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REDD in the news: 2-8 May 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s links to news on forests, climate change and REDD. Links are organised by date with the most recent first. For regular updates, visit REDD-Monitor’s “REDD in the news” page, or follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.


 
Identifying strategic opportunities for philanthropy to engage in sustainable land use finance
By Jessica Brown, Climate Policy Initiative, May 2016
With growing global demand for food and fuel in a climate-constrained world, the question of how to best reorient land use towards more sustainable and productive practices is a key challenge for governments, businesses, and individuals. This is particularly true for developing countries, where agricultural expansion is a major source of economic growth and development, but also a major source of emissions and environmental degradation.
In recent years, significant international efforts have focused on developing mechanisms to deliver incentives for developing countries to maintain high-value ecosystems. This has happened primarily through bilateral and multilateral funds in support of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), as well as through voluntary carbon markets and ad-hoc payments for ecosystem services (PES) pilots. However, such mechanisms have often proved disappointing, failing to deliver on the intended results or suffering from inadequate funding and difficult implementation.

2 May 2016

In the Crosshairs of Development
By Peter Bosshard (International Rivers), mongabay.com, 2 May 2016
When we learned that Berta Cáceres, a leader of the indigenous Lenca people, was murdered in Honduras, we were shocked but not surprised. A violent death is the all-too-frequent fate of indigenous activists who defend their rivers and lands against dams, logging and other forms of destructive development.
Berta’s murder is just the tip of the iceberg. Her organization, the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras, has lost no less than 14 members in its history. In Brazil, 138 indigenous activists were killed in 2014 alone. Several other indigenous leaders around the world have been killed in the last few weeks, including at least two anti-dam activists in the Tawang District of Northeast India today. We can only wonder who may be in the crosshairs next.

Cambodia declares protected area in hotly contested Prey Lang forest
By Daniel Pye, mongabay.com, 2 May 2016
A landmark decision by Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen could see almost a million hectares of forest reclassified as protected areas in a country with one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.
But the order, circulated on Friday, to transfer control of the sites from the agriculture ministry to the environment ministry has been criticized by forest activists and conservationists as not going far enough.
The new conservation zones include the “core area” of Prey Lang, the largest of five forests to receive the protected status. Environmentalists have been campaigning against the logging of Prey Lang for many years, but the decision to include less than half of mainland Southeast Asia’s largest evergreen forest in the new protected area has disappointed. The other forests included in the decree were Preah Roka, Prey Siem Pang Khang Lech, Prey Chrak Robeang Khang Tbong and Prey Veun Sai.

EU emitters convert 22.66 million offsets for 2015 emission swap
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 2 May 2016
Companies covered by the EU ETS exchanged 22.66 million international credits – all CERs – for use in the scheme over the past year, well down on the previous two years, the European Commission said.
This year’s tally is below the 40 million figure expected by analysts at Energy Aspects and gives a slightly bearish EUA price signal because it suggests that more supply will be available in future years.
The annual offset use data is closely watched by EU market participants as it could impact the amount of EUAs in circulation. However market watchers don’t expect a major impact on either EUA or offset prices as a result of the data, partly because the market is already so vastly oversupplied by more than 1.7 billion EUAs.
Dec-16 CER prices were unchanged at €0.42 on ICE following the data release, albeit on very thin volume.

Diplomats: Norway’s Solheim to Be New UN Environment Chief
ABC, 2 May 2016
U.N. diplomats say Norway’s former environment and development minister Erik Solheim has been chosen by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to head the U.N. environment agency.
Solheim currently heads the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s committee on development assistance. He also serves as special envoy for environment, conflict and disaster for the United Nations Environment Program known as UNEP.
The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement, said Monday that Solheim will succeed Achim Steiner as UNEP’s executive director, with the rank of undersecretary-general. Steiner served two four-year terms and had his mandate extended an additional two years until June 2016.

[USA] Leakage study assessment delays ARB cap-and-trade amendments
By Steven McGinn, ICIS, 2 May 2016
Cap-and-trade amendments will be delayed in order for the state to properly assess an upcoming leakage study, an Air Resources Board (ARB) official told ICIS.
The ARB, the cap-and-trade regulator, has been working to make changes to its programme to formulate a post-2020 plan while also developing a compliance plan for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan.
The ARB is looking at a host of changes to the cap-and-trade programme, including post-2020 caps, further cost-containment mechanisms and future offset rules.
Those draft amendments were initially scheduled to be released at the end of May with a final hearing coming in spring 2017. The ARB announced last month that the draft amendments would not be released until July 2016.
The first board hearing would be in September with a final adoption coming in spring 2017. Any amendments passed would go into effect in October 2017, which would be before the start of the third compliance period.
An ARB official said an upcoming leakage study was the primary reason for the amendment delays.

