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.
1 February 2016
EU Market: EUAs flirt with 20-mth low as analysts knock wind out of carbon’s sails
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 1 February 2016
EU carbon tumbled on Monday to retest the 20-month low touched last week, as selling resumed on the back of a bearish analyst report and a weaker energy complex. The Dec-16 EUA futures fell by as much as 46 cents or 7.6% to hit €5.61 – the lowest level since seen June 2014 – before clawing back a few cents to €5.71 by 1510 GMT. Volume was moderate at just over 16 million units traded on ICE by that point. Analysts at Energy Aspects late last week slashed their EUA price forecasts for the next five years by 30-40%, as the bullish sentiment that led the market higher in 2015 has dissipated and the bearish reality of ample supply and scarce demand that has for years plagued the EU ETS returned. Citing a number of bearish factors, the analysts foresee front-year prices averaging €6.60 this year before falling to €5.25 in 2018.
2 February 2016
Tax high carbon food, sugar for climate and health gains – study
By Alex Pashley, Climate Home, 2 February 2016
Taxing the carbon footprint of food could slow global warming and stave off heart disease, UK policy makers have been told. It should be coupled with a sugar levy to secure the health gains, according to a study by researchers at Oxford and Reading universities. In isolation, hiking the price of high-carbon products like beef, lamb and cheese decreases people’s cholesterol intake, but pushes consumers towards sweeter options that are also bad for them. Potential spikes in obesity rates showed the need for a “well designed carbon tax”, lead author Adam Briggs of Oxford University said. Researchers modelled the benefits of a carbon tax of £2.86 (US$4.11) a tonne of CO2 for foods producing higher-than-average emissions, combined with a 20% sales tax on sugary drinks.
[Canada] Landmark deal protects huge swath of central B.C. coast from logging
By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, 2 February 2016
In a ceremony at the University of B.C.’s Museum of Anthropology on Monday, First Nations, environmentalists, forestry companies, and the province announced a long-awaited landmark agreement that prohibits industrial logging across 85 per cent of forested lands on the central and north coast. Dallas Smith, president of the Nanwakolas Council, which speaks for eight Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations on resource issues, said he has been working on land-use policies on the coast for close to 20 years. “I am proud and happy but still a little upset it took this long. Our communities are still not better places to live, yet.” Wearing ermine-wool-cedar head gear, he joked that when he began the coastal land-use planning process in 1997 he was told it would be a two-year exercise. Ultimately, it spanned the terms of three premiers and an estimated 86 chiefs from 26 First Nations, he said.
EU Commission to host meeting on EUA allocation haircut
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 2 February 2016
The European Commission will host a technical EU ETS discussion in Q2 assessing whether the Cross-Sectoral Correction Factor (CSCF) will be necessary after 2020. In a note on its website, the Commission called the meeting as several analysts have had time to examine the issue since the proposal came out in July 2015. “The aim of the expert meeting is to take stock of the analysis, examine the assumptions behind various forecasts and identify the most critical design parameters to avoid or minimise the need for a correction factor,” it said. The meeting, for which a date has yet to be set, is invitation-only but will also be webstreamed. The CSCF applies a uniform haircut of free allocations and is triggered if those entitled to free units under the EC’s carbon leakage rules exceeds the amount available.
[USA] Virginia environmental fund buys Walter Energy’s mines in W.Va.
By Daniel Tyson, register-herald.com, 2 February 2016
For $1 and assumption of liabilities, a Virginia conservation group purchased the remaining Walter Energy West Virginia assets Monday. Affiliates of The Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund Inc., a nonprofit working toward approaches and public awareness about natural resource consumption, purchased the Gauley Eagle mines in Nicholas County and Maple properties in Fayette and Kanawha counties, as well as Walter Coke and Taft in Alabama. Walter’s latest agreement with Seminole, ERP Compliant Coke, ERP Environmental Fund, all related to VCLF affiliate ERP Compliant Fuels, was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Birmingham, Ala. According to a press release by Walter, the transaction will erase “substantially all” of its U.S. assets, as Walter previously entered an agreement in November to sell most of its Alabama operations to members of its senior lender group in exchange for $1.25 billion in debt reduction and $5.4 million cash.
[Vietnam]Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 February 2016
Mangrove forests might account for only 0.5 percent of coastal areas worldwide, but they punch well above their weight when it comes to mitigating climate change. A recent study in Vietnam found this is true even for artificially restored mangroves. The study assessed carbon storage in restored mangrove sites. It was a collaborative work between Nong Lam University (Vien Ngoc Nam) as host, the Center for International Forestry Research or CIFOR (Daniel Murdiyarso, Joko Purbopuspito, and Sigit Sasmito), and US Forest Service (Richard MacKenzie). “Vietnam was a natural choice for the study: it’s home to the largest mangrove areas in the Mekong Delta, and many of its mangroves have been replanted after being heavily degraded during the Vietnam War,” said Sigit Sasmito, a researcher at CIFOR.
