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REDD in the news: 9-15 January 2017

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

9 January 2017

The Climate “Doomsday” is Already Here
By Joe Brewer, Extra Newsfeed, 9 January 2017
What would you say if I told you that the climate crisis already happened? That real-world ecosystem collapse takes place at different times in different places. Billions of people have already starved to death or been displaced by climate change. The future is here — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.
Would you believe me?
Have a look at this graph. Notice anything strange about it?

Aviation’s environmental challenges are on the ground as well as in the air
Flight Global, 9 January 2017
Our special report in this issue is a good reminder that while flying aircraft may be the most prominent factor in aviation’s environmental impact, emissions from jet engines are only part of the problem. Fortunately, as our report highlights, solid progress is being made on terra firma. Airports are achieving carbon neutrality. Manufacturing is taking seriously the challenge of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and harmful chemicals to air, water and landfill.

Africa Must Be More Effective Towards Climate Change
By Samuel Hinneh, News Ghana, 9 January 2017
Experts at the ongoing UN biodiversity conference, taking place in Cancun, Mexico believe Africa needs to put in place effective measures which encourages strong linkages between the Paris Climate Agreement and efforts to address issues related to biodiversity, as well as conservation at the local and national levels.
“There is a strong linkage of the Paris Agreement and biodiversity, where countries in African national determined contributions (NDCs) are relaying on nature to mitigate or adapt to climate change. In many countries, there are many important measures that are being relying on in terms of planting trees, or restoring coral leaves as well as preserving watershed,” says Yann Laurans, the Programme Director of Biodiversity at Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI).

Analysts trim EU carbon price forecasts as supply swells
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 9 January 2017
Analysts have trimmed their forecasts for European carbon prices in the bloc’s Emission Trading System (ETS), as government auctions of permits swell supplies and curb prices.
Analysts shaved their forecasts for the next three years by 0.03-0.14 euro and now expect EU Allowances (EUA) to average 5.25 euros per tonne in 2017, 5.67 euros/tonne in 2018, and 7.12 euros/tonne in 2019, according to the poll of eight analysts published on Monday.
In October analysts had forecast prices of 5.39 euros for 2017, 5.70 euros for 2018 and 7.12 euros for 2019.
Benchmark EUAs currently trade around 5.05 euros, and analysts said prices are likely to remain muted in 2017 due to an increase in supply from government auctions.

[Pakistan] Salvage our forests
By Azal Zahir, The Nation, 9 January 2017
As part of the United Nations collaborative planning on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) a new mechanism has been initiated that involves paying cash credit to developing countries that protect forests and the carbon stored within them. Pakistan can earn between $400 million up to $4 billion per year simply by saving forests. A meeting in Geneva next month will choose only 3 out of 12 competing developing countries to be the recipients of this funding. Pakistan should be making a move to protect its forests regardless of the decision in Geneva.
Between 1990 and 2005, Pakistan lost 24.7% of its forest cover (about 625,000 hectares) to the land mafia, for expansion of farmland, over grazing, fuel in rural villages, to climate change and so on. The country has subsequently lost 14.7% of its forest and woodland habitat, i.e. the important ecosystems required for its crucial biodiversity.

Swiss gov’t forestry grant scheme extended 3 years
Business World, 9 January 2017
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is extending by three more years its “social forestry” quick response grant fund in the Association of Southeast Asian nations to provide support in resolving issues arising from climate change, hunger, and poverty concerns.
In a statement released over the weekend, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), the project implementer, said that the program, called the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC), will be in its third phase after this extension.

