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REDD in the news: 15-21 August 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-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.


 

15 August 2016

REDD+ region
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 15 August 2016
Asia-Pacific nations are some of the world’s most vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events and impacts on food security threaten the densely populated and rapidly developing nations throughout the region.
However, this region also holds some of the world’s greatest potential for climate change mitigation through the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, plus the conservation and sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks – what’s known as REDD+.

[China] Government set to roll out carbon credit scheme
China Daily, 15 August 2016
The Chinese government is considering introducing a carbon credit regulation scheme next year as part of a detailed and practical plan to assess the efforts made by automakers towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a draft regulation that was released earlier this month, carbon credit will be calculated according to the amount of reduced carbon dioxide emissions from the use of new energy vehicles manufactured in or imported to the country.
The credits should be handed in before the end of the year to the agency under the State Council, and extra credits traded on the nation’s official carbon credit market, due to be rolled out in 2017.

[Indonesia] The economic impact of not exploring for resources
By George Barber, The Jakarta Post, 15 August 2016
The title was for a seminar and discussion that was held in July, which I did not attend. The headline was accompanied by the following statement:
“There have been no world-class mineral or coal discoveries for decades in Indonesia. The lack of discoveries will have a major impact on the mining industry”.
Indonesia believes it has an abundance of resources, this includes oil, gas, geothermal, minerals (various types), coal/coalbed methane, although it does not know where they are (exactly) and in what volumes exist, they are predictions only.
Uncertainties are a major challenge; predictions are unreliable; behind in reaching stated goals.

Indonesia’s Sampoerna Agro fined record sum for 2014 forest fires
By Bernadette Christina Munthe, Reuters, 15 August 2016
Indonesian plantation company Sampoerna Agro is considering how to respond to a recent court ruling that handed down the country’s largest ever fine to a company linked to forest fires, a company official said on Monday.
“We’re still studying this,” Sampoerna Agro spokesman Michael Kesuma told Reuters when asked whether the company would appeal the decision.
Kesuma referred to a Jakarta court ruling on August 11 that found Sampoerna unit PT National Sago Prima negligent in relation to fires on 3,000 hectares of its concessions in Riau in 2014, and handed down fines totaling 1.07 trillion rupiah ($81.62 million).

[Indonesia] Politics slows fight against peatland fires
By Yuyun Indradi (Greenpeace), The Jakarta Post, 15 August 2016
Understanding the nature of peatlands is crucial to resolving Indonesia’s forest fires crisis. Indonesia’s coastal peatlands have formed over the past several thousand years in tidal mangrove swamps, building up new, low-lying land comprising peat up to 15 meters deep.
There are also shallower inland peat areas, formed as part of swamp forest ecosystems. Draining, clearing and planting on both kinds of peatland dries it out and makes it prone to fire. It also causes it to collapse (subside), making it prone to flooding.
In coastal areas, where peatlands have built up on a base that is at or below sea level, hundreds of thousands of hectares of pulp and oil palm plantations planted on peat will become economically useless as these areas sink below sea level in the coming decades.
This has huge economic and social implications for provinces such as Riau.

[Indonesia] Wanted: The punisher
The Jakarta Post, 15 August 2016
The devastating impacts of forest and peatland fires on humans last year went beyond our tolerance. Dozens were killed, more than 500,000 others suffered from respiratory infections and 43 million people across Indonesia and neighboring states had to brave smog, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
With the fires recurring in Riau and Aceh, two of the regular hotspots in the country, last week, it is very much understandable that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would immediately call a Cabinet meeting on Friday, during which he repeated his order for law enforcers to do whatever it takes to ensure justice is served over the forest and land fires.

Indonesia committed to dealing with haze
Bangkok Post, 15 August 2016
Asean members are contemplating how to respond to Indonesian assurances that measures are in place to prevent the recurrence of thick haze that has blanketed the region for years.
The haze is made up chiefly of smoke from forest fires and is also blamed on the slash-and-burn practice of plantation owners. Corporations clearing virgin land for palm plantations are blamed by outside investigators.
Indonesia again came under the spotlight at the meeting of the 10 Asean environment ministers in the Malaysian capital.

