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REDD in the news: 13-19 June 2016

REDD-Monitor's round-up of the week's news on forests, climate change, and REDD.REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, visit REDD-Monitor’s “REDD in the news” page, or follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.


 
No aviation growth! No false climate solutions!
Finance and Trade Watch, June 2016
We won’t be fooled by the false promise of “carbon-neutral growth” of aviation. The plans by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialised UN agency, to greenwash the aviation industry are absurd. They claim it is OK to increase emissions if they pay others to reduce them – the so-called “offset” projects. But it is a fallacy that offsets can neutralize the emissions caused elsewhere, especially offsets that involve storage of carbon in forests and soils.
Offsets lead to more problems than they solve. They are a license to pollute. They increase emissions, often lead to violations of human rights, and distract from real solutions. Emissions need to be cut at the source. That is why the air traffic volume needs to shrink, not grow.

13 June 2016

2016 Global Landscapes Forum: Connecting funds to farms and forests (Part 2)
By Leona Liu, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 13 June 2016
In addition to addressing climate finance, one of the main topics discussed at the Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case was decoupling deforestation from supply chains.
“The Paris Agreement is significant because it brought forward the aspiration of staying below 2 degrees Celsius and put forests in the text,” said Marco Albani, Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020.
“But the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are perhaps even more important. Among the various wedges in the current climate policy, the land use one probably has the biggest implications for all the other SDGs.”

Forest Investment Program (FIP)
Bretton Woods Project, 13 June 2016
The rationale for adding new pilot countries to the Forest Investment Program (FIP) given funding constraints has been questioned, with concerns also raised about the focus on providing loans rather than grants.
The CIF strategic directions paper noted challenges for the FIP, including for the private sector set-aside.
It proposed that any new funding should be extended to the new pilot countries and the Dedicated Grant Mechanism, as well as a new private sector window.
Questions were raised about the consultation of ethnic minorities with regards to a Laos project.

World ‘beyond return’ of historic carbon dioxide milestone
By Ed King, Climate Home, 13 June 2016
Farewell then, 400 parts per million.
The past 12 months have seen a record surge in carbon dioxide emissions say scientists, driven by the burning of fossil fuels and boosted by a rampant El Nino phenomenon.
Tropical forests and plants that once would have been expected to reduce global CO2 levels by September have suffered badly under this El Nino, reducing their ability to soak up carbon.
That means the iconic milestone of 400 parts of carbon dioxide in every million molecules of air has likely been passed for good, says a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Indigenous rights and private funding key to slowing deforestation, says Norway minister
By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 June 2016
Efforts to save the world’s forests hinge on securing private sector funds and ensuring indigenous communities in tropical forests are more involved in protecting their environment, Norway’s environment minister said.
Speaking ahead of a high-level conference on forest conservation hosted by Norway, Vidar Helgesen said stronger political leadership is needed to amplify the voices and role of indigenous people in forest conservation.
Norway is the biggest donor to the United Nations program aimed at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing nations.
When forests are degraded or destroyed, the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, with deforestation accounting for 10 to 15 percent of carbon emissions worldwide.
“A key priority of REDD+ is self-governance and strengthening the involvement of indigenous communities in the forests,” Helgesen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

Brazil: Imminent forced eviction of Indigenous Peoples flagrantly unjust
Amnesty International, 13 June 2016
The planned forced eviction of nine families of the Guarani Kaiowá Apika’y Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral lands in Mato Grosso do Sul state is another example of the authorities riding rough-shod over human rights to make way for landowners and profit, said Amnesty International today.
According to Amnesty International’s local partner Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), a judge has now notified the community that it will be forcibly evicted any day between 13 and 15 June.
In 2013, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General and Atila Roque, the organization’s Executive Director of Brazil, visited Apika’y and met with indigenous leaders.
“The news that Apika’y, the most vulnerable Guarani Kaiowá community, is at risk of imminent forced eviction is extremely worrying. The responsible authorities must urgently reverse this unjust decision which clearly violates Indigenous Peoples’ rights,” said Salil Shetty.
“The imminent forced eviction of Apika’y is an emblematic case which manifests long-term violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights across the country, including death threats, killings, evictions and risks of backlash in legislation in favour of their territorial rights,” said Atila Roque.

