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REDD in the news: 3-9 July 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.

3 July 2017

A look into ADB’s future climate change work
By Jenny Lei Ravelo, devex, 3 July 2017
The Asian Development Bank is finalizing its climate change operational framework for the period 2017-2030.
Part of the framework informs how the bank will meet its target of raising $6 billion in climate financing by 2020, and how the multilateral institution plans to support its member countries in meeting their nationally determined contributions or climate pledges under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The goal is to flesh out the details of countries’ climate pledges, convert them into investment plans and clearly articulate their financing requirements, said Preety Bhandari, adviser and head of ADB’s climate change coordination and disaster risk management unit.

UN chief: US may meet Paris climate goals despite exit
Associated Press, 3 July 2017
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United States may meet the Paris climate agreement’s targets despite pulling out of the deal.
Guterres says Michael Bloomberg, a U.N. special envoy on climate change, is “convinced” the U.S. will reach the Paris goals. Guterres says that’s because some U.S. states, cities and businesses are committed to green energy regardless of the federal government.
Guterres said in a speech Monday in Lisbon, Portugal, that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the global Paris agreement last month strengthened the deal to fighting global warming by prompting other major countries to reaffirm their commitment to it. He named China, India and the members of the European Union as examples.

4 July 2017

GCF begins first REDD+ transfer
Green Climate Fund, 4 July 2017
The Green Climate Fund is transferring its first REDD+ disbursement to help Ecuador reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect its forests.
The current transfer of USD 7.9 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a GCF Accredited Entity, marks a key milestone for the Fund. It is the first time GCF is distributing climate finance supporting REDD+.

The cost of missed opportunities
By Andrew North, CIFOR Forests News, 4 July 2017
It is clear that REDD+ has changed from what was first envisaged. First formulated in 2005 as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the approach attracted high hopes for slowing down climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation. An integral part of the approach that was originally conceived included direct payments to forest users for not deforesting or degrading forests.
This has not turned out to have been as central to REDD+ implementation as initially expected. There is still, however, broad consensus that the global beneficiaries of climate change mitigation should provide benefits greater than the burdens faced by local forest users who are asked to conserve forest.

Hawking says Trump’s climate policies could turn Earth into Venus
Xinhua, 4 July 2017
British physicist Stephen Hawking said U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement could lead to “irreversible” climate change and turn the Earth into a hothouse planet like Venus.
Hawking, famous for his theories on black holes and the origin of the Universe, made the remarks in a recent interview with BBC in honor of his 75th birthday.
Trump said in early June that he has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact signed by 195 parties to fight climate change. The U.S. move has aroused worldwide criticism.
“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid,” Hawking told BBC News.

Africa Carbon Forum Highlights Climate Action as Driver of Transformative Sustainable Development
By Stefan Jungcurt, IISD, 4 July 2017
Participants to the ninth African Carbon Forum highlighted the need to build political momentum for implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change as an opportunity to support a transformational shift towards low-carbon economic development and greater resilience to climate change.
Attended by more than 600 experts, policy makers and ministers from African countries, the Forum served as platform to take stock of climate action and financing needs across the continent. Participants discussed, among other issues: practical examples of policies, initiatives and actions; barriers and enabling measures for engaging climate action in key sectors; financial instruments and regulatory frameworks; and opportunities to advance implementation of climate action.

Drought-hit Ethiopia moves to protect its dwindling forests
By Elias Gebreselassie, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 4 July 2017
Ethiopia is enlisting the cooperation of people in and around its forests to manage woodland better, hoping to protect the country from the effects of climate change while boosting development prospects for its population of 100 million.
The government of Africa’s second most populous country has set an ambitious aim of reducing poverty and becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2025, in part by transforming the way rural landscapes are managed.
Its Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy aims to meet half of its target reduction in carbon emissions by adding 5 million hectares (12.4 million acres) of forests by 2020 – just three years from now – and restoring 22 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030.
The government sees adding forests as a key way to both curb climate change and help the country adapt to and deal with strong climate change impacts, including droughts, said Yitbetu Moges, the national representative for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Forestry, Environment and Climate Change.

