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REDD in the news: 19-25 June 2017

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

19 June 2017

Brazil’s Temer vetoes opening up Amazon, but changes likely
By Renata Brito, Associated Press, 19 June 2017
President Michel Temer has vetoed legislation that would have reduced the size of Brazil’s protected environmental reserves, most of them in the Amazon region.
Temer tweeted the news of his vetoes on Monday in exchanges with supermodel Gisele Bundchen and the World Wildlife Foundation. The model had earlier tweeted Temer, imploring him to “protect mother earth” and kill the bills, which were passed by Congress last month. They would have converted around 1.4 million acres of protected land into areas open to logging, mining and agricultural use.
But the apparent victory for environmental groups may be short-lived as Brazil’s environment minister is working on similar legislation that is being harshly criticized by environmental groups.

Indonesian coal mining firm gets its license reinstated despite a history of violations
By Taufik Wijaya, Mongabay, 19 June 2017
As Indonesia proceeds with its campaign to stamp out illegality in the palm oil and mining sectors, canceling thousands of permits nationwide, a Sumatran court has restored a coal company’s license after the governor revoked it.
Activists fear the verdict could set a precedent for similar cases.
The company, PT Batubara Lahat, had its license to mine coal withdrawn by the South Sumatra governor in November 2016, after the mining firm was found to owe the government more than 27 billion rupiah (~$2 million) in royalties and other non-tax obligations.
On June 8, the Palembang State Administrative Court annulled that decision, reinstating the company’s Mining Business License (IUP).
Rabin Ibnu Zainal, director of Pilar Nusantara, an NGO monitoring coal mining in South Sumatra, told Mongabay-Indonesia his organization had not yet received a copy of the court’s verdict. However, he said, the court gave two justifications for overturning the governor’s decree. First, the court reasoned that the Audit Board of Indonesia — part of the central government — is responsible for calculating royalties and non-tax revenues owed by coal companies. Thus, the court decided, revocation of permits on grounds of delinquent payments should be carried out by Jakarta rather than regional officials.

[Kenya] Interview: We’ve restored 850k hectares of degraded forests by involving communities – PS
By Gilbert Koech, The Star, 19 June 2017
Kenya’s natural resources play a critical role in not only helping Kenya achieve her goals but also in meeting some of the international protocols and obligations. Environment PS Margaret Mwakima outlines to the Star the steps her ministry is taking to make natural resources sustainable.
Rampant deforestation has hurt water catchment areas. What is your ministry doing about it, and can a 10 per cent constitutional forest cover be achieved?
In the past, cases of degradation to water catchment areas occurred in various parts of the country, mainly due to forestland being given out for human settlement, as opposed to its core function of watershed conservation. Other causes of degradation included human encroachment, forest fires, illegal logging, overgrazing and charcoal burning.

[Norway] Global religious and indigenous leaders warn against deforestation
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 19 June 2017
Religious and indigenous leaders appealed on Monday for better protection of tropical forests from the Amazon to the Congo basin, with a Vatican bishop likening current losses to a collective suicide by humanity.
Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Daoist representatives met indigenous peoples in Oslo to explore moral and ethical arguments to shield forests that are under threat from logging and land clearance for farms.
Organizers said the Oslo Interfaith Rainforest Initiative from June 19-21 was the first to gather religious and indigenous peoples to seek out common ground to protect forests. They hope to organize a summit in 2018.

Catastrophic forest fires in Portugal raise wider concerns
Financial Times, 19 June 2017
Portugal’s devastating forest fire is forcing the authorities to question whether land use or the wider issue of climate change may have contributed to the disaster. Peter Wise, the FT’s Lisbon correspondent, explains the human and economic cost of the catastrophe, and says it could prompt a change in the way the country’s forests are managed.

