REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
3 October 2016
Trees and plants reached ‘peak carbon’ 10 years ago
By Kate Ravilious, Cosmos, 3 October 2016
Trees and plants have had enough. For the past few decades they’ve obliged us by guzzling ever-greater amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide every year – but now they’ve gone on a diet.
New data shows ‘peak carbon’, when vegetation consumed its largest carbon dioxide feast, occurred in 2006, and since then appetite has been decreasing.
“It’s the first evidence that we are tipping over the edge potentially towards runaway or irreversible climate change,” says James Curran, former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and co-author of the study published in the journal Weather.
World Bank secretly finances Asian ‘coal boom,’ group says
AFP, 3 October 2016
The World Bank is indirectly financing a boom in some of Asia’s dirtiest coal-fired power generation despite commitments to end most funding for the sector, a development advocacy group charged on Monday.
The power plants, which contribute to climate change and deforestation as well as premature deaths due to illness, are cropping up from Bangladesh to the Philippines, all with financing provided by financial intermediaries supported by the Bank, said a report produced by the organization Inclusive Development International.
In a policy shift in 2013, the Bank said it would end virtually all support for the creation of coal-burning power plants, supporting them only in “rare circumstances” where there are no viable alternatives.
However, since that pledge, 41 coal projects have received funding from banks and investment funds supported by the World Bank’s private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, according to the report.
[Nepal] Protect forests
By Santosh Ghimire, The Himalayan, 3 October 2016
REDD+, an ambitious climate change mitigating tool is being recognized as the most efficient tool to mitigate the trend of climate change all over the world and so is in the phase of adaptation in Nepal.
Nepal has approved its Readiness Proposal Preparation (RPP) and also has got membership of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnerships Facility and is preparing a strategy for implementation of the mechanism in the country.
[UK] Gov’t challenged in Lords over pension cold callers
By William Robins, New Model Adviser, 3 October 2016
The government has been challenged in the House of Lords over why it does not do more to stop cold calls offering free pension reviews and unregulated investments.
In a written question Ros Altmann, the former pensions minister and a member of the House of Lords, asked why there was no ban on cold calls offering free pension reviews of unregulated investments, when there is already a ban on cold calls regarding mortgages.
In response, Thomas Aston (Lord Aston of Hyde) said the government would take action against pension cold calling, ‘if there is a case for change’.
4 October 2016
No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously
By David Roberts, Vox, 4 October 2016
One of the morbidly fascinating aspects of climate change is how much cognitive dissonance it generates, in individuals and nations alike.
The more you understand the brutal logic of climate change — what it could mean, the effort necessary to forestall it — the more the intensity of the situation seems out of whack with the workaday routines of day-to-day life. It’s a species-level emergency, but almost no one is acting like it is. And it’s very, very difficult to be the only one acting like there’s an emergency, especially when the emergency is abstract and science-derived, grasped primarily by the intellect.
Climate scientist James Hansen: We aren’t doing nearly enough to slow climate change
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 4 October 2016
James Hansen, former NASA director and well-known climate scientist, is out with another dire climate warning: The last time that the Earth was this hot, the oceans were about 20 feet higher than they are right now.
And while that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re in for an unstoppable, 20-foot rise in sea level (although it ostensibly could get that bad), it does mean that the world is leaving a dangerous, and expensive, climate change problem for future generations.
The Nature Conservancy’s Statement on Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement
The Nature Conservancy, 4 October 2016
This week, the world took the next significant step in global leadership and cooperation on climate change as India and the European Union join the more than 60 countries which have previously ratified the Paris climate agreement. These newest ratifications surpass the threshold required for the Agreement to enter into force, moving it to take affect 30 days from the submission of the instrument of ratification. This puts the Agreement on track to enter into force in time for the opening of COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco, less than one year after the agreement was adopted. The Nature Conservancy welcomes this momentous step by many of the planet’s largest emitting countries.
UK stops buying greenheart from Guyana
Guyana Times, 4 October 2016
The United Kingdom Government has made a decision to cease the importation of greenheart from Guyana on the grounds that the logs are not coming from sustainably managed forests, a move which has left both the local private sector and government contemplating their next move.