Liberia’s US$37 million deforestation project promotes community forestry but fails to combat illegal logging
Global Witness, 13 June 2016
In a move critical for the future of Liberia’s forests, Liberia and the World Bank have now published their plan for spending US$37.5 million to reduce deforestation within the country. (1) The plan, which uses money promised in 2014 by Norway to save Liberia’s forests, includes much needed support for communities who want to manage their forests. However, if Liberia is to successfully turn the page on a history of destructive logging it must also make good on pledges to investigate illegal contracts and ensure communities’ right to free, prior, and informed consent is respected.

14 June 2016

Was Kyoto climate deal a success? Figures reveal mixed results
By Michael Le Page, New Scientist, 14 June 2016
Was the 1997 Kyoto protocol a success? That depends on how you interpret the numbers.
Under the treaty, 38 developed countries signed up to reduce their mean annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2012 by an average of 5 per cent relative to 1990 levels. In practice, this meant their collective emissions had to be lower by 1 gigatonne (Gt) of carbon dioxide per year than 1990 levels.
The final emissions figures only became available at the end of last year, with the first assessment based on them published on 10 June.
Although overall global emissions rose, the 38 countries collectively reduced their output by 2 GtCO2 per year from 2008 to 2012 compared with 1990 levels. That makes the treaty sound like a success.
But the emissions of former Soviet states had plummeted before the deal was even signed, meaning a reduction of 2.2 GtCO2 per year cannot be attributed to the protocol. Discount that, and the 38 failed to meet their target.
The US and Canada, however, signed the deal but did not stick with it. If they are excluded, the remaining 36 apparently met their target of a reduction of 0.5 GtCO2 per year, even if the 2.2 Gt cited above are excluded.

The Paris climate agreement needs coordinated carbon prices to be successful
By Ottmar Edenhofer, The Conversation, 14 June 2016
The Paris climate agreement was an important success for climate diplomacy as nation states showed a strong will to cooperate on climate action.
But instead of imposing binding national emission targets, the Paris Agreement is based on voluntary country commitments (known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions- INDCs). This poses some challenges.

Citi, Deutsche and JPMorgan censured for backing fossil fuel
By Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 14 June 2016
Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase have delivered billions of dollars in financing for coal, oil and gas companies that is “deeply at odds” with the goals of the Paris climate change accord, according to a study.
The banks rank among the top North American and European private sector backers of coal mines, coal power plants and costly oil and gas ventures over the past three years, according to the report by environmental campaign groups the US Sierra Club, the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack and Oil Change International.

Balancing Transparency and Non-State Actors in the Climate Negotiations
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 14 June 2016
In the lead-up to the first formal UNFCCC Subsidiary Body meeting since the Paris Agreement (PA), there was palpable anticipation as to what the meeting would bring in terms of substance and in driving implementation.
We see this focus on implementation more and more, both in the context of the PA as well as for REDD+ and other climate actions. There also appears to be a correlation between the emphasis on implementation and the reliance on the private sector and other non-state actors (NSAs).

How REDD+ Can Help Countries Recovering from Armed Conflict
By Arthur Blundell, Emily Harwell and Kerstin Canby, Forest Trends, 14 June 2016
For almost all forest-rich countries, a major impediment in reversing patterns of deforestation has been weak institutions that have weak rule of law. That becomes an even greater obstacle in countries with a history of armed conflict.
A new Forest Trends analysis of countries supported by the U.N.’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) program finds that, since the first REDD+ commitments were announced in Bali in 2007, more than half of participating countries have experienced organized armed conflict. The same is true for countries supported by the REDD+ programs hosted by the World Bank: the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, and the Forest Investment Program. These findings (summarized in the figure below; click to enlarge) will be presented at the Oslo REDD Exchange in Norway on June 14, 2016.

[Indonesia] Firms responsible for 2015 fires go largely unpunished
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 14 June 2016
Despite wreaking environmental havoc and causing more than US$16 billion in economic losses, hundreds of companies behind last year’s massive peatland and forest fires across Sumatra and Kalimantan have still not been held accountable for their negligence.
Recently, the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) released a list of 531 companies, mostly agroforestry companies, on whose concessions in peatland areas fires were reported and who thus had an obligation to restore their concessions.
The list only constitutes companies with concessions in peatland areas, therefore the total number of companies on whose lands fires occurred must greatly exceed 531.
However, only three civil lawsuit cases are being heard in courts at the moment with five more lawsuits still in the process. Civil lawsuits are handled by the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s law enforcement directorate-general.

