used to commit fraudulent or even criminal acts in the person’s name, leaving them responsible for the consequences. Such emails and linked websites often appear genuine but are designed to trick people into entering personal details so as to access their identity, steal from the bank account or infect their computer with a virus which allows them to control the system.

[UK] Police seize £2.4m from land and carbon credit fraudsters
By Emma Ann Hughes, FTAdviser.com, 14 October 2015
Several million pounds are to be confiscated from six criminals, five of whom are currently jailed, who profited from scams that saw hundreds of elderly investors sold worthless plots of land and valueless carbon credits. This marks one of the biggest ever cash seizures for the City of London Police, which is the National Policing Lead for Fraud. Matthew Noad, 32, Clive Griston, 54, Harry Neal, 31, Kerry Golesworthy, 50, Linda Noad, 59, and Roger Noad, 62, must repay £2.37m to the scams’ victims or face more time behind bars. The action comes after the City of London Police’s Asset Recovery Team applied to the court to recover the profits of the scams in 2014 after investigations by their Fraud Squad colleagues resulted in the six being sentenced for fraud and money laundering offences.

[UK] London police seize £2.4 mln from jailed carbon scam gang
Carbon Pulse, 14 October 2015
The City of London Police has seized £2.4 million from six people convicted for running carbon credit and land investment scams, it said on Wednesday, adding that the gang could face more jail time if their victims are not repaid. Matthew Noad and Clive Griston were last year found by a UK court to have headed a gang that conned more than 200 vulnerable investors out of £10 million, in part through high-pressure tactics to sell them illiquid credits with the promise of jumbo returns. Carbon Pulse, 14 October 2015 The pair, along with an accomplice, Griston’s partner, and Noad’s father – a former banker at Coutts, the Queen’s bank – were jailed for a combined 18 years and nine months for fraud and money laundering offences, with Noad’s mother sentenced to a two-year custodial sentence suspended for two years.

15 October 2015

Oxygen: Create It or Buy It
By Bill Manson, Huffington Post, 15 October 2015
Create an International Oxygen Tax. We net-oxygen-consumer countries pay net-oxygen-creators for the oxygen they produce for us. Just as we pay $5 for a gallon of gasoline (at least in California), we need to start paying the creators of each lungful of oxygen we breathe. People’s first reaction is “Oh God, now we have to pay to breathe??” And you get a tirade about Big Government. As Das Dabu, one of the readers of last week’s blog, said in the comments section, “Here we go! Tax the air we breathe. Taxes solve everything!” But there is no going back to the days of a Mother Earth who can handle our limitless hunger for exploitation, whom we thought knew no end to her bounty. Especially not while we rip ancient life – the forests that have turned to oil – spend its compressed energy like drunken sailors, and send its carbon waste to a garbage dump called the sky, to wrap around us like an unwanted blanket on a hot night.

‘Forests are well and truly on the global food security agenda’
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 October 2015
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last month by the UN General Assembly, include goals on ending hunger, promoting good nutrition and health, and making agriculture sustainable. The important contribution of forests in achieving these goals is becoming increasingly evident—and increasingly discussed, as food, land-use and nutrition experts work together to find integrated solutions. On World Food Day 2015, Terry Sunderland, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), tells Forests News why forests and food security go hand in hand, and why he is hopeful for the future. Despite much progress, there are still 800 million people under-nourished. Ending hunger is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations. What contribution do forests make to global food security today?

UN climate chief: ‘Let the oil lie’
newsinenglish.no, 15 October 2015
Figueres told newspaper Aftenposten, which organized the conference on climate issues, that she was “smart enough” not to meddle in a country’s internal affairs. She was clearly distancing herself from comments made earlier in the week by James Hansen, the US climate researcher who’s been warning about climate change for decades and who has publicly urged Norway to halt its oil exploration and drilling in the Barents Sea.