The decision is costing Guyana millions in revenue, since greenheart accounts for 90 per cent of exports to the UK.
The trade took a drastic nose-dive in 2014 all the way to August, 2016. It has been reported that in 2015 there was a 65 per cent decline in the trade, with the industry bringing in US$1,143,706.40 earnings— a marked decline in the 2014 earnings (US$ 3,245,338.24).
Nigeria: Cross River Highway Project Threatens Over N300 Billion Donor Funds to Nigeria
By Anietie Akpan, The Guardian, 4 October 2016
Nigeria may lose about $1 billion (over N300 billion) grant from the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) and others if the proposed 260-kilometre super highway project of Cross River State is executed .
The planned construction, environmentalists feared would destroy virgin vegetation and forest along the road route.
The state government had on January 22, 2016 revoked the Certificate of Occupancy of the land along the highway from Esighi, Bakassi Local Government Council to Bekwarra Local Government Council. This covers a distance of 260 kilometres approximately and having an offset of 200 metres on either side of the centre line of the road and further 10 kilometres.
[USA] Next ‘Renewable Energy’: Burning Forests, if Senators Get Their Way
By Eduardo Porter, New York Times, 4 October 2016
President Obama’s Clean Power Plan — the central plank in his strategy to combat climate change — is in danger.
It’s not just that it is under attack in court, where its legality was challenged last week by a coalition of 28 states and scores of companies and industry groups. Or that fossil fuel interests and Republicans in Congress will keep trying to block it, whatever the courts decide.
The president’s plan to reduce emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the nation’s power sector could be undone within a matter of weeks by an unlikely bipartisan collection of senators that includes staunch Republican climate change deniers as well as Democrats who support the administration’s strategy.
What’s the problem? They want to force the government to assume that burning forests to generate electricity does not add carbon dioxide to the air but is instead “carbon neutral.” As long as forests that have been cleared are regrown rather than turned into, say, subdivisions, language proposed by the senators argues that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department should recognize the wood and other organic matter pulled from a forest “as a renewable energy source.”
5 October 2016
Is REDD+ finance really put to work in the right places?
By Andreas Scheba, Jens Friis Lund, Mathew Bukhi and Eliezeri Sungusia, mongabay.com, 5 October 2016
In a recent article on Mongabay, Mike Gaworecki describes a recent report by the NGO Forest Trends, which suggests that the approximately $6 billion of REDD+ finance that has been pledged so far is being put to work in the right places: “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.”
The report by Forest Trends analyzes information on REDD+ finance flows from 2009 to mid-2016 in combination with forest cover, deforestation, and emissions data covering 2001 to 2014 to show the “geography” of REDD funding and finds an overlap between forest loss and REDD+ funding levels across and within countries.
Paris climate deal to enter into force on 4 November
By Ed King, Climate Home, 5 October 2016
The world’s first comprehensive treaty to address global warming will come into force in early November after receiving enough support from countries to become international law.
Late on Wednesday UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa revealed that a total of 72 countries accounting for nearly 57% of greenhouse gas emissions had formally joined the pact, which aims to limit temperature rises to well below 2C above pre industrial levels.
The deal required backing from 55 countries covering 55% of emissions to make it international law, and under terms of the agreement it will enter into force in 30 days, just ahead of the 2016 UN climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco.
‘Crisis is a way of life’: helping farmers cope with devastating climate change
By Katharine Earley, The Guardian, 5 October 2016
Coffee farmers in Peru suffered heavy losses in 2013 when 40% of the country’s coffee plantations were adversely affected by coffee leaf rust. The disease, which scientists blamed on climate change, damaged leaves and slowed coffee cherry growth, resulting in smaller, lower quality yields.
The risks posed by climate change are not limited to coffee. In developing countries, nearly two thirds of the extremely poor earn a living from agriculture. They are on the frontline in the fight against climate change, yet they often lack the finance and knowledge to withstand its effects. This can prove devastating to their livelihoods.
[Australia] Native forests are worth more unlogged, so why are we still cutting them down?
By Caitlin Fitzsimmons, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 2016
I spent the first four years of my life living in the middle of the forest in southeastern NSW.
Our log cabin was at the end of a dirt road, surrounded by stringybark, spotted gum and the sounds of kookaburras and lyre birds.