Kew Gardens in race to collect and preserve Madagascar’s seeds
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 15 August 2016
Scientists are racing against time to create a backup of Madagascar’s famously rich and varied flora in a British seed bank before it is lost forever.
The Indian ocean country is known as a biodiversity hotspot with 13,000 plant species, 90% of which are unique to the island and found nowhere else on Earth.
But while its forests are still yielding species new to science, they are increasingly under pressure from farmers who see the forests as their only resource. Many people live on less than a dollar a day and poverty has got worse since aid was cut off following a military coup seven years ago, leading to widespread forest clearance.

Changing winds may bring haze back as early as this week: M’sian minister
Today Online, 15 August 2016
Haze could hit Malaysia as early as this week, with Sarawak being most likely the first to be blanketed with smoke and dust particles, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said.
“Now is the transitional period of the changing winds. It may hit in a week or less, depending on the constant flow of the wind bringing the haze towards Malaysia,” he said.
“There is a possibility of it hitting this week if no action is taken by Indonesia to put out the fires and if the winds continue to blow towards Sarawak.”

[New Zealand] The Morgan Foundation call for dodgy carbon credits to stop
Newstalk ZB, 15 August 2016
The Morgan Foundation’s calling on the Government to stop passing the buck when it comes to dodgy carbon credits.
The Foundation has released a report naming some of New Zealand’s biggest companies as having bought credits out of Russia and the Ukraine.
They were used to offset carbon emissions here at a much cheaper rate.
Foundation General Manager Geoff Simmons said companies including BP, Z, Fonterra and NZ Steel bought millions of credits – which have no environmental value.
“We were the only country that allowed these dodgy foreign credits to be used in our emissions trading scheme.”

MAAP #40: Early warning deforestation alerts in the Peruvian Amazon
Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, 15 August 2016
GLAD alerts are a powerful new tool to monitor forest loss in the Peruvian Amazon in near real-time. This early warning system, created by the GLAD (Global Land Analysis and Discovery) laboratory at the University of Maryland and supported by Global Forest Watch, was launched in March 2016 as the first Landsat-based (30-meter resolution) forest loss alert system (previous systems were based on lower-resolution imagery). The alerts are updated weekly and can be accessed through Global Forest Watch (Image 40a, left panel) or GeoBosques (Image 40a, right panel), a web portal operated by the Peruvian Ministry of Environment.

[USA] Why some analysts are optimistic for a healthy auction that is crucial to Valley transportation improvements
By Jody Meacham, Silicon Valley Business Journal, 15 August 2016
The California Air Resources Board will conduct its first cap-and-trade auction Tuesday since last May’s disaster and even the most optimistic analysts express plenty of caution about a recovery.
Hanging in the balance are whether some of California’s and the Bay Area’s most important public transportation programs — from high-speed rail to Caltrain, BART and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority — will get all the money they’ve already written into their budgets.

16 August 2016

Bracing Ourselves for the Climate Tipping Point
By Eric Holthaus, Pacific Standard, 16 August 2016
On Monday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration released its updated global temperature data for July, and a stunning record was broken: For as long as we’ve been keeping track (since 1880), and likely since long before, there has never been another month as warm as the one just past. And never is a long time: An extrapolation of recent research shows last month likely marked Earth’s warmest absolute temperatures since human civilization began, thousands of years ago. That’s a pretty big deal.

World’s hottest month shows challenges global warming will bring
By Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian, 16 August 2016
In Siberia, melting permafrost released anthrax that had been frozen in a reindeer carcass for decades, starting a deadly outbreak. In Baghdad, soaring temperatures forced the government to shut down for days at a time. In Kuwait, thermometers hit a record 54C (129F).
July was the hottest month the world has endured since records began in 1880, scientists have said, and brought a painful taste of the troubles people around the world may have to grapple with as global warming intensifies. Results compiled by Nasa showed the month was 0.84C hotter than the 1951-1980 average for July, and 0.11C hotter than the previous record set in July 2015.

