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.
Your 2016 Carbon Market Predictions
By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, January 2016
[O]ur faithful Carbon Chronicle readers voted for their top Ecosystem Marketplace carbon story picks across three categories. In Carbon Policy, readers voted for our June 9th story, “Climate Negotiators Deliver Win for Forests with Breakthrough in Bonn.” (We didn’t let you vote for the Paris Agreement itself, assuming that would be the runaway winner.) In Carbon Finance, readers thought the launch of “Stand for Trees: Forest Carbon for the Masses?” in February was the biggest story. And in Human Dimension, the top reader pick was our story about the Tanzanian REDD+ project that led to secure land tenure for a hunter-gatherer tribe: “Things White People Like – As Told by a Hadza Tribesman.” It’s also the time of year for predictions, and we do those, too. Some of you dodged the question, saying only that you thought Leonardo DiCaprio would win Best Actor.
11 January 2016
Global CO2 trade volume down 19% in 2015, value up 9% -Point Carbon
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 11 January 2016
Global traded carbon volumes fell 19% in 2015 to 6.2 billion tonnes of CO2e but the overall value of the markets rose 9% to €48.4 billion ($52.8 billion) due to higher per unit prices, analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said. Volumes fell mainly due to a 29% drop in Europe as EU ETS speculators exited the market due to reduced volatility despite a slight increase in auction volume, the analysts wrote in an annual report. The value of EU market dipped 8%. The EU ETS remained the dominant market, accounting for 80% of global volumes and 77% of the total value of all carbon markets, despite rapid growth in North America. Markets on the other side of the Atlantic grew 121% in volume and 220% in value, mainly due to the inclusion of transport fuels in California’s WCI market, which also saw a higher turnover of futures trading.
Brazil climate plan on standby as Rousseff totters
By Alex Pashley, Climate Home , 11 January 2016
Brazil was a key broker of 2015’s landmark global warming accord in Paris. Meanwhile at home, political convulsions and the worst economic slump in 25 years are stopping the major carbon polluter from getting to work on its pledges. In September, the South American heavyweight swore to get tough on tree-cutting and deploy renewable energies in its offer to a UN climate deal. The plan aims to cut carbon emissions by 37% within ten years from 2005 levels. But the economy is forecast to contract 3% in 2016, while political opponents are trying to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. Major forest protection ventures await the go-ahead from a gridlocked Congress. “After the frisson related to the COP21, the national debate on how and when the government will put in place the climate plan is frozen,” said Paulo Moutinho, head of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, referring to December’s UN summit in Paris.
Ethiopia: Why Knowledge Ought to Precede Climate Action
By Ambachew Fekadeneh, Addis Fortune, 11 January 2016
People who closely followed some of the past Conferences of the Parties (COPs) on climate change had some optimism that COP 21, held in Paris, France, had something different and was kind of set to win it this time. Apart from the global public fatigue in hearing the climate gathering theatre for over 21 years, nature itself was telling.
EU Market: EUAs continue fall as commodity prices, industrials under pressure
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 11 January 2016
The European carbon sell-off extended into a sixth day on Monday, with front-year prices shedding as much as 35 cents or 4.7% to sink to their lowest since Apr. 2015, as traders reported widespread selling that was met with little buying support from utilities. The Dec-16 futures trading on ICE settled down 29 cents at €7.17 after hitting an intraday low of €7.11 earlier. Volume on the benchmark contract was heavy at 19.6 million units changing hands. Prices have now dropped by more than 15% since the end of 2015, effectively wiping out all of last year’s gains. Two traders attributed Monday’s selling to speculators continuing to push the market lower, with the restart of government auctions weighing on prices, which resumed today following a three-week holiday pause.
UK government misses own green targets
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 11 January 2016
The government has failed to meet its own targets for cutting the environmental impact of the state’s operations, according to a Defra report quietly published last month. The “greening government commitments”, which began when David Cameron declared he would lead the “greenest government ever” in 2010, were intended to deliver big cuts in carbon emissions, domestic flights, waste and water usage. Efforts fell short on all counts, though the reductions that were achieved still saved taxpayers £185m in the last year. Ministers have been heavily criticised for cuts to a swath of green policies, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, and a leaked letter in November revealed the government is not on track the meet the nation’s EU obligation for green energy in 2020.
