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REDD in the news: 7-13 March 2016

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.

 
[USA] How Climate-Change Negotiator Todd Stern Mastered His Diplomatic Skill
By Bo Lidegaard, Vanity Fair, March 2016
Climate-change negotiations are usually doomed by the sheer scope, complexity, and divisiveness of the issues involved—which makes the results of last December’s talk in Paris, where nearly 200 countries agreed to be held accountable for decreasing global-warming levels, even more impressive. Todd Stern helped make it happen.

7 March 2016

The multimillion dollar palm oil deal we should all be worried about
By Deborah Lapidus, The Guardian, 7 March 2016
It’s a multimillion dollar tie-up that you’ve heard little about, but could have major implications for the drive towards a more responsible palm oil sector. After several weeks of speculation, it is expected that Malaysian state-owned commodities company Felda is about to conclude negotiations on the acquisition of a 37% stake in palm oil company PT Eagle High Plantations. This follows an aborted $680m deal late last year, the collapse of which was put down to heavy criticism from investors who felt the deal was too expensive. British bank Standard Chartered was also pulled into controversy over the deal and became the target of a campaign asking it not to loan money to Felda. The deal would bring together two laggards in the palm oil industry when it comes to their lack of commitments towards sustainable palm oil.

Food and a future: How restored forests help women in Burkina Faso
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 7 March 2016
In the dry Sahel of central Burkina Faso, the months before the harvest are tough. The granaries are empty, and forests are just a memory.
“Everything is green, the crops are almost mature – but that is moment when people are most food insecure, because they are waiting for the new harvest and the old one is gone,” explained Houria Djoudi, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Demographic, economic and environmental changes have put pressure on almost all the region’s forests, leaving a degraded landscape stricken with erosion, drought and infertile soils.
But tiny patches of restored forest are now giving families a safety net at this hardest time of year. Just three hectares of fenced-off land gives a household access to leaves, nuts, beans and fodder for their own use or to sell to buy grain, Djoudi and colleagues found in a new study.

Current EU climate targets mean €5 EUAs, little fuel-switching through 2030 -Barclays
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 7 March 2016
European carbon allowances will average €5 through all of the fourth phase of the EU ETS (2021-2030) under the bloc’s current climate targets, meaning prices won’t be high enough to incentivise Europe’s biggest utilities to shift towards burning cleaner fuels until after 2030, Barclays said in an analyst report Monday. “The key assumption in our base case is that the EU’s current 2030 emissions reduction target – as manifested in the cap on EU ETS emissions over 2021-30 – is not sufficiently tight to make the EUA price an economic constraint on coal and lignite-fired generators,” the analysts wrote in the 121-page report, which examined German utilities E.ON and RWE. “Our estimate of the EUA price that would be necessary for a 50%-efficient gas plant to displace a 36%-efficient coal plant … [is] €23 in 2016, rising to €29 by 2019,” they added.

Wapichan people in Guyana join Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights to boost efforts to secure their lands
Forest Peoples Programme, 7 March 2016
More than one hundred people from 15 communities of the indigenous Wapichan people of the South Rupununi District of Guyana, South America, have gathered on 2nd and 3rd March to celebrate joining a global campaign in support of indigenous peoples and community land rights. The women, youth, village leaders and elders met in the mixed Makushi-Wapichan Village of Shulinab to re-affirm their commitment to secure their 2.8 million hectare ancestral territory in the Rupununi savannahs and tropical forest of the Upper Essequibo basin.
The gathering involved public songs and dances by culture groups from the Villages of Shorinab, Sawari Wa’o, Sand Creek and Kraudar. Speeches on the land struggle were also presented by Village Toshaos (elected leaders) and villagers.

[Guyana] Wapichan continue decades-long struggle to secure land rights by joining The Global Call to Action
Rights and Resources Initiative, 7 March 2016
More than 100 people from 15 indigenous Wapichan communities gathered together last week in the village of Shulinab, Guyana, to celebrate joining The Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights — a worldwide campaign launched on March 2 in support of Indigenous Peoples and community land rights.
The Global Call to Action encourages governments around the world to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ rights to the lands they have held in practice for generations; at the event, Elder Elizabeth Andre urged the government of Guyana to recognize the entire Wapichan territory. “We want all our lands titled together,” she said. “We do not want divisions and gaps. We want our lands whole. My mother is very elderly. I want her to see our territory legally recognized so she may die peacefully, knowing that our people and our future generations are secure on our collective land.”

