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REDD in the news: 23-29 May 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s links to news on forests, climate change and REDD. For regular updates, visit REDD-Monitor’s “REDD in the news” page, or follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.


 
[Indonesia] Help! Our forests are being destroyed for biomass
Rainforest Rescue, May 2016
An energy company wants to cut down rainforest to make way for 20,000 hectares of biomass plantations on Siberut, one of the most enchanting islands of Indonesia. The indigenous peoples of Siberut depend on the forest, and the plantations will put an end to their traditional way of life and culture.

Forest Cover 50 – The SDGs and forests: threat, or opportunity of a lifetime?
Global Forest Coalition, May 2016
Welcome to Forest Cover No. 50, the Global Forest Coalition newsletter that provides a space for Southern and Northern environmental justice activists to present their views on international forest-related policies.
In this 50th edition of Forest Cover we review the ongoing tension between industrial-scale monoculture plantations and community forest management, considering the impacts of the former on communities in India and Chile, and on women in general, and the biodiversity that they all rely upon.
We look at the way in which these tensions are preventing the implementation of existing legislation relating to community forest management in India, and a successful example of community restoration of ancient oak woodland in Ireland.
Finally we consider the urgent need for the forthcoming UN Environment Assembly 2 to promote policy coherence on environmental matters, in light of the recent business-driven inter-forum fight over the date by which deforestation needs to be halted.

Zambian community forestry project sells carbon credits to BP Target Neutral, supporting African communities
BioCarbon Group press release, May 2016
BioCarbon Group, BCP, and First Climate are pleased to announce a significant multi-year transaction of verified carbon reductions from a transformational community forestry project in Zambia. The purchase of the carbon offsets by BP Target Neutral will enable the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project to continue to implement and scale up work, improving the lives of farming communities in Zambia, in South-Eastern Africa.

23 May 2016

Scientists Warn of 10C Warming as we “Dial up Earth’s Thermostat”
By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, 23 May 2016
Nearly every week a new record is being broken on climate.
So far this year we have had warnings that the Great Barrier reef is “dying on our watch” due to coral bleaching caused by record temperatures; dramatic early seasonal melting of the Arctic Ocean sea ice and Greenland’s massive ice sheet; devastating wild-fires in Canada which are being linked to climate change, and month after month of record temperatures.
And now a city in the north of India has registered the highest temperature ever recorded in the country at 51 C, during a chronic heatwave which has been going on for weeks. In nearby Pakistan, three cities recorded temperatures of 50 C or higher last Friday too.
The new Indian record, which breaks the previous one which was set sixty years ago in 1956, was set in the city of Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan. It is the equivalent of 123.8F.

World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 23 May 2016
The planet would warm by searing 10C if all fossil fuels are burned, according to a new study, leaving some regions uninhabitable and wreaking profound damage on human health, food supplies and the global economy.
The Arctic, already warming fast today, would heat up even more – 20C by 2300 – the new research into the extreme scenario found.
“I think it is really important to know what would happen if we don’t take any action to mitigate climate change,” said Katarzyna Tokarska, at the University of Victoria in Canada and who led the new research. “Even though we have the Paris climate change agreement, so far there hasn’t been any action. [This research] is a warning message.”

Climate negotiators focus on carbon credits, underplay human rights
By Justin Catanoso, mongabay.com, 23 May 2016
Finding a workable compromise that allows a long-lived UN program to both reduce carbon emissions while also protecting the lives and lands of indigenous and impoverished people in the developing world ought to be an achievable goal, says John Knox.
A Wake Forest University law professor, Knox is the United Nations special rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment. He travels the Earth in search of climate-related problems and solutions that benefit indigenous people and the poor — a win for nature, a win for human rights.
Just prior to the UN climate conference now underway in Bonn, Germany, Knox proposed that a new component of the Paris Agreement that applies to the longstanding Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) be revised to incorporate both “strong social and environmental safeguards.”

[Australia] Talking Point: Tassie forests can play role in tackling carbon
By Peter Boyer, The Mercury, 23 May 2016
We’re failing the ultimate test of success in cutting carbon emissions: the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.
Tasmanian carbon dioxide levels are now above 400 parts per million and rising.
That’s one reason the Hodgman Government should look at a new proposal from The Wilderness Society.
Another is the continued depressed state of forestry.
Trees have many assets, but their most valuable one now is helping to stop the planet’s greenhouse gas budget getting out of hand by taking up carbon dioxide. The more trees in the ground, the better.
Doubt about human-induced climate change in conservative politics has limited the scope of Coalition abatement policy and prevented an effective move on smokestack or tailpipe emissions.

[Australia] Queensland watchdog to crackdown on boiler rooms
Brisbane Times, 23 May 2016
Queensland’s crime watchdog is holding secret hearings to look at ways to shut down so-called boiler room scams on the Gold Coast.
Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) chair Alan MacSporran told a parliamentary committee on Monday intelligence hearings were already under way into cold call investment frauds, which have became rife on the glitter strip.

