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REDD in the news: 14-20 November 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.


 
Global Climate Justice Movements Refuse to Be Overshadowed by Election of Climate Change Denier to U.S. Presidency
Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, November 2016
We the undersigned organisations, networks, and movements gathered in Marrakech at COP22 issue the following collective statement in support of communities and movements around the world in response to Donald Trump becoming President-Elect of the United States of America and its potentially devastating implications for the cause of climate justice.
Record breaking global temperatures are already threatening staple crops in many regions, bleaching the world’s coral reefs, decimating ecosystems, and driving killer droughts and floods that have devastated the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world, fanning the flames of every existing inequality.

14 November 2016

NASA: ‘Planetary warming does not care about the election’
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 14 November 2016
Last month was the second-hottest October on record, NASA reported Tuesday. Combined with a record-smashing January through September — and a very warm November — this new data guarantee that 2016 will demolish the previous record for hottest year, set way back in 2015.
Of course, 2015 itself crushed the previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014 — a three-year run never seen in the 136 years of temperature records.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wants everyone to know that our current man-made global warming is indifferent to politics.

COP22 Special: The role of private actors on the world’s climate stage
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 14 November 2016
The landmark Paris climate change agreement was adopted by 195 nations – all pledging to keep global warming well below 2°C.
But many of the decisions, actions and outcomes on climate change are actually made by non-state actors such as local governments, multinational corporations, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, smallholders and small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
Five experts from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) examined the role of non-state actors at a CIFOR-led side event at the COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 10 November.

Our Beef With the Climate Negotiations
By Raychel Santo, The Years Blog, 14 November 2016
Without drastic reductions in global meat and dairy consumption, the most severe and irreversible climate change scenarios will be unavoidable.
This was the message my colleagues and I at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future presented last December at the COP21 climate change conference in Paris. Despite its urgency, dietary change was essentially off the radar at the event. Out of the hundreds of sessions at COP21, ours — part of a panel hosted by the Meatless Monday campaign — was one of only two that addressed the topic.

How Aviation’s Carbon Market Could Undercut the Paris Agreement
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 14 November 2016
If you want to feel worse about flying than you already do, there are now nifty tools to calculate your share of carbon emissions from international flights. I learned that, on my way to Morocco — to report on a summit dedicated to tamping down our addiction to fossil fuels—I’m responsible for more than 0.58 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about as much as a refrigerator emits in a year, and I burned through it in less than a day.
Aviation accounts for 1.3 percent of global emissions — not an insignificant amount, and one almost certain to grow as nations around the world decarbonize. In aviation, as in shipping, it’s hard to attribute emissions from international travel to any one nation. That’s where the International Civil Aviation Organization comes in—it’s a United Nations agency comprising 191 member states, and its brief is to reduce emissions from international flights.
But, as the rest of the world is cutting back, aviation’s climate plan includes increasing emissions.

Rainforests in the Paris Agreement: Old Wine, New Bottles?
By Maria Eugenia Recio, University of Eastern Finland, 14 November 2016
Merely a year after its adoption, the landmark Paris climate change treaty came into effect on 4 November 2016. Its Parties are currently convening for the first time in Marrakesh, Morocco. These are clearly important steps for the United Nations climate change regime. At the same time, in light of countries’ nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, it is clear that more ambitious mitigation efforts are needed to achieve the 1.5°C and 2°C temperature goals included in the Agreement.
Large forests located in developing countries can play an important role in global climate change mitigation efforts by taking up carbon from the atmosphere and storing it. The Paris Agreement taps into this potential by encouraging countries to implement measures to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, commonly known as “REDD+”. The basic idea behind REDD+ is that developing countries can apply for compensation for the greenhouse gas emissions avoided by protecting and not cutting their standing forests.
But does the inclusion of REDD+ in the Paris Agreement actually strengthen international efforts with respect to forests?