3 May 2016

How Nations Are Chipping Away at Their Protected Lands
By Richard Conniff, Yale Environment 360, 3 May 2016
It’s the saddest truism in wildlife conservation: When politicians announce that they are setting aside precious habitat “in perpetuity,” what they really mean is until somebody else wants the land.
Protected areas now get reopened so often under the pressure of population and economic growth that the trend has spawned an acronym, PADDD, for “protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement.” There’s also a web site, PADDDtracker.org, jointly maintained by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Conservation International.
Michael Mascia, who recently moved from WWF to Conservation International, developed the PADDD concept in 2011 “to define the problem” worldwide, he said, “and to try to mobilize” attention to it among scientists and ultimately the public.

Why forests will make or break the climate fight
By Vaidehi Shah, Eco-Business, 3 May 2016
This year’s Earth Day was a momentous one, marked by the signing of the Paris Agreement, which aims to confine global temperature rise to below 2 deg C. With a theme of “Trees for the Earth”, the event also kicked off a global goal to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020, underscoring the importance of forests in the global climate fight.
But just months before the landmark climate deal was finalised in France last December, raging forest fires in Southeast Asia added more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is a sober reminder that deforestation could undermine the global community’s efforts to curb climate change.

How big donors and corporations shape conservation goals
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 3 May 2016
When I was eleven, I started donating my allowance to big wildlife organizations like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). My dad, who grew up on a dairy farm that barely survived after his father died of a brain tumor, thought I was crazy to send my money to help save wildlife in some far off country. But I was stubborn — and terrified by the fate of the world’s rainforests and wildlife. So month after month, I defied him and put money in an envelope and mailed it away. As a kid, giving money to conservation groups made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself. And that I was helping, in whatever tiny way, to protect species that filled my world with wonder.
This is how many wildlife organizations used to raise much of their money, but that has largely changed. For better or worse.

Ex-Mexican foreign minister Espinosa nominated as U.N. climate chief
By Alistair Doyle, Reuters, 3 May 2016
Former Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa has been nominated to be the new U.N. climate chief, helping to bolster a 2015 Paris Agreement to shift the world economy from fossil fuels, officials said on Tuesday.
Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican who is stepping down in July after a six-year term as head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, wrote in a Tweet that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had nominated Espinosa to succeed her.
The Bonn-based Secretariat said the appointment needs to be approved by an 11-member U.N. bureau, whose members represent groups of governments worldwide and is now led by French Environment Minister Segolene Royal.
The bureau has no record of challenging nominations by the Secretary-General, diplomats say, even though some had expected that the job would shift from Latin America.

[Cambodia] British Businessman Maintains Innocence in Forgery Case
By Peter Ford and Ouch Sony, Cambodia Daily, 3 May 2016
The British businessman at the center of a fraud case involving plans to grow a jatropha plantation in Banteay Meanchey province once again took the stand on Monday in a convoluted trial that has recently centered on the legitimacy of documents used to secure land.
Greg Fryett, who is charged alongside four others for allegedly creating and using fake documents to purchase and clear land in 2009, was pressed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over official maps used by his company, International Green Energy (IGE).
Presiding Judge Chuon Sokreasy accused him of using “modern computer technology” to alter the maps.
“We categorically did not forge any documents,” Mr. Fryett responded.
He explained that in mid-2009, he and Um Sam Ang, a businessman he had known from earlier ventures in Cambodia, had visited multiple locations while looking for a suitable site for the jatropha tree plantation, which they planned to use to make biofuel.
Mr. Fryett said they ultimately settled on the purchase of a 5,079-hectare economic land concession (ELC) in Svay Chek district. He said he had purposely distanced himself from dealing with the paperwork surrounding the sale.

