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REDD in the news: 22-28 August 2016

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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.


 

22 August 2016

Can airlines afford to reduce emissions – and do passengers care?
By David Nussbaum (WWF UK), Business Green, 22 August 2016
Today I am in Montreal taking care of some unfinished business from last year’s Paris Agreement on climate change: International aviation slipped under the radar in Paris, but this year we have a chance to bring airlines on board with climate action.
Today and tomorrow, government negotiators, industry representatives and NGO colleagues will meet at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal for the “Friends of the President Meeting”. This is the final round of negotiations on a global market-based measure (MBM) for aviation before next month’s ICAO Assembly where the agreement will be decided by 191 countries.

Time for the Green Climate Fund to grow up fast, or it will die slow
By Assaad Razzouk, Eco Business, 22 August 2016
An executive search firm recently contacted me to hear my thoughts on recruiting a new boss for the UN’s South Korea-based Green Climate Fund, or GCF.
Everyone should be aware (though few are) of the mysterious GCF, an institution set up to change how we have been operating for over 200 years, by financing and accelerating the world’s shift away from oil, gas and coal towards clean energy economies and lifestyles.

Reports: Plans for IPCC’s 1.5C special report start to take shape
By Jocelyn Timperley, Business Green, 22 August 2016
The feasibility of limiting global temperatures to 1.5C will play a major role in the special report set to be prepared by the UN’s climate science panel in the wake of the Paris Agreement.
Following the inclusion in the Paris deal of a commitment for governments across the world to “pursue efforts” to limit temperature increases to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to release a report in 2018 on the impacts of achieving this goal, alongside proposals on how it could be done.

China vows to hold carbon-neutral G20
english.gov.cn, 22 August 2016
A carbon offset project was launched on Aug 22 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou to reduce carbon produced at the upcoming 2016 G20 summit.
China Green Carbon Foundation estimated that 6,674 tonnes of greenhouse gases will be emitted at the summit to be held Sept 4 and 5 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
The project, jointly organized by China Green Carbon Foundation, the Zhejiang provincial forestry department and Hangzhou municipal government, aims to plant more than 22 hectares of trees in the Hangzhou suburbs next spring. Over the next 20 years, the trees are expected to absorb all greenhouse gases discharged during the summit.
The project will be funded by two Chinese companies, Wanma Group and Lao Niu Foundation.

China Turns to Free Markets to Tame Fossil-Fuel Pollution
Bloomberg, 22 August 2016
There are at least three good reasons why China is likely to succeed in starting the world’s biggest carbon-trading market when its efforts to limit pollution kick in next year.
The government wants to put a cost on emissions of toxic smog to control pollution in industrial cities, starting with Beijing. The market may trade as much as 408 billion yuan ($61 billion) of certificates a year, a step toward making the economy more transparent to outsiders. And it’s good public relations, showing China is serious about climate change.

[Indonesia] Protecting peatland and business interests a fine balance
By Fidelis Satriastanti, Eco Business, 22 August 2016
Indonesia, still reeling from last year’s record haze season, is taking steps to prevent a repeat disaster by asking government agencies and companies alike to restore millions of hectares of damaged peat on their concessions.
The country in January this year set up a Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) which is tasked with restoring 2 million hectares of peat by 2020.
But while these measures have been welcomed by many in the environmental community, companies are concerned that this directive will undermine their economic survival.

Total forest fire hotspot drops across Indonesia
Global Times, 22 August 2016
The number of forest fire hotspot has decreased significantly as the authorities seriously undertake measures to douse the blaze.
On Monday, the total hotspot was detected only 66 across the archipelago country, falling from 235 hotspots detected on Saturday, according to the data from meteorology and geophysics agency.
The Terra and Aqua satellite from NASA found 10 hotspots in Sumatra Island, 44 in Borneo, 7 in Papua and Maluku Island, and 5 in Flores Island, the agency said in website.
For Borneo Island, the figure significantly eased on Monday from that 219 on Saturday.

Indonesian haze: A way ahead
By Asit Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada, Eco Business, 22 August 2016
Over the last five decades the problem of transboundary air pollution due to the Southeast Asian haze has become ever more serious.
During the 1960s and the 1970s, the problem did exist. However, it was minor and thus did not receive much attention in the countries that were affected by it. It was neither a political nor a social issue, and did not attract any serious media attention.

