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REDD in the news: 21-27 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.

21 November 2016

Groups, experts laud Marrakech’s COP22 global consensus
By Chinedum Uwaegbulam, The Guardian (Nigeria), 21 November 2016
After the proclamation by COP 22 delegates, civil society groups and experts say, the statement reaffirmed that it is in the national interest of every country to accelerate the transition to renewables and build resilience to climate impacts.
They said, the speed of real-economy change and the urgency of action are primary messages from the declaration. This reinforces the shift underway towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.
In reaction, the International Climate Lead, Christian Aid, Mohamed Adow said, “In what feels like a divided and fragile world, it’s encouraging to see there is unison over one of our most existential threats. Like the aliens in the movie Independence Day, climate change has the power to bring the world together to fight our common enemy.”

UNEP’s Erik Solheim: ‘Climate no longer a cost, but an opportunity’
By Leona Liu, CIFOR Forests News, 21 November 2016
More than 5,500 people from 95 countries connected in person and online at the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Marrakesh, held on the sidelines of COP22, to forge solutions to the planet’s greatest climate and development challenges through sustainable land use.
Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), spoke to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) about embracing the landscape approach.
UNEP hosted a discussion forum on Unlocking private finance in forests, sustainable land use and restoration at the event, which discussed the current finance gap challenge (i.e. the difference between the supply and demand of capital for landscapes restoration), and how new products and mechanisms can help leverage public funding with private finance.

UK aid money spent trying to boost British role in Malawi oil sector
By Alice Ross, The Guardian, 21 November 2016
The British government spent thousands of pounds of aid money on a project aimed at “establishing the UK as the partner of choice” in the nascent oil and gas sector of one of the world’s poorest countries.
Malawi is believed to have substantial oil deposits, including under Lake Malawi, a pristine freshwater lake – the third largest in Africa – whose southern shores are a protected Unesco world heritage site. Unesco has warned that any oil activity near the lake risks causing an ecological disaster.
Kate Osamor, the shadow international development secretary, said the project raised “real concerns” about development spending being geared towards boosting British trade, potentially at the expense of sensitive habitats.

[USA] Trump and Climate Change: The End of the World?
By Daniel Voskoboynik, Medium, 21 November 2016
The election of Donald Trump to the US presidency sent a shockwave into the hearts of many over the world. For many environmentalists it feels like a living nightmare: a climate denier at the helm of the most powerful state, ready to shred hard-won victories and tear the laboured consensus that gave rise to the Paris Agreement.
Some experts and activists were scathing in their response. Atmospheric scientist Michael Mann declared: “I fear [Trump’s election] may be game over for the climate.” “Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had,” remarked physicist Michael Lubell.

22 November 2016

Marrakech: Where Extraordinary Momentum Is Shown on Climate Change
By Bekai Njie, Daily Observer, 22 November 2016
As a journalist, it’s an honour to cover global convergences particularly on climate change, which, today, is the biggest threat facing our globe.
But this year, at this COP of Action or the African COP, I have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in many multilateral fora. Also, it’s at this COP, on the African soil, that the Paris Agreement has been put into force.
This momentum, in my view, is irreversible – it is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels.

[Guyana] More delays in Forest Carbon Partnership Facility coming on stream
By Peter Persaud letter to the Editor, Stabroek News, 22 November 2016
There are more delays in Guyana’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) REDD+ Readiness project since there seems to be little or no movement in the implementation of this project by the IDB in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources. On the occasion of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary I wrote regarding Amerindians being denied benefits due to slothfulness on the part of the IDB in discharging its responsibilities and hence causing delays in resources being made available to the Amerindian people (approximately US$300,000 is budgeted for the NTC and Indigenous organisations). This placed a dark cloud over Amerindian celebration for Independence celebration.

[USA] State’s carbon credits see high demand at auction
By Jonathan J. Cooper, AP, 22 November 2016
Demand for California pollution permits rebounded in the latest carbon auction after plummeting earlier this year, state officials said Tuesday.
Still, the permits did not sell out, heightening uncertainty about the program’s future.
About 88 percent of the available credits were purchased at the quarterly auction held last week by California and trading partner Quebec, Canada. That’s up from the 35 percent sold in August and 10 percent in May.
However, the uncertainty blamed for depressing the demand may be getting worse as President-elect Donald Trump, who called man-made climate change a hoax during the campaign, prepares to take office. Trump further muddied his position Tuesday, telling The New York Times he thinks there’s “some connectivity” between humans and climate change.