[Israel] Netanyahu crony: PM had the run of French fraud suspect’s mansion
By Raoul Wootliff, Times of Israel, 14 June 2016
A Jewish lawmaker in France who introduced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to an alleged French fraudster said Tuesday that Netanyahu was given free access to the home of the billionaire on a visit to France in 1999, but claimed there was absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing at the time.
Meyer Habib, a longtime friend of Netanyahu, told Army Radio he regretted introducing the then-former prime minister to Arnaud Mimran, who is currently standing trial for graft in France, but stressed that when he did, “no one could have known that he could have become a criminal.”
Mimran is on trial in France for his alleged role in a massive fraud involving the sale of carbon credits in a case referred to in France as the “heist of the century.”

No Way, Norway
By Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Medium, 14 June 2016
So how to explain that, only days later, Norway took the extraordinary step of awarding new Arctic drilling licenses to 13 oil companies, including for areas of the Barents Sea that have now become accessible because of the warming climate? Drilling in the Arctic anywhere — much less new drilling — is not only incredibly dangerous but also utterly at odds with the climate goals that virtually the entire world has endorsed.

How will Norway go carbon neutral from 2030?
By Megan Darby, Climate Home, 14 June 2016
Oslo will rely on EU or international offsets to meet ambitious goal, while asking little of its domestic oil and gas sector.
Norway is poised to adopt a carbon neutral target for 2030, despite resistance from the minority coalition government.
In a parliamentary debate on Tuesday morning, opposition lawmakers had a majority in favour of the environment committee proposal.
It reinstates a commitment first agreed in 2008 but scrapped after Copenhagen talks failed to produce an international climate deal.
How can the country live up to this bold promise?

[USA] California’s cap-and-trade program faces daunting hurdles to avoid collapse
By Chris Megerian and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2016
The linchpin of California’s climate change agenda, a program known as cap and trade, has become mired in legal, financial and political troubles that threaten to derail the state’s plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The program has been a symbol of the state’s leadership in the fight against global warming and a key source of funding, most notably for the high-speed rail project connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles.
But the legality of cap and trade is being challenged in court by a business group, and questions are growing about whether state law allows it to operate past 2020. With the end of the legislative session in August, Gov. Jerry Brown, lawmakers and interest groups of all stripes are laying the groundwork for what could become a battle royal over the future of California’s climate change programs.
Unless the state acts, “the whole system could fail,” said Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “If that happens, we could lose an entire stream of revenue to make our communities more sustainable.”

[USA] What undersubscribed auctions mean for California’s carbon market
By Liz Hardee (The Climate Trust), Carbon Pulse, 14 June 2016
In the wake of the milestone Paris Agreement to limit global greenhouse gas emissions, the eyes of the world are upon jurisdictions that have already taken action. A prime example is California’s cap-and-trade program, which has been heavily promoted as a successful model for mitigation.
The system relies upon a declining cap, which covers 85% of the state’s emission sources. In the California system, covered entities must surrender allowances equal to their annual emissions. Some allowances are provided to covered entities free of charge, but others are sold to emitters by the state at auction. Historically, these auctions have been considered quite successful.

15 June 2016

Antarctic CO2 Hit 400 PPM For First Time in 4 Million Years
By Brian Kahn, Climate Central, 15 June 2016
Carbon dioxide has been steadily rising since the start of the Industrial Revolution, setting a new high year after year. There’s a notable new entry to the record books. The last station on Earth without a 400 parts per million (ppm) reading has reached it.
A little 400 ppm history. Three years ago, the world’s gold standard carbon dioxide observatory passed the symbolic threshold of 400 ppm. Other observing stations have steadily reached that threshold as carbon dioxide spreads across the planet’s atmosphere at various points since then. Collectively, the world passed the threshold for a month last year.