20 June 2017

A huge part of Antarctica is melting and scientists say that’s bad news
By AJ Willingham, CNN, 20 June 2017
Antarctica is experiencing weird weather, and the changes have some scientists worried about the future.
There’s an area on the west side of the icy continent called the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and last January, scientists found a 300,000-square-mile portion of its perimeter was melting. That’s an area roughly two times the size of California, covered in slush.
According to recent research published in Nature Communications, the melt was caused by an unusually strong El Niño event around January 2016.

Tropics in trouble as rising heat, humidity push populations to the edge: study
By Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June 2017
Rising temperatures and humidity will make the world’s tropics increasingly unliveable by pushing more people to the thresholds of their physical tolerance and beyond, a new international study finds.
As of 2000, about 30 per cent of the world’s population lived in regions where the climate exceeds deadly threshold levels – based on temperature and relatively humidity levels – for at least 20 days a year, researchers publishing in the Nature Climate Change journal estimate.

Participation in Aviation Carbon Offsetting Scheme Reaches 70 States
By Alice Bisiaux, IISD, 20 June 2017
As of 31 May 2017, 70 States, representing over 87.7% of international aviation activity, expressed their intention to voluntarily participate in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) – the global market-based measure (MBM) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
In October 2016, the ICAO adopted CORSIA in an effort to stabilize aviation emissions at 2020 levels. After 2020, airlines will be required to offset any growth in their emissions by buying credits from projects that reduce emissions, such as forestry or renewable energy projects.

Brazil’s Temer vetoes rollback of Amazon forest protections
By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home, 20 June 2017
Brazil’s president Michel Temer has vetoed a bill that would have lowered protections on 1.4 million acres of land – much of it in the Amazon rainforest.
The measures would have downgraded the protections on the forests to the lowest level under Brazilian law, which would allow farming and mining activities. They had been championed by the beef industry and passed through Congress by a powerful group of politicians aligned with agricultural interests.
Only Temer’s veto could maintain the protections and on Monday night, shortly after being publicly lobbied by Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, he said he would block the bill.

New ‘disturbance map’ shows damaging effects of forest loss in Brazilian Amazon
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 20 June 2017
As Brazil’s government steps back from Amazon conservation, the urgent need for stronger protection has been made more apparent by a new data map that highlights the knock-on effect of the forest’s capacity to absorb carbon, regulate temperatures and sustain life.
Launched on Tuesday, the Silent Forest project assesses the extent and impact of forest degradation – a largely man-made phenomenon that is less well-known than land clearance, but is seen by scientists as potentially more of a problem for the climate and biodiversity.
Forest degradation is the thinning of tree density and the culling of biodiversity below an apparently protected canopy – usually as a result of logging, fire, drought and hunting.

[EU] Dodgy climate accounting rules pose a real threat to our forests
by Zak Gratton, Bright Green, 20 June 2017
Global forests play a huge role as a carbon sink. At the same time, how we manage (or mismanage) forests and land has a major impact on the climate – around one third of CO2 emissions between 1750 to 2011 came from changes in land use and forest cover. [1] Negotiating an international deal to address deforestation has been basically impossible for decades; climate change has added urgency to the task. But that isn’t stopping corrupt officials and vested interests throwing their spanners in the works.
After the Paris Agreement, forest management can contribute to each nations’ overall mitigation commitments, within the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.
On June 22nd, the European Parliament will finalise a decision on how GHG emissions are accounted for within the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments.

[Norway] Religious leaders join forces in Oslo to protect rainforests
AFP, 20 June 2017
Religious leaders around the world met Monday in Oslo to urge further efforts to fight deforestation that is wiping out thousands of square kilometres of rainforests each year.
Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Jewish leaders are meeting indigenous people affected by deforestation as well as experts on climate change and human rights over three days to devise an interfaith action plan for 2018.
It is thought to be the first time leaders from the world’s major religions have joined forces to protect tropical rainforests, “the most diverse, unique nature system on Earth”, said Lars Løvold, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway.

