REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
16 January 2017
How airlines can fly around new carbon rules
By Jeremy Plester, The Guardian, 16 January 2017
The world’s airline industry adds to climate change. It burns the equivalent of more than 5m barrels of oil a day, adding up to around 2.5% of all carbon dioxide pollution, in addition to nitrogen oxides, soot and water vapour, which place an even bigger burden on the world’s climate.
Aircraft are gradually becoming more fuel efficient, but that’s not happening fast enough to keep up with the huge boom in flying – since the 1970s, global air traffic has doubled in size roughly every 15 years. Flying is still cheap and budget airlines make it even more attractive, partly thanks to an international agreement reached in 1944 that prohibits tax on aviation fuel for international flights.
[Cambodia] A Year On, Logging Force Proving Skeptics Right
By Aun Pheap and Zsombor Peter, The Cambodia Daily, 16 January 2017
A year ago on Sunday, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the start of what sounded like a muscular new crackdown on the illegal timber trade running rampant across eastern Cambodia.
It was hardly the first time he had done it. But this time he paired it with an immediate and unprecedented blanket ban on timber exports to neighboring Vietnam, a trade that had skyrocketed the year before, much of it admittedly unlicensed and untaxed.
UK airlines set out four targets to cut carbon emissions
By Phil Davies, Travel Weekly, 16 January 2017
Four targets have been set by UK airlines to help cut carbon emissions.
They are set out in a report published today (Monday) by the trade body representing UK-registered airlines.
The publication by Airlines UK sets out how the industry can meet the UK’s demand for air travel, while ensuring it limits the environmental impact and hits its stringent targets on reducing emissions.
It also calls for government backing on a range of issues.
[UK] Admin assistant accused of conning pensioners out of £2m by selling fraudulent shares banned from directing a company
By Lydia Willgress and Jaya Narain, The Telegraph, 16 January 2017
A party-loving admin assistant who was accused of conning pensioners out of more than £2million by selling fraudulent shares has been banned from directing a company but will not face criminal charges.
Prya Boodhoo, 31, set up Greentrade Partners Limited and was accused of using misleading “boiler room” tactics such as cold-calling and confidence tricks to persuade an estimated 150 victims to buy fraudulent carbon credit shares.
[Zimbabwe] Kariba REDD+ project support conservation farming
By Andrew Mambondiyani, The Zimbabean, 16 January 2017
The maize and tobacco crop were healthy as the area has received substantial rainfall since the onset of summer season late last year.
But some fields were strikingly better than others, with more lush green maize crops.
“This farmer is practicing conservation farming,” Jeremiah Matiza, who is the manager for Carbon Green Africa in Hurungwe district said. “You can see there is a lot mulch in the field, that’s what we are encouraging farmers to do”.
Carbon Green Africa is spearheading the conservation farming project under a project named Kariba REDD+ which is running in four districts in Mashonaland West province namely Binga, Nyaminyami, Hurungwe and Mbire.
17 January 2017
In the Congo basin the myth of “Selective logging” bites the dust
Greenpeace Africa, 17 January 2017
There is an urgent need to find a solution to protect the remaining intact forests in the Congo Basin, while also respecting the rights of forest dependent and indigenous communities. Unless new conservation approaches are developed, these forests will be lost within this century.
New research published last Friday by a team of experts led by University of Maryland professor Peter Potapov reveals that between 2000 and 2013 so-called “selective” logging accounted for 77% of Africa’s total loss of Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs).[i] Home to millions of forest-dependent people, IFLs are reservoirs of biodiversity. These IFL’s are not only the greatest terrestrial storage of carbon, they are also far more resilient to natural disturbance and effects of climate change than smaller forest areas.
[Indonesia] Greenpeace slams HSBC for funding destructive Indonesian palm oil firms
By Kanupriya Kapoor, Reuters, 17 January 2017
Environmental group Greenpeace International on Tuesday slammed HSBC Holdings Plc for allegedly funding palm oil companies in Indonesia that it says have destroyed tropical rainforests.
HSBC and other banks lent to palm oil companies that are “responsible for unacceptable activities”, Greenpeace said in a report, highlighting loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars given out by the London-based bank since 2012 to six companies allegedly responsible for deforestation in Indonesia.
‘Out of control’ wildfires damage protected areas in northern Peru
By Benji Jones, mongabay.com, 17 January 2017
Using a combination of high-resolution satellite imagery and data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), MAAP detected wildfire deforestation within 11 reserves that decorate the country’s northern states.
“Recent burn areas show up pretty clearly in high-resolution imagery, so it is possible to draw polygons around these areas and calculate area,” Matt Finer, lead author of the analysis, said in an email to Mongabay.
In last days, Obama Administration transfers $500 million to UN climate action fund
By Samantha Page, Think Progress, 17 January 2017
The State Department announced Tuesday it would transfer $500 million to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF), likely irking Republican lawmakers while keeping what commitments it can to the international community before President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Friday.
“The Green Climate Fund is a critical tool that helps catalyze billions of dollars in public and private investment, in countries dealing not only with the challenges of climate change, but the immense economic opportunities that are embedded in the transition to a lower-carbon economy,” a spokesman said.
18 January 2017
Hottest year ever and Arctic meltdown put the world on the brink of catastrophe
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 18 January 2017
NASA and NOAA reported Wednesday that 2016 beat the record for hottest year ever — a record set only in 2015, which itself had crushed the record set in 2014.
“The fact that we’re punching at the ceiling every year now, that is the real indicator that we’re undergoing big changes,” said Deke Arndt, NOAA’s chief of global climate monitoring.