[India] A look inside Meghalaya’s lesser known sacred groves
By Dinesh C Sharma, Daily O, 4 July 2017
Meghalaya is known to have some of the wettest places on the planet — Cherrapunji and Mawsynram — which attract tourists and onlookers. However, perhaps the best kept secret of the state is its sacred groves — forest patches traditionally protected by communities — spread in the hill districts. These are pristine forest areas conserved for centuries by local tribes as abodes of their deities.
People believe that even plucking a flower or a nut from these groves could earn the wrath of gods. In the age of climate change, these sacred groves have become models of conservation for the world and are earning carbon credits for tribal communities.

NSC On Climate Change, Reed+ Liberia Strategies Approved
By Edwin M. Fayia, III, Daily Observer, 4 July 2017
The National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has approved a five strategy plan for the implementation of the REED+ forest project in Liberia. This followed months of extensive negotiations and critical documents finalized with support from partners.
In an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, the National Coordinator for the REDD+ project in Liberia, Saah David Jr, said the official signing ceremony was held at the MFDP on June 28, and was attended by all forest stakeholders and representatives of the support partners.

5 July 2017

How WWF Stops Deforestation Worldwide with Corporate Engagement
By Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit, 5 July 2017
According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), up to 58,000 square miles of forest is lost annually – the equivalent of 48 football fields a minute. The result of this deforestation is a threat to the estimated 1.6 billion people who rely on forests for their way of life, as well as to some of the most endangered plants and animals on the planet.
The factors behind deforestation are complicated, and the tactics necessary to halt it vary by location to location. But for over 25 years, one of WWF’s success stories has been the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN), which the NGO says connects over 200 companies, communities and government agencies in over 30 countries. This collaboration has a long history of results, which are necessary as some estimates suggest the amount of wood culled from forests annually may need to triple by mid-century.

Land grabbing competes with forest preservation
Environmental Research Web, 5 July 2017
How many of us stop to think about where the ingredients in our margarine came from, or whether the rubber in our car tyres was sourced sustainably? Globalization has disconnected us from the products we buy and it is hard to find out where things were sourced. In some countries huge areas of land are being taken over and farmed to feed consumers’ appetites in faraway lands. Now, a study investigates which countries are targeted most for land grabbing, and which countries suffer most from the conflict between land grabbing and protecting forest.

Climate-friendly air travel – say what?
By Gero Rueter, DW, 5 July 2017
Air travel is bad for the climate – but it doesn’t have to be. Climate-friendly flight routes and renewable jet fuel could make flying in planes way more environmentally friendly – this would just need to be implemented.
Increasing global air traffic is commonly regarded as a climate catastrophe, with the aviation industry alone comprising 5 percent of greenhouse gases produced annually.
With the German Aerospace Center (DLR) expecting jet fuel demand to increase 50 percent by 2030, environmental prospects for the industry are dire.
But what if flying could be carbon-neutral; indeed, climate-friendly? It’s a little-known fact that this is possible.

Liberia: FDA Wants Support for Wildlife Conservation
By David S. Menjor, Daily Observer, 5 July 2017
Liberia is one of the last few strongholds for forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in West Africa.
The Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, Mr. Darlington Tuagben has called for support for wildlife conservation across the country.
Conservation includes the preservation or efficient use of resources or the conservation of various quantities under physical laws. It may refer more specifically to biodiversity, environment, and natural resources, including their protection and management. It also includes the protection and restoration of cultural heritage, including works of art and architecture, as well as archaeological and historical artifacts.

[UK] Dozens arrested over ‘timeshare scam that saw 500 Brits conned out of life savings in multi-million pound Costa del Sol racket’
By Gerard Couzens, The Sun, 5 July 2017
Nearly 40 people have been arrested over a multi-million pound Costa del Sol timeshare scam which targeted hundreds.
An estimated 500 people – all Brits – have fallen victim to the scam which operated in and around the Spanish resort of Malaga.
Spanish police announced today they had arrested 36 people, most of whom are believed to be British.
Their victims come from all parts of the UK.
Police say they believe those affected were defrauded out of nearly £15 million and the suspects made a whopping profit of nearly £11 million.
The operation is ongoing and the number of victims is expected to rise beyond the 500-mark to make up the total of nearly £15 million which investigators believe has been defrauded.