[Australia] Could ‘nitrogen trading’ help the Great Barrier Reef?
By Jim Smart, Adrian Volders, Chris Fleming, and Syezlin Hasan, The Converstation, 15 June 2016
Among the increasing sums of money being pledged to help save the Great Barrier Reef is a federal government pledge to spend A$40 million on improving water quality. The Queensland government has promised another A$33.5 million for the same purpose.
One of the biggest water-quality concerns is nitrogen runoff from fertiliser use. It is a concern all along the reef coast, and particularly in the sugar-cane regions of the Wet Tropics and the Burdekin. The government’s Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan calls for an 80% reduction in dissolved inorganic nitrogen flowing out onto the reef by 2025.
Our recent research suggests that “nitrogen trading” might be worth considering as a flexible economic mechanism to help farmers deliver these much-needed reductions in fertiliser use.

Brazil’s giant dams risk destroying heart of the Amazon, says Greenpeace
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 15 June 2016
Construction of 40 major dams in the Brazilian Amazon would destroy the heart of the world’s largest rainforest, severely affect indigenous people and is not economically justifiable, says Greenpeace in a major new report.
The five large dams and 35 others planned for the Tapajós river and its tributaries south of Santarém have been promoted by the government and global engineering and energy companies as a solution to Brazil’s recession and severe electricity shortages.
The projects form part of Brazil’s plans to install 25GW of new hydropower capacity by 2024 and create a massive industrial waterway to allow soya and other crops to be exported more easily to Europe.

Norway pledges to become climate neutral by 2030
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 15 June 2016
Norway’s parliament has approved a radical goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2030, two decades earlier than planned.
On Tuesday night MPs voted for an accelerated programme of CO2 cuts and carbon trading to offset emissions from sectors such as Norway’s oil and gas industries, which are unlikely to be phased out in the near future.
The minority government’s ruling Progress and Conservative parties withdrew their support for the motion at the last minute. But their argument, that ambitious emissions reductions now could interfere with future climate negotiations, was roundly defeated.

Norway pledges $14M to strengthen forest monitoring platform
mongabay.com, 15 June 2016
The Norwegian government is providing World Resources Institute (WRI) with 115 million kroner ($13.85 million) over the next three years to strengthen Global Forest Watch, a platform for monitoring the world’s forests.
Announced at the opening of the Oslo REDD Exchange — an event that brought together more than 500 people from 47 countries to discuss forest conservation — the grant will support Global Forest Watch’s tools that help monitor commodity supply chains, including those of companies that have adopted “zero deforestation” policies to eliminate forest conversion from food and fiber production and sourcing.
“Global Forest Watch is a groundbreaking tool for increased transparency around the state of the world’s forests. Information regarding where deforestation is happening is crucial if we are to halt tropical forest loss,” said Norwegian minister of climate and environment, Vidar Helgesen. “With the support we are announcing today, we will also contribute to the development of tools to monitor the effectiveness of private companies’ commitments to stop deforestation from happening in their business operations.
“Several large companies, including Unilever, Mondelēz, Cargill and Mars, have used Global Forest Watch technology to monitor their supply chains.”

[Tanzania] Remote Sensing and Forest Inventories Contribute to Saving Tropical Forests
By Lars Sandved Dalen, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, 15 June 2016
REDD+ aims to save and protect tropical forests, thus playing a major role in combating climate change and protecting biological diversity. However, many tropical countries lack the necessary forest monitoring method required for REDD+ funding, such as remote sensing with radar satellites and nation-wide forest inventories.
Deforestation amounts to 130,000 km2 every year. This is equal to 60,000 soccer fields each day, and takes place mainly in tropical forests in the Amazon, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia. If all the carbon in the cut forest is converted to CO2 it amounts to 10-15 per cent of the global emissions of greenhouse gases.

US-Norwegian forest deal clinched after White House meeting
Development Today, 15 June 2016
Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s May visit with President Barack Obama in Washington lifted Norway’s climate forest initiative into the inner circles of US politics as the two countries agreed to advance the REDD+ agenda globally. State Secretary John Kerry is to sign a joint statement about cooperation with Norway in Oslo Wednesday, but no new US funding is expected.
Climate Minister Vidar Helgesen says to Development Today that Norway aims to cooperate with the US on fighting criminal networks that destroy forests and promoting public private partnerships to reduce deforestation.

[USA] Remarks at the Oslo Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Conference
By John Kerry, U.S. Department of State, 15 June 2016
Consider two basic facts: First, ongoing deforestation and bad land use decisions contribute to nearly a quarter of all the world’s greenhouse gas emissions today; second, reducing deforestation and doing more to preserve our forests would enable us to achieve a full third of global mitigation goals by 2030.
Trees, as you all know, are nature’s own carbon capture and storage mechanism. And this is to say nothing of the extensive benefits of forest protection related to biodiversity, air quality, water quality, homeland for indigenous people, and more. So it is not acceptable that the world today is losing nearly 50 football fields’ worth of forest every minute. Our mandate is clear: We have to change course and we have to inspire that change in every corner of the globe.