REDD+ funds are being put to work in the right places: report
By Mike Gaworecki, mongabay.com, 16 August 2016
The UN’s REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) program was officially enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement as a standalone article — as clear a signal as any that curbing deforestation is now considered absolutely crucial to the world’s efforts to halt global warming.
According to a new report by the NGO Forest Trends, close to $6 billion has been pledged to conservation initiatives in ten key forest countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region under REDD+, and that money is being deployed in nations and provinces with high levels of deforestation and associated carbon emissions — in other words, exactly where it’s needed most to address deforestation and forest degradation’s contribution to the climate crisis.

A Financial Architecture for Restoration — How Initiative 20×20 is Helping the Private Sector Restore Degraded Land
By James Anderson, World Resources Institute, 16 August 2016
Financing restoration in Latin America faces significant barriers.
The financial architecture in support of 20×20 activities focuses on addressing some of these barriers. It emphasizes support for private sector investment in restoration. It basically includes four elements.
The first is to pool private investment resources (equity capital) seeking to finance restoration projects in the region. Today, 12 investment partners have earmarked $1,150 million in equity for investment until 2020. The partners are Althelia Climate, Moringa Partnership, Permian Global, Terrabella Fund, Ecoenterprises, Carana Corporation, SLM Partners, EcoPlanet Bamboo, Forest and Climate Change Fund, LXG Amazon Reforestry Fund, Andes Amazon Fund and Rare. There is the expectation that during the current calendar year about 20% of these resources would be actually invested in specific projects.

[Australia] Your money gone: Brisbane City Council scammed of $450,000 of ratepayer cash
By Kim Stevens, news.com.au, 16 August 2016
The heads of Queensland’s law enforcement agencies joined forces less than a month ago to publicly warn of the cold-call “master manipulators” fleecing investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Little did Queensland Police Service Chief commissioner Ian Stewart and Crime and Corruption Commision (CCC) boss Alan MacSporran know but just less than a week earlier, fraudsters had already put in place an elaborate scam that would claim the most high profile scalp yet.
Brisbane City Council, Australia’s largest local government body that oversees a bigger budget than Tasmania’s, has lost $450,000 of ratepayers’ money — and there is scant hope they will ever get it back.

[Brazil] A wildfire is burning near a Rio Olympics venue
stuff.co.nz, 16 August 2016
A wildfire is causing chaos in Rio.
The blaze caught the attention of those watching Great Britain play Spain in the women’s hockey quarter final.
People have already started sharing pictures of the blaze on social media, with unconfirmed reports that the blaze has spread to the mountain bike course.

The [Olympics] Year the Rain Forest Burned
By Daniel Grossman, Yale Climate Connections, 16 August 2016
This month, hundreds of millions worldwide had their TV eyes tuned to the Olympics. But this season might be remembered not solely for the gold medal count but for foreboding events now unfolding just a thousand miles northwest of the Rio games.
With a camera on a NASA satellite that circles over Earth’s poles, University of California, Irvine professor James Randerson has spotted a near-record number of early-dry season fires burning on the southern and western perimeter of the Amazon forest, including in seven Brazilian states and swaths of lowland Peru and Bolivia.

[Indonesia] Haze making its annual comeback in Sumatra
By Rizal Harahap, Jon Afrizal and Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 16 August 2016
Fire is raging through more areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan as the dry season has worsened in the regions.
The number of hot spots in Sumatra has dramatically increased to 158, with Riau ranking first with 80 hot spots, followed by Bangka Belitung ( 35 ), South Sumatra ( 20 ), North Sumatra ( 11 ) and 12 scattered in other places.
Residents of Duri, Mandau district, Bengkalis regency, Riau, claimed they could smell smoke from land and forest fires on Monday morning.
“I was woken up by the hot weather after midnight during a blackout. A few moments, later I realized there was a strong smell of smoke in the house,” said Duri resident Syukran Koto.

Mexico announces launch of cap-and-trade pilot program
By Natalie Schachar, Reuters, 16 August 2016
Mexico will launch a year-long simulation of a cap-and-trade program in November, Mexican officials said on Monday, in a test run for a national carbon market expected to launch in 2018.
The pilot program will involve the voluntary participation of up to 60 companies, giving them a chance to adapt to a forthcoming carbon credit system in which polluters will be obligated to offset emissions with tradeable certificates.