India: Forest tribe “will die out” if evicted from ancestral land
Survival International, 23 May 2016
Several tribal villages in central India face annihilation as they are being forced to leave their ancestral land in Achanakmar tiger reserve, close to the area which inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.
The Baiga tribespeople have been repeatedly harassed and told that they will have to move from their villages to a muddy clearing outside the reserve, even though there is no evidence their presence in the reserve is harming tigers. Such evidence is required if the tribe’s eviction is to be lawful, but in fact the number of tigers in the reserve reportedly rose from 12 to 28 between 2011 and 2015.
One Baiga man from Rajak village said: “We don’t want to go, we can’t go. What should we do?”

[Philippines] GIZ extends Panay cacao program
By James Konstantin Glavez, The Manilla Times, 23 May 2016
The Philippine government and Germany’s international cooperation agency aim to develop 2,000 hectares for planting cacao and coffee.
The partnership is an extension of the Forest and Climate Protection in Panay (FCPP), funded by the Gesselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), said Edward David,
Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines (CocoaPhil) president.
“The natural forest in Panay is the most important carbon sink in the region. Conservation is therefore vitally important. With the local people’s participation, forest land use plans are developed,” David note….
FCPP may enable Philippines to obtain grant funding similar to carbon credits like REDD or Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

[Zimbabwe] Stop aiding deforestation, forestry firm told
The Herald, 23 May 2016
Hurungwe Rural District Council in Mashonaland West has for the second time accused the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe (FCZ) of facilitating deforestation by unprocedurally issuing wood permits to tobacco companies working in the district. In an interview last week, council chief executive Mr Joram Moyo said the defiance by contract farmers of council regulations after securing the permits from the FCZ had seriously affected operations of the Kariba Redd Project — which had been benefiting rural communities through conservation of forests.
“It has become very difficult for us to stop deforestation.

“It is unfortunate that even the Kariba Redd Project, which has been a vital source of development for several communities under Chief Chundu, is now being jeopardised,” said Mr Moyo.
“It is unfortunate that even the Kariba Redd Project, which has been a vital source of development for several communities under Chief Chundu, is now being jeopardised,” said Mr Moyo.

24 May 2016

Who defends nature’s defenders?
By Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth USA, 24 May 2016
Throughout much of the world, where people depend directly on lands, rivers, forests and soils, defending the environment is not a luxury; it is a necessity of survival and a cultural imperative. And because the economic pressure to extract resources by any means penetrates all levels of government and society, those who dare to defend the environment and their communities’ interests are often marginalized, criminalized and directly targeted for kidnapping or far worse.

URGENT ACTION: Guarani Kaiowa risk imminent forced eviction
Amnesty International, 24 May 2016
The Apika’y Indigenous People, one of the most vulnerable of the Guarani Kaiowá communities of Mato Grosso do Sul state, are once again facing forced eviction. The judge who issued the eviction order only notified the community five days in advance, and the authorities have not adequately consulted with the community or provided them with resettlement alternatives.

The Case for a Caribbean Carbon Market
By Gary Clyne, New Security Beat, 24 May 2016
In an effort to scale-up climate change mitigation, the largest private sector engagement in the history of the United Nations was drafted to fund clean technology projects in developing countries. Carbon credits were to offset pollution in developed nations and pay for clean energy projects in developing countries. But many developed countries, including the United States, spurned the agreement, preferring to manage greenhouse gas emissions internally and build or retrofit infrastructure in ways that directly benefited their economies. The ambitions of the Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect in 2005, were subsequently stranded and then scrapped.

[Indonesia] Proposed roads imperil desperately needed stronghold for Sumatran tigers
By Bill Laurance, ALERT, 24 May 2016
The Sumatran tiger is one of the rarest animals on Earth, with only a few hundred individuals estimated to survive today. Perhaps its greatest stronghold is Kerinci Seblat National Park in the mountains of western Sumatra — the largest park on the island.
And shockingly, the government of Jambi Province wants to punch a series of roads right into the heart of the park.

[Indonesia] Reviving peatlands needs strict control
By Erlinda Ekaputri, Jakarta Post, 24 May 2016
The initiative of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to establish the Peatland Restoration Agency ( BRG ) is a very positive step for sustainable development. The agency is tasked with restoring 2 million hectares of degraded peatland that resulted from land clearing and burning by industrial plantations for agricultural cultivation.

New Team Trying to Stop Another Year of Massive Indonesian Wildfires
By Blaise Hope, Voice of America, 24 May 2016
Indonesian organizations are teaming up for the massive task of preventing forest and ground fires that blanket the region in haze every year during the dry season.
Last year, fires in the peatland forest of Sumatra and Kalimantan created an environmental crisis due to an extended drought and El Nino weather conditions.
In Palangkaraya, the Central Kalimantan capital, the haze was so bad schools and businesses closed and thousands suffered respiratory and eye problems.
Now, a team funded by the government’s Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund is working with local communities in Kalimantan, Indonesia’s part of Borneo Island, on how to tackle the problem and benefit from preserving local forests.