[USA] Looking for Environmental Certainty in All the Wrong Places
By James Bushnell, The Energy Collective, 22 November 2016
What will be the fate of California’s cap and trade system for GHG? This is an issue that has been flying under the radar nationally, given the hullabaloo about carbon taxes in Washington State, the potential addition of Ontario to the California cap and trade system, and, umm, other stuff.
The California Air Resources Board last Monday unveiled three potential plans for addressing the state’s new climate goals that were set in CA Senate Bill SB 32. In addition to “plan A” which involves tightening the carbon cap down to 2030 target levels, there is an alternative that scraps the cap and instead identifies an expanded set of “specified” reductions, and also an alternative that replaces the cap with a carbon tax.

23 November 2016

COP22 Special: Research in action
CIFOR Forests News, 23 November 2016
Global climate negotiations concluded last week with renewed commitment to action on limiting global temperature rise and preparing for the impacts of climate change.
From 7-19 November, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, hosted the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), as well as the twelfth session of the of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12) and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1).

China to open first national carbon market
Climate Action (UNEP), 23 November 2016
China is planning to open a national carbon market next year, and the consequent scale of this market is expected to enable emissions reductions from 2020.
According to experts, the market is particularly important as it will be the first of its kind to be set up at a national scale.
The market is expected to be in the range of 3-5 billion tonnes of carbon allowances per year in the beginning, which is a lot more than the EU-ETS scheme – currently the largest carbon market in the world with two billion tonnes of allowances.

[USA] Gov. Nikki Haley’s UN appointment is even more reason to worry about the climate
By Samantha Page, Think Progress, 23 November 2016
President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) as ambassador to the United Nations, he announced Wednesday.
Haley has almost no foreign policy experience. During her tenure as governor, which began in 2011, Haley has taken “at least eight” trips abroad according to her home-state newspaper, the Post and Courier. “The trips have been to mainly attend trade shows and meet with potential economic development prospects,” the paper notes.

[USA] Washington Post embraces ‘fake news’ by printing debunked climate misinformation
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 23 November 2016
“Trump’s climate plan might not be so bad after all,” blasted an attention-grabbing Washington Post headline on Monday. Such a headline raises red flags as mainstream media outlets seek to combat “fake news” — misinformation aimed at confusing the public that that comes from a repeatedly debunked source but still manages to creep into a widely used and generally more legitimate news outlet.
In this case, the fake news is a long-debunked “analysis” of the Paris climate agreement by perhaps the single most debunked writer in the entire climate arena: Bjorn Lomborg. Lomborg uses the piece to greenwash the extremely anti-scientific and pro-pollution “climate plan” of President-elect Donald Trump.

24 November 2016

DG Peter Holmgren: ‘Climate solutions will have to happen in the landscape’
By Leona Liu, CIFOR Forests News, 24 November 2016
Peter Holmgren is the Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). He spoke on the sidelines of the Global Landscapes Forum about the landscapes approach, what it means for the global climate agenda, and what’s coming up next for the GLF.

What Marrakesh achieved
By R. R. Rashmi, The Indian Express, 24 November 2016
A fortnight ago, when the delegates to the Marrakesh climate change conference were sitting down to discuss the scope and design elements of the rules for implementing the Paris agreement, news of developments across the Atlantic came in. Although too early to be taken seriously, it was difficult not to notice the gathering clouds on the post-Paris actions. They could have easily dampened the celebratory mood arising from the early ratification of the Paris agreement. However, it must be said to the credit of the governments and non-government players that they stayed the course in Marrakesh. The spirit of Paris was re-affirmed through the Marrakesh Proclamation on Climate and Sustainable Development. The proclamation is, in this sense, a small but determined step after Paris.

Peru declares state of emergency over deadly forest fires
By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 24 November 2016
Peru has declared a state of emergency in seven districts in the north of the country where forest fires have killed two, injured four and burnt nearly 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of land, including five protected natural areas.
Wildfires have spread to 11 regions across the country, according to Peru’s civil defence institute, in what scientists say may be the worst drought in more than a decade.
Peru’s environment minister, Elsa Galarza, said a special brigade of firefighters had been deployed to the worst-affected areas in the north. The 31 firefighters are normally stationed in the Inca citadel Machu Picchu, the country’s top tourist attraction.