Wombat holes and lichen-covered boulders dotted the hillside and the creek ran cold and clear, steeped red-brown with tea tree.
After we moved to the city, we returned most years to visit family. Every trip more and more of the surrounding bushland was cleared and replanted with radiata pine.
[Indonesia] Hadabuan Hills: The Forgotten Rainforest of Sumatra
By Gregory McCann, The Diplomat, 5 October 2016
If you were a crested serpent eagle riding the high air thermals, gliding a mile above the Rantau Prabat district of North Sumatra province on the island of Sumatra, the area that is locally known as the Hadabuan Hills would look something like a giant green octopus swimming through an ocean of palm oil plantations. The neatly ordered palm trees might also appear something like a strange jungle-themed quilt, but in the middle of it all rises a cluster of twisted mountain ridges that are too steep for plantations, and as a result, are still covered in the evergreen rain forest that once carpeted the entire island.
The lowland forests of Sumatra have been annihilated, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Rantau Prabat, a district that sees absolutely no tourists. It was as if some giant hand reached down from the heavens and poured a bottle of carbolic acid over the entire eastern plains. Gone. The forests replaced mostly by palm oil, with the occasional rubber plantation in the mix.
[New Zealand] NZ ratifies new global climate change pact as carbon heads for $20 a tonne
By Pattrick Smellie, NBR, 5 October 2016
New Zealand has become one of the first batch of countries to ratify the new global climate change pact hammered out in Paris last December, heralding the country’s return to global carbon markets four years after abandoning them.
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett announced the ratification this morning ahead of attending next month’s annual global climate change summit, to be held in Marrakech, Morocco.
[UK] Gov’t has no record of where pension scams are based
By William Robins, New Model Adviser, 5 October 2016
The government’s attitude to pension scams is ‘disappointing’ according to the former pensions minister Ros Altmann, after it admitted it had no record of where scams originate from.
Last week Altmann, who is a member of the House of Lords, submitted a written question in the government asking why there was no ban on cold calls offering free pension reviews, when there is already a ban on cold calls regarding mortgages.
[USA] McDonald’s Is Moving to Sustainable Coffee in Latest Menu Change
By Leslie Patton, Bloomberg, 5 October 2016
McDonald’s Corp. plans to buy all of its coffee from sustainable sources by 2020, the latest salvo in a restaurant-industry battle for consumers who are increasingly concerned about the origins of their food.
The world’s largest restaurant company is partnering with Conservation International, joining the environmental group’s challenge to transform the coffee industry, which has recently been threatened by climate change and fungal disease. Last year, just 37 percent of McDonald’s coffee was purchased from certified sustainable sources.
[USA] The warm glow of death: the terrifying climate truth behind California’s fall forest colors
By Tom Price, Medium, 5 October 2016
If you’ve been camping recently, odds are you’ve already gotten the little postcard climate change has sent: California’s forests are dying.
Scratch that — many of them are already dead. Bark beetles surviving warmer winters started the job, and the multi year drought is finishing them off. According to the Forest Service there are now 66 million dead trees in California — laid end to end, it’s enough to stretch to the moon and back. Twice. A once vast emerald carpet reaching to the horizon is now covered with angry splashes of red, orange, and brown, stretching for miles, as our formerly evergreen forests take on the warm hues of New England.
[USA] We’re spending way more on weapons than on dealing with climate change
By Ben Adler, Grist, 5 October 2016
“Combat vs. Climate,” a report released Wednesday morning by the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, compares the United States’ military and climate budgets.
Adding up all the major categories of climate-related federal spending — research on global warming and clean energy, international climate aid, renewable energy tax credits, and adaptation efforts — the group finds that the U.S. is dishing out under $20 billion this year and just over $21 billion next year. That’s $34 billion less than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says our public sector should be spending on climate change.
6 October 2016
Aviation offsetting deal is a weak start – now countries must go further
Transport & Environment, 6 October 2016
Today’s decision to offset but not reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft, and on a voluntary basis, is a weak start which must be followed with more effective measures by states to rein in aviation emissions, Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The deal’s coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry, and the lack of clear rules for offsets presents a clear risk to the measure’s environmental effectiveness.