New WWF guidance on steps, indicators and tools for achieving integrated landscape management
By Paul Chatterton, WWF, 14 November 2016
WWF released today Landscape Elements, a new brief that brings together WWF´s experience in working with partners and stakeholders to implement landscape approaches for sustainable development. The guidance is applicable for all regions and builds on the Little Sustainable Landscapes Book, developed with partners in 2015.
WWF´s Landscape Elements describes in detail key steps to achieve integrated landscape management. These include solutions on how to:Form multi-stakeholder platforms;
Achieve a shared understanding of key issues, challenges and opportunities in the landscape;
Collaboratively plan to maximise social, economic and environmental benefits;
Ensure effective implementation;
Monitor, evaluate and learn for adaptive management; and
Influence governance, market and financial environments that impact the landscape.

A change in direction
By Ivo Mulder, Huffington Post, 14 November 2016
Last month a group consisting of BNP Paribas, ADM Capital, UN Environment (UNEP) and other partners announced the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF) in Jakarta to support the Government of Indonesia by bringing long-term finance to projects and companies that stimulate green growth and improve rural livelihoods. This facility and the role of UN Environment signify a change in direction in three important ways.
First, by setting up such a facility UN Environment (UNEP) is showing that it can provide proactive support to help channel public and private finance to expand rural renewable energy production, reduce deforestation and restore degraded land. The organisation has to date played a pivotal role to help member states address environmental problems since its inception in 1972.

Trump Loves to Be Loved. In Marrakech, Climate Leaders Hope That Could Be the Opportunity They Need
By Lucia Graves, Pacific Standard, 14 November 2016
In many ways, Ségolène Royal’s prediction that United States President-elect Donald Trump could prove “absolutely catastrophic” to the global effort to stop climate change is exactly the sort of rhetoric you’d expect from the president of last year’s climate talks in Paris.
As a candidate, Trump has called global warming a hoax, said he wants to dismantle the Paris Agreement, and vowed to halt all funds to United Nations world climate programs. He’s also called for increased extraction of oil, coal, and natural gas reserves at a time when climate leaders are seeking to limit emissions by transitioning to renewable forms of energy.

15 November 2016

Marrakech Call decoded: UN sends Trump its climate demands
By Ed King, Climate Home, 15 November 2016
Crafting a UN statement is akin to herding cats, rarely delivering a truly satisfactory result.
Countries at the COP22 climate summit appear to have agreed on what is being named the ‘Marrakech Action Proclamation‘ (this is one of the final drafts we understand).
It’s not exactly the bold and punchy call to arms many had hoped for, but it does offer a sense that the global community is behind last year’s Paris climate agreement.
Below we offer a sense of what – if any – hidden messages there are for president-elect Donald Trump.

COP22 Special: Progress in Marrakesh
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News, 15 November 2016
Climate negotiations are now progressing into the final days in Marrakesh with a handful of outcomes established already. The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is now into its second week, with negotiations split across several tracks.
Here’s a taste of what’s been on the table this past week in Morocco.
Let’s start with the alphabet soup: The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) is dealing with issues such as guidance for future Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), transparency, global stocktake, adaptation communications, and compliance.

How can the OECD step up to the threats of climate change?
By Kate DeAngelis, Friends of the Earth U.S., 15 November 2016
In a world of international bodies, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development might not be one that rises to a household name. Yet, decisions made in its back rooms determine whether most of the largest economies of the world will direct billions of dollars in public financing to fossil fuel projects that push climate change to catastrophic levels.
The public financing in question comes from an obscure form of the government agency known as Export Credit Agencies. ECAs provide billions of dollars in financing to increase their respective countries’ exports, including financing to construct fossil fuel projects abroad. ECAs of OECD-member countries provide tens of billions of dollars in financing for fossil fuel projects which greatly worsens climate change. ECAs of OECD-member countries continue to finance fossil fuel projects despite their national government commitments to combat climate change, including global warming limits contained in last year’s Paris Agreement. Ironic, too, that the head of the OECD has made passionate pleas for the world to end fossil fuel subsidies, while deals are cut within the OECD to ensure these subsidies continue.