[New Zealand] Companies revealed over “dodgy” carbon credits
By Gerard Hutching, NZFarmer.co.nz, 16 August 2016
Some of New Zealand’s biggest businesses, including BP, Z Energy, NZ Steel and Fonterra, have been named by the Morgan Foundation for buying “dodgy” carbon credits, although the Green Party says the blame lies with the Government.
A number of forestry companies are also identified as having bought fraudulent carbon credits from Ukraine and Russia. They include New Zealand Forest Leasing, Matariki Forests, Ngai Tahu Forest Estates and China Forestry Group NZ.
New Zealand had the only emissions trading scheme (ETS) in the world that allowed the use of these units from 2013-2015, which represented no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The latest Morgan Foundation report follows one that was released in April. Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett admitted then the trading scheme was not perfect, and it was being reviewed.

[USA] Fixing a Major Flaw in Cap-And-Trade
By Severin Borenstein, The Energy Collective, 16 August 2016
While many Californians are spending August burning fossil fuels to travel to vacation destinations, the state legislature is negotiating with Gov. Brown over whether and how to extend the California’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). The program, which began in 2013, is currently scheduled to run through 2020, so the state is now pondering what comes after 2020.
The program requires major GHG sources to buy “allowances” to cover their emissions, and each year reduces the total number of allowances available, the “cap”. The allowances are tradeable and their price is the incentive for firms to reduce emissions. A high price makes emitters very motivated to cut back, while a low price indicates that they can get down to the cap with modest efforts.
Before committing to a post-2020 plan, however, policymakers must understand why the cap-and-trade program thus far has been a disappointment, yielding allowance prices at the administrative price floor and having little impact on total state GHG emissions. California’s price is a little below $13/ton, which translates to about 13 cents per gallon at the gas pump and raises electricity prices by less than one cent per kilowatt-hour.

17 August 2016

Researchers say addressing the second D in REDD can benefit the climate while ensuring timber harvests
By Mike Gaworecki, mongabay.com, 17 August 2016
Significant reductions in carbon emissions could be achieved by sustainable forestry practices in the tropics, researchers say — but so far, the world is not taking full advantage of this opportunity to mitigate global warming.
An international team of researchers analyzed the potential for timber production and carbon emission reductions under two logging techniques over a 40-year period of selective logging. They published their results this month in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science along with their recommendations that the world address tropical forest degradation — the second “D” in the UN’s REDD+ program (which stands for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).

COMMENT: Houston, we have a (carbon pricing) problem! (And it’s NOT the one you think!)
By Dr. Mark Trexler, Carbon Pulse, 17 August 2016
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) and the possibility that it could turn into a “back door” national price on carbon. That possibility has picked up steam even in the last couple of weeks. Today I’m zeroing in on something I hadn’t focused on before, namely the likely relationship between the Social Cost of Carbon and market-based carbon prices.
Let’s step back for a moment to look at the topic of carbon prices and carbon price forecasting. Future carbon prices are potentially important to all sorts of energy (and other) decision-makers, which explains why so many of them are expressing so much interest in carbon price forecasts. Many electric utilities, for example, explicitly build carbon price forecasts into the planning processes that underpin new power plant commitments, energy efficiency investments, and other decisions.

[Canada] Penny Stock ‘Kingpin’ Gets 6 1/2 Years for Boiler Room Plot
By Christie Smythe and Katherine Greifeld, Bloomberg, 17 August 2016
A globe-trotting securities dealer who set up boiler rooms throughout the world in what gave rise to one of the U.S. government’s largest penny stock fraud investigations was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.
Sandy Winick, a Canadian described as a “penny stock fraud kingpin,” was accused of masterminding two schemes that fleeced investors of $140 million. First, he and associates allegedly peddled dubious stocks at pumped-up values. Then he victimized buyers again by selling them a promise to help recoup their losses in exchange for a fee, the U.S. claimed.

Indonesia must go all out to prevent forest fires: Expert
By Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, 17 August 2016
The Indonesian government, plantation companies and communities need to take immediate action to prevent forest fires as hot spots have started to emerge in a number of forested areas in Kalimantan and Sumatra, an expert has warned.
“Before fires spread wildly and uncontrollably, we need to immediately stop them. The government, plantation companies and communities need to cooperate to address the problem,” Supiandi Sabiham, an expert with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) and chairman of the Indonesian Peatland Association, told The Jakarta Post in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia on Wednesday.