Hiatus in timber smuggling from Myanmar to China
EIA International, 7 March 2016
Monitoring of key crossing points along the Myanmar-China border by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals a sharp downturn in the volume of illegal timber being smuggled between the two countries during the past six months. In September 2015, EIA released the report Organised Chaos, which documented surging illicit trade in logs via the land border between Myanmar’s Kachin State and China’s Yunnan Province, reaching 900,000 m3 of wood in 2014, worth almost half a billion dollars. The report exposed how powerful business syndicates were colluding with the Burmese military and ethnic political groups to violate Myanmar’s forest laws, which ban overland trade in timber and the export of raw logs. It also highlighted the case of 155 Chinese labourers arrested by the Burmese military in January 2015 at a logging site inside Kachin.

[UK] Investment company boss banned over carbon credit scheme
By Mark Sands, Money Marketing, 7 March 2016 The man behind an investment company selling £270,000 worth of carbon credits has been disqualified as a director for 11 years.
Darren Bartlett of Southend on Sea, the sole director of Wealth Capital, sold the credits on the basis they would increase in value, bringing in profits of £175,000.
Between June and October 2012, Wealth Capital cold called members of the public, selling carbon credits at up to three times the value paid.
However, authorities found that there was no viable exit strategy for such investments, and also noted the price Wealth Capital charged for credits meant they could not be sold without financial loss.
Following an investigation into the scheme, Wealth Capital was one of 13 companies forced into liquidation by The Insolvency Service in May 2014, with Bartlett finally handed his disqualification last week.

[UK] High Court bans £873k carbon credit directors
By Christine Dawson, Citywire, 7 March 2016
The High Court has banned two men from acting as company directors for 15 years each for running a company which made £873,000 from selling carbon credits to investors.
George Vito Michael Andreetti and Lewis Joseph Tweed were directors of Alternative Capital Limited, which sold a type of carbon credits called Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) to investors via a cold calling system.
An Insolvency Service investigation found it made more than £873,000 by selling the VERs to investors at between two and six and half times it had paid its supplier.
Following the investigation, Alternative Capital was ordered into compulsory liquidation on 1 May 2014.

8 March 2016

The World Bank’s triple-play for the future of carbon pricing
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 8 March 2016
During its more than 15 years of involvement in carbon finance, the World Bank has shifted focus several times but remains keen on having a prominent role in shaping the carbon instruments of the future by spearheading three major initiatives.
It has widened its outlook from an initial, more direct role of raising and managing funds from industrialised nations for buying carbon credits generated by activities in the developing world – an approach that has had mixed results.
The Bank aims to have a leadership role in shaping the next generation of carbon pricing instruments by convening experts and stakeholders around three groups in particular.
They all meet this week in Zurich with the aims of maintaining momentum built up at the December UN climate summit and beginning work on how carbon pricing is incorporated into the Paris Agreement.

The Carbon Counters: Tracking Emissions in a Post-Paris World
By Nicola Jones, Yale Environment 360, 8 March 2016
The work of these new, green accountants may not sound very sexy — calling them “accountants” conjures up the old image of bespectacled bean counters pushing oversized calculator buttons with the back of a pencil. But this new breed of accountant is, in essence, the overseer of the planet’s new rescue mission. They are responsible for tracking not income and expenses, but factory emissions and carbon-offset credits. They are now doing everything from calculating the environmental footprint of international companies like Wal-Mart, to monitoring the carbon stored in the Amazon rainforest, to checking that China’s power plants are really emitting what the government says they are.

Survival calls for end to Botswana’s Bushman “apartheid”
Survival International, 8 March 2016
Survival International has launched a campaign calling for an end to a draconian system in Botswana which has broken Bushmen families apart and denied them access to their land. Critics such as veteran anti-apartheid activist Michael Dingake have compared the system to the apartheid-era pass laws. The call comes in the fiftieth anniversary year of Botswana’s independence. After having been brutally evicted and forced into government camps between 1997 and 2002, the Bushmen won a historic court victory in 2006 recognizing their right to live on their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Since then, however, this right has only been extended to the small number of Bushmen named in court papers. Their children and close relatives are forced to apply for permits just to visit them, or risk seven years in prison, and children born and brought up in the reserve have to apply for a permit when they turn 18.