[Philippines] New DENR chief bares ‘investor-friendly’ policies
By James Konstantin Galvez, The Manila Times, 20 June 2017
The new head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has bared his plans for the first time, vowing to speed up the issuance of environmental permits.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu also said in a speech last Thursday the DENR would push for “clean and green” energy development, proper management of water resources and solid waste, and responsible mining.
Cimatu, a former Armed Forces chief, took over the DENR last month from Regina Paz Lopez, whose nomination to the post was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.

Forest fires in Russia’s Siberia, Far East swell by almost 5,000 hectares
TASS, 20 June 2017
Forest fires in Siberia and the Far East swelled by nearly 5,000 hectares in the past 24 hours, reaching 21,700 hectares, Russia’s federal aerial forest protection service Avialesokhrana said in a statement on Tuesday.
“As many as 2,200 people have been combatting 96 forest fires covering 21,700 hectares, firefighting activities also involve 285 pieces of equipment and 36 aircraft,” the statement reads. Most of the fires are located in Siberia.

[USA] Climate goals: inside California’s effort to overhaul its ambitious emissions plan
By Katie Fehrenbacher, The Guardian, 20 June 2017
California has one of the world’s most sophisticated and ambitious cap-and-trade programs, which are designed to provide financial incentives to big polluters, such as electricity providers and oil refineries, to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
The complex program, which began only in 2013, is a signature component of California’s plan to cut emissions in the midst of a controversial makeover by state policymakers, after they passed a landmark bill last year that created one of the world’s most aggressive climate change goals: to lower carbon emissions to 40% below the 1990 levels by 2030.

[USA] A Consensus Climate Solution
By Mark Tercek, The Nature Conservancy, 20 June 2017
If there’s a silver lining to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, it’s the renewed commitment to climate action we’re seeing across the country. More than 1,200 universities, colleges, investors, businesses, mayors and governors recently sent a letter to the United Nations underscoring their pledge to help the U.S. make good on its promise for climate action.
Among these voices are members of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), a new coalition calling for a consensus climate solution that bridges partisan divides, strengthens our economy and protects our shared environment. The coalition includes 11 of the largest companies in the world as well as former Secretaries of State, Treasury and Energy.

21 June 2017

Participation of local people in monitoring forests: why and how?
By Manuel Boissière, Douglas Sheil, Stibniati Atmadja, and Martin Herold, PLOS, 21 June 2017
It is a common slogan that many “global problems call for local solutions”. This slogan certainly applies to reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide by maintaining and improving our planet’s forest cover. This is appealing because many local and global benefits also derive from forest: for example, forests support the majority of the world’s species, are a critical source of rainfall, and support the livelihoods of over one and a half billion people including many of the poorest on our planet.
The success of forest management and conservation often depends on the consent and involvement of local people. Projects that ignore local needs and concerns frequently fail while those that seek engagement and achieve effective participation are more likely to succeed. These issues are receiving renewed attention now that forest protection and expansion are among the major strategies to mitigate climate change – an approach widely known as “REDD+” (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). Our new PLOS Collection investigates the factors determining the viability of such participation.

Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 21 June 2017
Some of the world’s top banks are continuing to lend tens of billions for extracting the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels, according to a report of top lenders.
Finance provided for these fossil fuels – tar sands and other unconventional oil and gas, as well as coal and liquefied natural gas – amounted to $87bn for the top 37 banks in 2016. That represented a slump of more than a fifth compared with the $111bn raised the previous year, and was also down on 2014’s total of $92bn.
However, the analysis, carried out by a group of NGOs including the Rainforest Action Network and Sierra Club, showed that multinational banks around the globe, including many household names, were trumpeting their green credentials while continuing to pour money into the dirtiest fuels.