Malaysia says ready to deploy waterbomber to fight Sumatra fires amid recent haze
The Straits Times, 22 August 2016
Malaysia has said it is ready to deploy its fire-fighting aerial waterbomber aircraft to Indonesia’s Sumatra island to help put out forest fires, after the country saw a return of the haze last week.
“We are prepared to send our Bombardier aircraft to Sumatra to help put out the forest fires that have been responsible for the cross-border haze,” the Malay Mail Online news website reported Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim as saying on Sunday (Aug 21).

23 August 2016

Reversing deforestation, restoring landscapes
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 23 August 2016
Regional leaders gathered this month in Brunei Darussalam to discuss ways to slow, halt and reverse deforestation in the Asia-Pacific. But what does it mean to ‘reverse’ deforestation? And how can it be done without reversing the rapid development that supports the economies and livelihoods of the region?
In discussion at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, experts in government, research and development addressed these questions in a panel session titled ‘Restoring our rainforests’. Panelists in the session argued that reversing deforestation does not simply mean reforestation, but requires an approach that integrates the goal of restoring forests with other diverse objectives within the forest landscape, including livelihoods, economic growth and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Raging Amazon forest fires threaten uncontacted indigenous tribe
By Mike Gaworecki, mongabay.com, 23 August 2016
In April 2012, Survival International launched a global campaign to save the Awá, an uncontacted indigenous people that has been called “Earth’s most threatened tribe.” Two years later, the campaign claimed victory when the Brazilian government sent troops to remove illegal cattle ranchers and loggers from Awá land.
But now the Awá are facing yet another existential threat in the form of forest fires. According to Survival International, fires are “raging” in Awá territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon and “threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.”
Small groups of Guajajara Indians, the Awá’s neighbors in the Amazon, reportedly battled the blaze for days without the assistance of government agents until Brazil’s Environment Ministry launched a fire-fighting operation two weeks ago.

Call for Indonesian police to get tough on firms behind slash-and-burn
By Francis Chan, Straits Times, 23 August 2016
Indonesia’s top cop Tito Karnavian has urged regional police chiefs to get tough on companies suspected of using fire to clear land for cultivation. The four-star police general even offered to salute officers who successfully prosecute firms guilty of slash-and-burn activities.
The land-clearing method has been known to spark uncontrollable forest fires that cause widespread haze across South-east Asia.
Gen Tito, who visited Pontianak in West Kalimantan on Sunday, said companies that still use the illegal land-clearing method must be arrested and prosecuted, Tempo news reported yesterday.
These errant companies must be made to face the law as a deterrent to others, he said.

Six Indonesian provinces issue emergency alerts over forest fires
malaysiakini.com, 23 August 2016
Six Indonesian provinces, located on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, have issued forest fire alerts, an official said today.
Forest fires have broken out in parts of Sumatra and Borneo, said Sutopo Nugroho, spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).
Officials fear a repeat of last year’s catastrophic blazes which cost the country US$16 billion and caused severe air pollution which also affected neighbouring countries.
“September is the middle of the dry season when incidents of forest fires are expected to be at their peak,” Sutopo said.
“The emergency alert status means it is easier for BNPB to mobilise its resources,” he said.

[USA] California’s cap-and-trade carbon program sputters again
By Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee, 23 August 2016
When California launched its cap-and-trade program four years ago, the unspoken fear was that the price of carbon emissions credits would soar out of sight and bankrupt manufacturers and other industries forced to buy them.
Now cap and trade, a crucial piece in California’s war on climate change, finds itself with exactly the opposite problem: an excess of credits and insufficient demand. The result is a program that’s stumbling badly and facing an increasingly hazy future in the Legislature.
The cap-and-trade market had another bad day Tuesday, with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of unsold carbon credits left over following the latest state-run auction.

