REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
10 July 2017
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says
By Tess Riley, The Guardian, 10 July 2017
Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.
The Carbon Majors Report “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute.
Traditionally, large scale greenhouse gas emissions data is collected at a national level but this report focuses on fossil fuel producers. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures, it is intended as the first in a series of publications to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change.
Amazonas Florestal Ltd. Announced The Company Has Accepted a New Wood Products Purchase Order from Dekker Hout of the Netherlands and Further Announces Update on the Progress of its Subsidiary’s Industrial Hemp Plantations in Colorado
Amazonas Florestal press release, 10 July 2017
Amazonas Florestal, Ltd. (www.azhempusa.com) (otc pink:AZFL), a natural resources company dedicated to innovative, sustainable forest management, Industrial CBD Hemp and the certification and sales of carbon credits, today announced that effective June 29th, 2017, management has come to terms with Dekker Hout, (https://www.dekkerhout.nl/), headquartered in the Netherlands, on an initial trail order for 20 X 40 Ft Containers of Angelim Vermelho Hardwood Dimensioned Posts and Pilings. Dekker Hout manufactures the ELEFANT line of hardwood products that is distributed throughout Europe.
From Timber to Palm: Is FLEGT a Viable Model for Palm Oil?
The Oil Palm, 10 July 2017
The recent resolution on Palm Oil by European Parliamentarians put forward a number of policy proposals on Palm Oil imports into Europe. One of them was a ‘FLEGT-style’ (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) regulation for Palm Oil.
This regulatory approach isn’t new. It was first floated in 2012 when the European Commission undertook its broad study on the impact of European demand on global deforestation. Last week, the Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella stated in an official response that it is “considering the development of a Union action plan on deforestation and forest degradation.” In other words, the Commission is studying a policy proposal such as a FLEGT for Palm Oil.
Domino effect: Turkey won’t ratify Paris climate accord, citing Trump’s exit
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 10 July 2017
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that Turkey will not be ratifying the Paris climate accord, citing President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the deal.
“After that step taken by America, the position that we adopt is in the direction of not passing it in parliament,” he told the press Saturday at the end of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Despite the fact that every other leader but Trump signed on to summit’s final statement asserting “the Paris agreement is irreversible,” Erdoğan said some of those countries had a “problem” with the accord and are “not renewing their support.”
[USA] Gov. Brown and Democratic leaders offer plan to extend cap and trade, with aim for approval this week
By Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2017
After weeks of back-and-forth between environmentalists and business interests, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders introduced a proposal Monday evening to reauthorize California’s cap-and-trade program, the centerpiece of the state’s efforts to battle climate change.
The plan consists of two bills: Assembly Bill 398, which would extend the life of the program until 2030 and modify how the cap-and-trade market operates, and AB 617, which aims to address concerns about air quality in communities by increasing monitoring and imposing stricter penalties on polluters.
“The Legislature is taking action to curb climate change and protect vulnerable communities from industrial poisons,” Brown said in a statement.
11 July 2017
IUCN, World Bank and Bioversity Discuss Landscape Restoration Impacts, Challenges
By Elsa Tsioumani, IISD, 11 July 2017
In its ‘Forest Brief no 18,’ the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) discusses how forest landscape restoration can support achievement of national and international biodiversity-related commitments, including the Aichi biodiversity targets, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inclusive of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target, and commitments under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. The World Bank and Bioversity International have also highlighted projects on landscape restoration.
Deforestation soars in Colombia after Farc rebels’ demobilization
By Sibylla Brodzinsky, The Guardian, 11 July 2017
Colombia has seen an alarming surge in deforestation after the leftwing rebels relinquished control over vast areas of the country as a part of a historic peace deal.
The area of deforestation jumped 44% in 2016 to 178,597 hectares (690 sq miles) compared to the year before, according to official figures released this month – and most of the destruction was in remote rainforest areas once controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
The rebel army was a violent illegal armed group, but for decades the guerrillas enforced strict limits on logging by civilians – in part to protect their cover from air raids by government warplanes.
[USA] Lawmakers announce plan to extend California cap and trade
By Kathleen Ronayne, The Washington Post, 11 July 2017
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders released a plan Monday to extend through 2030 California’s cap-and-trade program, a key piece of the state’s quest to fight climate change by drastically reducing emissions from greenhouse gases.