EU Market: EUAs sink to “last chance saloon” below €6
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 3 May 2016
EU carbon sank below €6 on Tuesday as lower energy prices and a weak auction triggered a sell-off to unwind all of last week’s rapid gains.
The Dec-16 EUA futures settled down 12 cents at €5.99, near the middle of the session’s €5.83-6.15 range, on fairly heavy turnover of 22.5 million.
That puts the benchmark carbon contract only slightly above the previous Wednesday’s settlement of €5.90, which was followed by two days of massive gains that pushed the Dec-16s to a three-month high of €7.07.
“We do have strong support around €5.81-86 so this could be classed as a bit of a ‘last chance saloon’ level; a level that needs to hold or we’ll be signalled to head back down to the lows,” said Clive Lambert of technical analysts FuturesTechs
“This drop somehow makes sense … Carbon jumped way too much with no strong fundamentals behind it [last week]. It makes me thing that traders are extremely nervous and we might see other jumps or drops like the one we saw last week,” added a trader.

[Norway] Biggest Wealth Fund Pushes for Climate Disclosure at Exxon
By Michael Holter, Bloomberg, 3 May 2016
Norway’s $870 billion sovereign wealth fund will back proposals to force Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., two of the biggest oil companies, to assess how climate-change policies can affect their business.
The fund, the largest of its kind, will vote in favor of shareholder proposals to introduce climate reporting at both companies’ annual general meeting on May 25, Norges Bank Investment Management, said in two separate statements. NBIM owned 0.78 percent of Exxon and 0.85 percent of Chevron at the end of 2015, according to its website.
“We encourage companies to consider the sensitivity of their long-term business strategy and profitability to different future regulatory and physical climate scenarios,” the fund said. “One such scenario should consider the successful implementation of policies to limit the likelihood of temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius.”

4 May 2016

[Belgium] FSMA Issues Warning Against Boiler Rooms, Recovery Room Fraud
By Jeff Patterson, Finance Magnates, 4 May 2016
The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has issued another public warning, this time against the unauthorized activities of multiple ‘boiler rooms’ and of a ‘recovery room’ that are contacting Belgian consumers, per a recent FSMA statement.
The Belgium-based FSMA helps bring to light a number of fraudulent schemes and predatory organizations that conspire against traders and market participants in the country. The FSMA also advises against deposits and the transfer of money to these entities, given the inherent risk involved. While previous warnings have centered on forex firms in years past, a large majority of unregulated entities have recently been binary options providers as well or alternative operations, such as boiler room scams.

UN-REDD Programme study highlights significant economic contribution of forests to Ethiopia’s Gross Domestic Product
By Tefera Mengistu Woldie, Ababu Anage, and Ivo Mulder, UN-REDD Blog, 4 May 2016
A year has passed since an inception workshop was held in Addis Ababa to economically value Ethiopia’s forests. Now a validation workshop has ushered in the final phase of the initiative. The full studies are expected to be launched in June at a high-level event.
The validation workshop, opened by H.E. Ato Kebede Yimam, State Minister, Ministry of Environment and Forests, highlighted the importance of Ethiopia’s forests for its national income. Why is this relevant for the national REDD+ process? The relevance of forests extends beyond timber and carbon sequestration to its ability to regulate water flows, reduce soil erosion, generate non-wood forest products, etc. Understanding the magnitude of these values provides a basis to strengthen REDD+ implementation. After all, investments to reduce deforestation and forest degradation or removing carbon through rehabilitation of degraded land is not only in the interest of mitigating climate change, but also makes macro-economic sense!

The case of the skull ring: Poker pro, Polish broker on trial for French carbon “crime of the century”
By Aline Robert and Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 4 May 2016
A trial of 12 people accused of carrying out or facilitating up to €1.4 billion worth of tax fraud in the EU carbon market kicked off in Paris this week, in a case dubbed France’s “crime of the century” and featuring a plotline worthy of a Hollywood film.
Five of the suspects appeared in court on Monday, including French businessman and professional poker player Arnaud Mimran and Jaroslaw Klapucki, the CEO of the French arm of Poland-headquartered emissions brokerage Consus SA.
Mimran was arrested by French police in early 2015 on suspicion of tax fraud and money laundering, and is also under investigation for kidnapping and extorting a Swiss banker.
Mimran is suspected of having orchestrated so-called ‘carousel fraud’ in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme along with accomplices Mardoche “Marco” Mouly, who also appeared in court, and Samy Souied, who was murdered in front of Paris’ Palais des Congres in Sep. 2010 in a still unsolved case.
The remaining seven suspects are still at large and believed to have fled to Israel.