Global Aviation CO2 Deal Adopted With Mixed Results, Just As Paris Agreement Takes Off
International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, 6 October 2016
An overwhelming majority of countries agreed to take a first step to address emissions from international aviation by adopting a global market-based measure (GMBM) for the sector. However, in the same week that the Paris Agreement crosses its crucial threshold to enter into force, countries sent a worrying signal by deleting key provisions for the aviation agreement that would align its ambitions with the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees with best efforts to not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Press Statement: Global aviation climate measure an uncertain first step
Carbon Market Watch, 6 October 2016
Today, negotiators at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly agreed on a deal to address international aviation emissions. The deal falls far short of ICAO’s original goal of compensating the sector’s overall emissions growth from 2020. Explicit language -included in the Paris Agreement- on international oversight and environmental safeguards were also left out from today’s agreement, leaving the door open to risky credits and much to be resolved at a technical level to ensure high environmental integrity.
It’s not just the Paris climate deal — the world also just moved to cut airline emissions
By Chris Mooney, The Washington Post, 6 October 2016
Just a day after the historic announcement that the Paris climate agreement will enter into force this year, countries of the world agreed to a new regimen to curb a large source of greenhouse-gas emissions not covered under that agreement — those from international aircraft flights.
At an assembly in Montreal, the member states of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to a “market-based measure” to reduce the emissions from international flights, beginning on a voluntary basis for countries in 2020 and then entering a second phase in 2027. Emissions would be fixed at 2020 levels, and airlines that exceeded those levels would have to buy credits to offset the additional emissions.
Countries Agree to First Global Aviation Emissions Cap
By Robert Wall, The Wall Street Journal, 6 October 2016
Carbon emissions from international aviation will be capped for the first time under a global agreement to limit the impact of commercial flights on the climate.
The aviation accord was struck in Montreal only hours after a more sweeping climate treaty agreed last year in Paris reached the threshold to take effect in November. That global deal committed more than 190 nations to regulate emission of gases scientists say are causing the earth to warm. Because of the cross-border nature of international flights, airlines weren’t included in the Paris deal, excluding one of the major emitters of carbon dioxide.
Removing CO2 From the Air Only Hope for Fixing Climate Change, New Study Says
by Zahra Hirji, Inside Climate News, 6 October 2016
The only way to keep young people from inheriting a world reeling from catastrophic climate change is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions dramatically and immediately, according to a new paper. Not only that, but it’s also necessary to aggressively remove greenhouse gas that’s already accumulated.
“If rapid emission reductions are initiated soon, it is still possible that at least a large fraction of required CO2 extraction can be achieved via relatively natural agricultural and forestry practices with other benefits,” the authors wrote.
What’s Cool About Cool Effect Carbon Reductions?
Yale Climate Connections, 6 October 2016
Yale Climate Connections recently asked Cool Effect Chief Executive Officer Marisa de Belloy about the organization’s approach to reducing carbon pollution through the participation of its more than 35,000 members.
What are the fundamental underlying objectives of the Cool Effect initiative?
de Belloy: Cool Effect set out to create a place to unite the 130 million Americans who are alarmed or concerned about climate change by allowing them to fund the world’s most effective carbon pollution reduction programs. Many of these individuals already take steps to minimize their impacts on the environment, but they are looking to take further measurable action.
Brazil pledges to cut carbon, but government policies say otherwise
By Jenny Gonzales, mongabay.com, 6 October 2016
With the European Union’s parliamentary approval this week, and ratification by 74 nations responsible for more than 55 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change will go into force on November 4, 2016.
Included among the signatories is Brazil, which ratified the agreement in September. But while important discussions and studies are underway to determine exactly how Brazil can achieve its carbon reduction targets, political events could be moving quickly in the opposite direction.
The Temer administration (which has solidified its power since President Rousseff’s impeachment) and a conservative Congress are seeking to pass laws to fast track the licensing of future infrastructure projects that — while possibly benefiting Brazil’s economy — could increase deforestation as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Meanwhile, new studies have shown that Brazil may lack the billions of dollars needed to achieve the forestry objectives that it set in November 2015 and that would allow it to fulfill its Paris carbon commitments.