[USA] Nonprofit Launches ‘Coollection’ of Vetted, Carbon-Cutting Projects Seeking Investment
Sustainable Brands, 23 August 2016
The average American emits 17 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year just by going about their daily life – breathing, blow-drying their hair, cooking, and so on. The figure is similar for Australians (16.5 tonnes) and not much better for Canadians (14.1 tonnes), and for most people, it is impossible to reduce this figure to zero. At the same time, many understand that we face an imperative to reduce our impact and help cool the planet. So what are we to do?
Enter Cool Effect, a nonprofit founded by Dee and Richard Lawrence, and its “Coollection” of projects. Cool Effect’s platform allows individuals to easily buy carbon credits and offset their personal emissions. Touted as a “first-of-its-kind, best-of-breed carbon-cutting solution to climate change,” the Coollection is a curated group of “the world’s best” carbon dioxide-reducing projects that are subject to an extensive review process before they can be included in the list and purchased.

[USA] Obama Administration to Regulate Aircraft Emissions, Raise Airfare
By Grant Kidwell, The Blaze, 23 August 2016
Planning that dream vacation?
You’d better go soon if you want to take advantage of low airfare.
The Obama administration is preparing a new regulation on aircraft that could dramatically increase the cost of flying. The Environmental Protection Agency recently declared it has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft and will move to set standards limiting how much aircraft can emit.
Part of the EPA’s decision to regulate carbon emissions from aircraft comes from a push by the United Nations to develop a global emissions reduction program. Affordable air transportation is threatened by the EPA’s actions.

24 August 2016

Orangutans will be wiped out by 2026, thanks largely to fast food and face wash
By Kelsey Kennedy, Quartz, 24 August 2016
It can be found in everything from toothpaste to margarine, listed as vegetable oil or a whole host of other more complex names. Palm oil and its byproducts are in high demand these days, as food manufacturers move away from trans fats and biofuels become more popular. India imported over $6 billion worth of palm oil products in 2014—and that was only 18% of total global imports of palm oil that year.
The growth of the palm oil industry has had a devastating environmental side effect: the deforestation of a critical habitat for one of our closest relatives, the Borneo orangutan. The acrobatic orange-furred apes are considered critically endangered as of February by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). That’s the group’s most dire classification.

New Satellite System Analyses Brazil’s Forests Weekly. Will it Help Curb Deforestation?
By James Anderson and Mikaela Weisse, Global Forest Watch, 24 August 2016
As Rio’s Olympic stadiums empty and athletes head home, Brazil’s big moment in the global spotlight seems to be drawing to a close. But if we take the opening ceremony’s commentary on forest restoration and climate change to heart, Brazil is more relevant than ever. Brazil’s forests, from the steamy depths of the Amazon to the tropical savannahs of the Cerrado, represent one of the world’s best chances for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change. And for the first time, Brazil and the rest of the world have a tool to track how these forests are changing every week.
Today, Global Forest Watch released the satellite-based GLAD system for Brazil, offering weekly alerts of new tree cover loss throughout the country. Created by the University of Maryland, Google and WRI, the alerts provide the fastest, highest-definition and widest-scale forest monitoring of any system yet available for Brazil. And for the first time, the public can now join Brazil’s government in tracking deforestation in near-real-time.

[Indonesia] State Budget Policy Revision
By Anwar Nasutian, Kompas, 24 August 2016
As state revenue has always been neglected, the first agenda of President Joko Widodo’s administration after the Cabinet reshuffle is to cut back on state expenditure.
The existing projection for 2016’s state revenue, comprising tax revenue, profit from state- and regionally-owned companies and the sale of state property, has turned out to be too high. The tax revenue projection is too low due to a combination of decreasing prices and demand for primary commodities, as well as poor taxation administration. Contributions from state- and regionally-owned companies are also minimal to state coffers.

[Indonesia] Riau in Danger of Being Surrounded by Forest Fires
TEMPO, 24 August 2016
Forest and land fires have continued to surround the Province of Riau – with satellite imagery from Terra and Aqua Satellites indicating that there are 35 active hotspots that are spread across the province. According to the satellite imagery, the majority of the hotspots are localised across the regencies of Rokan Hilir and Bengkalis – with each region contributing to 11 hotspots in the region.
“As per 06:00 Western Indonesia TIme (WIB), we have received reports of newly-formed hotspots,” said the Head of Pekanbaru’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency on Wednesday, August 24, 2016.