‘Restoration starts on the ground’
CIFOR, 18 January 2017
Monitoring is the only way to effectively assess the performance of global restoration initiatives, but is not yet receiving the attention it deserves, says Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR’s Team Leader on Forest Management and Restoration.
Guariguata spoke about the importance of combining top-down and bottom-approaches to monitoring at the 13th Conference of Parties to the CBD (CBD COP13), held from 4-17 December 2016 in Cancun, Mexico.
Carbon Pricing in 2016
By David Hone, The Energy Collective, 18 January 2017
Given that 2016 marked the first full year of climate policy development after COP21 in Paris and was the year in which leaders lined up to sign and then ratify the Agreement, one might have expected a deluge of new carbon pricing policy initiatives. Rather, the picture was mixed, although there were some notable advancements.
Is Brazil green washing hydropower? The case of the Teles Pires dam
By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres, mongabay.com, 18 January 2017
In April 2014, the Teles Pires Hydroelectric Company — builder and operator of Brazil’s Teles Pires dam in the Amazon Basin — was awarded a Green Certificate in the “Responsible Social and Environmental Management” category of the Chico Mendes Award, a prize named after the assassinated Brazilian social activist and eco-hero.
That prize was presented by the NGO Instituto Internacional de Pesquisa e Responsabilidade Socioambiental Chico Mendes (Chico Mendes International Research and Social Institute). The award goes to companies that provide Brazil with “solutions to conflicts between development, social justice and environmental equilibrium.” Winning it “is considered the most important socio-environmental event in Brazil,” says the institute.
[Mexico] Second winner of environmental prize killed months after Berta Cáceres death
By Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, 18 January 2017
An indigenous Mexican activist who received the prestigious Goldman environmental prize for his crusade against illegal logging has been shot dead, the second award-winner to have been murdered in less than 12 months.
Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer and leader of the Tarahumara community in the country’s northern Sierra Madre mountain region, was shot at a relative’s home on Sunday.
Nordic climate project disrupts lives in Uganda: “We’ve been driven away”
YLE, 18 January 2017
Part-funded by Finnish taxpayers, this forestry project in East Africa is billed as a win-win for all involved – but the reality is less rosy.
“We used to grow rice where the forest is. Now we’ve been driven away. We have nowhere to grow our crops,” says Josephine Ateng.
“When they started to plant trees in the area, we had houses there. Those homes were destroyed,” says Moses Olungu.
Slow carbon credits uptake hinders Zimbabwe’s REDD+ project
The Zimbabwean, 18 January 2017
According to figures availed by the Zimbabwean government, more than 4.5 million people were food insecure in 2016, with the number expected to go up as farmers approach the next harvest this year.
Though most parts of the country have received good rainfall this season, many small scale farmers did not have farming inputs and tillage power.
The shortage of farming inputs coupled with lack of tillage power has resulted in many farmers reducing their hectarage under crops.
However, in Hurungwe district, Mashonaland West, small scale farmers mostly, women who benefited from nutritional community gardens spearheaded by a private company, Carbon Green Africa, are expecting bumper harvests this season.
The nutritional community gardens are part of the the Kariba REDD+ which started in 2011 and running concurrently with various other projects in four districts in the province.
19 January 2017
On the move: People and forests in a globalized world
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forests News, 19 January 2017
Inclusive development is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, kicking off this week in Davos, Switzerland. We sat down with Christine Padoch, Director of CIFOR’s Forests and Human Wellbeing Team, to discuss how inequality relates to global migration patterns, and what it all means for forests.
One of the World’s Biggest Pulp Mills Is Devastating Indonesia’s Environment
AFP, 19 January 2017
Green groups said Thursday that one of the world’s biggest pulp mills which started production on Indonesia’s Sumatra island last month was causing enormous environmental damage.
The groups said the $3 billion mill belonging to industry giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) was sourcing raw materials mostly from trees grown on drained peatlands, where haze-belching fires occur every year.
[Guyana] How Do You Measure Carbon in a Forest?
By Chris Warren, Winrock International, 19 January 2017
As part of its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) agreement with Norway, Guyana had to estimate the carbon contained in its expansive forests. Though a lot of rigorous analysis went into developing the best way to do this — a process Winrock spearheaded — getting it right ultimately required sending teams from the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) armed with tape measures, clipboards and GPS devices out into the forest to measure trees.
20 January 2017
21 January 2017
Chile declares state of emergency due to massive wildfires
Reuters, 21 January 2017
Chile declared a state of emergency on Friday as more than a dozen wildfires that have scorched nearly 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) threatened to encroach on towns, factories and vineyards.
Firefighters, forestry service personnel and members of the military are battling 18 separate blazes in the center and south of the country that have been fueled by strong winds and a heat wave.
The largest has consumed 24,000 hectares in and around Pumanque, a rural area some 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of the capital Santiago that is near some of Chile’s vineyards.
[UK] Carbon credit frontman banned
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 21 January 2017
The frontman for a dodgy carbon credit investment firm has been banned from acting as a company director for the next 15 years.
This is five years after I warned readers they could lose every penny they invested because there was no two-way market in the carbon credits he was peddling.
Lee John Thompson, 47, of Canvey Island in Essex, was the sole director of World Carbon Limited.
[UK] Which? undercover investigation reveals personal data being shared on ‘huge scale’
By Chloe Farand, The Independent, 21 January 2017
Personal and financial information is being sold “on a huge scale” to anyone ready to buy the data.
That was the finding of an investigation by consumer group Which? following an undercover operation in which it approached 14 companies that sell data, also known as list brokers.
Which? posed as a “dodgy” pension advice company – apparently looking to operate a scam – and managed to access more than half a million names, telephone numbers and pension details.