[Malaysia] World’s Biggest Money Laundering Investigation Goes Up Another Gear
Sarawak Report, 24 May 2016
Malaysia could find fame for triggering a new, more effective level of regulatory cooperation between the financial centres of the world – one positive development from landing at the centre of the world’s biggest money-laundering investigation.
Today’s events have been an indicator of how closely investigators are working to trace the US$7 billion, which Malaysia’s Auditor General now calculates to have gone missing from the 1MDB development fund into a network of obscure off-shore “treasure island” companies, before emerging once again in the bank accounts and asset portfolios of politically connected Malaysians.

Peruvian Government to London Stock Exchange: Support our actions against United Cacao
Environmental Investigation Agency, 24 May 2016
Today, May 24 2016, the national forestry authority in Peru (SERFOR) issued a public statement confirming the illegal operations of United Cacao’s subsidiary in the country, clarifying, once again that the company does not have the required environmental approval. Citing large scale illegal deforestation that has taken place without this approval, which has been verified by the relevant authority inside Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture, DGAAA, the statement outlines the actions taken by various Peruvian government entities to halt the operations of the company and the large scale illegal deforestation that has already taken place. SERFOR further called upon the London Stock Exchange to support the Peruvian government’s enforcement actions by requiring listed companies to fully comply with the laws and policies of countries of operation.

[Tanzania] Launch of National Carbon Monitoring Centre at Sokoine University of Agriculture
Norwegian Embassy press release, 24 May 2016
The Royal Norwegian Embassy has committed to support NCMC with up to NOK 37 million over 3 years (2015-2018). The NCMC is commissioned by the Vice Presidents Office (VPO) and will function as the service provider for national carbon accounting. NCMC is located at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). The NCMC is an important institution to support Tanzanian efforts to reduce national Carbon-emissions, participate effectively in an international REDD+ regime and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Minister January Makamba emphasized the importance of passing on a sustainably managed environment to the next generation and for adapting a long term sustainable perspective in decisions that affect the environment. He said that the expectations are that the NCMC will be a centre of excellence in Africa in monitoring the development of forests resources for providing real and tangible benefits to the people of Tanzania.

[UK] TV star joins war on investment scams
Daily Express, 24 May 2016
Older savers are at risk from fraudsters because they increasingly shun traditional investments and put their money in art, diamonds or fine wines, the finance watchdog has warned.
Low interest rates have hammered savers’ returns in recent years, driving some over 55s into riskier investments.
That leaves them vulnerable to high-pressure cold callers who urge people to pay into often bogus schemes.
They can involve gems, antiques, overseas property and even oil wells. Nearly half of savers have moved money out of savings into investments – and 26 per cent chose unregulated products, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has discovered.

25 May 2016

What burning all remaining fossil fuels would do to the planet
By Harry Cockburn, The Independent, 25 May 2016
Burning all fossil fuels on earth over the next 300 years would increase temperatures in some areas of the globe by up to 20C, resulting in catastrophic impacts to life on our planet, a new study warns.
The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, examines the effects if we continue to burn coal, oil and gas with no effort to limit emissions.
Global average temperatures would soar by 10C (50F), while the arctic, where temperatures in February year were already 16C above average, could see temperatures soar by 20C, researchers found.
Such profound temperature changes would see devastating sea-level rises affect low-lying countries, while high temperatures would increase the impact of extreme heatwaves in countries with hot climates, making them uninhabitable.

Climate change takes center stage at Exxon, Chevron annual meetings
By Ernest Scheyder and Terry Wade, Reuters, 25 May 2016
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) will face their toughest-ever push by shareholders concerned about a warming world at annual meetings on Wednesday, as the Paris accord to tackle climate change ratchets up investor pressure on two of the world’s largest oil companies.
The tension is most acute at Exxon, which has denied accusations from environmentalists that it purposely misled the public about climate change risks. The New York attorney general is investigating Exxon and it has complained of being unfairly targeted by special interest groups.

Small businesses in Asia can help forests and economies grow, new report
WWF, 25 May 2016
Small and medium-sized Asian businesses specialising in forest and ecosystem services can play a key role in reducing deforestation in the region, according to a new study.
The Impact in the Forests: The potential for business solutions to combat deforestation in large forest landscapes in Asia report, released today, explores ways to create business solutions for deforestation-free trade chains in Asia.
Analysing the policy and entrepreneurial context in three landscapes across Asia, the report highlights how supporting innovative small-scale green businesses could help reverse the current trend where business incentives for promoting deforestation remain greater than those for preventing it.
The study shows that this trend persists despite recent deforestation-free commitments made by several countries and the UN push to halt deforestation by 2020.