[Indonesia] Palm oil buyers refuse to mend IOI ties as supply squeeze goes on
By Emiko Terazono, Financial Times, 17 August 2016
Buyers of sustainable palm oil are still struggling with a squeeze in supplies despite the return to the market of IOI Corporation, a leading Malaysian palm oil producer and trader.
In April, prices for sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil surged after IOI’s sustainability certification was suspended by the industry body, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, on claims that the company failed to prevent its subsidiaries’ involvement in deforestation in Indonesia.

[Indonesia] Firemen work round the clock to control forest fires in Riau
Channel News Asia, 17 August 2016
A special fire fighting team has been ordered to work round the clock to monitor forest fires at 74 hotspots in Indonesia’s Riau province, Sumatra.
The forest fires, in oil palm plantations, are reported to have affected neighbouring Malaysia, causing the air quality in several states to deteriorate. In Malaysia, 31 areas recorded a moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) reading at 5pm on Wednesday (Aug 17), with one further area (Tanjung Malim) recording an unhealthy API reading of 110.
An API reading of 0 to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate;
101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.

[USA] Senate Presents Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan to Mitigate Climate Impacts and Increase Access to Clean Energy
Kevin de León press release, 17 August 2016
Recognizing the urgent need to act on climate change and taking advantage of California’s hallmark environmental programs, the California State Senate today presented an ambitious spending proposal to increase access to clean energy and build more resilient communities across the state. The proposal (AB 1613) allocates $1.2 billion in unspent revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions for programs that prioritize communities most impacted by air pollution, such as Los Angeles and the Central Valley which suffer from the worst air quality in the nation, and build infrastructure that can reduce carbon emissions.

{USA] Alaska Native village votes to relocate in the face of rising sea levels
By Auro Bogado, Grist, 17 August 2016
Today, the coastal village of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted to relocate due to climate change–induced rising sea levels, according to city council secretary Donna Burr. The community is home to about 600 people, most of whom are Inupiat Inuit, and welcomed votes from tribal and non-tribal residents alike.
This isn’t the first time the village has voted to relocate. In 2002, residents chose to leave for the mainland, but a lack of federal funds made that impossible. The U.S. Department of the Interior has made $8 million available for all tribes seeking relocation — that’s far short of the estimated $200 million the village needs to move.

18 August 2016

Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 18 August 2016
Ice scientists are mostly cheerful and pragmatic. Like many other researchers coolly observing the rapid warming of the world, they share a gallows humour and are cautious about entering the political fray.
Not Peter Wadhams. The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge has spent his scientific life researching the ice world, or the cryosphere, and in just 30 years has seen unimaginable change.
When in 1970 he joined the first of what would be more than 50 polar expeditions, the Arctic sea ice covered around 8m sq km at its September minimum. Today, it hovers at around 3.4m, and is declining by 13% a decade. In 30 years Wadhams has seen the Arctic ice thin by 40%, the world change colour at its top and bottom and the ice disappear in front of his eyes.
In a new book, published just as July 2016 is confirmed by Nasa as the hottest month ever recorded, this most experienced and rational scientist states what so many other researchers privately fear but cannot publicly say – that the Arctic is approaching a death spiral which may see the entire remaining summer ice cover collapse in the near future.

Who is invested in forest destruction?
By Theo Constantinou, FoE US, 18 August 2016
In his work Jeff fights for the health of our planet and is a champion to those around the world whose livelihoods and wellbeing depend directly on forests. His current project, the Deforestation Free Investment campaign, allows pension holders and other investors to see which of their mutual funds are invested in palm oil — so they can make ethical choices to align their money with their values.
I asked him about his take on the struggle to protect nature and nature’s defenders.

Investing in sustainable planted forests: Tools are available, but there’s room for improvement
By Roman Pirard, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 18 August 2016
Industrial-scale planted forests are broadening the scope of their products from a traditional focus on timber toward bioenergy, and even ecosystem services. This change is occurring in parallel with the rapid expansion of planted forest areas. A lesser known concurrent change is the growing interest in social and environmental responsibility expressed by institutional investors. This trend is also supported by the growing field of Timberland Investment Management Organizations that manage the large plantation assets on behalf of institutional investors.