U.S., Norway say forests vital to global climate goals
By Lesley Wroughton and Alister Doyle, Reuters, 15 June 2016
Last year’s international deal on limiting climate change must involve more use of forests as natural stores of carbon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Norway’s government said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Kerry, visiting Oslo as part of a trip to Europe, and Norway’s Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen signed a deal promising closer cooperation on protecting forests including rallying more support from the private sector.
Almost 200 nations agreed in December to shift from fossil fuels in coming decades towards renewable energy to limit an increase in floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.
“These goals cannot be achieved without forests,” the statement said.

Joint Statement from the United States and Norway on Deeper Collaboration on Forests and Climate Change
U.S. Department of State, 15 June 2016
Recognizing the critical importance of forests and land use in mitigating the impacts of climate change, and adapting to those impacts that may be unavoidable, the Kingdom of Norway and the United States of America hereby resolve to deepen their collaboration on global issues related to forests and climate change.
On the occasion of the U.S.-Nordic summit in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2016, the United States and Norway announced their intention to enhance existing collaboration on forests and climate change. We reaffirm our commitments made in the Leaders’ Statement on Forests and Climate Change, the New York Declaration on Forests and the Sustainable Development Goals.

16 June 2016

UN aviation talks: time to come down to earth?
By Katherine Watts, Climate Home, 16 June 2016
The BBC is showing a documentary series about modern aviation titled “City in the Sky”. The other-worldly name seems somehow appropriate to the sector’s approach to the challenge of climate change over the last two decades.
Operating without fuel taxes, VAT, legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements or limits on its CO2 emissions, the sector operates in something of a parallel universe.
Next week the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the sector’s global regulator, has an opportunity to finally take a step forward on climate action.
ICAO will discuss the impact of the Paris Agreement on the sector, and specifically the next steps for an aviation carbon offsetting scheme currently under negotiation.

Brace for ICAO Emissions Scheme This Year
By Kerry Lynch, AINonline, 16 June 2016
With a general agreement hashed out earlier this year on a basic CO2 emissions standard for aircraft, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is now turning to one of the most politically difficult issues surrounding the implementation of such a standard: the use of market-based measures.
In February ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) formally recommended the emissions standard, paving the way for adoption by the full ICAO Governing Council and General Assembly later this year.
The standard itself has captured mostly support from aviation groups, which said it underscores the industry’s commitment to addressing climate change. But debate surrounding market-based measures (MBMs), or levies on emissions output, largely remained quiet during the development of the CO2 standard. With a standard on the cusp of being finalized, ICAO recently assembled a “High Level Meeting” to begin the dialog on how to use MBMs to implement the CO2 standard.

How Brazil protects the Amazon’s forests
By Eduardo dos Santos (Ambassador of Brazil to the UK) letter to the editor, The Guardian, 16 June 2015
The article Hydropower dam project may tear heart out of Amazon rainforest, warn activists (15 June) omits Brazil’s strong engagement with the sustainable development of the Amazon region. All infrastructure projects in Brazil are conditioned on careful and thorough environmental impact assessments. Environmentally protected areas in Brazil exceed 1.5m sq km. Indigenous lands amount to an additional area of over 1.1m sq km – more than the UK, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and Poland combined.
Brazil has achieved about 80% reduction in Amazon deforestation over the past decade, and has committed to eliminate illegal deforestation and restore and reforest an area roughly the size of England. It is also taking actions to expand the use of renewable energy sources other than hydropower in its total energy mix to between 28% and 33% by 2030.

IETA warns against Brexit: Risks harm to EU ETS and EU leadership on climate change
IETA, 16 June 2016
As the UK prepares to vote in a referendum on EU membership, IETA warns against the negative consequences a “leave” vote would have on the reforms of the EU ETS and the EU’s international leadership on climate policy.
The UK has a long history of supporting and leading efforts on emissions trading within the EU, dating back to the introduction of the UK ETS in 2001 and the adoption of the EU Emissions Trading Directive in 2005. Without the early support and leadership of the UK on emissions trading, Europe would not be recognised as a world leader on climate change policy today.
IETA believes the UK’s position at the EU table is vital during a critical time of policy development on the future of carbon markets in Europe and abroad. As part of the EU, the UK is poised to offer leadership to the legislative process to improve the EU ETS and to the international carbon market negotiations underway at the UNFCCC.