[USA] Demand sags for carbon credits
AP, 24 August 2016
California’s latest carbon auction brought disappointing results Tuesday as litigation and lagging support by lawmakers weigh down the state’s landmark programs combating climate change.
State officials said only 34 percent of the available carbon pollution credits were sold in the latest auction under the program, which requires companies that emit climate-changing gases to buy the pollution permits.
It was a slight rebound from this spring, when investors bought just 10 percent of the pollution credits offered, signaling a rocky period for the state’s overall campaign against climate-changing pollution from fossil fuels.

[USA] California Legislature Passes Historic Climate Bills That Advance Environmental Justice
California Environmental Justice Alliance, 24 August 2016
In a historic set of votes, SB 32 (Pavley) and AB 197 (E. Garcia) passed off the Senate and Assembly floors in votes of 25-13 (SB 32, Senate Floor) and 44-28 (AB 197, Assembly Floor). These two climate policies set California on an ambitious course to address climate change while enacting important measures to protect and benefit low­income communities and communities of color on the frontlines of climate change.

25 August 2016

U.N. aviation emissions pact to let states opt out in first phase: sources
By Allison Lampert and Julia Fioretti, Reuters, 25 August 2016
A new global deal on curbing aviation emissions will likely give states the right to opt out of its initial voluntary phases, according to sources familiar with the matter, in a concession to developing countries like aviation powerhouses China and India.
Allowing countries to join but then later opt out risks further diluting a plan that had already been criticized for not being completely mandatory by some environmentalists and European legislators, who had pushed for a more ambitious agreement.
The draft resolution, which two of the sources said has broad support, will be adopted by the United Nations’ civil aviation agency’s governing council on Friday and then put before all 191 member states next month.

Just 90 companies are to blame for most climate change, this ‘carbon accountant’ says
By Douglas Starr, Science, 25 August 2016
Last month, geographer Richard Heede received a subpoena from Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith, a climate change doubter, became concerned when the attorneys general of several states launched investigations into whether ExxonMobil had committed fraud by sowing doubts about climate change even as its own scientists knew it was taking place. The congressman suspected a conspiracy between the attorneys general and environmental advocates, and he wanted to see all the communications among them. Predictably, his targets included advocacy organizations such as Greenpeace, 350.org, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. They also included Heede, who works on his own aboard a rented houseboat on San Francisco Bay in California.
Heede is less well known than his fellow recipients, but his work is no less threatening to the fossil fuel industry. Heede (pronounced “Heedie”) has compiled a massive database quantifying who has been responsible for taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into the atmosphere.

2015 ETS revenues highest yet
markjohnston.org, 25 August 2016
Last year was a record-breaking year for ETS revenues with 27 EU member states sharing €4.88 billion in total revenues, around 50% more than the previous year and beating the previous record set in 2013 by more than €1.2 billion.
Total phase three (2013-2020) ETS revenues now stand at €11.7 billion among member states and €13.8 billion if EIB-held NER-300 innovation funding is added.

[Guyana] President meets with new UNDP Rep, technical support team
Government Information Agency, 25 August 2016
President David Granger, this afternoon, met with a technical team from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to discuss the management Guyana’s biodiversity wealth within the Government’s ‘green’ agenda. The meeting was held at the Ministry of the Presidency.
The team was led by new UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka and included UNDP’s Policy Specialist, Finance, Mr. Massimiliano Riva and Regional Technical Advisor of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) Programme, Mr. Marco Chiu. The meeting was in response to a request made by the President to the UNDP for the provision of technical assistance for the creation of a holistic strategy that encompasses the country’s forests, wildlife and other natural resources as the Government moves to further its green agenda.

India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed carbon emission tax
Infracircle, 25 August 2016
As part of its strategy to counter the carbon emission tax proposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation watchdog, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will seek a formal response from the Indian carriers on the issue.
India expressed its disagreement to ICAO president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu during his visit to New Delhi earlier this month, according to a senior official from the ministry of civil aviation who did not want to be named.
The official said the Indian government would reiterate its discomfort when the ICAO Council meets in Montreal, Canada, next month to address these carbon emission issues and would again point out that Indian carriers are not willing to abide by the proposed tax.