In rough times, some reasons for optimism: lessons from Latin America on REDD+
By Gabriel Labbate, Huffington Post, 15 November 2016
The recent US presidential elections have stunned the world, particularly those currently participating in the climate change negotiations in Marrakesh (COP 22). Though the newly elected US president should be received with an open mind, his statements on the environment have already sent shivers across the climate change community.
The arrival of the Trump presidency also provides an opportunity to take stock of the last decade of efforts to decrease emissions, including those from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Have the time and money been well invested? Are there reasons for optimism? This article provides a summary of some important emerging lessons to date on REDD+ from the Latin American region.

[New Zealand] Calls about ‘boiler room’ scams on the rise, says Financial Markets Authority
By Rob Stock, Business Day, 15 November 2016
Calls to the securities watchdog about “boiler room” scams are on the rise.
A boiler room is the name given to a group of criminals who cold-call investors to sell them worthless shares and other fake investments.
They are never based in the country whose citizens they are cold-calling, so it makes it almost impossible for law-enforcers like the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to catch them, or get investors their money back.
Just four months into its 2016-17 financial year, the FMA has had 25 calls from boiler room victims compared to 30 calls in the previous 12 months.

[USA] Alaska Airlines makes first commercial flight using renewable jet fuel sourced from forestry waste
GreenAir Online, 15 November 2016
The first-ever commercial flight to be powered by a blend of renewable jet fuel made from forest residuals was undertaken yesterday from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Washington DC. The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 used a 20% blend of ASTM-approved fuel produced by alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) company Gevo, whose technology was used to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol before further conversion into jet fuel. The forest residuals – the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests – was sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The alternative jet fuel flight was made possible by the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) initiative and supported by the US Department of Agriculture.

16 November 2016

Paris climate deal at risk unless countries step up plans, says watchdog
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 16 November 2016
The Paris agreement on climate change risks failure unless countries come forward with more ambitious and detailed plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s energy watchdog has warned.
The agreement, reached almost a year ago, is only a “framework”, said the International Energy Agency on Wednesday, and requires sweeping policy changes among governments around the world to put its aims into force.
“Government policies will determine where we go from here,” said Fatih Birol, the executive director of the agency. Current national pledges on greenhouse gas emissions, though “an achievement”, are inadequate and most governments have yet to indicate what further reductions they could make.

A Paradigm Shift is Necessary for REDD+ to Be Sustainable
By Michael Brown, Chemonics, 16 November 2016
In 2013 I wrote a book called Redeeming REDD: Policies, Incentives, and Social Feasibility for Avoided Deforestation, published by Earthscan.
In the book I argue that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD, and the latest variant known as REDD+), needs a suite of enabling conditions, independent of market viability as well as measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems in order to be redeemed as an effective approach. REDD projects, it was hoped, would feed into compliance markets through what has become known as a jurisdictional approach to accounting for carbon sequestered through avoided deforestation, one objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). When taken to scale, such projects are seen to have a major impact on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from local jurisdictional levels through national levels, when fully aggregated across countries.

If you want to tackle carbon emissions let indigenous people control their land
By Luis Alberto Moreno (IADB), The Guardian, 16 November 2016
In my native Colombia, the cloud forests of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta have been described as holding the most important concentration of threatened wildlife on Earth. These forests are also the ancestral home of the Koguis, an indigenous group now numbering around 10,000 individuals.
In their cosmology, Koguis are the elders of humanity, living in the heart of the world, while outsiders are the “younger brothers” who were banished because of how they abused the land in the past – an accurate description of a planet where 160,000 acres of tropical rainforest are destroyed or damaged every day.
For centuries, the Koguis have strived to care for their land in a way that will preserve it for future generations. If we listen to them and other indigenous peoples, if we respect their rights and honour their traditions, I think we “younger brothers” still have a chance to get it right.

To find real solutions, focus beyond climate emissions
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News, 16 November 2016
If we are to find sustainable solutions to climate change, we have to look at the bigger picture.
And in that picture climate change – and carbon emissions – aren’t everything. Neither are biodiversity, water, forests, agriculture or coastal habitats and oceans, gender or communities, education, poverty and inequality or energy. In the big picture, the picture that counts, they are all important.
Saying this doesn’t make me a climate sceptic or a climate denier, or even a climate cynic. Far from it. But as the world gathers for COP22 in Marrakesh, a year after the Paris Agreement, it is clear to me that if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet our climate targets, we have to find a new way of doing things.