Breaking up is hard to do: The risk to the green economy from Brexit dwarfs any benefits on offer
By James Murray, Business Green, 16 June 2016
One week to go.
I’ve never been a massive fan of agony aunts, but years ago I stumbled across a column that despite its platitudinous nature has stayed with me and is now routinely trotted out on the rare occasions a friend asks for relationship advice. A reader was asking whether they should leave their partner and the newspaper’s font of wisdom noted before making any momentous decision it was important to consider not just what you’d gain by leaving – freedom, excitement, a change of scene – but also what you’d lose.
This, in essence, is what we all have to remember as we weigh which way to vote in the upcoming European referendum: it is not just what you gain, it is what you lose.

EU to investigate Poland over logging in ancient forest
Agence France Presse, 16 June 2016
The European Union on Thursday launched an investigation into Polish logging in its ancient Białowieża forest, a protected Unesco World Heritage site which includes some of Europe’s last primeval woodland.
“The commission has launched an infringement procedure against Poland … the commission is in contact with the Polish authorities to make sure that any measures are in line with EU law,” a spokesman said.
“Polish authorities have one month to provide the information requested and once received, the commission will carefully assess this to decide whether further action is necessary.”

[Indonesia] Massive Land Clearing in TNKS Buffer Zone
Kompas, 16 June 2016
In the last four years, almost 10,000 hectares of forest in the upstream area of the Pelepat River, the buffer zone of the Seblat Kerinci National Park (TNKS), have been cleared and transformed into a plantation. The rapid forest clearing development is deemed as the main cause of flash floods that have been sweeping the nearby villages.
As such, the government has been urged to review the license for companies there. Landsat data by the Warsi Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI) show that the wooded area within the Seblat Kerinci National Park (TNKS) buffer zone in the Pelepat River watershed areas was still 34,211 hectares wide in 2012. The size shrunk to 24,601 hectares in 2016, a reduction of 9,610 hectares over the course of four years.

Norway, Indonesia Strengthen Partnership in Forest Protection
TEMPO, 16 June 2016
Indonesia and Norway continues to strengthen the partnership between them in a bid to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
An officer of Indonesian Embassy in Oslo, Haryoto Harmoko, on Thursday said that Prime Minister Erna Solberg has expressed her appreciation for various regulatory measures taken by President Joko Widodo.
According to Harkomoyo, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen, conveyed the message when he welcomed Indonesian delegates, consisted of the Head of Peatland Restoration Agency Nazir Foead, Directorate-General of Climate Change Control of Environmental Affairs Ministry Nur Masripatin and Indonesian Ambassador to Norway Yuwono A Putranto, at the office of Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment on Wednesday.

With New Norway-US Forest Cooperation, Support Grows To Save Forests By Offsetting Flights
By Steve Zwick and Kelli Barrett, Ecosytem Marketplace, 16 June 2016
Norway and the United States this week agreed to “continue and enhance our existing cooperation on REDD+ and sustainable landscapes” by ramping up funding for carbon accounting in developing countries, supporting private-sector investment in forests, clamping down on the illegal timber trade, and promoting transparency in the forest sector.
The agreement explicitly urges the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s 2016 Assembly to adopt a Global Market Based Measure (MBM) to enable carbon neutral growth in international aviation from 2020 – a move that environmental NGOs (including Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends) endorsed in a publication entitled “Linking Flight and Forests: The Essential Role of Forests in Supporting Global Aviation’s Response to Climate Change”.

Norway, U.S. pledge to coordinate forest protection efforts
mongabay.com, 16 June 2016
The governments of Norway and the United States on Wednesday pledged to strengthen efforts to protect and restore tropical forests, including cracking down on the illegal timber trade, supporting technologies to advance forest monitoring, promoting deforestation-free commodity sourcing, and mobilizing finance for conservation.
The agreement, which was signed by American Secretary of State John Kerry and Norwegian minister of climate and environment Vidar Helgesen, was inked at the Norwegian government’s Oslo REDD Exchange, an event that brought together more than 500 people from 47 countries to discuss forest conservation.