Kenya: Climate Change Threatens Rights
Human Rights Watch, 15 October 2015
Climate change and regional development projects are threatening the health and livelihood of indigenous peoples in the Turkana region of northwest Kenya, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report and accompanying video were presented to environmental and human rights groups in Nairobi in advance of climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, from October 19 to 23, 2015. The 96-page report, “There Is No Time Left: Climate Change, Environmental Threats, and Human Rights in Turkana County, Kenya,” highlights the increased burden facing the government of Kenya to ensure access to water, food, health, and security in the Turkana region.

[Indonesia] Jakarta talks tough over climate-change summit
TODAY, 15 October 2015
Indonesian officials are convinced that the country has plenty to gain from a highly anticipated global conference on climate change to be held in Paris in December, although they are aware that tough, politically charged negotiations lie in store at the convention. “The COP21 (21st Conference of Parties) is a make-or-break moment for the world because this is where we decide on what to do, starting 2020, to prevent extinction (of life on earth),” Mr Rachmat Witoelar, President Joko Widodo’s special envoy for climate change, said this week. “Just like what (United Nations Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon said, this generation is the first and last generation that can overcome the harming effects of climate change. If we fail to do so, it’s game over for us.”

[USA] HFC pledges could save 1 billion tonnes CO2e
Cooling Post, 15 October 2015
New initiatives on reducing the consumption of HFC refrigerants are expected save the emission of more than 1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2025. The figures were revealed during a meeting at the White House today attended by US government agencies and leading refrigeration and air conditioning manufacturers, refrigerant suppliers and end users… GRMI is developing initiatives aimed at reducing global HFC emissions by 30-50% within 10 years. The Reclaimed HFC Credit Bank aims to utilise an HFC reclaim protocol under the American Carbon Registry to provide certified carbon credits for reclaimed HFC material. The goal is to implement a market mechanism that allows building owners, manufacturers, and industry participants to expand the use of reclaimed HFCs. There will be a pilot project in 2016, with full implementation in the U.S. in 2017.

16 October 2015

The rainforests hold the key to taming El Niño’s destruction
By Deborah Lawrence, The Guardian, 16 October 2015
Within a decade, most planted forests in tropical regions develop a closed canopy, as branches from one tree touch those of the next. At this stage of growth, they transform substantial amounts of water in the soil – which they reach via roots far deeper than found in crops or grasses – into moisture in the air, which cools the atmosphere above and the area around them. This process also generates moist conditions and rainfall locally and in the surrounding region. It also generates the mass movement of air and conditions in the upper atmosphere that ultimately influence rainfall and temperature, both close by and far away. When forests are standing, they give us our climate and they can help protect us against a changing climate. But when forests are cut down, these systems are disrupted.

17 October 2015

France seeks ‘strong progress’ at preparatory climate talks
Channel NewsAsia, 17 October 2015
Foreign minister Laurent Fabius of France, host of a crucial year-end United Nations (UN) climate conference, urged negotiators on Friday (Oct 17) to make “strong progress” at home-stretch talks in Bonn next week for a climate rescue pact. A slimmed-down blueprint for what would be the first-ever global climate agreement is expected to be hotly debated at the five-day session, which opens in the former west German capital on Monday. It will be the final official negotiating round before the November 30-December 11 Paris conference. “We have to hope that parties accept it (the latest version of the draft) as the basis for negotiation,” Fabius told journalists in Paris. “There will certainly be additions and changes and that is normal, but my wish is that parties will make the best use of these few days to make strong progress.”

[Thailand] Govt needs to face reality over forest preservation
By Anchalee Kongrut, Bangkok Post, 17 October 2015
There are many community forests where members earn a living from small-scale farming or eco-tourism as in the case of Bang Kajao community. There are a few projects in the northern province of Nan where community villagers are planting forests in order to sell as carbon credits – a mechanism to combat the threat of climate change – in the future.

18 October 2015


 


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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