[Vietnam] Is REDD+ playing fair?
By Rose Foley, CIFOR Forests News, 5 July 2017
What if more forests could be saved – and carbon emissions thus lowered- if conservation projects strictly followed one basic rule: fairness?
That’s the contention of new research that looks at what Vietnam’s experience can teach REDD+, a major multi-country strategy designed to stop forests from being cut down and degraded.
“Most projects say they want to focus on being effective, efficient and equitable,” says Anastasia Yang, Senior Scientist on socio-ecological systems at the Thünen Institute, and former country-coordinator of the study at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
“However, often there’s a trade-off where sadly equity is not prioritized – and that’s where problems begin. Without equity, you are not going to have people on board; you are not going to have accountability; and you are not going to have a truly efficient or effective outcome.”

6 July 2017

Global Warming Might Be Speeding Up
By Eric Roston, Bloomberg, 6 July 2017
Two climate scientists suggest they’ve come closer to resolving a critical debate about how quickly human activity will heat up the planet. The answer isn’t good news.
It’s almost universally understood that the Earth will continue to get warmer for the foreseeable future. The rate at which the planet warms, however, won’t remain the same, report Cristian Proistosescu and Peter Huybers of Harvard University. They say it’s likely to speed up.
Some parts of the planet heat up more slowly than others, they explain. But as more time passes, regions once less affected by global warming will get hotter. Thus the bulk of planetary warming this century may actually be back-loaded onto its final decades.

G20 not yet doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change – campaigners
By Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 6 July 2017
Of the world’s 20 leading economies, Italy, Brazil, France and Germany are closest to meeting international targets to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, with Saudi Arabia and the United States trailing at the bottom, according to an index released ahead of this week’s G20 summit.
The G20 countries are responsible for 75 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, but are not yet on track to cut those sufficiently to prevent temperatures reaching dangerously high levels, the index compilers said on Thursday.
“It’s time for the world’s richest economies … to step up their game on climate action,” said Wael Hmaidan, executive director of the Climate Action Network (CAN), which published the index with Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute.

A new approach to emissions trading in a post-Paris climate
By Suzi Kerr, The Conversation, 6 July 2017
Despite the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, other countries, including New Zealand, remain committed to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.
In our report, we explore how New Zealand, a trailblazer for emissions trading, might drive a low-emission transformation, both at home and overseas.

[USA] Jerry Brown Announces a Climate Summit Meeting in California
By Lisa Friedman, New York Times, 6 July 2017
Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Thursday reinforced his reputation as America’s de facto leader on climate change, announcing to cheering crowds in Hamburg, Germany that his state would gather leaders from around the world for a global warming summit next year.
Speaking by videoconference to the Global Citizens Festival in Hamburg, where President Donald Trump is joining other world leaders for the Group of 20 economic summit, Governor Brown said the president “doesn’t speak for the rest of America” in pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change.

[USA] Coal CEO admits that ‘clean coal’ is a myth
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 6 July 2017
While President Donald Trump continues to tout “clean” coal, coal baron Robert Murray says it’s just a fantasy.
“Carbon capture and sequestration does not work. It’s a pseudonym for ‘no coal,’” the CEO of Murray Energy, the country’s largest privately held coal-mining company, told E&E News.
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), also called carbon capture and storage, is the process of trapping carbon dioxide from a power plant (during or after burning a hydrocarbon like coal) and then storing it permanently, usually underground.

7 July 2017

Nature in a capitalist state. The rights of nature: Progress or trap?
By Ellison Hersch and Tori Greco-Hirankaka, Intercontinental Cry, 7 July 2017
Within the first months of 2017, the world celebrated the granting of rights to different bodies of water. Important rivers gained legal rights in New Zealand, India, and Colombia. In the Himalayas, the Gangotri and Yamunotori Glaciers gained the status of “living entity.” In each case, laws were set forth to protect large bodies of water and provide spokespeople that can defend them in court.
Granting rights to nature is an encouraging political alternative compared to carbon markets that financialize nature. Yet states are still the ones defining the rules of the game. Once again, nature would appear to be trapped in a “carrot and stick” model in which states reward and punish to produce “good” behavior.