Negotiating for the climate: COP22 vs. The election of Donald Trump
By Simon Chin-Yee and Lauren Gifford, Manchester Policy Blogs, 16 November 2016
This week, the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) is taking place in Marrakech, Morocco. In light of the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, Simon Chin Yee and Lauren Gifford blog from the conference, reflecting on what the election might mean for global climate change policy.
Trump’s rule means the US will aggressively scale back on all environmental protection, and will most certainly withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
It might take international geo-political pressure from places like China and the EU to keep the US at least somewhat involved in climate mitigation.
Trump is appointing Sarah Palin as Secretary of Interior, to oversee public lands which will likely be open to more fossil fuel extraction, threatening fragile ecosystems, biodiversity, and local communities.
The UN target of 2 degrees now seems wildly, and sadly, out of reach.

What You Can Do Every Day to Fight Deforestation
GRACE Communications Foundation, The Years Blog, 16 November 2016
This week, Years of Living Dangerously tracks Gisele Bündchen’s trek to the Amazon rainforest to discover the extent to which deforestation has impacted the “lungs of the planet.” One of the biggest threats to the Amazon? Meat production, particularly the clearing of forests for soy fields and cattle ranches. The costs are tremendous. Not only is a huge portion of our planet’s biodiversity found in tropical rainforests, but these forests are critical to our planet’s ability to absorb all the excess greenhouse gases and the pollutants humans create. While the growing demand for beef is negatively impacting tropical rainforests and accelerating climate change, the good news is that there are choices you can make today to help, regardless of your diet. This infographic puts the problem into perspective and gives us all a way to fight: we can eat less but better meat from local farms.

The Marrakesh Declaration: a practical framework for sustainable palm oil in Africa
Proforest, 16 November 2016
This morning, at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakesh, ministers from seven African palm oil producing countries publicly signed the Marrakesh Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Oil Palm Sector in Africa: Ghana, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
The Declaration sends an important signal that these signatory countries — representing over 66% of Africa’s tropical forest — are open for business, but will only welcome oil palm investments that comply with the principles of sustainability, transparency and the protection of human rights set out in the Declaration. It is the latest development in the ongoing work of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI), coordinated by Proforest since 2014.

How U.S. Diplomats in Marrakech Are Working to Trump-Proof Their Climate Wins
By Lucia Graves, Pacific Standard, 16 November 2016
On a mild Thursday evening in Washington, D.C., a week before COP22 began, Jonathan Pershing stood in a tent at a small party at the European Union ambassador’s house and tried to articulate what he saw as the rosy future of global climate talks. The newly chosen United States special envoy for climate change had been at the first rounds of United Nations climate talks just down the road in Chantilly, Virginia, 25 years before. Those talks, he said, had been as humble as Paris was flashy. No foreign ministers. No heads of state. Just think, Pershing told the assembled diplomats two weeks ago, what it might be like in another 25 years’ time.
Whatever paradise of LED lighting and electric vehicles Pershing had in mind, less than a week later, his fantasy COP already looks out of reach at talks in Marrakech, Morocco. With Donald Trump as America’s president-elect, everything had changed.

Pricing Carbon at Marrakech: Moving from Principle to Practice
By Kevin Rudd, Huffington Post, 16 November 2016
The Moroccan Presidency of COP22 has stated that it seeks concrete actions in Marrakech. Working to price carbon emissions through markets would be a useful place to start.
The Paris Agreement was a political breakthrough, but its commitments do not go far enough. Negotiators at COP21 overcame the gridlock that has long-defined international climate change diplomacy and imbued the UNFCCC process with newfound optimism. But the national commitments put forth in Paris — if they are all fully achieved — leave us on track for approximately 3 degrees of warming by the end of this century. This is well beyond safe and sustainable limits. There is much work still to do.