Peruvian farmer sues German energy firm RWE
By Gero Rueter, DW.com, 24 November 2016
A Peruvian farmer and mountain guide is suing German energy firm RWE, alleging its contribution to climate change is threatening his home, in a trial which began today in the District Court of Essen, Germany.
Saúl Lliuya hails from Huaraz, a city located in the Andean Mountains in western Peru, and says his family and a large part of the city are facing catastrophic flooding as global warming melts a nearby glacier.
As a result, water levels in the mountain lake above the city are increasing, meaning that his family home could be swept away by a 30-meter high flood wave. “It’s a time bomb,” said lawyer Roda Verheyen.
RWE’s coal power emissions contribute to around 0.5 percent of global climate change, so the company should have to pay around half a percent of the measures required for protecting Lliyua’s home and the area, alleges the plaintiff, who is being supported by environmental organization, GermanWatch.

[UK] Carbon credit investment fraud gang jailed (and my Mirror story helped nail one of them)
By Andrew Penman, The Mirror, 24 November 2016
My exposé of an investment fraud has helped jail one of the crooks behind it.
Kallan Henry (above left) claimed in court to be unaware that he was working for a sophisticated con. But a jury saw through his lies – not least because he admitted having read my article about his accomplices and yet he continued working with them.
I wrote that story after confronting the towering figure of Young Erumuse, the director of the London Carbon Credit Company Limited, in August 2012.
This was a Wolf of Wall Street-style boiler room that cold-called the public to flog supposed green investments called carbon credits.

25 November 2016

Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 25 November 2016
Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe.
The Arctic Resilience Report found that the effects of Arctic warming could be felt as far away as the Indian Ocean, in a stark warning that changes in the region could cause uncontrollable climate change at a global level.
Temperatures in the Arctic are currently about 20C above what would be expected for the time of year, which scientists describe as “off the charts”. Sea ice is at the lowest extent ever recorded for the time of year.

Highlights from the Global Landscapes Forum: Climate Action for Sustainable Development
CIFOR Forests News, 25 November 2016
The sixth Global Landscapes Forum in Marrakesh, Morocco, brought together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to work together on planning climate action for sustainable development.
Held on the sidelines of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), the Forum built on global momentum for a new climate and development agenda, based on commitments made under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Why Brazil Needs to Rethink its Restrictions on Carbon Trading
By Virgilio Viana, Huffington Post, 25 November 2016
At the United Nations climate talks last week, we heard a loud and clear message from science: global warming is moving at an alarming rate, faster than predicted. The scenarios are very worrisome, with the melting of glaciers, more frequent super storms and other extreme climate events. These have been responsible for huge waves of human migration to cities with low capacity to absorb them, resulting in conflicts, civil war and even the collapse of societies as a whole as we have seen in Syria.
The commitments made by countries in the Paris Agreement, if fully implemented, can reduce current trends by half. However, this is not enough. We need to multiply those commitments by two. This requires new approaches and innovative thinking now.

For the palm oil industry, ‘engagement’ means turning a blind eye to deforestation
By Kiki Taufik (Greenpeace), Eco-Business, 25 November 2016
Over the past decade, the environmental and human cost of palm oil production has become a mainstream concern. Consumers and communities demand change, and most of the big players in the palm oil industry have promised to act — yet palm oil from rainforest destruction is still filling the products on our supermarket shelves.
Why haven’t companies made good on that promise? All of the major traders have the same policies and say they’re engaging with their suppliers. Regardless of who they trade with, palm oil producers should be hearing the same message: clearing rainforests doesn’t pay. Yet that message is not getting through.

Indonesia now in forefront of legal timber governance
By Siti Nurbaya, The Jakarta Post, 25 November 2016
Who would have known that Indonesia, once infamously known for its rampant illegal logging, would today be in the forefront of forest law enforcement and trade?
Last week, in the early hours of Nov. 15, as people from around the world – myself included — were convening the United Nations Convention on Climate Change at the 22nd Conference of Parties ( COP22 ) in Marrakech, Indonesia on its own home front issued the world’s very first Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (or FLEGT) licenses.
In fact, 36 licenses were issued in those first two hours while I was away. They were for timber products whose companies had queued up patiently to get the very first licenses on that historic date.
As it happened, Nov. 15 came and went without much fanfare, but for forest governance, not to mention maintaining forest sustainability for a very long future, it was a red-letter date for Indonesia.