How effective will Indonesia’s palm oil permit freeze really be?
mongabay.com, 4 May 2016
Environmental groups have raised concerns that Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s planned moratorium on new oil palm and mining concessions will have limited impact without hawkish enforcement by local governments and police.
Jokowi said last month during a visit to an island north of Jakarta that the government would prepare a policy document banning new permits in the sectors. “No one can request an oil palm concession any longer,” Jokowi said while launching a conservation initiative on April 14 in Pulau Karya, a small island in the Pulau Seribu district.

5 May 2016

Patricia Espinosa: Who is the UN’s incoming climate change chief?
By Ed King, Climate Home, 5 May 2016
It’s 06:23 on 11 December 2010. Bleary-eyed diplomats shuffle out of Cancun’s Moon Palace after two weeks of intense, fractious and sometimes emotional UN climate talks.
Against all the odds and unlike the previous year in Copenhagen, faith has been restored in the international climate change talks with the freshly minted Cancun Accord.
The deal commits the vast majority of the world’s countries to keep working on a plan to curb global warming.
At the centre of it is Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa, described as an “excellent leader of negotiations” in the definitive tome on UN talks since 2009, Power in a Warming World.

Plans for coal-fired power in Asia are ‘disaster for planet’ warns World Bank
By Suzanne Goldenburg, The Guardian, 5 May 2016
Plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change, the president of the World Bank said on Thursday.
In an unusually stark warning, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, noted that countries in south and south-east Asia were on track to build hundreds more coal-fired power plants in the next 20 years – despite promises made at Paris to cut greenhouse gas emissions and pivot to a clean energy future.
In the US, coal use is in sharp decline – and the country’s biggest companies are in bankruptcy. But there is still strong demand for coal in south Asia and east Asia, where tens of millions still have no access to electricity.

ICAO considers requiring airlines to buy forest-protection emission credits
Montreal Gazette, 5 May 2016
The International Civil Aviation Organization is considering new rules that would require airlines to buy two forest-protection emission credits for each metric ton of carbon dioxide, double the typical amount, amid concern over the permits’ environmental credibility, according to two people with direct knowledge of negotiations.
As the United Nations-overseen regulator builds the first global emissions market for the industry from 2020, it wants to include forest-protection credits to get a wide range of supply. It’s also accounting for the fact that some see the offsets as less rigorous than other types of credits, said the people, who asked not to be identified because some of the discussions are private.

Australia buys 50.5m offsets at A$10.23 each in third ERF auction
By Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 5 May 2016
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator bought 50.47 million tonnes of CO2e reductions at an average cost of A$10.23 ($7.66) each in last week’s Emissions Reductions Fund (ERF) auction, which was heavily dominated by vegetation projects, it said Thursday.
The result means Australia has contracted to buy 143 million Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) over the three auctions held so far, spending A$1.7 billion of its A$2.55 billion budget.
ACCUs bought in the latest round will be delivered over the next decade and cost a total A$516 million.
The average price fell 16.5% from the November auction in line with market expectations, as increased competition drove lower bids from project developers.
However, the expected influx of low-cost industrial projects did not materialise. Vegetation projects accounted for 47.2 million of the contracted offsets, with landfill and waste a distant second at 1.6 million.

Brazil’s Congress moves ahead to end nation’s environmental safeguards
By Sue Branford, mongabay.com, 5 May 2016
A Commission in the Brazilian Senate — cloaked by the political turmoil in Brasilia — has quietly approved a constitutional amendment that would shred the environmental safeguards currently required for public works.
If ratified, the amendment could give a green light and fast track approval to major infrastructure projects nationwide including the controversial Sao Luiz do Tapajós hydroelectric project. Such a move could devastate the country’s wildlife and natural environment, and do significant harm to indigenous groups.
Environmental organisations have belatedly discovered that on 27 April that the Commission of the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship approved a constitutional amendment (PEC 65), which establishes that, if an entrepreneur is carrying out a public work, the project cannot be suspended or cancelled, provided that the contractor has submitted a basic environmental impact study.
In practice, this law would abolish Brazil’s currently extensive environmental licensing process, which carefully assesses the environmental viability of infrastructure projects. Environmental organisations, horrified by the potential impact on local communities and the country’s biodiversity, are organising an eleventh-hour attempt to stop the amendment from completing its passage through Congress.