The Case for More Ethanol: Why Green Critics Are Wrong
By Timothy E. Wirth and C. Boyden Gray, Yale Environment 360, 25 May 2016
For almost as long as there have been cars, gasoline has been the dominant fuel in transportation. But for a host of reasons — environmental, climate change, public health, and economic — the time has come to consider mixing higher blends of biofuels with gasoline. And in the United States, the best source for that biofuel today, surprisingly, is corn.
Such a suggestion will surely elicit cries of protest from the environmental community: A few years ago there was a flood of articles and reports about the allegedly disastrous ecological impacts of growing crops for biofuels. But we believe that ethanol has been unfairly stigmatized in the conventional wisdom and that the reasons for concern about corn ethanol deserve reexamination.

[Cameroon] WWF partners with logging company destroying “Pygmy” land
Survival International, 25 May 2016
A French logging company and official partner of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is deforesting a huge area of rainforest in southeast Cameroon without the consent of local Baka “Pygmies” who have lived there and managed the land for generations, Survival International has learned.
Rougier is described as an “integrated forest & trade company” and a large “forest operator” in a WWF press release and report. It is felling trees in an estimated 600,000 hectare area, which is more than is permitted under Cameroonian law.
Rougier has also been denounced by Friends of the Earth for its activities in Cameroon, which have included illegal price-fixing, illegal logging outside a concession, felling more trees than authorized, and illegally exporting rare timber.
WWF has stated that it would never partner with a company operating on indigenous land without the consent of the indigenous people. In entering this partnership with Rougier, it has violated its own policies on indigenous peoples.

Indonesia refuses palm oil permits in anti-haze push
AFP, 25 May 2016
Indonesia has rejected applications from scores of companies for new palm oil operations, an official said on Wednesday, as it cracks down on an industry whose expansion has been blamed for fuelling haze-belching forest fires.
Almost 1m hectares (2.5m acres) of land were spared from conversion to palm oil plantations due to the decision, said San Afri Awang, a senior official from the environment and forestry ministry.
“We want to save our forests – development should continue but we can’t let it destroy our environment,” he told reporters in Jakarta, after announcing that applications from 61 companies had been rejected.

Peruvian gov’t affirms illegal plantation activity in Amazon rainforest
By Morgan Erikson-Davis, mongabay.com, 25 May 2016
Yesterday, Peru’s forest authority issued a public statement confirming illegal actions on the part of United Cacao and called on the London Stock Exchange to hold the company accountable for its alleged violations. The statement is the latest in a series of escalating exchanges between United Cacao and its critics.
United Cacao is a Cayman Islands-based, UK-listed agroindustry company with roots in Southeast Asia and holdings in Peru. Managed by subsidiary companies, its Peruvian palm oil and cacao plantations have attracted significant criticism from conservation and human rights organizations, which say they have displaced indigenous territory and primary forest.
The company is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a subset of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). On May 4, a letter issued by more than 60 Peruvian and international organizations was sent to the LSE urging that it remove United Cacao from trading on the AIM, citing violations of AIM legality regulations.

Poland starts logging primeval Białowieża forest despite protests
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 25 May 2016
Poland has started logging in the ancient Białowieża forest, which includes some of Europe’s last primeval woodland, despite fierce protests from environmental groups battling to save the world heritage site.
“The operation began today,” national forest director Konrad Tomaszewski said of the plan to harvest wood from non-protected areas of one of the last vestiges of the immense forest that once stretched across Europe.
He said the goals were to stop forest degradation by combating what the environment ministry says is a spruce bark beetle infestation, and protect tourists and rangers from harm by cutting down trees that risk falling on trails.
However, the only published inventory shows that nearly half of the trees earmarked for logging may be non-spruce varieties, which have been unaffected by the beetle outbreak. And environmental campaigners warn that the tree chopping will destroy an ecosystem unspoiled for more than 10,000 years that is home to the continent’s largest mammal, the European bison, and its tallest trees.

Four US Fraudsters Jailed Over Gold Scam Linked to Spain-Based Boiler Room
By Steven Hatzakis, Finance Magnates, 25 May 2016
The City of London Police, the task-force that also polices financial fraud in the U.K., today announced that four American fraudsters have been jailed in connection with a gold scam that conned hundreds of British citizens, after a multi-year and multi-jurisdictional investigation linked over 100 people to a boiler room operation in Spain.

[USA] California cap-and-trade auction falls far short, delivering blow to state revenue and bullet train financing
By Ralph Vartarbedian, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2016
The latest auction in California’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gases fell sharply below expectations, as buyers purchased just 2% of the carbon credits whose sale funds a variety of state programs — notably, the proposed high-speed rail project.
The quarterly auction, conducted May 18 and announced Wednesday, will provide just $10 million for state programs, including $2.5 million for the bullet train. The rail authority had been expecting about $150 million.
The reason is unclear, but state officials and outside experts pointed to several possible causes: less need for the credits, pending litigation that may overturn the entire system and volatility spawned by speculators in a secondary trading market.

