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REDD in the news: 29 February – 6 March 2016

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REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

 

29 February 2016

World Bank to hold $20 million carbon credit auction
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 29 February 2016
The World Bank will hold a $20 million auction for carbon credits from projects designed to cut methane emissions, offering up to 10 times the current market value, the bank said on Monday. The auction, to be held on May 12, comes at a time when investment in carbon-cutting projects under U.N. programmes has slowed as countries debate the design of a new global climate pact to come into force in 2020. Methane is regarded as a highly potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide. The so-called Pilot Auction Facility will offer tradable price guarantees, or a strike price, of $3.50 per ton for carbon dioxide emission reductions, compared with current traded prices around 0.35 euros ($0.38). Participants will bid on the premium they are willing to pay for the contracts with the premium bid starting at $0.06 per tonne.

Forestry in the new development era
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 February 2016
CIFOR is pleased to release its new strategy, to guide us through to 2025. The document is the result of 18 months of consultation and deliberation, as CIFOR staff worked with partners and networks to redesign our pathway to impact. In the process, we have also given much consideration to what we mean by “forestry”. Throughout its 22-year history, CIFOR has consistently adopted a broad approach to forestry research, with our work organized according to such domains as livelihoods, governance, forest management and climate change. In crafting our new strategy, we have built on this tradition and reinforced it by aligning our structure with the global development and climate frameworks that were established in 2015. And at the heart of our strategy is our vision: a more equitable world where forestry and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all.

Greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s biggest polluters on the rise
By Tom Arup, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 February 2016
Greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s biggest companies are on the rise. Eight of the top 10 largest polluters increased their greenhouse gas emissions during the past financial year, according to a new analysis. Overall the federal government’s Clean Energy Regulator says that reported direct emissions were up 2 per cent in the year to June 2015, when compared to the previous 12 months. An Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) analysis of that data – which was released late on Friday – found that big energy players continue to dominate the top 10, prompting the green group to call for a government plan to close the dirtiest coal-fired power plants.

Carbon traders Virtuse sees two staff depart China office -sources
Carbon Pulse, 29 February 2016
Two staff have left the China-based office of EU-headquartered carbon trading house Virtuse, leaving a sole trader to handle business from the Shenzhen and Guangdong ETS, according to sources. The sources declined to name the pair but said they resigned recently. A representative from Virtuse had not, at the time of writing, responded to emails and telephone calls seeking comment. There is no suggestion that their exit is linked to the departure of the firm’s managing director Jan Fousek. Fousek left the firm last week after selling his 49% stake in the firm to Virtuse CEO Rastislav Vasilisin, who now owns 100% of the company. Prague-based Virtuse was one of the first EU companies to enter China’s fledgling carbon market in late 2014, setting up an office in Shenzhen and gaining a license to trade allowances – but not offsets – in the pilot emissions trading schemes in Guangdong and Shenzhen.

Market-based conservation programs slow deforestation in Chile, study finds
By Peter Mellgard, mongabay.com, 29 February 2016
A new study of market-based forest conservation schemes in Chile provides rare insight into the effectiveness of this relatively new approach to preventing deforestation. The schemes, known as non-state, market-driven (NSMD) governance regimes reduced deforestation on participating properties by between 2 and 23 percent, conclude the study’s authors, Robert Heilmayr, who recently completed his doctorate at Stanford University, and Eric Lambin, an earth scientist there. The study will be published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Together, the schemes, active starting in the early 2000s, conserved nearly 4,000 hectares of natural forest —about 15 square miles. That represents a marginal success, considering that the programs intended to halt deforestation completely, but a notable improvement over business as usual, according to Heilmayr.