The invisible revolution making planes lighter
By Cathy Buyck and Joshua Posaner, Politico, 21 June 2017
To the casual flier, airliners seem the same as always, except for the ever-smaller seats, non-existent meal service and seat-back screens.
There’s a revolution happening that doesn’t have to do with passenger comfort: radically reconfigured engines, novel manufacturing techniques that use less steel and more carbon fiber, and small but crucial changes that keep airplanes cleaner and thus lighter.
Aircraft may never enjoy the technology gains that transformed computers and are doing the same for solar panels — the physics of flight doesn’t allow for that — but even incremental gains can help aircraft save fuel and cut their carbon footprint.
Here are five of the many changes (some still on the drawing boards) aimed at cutting the use of fuel.

Land restoration in Ethiopia: ‘This place was abandoned … This is incredible to me’
By Cathy Wilson, The Guardian, 21 June 2017
Ethiopia is suffering from severe drought, but there is water in Gergera. 20 years of restoring its hills and river valley has brought life back to this area of the Tigray region in the country’s far north.
The work has been painstaking, complex and multidimensional and continues to this day. But the hard-won results offer up two key lessons. We know now that landscape restoration in drylands hinges on water management. And we know, just as importantly, that restoration can create a base for better livelihoods and jobs for youth who formerly left in droves.

Long road ahead to indigenous land and forest rights in Peru
By Barbara Fraser, Forests News, 21 June 2017
Over the past half-century, more than 1,300 indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon have obtained title to more than 12 million hectares of land—about 17 percent of the country’s forest area.
The gains have come through a series of regulatory reforms that have resulted in both progress and setbacks for indigenous communities, says Iliana Monterroso, a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for International Forestry Research and one of the authors of a new study on land and forest tenure reforms in Peru.
“Understanding the history of the tenure reforms in Peru is important for identifying the challenges that remain and the opportunities that exist for addressing them,” Monterroso says.

Stephen Hawking, Michael Bloomberg Echo Call For US Carbon Tax
By Steve Zwick, Huffington Post, 21 June 2017
Back in February, a group of prominent Republicans aligned with a fledgling initiative called the Climate Leadership Council called for a nationwide tax on carbon to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and slow climate change. Now the Council is back, with a diverse array of founding members and a full page ad in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal calling for a climate-change solution that “bridges partisan divides, strengthens our economy and protects our shared environment”.
The ad is clearly targeted to a business-minded audience, and individual founding members who put their names to it include former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, US hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio, economist Martin Feldstein, physicist Stephen Hawking, businessman Vinod Khosla, economist N. Gregory Mankiw, Cargill chairman Gregory R. Page, Emerson Collective founder Laurene Powell Jobs, venture capitalist and serial CEO Tom Stephenson, former World Bank chief economist Lawrence Summers, Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, and Walmart boss Rob Walton, as well as former Reagan White House officials James Baker and George Schulz.

22 June 2017

Why the Commons Matter
By Mary Ann Manahan and Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South, 22 June 2017
The enclosures of the commons that Polanyi wrote about in 1944 Britain continue all over the world today, through an alarming array of laws, policies, and treaties and agreements, often through the exercise of brute force. In a world wracked with deepening climate, economic, environmental and social crises, capital recognizes the potential of commons to nurture and recreate “the conditions needed for life and its reproduction.” (De Angelis, n.d.)
The commons refer to different kinds of wealth, spaces, values, social relations, systems, processes and activities that “belong to” communities, societies and in some cases all of us, that are actively claimed, (re)created, protected and restored for collective good and purpose, for present and future generations. The best known examples of commons are natural, for example air, water, land, forests and biodiversity. But over the years, commons scholars have expanded the realm of the commons to social, intellectual, cultural and even political spheres. These include health, education, knowledge, science, technology, the internet, literature, music, human rights, justice, etc. Notions of social and political commons that require interventions by state institutions do not sit well with some commons scholars. We argue, however, that values and facilities crucial for life, dignity, equity and equality should be recognized as commons, even if we do not yet have non-state, non-market regimes to govern them.

