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.
[Brazil] Amazonas Florestal Ltd. Names New Officers and Directors, and Outlines 2016 Plans
Amazonas Florestal Ltd press release, January 2016
Amazonas Florestal, Ltd. (www.amazonasf.com) (OTC PINK: AZFL), a natural resources company dedicated to innovative, sustainable forest management, the certification and sales of carbon credits, and Industrial Hemp, today announced the appointment of new officers and the naming of new members to its Board of Directors. The Company announced that it has appointed Nitin Amersey as its new CEO, replacing the interim CEO Ricardo Cortez. Mr. Amersey, with more than 30 years successful experience in the public arena as an officer and director with several concerns in agriculture and natural resources, will also be a member of the Company’s Board. Ricardo Cortez remains as Chairman of the Board and Peter (Pepper) W. Stebbins returns to Amazonas Florestal as Chief Operating Officer and as a member of the Board.
4 January 2016
[Brazil] Progress can Kill: Survival report reveals world’s highest suicide rate
Survival International, 4 January 2016
A new report published by Survival International reveals that the appalling suicide rate among the indigenous Guarani Kaiowá people of southern Brazil is the highest in the world. The rate of self-inflicted deaths within the tribe is 34 times the Brazilian national average, and statistically the highest among any society anywhere on earth. Suicide rates among many other indigenous peoples such as Aboriginal Australians and Native Americans in Alaska also remain exceptionally high. This can be viewed as the inevitable result of the historical and continuing theft of their land and of “development” being forced upon them. The report, “Progress can Kill”, exposes the devastating consequences of loss of land and autonomy on tribal peoples. As well as the shockingly high suicide rates among tribes, it also reveals high rates of alcoholism, obesity, depression and other health problems.
[Indonesia] Government aims to establish 500,000 ha of community forests by 2017
By Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, 4 January 2016
The West Sumatra provincial administration has expressed optimism that it can complete a plan to hand over the management of 500,000 hectares of protected forests to local communities by next year despite the relatively slow progress of the policy, which was initiated in 2012. West Sumatra Forestry Agency head Hendri Octavia said that three years after the launch of the program, the local administration had been able to introduce community-based forest management for 43,821 ha of forest land, only 19 percent of the designated target. To meet the full target, Hendri said his agency aimed to complete the establishment of at least 200,000 ha of community-run forests this year and another 200,000 ha next year.
Paris climate change moot: Pakistan to get concrete dividends
By Mian Saifur Rehman, thenews.com.pk, 4 January 2016
One of the rejoicing outcomes of the Paris Agreement on climate change is endowment of due and fair share to adaptation as a key policy instrument of the international climate change policy and as for Pakistan’s contribution in this global exercise, it merits mention that Pakistan played an instrumental role in Paris for securing adaptation that is an essential component of the new agreement. These views were expressed, during a talk with The News, by UK-qualified Research and Development Economist Bilal Anwar, former office-holder at the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany that is helping in the implementation of global programme of Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.
Rwanda: What 2016 Has in Store for Climate Change Agenda
By Michel Nkurunziza, The New Times, 4 January 2016
2016 has started with a sense of optimism about climate change following the adoption of the Paris climate agreement last December. This is the first ever international commitment to take concrete measures to reduce emissions and help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of a changing climate by also providing enough finance for poor countries to implement the agreement in 2020. Rwanda welcomed the deal aimed at limiting the increase in global temperatures to below two degrees with the ambition to reach lower than 1.5 degrees Celsius-below pre-industrial levels especially for countries most vulnerable to climate change effects. But there are key climate issues still to watch this year.
5 January 2016
Forests Are in the Paris Agreement! Now What?
By Nancy Harris and Fred Stolle, Global Forest Watch, 5 January 2016
International climate action isn’t just about fossil fuels anymore—forest conservation and restoration are strategies that are here to stay. Last week, the Paris Agreement at COP21 sent a strong, unprecedented message that REDD+ is a critical and prominent piece of the new global climate goal to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of this century. The REDD+ program aims to cut emissions by providing financial incentives—backed by international funds—to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable forest management, and enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
CTX sets new launch date for delayed RGGI spot market
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 5 January 2016
Emissions bourse operator Carbon Trade Exchange (CTX) will open its spot market for RGGI allowances on Jan. 15 after having delayed the launch for more than three months. A spokeswoman for the exchange said the offering was put on hold as CTX sought to build a “critical mass of participants”, giving them more time to set up their accounts and get approval from their compliance departments. The market’s launch had originally been set for Sep. 28. The spot market, which will be open every US business day from 1000 to 1600 EST, is poised to offer the first cleared, physically-settled instrument for a mandatory US carbon market. The contract will initially be centred on vintage 2015 allowances, but will allow delivery of vintages from years prior to that if they remain eligible for compliance.