The deal updates how refineries, utilities and other carbon emitters can use pollution allowances and offsets, and it gives the California Air Resources Board power to set a price cap on carbon aimed at containing costs to businesses and consumers. But it also prevents local air districts from placing further carbon emissions restrictions on polluters, a move some environmental groups decry as a concession to oil companies. The deal includes a companion bill aimed at reducing local air pollution.
[USA] California Dems reach deal on cap and trade
By Reid Wilson, The Hill, 11 July 2017
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and state legislative leaders said Thursday that they have reached a deal to extend the state’s landmark cap-and-trade program aimed at dramatically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The new deal will extend the program, initially authorized in 2006, by 10 years. It would help the state meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, Brown’s office said.
The two bills that will begin moving through the legislature on Tuesday include a program aimed at cutting pollution in some of the state’s dirtiest neighborhoods, as well as higher penalties against companies that pollute. They would also require industrial facilities like oil refineries to replace outdated technology with cleaner machines within the next six years.
12 July 2017
Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf
By Nicola Davis, The Guardian, 12 July 2017
A giant iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg has broken off an ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula and is now adrift in the Weddell Sea.
Reported to be “hanging by a thread” last month, the trillion-tonne iceberg was found to have split off from the Larsen C segment of the Larsen ice shelf on Wednesday morning after scientists examined the latest satellite data from the area.
The Larsen C ice shelf is more than 12% smaller in area than before the iceberg broke off – or “calved” – an event that researchers say has changed the landscape of the Antarctic peninsula and left the Larsen C ice shelf at its lowest extent ever recorded.
Open Source GIS Tools Helping Save Mangrove Forests
By Anssel Lopez and Robert Aguirre, Directions Magazine, 12 July 2017
At the end of the Baja Peninsula between the states of Sinaloa and Nayarit lies the Marismas Nacionales,or National Marshes, the largest intact mangrove forest on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The ecosystem services provided by these hundreds of square miles of mangrove forests are important to the local economy, especially the families who rely on fishing and shrimping. The mangrove ecosystems in the Marismas Nacionales also provide other benefits sustaining and fulfilling human life, such as local coastal erosion protection and carbon sequestration. Mangrove forests can remove greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and they store enormous amounts of carbon in their sediments, leaves, and other biomass. Yet over the last 45 years, mangrove forests in the Marismas Nacionales have been in decline. The construction of dams is a likely cause. Dams create imbalances in salinity and sediment that can affect large areas of mangrove forest.
[Malaysia] Act against cryptocurrency firm, K’tan MB tells carbon trading firm
Malaysiakini, 12 July 2017
Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob wants carbon trading firm Climate Protectors Sdn Bhd to take action against cryptocurrency firm EcoBit.
In a Harakah report today, Ahmad said Climate Protectors must take appropriate action against EcoBit, after Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) allegedly placed both companies on the Consumer Financial Alert list.
“We ask any party involved, if there is any relation between CP (Climate Protectors) and EcoBit, the company must take action on EcoBit because we (the Kelantan state government) did not sign any agreements with EcoBit,” the menteri besar was quoted as saying by the PAS mouthpiece… [R-M: Subscription needed.]
[Philippines] PH start-ups need more investors
By Marlet D. Salazar, Inquirer.net, 12 July 2017
The start-up community would need a boost if the Philippines would want to produce the next Uber or Airbnb…
This year, GOAB will have Yobie Benjamin, a low-profile serial entrepreneur, who has helped raise $40 million for a Silicon Valley company.
“We hope Yobie’s presence will inspire local start-ups and micro, small, and medium enterprises,” Amper said.
According to the press materials provided, Benjamin was a political prisoner during the dictatorship years of Ferdinand Marcos. He obtained a communications degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
He is the co-founder of Token Inc. and has been its chief technology officer emeritus since April. He also serves as the chief operating officer and chief software officer at Avegant Corp. In Kenya, Benjamin is involved in Wildlife Works, which sells carbon credits for protecting the rainforest and wildlife from poachers.
[USA] Cities and states solidify their plan to move forward on climate without Trump
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 12 July 2017
Following the Trump administration’s June announcement that it would officially withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, hundreds of cities and businesses, joined by a handful of states, promised to uphold the country’s commitments with or without the federal government.
Now, those cities, states, and businesses — collectively called the We Are Still In coalition — are taking that promise one step further, announcing Wednesday that they will measure their emissions reductions and present a compilation of existing sub-national climate commitments to the United Nations at this year’s climate conference in Bonn.