10 January 2017

Regional action must be front and centre in efforts to cut aviation’s climate impact
By Andrew Murphy (Transport & Environment), Green Air Online, 10 January 2017
ue 10 Jan 2017 – For too long, the debate about addressing aviation emissions has been reduced to regional versus global measures, with an assumption by many that global always trumps regional. Now the dust has settled on the 39th ICAO Assembly, we can see for the first time what a global measure can deliver, and the results are not as remotely encouraging for global action as many presumed, writes Andrew Murphy of Transport & Environment (T&E).
Research commissioned by T&E has found that environmental coverage of ICAO’s global market based measure (the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – CORSIA) has the potential to deliver fewer emission reductions over its lifetime than the full inclusion of aviation emissions in a reformed EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Illegal logging: A Russian nesting doll
By Pablo Pacheco, Paolo Cerutti and Robert Nasi, CIFOR Forests News, 10 January 2017
Illegal logging might appear to be a simple story: A bad guy chopping down trees to make a big profit without obtaining any permission from local authorities or local communities, thus causing great harm to both people and the environment.
For most urban dwellers, particularly Westerners, cliché images come to mind of far-away scorched forests and scores of proud indigenous men, women and children, together with magnificent animals, left homeless by this brutal act.
And someone, somewhere, living la dolce vita on a hefty bank account hidden away in some fiscal paradise, along with content, corrupt public officials benefitting from bribes that have allowed the transport and trade of this illegal timber.
Illegal logging, however, is far more complex than this simple narrative! The tale above might be a popular one, but it is misinformed. Before measures can be taken to curb illegal logging, a lot of preliminary work is needed to further assess the activity’s causes, complex dynamics, impacts and trade-offs.

[Cambodia] New REDD+ framework announced
By Cristina Maza, The Phnom Penh Post, 10 January 2017
The Ministry of Environment signed a framework agreement yesterday with Conservation International and the Mitsui Banking Corporation to launch the planning phase of a new REDD+ project for the Prey Lang forest, officials confirmed.
The planning phase will last three years, with project implementation set to begin in 2020, said ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap. “The goal is to work out a sustainable financing mechanism. We want to get carbon credits and reduce deforestation. This is for strengthening the protection of the remaining forest.”

[Malaysia] Kelantan and firm ink agreement to audit its carbon credits
Nation, 10 January 2017
Kelantan has signed a two-year contract with a company to audit carbon credits available in its permanent forest reserves.
Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said the agreement between the state government and Climate Protectors Sdn Bhd yesterday was significant.
He said Climate Protectors will contribute a sum of RM10mil within 24 months to the state.
Climate Protectors is a company situated in Kuala Lumpur and specialises in renewable & sustainable Energy (such as Solar, Hydro, Bio-Mass and Carbon Credit) with its main focus on Clean and Green Technology.
Ahmad said the firm will be rewarded with a 30-year concession to work on 360,000ha of permanent forest reserve to audit its carbon emissions.
Under the programme – known as “Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degra­dation” (REDD) – the company will first audit the carbon credits available in the approved areas and then trade it at the international carbon credit stock exchange.

[USA] The real Rex Tillerson
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 10 January 2017
In early January, Harvard economics professor Robert Stavins took to his blog, “An Economic View of the Environment,” to search for hope in the face of President-elect Donald Trump’s increasingly anti-environmental cabinet. What he found instead was Exxon CEO and potential future Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
“Remarkably, the least worrisome development in regard to anticipated climate change policy may be the nomination of Rex Tillerson to become U.S. Secretary of State,” Stavins wrote. “Two months ago it would have been inconceivable to me that I would write this about the CEO of Exxon-Mobil taking over the State Department (and hence the international dimensions of U.S. climate change policy).”

[USA] A California Bill Would Require Solar Panels on All New Buildings
By Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard, 10 January 2017
California Senator Scott Wiener introduced legislation on Monday that would require certain buildings erected in the state to be equipped with solar panel installations.
California law already requires all residential and commercial buildings under 10 stories to have at least 15 percent of the roof clear of obstructions and shade—in other words, “solar ready.” Wiener’s legislation goes a step further, mandating that either solar photovoltaic or solar water panels actually be installed on any new rooftops.

11 January 2017

Legalizing Cameroon’s timber production chain
By Leona Liu, CIFOR Forests News, 11 January 2017
A recent study presents the most comprehensive scientific analysis of illegal logging to date. Its findings indicate that one third of tropical timber traded globally comes from illegal deforestation.
“Forestry crime including corporate crimes and illegal logging account for up to $152 billion every year, more than all official development aid combined,” said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, one of the partner organizations supporting the assessment.
More than 40 scientists around the world, including several scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), produced the report. The study was coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) in association with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