Earth is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt
By John Upton, Climate Central, 5 January 2016
Cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean have thrown earth’s surface into what may be an unprecedented warming spurt, following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years. While El Niño is being blamed for an outbreak of floods, storms and unseasonable temperatures across the planet, a much slower-moving cycle of the Pacific Ocean has also been playing a role in record-breaking warmth. The recent effects of both ocean cycles are being amplified by climate change. A 2014 flip was detected in the sluggish and elusive ocean cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, which also goes by other names, including the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Despite uncertainty about the fundamental nature of the PDO, leading scientists link its 2014 phase change to a rapid rise in global surface temperatures.
China Is Banning New Coal Mines and the United States Should Do the Same
By Diana Best, Greenpeace USA, 5 January 2016
China has taken a bold new step to address pollution and oversupply issues plaguing the country’s energy market: a three-year ban on new coal mines. Starting this year, the country will suspend all new permit applications for coal mines for the next three years. In addition, officials also announced that they plan to close approximately 1,000 coal mines throughout the country, taking away more than 60 million metric tons of excess coal supply — unneeded as China moves to decrease its reliance on coal.
[Peru] Illegal logger turned forest champion — with help from hummingbirds
By Cassandra Kane, Conservation International Blog, 5 January 2016
Becerra opened his hummingbird ecotourism center in Aguas Verdes, a town 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) outside San Martín’s Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF), with some money out of his own pocket — and with a little help from REDD , an approach proven to prevent the clearing and burning of tropical forests and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Short for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation” — the “ ” stands for additional features including the role of conservation and sustainable forest management — REDD provides financial incentives for communities, regions and countries to keep forests intact. In the case of the AMPF, REDD funds incentives for conservation through a negotiated benefit package in return for conservation actions by communities and individuals.
Thailand’s forest rangers step up training in violent ‘blood wood’ war
By Demelza Stokes, The Guardian, 5 January 2016
Siamese rosewood is a hardwood species confined to the remaining forested areas of just four countries in the Mekong region – Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Renowned for its blood-red colour, the highly coveted endangered species is illegally logged in Thailand and smuggled through mainland south-east Asia to luxury “hongmu” furniture markets in China. Conservationists have warned that with rates of illegal logging increasing by 850% in recent years, Thailand’s Siamese rosewood trees could be extinct within a decade. Large trees in protected forests have become so scarce that their plunder is more akin to wildlife poaching. Increasingly large groups of illegal loggers cross the Thai-Cambodian border with weapons and are willing to engage in firefights in order to get the highly valuable “blood wood”.
[USA] Locals, environmental advocates speak against state’s plan to cut carbon emissions
By Cammie Bellamy, StarNewsOnline.com, 5 January 2016
Despite the frigid wind and rapidly setting sun, several Cape Fear residents stood outside Roland Grise Middle School on Tuesday night. The group held signs with simple messages: “We can do more.” “We must do more.” The “more” they called for was stronger state efforts to cut carbon emissions. As the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) prepared to host a public hearing on its alternative proposal to the federal Clean Power Plan, more than a hundred locals and environmental advocates gathered at the school to voice their opposition. The Clean Power Plan, unveiled last year by the Environmental Protection Agency, sets the nation’s first emissions-reductions standards to slow climate change. The plan requires states to write personalized plans for cutting carbon, using methods such as trading carbon credits, promoting green energy and improving efficiency at existing power plants.
6 January 2016
The hidden trigger of Paris: why the climate battle will now be taken to the courts
By Lucas Bergkamp, Energy Post, 6 January 2016
If the collective efforts appear to fall short of achieving the Paris Agreement’s objectives, it is likely that instead the judiciary will be dragged into climate policy-making. Climate action groups or executive governments supporting ambitious action will seek the help of the courts to get governments to “do the right thing.” … The Paris Agreement’s implicit reliance on political activism and the related non-hierarchical governance by the courts – a direct result of efforts to ensure the participation of the United States and other major-emitting Parties – reflects the steep price the international community has had to pay to claim victory at COP-21. At its most fundamental level, this constitutes a threat to constitutional government, the separation of powers, and representative democracy.
What does the Paris agreement mean for the world’s other 8 million species?