Here’s where tropical forests have been destroyed for palm oil over the past 25 years
By Mike Gaworecki, mongabay.com, 18 August 2016
Most oil palm is grown in areas that were once species-rich and carbon-rich tropical forests, thanks to the fact that the crop’s natural range is limited to the humid tropics. So where are the active fronts of deforestation for oil palm? And where might they be in the future?
Palm oil has become one of the most in-demand agricultural commodities over the past several years and, as such, has also become a significant driver of deforestation. Palm oil and its derivatives are common ingredients in everything from peanut butter and snack foods to shampoo and toothpaste.
More than 80 percent of the world’s palm oil production occurs in Indonesia and Malaysia, but the patterns of deforestation associated with expansion of oil palm plantations in these two countries, and the associated impacts on biodiversity, are not necessarily the same everywhere in the world.

Good News for Forests: REDD+ Money Going to the Right Places
By Brian Schaap, Forest Trends, 18 August 2016
After a decade of international, UN-organized efforts to combat deforestation through finance for forest protection, the million dollar question is whether that finance is reaching the tropical forest countries that need it most. When Forest Trends set out to answer that question for the first time, it found encouraging signs that the $10 billion in funding committed through 2015 under the program known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is, in fact, going to the right places.
Of this money, our analysis examined nearly $6 billion in REDD+ finance pledged to 10 key countries, and confirmed that these funds are successfully targeting nations and provinces with high levels of deforestation and associated carbon emissions.

The Missing Link In Protecting Forests? The Private Sector
By Gustavo A. Silva-Chávez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 August 2016
What’s the biggest missing link in finding the money needed to protect forests?
It’s not political will or public finance – though more is certainly needed – nor is it formal UN recognition of their importance; forests achieved that last December in Paris. What’s missing is the untapped power of the private sector.
One of the big surprises that came out of the Paris Agreement was the explicit recognition of the key role that forests (and land use, including agriculture) could play in reducing global warming pollution. The most promising opportunity to use forests for climate action is through a UN program known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, or REDD+. And as Forest Trends research shows, over the last 10 years most of the money – approximately 90% – in 13 key REDD+ countries has come from public sources.

Brexit Concerns Prompt Cut in BNEF’s Outlook for Carbon Prices
By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 18 August 2016
Uncertainty over Britain’s future participation in the European Union carbon market led Bloomberg New Energy Finance to cut its outlook for pollution prices by 14 percent following the decision by U.K. voters to leave the EU.
BNEF analysts forecast on Wednesday that allowances to discharge carbon dioxide in the EU will cost 5.90 euros a metric ton on average in 2016-2019, compared with the previous forecast of 6.90 euros in February, four months before the U.K. referendum won by supporters of Brexit. Britain is the 28-nation bloc’s third-biggest emitter.
The new projection would still represent an increase from the current level of around 4.60 euros. Carbon prices have declined 7 percent since the British vote in June.

Brazil: Amazon fires threaten to wipe out uncontacted Indians
Survival International, 18 August 2016
Forest fires are raging in an indigenous territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon, threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.
Small groups of neighboring Guajajara Indians were forced to spend days attempting to contain the blaze in the absence of government agents, until an Environment Ministry-led fire-fighting operation began last week.
Forest fires started by loggers destroyed over 50% of the forest cover in the territory in late 2015. The Environment Ministry has stated that the situation is “even worse this year.”
Zezico Guajajara warned the NGO CIMI that the flames are approaching the uncontacted Awá, and said: “We’re in a real battle here and we need help.”

[Indonesia] Stop blame game, start working, experts say
By Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, 18 August 2016
As the number of hot spots in forest areas is increasing, relevant parties — government, companies and smallholders — have to stop playing the blame game and focus on how to extinguish fires before they spread to other areas and become uncontrollable, experts say.
Susan Page, a professor at the University of Leicester in the UK, said that under such circumstances, close cooperation on the part of all parties was needed to prevent fires from spreading.
“There should be no blame game anymore. The government, the companies and society need to cooperate to prevent the fires from spreading,” Page told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the 15th International Peat Congress in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, on Wednesday.