Local government must lead zero-deforestation efforts at jurisdictional levels
By Chris Meyer, EDF, 22 June 2017
Major consumer goods companies that have pledged to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains need support from their local governments to accelerate and scale up the implementation of their commitments, according to analysis from Environmental Defense Fund published in the latest journal from the European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN).
Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change, and hundreds of consumer goods companies that purchase soy, palm oil, timber & pulp, and beef—the big four commodities that contribute significantly to deforestation—committed to eliminating deforestation from their supply chains.
But a vast majority haven’t yet acted on their zero-deforestation commitments or reported their progress—and leadership from local government can help.

[Brazil] After Rainforest Victory for Brazil’s Environmentalists, a Mining Battle Looms
By R. T. Wilson, Bloomberg, 22 June 2017
Opponents of unbridled development of Brazil’s Amazon region scored a victory this week when environmentalists fronted by supermodel Gisele Bundchen persuaded President Michel Temer to veto legislation that would have removed protections on more than 1 million acres.
A battle over Amazon land about 300 times that size may be looming.
The mining ministry has proposed legislation that would end a nearly 40-year ban on foreign-owned mining companies operating on land near the roughly 16,000-kilometer (10,000-mile) border. The zone, which extends about 150 kilometers inland, accounts for 27 percent of Brazil’s national territory, according to the mining ministry.

Can forests help revive war-torn Central African Republic?
By Bienvenu Gbelo, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 22 June 2017
Earlier this month, the United Nations envoy for the Central African Republic (CAR) reminded the world of the neglected tragedy unfolding in my country.
“The intensity of the attacks, their premeditated nature and the targeting of ethnic minorities are a reminder of the darkest moments of the Central African political and security crisis,” said the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.
He was speaking to the Security Council to mark the release of the U.N.’s 369-page report documenting human rights violations in CAR between 2003 and 2015.
He added that the political process needed to be re-energised to achieve sustainable peace.
Another way of helping bring stability back to CAR is by ending the trade in illegal timber.

Future Energy: China leads world in solar power production
By Chris Baraniuk, BBC News, 22 June 2017
Ten years ago, Geof Moser had just graduated with a master’s degree in solar energy from Arizona State University – but he didn’t feel much opportunity lay at his feet in his home country.
So he headed for China.
“The solar industry was fairly small and there weren’t a lot of jobs,” he remembers. “Just a few for installation.” But the Chinese government had big ambitions to expand solar and Moser saw his chance.
He spent some years accumulating knowledge about the Chinese solar industry, before co-founding Symtech Solar, which designs solar panel systems using Chinese parts.

China-California Pacts Show How States And Nations Can Win On Climate Under Trump
Energy Collective, 22 June 2017
The Paris Agreement is an overwhelming global consensus to fight climate change—with only Syria and Nicaragua failing to sign on—but Donald Trump’s announcement he intends to withdraw America from the accord threatens climate action. However, since his announcement on June 1st, an international silver lining has emerged to this dark cloud: Trump’s action has encouraged major nations and leader states within the U.S. to reaffirm and strengthen their commitments to seizing the decarbonization opportunity.
China and California have already begun forging new trails to capture this opportunity. During his recent six-day visit to China, Governor Jerry Brown, America’s “unofficial climate change ambassador,” met with China’s most prominent government figures, including President Xi Jinping, to discuss ways the Red Dragon and the Golden State could collaborate on climate strategies. President Xi rarely meets with government officials other than fellow national leaders, so his nearly hour-long conversation with California’s governor indicates the importance China is placing on climate cooperation.

[Ecuador] Illegal logging and hunting threaten Yasuní isolated indigenous groups
By Daniela Aguilar, Mongabay, 22 June 2017
In the depths of the Ecuadorian Amazon, on its border with Peru, indigenous communities have been denouncing what they say is an uncontrolled onslaught of illegal logging and hunting. They claim that Peruvians traffickers penetrate into their territory along the Curaray River in the province of Pastaza.
The problem is about to worsen, according to ecologists. They say the destruction wrought by these illicit activities threatens not just one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, but also endangers isolated indigenous groups that live within Yasuní National Park and the adjacent Tagaeri-Taromenane Intangible Zone (ZITT). This is happening despite precautionary measures issued in 2006 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which pressured the Ecuadorian government to safeguard the territory and the indigenous peoples that depend on it.