[India] HP govt aims to plant one crore saplings during monsoon
Business Standard, 25 August 2016
With an aim to protect and expand the state’s green cover, Himachal Pradesh government has fixed a target of planting over one crore saplings over an area of 15,000 hectares during the monsoon season, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said on Thursday.
Singh planted a Chinar sapling during a plantation drive launched by District Bar Association at Judicial Complex in Chakkar and called for participation of all sections of the society in the afforestation drive.

Indonesia fire arrests up amid haze drive
Reuters, 25 August 2016
Indonesian police have arrested more than double the number of individuals in forest fire cases this year compared with 2015, when large parts of the region were blanketed in choking smog from fires that caused a national crisis.
According to police data released on Thursday, 454 individuals have been arrested in connection with forest fires so far this year, up from 196 arrests in 2015.

Indonesia: Biofuels from palm oil and power from tree plantations?
By Romain Pirard, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 25 August 2016
These questions were raised at a recent national stakeholders workshop co-organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Indonesian National Development Planning Agency BAPPENAS in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The lively day of exchanges involved key actors from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MoEMR), the state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, the state-owned Indonesian electricity company PLN, the Palm Oil Estate Fund, among various other producer associations and private investors.

[Mexico] Taking the Deforestation Out of Avocados
By Will Tucker, Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 August 2016
What’s small, green, famously healthy, and deceptively destructive? Avocados, believe it or not. The benign-looking fruit has captured worldwide attention in recent weeks after revelations that America’s insatiable taste for guacamole is prompting farmers to chop forests in central Mexico – and funding narcoterrorism in the process…
The solution, it turns out, won’t come in the form of a silver bullet or tidy quick fix. But the necessary ingredients are within reach: consumer self-awareness; lessons learned in the beef, soy, and timber trades; new financing mechanisms enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement; and a dash of entrepreneurial spirit blended with some time-tested lessons from forests and the communities who have sustainably managed them for centuries.

[New Zealand] Government urged to tear up surplus carbon credits, not use them to meet target
stuff.co.nz, 25 August 2016
The Government has been urged to “tear up” its surplus carbon credits instead of using them to meet climate targets.
The nearly 86 million surplus credits were described as “laundered” by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in a recent report.
Co-leader of the Green Party James Shaw said using the surplus credits was like “trying to have two meals for the price of one”.

[USA] California passes ambitious climate targets
By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home, 25 August 2016
California, the world’s sixth largest economy, is set to enter into law one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction regimes in the developed world.
In a major coup for its backers, the extension to Senate Bill 32 passed the state’s upper house on Wednesday evening. It followed the acceptance of its sister bill in the house of assembly on Tuesday.
Together they mandate an emissions cut of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. This would put California’s climate laws on a par with the EU, which is widely considered an industrialised world leader in terms of its ambition to combat climate change.

[USA] Buffalo sentencing delayed in $2.8 million fraud case with European soccer angle
By Phil Fairbanks, Buffalo News, 25 August 2016
Gareth Bale made headlines when the European soccer great announced his engagement to long-term girlfriend Emma Rhys Jones.
A month later, it’s Rhys-Jones’ father who’s making news.
Martin Rhys Jones, who like his daughter, is a native of Wales, was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in Buffalo federal court, but the sentencing was delayed.
Jones, who was in court dressed in blue prison overalls, had previously pleaded guilty to money laundering in a $2.8 million telemarketing case.
“The defendant basically found himself knee deep in a boiler room operation in Barcelona, Spain,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito.

[USA] California’s Cap-And-Trade Program Is Sick And Will Take High-Speed Rail Down With It
By Chuck DeVore, Forbes, 25 August 2016
California concluded its most recent cap-and-trade program auction last week. Out of 44,268,323 metric tons of carbon dioxide credits offered for sale by the state Air Resources Board, only 660,560 were sold, 1.5 percent of the total, raising a paltry $8.4 million out of a hoped-for $620 million. Last May’s auction was almost as bad, raising $10 million out of an anticipated $500 million.
California’s carbon dioxide cap-and-trade auction program was expected to bring in more than $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2017, a quarter of which is earmarked for the high-speed rail project narrowly approved by voters in a 2008 ballot initiative. As a hedge against uncertainty, a $500 million reserve was built into the cap-and-trade budget. But, with the August auction falling 98.5 percent short, the entire reserve was consumed in the first of four auctions for the fiscal year.