By Jeremy Hance, The Guardian, 6 January 2016
The word “biodiversity” is employed once in the Paris agreement’s 32 pages. “Forests” appears a few times, but “oceans”, like biodiversity, scores just a single appearance. There is no mention of extinction. Wildlife, coral reefs, birds, frogs, orchids, polar bears and pikas never show up anywhere in the document. This is hardly surprising: the landmark agreement in Paris – the boldest yet to tackle climate change (which is saying something, but not nearly enough) – was contrived by one species for the benefit of one species. It was never meant to directly address the undeniable impacts of global warming on the world’s eight million or so other species – most of them still unnamed. But many experts say this doesn’t mean biodiversity won’t benefit from the agreement – especially if the 196 participants actually follow through on their plegdes and up their ambition quickly.
The quest to hack trees and beat climate change
By Matt McFarland, The Washington Post, 6 January 2016
In the fight against climate change, trees are an ally. They suck in carbon dioxide, reducing the harmful greenhouses gases in our air. But there’s a problem — we’re asking them to work overtime. Trees can’t absorb enough of the carbon dioxide humanity is throwing at them, unless we turn every inch of available land into a dense forest, according to Christophe Jospe, the chief strategist at Arizona State’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. But what if trees — or machines modeled after them — had superpowers? Artificial trees with otherworldly abilities are a great hope against climate change, as environmental experts say it’s not realistic to expect humanity to release significantly less carbon into the atmosphere. Our best bet may be to capture the excess carbon and store it or convert it into something useful such as fuel.
[USA] Cunningham Holdings, Inc. Sues Chemoil and Glencore LTD for $890 Million Fraud
Cunningham Holdings Inc press release, 6 January 2016
Cunningham Holdings Inc., a private investment management firm, recently filed a wide sweeping counter lawsuit against Chemoil Corporation and Glencore Ltd. The lawsuit alleges fraud, unjust enrichment and conversion among other counts and seeks more than $890 million in damages. Cunningham Holdings and Chemoil entered into a joint venture in 2013 to market petroleum products, including renewable fuels, using Cunningham Holdings’ sophisticated enterprise resource management systems. Within months, the joint venture was generating more than $20 million per month in revenues… In addition, the lawsuit states that Chemoil and Glencore Ltd. failed to disclose to Cunningham Holdings and the joint venture that Chemoil and Glencore Ltd. filed for and received federal excise tax credits, Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits and California Low Carbon Fuel Standard carbon credits, known as CI Credits, worth more than $142 million.
BioCarbon Partners Announces World’s First Carbon Neutral National Park From Operations In Lower Zambezi, Zambia
BioCarbon Partners press release, 6 January 2016
BioCarbon Partners (BCP), supported through the USAID Community Forests Program (CFP), in partnership with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), and Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), are proud to announce achieving the world’s first carbon neutral national park from operations in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia. Following on the announcement of the global climate agreement at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, this development illustrates commitment from the African tourism sector towards a carbon-conscious future that this global agreement heralds.
7 January 2016
Zero deforestation in Indonesia: Pledges, politics and palm oil
By Pablo Pacheco, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 7 January 2016
“No Deforestation. No Peat. No Exploitation”: The pledges echoing throughout the palm oil sector, as major consumer goods manufacturers and retailers seek to remove deforestation from supply chains, sound simple enough. But the commitments are highly complex, and major palm oil corporate groups along the value chain are struggling to clearly define and operationalize them. And in the world’s largest producer of palm oil, Indonesia, which is planning to boost supply through the expansion of plantations into forest and peatland areas, these companies are facing public opposition from the national government. Therefore, while simple in their aim, the zero deforestation commitments, and their associated sustainability goals, have divided the palm oil sector in terms of which rules to follow and whose rules to follow.
[New Zealand] Horizons holds Lithuanian and Russian carbon credits
By Nicholas McBride, Stuff.co.nz, 7 January 2016
Horizons Regional Council’s carbon emissions are being helped out by Russian and Lithuanian carbon credits. The council reviewed its carbon footprint late last year and evaluated whether it needed to be doing more. The council’s emissions were offset by 12 million trees planted in the region, which would lock up at maturity 9 million tonnes of carbon credit over the next 30 years. That averaged out to 323,654 tonnes per year. But the council had also previously bought carbon credits to help its situation. Environmental Management group manager Craig Mitchell said that following the council’s registration of its pre-1990 forests under the Emissions Trading System (ETS) they identified about 7 hectares that would not be replanted due to accretion. Government policy under the ETS meant landowners with forests that were planted before 1990 must surrender emission units if they deforest their land.