Nepal’s ecosystems: Aiming for new heights
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 22 June 2017
Nepal is a country of vast extremes, from lowlands and forested plains to mountain ranges, and, of course, the iconic Mount Everest. With land altitude varying from as low as 70 meters to more than 8,800 meters above sea level, this small landlocked nation has the most dramatic elevation extremes in the world. Within these vastly differing landscapes lie unique ecosystems.
For the past four decades, Nepal has been on the leading edge of Community-Based Forestry (CBF), with 40 percent of the country’s 28 million people working to manage and help restore nearly a third of the country’s forested land.

Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction
By Damien Carrington, The Guardian, 22 June 2017
Norway has issued a blunt threat to Brazil that if rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is not reversed, its billion-dollar financial assistance will fall to zero. The leaders of the two nations meet in Oslo on Friday.
The oil-rich Scandinavian nation has provided $1.1bn to Brazil’s Amazon fund since 2008, tied to reductions in the rate of deforestation in the world’s greatest rainforest. The destruction of forests by timber and farming industries is a major contributor to the carbon emissions that drive climate change and Norway views protecting the Amazon as vital for the whole world.

To resist Trump’s climate assault, California must curb oil production
By Jean Su (The Center for Biological Diversity), The Hill, 22 June 2017
President Trump’s departure from the Paris climate agreement was a serious blow to the international battle against global warming. But if Trump’s reckless retreat has a silver lining, it’s the stirring pledges we’ve heard from California Gov. Jerry Brown and other state leaders determined to carry on the climate fight.
“Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course,” the governor said after the president’s Paris announcement. And, as the leader of the world’s fifth-largest economy, Brown quickly met with the president of China about reducing greenhouse pollution.
But while Brown dons the climate hero cape on the global stage, his actions in California reveal a more complex story. One crucial piece of the puzzle is missing here. To show true climate leadership, the governor must commit to keeping dirty fossil fuels in the ground.

[USA] White House shows no sign of reopening Paris talks
By Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 22 June 2017
Three weeks after President Donald Trump pledged to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement and negotiate a better deal, foreign allies and U.S. officials alike remain perplexed about the White House’s plans going forward.
Two U.S. officials told POLITICO that senior White House aides, who are prioritizing health care legislation and increasingly preoccupied by the expanding Russia probe, have had very few internal conversations about the administration’s Paris strategy since Trump’s announcement. One official said the administration likely won’t begin mapping out its next moves until after the July G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

[USA] How Do You Offset 6 Million Tonnes of Carbon? One At A Time
By Devin Thorpe, Forbes, 22 June 2017
“In a recent survey of 1,400 adults believing in climate change caused by humans, 75% agree that there is something they can personally do to help the planet, but yet only 40% have taken action,” says Marisa de Belloy, COO of Cool Effect, the crowdfunding site that helps people buy carbon credits simply and affordably.
Americans produce an average of 17 tonnes of carbon per year, she says. The remarkable thing is how affordable it is to offset that production at CoolEffect.org. The site provides a clear price for a one-tonne carbon credit for each project on the site. The lowest price per credit: $4.12. At that price, Americans can offset their entire year’s carbon production for just $70.04.