[USA] Shell Spills Again: Pipeline Leaks 20,000 Gallons of Oil in Northern California
By Ryan Schleeter, Greenpeace USA, 25 May 2016
Less than two weeks after dumping nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Shell Oil is at it again. The company’s San Pablo Bay Pipeline, which transports crude oil from California’s Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area, leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons into the soil near in San Joaquin County this week.
Responders are on the scene to clear oil that’s reached the surface, which county officials say covered roughly 10,000 square feet of land. As of today, Shell representatives claim the pipeline has been repaired, but have not resumed operations.
Local government officials and Shell responders are investigating the cause of the leak, and currently report that no oil has entered drinking water sources or populated areas.

[USA] RGGI Carbon Prices Expected to Stabilize at June 1 Auction
By Gerald B. Silverman, Bloomberg, 25 May 2016
The price of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative carbon allowances, which took a big hit in March, is expected to remain steady in RGGI’s next auction on June 1, according to several experts from academia, environmental groups and the industry interviewed by Bloomberg BNA.
Among the key factors expected to influence the auction are an oversupply of allowances, a program review currently under way by the nine RGGI states, the potential retirement of nuclear power plants in the region and the continued low cost of natural gas.
RGGI allowances sold for $5.25 each in the cap-and-trade program’s March auction, a 30 percent decline from the previous auction and the lowest price since December 2014.

26 May 2016

Bonn Paves The Way For Integration, Implementation And Action In Marrakesh
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 May 2016
As Christiana Figueres makes clear during a press briefing helping to close out mid-year climate talks in Bonn, the emphasis of these meetings are now all about action and implementation.
“I would say that these two weeks translate into a commitment of countries to do more, do more and then do more,” says Figueres, who is the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Along with Figueres, the press briefing included Laurence Tubiana, a Climate Ambassador from France, the country host of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC, which resulted in the Paris Agreement, an international pact to fight climate change and limit global warming to 2 degrees C, or, more preferably, 1.5 degrees C. It’s feasible that the Paris Agreement may enter into force as early as next year, sooner than initially thought, after 177 countries signed during an Earth Day event.

Bonn climate talks show progress, but sense of urgency needed
WWF, 26 May 2016
Climate negotiators, ending almost two weeks of discussions in Bonn today (Thursday 26 May), have made solid, if slow, progress in developing rules and tools that will guide implementation of the global climate deal adopted in Paris last year.
Mark Lutes, WWF’s Head of Delegation to the Bonn meeting, said while governments appear committed to making the Paris Agreement operational as soon as possible, the urgency that drove the negotiations in Paris was definitely missing in Bonn.
“News that the world had experienced seven straight months of record-breaking global heat, including reports of an extreme heat-wave in India, underscored the need for urgent action. But it did not affect the rather methodical and almost complacent pace and tone of the proceedings,” he said.

Want to end corruption? Crack down on tax havens
By Nicholas Shaxson, The Washington Post, 26 May 2016
It is a sign of progress that a Nigerian leader was able to come to London this month and, with a straight face, publicly accuse Western countries of promoting corruption on a global scale.
“African countries have all too often been the victims of international corruption planned and executed from abroad using our own resources,” said Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in a prepared speech at a London anti-corruption summit May 12, in which he took aim at tax havens backed by rich countries. “Every dollar siphoned through dirty deals and corruption to offshore tax havens makes the livelihood and survival of the average African more precarious.”

The Carbon Chronicle
Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 May 2016
Germany is a flurry of climate action this month. In Bonn, climate negotiators are haggling over how to operationalize the Paris climate agreement. In Cologne, hundreds of private and public sector stakeholders are gathering for the 13th annual Carbon Expo to find ways to scale up carbon markets – with or without the help from the folks in Bonn.
It’s along the River Rhine (well, in a conference hall near it…) that Ecosystem Marketplace is launching our newest report, Raising Ambition: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2016, which is available for download here. This year’s report documents a 10% increase in voluntary demand for carbon offsets in 2015 as mainly private sector actors sought to neutralize their unavoidable emissions outside and ahead of carbon regulation. These voluntary buyers hailed from 35 different countries and transacted a total of 81.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) last year.

EU carbon market fraudsters face heavy jail sentences
By Aline Robert, EurActiv.com, 26 May 2016
Carbon market fraud reveals the vulnerability of the EU’s banking system. The speed of trading on the carbon market, coupled with lax enforcement in Cyprus and Lithuania, allowed French criminals to steal €283 million. EurActiv France reports.
Two French prosecutors on Wednesday (25 May) called for severe punishments for a group of individuals suspected of having used the European carbon market to fraudulently withhold €283 million of VAT for the French state.
Jaroslaw Klapucki, the director of the Polish emissions broker Consus, Arnaud Mimran, a French trader, and their partner Marco Mouly, could each face up to ten years in prison. The prosecutor has also threatened to hand them a bill for the reimbursement of €263 million, as well as a €1 million fine.