Financial Incentives for Preserving Forests Divide Brazilian Delegation
By Ana Carolina Amaral, Folha de S.Paulo, 16 November 2016
One of the Brazilian diplomatic proposals at the United Nations COP-22 Climate Conference for implementing the Paris Accords is the source of desperation for environmental organizations here in Brazil.
The Brazilian government doesn’t want programs that combat deforestation to generate carbon credits that could subsequently be bought by other countries that don’t make enough reductions in their own territories.
This market was created by the Kyoto Protocol and allows for countries to exceed their quotas by paying for the efforts of developing countries. At that time, only rich countries had quotas. Today, with the Paris Accords, everyone has nationally defined quotas and any country can buy or sell carbon credits.
For regulating the carbon market within the new climatic accords, Brazil has proposed that the policies for combating deforestation not enter into the list of activities suitable for selling credits.

[USA] Hundreds Of US Companies Urge Climate Action As John Kerry, Others Calls For More “Business Diplomacy”
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 16 November 2016
Hours after world leaders recommitted themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement at the opening of the high-level segment of the United Nations Climate Conference here, Jonathan Pershing emerged from his temporary office at the US pavilion to a gaggle of businessmen and NGO representatives.
As lead US negotiator and then as US Special Envoy for Climate Change, he’d been a driving force in the creation of the agreement, and now he faced the prospect of seeing the president-elect pulling his country out of it.
But he wasn’t here to discuss the negotiating process. He was here to discuss Business Diplomacy – a new term for a sense that had been percolating here all week: namely, that to fix the climate mess, we must reform the private sector, and that requires private-sector leadership.

17 November 2016

UN talks tangle over cash to ease climate pain for poor
By Megan Rowling, Reuters, 17 November 2016
The Marrakesh climate talks may not deliver the substantial boost in international funding poorer countries need to cope with worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas brought by climate change, negotiators and development agencies fear.
Negotiators sparred on Thursday over the future of the Adaptation Fund to help vulnerable communities cope with climate change, which was set up under the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty preceding the new Paris Agreement.
There was also disagreement over how strong a commitment rich countries were prepared to make on funding for developing nations to adapt to a warmer planet in the coming years.

Indigenous Latin American women craft climate change solutions in Marrakech
By Seble Samuel, National Observer, 17 November 2016
A year ago, Indigenous women from across Latin America began collecting local stories about how climate change is affecting their daily lives. They did this in order to craft solutions that aligned with their values.
Across their territories, this network of women is known as Chaski Warmi, meaning women messengers in Kichwa, a native language of the Andean region. Staying true to their name, these Aboriginal women, ranging from Guatemala to Chile, from Bolivia to Colombia and Ecuador, have brought their voices this month to the United Nations climate change negotiations in Marrakech. Together, they are proposing what they describe as an alternative development model. They say it would exert Indigenous rights and environmental justice as opposed to what they call “extractivism” or unsustainable development of resources.

Choose or Lose: Why Gisele and I Are Shifting to a Sustainable Diet
By Andrew Steer, World Resources Institute, 17 November 2016
In just a few short years, growing and eating sustainable food has moved from a fringe idea into the mainstream. With a major boost from First Lady Michelle Obama’s garden, nutritionists, community non-profits, environmentalists, and food producers and suppliers have rallied around this idea. During the Obama administration, the U.S. government embraced sustainable food, including setting a target to halve food waste by 2030. Although we don’t yet know what the next administration will do, food choices largely rest with individuals, families, businesses and city leaders.

China urges U.S. to stay inside Paris Agreement on climate change
Xinhua, 17 November 2016
The next U.S. administration should continue to support the historic Paris Agreement on climate change to avoid a repeat of the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said here Wednesday.
“We hope that the U.S. will continue to play a leadership role in the climate change process as people are worried about a repeat of the experience of the Kyoto Protocol,” Liu told reporters on the sidelines of a United Nations climate conference.
He was in response to a question about speculations that the United States would pull out of the Paris Agreement after climate change denier Donald Trump takes over from President Barack Obama.

German Government supports establishment of Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn
CIFOR Forests News, 17 November 2016
At the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Marrakesh, Morocco, the German Federal Government announced to 5,500 participants here and online, and several million social media followers that they will host and support the establishment of a GLF secretariat in Bonn, the humanitarian center of Germany from 2017 to 2020.
The German Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation are working together to support the GLF for the next four years in Bonn. The platform for global action will meet in Bonn for the first time in 2017.
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) will continue to spearhead the science-led platform, working with its Coordinating Partners: UN Environment, World Bank, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Credit Suisse.