Big palm oil, paper firms, join efforts to douse Indonesia fires
By Arlina Arshad, Straits Times, 18 August 2016
Thousands of Indonesian firefighters have been deployed to battle raging land and forest fires, as the number of hot spots rises because of the dry season.
Big palm oil and pulp-and-paper firms, which had been partly blamed for last year’s regional haze crisis, are also joining the military, police and other government agencies to douse the flames, Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) chief Nazir Foead told The Straits Times yesterday.
“So far we see that the big companies are performing much better than last year. They are very responsive in cooperating with the authorities to put out forest fires even not on their concessions,” he said, but declined to name the firms.

[Indonesia] No reason not to immediately stop forest fires, expert says
By Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, 18 August 2016
Experts say with the current technology, Indonesia has no reason not to immediately extinguish forest fires that have started both in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
“With the firebird technology, we can follow closely the spread of fires from one location to another,” said Suwardi, deputy dean at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB)’s School of Resources, Cooperation and Development, said on Thursday.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the International Peat Congress in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Suwardi said the government needed to immediately utilize the technology to prevent the spread of hot spots, which have increased in number in recent days.

[Nigeria] ‘Ending gas flaring more important than carbon trading’
By Everest Amaefule, Punch, 18 August 2016
Oil companies have the responsibility to end gas flaring in Nigeria rather than seek to make money through carbon trading on gas flare out projects, a report has said.
The report, ‘Up in Smoke: Gas Flaring, Communities and Carbon Trading in Nigeria,’ prepared by Social Action and released in Abuja on Tuesday, said all oil fields that continue to flare associated gas should be shut down to encourage development of associated gas-gathering infrastructure.
Carbon trading is a mechanism through which entities and organisations in the West buy carbon credits from entities in developing countries involved in remission of greenhouse gasses in order to meet their own requirement.

[USA] Regulators holding cap-and-trade auction as lawmakers consider next steps on climate change
By Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times, 18 August 2016
As lawmakers debate the future of California’s climate programs, they’ll be keeping an eye on new developments with the state’s cap-and-trade program.
Regulators are holding their regularly scheduled auction Tuesday, an opportunity for companies to bid on the permits necessary to emit greenhouse gases in the state. During the last auction in May, demand for permits dropped, evidence of the legal and political uncertainty surrounding cap-and-trade.

[USA] Ag carbon credits go to market, just as cap and trade is questioned
By Barbara Grady, GreenBiz, 18 August 2016
Rice farmer Mark Isbell changed how he nurtures rice plants on 70 acres of his Arkansas farm.
Instead of flooding the rice fields for the entire growing season, he now practices what is called alternating wet and dry farming, where he allows the water to drain from the rice field for about a week mid-season.
“What that impacts is the cell bacteria that typically in a flooded environment creates methane,” Isbell told GreenBiz in an interview over the phone, the sound of his truck rumbling in the background. “It stops producing methane in dry periods, and when the fields are wet again it takes a while for the bacteria to produce methane.”

19 August 2016

Video: Restoring rainforests in the Asia-Pacific
CIFOR Forest News Blog, 19 August 2016
Deforestation and degradation has affected millions of hectares of rainforest in the Asia-Pacific. Efforts are now being made to slow and halt the trend – but can it be reversed?
Experts from government, business, civil society and research discussed this possibility at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, held from 3-5 August in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
In a session titled ‘Restoring our rainforests’, representatives from the Brunei Government, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and universities in Brunei and Australia shared ideas for rainforest landscape restoration in the Asia-Pacific. Together, they explored ways to find a balance between meeting the region’s development needs and preserving its valuable natural assets, as well as how this relates to domestic aspirations for eco-tourism and global efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Haze returns to Malaysia despite Indonesia’s swift action to combat forest fires
The Jakarta Post, 19 August 2016
Malaysia is seeing a return of the haze despite Indonesia’s swift action to combat forest fires.
Some cities in the country have recorded moderate API (air pollutant index) readings in the past week. When asked about it, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the haze season was back.
Wan Junaidi said it had been happening for a week due to the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia.
But he said things had changed as the Indonesian authorities were taking swift action to combat forest fires but the effects of it were still being felt in the country.