EU set to emit 2bn tonnes more CO2 than Paris climate pledge
By Arthus Neslen, The Guardian, 29 February 2016
The EU is set to emit 2bn tonnes more CO2 than it promised at the Paris climate talks, threatening an agreement to cap global warming at 2C, a note from the European commission has revealed. Carbon prices will rise too slowly to cut industrial emissions as much as needed, says a confidential note prepared for MEPs on the environment committee, which the Guardian has seen. Lawmakers say that the shortfall could spur criticism from other countries that signed up to the Paris agreement, which aims for net zero emissions later this century. But a correction in the pace at which carbon allowances are removed from the market – to raise their prices – could spark anger from coal-dependent EU countries such as Poland, which believes its industry would be unfairly hit.

[Malaysia] SARAWAK’S 1MDB – Native Customary Land Fund ASSAR Conceals A Half Billion Ringgit Shortfall MAJOR EXCLUSIVE!
Sarawak Report, 29 February 2016
Huge sums of money have vanished from the official fund entrusted with managing the savings of Sarawak’s most disadvantaged people, the Native Customary Landowners of the state, according to documents obtained by Sarawak Report. The finding ends trust in the state government’s claims to be the guardian of the interests of the native poor and raises acute concerns over the viability of ASSAR, as well as other state funds, which have failed to give adequate disclosure about their assets.

[Nigeria] Epidemic looms in 19 C’River
By Anietie Akpan, The Guardian Nigeria, 29 February 2016
No fewer than 19 communities in Cross River State are at the mercy of waterborne diseases. The sordid disclosure was contained in the findings of a survey recently carried out by Caritas Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), both agencies of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria… A statement by the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Rev. Father Evaristus Bassey, said the study revealed that, “the sources of water supply and sanitation facilities in this corridor are appalling… People on this corridor spend thousands of naira to get to the local government headquarters. The Cross River State Government should be interested in these communities beyond the collection of carbon credits and royalties from forest and mineral exploitation.”

1 March 2016

Al Gore’s green investment firm announces carbon pricing research push
By Jocelyn Timperley, BusinessGreen, 1 March 2016
Partnership between Generation Investment Management and Ecofys aims to explore how carbon pricing can facilitate sustainable global economic growth Environmental consultancy Ecofys is to pair up with the advocacy branch of Al Gore’s sustainable investment firm Generation Investment Management to investigate how carbon pricing can facilitate sustainable global economic growth, the two companies announced today. The three-year project plans to explore how carbon pricing could be better integrated into economic policy and deployed along businesses’ value chains in an attempt to boost the effectiveness emission reduction efforts. It also hopes to deliver quantified insights into the role carbon pricing can play in limiting the global temperature rises to 1.5C, as proposed by the Paris Agreement.

[Australia] Fraudster who stole $1.3M apologises for ruining lives
By Geoff Egan, Gatton Star, 1 March 2016
The mastermind of an elaborate boiler room scam that “ruined lives” apologised to his victims before being jailed for nearly nine years. Brian John Kelly ran a scam investment business, including fake websites and fake prospectuses that conned people, many of whom were retired, out of a total of $1.3 million. Among the more than 30 victims of the boiler room scams was a Stanthorpe man who was convinced to give more than $70,000 to Kelly’s operation after he was promised it would be invested. Instead money was placed into the bank accounts of “cash mules” who withdrew the money and distributed to Kelly and his fellow scammers. Kelly pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to fraud and money laundering. Kelly admitted to personally receiving about $207,000 from the scam, but as the money was distributed in cash the court heard there was no way of knowing exactly how much Kelly himself obtained.

Point Carbon analysts warn EUAs still vulnerable to shocks, cut forecasts again
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 1 March 2016
EU carbon prices are only likely to slowly recover from the sharp falls of the past two months, but will remain vulnerable to shocks throughout the next decade because the MSR will have a limited calming effect, analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said on Tuesday. The analysts expect EUAs to average €6.60 this year, €10 in 2020 and €33 in 2030 in nominal terms, they said in an emailed report, updating their modelling after the shock 44% plunge in EUA prices over the first six weeks of the year. The projections represent a substantial drop on their previous forecasts, which were included in Carbon Pulse’s Feb. poll as an end-2016 projection of €8.90, and €15.30 by the end of 2020. The analysts’ new end-2016 forecast represents a 32% increase on today’s settlement price of €5.00 for the benchmark Dec-16 EUA futures contract.