3 February 2016
Investor push urged to help secure indigenous land rights
By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 3 February 2016
Conditions are ripe for a global leap forward in recognizing the land rights of indigenous people and forest communities, but investors and the public need to pressure governments to make it happen, an international network of forest policy groups said. A rising number of politicians and businesses realize that if plans to exploit natural resources and expand agricultural production are to succeed, they must consider local peoples’ concerns and ensure they benefit too, the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) said in a report released on Wednesday. Key countries, including Indonesia, Peru and Liberia, are poised to make legal reforms or roll out policies that would give communities greater security on their land. But political will is often lacking, RRI coordinator Andy White told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
[Australia] Alleged fraud syndicates already targeted by police hit again in raids across the Coast
By Jack Harbour, GoldCoastBulletin, 3 February 2016
Two major Gold Coast fraud syndicates continued ripping off unsuspecting people despite being raided late last year, allege police, who yesterday pounced for the second time. Officers from the police fraud and cyber crime group arrested and charged 41-year-old Daniel Seymour with major fraud offences early yesterday in the first of several raids across the Gold Coast. Mr Seymour is the alleged principal of cold call investment fraud and sports arbitrage syndicate, Charterhurst Agencies.
Guangdong becomes China’s first carbon market to green-light OTC forward trading
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 3 February 2016
The Guangdong emissions exchange on Wednesday became the first in China to release rules for forward trading in carbon, though all deals must be negotiated over the counter (OTC) as screen-based forward trading is banned in the country’s regional pilot schemes. The exchange published the rules on its website in a bid to formalise a practice that, according to sources, some market participants have been doing informally. Under the rules, parties can negotiate forward trades of Guangdong Emissions Allowances (GDAs) and Chinese Certified Emissions Reductions (CCERs). The agreement must be reported to the exchange, and the transactions will be settled by the bourse on the delivery date. With some market participants executing forward trades without reporting them to the exchange, the main motivation behind the rules appeared to be improving the bourse’s oversight of the market and to blacklist any traders who default on contracts.
EU Market: Carbon dips back towards 20-mth low, fails to match oil rebound
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 3 February 2016
EU carbon prices slipped 3.4% on Wednesday to move back towards the previous session’s 20-month low of €5.46, as EUAs briefly tracked a volatile oil market but failed keep pace with its late gains. The Dec-16 EUA contract ended down 20 cents at €5.64, towards the bottom end of the day’s €5.52-5.85 range, on healthy volume of 16 million. Prices were in negative territory from the first minute of trade, dipping further after a weak Polish auction, before dropping amid brisk mid-afternoon selling as the front-year contract broke below €5.70. This came just ahead of the weekly US oil inventory data at 1530 GMT, which some market watchers said had been a target for some carbon speculators in light of the stronger correlations between EUAs and crude oil that have emerged throughout carbon’s 30% collapse in January.
[Fiji] Hon Minister Naiquamu at opening of (REDD + ) Regional Inception Workshop
Fijian Government, 3 February 2016
REDD+ is now considered as the most inexpensive means of addressing climate change problems through emission reduction by sources and emission removals by sinks. As a mechanism under the UN convention REDD+ had for a number of years now being heavily discussed in the various level under the convention. We are aware of the Bali Action Plan, Cancun safeguards and the Warsaw framework on REDD that specifies appropriate guidelines on the implementation of REDD+ actions. Under the Fiji Forest Policy, the Forestry Department is tasked to cooperate with other public agencies, national and international NGOs in attracting bilateral and multilateral assistance for partnership within the framework of Climate Change.
Ukraine returns €5 mln in unspent AAU funds to Japan, deal sought for remaining cash
By Stian Reklev and Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 3 February 2016
Ukraine has returned to Japan €5 million in AAU sale proceeds that it was obligated to invest in domestic emission reduction projects but failed to spend, with green groups calling for the government to prosecute officials involved in carbon market-related corruption under former President Viktor Yanukovich. The revenues are from 30 million AAUs that Ukraine sold to Japan in 2009 and 2010. As part of the contract, Ukraine committed to investing the funds in projects that cut GHG emissions, but after implementation of those initiatives had been delayed three times since 2012, Japan in December asked for the money to be paid back. “I can confirm that Ukraine has returned €5 million to Japan, since the money was not used for green investments,” a Japanese government official who wished to remain anonymous due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue told Carbon Pulse.
4 February 2016
Paris climate deal could ‘displace millions of forest dwellers’
By Matt McGrath, BBC news, 4 February 2016
The Paris climate agreement could make millions of forest dwellers homeless, according to a new analysis. Many developing countries will try to curb carbon emissions by setting aside forested areas as reserves. But experts are worried that creating national parks often involves removing the people who live in these areas. The study indicated designating forest reserves in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo could displace as many as 1.3 million people. With funding from Norway, Liberia has proposed 30% of their forests become protected areas by 2020. DR Congo, funded by Germany and the Global Environmental Facility, aims to set aside 12-15% of their forested lands. Consultants TMP Systems concluded: In Liberia, up to 335,000 forest dwellers could be affected In DR Congo, it could be as many as one million.