Indonesia Issues Haze Warning To Neighbours As Forest Fires Spread
Agence France Presse, 19 August 2016
Indonesia today warned that a haze from forest fires was floating over a key waterway towards its neighbours, and that the number of blazes was rising.
The fires and resulting smog are an annual dry season problem in the archipelago, when blazes are started illegally to quickly and cheaply clear land, typically to make way for palm oil and pulpwood plantations.
But last year’s haze outbreak was among the worst in memory, shrouding Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Thailand in acrid smoke. The crisis forced school closures and caused thousands to fall sick across the region.

Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years, animal rescue charity warns
By Ian Johnston, The Independent, 19 August 2016
Orangutans will be extinct from the planet within 10 years unless action is taken to preserve forests in Indonesia and Malaysia where they live, a conservation charity has warned.
The Bornean orangutan was officially listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last month, joining the only other kind, the Sumatran orangutan, in that classification.
In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia’s forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared.

[USA] Lawmakers rebuff Jerry Brown’s bid to slip cap and trade into climate bill
by David Siders, Sacramento Bee, 19 August 2016
In a setback for Gov. Jerry Brown, legislative Democrats have rebuffed his proposal to amend major environmental legislation to authorize the extension of California’s cap-and-trade program beyond 2020.
Draft bill language proposed by the Brown administration was abandoned before the Assembly took up other amendments to the bill on Friday.
While the Legislature prepares to vote on Senate Bill 32, a broader measure to extend the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, Brown is seeking to preserve cap and trade. Critics of the program, in which polluters pay to offset carbon emissions, have argued it is a tax requiring a two-thirds legislative vote. Many environmentalists and Democrats disagree, but legislative leaders feared Brown’s effort to insert the program into Senate Bill 32 would complicate the broader bill’s prospects.

20 August 2016

[Bangladesh] Towards low-carbon sustainability
By Md Rakibul Hasan Mukul, Dhaka Tribune, 20 August 2016
REDD+ is a global initiative under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which seeks to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, thereby reducing impacts of global warming.
The term stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and, the plus stands for the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
This global effort focused on the forest sector, is due to the fact that deforestation and forest degradation account for over 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and are the second leading causes of global warming.
The REDD+ initiative of the UNFCCC is designed to provide results-based payments to developing countries for the amount of GHG emissions reduced, and the amounts removed from the atmosphere by forests against a bench mark.

[Indonesia] Fires raze some 600 ha of forest, peatland, plantation areas
ANTARA News, 20 August 2016
Some 600 hectares of forest, peatland and plantation areas were gutted by fires over the past one week, Commander of the forest fire task unit of Riau Province, Brigadier General Nurendi, said.
“A team is still collating data of the total area on fire, though it is estimated to be in the range of 500 to 600 hectares,” Nurendi stated here on Friday.
Most of the fires had been extinguished despite the fact that time was critical as there were over 200 hotspots, he added.
Among the worst-affected areas were Rokan Hilir and Dumai, which had been shrouded by haze before the commemoration of the Independence Day on August 17.

Double whammy for oil palm planters in Indonesia
By Hanim Adnan, The Star, 20 August 2016
Spooked by heavy penalties imposed on plantation companies linked to forest fires in Indonesia, oil palm planters are bracing for another round of forest fires given the rising number of hotspots in major oil palm growing areas in recent weeks.
Fire outbreaks in Indonesia, often occuring during the dry season, had caused a serious cross border haze crisis in South-East Asia.
“The annual forest fire has become a major risk factor for Malaysian and Indonesian oil palm planters operating in the republic,” says industry expert M.R. Chandran.

[Indonesia] Indigenous people to reclaim land after years of struggle
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 20 August 2016
For decades, indigenous people have been denied their rights to manage their own lands by the government.
Even when the forests have been managed for generations by their inhabitants, only the government has had the power to issue licenses for logging and plantations.
Forest areas have regularly been used by large corporations for industrial logging, pulp and paper and palm oil plantations.
These forest conversions have been the major cause of conflicts between government and local communities, who feel victimized by the land seizures and a lack of benefits.

21 August 2016

 

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