[Brazil] Amazonas Florestal Ltd. Announces Reverse Stock Split
Amazonas Florestal press release, 8 March 2016
Amazonas Florestal, Ltd. (www.azflusa.com) (OTC PINK: AZFLD), a natural resources company dedicated to innovative, sustainable forest management, the certification and sales of carbon credits, and Industrial Hemp, today announced a reverse stock split of the Company’s issued and outstanding common stock, $0.001 par value, at a ratio of one new share for every 1,000 shares currently outstanding, effective Wednesday, March 2, 2016.
Every 1,000 shares of the Company’s issued and outstanding common stock will be automatically combined into one share of common stock. This will reduce the number of outstanding shares from approximately 17,515,996,000 shares to approximately 17,515,996 shares. The Company will trade under the symbol AZFLD for 20 days.

[Indonesia] Govt to take responsibility for indigenous rights bill from House
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 8 March 2016
The government is taking over the drafting of the long-awaited indigenous people’s rights protection (PPHMA) bill from the House of Representatives.
The move was made after the House failed to list the bill as a legislation priority (Prolegnas) this year despite it already being included in the 2015–2019 program.
“The House couldn’t put the bill on its priority list, so we will take over. But there is still a process to go through to move the bill from the House to the government,” said Arfan Faiz Muhlizi, head of the center for national law evaluation and analysis at the National Law Development Agency (BPHN), on Monday.
First step for the government will be deciding on which ministry will now handle the bill.
“There are several ministries that have the potential to take over the bill, such as the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Home Ministry and the Law and Human Rights Ministry,” Arfan said.

‘Too Much Money’: No Land – GVL Planning Liberia Bow Out
By Rodney D. Sieh, Front Page Africa, 8 March 2016
A recurring Liberian nightmare is forcing another concessionaire out the door. FrontPageAfrica has reliably learned that the palm giant, Golden Veroleum, the world’s second largest palm producer has grown weary of lingering disputes with villagers and is unhappy with very little prospects after spending a whopping US$290 million since 2010.
Multiple sources have confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that GVL, a subsidiary of Golden Agro Resources based in Indonesia with investment of 1.6 billion, is about to be sold out to another Indonesian company, partnering with a European company. Already, at least 400 Liberians have been laid off with full benefits paid and employees are said to be bracing for an uncertain future. Sources tell FrontPageAfrica that most of the expatriates’ work permits have expired and Labor Ministry could soon come knocking.

Losing Papua New Guinea’s rainforest
By Jemima Garrett, ABC News, 8 March 2016
An area of Papua New Guinea’s internationally significant rainforests in excess of the size of Australia’s entire Wet Tropics Heritage Area in north Queensland has been cleared or logged in the 10 years to 2014, a new report has found. The latest report from the University of Papua New Guinea’s Remote Sensing Centre shows pristine rainforest and unique species are being lost, and they are calling on PNG not to go ahead with major new logging concessions.
There are also concerns about the climate change impact of new logging, including for countries in South East Asia where weather is influenced by moisture from PNG’s forests.

[UK] Scam calls – Watch out for fake ombudsmen
Financial Ombudsman Service, 8 March 2016
We’ve heard that people are getting fraudulent emails or phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the Financial Ombudsman Service. The scammers are falsely using our name to try to persuade people to reveal details about their personal and financial circumstances.
The Financial Ombudsman Service doesn’t “cold-call’ consumers, and we never email or phone people out of the blue to ask for personal information. We would only contact you if you’ve already been in touch with us to register a complaint – and then we would only speak to you about that complaint.
The ombudsman is a free service. We will never ask you for money and we don’t pay compensation to you directly. If we’ve investigated your complaint and upheld it, we may tell the business you are unhappy with to pay compensation – but money won’t be paid out by the ombudsman.

[UK] Investment company boss banned for 11 years
By Ruth Gillbe, FTAdviser.com, 8 March 2016
A director of company Wealth Capital Limited of London is to be disqualified as a director for 11 years, after selling unsuitable carbon credit investments.
Darren Bartlett has given an undertaking to the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills to be disqualified as a director for a period of 11 years for selling carbon credits as an investment on the basis they would increase in value.
However, these investments were deemed wholly unsuitable.
Mr Bartlett’s disqualification means from 11 March 2016 he cannot promote, manage or be a director of a limited company until 2027.
It follows investigation by the official receiver at the public interest unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service, whose involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest following an investigation by company investigations, also part of the Insolvency Service, into the affairs of the company.