US boom boosts global carbon markets in 2015
By Ed King, Climate Home, 11 January 2016
The world’s carbon markets are still alive, contrary to many reports. New data from the team at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon shows they increased in value to €48.4 billion ($52.8 bn) over 2015, a leap of 9%. The rise is mainly down to higher prices, says Point Carbon, with North America markets rising 121% in volume and 220% in value. “North American carbon trading grew rapidly in 2015, when market volume increased from 472 Mt to 1,042 Mt (up 121 percent), and value increased by a full 220 percent to €10.6 billion. North America now represents 17 percent of global volume and 22 percent of global turnover. The most important reason for the strong American growth in 2015 was the fact that WCI expanded its scope to also include transport fuel emissions. This alone increased the emission coverage from 165 Mt to 403 Mt.”
[USA] Company Behind Methane Leak Is Ordered to Offset the Climate Damage
By Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News, 11 January 2016
California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Southern California Gas Co. to pay for a mitigation program to offset damage to the world’s climate from a massive methane leak at an underground natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles. The directive was part of Brown’s Jan. 6 declaration of a state of emergency. The ongoing leak has caused more than 2,300 people to evacuate their homes and forced school closures in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of northwest Los Angeles. Brown’s proclamation also directed state agencies to protect public health and safety, oversee efforts to stop the 12-week-old leak and ensure that SoCal Gas is held accountable for costs and any violations.
12 January 2016
Regional Report of the Partnership between Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and the UN-REDD Programme
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, 12 January 2016
Thirteen countries in Asia are preparing to get ready for REDD+. While these countries are moving ahead with REDD+ preparation, the awareness raising and capacity building of rights holders and their organizations for policy advocacy is very important. In this context, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), with the support of the UN-REDD Programme, joined hands with its local organizations to promote closer collaboration and cooperation amongst indigenous peoples, and with the UN-REDD Programme and government agencies implementing REDD+ in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam.
[Brazil] Amazonas Florestal Ltd. Announces Acquisition of Earth Pass LLC and Amazon Sustainable Development Corp.
Amazonas Florestal press release, 12 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 that the Company has completed the acquisition of Earth Pass LLC (EPL), which becomes a fully-owned subsidiary of the Company. The Acquisition includes a fully licensed division in Brazil that has been producing wood products with their land holdings since 2007 under the name Amazon Sustainable Development Corp. It also includes 64,000 acres of native forest properties eligible for the certification of Carbon Credits through the United Nations REDD+ program. Ricardo Cortez, Chairman of the Board of Amazonas Florestal, stated: “This acquisition of these valuable assets will increase shareholder value considerably and open the door to substantial opportunities for the Company in Brazil.”
Thanks to green growth, Gabon is at the forefront of a sustainable Africa
By Maizent Accrombessi, Africa Times, 12 January 2016
In 2011, Yale University ranked Gabon first among African countries for the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). This was no accident. In the last 5 years, Gabon has undertaken a deep transformation of its economy in order to follow a more sustainable model of economic development. Thanks to its efforts to develop renewable energy sources and non-oil dominated sectors, the country has made sizeable progress, especially on the quality of its infrastructure. As its economy grows greener and becomes more diversified, Gabon’s emergence as a key economic player on the African continent is about to become a reality.
13 January 2016
Nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to say: How the broad climate movement has failed us
By James Jordan, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, 13 January 2016
What we got from COP 21 was an accord that set inadequate and unenforceable carbon emissions limits; failed to guarantee reparations or support for the poorest, most exploited nations to develop alternative technologies; adopted market-based schemes that entrench international inequality; ignored the demands of indigenous peoples; and refused to address the huge and negative climate impact of US militarism and resource wars. Of course, no one expected such measures to be passed, so it might be justly claimed as a victory that any kind of agreement or protocol was passed at all. As has been noted, had the agreement been enforceable, the Republican-dominated US Congress would have quashed that government’s participation. But what victory there has been is a Pyrrhic one.
Could post-Paris climate policy drive growth in carbon trading?
By Medeliene Cuff, BusinessGreen, 13 January 2016
Despite optimistic lobbying from business, most people were not expecting the Paris Agreement to deliver much in the way of progress for the international carbon market. So perhaps one of the big surprises to emerge from the summit was the fact the treaty appeared to provide a long-term boost to carbon markets – not only by setting a clear long-term direction for decarbonisation efforts, but also with the inclusion of specific proposals to enable greater co-operation between different regional carbon markets. According to the annual Carbon Market Monitor report, released this week by the Point Carbon team of analysts at Thomson Reuters, observers at the UN talks were surprised to see that the treaty “contains clear support” for the creation of new market mechanisms for the transfer of mitigation outcomes.
The Rainforest Alliance Announces New President: Nigel Sizer
Rainforest Alliance press release, 13 January 2016
The Rainforest Alliance proudly announces that Nigel Sizer has been named as its new President, effective February 1, 2016. Sizer brings with him 25 years of international experience in natural resources management, most recently as Global Director of the Forests Program at the World Resources Institute. During his tenure at WRI he led a hundred-person team located in Africa, Asia and Latin America, launched path-breaking partnerships including the Global Restoration Initiative and Global Forest Watch, which has transformed access to information about forests for everyone everywhere.