EU industry committee reaches compromise on carbon market reform
By Alissa de Carbonnel and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 6 October 2016
Members of the European Parliament’s industry committee have reached a compromise on reforming the bloc’s carbon market, favoring a Commission proposal for the rate at which permits should be removed, an EU carbon policymaker said.
The committee met in Strasbourg to discuss a report on how to reform the Emissions Trading System, which is designed to make big polluters pay for their emissions.
However, a surplus of carbon credits following the economic crisis has weakened prices.
[Fiji] Forests vital
By Losalini Bolatagici, Fiji Times, 6 October 2016
Fiji is addressing Climate Change issues through the implementation of REDD Plus in which deforestation and forest degradation play a key component.
This was revealed by the Ministry of Forests permanent secretary, Samuela Lagataki.
He said REDD Plus addressed the role of forests in climate change adaptation and addressing non-carbon benefits.
REDD Plus refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
[Guyana] The UK ban on greenheart for government projects is correct
By Janette Bulkan, Letter to the editor Stabroek News, 6 October 2016
The Environment Agency in the UK is subject to central government procurement rules. For several years, the rules have required timber used on government-funded projects to come from legal sources and from forests managed for sustainable production. These are not new rules. The Forest Products Association, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, the Guyana Forestry Commission and the two Ministers meeting on October 3 must have been aware of these rules long ago (‘Gov’t, private sector seeking to lift restriction on greenheart exports to UK’ SN, October 4)
[Indonesia] Fire prevention: Cultivating land without burning
By Erlinda Ekaputri, The Jakarta Post, 6 October 2016
The forest and land fires that occurred in 2014 and 2015 may have been more devastating than the forest fires in 1982, 1983 and 1997.
According to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the 2015 forest fires destroyed 2.09 million hectares of forest and land, which is equivalent to 32 times the area of Jakarta, or four times the size of Bali, with financial losses reaching approximately Rp 20 trillion (US$1.54 billion).
The largest hot spot in the 2015 fires was located in peatlands (1.47 million hectares) and therefore restoring the sustainable utilization of the peatland is a must, since 80 percent of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were from the forest fires.
Sluggish police, judicial reforms hurt Indonesian forests
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 6 October 2016
Law enforcers have become stumbling blocks in the effort to stop forest fires as they are impeding attempts to bring allegedly responsible companies to court.
Following the termination of investigations (SP3) into 15 plantation companies for alleged land burning in Riau last year, the Riau Police have repeatedly refused to make the SP3 documents available to the public.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Riau Forest Rescue Network (Jikalahari), both members of a coalition of NGOs formed to fight a perceived criminal conspiracy involving forest fires, have twice asked the Riau Police to give them the SP3 documents after the terminations triggered a public uproar.
[Peru] Revealed: ‘Master plan’ to open up uncontacted tribe’s Park to Big Oil
Survival International, 6 October 2016
Survival International has learned that the Peruvian government is developing a “Master Plan” for a new national park that could pave the way for large-scale oil exploration. This will threaten the lives and lands of several uncontacted tribes.
The area, known in Spanish as the Sierra del Divisor [“Watershed Mountains”], is part of the Amazon Uncontacted Frontier, the region straddling the Peru-Brazil border that is home to the largest concentration of uncontacted tribal peoples on the planet.
A new plan for the area currently being drafted by Peru’s national parks agency SERNANP could enable oil companies to enter the park. It has further been reported that the new government wants to change the law to make it even easier to open up national parks to oil and gas operations.
Peru’s REDD+ conservation efforts paying off
By Dan Collyns, mongabay.com, 6 October 2016
Peru is home to around one tenth of the Amazon rainforest, the second largest block after Brazil. It’s also the best carbon mapped nation in the world thanks to the work of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory which found that Peru’s forests’ store more carbon than the United States emitted in 2014.
Sixty percent of Peruvian territory is Amazon rainforest, around 73 million hectares of jungle. It has the ideal conditions to implement programs for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD+ and benefit from the carbon market, say scientists. REDD+ creates financial value for the carbon stored in forests and compensates developing countries who meet targets in reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
[USA] Opposition to Washington’s historic carbon tax initiative is coming from the unlikeliest of sources
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 6 October 2016
From her eastern Washington home, where she has lived for the past 10 years, Robin Priddy has seen firsthand the consequences of climate change.