[Australia] Boiler room scam victims unlikely to get money back, police warn
By Josh Bavas, ABC News, 4 February 2016
Victims who lost their life savings in alleged boiler room scams offering get rich quick opportunities for investment and sports betting have little chance of getting their money back, police say. Three alleged cold-call syndicates were busted on the Gold Coast on Wednesday, after allegedly fleecing millions of dollars from Australians. One man from New South Wales lost $750,000 last year but police said despite recent raids, there was little chance of recovering the funds once the money changed hands. The man who does not want to be identified invested three generations of family money into a company he thought was a legitimate sports betting and foreign exchange trading company called BGC Trading. He said he went to withdraw some of his principal but was suddenly locked out of his account and learned the company had gone into voluntary administration.
[Indonesia] Norway slams slow REDD+ project progress
By Hans Nicholas Jong and Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, 4 February 2016
Norway has expressed dissatisfaction about the lack of progress Indonesia has made in its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects. In 2010, Norway agreed to give up to US$1 billion to Indonesia to fund forest-related emissions reduction programs in the country. Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen said on Wednesday that he acknowledged that the Indonesian government had made substantial progress in planning the programs, but added that no visible output was evident as of today. “Six years into the partnership, we are now impatient to see more results on the ground,” he said during his visit to Jakarta to meet his counterpart, Siti Nurbaya Bakar. Helgesen said that the lack of progress in the actual implementation of the REDD+ in Indonesia was clear to see.
Kenya stock market to launch carbon trading platform
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 4 February 2016
Kenya’s stock market will launch an emissions trading platform that it hopes will help local companies sell their carbon credits to foreign buyers, local media reported. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) said it wants to help publically-listed Kenyan firms such as the country’s largest utility KenGen, Mumias Sugar, East Africa Portland Cement and grid operator Kenya Power, to sell their CERs, Business Daily Africa (BDAfrica) reported on Tuesday. No firm date was given for the launch and Carbon Pulse’s attempts to obtain more information from the bourse was unsuccessful. “We are 65% done with taking a carbon market live in Kenya, and are now looking to draft rules and the legal framework,” said Rogito Nyangeri, the NSE’s head of strategy and research, according to the news outlet.
[UK] Diamond And Carbon Credit Scam Wound Up
By Lisa Smith, iExpats, 4 February 2016
A company offering carbon credit and diamond opportunities lied and cheated investors, the High Court in London heard. Mulberry Wynford was marketed as a global business with an investment track record going back more than 150 years and with offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai. The reality was the company had a mail forwarding service in London and operated from a serviced office with just two directors – Michael Bashir (37) and Andreas Christodoulou (25). The claims lent the company a veneer of respectability that was a sham. The business caught the intention of the government’s Insolvency Service as the supplier of carbon credits to another firm wound up in the public interest by the High Court for duping investors.
[UK] Gurkha soldiers lose savings in £50m Ponzi scheme
By Gonzalo Viña, Financial Times, 4 February 2016
About 450 Nepalese, including several current and retired Gurkha soldiers, lost £2.4m in a Ponzi scheme, according to City of London police. The CWM FX managed funds, which were dismantled last March with the arrests of 13 people, attracted £50m from investors with the promise of a 5 per cent monthly return. Before the arrests, CWM was the “online forex trading partner” of Chelsea football club, which has since terminated the relationship. CWM, which was based in the Heron Tower on Bishopsgate, used a foreign exchange trading platform that was licensed by the Cyprus financial regulator, allowing it to operate in Britain under EU rules. City of London police have called for victims to come forward, saying it is unclear why the funds targeted the Nepalese community because so few people have given testimony.
[USA] Cold, Dead Fish Awards For 2015
By Dan Bacher, Daily Kos, 4 February 2016
Finally, there comes the most prestigious award, the “Cold, Dead Fish.” For the fourth year in a row, I must give the award to Governor Jerry Brown, since no individual has done more in his power to destroy the fish, water and environment of California. As I mentioned already, 2015 California fish populations ranging from Delta smelt to striped bass dropped to record low levels under his watch. As Brown’s allies in the Obama administration continued to send winter run Chinook salmon, as well as the fall, late fall and spring runs, to the scaffold, Brown continued to promote anti-environmental policies that have surpassed those of any previous California administration. While Brown gushed about his “green energy” and environmentally devastating carbon trading policies at the Paris Climate Conference in December and other photo opportunities throughout the year, he continued to enthusiastically support the expansion of fracking in California…
5 February 2016
Europe’s shift to dark green forests stokes global warming-study
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 5 February 2016
An expansion of Europe’s forests towards dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures. Forest changes have nudged Europe’s summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colour traps the sun’s heat, the scientists said. Lighter-colored broad-leafed trees, such as oak or birch, reflect more sunlight back into space but have lost ground to fast-growing conifers, used for everything from building materials to pulp. Overall, the area of Europe’s forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750. “Two and a half centuries of forest management in Europe have not cooled the climate,” the team led by France’s Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement wrote in the journal Science.
6 February 2016
7 February 2016
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.