It’s time to wake up to the devastating impact flying has on the environment
By Roger Tyers, The Conversation, 11 January 2017
Ready to get over your post-festive comedown by booking an escape to the sun? For many of you, that will involve flying. And while I’m sorry to put a downer on your holiday plans, there are several problems with this from a climate perspective.
The first is that aviation is essentially a fossil fuel industry, one which guzzles an eye-watering 5m barrels of oil every day. Burning that fuel currently contributes around 2.5% to total carbon emissions, a proportion which could rise to 22% by 2050 as other sectors emit less.
The second problem is, as Air Asia puts it, “Now everyone can fly”. And in “generation easyJet”, those who already fly, fly more than ever. This increasing demand from new and existing travellers means the number of passenger aircraft in our skies is set to double by 2035.
The third problem is that unlike other sectors where there might be a greener alternative (solar not coal, LEDs not lightbulbs etc), there is currently no way to fly 8m people every day without burning lots of dirty kerosene. Aircraft are becoming more fuel-efficient, but not quickly enough to offset the huge demand in growth. Electric planes remain decades away, weighed down by batteries that can’t deliver nearly as much power per kilo as jet fuel.

[Cambodia] Prey Lang Carbon Study Moves Ahead
By Aun Pheap, The Cambodia Daily, 11 January 2017
The government on Monday signed a $1.5-million deal with Conservation International and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to study the potential for a carbon trading project involving the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the largest remaining lowland evergreen forest in Southeast Asia.
If successful, the Japanese bank will start buying carbon credits from Cambodia in 2020 based on how much projected forest loss—and, in effect, carbon emissions—it can prevent in the northeast corner of the sanctuary, located in Stung Treng province.

World’s largest tropical peatland found in Congo basin
By Georgia Brown, The Guardian, 11 January 2017
Scientists have discovered the world’s largest tropical peatland in the remote Congo swamps, estimated to store the equivalent of three year’s worth of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions.
Researchers mapped the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo basin and found they cover 145,500 sq km – an area larger than England. The swamps could lock in 30bn tonnes of carbon that was previously not known to exist, making the region one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth.
The UK-Congolese research team, co-led by Prof Simon Lewis and Dr Greta Dargie, from the University of Leeds and University College London, first discovered the swamps five years ago. Their research, published in Nature on Wednesday, combined three year’s worth of peat analysis with satellite data to estimate that the Congo basin peatlands store the equivalent of nearly 30% of the world’s tropical peatland carbon.

The EU’s Disastrous Attempt To Reduce Carbon Emissions Revealed
By Diane James MEP, Huffington Post, 11 January 2017
At the forefront of the European Union’s efforts to meet its international and other self-imposed carbon emission reduction targets is quite possibly the most flawed system in the world. It is a system that has gifted billions upon billions of Euros to the continent’s largest emitters in subsidies, lined the pockets of international criminals with vast sums, and not only increased carbon emissions on Europe’s borders to the tune of hundreds of million tonnes of CO2 it also created the an environmental disaster dubbed the worst in history. And when it all went catastrophically wrong, the EU has given itself privileges of market manipulation that would have sent a banker to jail many times over if they had tried the same thing in any ordinary market.
And here is the punchline: and you paid for it all.
Someone once said that a camel is a horse designed by a Committee. Well, in this case the horse is an effort to reduce carbon emissions by using market mechanisms. And the committee is the European Union.
Allow me to introduce you to the camel.

Kenya: KFS on High Alert Over Forest Fires
Daily Nation, 11 January 2017
Kenya Forest Service (KFS) workers are on high alert over possible fire outbreak in forested zones due to harsh climate.
According to the Nyeri Ecosystem Conservator and KFS Zonal manager Muchiri Mathinji, the very dry and windy weather that can provoke fire in the forests.
“When the weather is too hot characterised by dry winds, fire spreads very fast,” he said.
“We are calling people living near forests to be very careful and avoid using fire without any measures,” he said.
Mr Mathinji said all precautionary measures had been put in place including sensitising communities living in the forested areas on the need for deterrence, detecting and subdual of fire outbreaks.
The forest Act 2005 recognizes the role of communities in co-management of forests which are an important natural resource.

12 January 2017

‘Green deserts’ or functional forests?
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forests News, 12 January 2017
Natural forests support life in complex ways. Forest ecosystems are habitats for animals and humans, they regulate air quality, temperature and carbon cycling, protect soils and water quality, help mitigate climate change, and much more.
‘Planted forests’, “composed of trees established through planting and/or through deliberate seeding of native or introduced species”, rarely manage to fully replicate the rich ecosystems of natural forests. But can they provide benefits for the environment, and for human well-being?
New research led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) aims to provide an improved basis for assessing the contribution of planted forests to ecosystem services. In a recent paper in the journal Ecosystem Services, researchers from CIFOR and the University of Melbourne propose a framework for assessing the well-being benefits of planted forests.