India: Tribe set to resume David & Goliath battle with mining corporation
Survival International, 1 March 2016
A tribe in eastern India are facing a new threat from mining on their ancestral land, despite having won a major “David & Goliath” legal battle in 2014. The Dongria Kondh were originally threatened by international mining corporation Vedanta Resources, who tried to open a bauxite mine in their sacred Niyamgiri hills, but were prevented by the Indian Supreme Court, which ruled that the Dongria should decide whether to allow the mine to go ahead. The tribe unanimously rejected Vedanta’s plans to mine their hills during a historic referendum in which all twelve villages that were consulted voted against the mine. Now, however, the Odisha state is trying to re-open the issue, petitioning for the right to hold another referendum for the Dongria to pave the way for a large-scale mining operation, this time by state-run Odisha Mining Corporation.

[Kenya] Coffee farmers struggle to profit from berries as Sh20b in carbon credits ‘rots’
By Patrick Alushula, Standard Digital News, 1 March 2016
Coffee plantations minimise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which gives farmers an opportunity to earn $1 (Sh102) per coffee tree. This means that for every acre, which holds about 500 trees, a farmer can take home Sh51,000 a year simply for growing the crop. And there are additional payouts for using environmentally friendly fertiliser. “Kenya has about 150,000 hectares of coffee, and each can accommodate 1,250 coffee trees. So every year, we are missing out on close to Sh20 billion,” said Job Kareithi, the CEO and lead consultant at Capacity Building Consultants. Mr Kareithi headed a task force appointed to find ways to improve the viability of carbon credit farming in the coffee sector, and it has just handed in its report.

2 March 2016

New satellite mapping a ‘game changer’ against illegal logging
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 2 March 2016
Taken from outer space, the satellite images show illegal loggers cutting a road into a protected area in Peru, part of a criminal enterprise attempting to steal millions of dollars worth of ecological resources. With the launch of a new satellite mapping system on Wednesday, governments and environmentalists will have access to hard evidence of these types of crimes almost in real time as part of a push by scientists to improve monitoring of tropical deforestation. Tropical forests nearly the size of India are set to be destroyed by 2050 if current trends continue, a study warned last year, causing species loss, displacement and a major increase in climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to the launch of the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (Glad) alerts, researchers would have to manually track images of logging in specific areas.

Global airline deal to pave way for international carbon trade as countries move slowly
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 2 March 2016
A global carbon market mechanism for aviation is being tipped to shape international emissions trade as governments are likely to move more slowly in crafting new measures under the Paris Agreement, a conference heard on Wednesday. December’s Paris pact rang in a new era of international carbon trading by enabling countries to collaborate in meeting their goals and establishing a new market mechanism, but both are expected to take years to be elaborated enough to stimulate activity. “Responsibility for elaborating rules is put on [UN negotiating body] SBSTA, which when it meets in May in Bonn will start thinking about how this can be implemented,” UNFCCC official Niclas Svenningsen told the Argus Emissions Markets conference in Amsterdam. “The first place the rules can be agreed is at the [UN climate conference] in November, though most likely it will be in 2017, 2018. Once that is done we can come into operation.”

Thousands to march against coal plant threat to Bangladesh’s Sundarbans forest
By Jeremy Hance, The Guardian, 2 March 2016
Thousands of Bangladeshis will march from the country’s capital, Dhaka, to the world’s biggest mangrove forest next week in protest at plans to build two coal-power plants on the edge of the World Heritage-listed forest. The organisers of the so-called long march on 10 March hope to persuade the Bangladeshi government to drop its backing for construction of the plants near the Sundarbans, an area of rice paddies, shrimp farms and vast mangrove forests. “No sensible person will deny that there are many alternative ways for electricity generation,” said Anu Muhammad an economist with Jahangirnagar University, and head of the march organisers, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports. “But there is no alternative for [the] Sundarbans.” Both the proposed 1,320 MW Rampal coal plant and the 565 MW Orion coal plant will sit within 14km of the Sundarbans, a 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq miles) forest…