Wan Junaidi Reaffirms Malaysia’s Commitment To Forest Conservation
By Azman Ujang, Bernama, 17 November 2016
Malaysia has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable forest conservation and management at the ongoing United Nations conference on climate change here attended by heads of state and government and ministers in charge of environment from over 190 countries.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, in addressing the conference late Wednesday (early Thursday in Malaysia), also reiterated Malaysia’s strong commitment in pursuing its climate objectives through the implementation of sustainable development goals.

[Nepal] Reducing carbon emissions: Responsibility of key nations
The Himalayan Times, 17 November 2016
The United Nations Framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s 13th assembly in Bali, Indonesia, in 2007, first developed the concept of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
Of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, it was found that deforestation and forest degradation account for nearly 20 per cent emission in the form of carbon.
Hence to reduce the GHG emission, preventing deforestation and forest land degradation was seen as one of the crucial tasks.

18 November 2016

Under Trump shadow, climate talks set 2018 deadline to agree rules
By Alister Doyle and Megan Rowling, Reuters, 18 November 2016
Nearly 200 nations agreed around midnight on Friday to work out the rules for a landmark 2015 global deal to tackle climate change within two years in a new sign of international support for a pact opposed by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
At the end of two-week talks on global warming in Marrakesh, which were extended an extra day, many nations appealed to Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, to reconsider his threat to tear up the Paris Agreement for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Showing determination to keep the Paris Agreement on track, the conference agreed to work out a rule book at the latest by December 2018.
A rule book is needed because the Paris Agreement left many details vague, such as how countries will report and monitor their national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

To Help the Planet, Change Your Diet
by Daniel Vennard, World Resources Institute, 18 November 2016
The world is a rapidly changing place. NASA has reported that the earth is warming at a rate not seen before in the last 1,000 years. While the science and data are there, many of us know these facts from our daily lives. We feel weather patterns changing year to year. If we live in coastal areas, we worry about rising sea levels. Turn on the news, and we watch natural disasters unfold more frequently and at bigger scales.
It can appear daunting, but today we have a better understanding than ever before about the effects our behavior and choices have on the planet — and we need look no further than our own dinner plate to be able to make a difference.

Large branches fall from the western Amazon rainforest canopy at a surprising rate
By Sarah McQuate, mongabay.com, 18 November 2016
Amazon forests conjure visions of lush canopies, not giant branches crashing to the ground. But according to a recent study, published in Environmental Research Letters, dead branches frequently fall from the tops of trees in the Amazon, releasing a startling amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
This release is comparable to the amount of carbon lost when entire trees die, which surprised authors David Marvin and Greg Asner from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California. The researchers, who study carbon dioxide to determine forest health, thought falling branches would not significantly affect the levels of carbon dioxide returning to the atmosphere from forests.

[Australia] An imprudent customer and his money reunited: FOS imposes a new duty on banks to prevent fraud
By Michael Chaaya and Peter Anderson (Corrs Chambers Westgarth), Lexology, 18 November 2016
In April this year, the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia (FOS) issued a Determination[1] whereby a bank had to reimburse a customer for money sent to an offshore ‘boiler room’ known to the bank to be a scam.
The Determination now means that banks owe customers a duty to prevent them suffering a loss to known fraudsters.
So called ‘boiler room‘ scams have been around for many years and regularly feature in ASIC warnings. Lists of perpetrators can be found on ASIC’s MONEYSMART website. In this recent Determination, FOS noted that in April 2015 ASIC sent an email to financial service providers, including the bank in question, saying a company and an associated company were making unsolicited calls to Australian ‘victims’ seeking investment in ‘non-existent financial products’ and that consumers were being ‘directed to deposit funds into an identified foreign bank account’.