New study shows where carbon finance should—and shouldn’t—drive conservation efforts
Phys.org, 12 January 2017
The world’s forests are crucial to slowing climate change, but they’re often destroyed to make room for farms, mines, and other economic ventures. One possible solution to deforestation is carbon finance: giving companies and countries monetary incentives to reduce their climate change-causing carbon emissions from deforestation. But carbon finance isn’t in place on the large scale yet, and it’s unclear how effective it might be. A new study suggests that potential success for carbon finance varies widely—it can work under the right conditions, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
“Forests are one of the most important tools available to humanity for mitigating global climate change. This study tells us what the viable solutions might be in different areas,” explains the study’s lead author Ashwin Ravikumar, an environmental social scientist at The Field Museum in Chicago. “No one solution will work everywhere—we need to tailor solutions and funding streams to individual situations.”

It’s Time to Give Nature the Credit It Deserves
By Andrew Erickson, The Nature Conservancy, 12 January 2017
Nature is often admired for its beauty, but rarely for the critical role it plays in moving, storing and filtering water before it comes out of our taps. Rivers, lakes, soil, plants and trees serve as our most basic water infrastructure. While investments in gray infrastructure have helped manage increasing water demands around the world, our future does not need to be lined exclusively in concrete. By investing in and maintaining the land around our water sources, we can create a more water-secure future for cities and communities while generating a number of other benefits for people and nature.
Currently, cities around the world spend billions of dollars to move and treat water, and that’s expected to rise into the trillions by 2025. More than 1.7 billion people currently live in the 4,000 largest cities on Earth, and that number will only grow in coming years. Finding enough clean, reliable sources of water to meet those growing demands won’t be easy given that 40 percent of our watersheds are seeing moderate to high degradation from development, deforestation and the expansion of agriculture.

[India] Mangaluru: Fire in the Ghats; Sambar deer, bison at risk
By Gururaj A Paniyadi, Deccan Chronicle, 12 January 2017
The usually lush green hills and valleys of the Western Ghats are turning black and brown this winter thanks to forest fires that have come months too early owing to the poor rainfall that has dried up the grasslands.
Normally seen in summer, the fires began as early as end of December, consuming greenery in Barimale, Hosamane Gudda, Ramana Gudda and Soppina Gudda located between the Arekal Valley and Horatti Valley. Environmentalists fear they will harm not only the flora and fauna but also the small natural springs rising in the ghats owing to their large spread.

[Indonesia] Korean company bans forest clearing for Indonesian palm oil concessions
mongabay.com, 12 January 2017
Korean company Korindo has said they will stop clearing forest for palm oil concessions until sustainability assessments can be made. The company has promised to conduct an assessment of the 75,000 hectares of remaining forests on their palm oil concessions in Indonesian Papua.
U.S.-based environmental group Mighty Earth said in a statement on January 10 that they and their partners will be meeting with Korindo at the end of the month in the hopes that the company will agree to use the High Carbon Stock Approach methodology (HCSA) in its assessments.
HCSA is regarded as the industry standard methodology for distinguishing forest areas from degraded land. In order to follow the HCSA standard, Korindo must use credible assessors, make assessments available to the public, and seek independent verification of compliance.

[Indonesia] Haze fears rise as Riau hotspots increase
Today, 12 January 2017
Forest and land fires could plague the Indonesian province of Riau again, with an increasing number of hotspots being detected in recent days.
Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency head Sugarin, who goes by one name, said that satellites first detected the hotspots on Sunday. “At that time, six hotspots were detected. The following day, the number increased to seven, with hotspots in Siak, Pelalawan and Kuantan Singingi,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday (Jan 11).
According to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre, the number of hotspots in Sumatra rose to 11 on Tuesday before dropping to one on Wednesday. It also detected a hotspot in Kalimantan on Wednesday.

Singapore Environment Council launches tougher eco-label for paper
By Vaidehi Shah, Eco-Business, 12 January 2017
The Singapore Environment Council (SEC), the non-profit organisation behind the country’s most prominent eco-certification scheme, on Tuesday unveiled what it calls “some of the world’s toughest environmental standards” for sustainable pulp and paper products.
The Singapore Green Labelling Scheme’s (SGLS) enhanced pulp and paper criteria, which SEC developed in collaboration with consulting giant Deloitte, features new requirements such as peatland protection and fire management.