Gender in Forestry and REDD+ in Indonesia
weADAPT, 26 May 2016
Indonesia is one of several countries in the world leading the way in the design and implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). It is currently in the second phase of implementing policy reforms and REDD+ pilots and transitioning towards the third phase of performance-based payments. During the third phase, REDD+ policies and activities will be fully implemented, carbon stocks will be measured and verified and payments will be distributed based on performance at different levels.

[Israel] MK seeks probe on whether Netanyahu took ‎€1m. from alleged French fraudster
By Simona Weinglass, Times of Israel, 26 May 2016
Israel’s attorney general has been asked to look into allegations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted donations from alleged French fraudster Arnaud Mimran, to the tune of 1 million euros (about $1.1 million). Netanyahu has denied the claim.
“We received a request from a Knesset member and it will be addressed and treated in the customary manner. We do not see fit to say any more on the subject at this time,” a spokeswoman for Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told The Times of Israel on Wednesday. The request was filed by Zionist Union legislator Ksenia Svetlova.
On May 19, Arnaud Mimran, a central suspect in what is known in France as the Carbon VAT scam, and “the heist of the century,” testified at his trial in Paris that he had funded Netanyahu’s personal and election expenses in the amount of 1 million euros. According to Mimran, the alleged donation took place in 2001. Netanyahu immediately denied the allegation.

[Japan] JICA invites nomination for its programme
Bureaucracy Today, 26 May 2016
The Japan International Cooperation Agency has invited applications for Knowledge Co-Creation Programme on “Remote Sensing of Forest Resources” to be held in Japan from August 21, 2016 to October 8, 2016 under Technical Cooperation Programme of the Government of Japan.
The programme aims the participants to acquire the skills and knowledge for using remote sensing of forest resources in their own countries based on international discussions of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), Bureaucracy Today has learnt.

Norwegian state commits to zero deforestation
Rainforest Foundation Norway, 26 May 2016
A significant number of private companies world-wide have adopted zero deforestation policies. In a groundbreaking move, the Norwegian parliament has now made a similar commitment, pledging to ensure deforestation-free supply chains through the government’s public procurement policy.
The Rainforest Foundation Norway has worked for a number of years to make this happen.
The pledge was made in the Recommendation of the Norwegian parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment regarding the government’s Action Plan on Nature Diversity’, which has now been put forward.

BREAKING: Norway commits to zero deforestation
By Mike Gaworecki, mongabay.com, 26 May 2016
Norway is a leader in funding forest conservation around the world (see here, here, and here, for example), and has also taken a stand for the human rights of forest communities. But now the country has announced that it will walk the walk itself.
In what’s being hailed as a groundbreaking move, the Norwegian parliament pledged today that the government’s public procurement policy will be going deforestation-free.
The Rainforest Foundation Norway, which has worked for a number of years to secure a zero deforestation commitment from the Norwegian government in regard to its supply chains, said in a statement that “Norway is the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation in its public procurement.”

Indigenous leaders in the Amazon face death threats as community files lawsuit against Peruvian government for violation of their land rights
Forest Peoples Programme, 26 May 2016
Leaders of the Shipibo indigenous village of Santa Clara de Uchunya, accompanied by their representative organisation FECONAU, filed a constitutional law suit challenging Peru’s regional government authorities for failing to secure legal protection of their traditional lands and enabling its acquisition and clearance by an international agribusiness company.
Plantaciones de Pucallpa SAC, an agribusiness company affiliated to the Melka commercial group appears to have begun acquiring the lands since 2012. Since that point, satellite images show that more than 5,000 ha of forest have been cleared to pave the way for an oil palm plantation.
The lawsuit argues that these actions violate indigenous peoples’ collective property rights over their traditional and customary lands. These rights, which exist and are legitimate irrespective of whether or not their lands are titled, are protected by Peru’s constitution and under international human rights law, which is obligatory for the Peruvian government.

[Peru] Will London Stock Exchange bar firm over Amazon deforestation?
By David Hill, The Guardian, 26 May 2016
Two indigenous Shipibo men from Peru’s Amazon – Sedequías Ancón Chávez and Robert Guimaraes Vasquez – paid a rare visit to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) earlier this month. The reason? To present a letter addressed to Marcus Stuttard, Claire Dorrian and Umerah Akram from the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) urging the AIM to investigate, suspend and bar a company called United Cacao Limited SEZC – as well as amend its rules and “exact more active oversight” in general.
“The nature of the crimes which the company stands accused are an important matter for AIM to address,” the letter states. “Allowing companies listed on AIM to raise capital to violate other countries’ national laws jeopardizes the “integrity and reputation” of the market, which is grounds for suspension of a company’s trading, according to AIM Rules.”