Russia significantly under-reporting wildfires, figures show
By Alec Luhn and Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 16 June 2016
Forest wildfires rampaging across Russia are being significantly under-reported by authorities, according to analysis of satellite data.
Climate change is making wildfires much more likely in Russia, but regional officials have been reluctant to report the true extent of the problem, and campaigners are warning that the harm to forests, property and human lives could rise.
While the recent forest fires around Fort McMurray, Canada, destroyed more than 580,000 hectares, those in Russia have burned up to 3.5m hectares since the start of 2016, according to Greenpeace Russia. It said at least 1m hectares were in flames at the end of May in the country, which is home to the largest forests in the world.

[Singapore] Commodities: Noble’s House of woe
By David Sheppard and Neil Hume, Financial Times, 16 June 2016
Richard Elman has always dreamt big. The British-born scrapyard dealer-turned-billionaire commodity trader and founder of Noble Group spent more than a decade riding the wave of China’s growth. In April 2011 he promised investors there was more to come.
“We are in a position to be the best in the world,” he told shareholders in the Noble annual report as he boasted of record profits. “And among the biggest.”
He had every reason to be confident. China Investment Corp, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, held a big stake in the company; Noble was expanding across the globe; and its market capitalisation had just topped $14bn.
But few fully understood at the time that a tight-knit group of executives had embarked on a course that would leave Noble on its knees…
Mounting debts and high costs began to weigh on the company as bets in niche markets such as carbon credits backfired. As a listed company, it wanted smoother earnings to keep the stock market happy, former employees say.

[UK] Five in court to face charges over £2.75m boiler room fraud
By David Campbell, Wealth Manager, 16 June 2016
Five people have appeared at Southwark Crown Court today charged with conspiracy to defraud following a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into a series of alleged boiler rooms.
Michael Nascimento, Hugh Edwards, Stuart Rea, Ryan Parker and Jeannine Lewis, all resident in London and the south east, were charged with conspiracy to defraud, together with offences under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Fraud Act 2006.
Two were also charged with perverting the course of justice and one with money laundering offences.
The charges were bought following an FCA probe in to four alleged boiler room operations based in London’s Docklands, all promoting the sale of shares in Atlantic Equity LLC.

[UK] Conman dubbed ‘Lord of Fraud’ jailed for seven years after failing to repay £1.2million to victims
By Mark Waghorn, The Mirror, 16 June 2016
A self styled peer dubbed the ‘Lord of Fraud’ has been jailed for seven years for failing to pay back more than £1.2 million to his victims – one of the longest ever sentences of its kind.
‘Lord’ Hugh Rodley, 69, was given an eight year sentence in 2009 for his role in an attempt to steal £229 million by hacking into the computers of a Japanese bank – which would have been the biggest cyber crime in history.
Then, in 2012, while still serving that term, he got an extra seven years for conning 741 pensioners out of £5.4 million in savings by selling them worthless shares in a ‘boiler room’ scam.

[USA] WRI Selects Paula Caballero to Lead Climate Program
World Resources Institute press release, 16 June 2016
The World Resources Institute has chosen Paula Caballero, a widely respected international leader in climate and development issues, to be the new Global Director for its Climate Program. Caballero will work with WRI’s global staff and partners on issues related to international climate action, such as the UNFCCC and implementation of the Paris Agreement, mobilization and tracking progress on national and sub-national climate goals, advancing U.S. climate action and resilience at the federal and state levels, and overseeing fundraising and communications efforts.

[USA] City Services Funded Through Purchase of Astoria Forest Carbon Credits
The Climate Trust press release, 16 June 2016
With a transfer of funds and a handshake, The Climate Trust today fulfilled their contract with the City of Astoria for the purchase of their verified carbon emission credits.
Through this innovative agreement, Astoria will reduce the volume of timber harvested in the city-owned Bear Creek Watershed in return for carbon credits; effectively, storing carbon and preventing the release of carbon dioxide that results from harvesting trees. The City plans to harvest about one third of the amount of annual growth in the coming decades, significantly less that what is allowed under the Oregon Forest Practices law.
This new carbon revenue stream will replace foregone harvest revenue and provide critical support to Astoria’s capital improvement fund. Revenue from the carbon credit transaction will be applied directly to the construction of a new water line in the City’s watershed, and to other capital improvement needs.