9 March 2016

Clash between countries stymies aviation emissions talks
By Valerie Volcovici and Allison Lampert, Reuters, 9 March 2016
International aviation talks have hit a roadblock over a plan to limit carbon emissions for aircraft in a clash between developed and developing countries on how they view their responsibilities, two sources familiar with the matter said.
High-level officials from the European Union, the United States, China, and others are scrambling to devise the plan before a meeting of the United Nations aviation agency’s governing council in May.
A special meeting has been called for April in Montreal for policy makers from about a dozen countries to confer on the plan, which would achieve carbon-neutral growth in the aviation sector from 2020 onwards, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

[Australia] Man ripped off a second time trying to recover scam funds stolen by conman Brian John Kelly
By Thomas Chamberlin and David Marray, The Courier-Mail, 9 March 2016
A fraud victim who lost his life savings to a Gold Coast boiler room scam says he was ripped off a second time when he turned to an underworld figure to recover the money.
The victim is one of dozens defrauded by convicted conman Brian John Kelly, who has been dubbed “Queensland’s Wolf of Wall St” by police after fleecing millions from investors to fund a lavish lifestyle.
He yesterday said he had lost $70,000 after Kelly paid for him to fly to Sydney to meet him about his sports arbitrage software. “He talked the talk and I was stupid enough to take it hook, line and sinker,” the victim said.
When he realised the investment was a mistake he spoke to a Gold Coast private investigator, Mick Featherstone, which led to a meeting with the underworld figure and an associate.

Indonesia Struggles To Measure Carbon Emissions From Peat
By Steve Zwick and Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 March 2016
The Tropical Forest Alliance is holding its general assembly in Jakarta this week, and it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate setting.
After all, Indonesia recently surpassed Brazil as the deforestation capital of the world, and the country consistently ranks among the world’s five largest emitters of greenhouse-gases – mostly because palm-oil manufacturers in the “land of a thousand islands” have been chopping the archipelago’s peat forests to make way for plantations.
That’s especially bad for the climate, because drained peat exposes centuries’ worth of half-decayed plants, releasing two greenhouse gasses: carbon dioxide and methane. It’s a double-whammy that contributes several times as much to the greenhouse effect as does normal deforestation, and it’s also harder to calculate than are emissions from most deforestation – yet such calculations are critical if Indonesia is to manage its climate-change impacts.

[New Zealand] Kiwi expertise leading the world on emissions trading
Motu Economic and Public Policy Research press release, 9 March 2016
A New Zealand economist has just helped launch a report that will help any country in the world set up an emissions trading system.
“Many countries have indicated that they intend to use emissions trading systems as part of their effort to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement,” said Suzi Kerr, Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and co-author of an authoritative Emissions Trading in Practice: A handbook on design andimplementation published by the World Bank and International Carbon Action Partnership.
As of 2016, emissions trading systems were operating in 35 countries, 12 states or provinces, and seven cities, covering 40% of global GDP. Additional systems are under development in a wide range of locations. This is the first ever handbook designed to help any country in the world design a system to suit their locally specific needs.

PNG receiving little finance for forest conservation
Radio New Zealand News, 9 March 2016
Papua New Guinea has been receiving far less finance for forest conservation than most other countries with large tropical forests.
That’s the finding from a new report by the NGO, Forest Trends.
The group tracked the flow of conservation finance under the UN conservation programme known as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) between 2009 and 2014.
It identified US$45.3 million in total finance directed to REDD+ programmes in PNG, over half of which came from individual donor countries, with Japan the largest donor by far.

[USA] Deeper RGGI target could push prices above $10 -analysts
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 9 March 2016
The carbon price in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) would climb above $10 if states deepen their annual reduction targets after 2020, analysts ClearView Energy Partners said.
RGGI prices have softened recently amid regulatory uncertainty, speculative selling and a weak energy market, but the northeastern cap-and-trade programme could receive a boost if regulators step in to provide clarity over future ambition, ClearView said in a research note.
“We maintain our view that the fundamentals of the RGGI program point towards flat-to-declining carbon prices until (1) the fundamental picture changes; (2) RGGI states provide more details regarding a second revision to the program; or (3) the fate of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) becomes clearer,” the note said.

10 March 2016

A Warning From the B.I.S.: the Calm Before the Storm?
By Mike Whitney, Information Clearing House, 10 March 2016
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is worried that recent ructions in the equities markets could be a sign that another financial crisis is brewing. In a sobering report titled “Uneasy calm gives way to turbulence” the BIS states grimly: “We may not be seeing isolated bolts from the blue but the signs of a gathering storm that has been building for a long time.”
The authors of the report are particularly concerned that the plunge in stock prices and the slowdown in global growth are taking place at the same time that investor confidence in central banks is waning. The Bank Of Japan’s announcement that it planned to introduce negative interest rates (aka–NIRP or negative interest rate policy) in late January illustrates this point. The BOJ hoped that by surprising the market, the policy would have greater impact on borrowing thus generating more growth.