Canada may already be carbon neutral, so why are we keeping it a secret?
By F. Larry Martin, Financial Post, 2 March 2016
The answer comes from the most recent report (2014) of the Global Carbon Project, which states that global human-induced CO2 emissions were 36 billion tonnes. Of that, 36 per cent stayed in the atmosphere, 27 per cent was absorbed by water, and 37 per cent was absorbed by land. That’s right — absorbed by land! Not all CO2 emitted by people stays in the atmosphere. Much of it returns to the earth, mainly through the carbon absorption and sequestration power of plants, soil, and trees… We should seek out new alliances with other large, forested countries, starting with Russia, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Argentina, Indonesia, and Peru. These countries, and many others, will all benefit from a new approach that rewards carbon absorption, and would bring diverse cultural voices and political interests together around this important climate issue.

No further fixes for EU ETS before MSR launch, says European Commission official
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 2 March 2016
The European Commission will not propose further measures to address low carbon prices or the oversupply in the EU ETS before 2020, a senior Commission official said Wednesday. Speaking at the Argus Emissions Markets conference in Amsterdam, Peter Zapfel said that the Commission will take no further action to intervene in the EU carbon market until the MSR is introduced in 2019 and has been given a chance to work. EUA prices have collapsed by some 40% since the beginning of the year to around €5 currently, a sell-off market participants have attributed to a range of factors including speculative positioning, utilities changing their hedging strategies, and industrials dumping surplus supply. This has prompted some to call for European lawmakers to step in with additional measures following tough negotiations surrounding the implementation of Backloading in 2014-16 and the introduction of the MSR in early 2019.

EU should focus on current 2030 goals until 2018 UN stocktake, keep handing out free EUAs -Commission
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse 2 March 2016
The EU should focus on meeting its current proposed 2030 climate and energy goals until a worldwide stocktake of climate pledges in 2018, the European Commission said on Wednesday, disappointing environmental campaigners who say the bloc’s CO2 reduction aim falls short of globally-agreed commitments. The widely-expected view was set out in a document released by the Commission to guide EU environment ministers on Mar. 4 and a session of EU leaders on Mar. 17-18. Both meetings will examine whether to revisit the EU goals in the wake of December’s Paris Agreement. The Commission said it would provide input to a report by UN-backed scientists at the IPCC due in 2018 on achieving the “well below 2C” and efforts towards 1.5C temperature goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.

United Nations Questions Malaysian Government Over The Blocking and Intimidation Of Sarawak Report
Sarawak Report, 2 March 2016
A new report made public by the United Nations Human Rights Council has revealed high level concerns over the blocking and harassment of Sarawak Report, as well as the escalating curtailment of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly in Malaysia. The report includes a letter written to the Malaysian Government by the UN Special Raporteurs of Freedom of Expression, Mr David Kaye and Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Mr Maina Kiai, which remains unanswered to date.

[New Zealand] ASX-listed Carbon Conscious sells NZ assets to expand into dairying in WA
By Sophie Boot, The National Business Review, 2 March 2016
ASX-listed carbon emissions abatement firm Carbon Conscious has sold its New Zealand assets for $3.6 million, as it shifts its focus to dairying in Western Australia. The company has entered into an unconditional agreement for all its local assets, which includes freehold land, 800 hectares of pine plantations, forestry rights and carbon credits, it said in a statement. Carbon Conscious has used the forests it owns in Australia and New Zealand to generate carbon credits that are compliant with the Kyoto Protocol, an international climate change agreement.