50 Acres of Forest Are Lost Every Hour in Colombia: Report
teleSUR, 7 July 2017
The Amazon, highland and coastal regions of Colombia have the highest rates of deforestation in the country.
Illicit crops, mining, a lack of state regulation and little environmental protection are contributing to the rise in deforestation in Colombia, which rose 44 percent in 2016.
Deforestation in the South American country increased from 306,497 acres in 2015 to 441,322 acres in 2016, Semana Sostenible reported. The Colombian government’s goal is to reduce the size of deforested land in the country to 123,552 acres by 2020 — a goal which is becoming increasingly harder to achieve.

Concept Project Information Document-Integrated Safeguards Document – Mexico REDD+ Emission Reductions Program – P162749
World Bank, 7 July 2017
Mexico is an upper middle-income country, a member of the OECD and the G20, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Mexico is an open economy with trade agreements with more than 40 countries. It has maintained solid macroeconomic stability in times of crisis and financial sector resilience. Mexico’s innovations in social policy have been a matter of global learning. Yet, despite its significant economic and social improvements, stagnant productivity and insufficient inclusiveness are the critical causes of persistent poverty, inequality, and regional disparities within Mexico.

8 July 2017

[Philippines] Can geeks in Palawan offer fixes to environment?
Manila Standard, 8 July 2017
The Department of Information and Communication Technology and private stakeholders of the premier annual tech conference in the Philippines seek to harness the startup community in helping fix the country’s environmental problems.
“Aside from gathering tech entrepreneurs and professionals as we have done in previous Geeks on a Beach, we hope serial entrepreneurs, Filipino-Americans from Silicon Valley, will provide more heft to the event,” said Tina Amper of TechTalks.ph.

[USA] Jerry Brown, climate leader or climate charlatan?
By Dan Bacher, Red Green and Blue, 8 July 2017
After hearing California Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement that he would convene a Global Climate Summit next year in California, the mainstream media responded with fawning puff pieces portraying Brown as an international “climate leader,” while doing little or no research into the Governor’s actual environmental policies.
Brown made the announcement at a time when increasing numbers of Californians are challenging his environmental credentials as he teams up with the Donald Trump administration to build the controversial Delta Tunnels and to exempt three major California oilfields from protection under the federal Safe Water Drinking Act.

9 July 2017

The Uninhabitable Earth
By David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017
It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

[Indonesia] Progress and preservation – a dichotomous struggle
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 9 July 2017
First came the timber companies and then the rubber and oil palm plantations. During the last three decades, forests on the island of Borneo have been destroyed at an unprecedented rate. Between 1973 and 2015, an estimated 18.7 million hectares of Borneo’s old-growth forest were cleared while industrial plantations expanded by 9.1 million hectares, according to a 2016 study conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
This is largely due to the high profitability of palm oil production. In 2016 alone, Indonesia exported USD $18.6 billion worth of palm oil, according to the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association and Ministry of Agriculture.

Peru: WBG to donate US$400,000 to stem deforestation in Ucayali
Andina, 9 July 2017
The World Bank Group (WBG) approved US$400,000 in support of pre-investment studies of a forest management project to prevent deforestation and illegal logging in Atalaya province (Ucayali region).
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski accepted such donation, provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) as part of the Forest Investment Program’s (FIP) Investment Plan implemented in Peru.
The non-reimbursable financing will be used by Environment Ministry’s National Program of Forest Conservation for Climate Change Mitigation to carry out the pre-investment studies.

[UK] I invested my £18k savings in art – now it’s been valued at less than £1k
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 9 July 2017
In November 2015, I received a cold call from Imperial Collectables Limited, which I have regretted answering ever since. They persuaded me to invest my savings in art. I bowed to pressure and put £18,800 into four pieces.
Then last November, I received a call, advising me that due to Brexit my four pieces of art would fall in value by as much as 60 per cent, but if I invested a further £50,000 I would be included in an insurance scheme that would guarantee my investment.
I did not pay this and I took delivery of the art. I have now approached professional valuers.

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