Indonesia reaches historic milestone in combating illegal logging
By Moazzam Malik, The Jakarta Post, 25 November 2016
In the early 2000s illegally logged timber was estimated to account for 80 percent of the total national harvest in Indonesia. This illegal trade caused widespread deforestation, impacted the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, robbed the government of billions in revenues, and destroyed vital habitat for wildlife.
Following campaigns highlighting the environmental and social impacts from illegal logging, many buyers from Europe stopped purchasing Indonesian timber. It has taken 15 years to turn this around.
Just recently, Indonesia officially celebrated a historic achievement: Indonesia has become the first country in the world to qualify under the European Union’s timber licensing scheme known as ‘FLEGT’.

[Mexico] Chiapas forest land-cover map
F-TEP press release, 25 November 2016
A detailed land-cover map showing forest in Chiapas state in southern Mexico. The map was produced using Copernicus Sentinel-2 optical data from 14 April 2016. It shows the kind of products that are possible through the new ESA-backed Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform (F-TEP). Such products can support initiatives such as the UN’s Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), which is a global agreement that developing countries should receive financial compensations for slowing the rates of deforestation and forest degradation in recognition of the role of forests as carbon sinks.
“F-TEP is a new ‘one-stop shop’ online platform enabling the forestry sector to make easier use of satellite data,” explains Tuomas Häme of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, managing the development of the platform for ESA.
“Users are able to map and explore their forests from the comfort of a web-based browser, within which they can rapidly access and process all available data, then disseminate the results.”

26 November 2016

[Indonesia] Committee to speed up replanting process
By Stefani Ribka, The Jakarta Post, 26 November 2016
As replanting programs have been dogged by technical issues, Indonesia’s palm oil fund will set up a special committee to identify the eligibility of aid recipients starting from early next year.
Begun in 2015, the program is critical to boost the productivity of the crop in Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, which is now hampered by a huge number of old trees.
However, its implementation has been hampered by several issues, such as a lack of land certificates and difficulties in determining the criteria of small growers.

[Indonesia] Green NGOs are shooting at wrong targets
By Edi Suhardi (RSPO), The Jakarta Post, 26 November 2016
Indonesia has been a sitting duck for critical environmental campaigning. Its democracy and transparent governance has allowed green NGOs — a coalition of environmental and social NGOs — to openly attack how the country and its palm oil companies are managing natural resources.
Its biodiversity, rich resources, high carbon stocks and lush forests have become the subject of campaigns to halt commodity-based development in Indonesia where the last vestiges of tropical rain forest need to be conserved.
Global civic organizations and consumer movements in Europe have created a loose coalition in their efforts to preserve Indonesia’s forests and have consequently made the country their common target for a campaign opposed to oil palm plantations.

The scandal of UK company regulation
By Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK, 26 November 2016
The UK has one of the largest, if not the largest, register of companies in the world. In September 2016 there were 3,795,682 UK companies in existence. 154,685 of these were created in the three months of July, August and September 2016. In the year to that last date 638,518 companies were formed. Just to put this in context, there were 697,852 births in the UK in 2015. We’re producing companies almost as fast as we’re producing babies right now in this country. And, shockingly, there is almost no effective regulation of these companies in the UK. We have no agency that takes responsibility for this task.

27 November 2016

[India] Forest fire breaks out in Panchachuli peaks again
By Abhinav Madhwal, Hindustan Times, 27 November 2016
A fresh forest fire has broken out two days ago in Panchachuli peaks, around 30 km from Munsyari in Pithoragarh district, prompting the forest department to send a team of experts to bring it under control.
The fire might have been ignited by poachers to force animals to run to upper reaches where they can be caught easily, a forest department official said on Sunday.
High altitude animals that are target of poachers include leopards, musk deer and ghurad. The fires have broken out in forest of Nagni dhura, Halsyu, Sai Polu, Raj Rambha and Khaliya in 20 km radius of Panchachuli.

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