[USA] California approves ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gases
By Reid Wilson, The Hill, 25 August 2016
California legislators passed perhaps the most ambitious effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the nation on Wednesday, handing a significant victory to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ahead of a looming fight over the state’s cap-and-trade program next year.
In a pair of party-line votes, the state Senate and state Assembly passed two significant bills: One would require California to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to a level 40 percent below its 1990 levels by 2030. The other handed legislators more control over a state board that oversees emissions.
“The effort to decarbonize our economy in California and throughout the world is extremely difficult. It’s a tall hill that we’re climbing, and there is a struggle, and there is opposition,” Brown said at a press conference Wednesday. “This is a big day.”

26 August 2016

Nevermind the Politics, Forests Can Help Cool the Planet
By Raul D. Hernandez, Mother Earth News, 26 August 2016
I have received many informed, some not so informed, but some real heartfelt responses to my first blog post for Mother Earth News: Forestry, Global Warming, and the Multi-Billion-Dollar Carbon-Credit Grab.
Forestry and global warming are complex and emotional issues. In this follow-up article, I’d like to focus on the forests themselves and how they can contribute if forest management practices can be adjusted through the incentives in the multi-billion dollar carbon credit programs being formed.

So the Paris climate deal enters into force: then what?
By Ed King, Climate Home, 26 August 2016
The runes have spoken. The Paris climate agreement appears weeks from gaining enough support for it to become international law, possibly by November.
Reports this week indicate Brazil, China and the US are on the cusp of formally signing up to the global pact. Canada, Japan and New Zealand have also signalled positive intent.
Once branded the UN’s ‘2020 climate deal’, analysts say the balance is tipping towards an early entry into force, with a total of 57 countries covering nearly 60% of emissions showing interest.
The UN is planning a high-level ceremony on 21 September in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly: it’s unlikely to have done so without prior intelligence. Ban Ki-moon isn’t a fan of surprises.

[Indonesia] More than 450 suspects nabbed over forest fires
By Arlina Arshad, Straits Times, 26 August 2016
Indonesian police have doubled the number of arrests this year in connection with land and forest fires to more than 450 suspects, in a move aimed at deterring recalcitrant farmers and companies from clearing land illegally by burning.
National police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters yesterday that the arrests, together with measures such as the deployment of “very effective” firefighting teams, and more favourable weather conditions, have helped to keep the number of hot spots lower this year.

[Indonesia] Aceh governor eyes geothermal project in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem
By Junaidi Hanafiah, mongabay.com, 26 August 2016
The governor of Indonesia’s Aceh province is moving forward with a plan to rezone part of Mount Leuser National Park for geothermal development, despite opposition from conservationists who say the project threatens key rhino and orangutan populations.
Last week, Governor Zaini Abdullah sent an official letter to the forestry minister in Jakarta asking that a section of the park’s “core zone” be changed to a “utilization zone” so that a Turkish company may develop geothermal there. The utilization zone would still be part of the park.
The company, PT Hitay Panas Energy, is an arm of Hitay Holdings, an investment group founded and chaired by Emin Hitay, one of Turkey’s richest men.

[Indonesia] 85 suspects arrested over land, forest fires since January
By Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, 26 August 2016
The Riau Police’s special crime investigation director, Sr. Comr. Rivai Sinambela, said on Friday 85 suspects had been arrested for their alleged involvement in 67 land and forest fire cases in regencies and municipalities across the province.
He said the investigation dossiers of 47 land and forest fire cases had been declared “complete.” An order for the termination of an investigation ( SP3 ) had been issued for one case because its suspect suffered from mental health problems, he went on.
“The suspects comprise not only workers who were ordered to clear lands with the slash-and-burn method, but also the land owners. They intentionally burned land to open plantations. The total land they burned amounts to 400 hectares,” said Rivai.

[Indonesia] Police investigate 3 companies over fires in oil palm concessions
By Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, 26 August 2016
The Riau Police are intensively investigating three companies for their alleged negligence in regard to fires within their concessions during the last two weeks.
The three companies, identified only by the initials PT APSL, PT DBD and PT SS, operate in the oil palm plantation sector. Two companies, APSL and DBD, operate in Rokan Hulu regency while SS operates in Rokan Hilir, where a member of the Indonesian Navy, Chief Pvt. Wahyudi, died during efforts to extinguish fires on Tuesday.
The total burned land in the three companies’ concession areas amounts to approximately 300 hectares.