[Cambodia] Study questions efficacy of REDD+ forest protection
By Jack Davies, Phnom Penh Post, 18 November 2016
A soon-to-be published study of the much-lauded REDD+-protected Keo Seima forest has found there’s little that can be done to convince the majority of locals to stop clearing protected areas, findings that observers say raise important questions about the forest’s viability.
Keo Seima – often pointed to as a role model for conservation projects across Cambodia – was granted much sought-after REDD+ status by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015 in response to conservation strategies put in place by the government in collaboration with NGOs.
However, the recent study, to be published in scientific journal Biological Conservation, found that despite the protections, locals were likely to continue their forest clearing unabated. Researchers conducted interviews with heads of households across the protected area, presenting them with a selection of scenarios and asking them to say whether each would prompt a reduction in their forest clearance activities.

New Zealand awarded a second ‘Fossil of the Day’ award
New Zealand Youth Delegation press release, 18 November 2016
New Zealand has been awarded a ‘Fossil of the Day’ award for the second day in a row thanks to its reliance on dodgy carbon credits in the past while maintaining that it cares about the integrity of international carbon markets.
New Zealand is one of the foremost supporters of international carbon markets. Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett has expressed her support for the development of high-integrity international carbon markets, speaking on the topic to other Ministers at the High Level Segment and speaking at a side event focusing on this at COP22 today.
Despite discussions around high-integrity international carbon markets, New Zealand intends to rely on benefits drawn from their historic use of ‘dodgy’ carbon credits to meet their unambitious goal of an 11% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030.

[UK] FCA charges sixth person in alleged ‘boiler room’ fraud
By Katie Marriner, Money Marketing, 18 November 2016
The FCA has charged a sixth person in relation to an investigation into a suspected “boiler room” fraud.
Five individuals: Michael Nascimento, Hugh Edwards, Stuart Rea, Ryan Parker, and Jeannine Lewis appeared before Southwark Crown Court in June charged with conspiracy to defraud for their role in the promotion and sale of shares through four alleged boiler room companies, all of which traded from the Docklands in London.
Another individual, Charanjit Sandhu has now also been charged with conspiracy to defraud and offences under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Fraud Act 2006.

[USA] Trump’s dilemma: to please his friends by trashing the Paris climate deal, or not?
By Bill McKibben, The Guardian, 18 November 2016
It seems likely that the Paris climate accords will offer one of the first real tests of just how nuts Donald Trump actually is. For a waiting world it’s a public exam, his chance to demonstrate either that he’s been blowing smoke or deeply inhaling.
Think, if you will, of the Paris agreement as a toy painstakingly assembled over 25 years by many of the world’s leading lights. It has now been handed, as a gift, to the new child-emperor, and everyone is waiting to see what he’ll do.

19 November 2016

Leaked map reveals chronic mercury epidemic in Peru
By David Hill, The Guardian, 19 November 2016
Ask about the fish in restaurants in the centre of Puerto Maldonado, the biggest town in Peru’s south-east Amazon, and you’ll hear all kinds of things. Some people will shake their heads and say there isn’t any fish on the menu “because of the contamination” or “out of protocol”. Others might say there is fish available, before sometimes hastily clarifying that it comes from farms along the Inter-Oceanica Highway running to Brazil, or from the Pacific coast, or even, according to one chef, all the way from Vietnam.
Why such problems with the fish in this part of the Amazon? Answer: alluvial gold and the mercury required to extract it. The gold-rush in the 8.5m hectare Madre de Dios region began in the 1980s and, by 2012, miners had destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of forest, effectively dumping 100s of tons of mercury into the rivers while doing so. In May this year Peru’s outgoing government announced a pathetic 60-day “declaration of emergency”.

[UK] Govt to ban pension cold calling in Autumn Statement
By Katie Marriner, Money Marketing, 19 November 2016
Chancellor Philip Hammond will ban pensions cold calling in the Autumn Statement next week with scammers facing fines of up to £500,000.
Under the proposed regime, all calls where a business has no existing relationship with the consumer will be forbidden. This includes scammers targeting those who are opted-in to receiving third-party communications.
The announcement follows the pensions sector getting behind a petition to ban pension cold calling that was started by Red Circle Financial Planning director Darren Cooke in September.
The proposals also include wider measures to crack down on pension scams including giving firms more powers to block suspicious transfers.

20 November 2016

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