[USA] California lawmakers offer a plan to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program
By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 12 January 2017
A group of lawmakers, including some who have been skeptical of global warming regulations, introduced legislation on Thursday to ensure that California’s cap-and-trade emissions control program remains a permanent part of the state’s climate policy.
The measure, AB 151, is only one paragraph long right now, but it represents an opening bid in the brewing battle over the future of the state’s program for requiring companies to buy pollution permits in order to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

13 January 2017

Latest atmosfair airline CO2 efficiency rankings show global air traffic growing at twice the rate of emissions
Green Air, 13 January 2017
An analysis by German climate protection organisation atmosfair of 32 million flights in 2014, covering 92% of global aviation traffic, shows CO2 emissions increased by 3% over the previous year, about half the rate of their traffic volume growth. The annual atmosfair Airline Index (AAI) compares airline emissions by city pairs of more than 200 airlines worldwide from a range of respected independent data sources and evaluates and ranks those airlines by their respective CO2 efficiency. It finds those airlines investing in new aircraft models with high seating configurations and load factors performed best in improving their carbon efficiency. As to be expected, regional and leisure airlines headed the AAI table, with a Chinese airline, China West Air, achieving the highest ranking. China is now catching up with the EU in terms of efficiency, says atmosfair, with 10 airlines, compared to 16 from Europe, in the top 50.
“Climate efficiency knows no country of origin,” said atmosfair Managing Director, Dr Dietrich Brockhagen. “The airline that knows how to adapt its modern fleet to demand and how to ideally combine technology with operations will achieve high rankings, whether that airline comes from Europe, Asia or South America.”

NASA releases images of dramatic deforestation in Cambodia
By Morgan Erickson-Davis, mongabay.com, 13 January 2017
Cambodia has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation, losing a Connecticut-size area of tree cover in just 14 years. This week, NASA released before-and-after satellite images of plantation expansion in central Cambodia that provide a dramatic example of the Southeast Asian country’s fast-paced land cover changes.
Ringed by Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, Cambodia was once covered in lush rainforests. In them lived now-Endangered animals like Indochinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti), wild cattle called banteng (Bos javanicus), and two species of colorful monkeys called doucs, as well as many other kinds of plants and animals.
However, forest conversion for agriculture and other purposes has reduced wildlife habitat significantly, and tigers are now regarded as functionally extinct in Cambodia. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), just 3 percent of Cambodia’s forests were primary as of 2015. And data from the University of Maryland (UMD) visualized on the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch shows tree cover loss skyrocketed over the past decade, from around 28,500 hectares lost in 2001 to nearly 238,000 hectares lost in 2010. In total, the data indicate Cambodia lost around 1.59 million hectares from 2001 through 2014 – an area a little larger than the U.S. state of Connecticut. Only one intact forest landscape (IFL) remains in the country; IFLs are areas of original land cover that are large and undisturbed enough to retain all their native biodiversity.

[Indonesia] Forest and land fires reappear in Riau
The New Paper, 13 January 2017
Forest and land fires have begun to threaten Riau again with an increasing number of hot spots detected.
Pekanbaru Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) head, Mr Sugarin, said the hot spots were first detected by satellites on Sunday.
“At that time, six hot spots were detected. The following day the number increased to seven, with hot spots in Siak, Pelalawan and Kuantan Singingi,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
He said more hot spots were detected in Rokan Hulu, Rokan Hilir and Siak, with another on Meranti Island.

British businessman Peter Singh Virdee arrested at Heathrow after German police accuse him of £100m tax scam
By James Rothwell and Justin Huggler, The Telegraph, 13 January 2017
A British businessman known as “Batman” is facing extradition to Germany and a possible 15-year prison sentence for alleged fraud and evasion of €125m (£109m) in VAT.
Peter Singh Virdee was arrested at Heathrow airport on Tuesday evening on a European arrest warrant, the Metropolitan police confirmed on Friday.
Prosecutors in Germany allege Mr Virdee was one of the “central organisers” of a criminal enterprise to defraud the authorities of VAT on carbon credits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
The 43-year-old businessman operated “in the background” and took pains to conceal his identity, prosecutors claim.