8 January 2016
Save the forests or the trees?
By Brian Palmer, Natural Resources Defense Council, 8 January 2016
Bolivia’s Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is one of the largest intact parks in the Amazon basin and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back in 1996, the Nature Conservancy partnered with three fossil fuel and energy companies to protect and expand the park in a deal that was supposed to be a model for forest conservation. They got the Bolivian government to ban logging on 1.5 million acres adjacent to the national park, hired park rangers for the new area, and trained locals as eco-tourism guides. It seemed like a win-win: The Nature Conservancy would get a major victory in land conservation. BP, American Electric Power, and Pacificorp would get carbon offsets for their emissions. The project, however, was controversial and remains so two decades later. While the protected zone’s trees still stand—which, granted, can’t be said about much of the Amazon—critics argue the scheme merely shifted logging to unprotected areas.
We need to get serious about negative emissions – fast
By Tim Kruger, Energy Post, 8 January 2016
The simple truth is that stabilising the climate will require net emissions to fall to essentially zero, and we are nowhere near close to that. To have a good chance of avoiding the 2°C threshold we’d have to limit the total amount of carbon burnt (over all time) to less than a trillion tonnes. So far we have burnt about 600 billion tonnes and will use up the remainder before 2040. For a 1.5°C limit, we have only 100 billion tonnes of burnable carbon left, which will be used well within the next decade. Nations seem to be mouthing the “make me virtuous, but not just yet” prayer of Saint Augustine. Globally, emissions will accelerate at least up to 2030 when they need to begin heading rapidly in the other direction. Even with the most ambitious mitigation efforts it seems inevitable that we will overshoot the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is compatible with a stable climate.
EU Market: Carbon slumps again to start 2016 with 9.9% weekly loss
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 8 January 2016
EU carbon slumped for the fifth straight session on Friday as bullish traders looked in vain for signs of a rebound after a volatile first week of 2015 that saw prices fall to their lowest for almost a year. The Dec-16 EUA contract settled down 14 cents at €7.46 on ICE, near the bottom of the day’s €7.44-7.70 range, on heavy turnover of 16.7 million. Most of the fall came in the last 30 minutes of the session. The brisk trade compared with earlier in the week but Friday’s decline was less steep than the 41-cent and 30-cent drops notched over the previous two days. The benchmark carbon contract also held above the week’s bottom and 11-month low of €7.40 touched on Thursday, which some traders took as a sign that carbon could mount a recovery next week. “Power dropped again today but EUAs mostly held ground, so there is hope [of a rebound],” said one.
[Kenya] Kwale group earns millions from model Redd project
By Alloys Musyoka, The Star, 8 January 2016
Four years ago, it was difficult to convince Gazi and Makongeni communities in Kwale that conserving mangroves could earn them money. But last year they earned Sh1 million, just like that. Through the Mikoko Pamoja community project, locals plant and take care of mangrove trees at the shores of the Indian Ocean. Salim Mwarima, the project coordinator, says it took long to convince locals and agree to plant the trees. Mangroves are trees and shrubs that have adapted to life in a saltwater environment. There are about 80 different species and all of them grow in areas with low-oxygen soil, where slow-moving waters allow fine sediments to accumulate. They consume carbon dioxide emitted in the air five times more than any other terrestrial trees, playing a major role in cleaning the polluted air of gases emitted gases by industries and automotive.
[Uganda] DFIs scrutinise Green Resources’ plantations
Development Today, 8 January 2016
DFIs that are investing USD 33 million in loans to the Norwegian tree plantation company Green Resources have called for independent monitoring to ensure compliance with IFC’s environmental standards. Three developmentfinance institutions (DFIs) – Norfund, Finnfund and the Dutch FMO – that are providing loans to Green Resources have called for an external monitoring process of the group’s environmental and social plans and performance. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
9 January 2016
10 January 2016
Tanzania forest project runs into trouble
By Patrick Kisembo, East African Business Week, 10 January 2016
Reducing emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) that is being implemented in Kisongwe village, Kilosa district boundary (over 500km from Dar es Salaam) has caused dispute with their neighbouring village of Rudewa-Batini, after the former claimed to have invaded the latter’s location in a bid to expand its project. The dispute is said to have started some 10 years ago, but became more serious after the REDD project prospered in Kisongwe. The project is aimed to promote good governance and improved accountability in the forestry sector in Tanzania. The initiative is a partnership between the Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania, known as MJUMITA and the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.