Behind the label: can we trust certification to give us fairer products?
By Caspar van Vark, The Guardian, 10 March 2016
In 1988, the first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, was applied to packs of Mexican coffee sold in Dutch supermarkets. At the time, using a product label to say something about standards in a supply chain was revolutionary, but today it is routine. The Ecolabel Index currently lists 463 certifications in 199 countries.
On the face of it, certifications on everything from fish to timber can be seen as progress, promising higher standards and transparency in the pursuit of sustainability. But what purpose are the certification labels actually serving? Can we assume that they are beneficial to producers? Do consumers understand what’s behind a certification label, and does it even matter if they do? These were some of the questions asked at a recent roundtable discussion hosted by the Guardian and supported by Mondelēz International.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Newsletter
Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 March 2016
More than seven years ago, Mayor Adnan Demachki stood before his constituents in Paragominas, in the Brazilian state of Pará, and offered his resignation. Loggers had torched the city hall, and he thought that his Green Municipality program – an attempt to get Paragominas off the “black list” of deforestation – had failed.
Instead, the leaders of 51 different organizations, from the farmers’ union to the workers unions to the trade guilds to the loggers and charcoal-makers, signed a “Letter of Apology” to the nation and proceeded to cut the municipality’s deforestation rate from 8,000 square kilometers per year in 2004 to less than 2,000 in 2015. It became a template for the Green Municipalities initiative that was launched across Pará in 2011.
“One of the key lessons is that this level of change is possible,” said Vasco van Roosmalen, who heads Brazilian NGO Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia (ECAM).

Indonesia’s forest fires: what you need to know
By Oliver Balch, World Economic Forum, 10 March 2016
A state of emergency has been declared in Indonesia, as forest fires once again rage across parts of the country. The disaster comes just months after forest and land fires spiralled out of control last year, sending choking fog across Sout-East Asia.
Where are the worst affected areas?
As satellite data of the fire hotspots shows, forest fires have affected the length and breadth of Indonesia. Among the worst hit areas are southern Kalimantan (Borneo) and western Sumatra. The fires have been raging since July 2015, with efforts to extinguish them hampered by seasonal dry conditions exacerbated by the El Nino effect. As well as Indonesia, the acrid haze from the fires is engulfing neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore and has reached as far as southern Thailand.

[Indonesia] Private Sector Companies Announce Voluntary Support to President Joko Widodo’s Peat Protection and Restortion Programme
Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, 10 March 2016
On the occasion of the first Annual Meeting of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) on 10-11 March 2016 in Jakarta, several private sector companies have announced support for President Joko Widodo’s policy to mitigate further peat conversation, protect intact and restore degraded peatland.
The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 provides a global platform for companies, civil society and government partners to realize deforestation-free supply chains and build the necessary partnerships to reduce the tropical deforestation associated with the sourcing of palm oil, pulp and paper, soy and beef.

[Indonesia] Illegal Logging Continues to Happen in State Forests
By Irma Tambunan, Kompas, 10 March 2016
Illegal logging in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem in Tebo, Jambi, continues to take place without any kind of restraint or legal interference. Hundreds of cubic meters of timber are stolen every day from national parks. These parks come in the form of production forests, timber estates (HTIs), and forest restoration areas. Kompas experienced these wild practices when covering the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem last week together with a joint team comprising the Tebo Police and a section from Jambi’s Regional Conservation Agency (BKSDA).
The logs have a diameter of 1 meter and are illegally felled from natural forests in Block 4 of the PT Lestari Asri Jaya HTI concession, a subsidiary of the Pacific Barito Group and a forest designated for productive purposes. The logs are carried out freely by dozens of loggers and all the timber is taken away using a truck that travels through a corridor of forest owned by a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Forestry.

PNG faced with capacity challenge on forest conservation
Radio New Zealand, 10 March 2016
A report by an NGO says Papua New Guinea is receiving far less finance for forest conservation than most other countries with large tropical forests.
The group Forest Trends tracked a flow of US$45.3 million in total conservation finance to PNG under the UN conservation programme known as REDD+ between 2009 and 2014.
Brian Schaap is a senior associate in the REDD+ forest conservation finance tracking initiative.
He spoke about the findings to Johnny Blades who began by asking how the amount of carbon saved by conserving forests is measured.
Brian Schaap: You can sit at a computer and look at changes in forest cover. And then you can calculate based on the type of forest and the type of trees, the mass of carbon or CO2 equivalent that was stored in those trees. So if you see, for instance, a one hectare plot of forest that’s been deforested, you can then convert that into the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that contributes to the atmosphere.