FCA must prioritise scammers ahead of exit charges
By Anna Sofat, New Model Adviser, 26 May 2016
In many ways, the Panama Papers did not reveal anything we did not already know or suspect. We have long known that political and business leaders in far-flung countries accumulate their wealth at the expense of their country and hide it in offshore centres. What I fail to understand is the failure of political willpower or our ability to actually do anything about it.
Similarly, I am frustrated by the inability of our regulator to put an end to companies that are set up, often in the UK, to swindle money out of people. Some of these companies are illegal and sooner or later they are closed down. Others are legal but are selling investments that range from dodgy to unsuitable for the average person.

[USA] Environmentalist’s foray into mining gets bolder
By Dylan Brown, eenews.net, 26 May 2016
As the nation’s once-dominant energy source slides deeper into depression, many coal companies are struggling to unload their mines.
Most investors are shying away from unprofitable assets with big liabilities, but Tom Clarke is buying.
Last year, the Virginia environmentalist perplexed miners, executives and lobbyists fighting the so-called war on coal when the workaday Virginia health care executive started purchasing mines that distressed companies were eager to shed.
The industry enigma recently made his boldest play yet. He put forward a roughly $3 billion bid this month for the entirety of bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources Inc.

27 May 2016

Climate change still a ‘race against the clock’: UN climate chief
AFP, 27 May 2016
Even after the world sealed a historic climate deal in Paris, the UN’s climate chief is worried humanity won’t be able break its fossil fuel habit in time to avert catastrophe, she told AFP Thursday.
“My concern is whether the transformation is going to happen fast enough to avert the worst impacts,” Christiana Figueres said, referring to the global shift from carbon-polluting fossil fuels to green energy.
“Greenhouse gas emissions have to peak quickly and descend,” she said in an interview, as diplomats wrapped up their first negotiating session since hammering out the landmark pact in December.
“It is a race against the clock.”

UN Draws BNP Paribas for Green-Bond Push to Unlock Funding
By Matthew Carr and Jessica Shankleman, Bloomberg, 27 May 2016
The United Nations is on a mission to make green bonds even greener and has linked up with BNP Paribas SA to make it happen.
Securities based on the UN’s own carbon market criteria would boost the credibility of clean-technology finance and reduce borrowing costs, said Grant Kirkman, a team leader at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. BNP Paribas is working on a bond structure for the emission-reduction projects registered with the UN, according to Stephanie Sfakianos, head of sustainable capital markets at France’s biggest bank.
Green bonds are typically issued by development banks, such as the World Bank, municipalities, utilities and companies to raise money for projects from renewable energy power plants to electric cars and other technologies aimed at curtailing global warming.

Quantifying the drivers of South American deforestation
By Samuel McGlennon, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 27 May 2016
Can you imagine examining samples from every patch of forest cleared over a period of 15 years across an entire continent?
That’s exactly what Veronique De Sy, a scientist at Wageningen University and at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), did for her latest study by using satellite imagery to quantify the drivers of deforestation for South America between the years of 1990 and 2005.
“It was quite labor-intensive,” said De Sy. “The task of visually confirming every data point of deforestation took me about a year, but I got a really nice result, so it was worth it.”
And a very valuable result – or rather, set of results – too.

[Nepal] Talking about trading
By Hemant Ojha and Dil Khatri, Kathmandu Post, 27 May 2016
It has been over eight years since Nepal started talking about forest carbon trade, but the question that remains is whether the country will really benefit from the idea of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). Between 2011 and 2013, more than 100 community forest user groups in the three hill districts of Dolakha, Gorkha and Chitwan received about Rs30 million from an experimental project in REDD+ financed by Norway.
This transfer of funds had raised hopes in Nepal of the potential of earning money from carbon trade under the REDD+ scheme. However, these user groups have not received any money since then. We are not aware of any other group in the country receiving such carbon payments either. What we hear instead is only talk about carbon among REDD+ experts, NGOs, donor agencies and government officials in Kathmandu. The media and academic discourse is rife with optimistic analysis of REDD+ in Nepal. Yet, the actual trade of carbon and flow of money to those who conserve forests still appears to be a distant dream.

[USA] Trump would deliver fatal blow to fight against climate change
By Matthew Nisbet, New Scientist, 27 May 2016
Donald Trump has just promised to “cancel the Paris climate agreement“, end US funding for United Nations climate change programmes, and roll back the “stupid” Obama administration regulations to cut power plant emissions.
The Republican presidential candidate has often defied party orthodoxy on major issues, shocking conservatives with his off-the-cuff remarks. But his scripted speech yesterday to an oil industry meeting directly echoed the party’s line on climate change and energy.