EU Market: EUAs climb to €6.50 on higher energy, German paper
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 5 May 2016
EU carbon prices rose as much as 6.9% on Thursday as oil prices led the energy complex higher and as Germany’s draft paper on minimum EUA price raised the prospects for political intervention.
But the benchmark Dec-16 EUA futures failed to hang on to most of those gains and settled up 7 cents at €6.20, near the bottom of the day’s €6.11-6.55 range, on relatively healthy volume of 17.1 million.
The volume was higher than expected as many traders were absent due to a public holiday in much of continental Europe, which also meant there was no government auction scheduled today.
“The main driver is definitely energy prices, with gas very strong today, but the Germany paper is stirring hopes that politicians are looking to take more action to raise EUA prices,” said one trader.

[Indonesia] Good news for the only place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together
By Bill Laurance, The Conversation, 5 May 2016
Conservationists and environmental scientists are used to bad news. So when there’s some really good news, it’s important to hear that as well.
While the battle is far from over, there has been a series of breakthroughs in the long-running battle to protect the imperilled Leuser ecosystem in northern Sumatra, Indonesia – the last place on Earth where tigers, orangutans, rhinoceros and elephants still live alongside one another.
The government of Aceh Province – which controls most of the Leuser ecosystem and has been subjected to withering criticism for its schemes to destroy much of the region’s forests for oil palm, rice and mining expansion while opening it up with a vast road network through the forest – has agreed to a moratorium on new land clearing and mining.

Norway: Environmental hero or hypocrite?
By Richard Milne, Financial Times, 5 May 2016
With killer whales swimming in the pristine fjord and sea eagles soaring above it, the scene offers a postcard-perfect image of Norway. “It is a paradise where nature can develop undisturbed,” says Anne-Line Thingnes Forsund, who was born and raised in Vevring, beside the Forde fjord.
But last year the Norwegian authorities approved a plan that would allow millions of tonnes of industrial waste to be dumped into the fjord, drawing criticism that the pristine area will be disturbed. The project developer, Nordic Mining, says that in return 170 jobs would be created to excavate titanium oxide, a mineral used in teeth whitening and other products.

RSPO orders Peruvian palm oil plantation to stop development
By Apoorva Joshi, mongabay.com, 5 May 2016
Two big palm oil plantations in the Peruvian Amazon have attracted the attention of conservation and human rights organizations that say their development has resulted in the destruction of rainforest and harmed surrounding communities. On April 25, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil responded to these allegations, issuing a “stop work order” to Plantaciones de Pucallpa – the company managing one of these plantations – on the specific grounds that its operations are affecting the territory of the Shipibo community.
Starting in earnest in 2012, Plantaciones de Pucallpa’s oil palm plantation in Peru’s central Ucayali region had deforested around 6,000 hectares by the end of 2014, according satellite data from the University of Maryland. Nearly half of this clearing took place in a particularly large, continuous area of primary forest called an Intact Forest Landscape. Data from 2015 indicate 400 more hectares were cleared last year.

[USA] California ponders expanding cap and trade to Brazil
By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters, 5 May 2016
With feathers adorning his head and red paint decorating his face, Haru Kuntanawa hardly looked like a potential business partner for California’s oil industry when he addressed the crowd gathered last week in a Sacramento conference room.
But under a plan state air regulators are considering, industries that emit greenhouse gas pollution in California could form multimillion dollar relationships with indigenous communities like Kuntanawa’s by paying them to preserve trees deep in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.
It’s part of a proposal to expand California’s cap and trade system, which is designed to encourage companies to reduce climate-warming pollution by making them pay for it. Businesses can comply, in part, by buying credits to support environmental projects that offset their carbon emissions in California.

[USA] Why Indigenous People Should Care About California’s Cap-and-Trade Program
Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 5 May 2016
The US state of California has slashed greenhouse-gas emissions while powering one of North America’s strongest economies, largely by embracing a system of “cap-and-trade”. As the state expands its program, policymakers are considering a provision to slow climate change by saving endangered forests – a move that could help indigenous people across the Amazon and around the world.
As California policymakers weigh their options for expanding cap-and-trade, the Earth Innovation Institute has compiled a fact sheet that answers some of the more complex questions. We’ve reprinted it below.