Singapore shrouded by blanket of smog as illegal forest fires burn in Indonesia
Japan Times, 26 August 2016
Acrid smog blanketed Singapore Friday as the city-state was hit by the year’s first major outbreak of haze, an annual crisis sparked by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia.
Singapore’s air quality index reached unhealthy levels with conditions deteriorating through the day, marking the worst haze episode in the city since vast parts of Southeast Asia were blanketed in smoke in 2015.
Last year’s haze outbreak was among the worst in memory, shrouding Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Thailand in acrid smoke.
The blazes are started illegally to clear land, typically for palm oil and pulpwood plantations, and Indonesia has faced intense criticism from its neighbors over its failure to halt the annual smog outbreaks.

[USA] State should look beyond cap and trade to develop more effective climate policies
By Oscar Reyes, Sacramento Bee, 26 August 2016
California’s cap-and-trade scheme is in trouble. The latest carbon auction announced Aug. 23 failed to sell two-thirds of the available pollution permits, a third successive flop. That could leave a significant funding gap for other climate measures, such as weatherizing old homes, which are supposed to be paid for by revenue from these state-run auctions.
Tying the fate of important climate actions to the sale of carbon permits has snatched defeat from the jaws of a broader victory in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
And in a further blow to the credibility of cap and trade, it is regulations such as fuel-emission standards rather than the carbon market that is helping California meet its climate targets.

27 August 2016

[Indonesia] Riau Deploys 5 Helicopters to Put Out Fires
TEMPO, 27 August 2016
Land and forest fires continue to blanket a number of Riau region.
Five water-bombing helicopters were deployed to extinguish the fires in four districts in Riau.
“There are five helicopters deployed today,” said an official of the air force in Pekanbaru Mayor Ferry Duwantoro on Saturday, August (27/8).
In the meantime, Head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency of Pekanbaru stations Sugarin said that the aqua and tera satellite detected 61 hot spots which indicated an increase in peat land and forest fire in a number of areas.

Singapore hit again by haze
By Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, 27 August 2016
It is happening again: Indonesia’s inability to control forest fires has left the residents of its northern neighbor covered in smoke, an annual occurrence that has often tested relations between the two nations.
Haze from forest and land fires from Riau province blew into Singapore on Friday, triggering a wave of complaints on social media from the city-state’s residents.
Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) recorded that at 6 p.m. local time the pollutant standards index (PSI) had reached 127, down from 215 at 2 p.m. local time. A PSI above 100 is considered “unhealthy” while anything above 200 is categorized as “very unhealthy”, especially for young children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases.
On Friday, the NEA registered its concerns with its Indonesian counterpart over “additional episodes of deterioration in air quality in Singapore should the fires continue”.

28 August 2016

Indonesia Declares Forest Fire Emergency
TEMPCO, 28 August 2016
Indonesia`s Minister of Forestry and Environment Siti Nurbaya has said the country has been placed under emergency with regards to anticipating and preventing the impact of smoke emanating from forest and land fires.
She made the statement during a visit to the Tanah Laut district in South Kalimantan, adding that her office would keep monitoring forest and land fires in the country.
“In the morning, afternoon and evening, we kept monitoring the situation and as soon as we detected a fire, we immediately acted to put it out. As a result, the number of fires this year has dropped sharply by 70 to 90 percent,” she said.

Huge fires hard to put out: Indonesia
The Straits Times, 28 August 2016
Vast swathes of land are burning in western Riau province and prevailing winds may continue blowing the smoke towards Malaysia and Singapore.
Indonesia’s weather authorities gave the update yesterday along with a warning that the fires would be hard to put out given the dry and hot conditions.
About 30 hot spots were detected in Riau yesterday, up from 17 on Friday and just seven on Thursday.
“Satellite imagery has shown that the distribution of smoke is quite concentrated in the western part of Riau province, indicating the presence of land fires over a wide area,” the Indonesian meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency, or BMKG, said in a statement.
 

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