“Over here, in the eastern part of the state, the past couple of years have been beastly in terms of wildfires, and we perceive that as definitely having a connection to climate change,” Priddy said. “So the notion of doing something about it, we feel pretty strongly about it.”
7 October 2016
The dawn of climate-friendly air travel
By Christiana Figueres and Laurence Tubiana, Project Syndicate, 7 October 2016
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, demand for air travel is growing, with more than 30,000 new large aircraft expected to take to the skies in the next few years. But if we are to sustain growth in air travel without aggravating global warming, we must quickly reduce aviation-related CO2 emissions, which are substantial and not covered by the Paris climate agreement that more than 190 countries agreed to last December.
Fortunately, now is the perfect time to decouple aviation emissions from air-travel growth. Representatives from 191 countries convened in Montreal this week for the 39th Session of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization; after decades of wrangling, they have agreed to an aviation-specific climate agreement.
Aviation industry agrees deal to cut CO2 emissions
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 7 October 2016
The first deal limiting greenhouse gases from international aviation has been sealed after years of wrangling.
From 2020, any increase in airline CO2 emissions will be offset by activities like tree planting, which soak up CO2.
The deal comes in a momentous week for climate policy when the Paris agreement to stabilise climate change passed a key threshold for becoming law.
Scientists applauded both commitments, but warned that plans to cut emissions are far too weak.
The aviation deal was agreed in Montreal by national representatives at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO.
ICAO deal: ‘A new chapter in international aviation’
By Madeleine Cuff, BusinessGreen, 7 October 2016
More than 190 countries yesterday struck a “historic” deal that for the first time will reduce the climate impact of international flights.
After years of wrangling, countries at a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed to put in place a market-based measure where airlines will have to buy offset credits in order to cap emissions at 2020 levels.
Global aviation deal seen as long-term carbon market boost
By Allison Lampert, Reuters, 7 October 2016
A new global pollution deal for aviation is seen providing a long-term boost for carbon markets by generating demand for environmental offset projects that now often sell at rock-bottom prices, according to industry groups and analysts.
The carbon offsetting scheme, the first such industry-wide initiative, will start in 2021 with at least 65 participating countries in its voluntary phases, following the deal’s approval on Thursday by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency.
“It should be a great boost for carbon credit markets in general,” said Dirk Forrister, Chief Executive of the International Emissions Trading Association. “I would expect pricing to respond to this increase in demand.”
Airline Pollution Deal Hinges on Complex World of Carbon Offsets
By Joe Ryan and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 7 October 2016
The United Nations aviation climate accord hinges on a creating a system requiring companies to spend billions of dollars to protect forests, build solar farms and more. The trick will be ensuring those projects are legitimate.
The agreement finalized Thursday in Montreal calls for airlines to compensate for their emissions growth beyond 2020 by buying credits to back eco-friendly initiatives. The idea is that as airlines add new routes, they’ll help finance projects to counteract the additional pollution. Think of it as planting trees to absorb every new ounce of carbon dioxide.
The Nature Conservancy’s Statement on the UN’s Aviation Emissions Cap
The Nature Conservancy, 7 October 2016
The Nature Conservancy welcomes the agreement yesterday reached by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization to cap international airlines’ emissions.
The airline industry currently accounts for about 2 percent of global emissions and that is poised to triple in the coming decades, so capping and reducing those emissions is critical to achieving the Paris goal of limiting warming to well below 2 degrees.
Supplementing measures on aircraft efficiency standards, use of advanced biofuels, and air traffic routing efficiency, countries have established a ‘Market Based Measure’ that will allow airlines to offset any growth in their emissions above 2020 levels. The program will be voluntary from 2021 to 2026 and mandatory from 2027. The Nature Conservancy is encouraged that a diverse range of over 65 countries representing over 85 percent of global air traffic have decided to start participating in 2021 — reinforcing the wide agreement that combatting climate change requires universal action.
The Paris Agreement of refrigeration – a bluffer’s guide
By Lou Del Bello, Climate Home, 7 October 2016
HFCs. Ever heard of them? They are chilling your vegetables, cooling your office and keeping your hairdo in place.