28 May 2016

REDD+ Programme To Enhance Forest Carbon Balance
Fiji Sun, 28 May 2016
The Fiji REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) policy has the overall objective of enhancing the natural forest-based carbon balance.
The National REDD+ programme works with the local communities to convert degraded grasslands and idle degraded land into productive forests.
This will help expand forest carbon sinks and restore the forest ecosystem.
Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests Samuela Lagataki said he encouraged the development of a communication and engagement strategy promoting good understanding and informed participation in Fiji’s REDD+ programme.
“More than 60 participants from various agencies and sectors contribute towards the establishment of the National REDD+ steering committee and + policy.

[India] Plaint filed with UN forum against Okhla waste plant
Times of India, 28 May 2016
Residents of Sukhdev Vihar have filed a complaint with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) against the Okhla waste-to-energy plant for making “false claims” about the technology used to earn carbon credits. The complaint filed through lawyer Rakesh Matwa alleges “serious deviation from approved and validated technology”.
According to the complaint, government agencies have submitted to the court (NGT) that bio-methanation and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) units do not exist at the plant while the latter claims that these two units do exist. This was done to get validation for claiming carbon credits, the complaint says, adding that about 2,000 tonnes of unsegregated waste are being incinerated every day at the Okhla plant.

[Indonesia] World Bank Approves $22 Million Grant to Help Forest Communities
Tempo, 28 May 2016
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$22 million grant to strengthen the management of Indonesia’s tropical forests – the third largest in the world – in order to help reduce poverty amongst forest-dependent communities and reduce environmental degradation.
Denmark’s development agency DANIDA contributed 40 million Kroner (approximately US$ 5 million) to the grant, which is financed by the global Forest Investment Program, or FIP. The grant will support the government’s Forest Management Unit initiative, known by its Indonesian acronym KPH.

[New Zealand] Emissions change promises to spur forestry
By Pattrick Smellie, New Zealand Herald, 28 May 2016
The price of a tonne of New Zealand carbon in the emissions trading scheme has pushed through $15, in theory creating break-even conditions for forestry planting based on carbon farming.
In the Budget this week, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett confirmed a widely expected cancellation of subsidies to major emitters over the next three years.
The cancellation immediately improves the prospects of a higher carbon price. A price from $15 a tonne starts to make carbon capture through forest planting commercially viable.
The carbon price collapsed from a high point of $21 in 2011 to trade as low as 35c a tonne in 2014 as cheap eastern European carbon units flooded global markets which were already reducing emissions due to lower industrial activity after the 2008 global financial crisis.
When New Zealand closed its doors to foreign carbon credits last June, the price of New Zealand Units of carbon began rising and they have traded above $14 a tonne in recent weeks, anticipating the subsidy decision.

[UK] How TV’s Nick is taking on the fraudsters: New campaign to protect older workers and the retired from being duped into making dodgy investments
By Laura Shannon, Daily Mail, 28 May 2016
More than a quarter of people over the age of 55 have moved savings into unregulated investments in the hope of earning more income in retirement.
Operating outside watchdogs’ supervision is how fraudsters thrive, offering investments in shares, land, wine and art that either have no real value or do not exist at all.
Pensions are also at risk because savers have easier access to their retirement pots after rules were relaxed last year, and many are considering moving their money to investments they feel they have more control over.

29 May 2016

A new generation of forest managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo
By Fai Collins, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 29 May 2016
In the tropical woodlands of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on the banks of the deepest river in the world, the University of Kisangani is working to ensure better management of forests for a better future.
In 2013, the university celebrated its 50th anniversary with the launch of a new project – Forests and Climate Change in the Congo – which is boosting quality postgraduate training in forest-related disciplines. This initiative is taking place in a country that currently faces a serious lack of trained personnel in the sector.

Commentary: Five Steps to Restore Indonesia’s Degraded Tropical Peatlands
By Nazir Foear, The Jakarta Globe, 29 May 2016
Indonesia has approximately 15 million to 20 million hectares of tropical peatlands, which is the fourth largest in the world. Those areas store 60 trillion tons of carbon, which is six times more than the total carbon emissions released globally in 2011.
In 2015, approximately 2.6 million hectares of land in Indonesia were burnt, half of it peatland. The fires resulted in several deaths, while more than 150,000 people in six provinces suffered from acute respiratory illnesses as a result of the smoke. The World Bank estimates that economic losses due to the fires amounted to $16 billion. Daily emissions from Indonesian forest fires in October last year exceeded the total emissions from the entire United States economy, not to mention that burning on a similar scale has occurred annually for nearly 20 years.

Summary of the Bonn Climate Change Conference 16-26 May 2016
Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 29 May 2016
The Bonn Climate Change Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convened from 16-26 May 2016 in Bonn, Germany. The conference included the 44th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 44) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 44), and the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1). Approximately 1,900 government delegates, 1,500 observers and 100 media representatives attended the meeting.

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