German authorities charge British man for suspected tax evasion in EU carbon trading probe
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 13 January 2016
German prosecutors have charged a British man suspected of forming part of a gang that evaded some €58 million in taxes using the EU ETS between Sep. 2009 and Apr. 2010, the authorities said in a statement on Wednesday. The 35-year old man, formerly director of a Munich-based trading firm, turned himself in at Frankfurt airport last September, the prosecutors said. The individual was not named but he matches the Frankfurt Prosecutors’ office’s description of Faisal Zahoor Ahmad from Halifax, West Yorkshire, who managed Munich-based Roter Stern GmbH and whom German authorities said they had arrested last September after issuing an international warrant in Apr. 2014. Roter Stern was suspended from trading on Munich-based exchange Bayerische Boerse’s carbon trading platform in 2010 for suspicious activities, and was dissolved following insolvency proceedings later that year.
[Indonesia] APP to work with 500 villages to combat deforestation
By Loren Bell, mongabay.com, 13 January 2016
The world’s largest pulp and paper supplier, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), will establish an up to $10 million program to support the economic development of 500 villages in and around its supply chain in Indonesia. The initiative was announced at the UN climate talks in Paris last month, and is another in a growing list of programs by the forestry giant supporting its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) adopted in 2013. “For the 500 villages program, APP and its pulpwood suppliers are prepared to budget up to $2 million per year for the next five years,” Dewi Bramono, deputy director of sustainability and stakeholder engagement for APP Indonesia, told Mongabay. “The program will involve capacity building for the community, and provision of tools, equipment and/or facilities to develop the agroforestry programs either through loans and/or in-kind donations.”
[Indonesia] RI serious about handling damage to peatland: President
ANTARA News, 13 January 2016
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has stressed that Indonesia is serious about handling the damage to the countrys peatland, as is clear from the setting up of a peatland restoration agency. “We can convince the international community that we are serious, very serious about handling the damage to the peatland,” he said while announcing the setting up of the peatland restoration agency at the Merdeka Palace here on Wednesday. Land and forest fires, which affected several provinces in Indonesia last year, serves as a valuable lesson for President Jokowis administration. In this regard, he set up the agency under presidential regulation number 1 of 2016. “I want to announce the creation of peatland restoration body through a presidential regulation I signed early this month,” he said. On the occasion, Jokowi also introduced Nazir Foead as the agencys chief.
14 January 2016
What new climate measures are G7 members taking after Paris deal?
By Alex Pashley, Climate Home, 14 January 2016
“Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we have to act. This is what the world expects of us.” So Miguel Arias Canete, the EU climate chief, cautioned amid euphoric scenes in Paris last month as countries pulled off a global warming accord. The 195 nations agreed to hold warming to ‘well below 2C’ and aim for 1.5C. But to achieve that, the world must rapidly scale down its fossil fuel burning, scientists say. Measures to deepen carbon cuts and deploy clean energy are crucial. So one month on, what’s new? We assessed the Group of Seven, with 10% of the world population, a third of its economic output (adjusted for purchasing power) and 22% of its emissions.
Agroforestry as an effective means to implementing REDD+ in Africa
By Susan Onyango, Agroforestry World Blog, 14 January 2016
A key outcome of the UNFCCC Scientific Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) talks in June 2013 was consensus on the draft text on REDD that addressed longstanding issues on safeguards, non-carbon benefits and implementation approaches. As countries strategize viable ways to incorporate the REDD agreement into their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), we propose agroforestry as a key tool for its implementation in Africa. A study titled Prospects for agroforestry in REDD landscapes in Africa reviewed REDD Readiness Preparation Proposals for eleven African countries. All countries mentioned agroforestry as part of a strategy to address agriculture as a driver of deforestation.
EU Market: Carbon dips back towards €7 as power prices sink further
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 14 January 2016
EU carbon prices fell again on Thursday back towards this week’s nine-month low of €7.01, adding to sentiment that Wednesday’s rise was a “dead cat bounce” rather than the start of a price rebound. The Dec-16 EUA contract settled down 16 cents at €7.13 on ICE to give back all the previous session’s gains on heavy turnover of 18.8 million. It had earlier fallen to as low as €7.06, with traders identifying early drops in power prices as a key factor in carbon’s decline. Baseload German power prices extended their record lows, with the 2017 contract settling 34 cents or 1.4% lower to €24.26/MWh on EEX. Weaker carbon and coal prices limited losses on clean dark spreads to a few cents, but German coal-burning utility profit margins still dropped to their lowest in over a week, denting the incentive for generators to sell electricity forward and buy carbon.