[USA] California’s landmark cap and trade program faces uncertain future
By Rory Carroll, Reuters, 16 June 2016
California’s greenhouse gas reduction program is in a battle for its life, and uncertainty about its future has spooked buyers of its carbon permits
California in 2012 became the first U.S. state with a comprehensive cap and trade program for carbon emissions, which are implicated in global warming, and now finds the program sputtering.
The woes include a glut of pollution permits, a lawsuit that could invalidate the premise of the program and political differences over whether it should continue after 2020 when it is due to expire unless extended by the state legislature.
The latest round of bad news came on Tuesday when the state announced that it had raised just $10 million from the May carbon permit auction, more than $500 million less than it brought in during the February sale.

17 June 2016

China climate goals trigger launch of new derivatives
By Kathy Chen, Reuters, 17 June 2016
China’s clean energy pledges are prompting a supply of new financing tools to fund the estimated 43 trillion yuan ($6.53 trillion) needed to switch from heavy, polluting industries to clean projects.
The Beijing Environment Exchange endorsed a call option backed by 20,000 local carbon permits on Thursday, the first of its kind in China, which was bought by trading firm CMB Sinolink.
Rival bourse, the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange, also plans to launch four forward contracts to trade over the counter (OTC), backed by Shanghai permits which expire in each quarter of 2017, according to the Shanghai Clearing House.

EU environment ministers must fix the carbon market
By Wendel Trio, Climate Home, 17 June 2016
The pictures of a flooded Paris drive home the urgency of the climate crisis we are facing.
Just half a year earlier governments from around the world gathered in that city to agree on an ambitious global climate deal. Now the EU must show the world that it is serious about making the deal a reality.
At the Council meeting on Monday, EU Environment Ministers must make headway towards putting the Paris Agreement into action, speed up its ratification and call for an ambitious reform the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).

Five ways Euro 2016 is trying to be the greenest football tournament ever
By Michael Holder, Business Green, 17 June 2016
UEFA is upping the green credentials of the beautiful game through carbon offsetting, food redistribution and clean energy
Wall-to-wall media coverage, people proudly displaying their team colours, brawls on the streets – Europe has become a battleground of late. And no, we’re not talking about the EU referendum – there’s a football tournament going on.
Behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Euro 2016 is even bigger than its predecessors, too, growing by eight teams and an extra round to feature 24 countries, while generating around €1.27bn of economic benefit within host nation France.

[USA] Gov. Jerry Brown wants to extend California’s climate change law beyond 2020
By Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times, 17 June 2016
Gov. Jerry Brown is endorsing an extension of the state’s main climate change law.
“We will not meet our world-leading clean air and emission reduction targets unless we solidify and redouble our commitment to the state’s cap-and-trade program and climate goals beyond 2020, and we will work hard to get that done,” Brown spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman told The Times.
The state’s climate program has been beset by political, legal and financial problems and AB 32, the landmark 2006 legislation that established the state’s cap-and-trade program alongside dramatic targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, only runs through 2020.

18 June 2016

Tax offices launches court claim against father, son charged over alleged boiler room scam
By David Murray, The Herald Sun, 18 June 2016
The Australian Taxation Office has launched multimillion-dollar court claims against a father and son charged over an alleged major Gold Coast boiler room scam.
Jack Doumani, 54, and his son John, 23, are facing separate Supreme Court civil claims over alleged unpaid income tax, charges and interest.
The tax office is demanding more than $10 million from Mr Doumani Snr and $1.2 million from his son, in the court claims, obtained by The Sunday Mail.
Doumani Sr had failed to pay income tax for the past six years, and John had failed to pay income tax for the past three years, the claims state.

[Indonesia] Govt to put moratorium on firms with idle concessions
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta Post, 18 June 2016
Soon, palm oil and forestry resource companies will be forbidden from starting any activities on any of their concessions that are idle, as the government plans to expand a moratorium on peatland use in a bid to curb the annual land and forest fires.
The government is currently revising Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 8/2015 on a permit moratorium for primary forests and peatlands, which has been in effect since May last year.
The moratorium on clearing primary forests and peatlands was first introduced by then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2010 and was extended by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo through the Inpres last year.

19 June 2016

 

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