[Thailand] These Farmers Slash and Burn Forests – But in a Good Way
By Gleb Raygorodetsky, National Geographic, 10 March 2016
The controversy around shifting cultivation has recently been heating up because of a global campaign aimed at slowing climate change by keeping carbon locked up in forests. Advocates of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD, as the United Nations campaign is called, tend to see all kinds of slash-and-burn agriculture as a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…
But a multi-year study of Hin Lad Nai and neighboring Karen villages in northern Thailand found that the area where shifting cultivation is practiced absorbs significantly more carbon than it releases each year. Burning trees do add carbon to the atmosphere, of course—but in a given year only around 10 percent of the land around Hin Lad Nai is burned and planted. The rest lies fallow for six to 10 years, soaking up carbon in growing trees and soil.

11 March 2016

Don’€™t Put a Price Tag on Nature
By Richard Conniff, TakePart, 11 March 2016
Not too long ago, Mexican free-tailed bats seemed like a perfect example of how conservationists could use the “ecosystem services” idea to save the natural world. These bats feed on insect pests in the Southwestern United States, and researchers have calculated that they provide a benefit to cotton farmers that was at one point worth about $24 million a year.
It would, of course, have taken a miracle worker to get the farmers to pay for a service they had always gotten for free. But before that could happen, technology and market forces intervened: BT cotton, a strain of cotton genetically modified to produce the insecticide BT, came on the market. The BT took over the job of controlling insect pests on cotton farms, and suddenly the free-tailed bats were like buggy-whip makers in the automotive age or newspaper reporters today. The value of their services plummeted by 80 percent.

CO2 levels make largest annual leap in 56 years – NOAA
By Alex Pashley, Climate Home, 11 March 2016
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide last year rose by the biggest margin since records began, according to a US federal science agency .
Fossil fuel burning and a strong El Nino weather pattern pushed CO2 levels 3.05 parts per million on a year earlier to 402.6 ppm, as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, NOAA said on Wednesday.
“Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist at NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “It’s explosive compared to natural processes.”1
The big jump in CO2 broke a record held since 1998, also a powerful El Nino year.

Science sisters of the Amazon
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 March 2016
A welcoming committee of tarantulas outside her tent hardly inspired confidence in Katty García when she visited an indigenous Shipibo Konibo village on the banks of Peru’s Ucayali River.
“I was a little afraid,” she says of the spider confrontation, which featured in what was her first ever trip outside of her hometown of Pucallpa, in Peru’s Amazon region.
But García persisted, gathering data with researcher Dawn Rodríguez-Ward of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in this small indigenous community of open-sided, thatch-roofed houses.
Immediately across the border in Acre, Brazil, Kaline Rossi teamed with CIFOR scientist Amy Duchelle to survey communities on the impact of interventions associated with Acre’s State System of Incentives for Environmental Services.

[Australia] First project to apply for carbon credits from the Government to not clear native vegetation in Queensland
By Sarina Locke, ABC Rural, 11 March 2016
As debate rages in Queensland about land clearing, one farmer in the Maranoa district west of Roma plans to get carbon credits for avoiding it.
The next Federal Government Emission Reduction Fund auction for carbon abatement projects is being finalised for April 27-28.
In the last auction in November, Queensland graziers were big winners earning income with savannah burning projects, with 21 graziers in the Cape York region securing $36 million, planning to prevent the hottest savannah fires.
But none so far have been paid for the Carbon Farming Initiative for “avoided deforestation”.

[Indonesia] Firms tell BRG to stay out of plantations
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 11 March 2016
Efforts to repair the environmental damage to peatland areas are under threat as the government’s plan to restore over the next five years 2 million hectares of peatland damaged by forest fires is being challenged by the private sector that is in control of concession areas.
The newly established Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) said on Thursday it expected the private sector to restore the peatland that had been damaged in its areas.
“From the 600,000 hectares of peatland [targeted to be restored this year], I targeted half of it to be carried out by companies with their own money in their concessions,” BRG head Nazir Foead said at his office in Menteng, Central Jakarta.
He argued that the private sector, i.e. concession holders, was responsible for making sure that concessions were free from fires.

12 March 2016

13 March 2016


 


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.
 

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