[Peru] Look at the oil spilled in the world’s 2nd ‘Best Place for Wildlife’
By David Hill, The Guardian, 14 January 2016
Walk into one of the many tour agencies in Iquitos, the biggest city in Peru’s Amazon, and you’ll hear many wonderful things about the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. “Best place to see animals in their natural habitat,” one guide says. “An abundance of parrots, paiche and monkeys, and all kinds of bird species,” cries another… Don’t be misled by Pacaya-Samiria’s “protected natural area” status. Oil companies have been there for decades. Operations are currently in the north-central part of the reserve which forms part of a concession called Lot 8, one of the top four most productive oil concessions in the country. In the 1970s it was Peru’s own Petroperu working there, but since 1996 it has been Pluspetrol, initially leading a consortium but since 2003 partnered by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
[UK] Antrim pensioner ‘conned out of £200,000 for scam investments’
Belfast Telegraph, 14 January 2016
A Co Antrim pensioner has been conned out of £200,000 in a series of scams, his family have claimed. The BBC reported that the man in his 80s was conned out of his life savings in a series of bogus investments. He handed over thousands for wine and property investments and even carbon credits. The Financial Conduct Authority has warned people to avoid investing in carbon credits as the market is unregulated and there is evidence many con artists are using the commodity to target vulnerable people. The family, who asked not to be named, said they wanted to tell their story to prevent others falling into the same trap. The pensioner was contacted by people using high pressure sales techniques accompanied with glossy magazines offering big returns on investments. His daughter Laura told the BBC alarm bells sounded when the found large amounts of money going out of her father’s bank account.
15 January 2016
Making a fair deal on carbon
By Steven Chu, The Boston Globe, 15 January 2016
A carbon tax will raise the cost of energy; hence the need for a revenue-neutral tax. The refunds should be progressive, as an antidote to the antiprogressive nature of a carbon tax. No new bureaucracies should be created to return the proceeds, and refund mechanisms can be done through decreases in withholding, or payroll, taxes. The price on carbon can begin at $12 per ton, close to the current trading price in the EU and California. ExxonMobil proposes that the tax rise gradually to $60 per ton by 2030, and $80 by 2040, to allow industries and individuals time to adjust. A cap-and-trade system with an auction price that follows this ramp-up will have the same effect as long as the electricity-generating sector is required to purchase allowances.
Greenpeace International announces new co-Executive Directors
Greenpeace International, 15 January 2016
Greenpeace International has today named not only its first female International Executive Director, but two. Jennifer Morgan and Bunny McDiarmid will take up the reins in an innovative co-leadership role on 4 April 2016. Bunny is a 30-year veteran of the organisation as an activist, ship’s crewmember, and most recently the executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand which, under her leadership, became a powerhouse of innovation in the Greenpeace world. Bunny has walked the decks of nearly every Greenpeace ship. Jennifer has walked the corridors of power. As Global Director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute she’s dealt with heads of state and CEOs. She’s been a leader of large teams at major organisations, a climate activist, and a constant innovator. Her other ports of call have included the Worldwide Fund for Nature, Climate Action Network, and E3G.
16 January 2016
[UK] Carbon credits conmen are banned after £2.8m ruse
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 16 January 2016
A con artist from Sutton Coldfield who has moved from one scam to another has been banned from acting as a director of any British company for the next 15 years. Marvin Dean Brooks, 33, was one of the bosses of BRIC Global Limited. It sold carbon credits as an investment, knowing that there was no secondary market that would allow them to be turned back into cash. His partner in the business, Craig Clemart Brooks, 34, was also banned for the maximum 15 years. Investigators from the Insolvency Service found that in less than a year, their company raked in at least £2.78 million from investors. A couple from Wiltshire lost £216,000, and an 82-year-old man from Chester was cheated out of £83,000.As long ago as 2007, I warned against Marvin Brooks when he was connected to a corrupt German broking firm called FSW. He and Brooks were later involved in Cavendish Land & Property Investments Limited, a scam business marketing plots of land…
17 January 2016
[Pakistan] Research and development budget to be increased to 1pc of GDP: minister
Dawn, 17 January 2016
Malik Amin Aslam, project head of Green Growth Initiative of the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that through the initiative the provincial government had planted 113 million tree saplings under its billion trees plantation plan which would be completed by 2018. He claimed that the ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ programme could generate up to 800 million dollars in revenue by earning ‘carbon credits’.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.