3 March 2016

Climate Action After Paris: Not the Yellow Brick Road
By Michael Lenox and Erika Herz, Huffington Post, 3 March 2016
“Follow the yellow brick road”. So Dorothy is told in the classic 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. Alas, if the world’s economies only had such a clear and singular path to follow subsequent to the recent promising Paris Climate Accord. While the accord has raised hopes that government leaders are serious about reversing climate change, in reality, the path forward is probably more like a vast river with multiple tributaries that merge before powering toward the sea. To significantly reduce our carbon footprint, innovation is required on a massive scale from critical sectors of the economy: energy, transportation and agriculture, just to name a few. Such innovation will not just magically manifest itself. It requires numerous tributaries, including federal and state policy and actions by both public and private actors, leading to a carbon-reduced future.

Leading brands unsure if palm oil in products comes from rainforest land
By Kate Lamb, The Guardian, 3 March 2016
Some of the world’s largest consumer companies are clueless as to whether palm oil they buy from Indonesia is linked to rainforest destruction, new analysis from Greenpeace shows. The environmental group surveyed 14 companies including multinationals such as PepsiCo, Mars and Unilever, and found that none could confidently claim that no Indonesian rainforest was destroyed in the making of their products. According to the report, titled Cutting deforestation out of the palm oil supply chain, most companies could not say how much came from suppliers that comply with their own environmental standards. And only one company, Ferrero, could trace nearly 100% of its palm oil back to the land where it was grown.

Fairtrade certification – what are food companies buying into?
By Ben Cooper, just-food.com, 3 March 2016
Environmental criteria have always featured in Fairtrade standards but as climate change becomes an ever more pressing concern, the need for certification systems like Fairtrade to help smallholders cope with the impact of climate change specifically has grown. Last December, Fairtrade International launched Fairtrade Carbon Credits with the aim of helping agricultural communities in developing countries reduce emissions while also strengthening themselves against the effects of climate change. The credits are regulated through the Fairtrade Climate Standard and have been developed in partnership with the Gold Standard, an organisation specialising in climate security and sustainable development. In 2014, Fairtrade trained some 14,000 farmers in climate change adaptation, according to Fairtrade International’s 2014-2015 annual report.

[Brazil] 3 ways the marketplace could end Amazon deforestation
By Steve Schwartzman, Environmental Defense Fund, 3 March 2016
There was a lot of talk about deforestation at the latest round of international climate talks in December 2015, and it’s no mystery why: Tropical deforestation and forest degradation account for as much as 19 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions today. The good news? Powerful market-based strategies for tackling such emissions are emerging with several Brazilian states leading the way. They show that, if scaled up, we can, in fact, halt emissions from deforestation in the Amazon – the largest remaining tropical forest in the world – within a matter of years.

WWF accused of facilitating human rights abuses of tribal people in Cameroon
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 3 March 2016
WWF, the world’s largest conservation organisation, has been accused by leading tribal defence group Survival International of inadvertently facilitating serious human rights abuses against pygmy groups living in Cameroonian rainforests. In a 228-page formal complaint to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (OECD), Survival alleges that anti-poaching eco-guards who were part-funded and logistically helped by WWF, victimised the hunter gatherer Baka people, razed to the ground their camps, destroyed or confiscated their property, forced them to relocate and have regularly used physical force and threats of violence against them. The complaint, which covers several years and is the first to be taken against a conservation group, alleges that WWF broke both OECD guidelines for the conduct of multinational companies and the UN declaration on human rights.

EU nations hand out 535 million free carbon permits for 2016
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 3 March 2016
European nations have handed out a combined 535 million free European Union carbon permits to industry to cover 2016 emissions, the European Commission said on Thursday. The allocation of EU Allowances (EUAs) will add supply to a market already awash with permits and could put more pressure on carbon prices, which are now below 5 euros a ton. Germany and France handed out the most permits, at 129.6 million and 73.2 million respectively, while five countries including Spain and Italy have yet to distribute any of the free permits, an update on the Commission’s website showed. The EU Emissions Trading System caps the emissions of more than 11,000 power plants, factories and airlines, forcing them to surrender one carbon permit for every ton of carbon dioxide emitted annually by April of the following year.