Unfortunately hydrofluorocarbons, to give them their full name, are a timebomb for the climate. As demand for air conditioning surges, these manufactured gases could raise global temperatures by up to 0.5C this century.
Next week, national delegates meet in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, to try and agree a phase-out.
[Guyana] Janet Bulkan wants to take bread out of my family’s ‘mouth’
By Terence Williams letter to the editor Guyana Chronicle, 7 October 2016
I read with disbelieving eyes that Dr. Janet Bulkan said the ban on greenheart by the UK is entirely correct on the basis of her interpretation. I have a few questions to ask her before I show that her statement is just emotional and very anti-Guyanese. First, as a forestry sector stakeholder, I felt very happy when Dr. Bulkan was elected to the GFC Board. I felt that she would give very sensible advice and, in some way, help to ease the mountain of rules that GFC forces me to comply with. I expected that she would bring relief to the general sector; but here she is, instead (apparently) attacking the forestry sector; damaging our markets, taking bread out of my family ‘mouth’. She is someone who people listen to, and when she writes this (apparent) nonsense, it destroys Guyana as a market place.
Fires ravaged forests in Indonesian palm oil giant Astra’s land in 2015
mongabay.com, 7 October 2016
Since pledging a year ago to purge its supply chain of deforestation, Astra Agro Lestari, one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil companies, has had mixed results, according to a new report by the consultancy Aidenvironment.
Astra is the second-largest oil palm grower in Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producing country. The firm also operates a pair of refineries in the archipelagic nation. These facilities source Astra’s own plantations as well as third-party suppliers.
No instances of forest clearing were found to have taken place in Astra’s own concessions since September 2015, when the company issued the zero-deforestation pledge.
That doesn’t mean forests under Astra’s care weren’t destroyed. In the months after Astra made its pledge, a large number of fires burned across its holdings, contributing to the 2015 Southeast Asian haze crisis. These fires ravaged about half of the forestland in the concession of an Astra subsidiary in South Kalimantan, PT Cakung Permata Nusa (CPN). The company operates on peat soil, which is highly flammable when drained so that oil palm can be planted.
[USA] What About the Planet?
By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 7 October 2016
Our two major political parties are at odds on many issues, but nowhere is the gap bigger or more consequential than on climate.
If Hillary Clinton wins, she will move forward with the Obama administration’s combination of domestic clean-energy policies and international negotiation — a one-two punch that offers some hope of reining in greenhouse gas emissions before climate change turns into climate catastrophe.
If Donald Trump wins, the paranoid style in climate politics — the belief that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by a vast international conspiracy of scientists — will become official doctrine, and catastrophe will become all but inevitable.
So why does the media seem so determined to ignore this issue? Why, in particular, does it almost seem as if there’s a rule against bringing it up in debates?
8 October 2016
UN Airline Emissions Pact Gets Cold Welcome From EU Lawmakers
By Julia Fioretti, Jakarta Globe, 8 October 2016
European Union lawmakers decided to keep the bloc’s own emissions trading scheme for intra-European flights after the United Nations agreed a deal to curb aviation pollution but left open a decision on eventually including international flights.
EU lawmakers say the European system is more ambitious and would actually reduce aviation pollution, as opposed to merely capping it at 2020 levels.
The EU ETS is a “cap and trade” system in which emissions are capped at a certain level. The ICAO system allows emissions to increase without limit as long as they are compensated for by offsets.
Peru says deforestation slowing as it beefs up laws, sanctions
By Mitra Taj, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 8 October 2016
Deforestation in Peru has slowed since peaking at nearly 180,000 hectares (700 square miles) in 2014 when swaths of the Amazon were illegally cleared for oil palm plantations, the head of the country’s forest service said on Friday.
Fabiola Munoz said tougher new laws and enforcement, including fines 700 percent higher and jailtime for people who destroy primary forest, are helping Peru rein in deforestation.
“People really used to think there would be no consequences,” Munoz told foreign media. “That’s changed.”
In 2015, Peru lost about 160,000 hectares of forest cover, and less should be cleared this year, Munoz said. So far in 2016, about 120,000 hectares have been destroyed, according to satellite imagery.