23 June 2017

Can REDD+ help Brazil roll back rising deforestation rates?
By Maria Fernanda Gebara, CIFOR Forests News, 23 June 2017
Land-use change represents more than 60 percent of Brazil’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the Amazon accounts for 65.2 percent of that amount, according to government figures, although those numbers are sometimes contested. Much of the deforestation in the country stems from the promotion of private enterprises, particularly ranching, timber and mining.
Since the 1980s, Brazil has taken steps to reduce deforestation, with the greatest success occurring between 2004 and 2016, when the rate decreased by 71 percent. Some of those measures involved actions for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
Whether that improvement will be sustainable in the long run is unclear, however, as there was a recent sharp increase in deforestation rates.

Norway to halve forest protection payments to Brazil to about $50 mln
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 23 June 2017
Norway told visiting Brazilian President Michel Temer on Friday that it would halve its payments to help safeguard the Amazon rainforest in 2017 to about $50 million because more forests are being destroyed.
Rich from producing oil and gas, Norway has invested more than $1.1 billion in an Amazon Fund since 2008 to help Brazil protect the forests, which are under threat from logging and their conversion to farmland.
“I expressed concern that deforestation has risen somewhat (in recent years after past successes),” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters after talks with Temer, who is visiting Oslo to promote investment in Brazil after a trip to Moscow.

[Cambodia] A wetland laid to waste
By Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon and Kong Meta, Phnom Penh Post, 23 June 2017
Fires tore through the Tonle Sap wetlands last year, destroying an estimated third of the seasonally flooded forests that surround the lake. The loss of the trees, which are breeding grounds for freshwater fish, poses an existential threat to the area’s ecology and to the livelihoods of local villagers, who are taking stock a year after the disaster.

Xi Jinping Is Set for a Big Gamble With China’s Carbon Trading Market
By Chris Buckley, New York Times, 23 June 2017
As other countries look to China to take the lead in fighting global warming after President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate agreement, President Xi Jinping is pushing ahead with an ambitious plan to build the world’s largest market for carbon emissions permits.
The start of a national carbon trading market in China by late this year has been years in the making, but is now shaping up as Mr. Xi’s big policy retort to Mr. Trump’s decision to quit the Paris accord. The Chinese government said in a greenhouse gas policy guide released on Wednesday that the 2017 start was on track.

[USA] Desperate Globalists Launch New Climate Group With Former Obama Energy Secretary
By William F. Jasper, The New American, 23 June 2017
Former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz (shown) announced the formation of a new organization on energy and climate change at a National Press Club Headliners Newsmaker news conference June 21. It is called the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), and Moniz will be serving as its president and CEO.
Do we really need still another lobbying group to join the global warming hysteria choir? Apparently so, even though there are already thousands of organizations to promote the claim that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, or AGW, threatens the existence of life on Earth. These government agencies, UN agencies, NGOs, universities, laboratories, and think tanks suck up hundreds of billions of dollars annually from taxpayers and tax-exempt foundations, and then insist that we cough up even more, so that they can conduct more “research” and run more computer models that will convince us we need to let them save us, by giving them carte blanche to run the planet — and our lives.

[USA] Five convicted in boiler room scam that fleeced more than 700 investors
South Florida Business Journal, 23 June 2017
A federal jury in Miami convicted five people, including four from South Florida, for their roles in telephone sales room schemes that defrauded more than 700 victims out of $23 million, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced.
The largest scheme operated from 2009 until August 2015, inducing investors to buy shares of stock in Sanomedics International Holdings, which sold non-contact infrared thermometers for home health care and for dogs, a news release said.

24 June 2017

25 June 2017

Forest fires, cancelled flights and melting roads as extreme heat takes hold
By Henning Gloystein, Irish Independent, 25 June 2017
Extreme heat across large tracts of the northern hemisphere raised fears for crops in China, fuelled forest fires in Portugal and Russia, forced flight cancellations in the US, and melted tarmac on roads in Britain.
Yesterday marked the summer solstice – the longest day of the year – and temperatures reached the high 30s in European cities such as London, Paris and Madrid.
Rounding up the record temperatures set in the past two months, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said the Earth was experiencing “another exceptionally warm year” and the heatwaves were unusually early.

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