MEP Duncan targets EUAs of €30, but still expects price-boosting efforts to fail
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 3 March 2016
EU carbon prices must return to levels near €30 in order to fix the bloc’s ETS, according to UK MEP Ian Duncan, though he admitted lawmakers were unlikely to alter the main price-boosting reforms currently on the table. “I will do all I can to make sure the CO2 price climbs,” Duncan told the Argus Emissions Conference in Amsterdam. “To me, the most important thing will be getting a carbon price that makes the difference.” Duncan is steering the post-2020 ETS reform bill through the EU Parliament’s cross-party environment committee in a lawmaking process expected to finish in Q1 2017 at the earliest. He said that the aim of lawmakers must be to ensure the reforms can push EUA prices back towards the €30 level they briefly reached in 2008, and then on to €40 and €50. “What it can’t do is scud down to zero, as happened after the 2008 recession, because if it does that then the confidence in the system will be lost…”

New ‘Coalition for Higher Ambition’ calls on EU to step up efforts to honour Paris Agreement
By Jocelyn Timperley and James Murray, BusinessGreen, 3 March 2016
Newly formed business and civil society group calls for more climate action from Europe to bring it into line with pledges made in Paris deal, as Commission praises bloc’s role in delivering historic agreement. A coalition of businesses, investors, cities, civil society groups, and trade unions has this week urged the European Union (EU) to deliver a new strategy in line with the goals set out in the historic Paris Agreement. In a nod to the so-called ‘High Ambition Coalition’ of countries that formed at the Paris Summit, and of which the EU was a member, the group has dubbed itself the ‘Coalition for Higher Ambition’.

[Honduras] Berta Cáceres, ¡presente!
By Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth US, 3 March 2016
In 2013, during one of many moments when Berta Cáceres was in hiding due to constant death threats, I wrote an article called Berta Cáceres is Still Alive. There was every reason to believe that the Honduran state, the corporate oligarchs, the dam-builders, the mining companies, the timber companies, the agribusiness interests, the trade interests and all of the economic interests behind the ongoing plunder of lands and resources in Mesoamerica, wanted Berta dead. Today, they got what they wanted. Berta Cáceres is dead. After more than two decades leading the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras — Copinh), Berta, fearless and tender indigenous leader, visionary and fierce defender of the rights of Mother Earth, was murdered in her sleep by gunmen who entered her home on the night of March 2, in Honduras.

[New Zealand] Increased carbon credit value would encourage more forest area
By Mike Watson, NZFarmer.co.nz, 3 March 2016
A Marlborough forestry consultant supports an increase in the value of carbon credits to encourage more trees to be planted. Latest Ministry of Primary Industries figures show the total area of forest planted in New Zealand had fallen by 16,000 hectares, with only 3000ha of new forest planted last year. Forestry was the country’s third biggest exporter, behind meat and wool, and dairying, with an export value worth $4.8 billion in 2014. But since 2000 the planted area had declined on average 3267ha a year, from 1.76 million hectares down to 1.72 million hectares last year. In contrast, from 1955 to 2000 the total forest area in New Zealand grew 344,000ha to 1.79 million hectares, or 31,667ha each year for 45 years. Almost 10,000ha of harvested forest was also lying fallow waiting for landowners to replant.

[Philippines] DoE rejects carbon tax
By Alena Mae S. Flores, The Standard, 3 March 2016
Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada rejected proposals to impose a tax on carbon emissions, which she said could push up power rates. Monsada, speaking at the Shell Powering Progress Together-Asia forum, said the power rate in the country was already very high. “There was a mention of carbon tax. The concern is we already have a very high power rate. We’re not competitive with our neighbors because of this high rate and it would not be a good idea to impose carbon tax on coal,” Monsada said. The energy chief said the Energy Department was instead encouraging the use of more renewable energy and the reclassification of the power plants into baseload, mid-merit or peaking plants. “[Carbon pricing] can be part of consideration but putting tax on carbon may lead to higher prices,” Monsada said.