Businessman facing extradition to Germany denies involvement in alleged VAT scam
The Argus, 13 January 2017
A British businessman facing extradition to Germany for questioning over his alleged part in a £100 million VAT scam has denied any involvement.
Peter Singh Virdee, 43, of British-Indian descent, was detained by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Extradition Unit on Tuesday at Heathrow Airport, the Metropolitan Police said.
The businessman denies that he has been involved in any kind of fraud or carbon trading, to which the scam is said to be related.
Mr Virdee intends to “defend himself fully” against the allegations, his legal representatives said.

[USA] Alleged Ponzi scheme mastermind looks to be driving force behind NYC co-working startup Bar Works
By Konrad Putzier, The Real Deal, 13 January 2017
An investor who allegedly ran a global multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme and is being sued by U.K. authorities for misleading investors is a key figure behind the New York co-working startup Bar Works, The Real Deal has learned. The investor, Renwick Haddow, looks to have gone to great lengths to hide his involvement in the company, whose listed co-founder appears to be his Eastern European wife working under an assumed name.
The revelation comes a week after TRD reported Bar Works is raising funds by securitizing its desks and selling them to investors online, in a model that resembles some of Haddow’s past alleged schemes. And it adds to the strange saga of a startup that combines co-working spaces with bars.

14 January 2017

Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries
By Jason Hickel, The Guardian, 14 January 2017
We have long been told a compelling story about the relationship between rich countries and poor countries. The story holds that the rich nations of the OECD give generously of their wealth to the poorer nations of the global south, to help them eradicate poverty and push them up the development ladder. Yes, during colonialism western powers may have enriched themselves by extracting resources and slave labour from their colonies – but that’s all in the past. These days, they give more than $125bn (£102bn) in aid each year – solid evidence of their benevolent goodwill.
This story is so widely propagated by the aid industry and the governments of the rich world that we have come to take it for granted. But it may not be as simple as it appears.

[India] Kashmir: Valley Of Wildfires
By Mir Faizan Anwar, countercurrents.org, 14 January 2017
Wildfires have become a global phenomenon, increasing in frequency with each passing year. The year 2016 gave frightening memories to Indian forests, with Uttarakhand facing enormous devastation due to wildfires. Later in the year, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed many wildfires, throughout summer and autumn.
The gravity of devastation can be better guaged by Parliamentary Standing Committee Report, presenting a gist of fire incidents in India. As per the report, forest fires escalated at such a scale that over 24817 fire spots were detected in 2016 throughout India compared to 15937 spots in 2015. In J&K, the figures amount to 217 in the year 2016 compared to just 13 spots in 2015.
For the valley of Kashmir, in particular, year 2016 was not in any festive mood at all. While on the one hand, Kashmir was burning and reeling under strict cycle of curfew and hartal, its forests were equally caught in flames.

[Indonesia] Choppers sent to fight forest fires in Riau, Kalimantan
By Rizal Harahap and Severianus Endi, Jakarta Post, 14 January 2017
Central government to send choppers to Riau, Kalimantan Climatologists warn of more forest fires in Kalimantan due to rising temperatures
The central government will deploy helicopters to Riau and Kalimantan to help local administrations fight forest fires, which have begun to appear in some areas, an official has said.
“We are currently waiting for the helicopter. Other than Riau, reports say another helicopter will be deployed to Kalimantan,” Riau Environment and Forestry Agency head Yulwiriati Moesa said during a coordination meeting with the Riau governor’s office on Friday.
She said the Riau administration had requested assistance from the Environment and Forestry Ministry in Jakarta to address the forest fires.
She said the chopper would help them put out fires found in Riau’s 12 regencies and municipalities.

15 January 2017

Five private firms win in $13m climate auction
Energy Live News, 15 January 2017
The World Bank has allocated $13 million (£10.7m) through its third climate auction.
A total of 13 companies participated in the online Pilot Auction Facility (PAF), with five firms winning contracts.
That gives them the right to sell their future carbon credits to PAF at a fixed price of $2.10 (£1.7)/carbon credit.
If redeemed, these contracts would reduce the equivalent of 6.2 million tons of carbon emissions, according to the World Bank.
The winning firms are Belektron, Carbon Climate Protection, Enaex, Quality Carbon Asset and WeAct Pty.
 

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