6 May 2016

Unprecedented deforestation in old Herakles plantation, now under new management
By John C. Cannon, mongabay.com, 6 May 2016
The development of an oil palm plantation, which was thought to have been pretty much abandoned by the American company that ran it, has resumed in the Southwest Region of Cameroon, according to satellite data released by Greenpeace today on its website.
The plantation, once owned by New York-based Herakles Farms, became more famous over the past seven years for its environmental missteps and social blunders than for producing palm oil. Organizations including the Oakland Institute, the Forest Peoples Programme, and Greenpeace partnered with local groups to oppose the company’s work near Cameroon’s border with Nigeria.
The coalition charged that the company had obtained the land illegally, without adequately informing local populations of what they were doing. And opponents also said the plantation was too close to Korup National Park, a bastion of endangered biodiversity.
Now, a team from Greenpeace has tracked down evidence that the plantation is under new leadership, said Amy Moas, a senior forest campaigner with Greenpeace. A document from the Cameroonian Ministry of Justice indicates that a man named Jonathan Johnson Watts was named “chairman and general manager” of the interest at some point before November 2015.

EU carbon prices expected to be €11.40 by 2020 -Point Carbon survey
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 6 May 2016
EU carbon prices will rise to €11.40 by 2020, according to a Thomson Reuters Point Carbon annual survey of European carbon market participants and observers.
Some 340 European respondents also said they expected benchmark prices to average €6.80 this year, around 90 cents above the year-to-date mean.
The 2020 view is lower than the €13.65 average predicted in a Feb. 9 Carbon Pulse poll of 12 market analysts, with Point Carbon’s survey conducted over Feb. 24 to Mar. 21.
Forecasts may have since increased as prices have recovered somewhat from a February low of €4.62 to around €6, but the benchmark Dec-16s remain well below the end-2015 price of €8.29.

European Biomass Satellite To Support REDD+
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 6 May 2016
The United Nations wants to slow climate change in part by saving forests, but for that effort to work, we need a clear understanding of how much carbon dioxide is flowing into and out of those forests – as well as how those carbon flows change over time. Satellites help in that effort, but the ones in use today still require tedious (and expensive) “ground-truthing”, which involves sending teams of technicians out into remote parts of the forest with tape-measures and clinometers.
That could all change in 2021, when the European Space Agency (ESA) launches its new Biomass satellite, which is being built by Airbus Defense and Space.
“[The] Biomass satellite will provide support to United Nations treaties, notably the Reduction of Emissions due to Deforestation and Forest Degradation,” Airbus said in a press release, directly referencing the REDD+ “package” that was embedded in the Paris Climate Agreement. “Biomass data will support REDD+, a UN climate change initiative aimed at reducing emissions due to deforestation, by systematically monitoring forests in vulnerable areas with no need for ground intervention.”

7 May 2016

[Indonesia] Land and forest fires rarely stop in Riau’s unique climate
The Jakarta Post, 7 May 2016
Hot spots are still present in a number of regencies in Riau province despite it being the rainy season.
The province — which is prone to disruptive, haze-producing land and forest fires — hopes to reduce its number of hot spots this year, especially in the fire-prone areas of Bengkalis, Rokan Hulu, Indragiri Hilir, Pelalawan and Meranti Islands.
“This is what the provincial and local administrations have been doing, controlling the growing number of hotspots,” acting Riau Governor Arsyadjuliandi “Andi” Rachman said on Tuesday.
A number of efforts have been made to reach the target, he said, including issuing a gubernatorial decree on land and forest fire prevention. There are 16 action plans that need to be executed by the government and the administrations, especially those related to preparing equipment and personnel at companies with concession areas located on peatland.
“Firms with fires on their concession areas will be evaluated,” Andi said.

8 May 2016

BaiShanLin’s iron grip on Guyana…Company has tentacles in almost all sectors
Kaieteur News, 8 May 2016
Over two years ago, its activities in Guyana came under the spotlight raising concerns about the extent of its presence here.
In Region Ten, along the Upper Berbice River, a huge log storage area was discovered, signaling heavy activities in the area.
It was later revealed that BaiShanLin, a Chinese company, had managed to take control of over 700,000 hectares of forest lands.
The investor, much to the shock of other industry stakeholders, was also given a blank cheque, to the tune of billions of dollars, on tax breaks and duty free concessions. It was also helped by the various government agencies in its acquisitions of several properties throughout the country, some of it on credit and others through questionable means, including joint ventures.

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