4 March 2016

“Global warming is now in overdrive”: We just hit a terrible climate milestone
By Melissa Cronin, Grist, 4 March 2016
We’ve just surpassed a historic climate threshold — and the world is still heating up. As of Thursday morning, for the first time in recorded history, average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere briefly crossed the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius above “normal.” Eric Holthaus picked up on the momentous occasion over at Slate, adding that global warming is now “going into overdrive.”

To save forests, look at farming practices
By Samuel McGlennon, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 March 2016
The most promising interventions to reduce emissions in tropical forest-rich countries like Indonesia, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) may not lie in the forest at all. Instead, those interventions might be right under our noses—in the food on our plates. This is because, as scientist Sarah Carter puts it, you cannot separate forests and agriculture. “To look after forests, you have to look hard at agriculture,” said Carter, the lead author of a study on reducing emissions from agriculture, from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “And agriculture means the food we eat, and how and where it is produced,” she added. Motivated by this well-evidenced conclusion, Carter and other CIFOR scientists embarked on a pantropical study to canvas and compare the potential emission reductions of interventions in the agricultural and forest sectors.

[Australia] Emission Reduction Fund Safeguard Mechanism
Baker & McKenzie, Lexology, 4 March 2015
With the dust having now settled on last year’s historic COP21 negotiations in Paris, which resulted in a new global climate change agreement (Paris Agreement), the focus will be on domestic implementation of each Parties’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Pursuant to the Paris Agreement, countries have agreed to keep global temperature increases to “well below 2°C”. This overarching goal will guide countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts for the period between 2020 – 2030.

[Australia] Arrest warrant for former nightclub owner, alleged boiler room scammer Phil Cropper
By Mark Solomons, ABC News, 4 March 2016
Former nightclub owner Phil Cropper, who was acquitted of an attempt to extort film star Russell Crowe more than a decade ago, has had an arrest warrant placed on him by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). Cropper has been under investigation for his alleged role in running so-called “boiler rooms” or high-pressure sales offices selling fraudulent investment schemes. The CCC and the Maxima anti-bikie unit of Queensland Police have been investigating an alleged boiler-room syndicate on the Gold Coast for the past two years in an operation called Lima Violin II. Hundreds of Australians are alleged to have been defrauded of millions of dollars. So far almost 30 people have been charged with serious offences.

EU auditors slam inaction on VAT fraud
By Aline Robert, EurActiv.com, 4 March 2016
Member states’ unwillingness to cooperate laves them wide open to VAT fraud, the European Court of Auditors said on Thursday (3 March). This weakness costs the EU as much as €168 billion per year. EurActiv France reports. “This is a criminal problem. Stopping it should be top of our priorities,” said Neven Mates, the author of the Court of Auditors report. For the official, the need to tackle the problem of VAT fraud in Europe is all the more urgent because a large proportion of the proceeds is used to finance organised crime. According to Carlo van Heuckelom, the business manager of Europol’s Economic Crime Unit, organised criminals pocket between €40 and €60 billion of the VAT that gets lost in the EU each year. The racket, which consists of importing goods without paying VAT, and then sell them on at a price that includes VAT, directly removes money the coffers of EU countries.

[Ireland] The Revenue Commissioners plan a trip to the High Court in relation to Celestial Green Ventures plc
By Mark Paul, Irish Times, 4 March 2016
The Revenue Commissioners plan a trip to the High Court in relation to Celestial Green Ventures plc, a Dublin-head carbon trading firm with links to Brazil and founded by former mining executive Ciaran Kelly. The company flogs carbon credits derived from projects to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, and has previously tried to strike deals with local tribes. It’s an exotic business model, for sure. The company was, for a while, listed on a junior exchange in Frankfurt about five years ago. Its 2011 prospectus estimated profits of $600 million over the following five years, although it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Michael Gladney, the Revenue’s collector general – the taxman to you and me – has filed a notice seeking to wind up Celestial. It’s not exactly a heavenly set of circumstances for the Dublin company.

5 March 2016

6 March 2016


 


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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