13 July 2017
Climate change and inequality
The Economist, 13 July 2017
On July 12, the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica disgorged a chunk of ice the size of Delaware, a small state on America’s east coast. America’s government seems unfazed by the possibility that such shifts might one day threaten Delaware itself. Its climate defiance grows not only from the power of its fossil-fuel industry and the scepticism of the Republican party, but also from a sense of insulation from the costs of global warming. This confidence is misplaced. New research indicates not only that climate change will impose heavy costs on the American economy, but also that it will exacerbate inequality.
EU agrees to extend exemption for international flights from paying for carbon emissions
Aerospace Technology, 13 July 2017
The EU Committee on the Environment has voted in favour of excluding international flights from paying for carbon emissions.
Members of European Parliament (MEPs) want to restrict this exemption to 31 December 2020.
This extension comes only as the EU awaits the implementation of United Nations’ agreement on addressing aircraft emissions, reported Reuters.
MEPs want the aviation sector to receive only half of its emissions trading system (ETS) allowances for free from 2021 as opposed to the current 85%.
[USA] Not Just Enviros, Biz Also Split on Cap-n-Trade Bills; GOP Might Hold the Key
By Joel Fox, Fox&Hounds, 13 July 2017
Much has been made in news reports that the environmental community is not of one mind on the cap-and-trade bills produced by the governor’s negotiations. They are not alone. The business community is split as well.
Tom Scott, Executive Director of the National Federation of Small Business/California argues on behalf of his membership that small business will be hurt by the cap-and-trade legislation. “Some believe Cap and Trade only impacts big businesses that buy and sell carbon credits, but the truth is that small businesses and consumers all pay the ultimate price of higher energy costs to produce and deliver goods,” Scott wrote in his article elsewhere on this page.
[USA] Donald Trump says ‘something could happen with the Paris Agreement’
By Mythili Sampathkumar, The Independent, 13 July 2017
Donald Trump has opened the door to a reversal of his decision on the Paris Agreement on climate change saying that “something” could happen regarding the deal during his trip to France for Bastille Day.
Mr Trump withdrew the US from the global climate agreement which nearly 200 countries signed in December 2015 in an effort to combat global warming and help poorer countries adapt to an already-changed planet. He said it puts American workers, particularly in the coal industry, at an “economic disadvantage”.
“If it happens that will be wonderful and if it doesn’t that will be ok too,” Mr Trump said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, appearing to leave the matter open-ended. “We’ll see what happens,” he added.
14 July 2017
Green Climate Fund steps up to reduce deforestation and forest degradation
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News, 14 July 2017
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) recently adopted two new decisions intended to reduce global emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to support forest restoration and conservation in developing countries via REDD+.
These two new decisions relate to:
1. The GCF’s role in financing development of policies and preparatory activities in developing countries; and
2. The GCF’s policy related to making payments for verified emission reductions achieved through such policies and measures.
Too hot to fly: rising heat may ground planes
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 14 July 2017
US scientists have just added a new dimension of horror to the modern airport experience: global warming could take heat wave temperatures to the point where it becomes simply too hot to fly.
And as the mercury rises, those aircraft that are cleared for takeoff may have been forced to take off a dozen protesting passengers, to lighten the load and get the rest of them safely off the ground.
Aircraft now contribute an estimated 2% to the greenhouse gas emissions that generate global warming. In the course of 2016, according to the World Bank, 3.7 billion people took flights, so even a small percentage of disruptions could affect huge numbers and keep them, fuming with impatience, in the flight lounges.
According to researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, disruption is on the way.
The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich
By David Roberts, Vox, 14 July 2017
One of the perennial debates around global warming has to do with the role of individual choices. What responsibilities do individuals have to fight climate change? Are people who advocate for political action on climate change hypocrites if they drive to work, fly to climate conferences, or have three children?
A new study has pushed that debate back to the forefront and, perhaps inadvertently, demonstrated why it is so goofy.
The study, from researchers in Sweden and British Columbia, analyzes 148 separate individual actions available to citizens of the developed world and, drawing on 39 different sources, attempts to calculate their carbon impact.
Don’t Panic, Do Act: A Climate Resource With Real Solutions
By Mark Tercek, The Nature Conservancy, 14 July 2017
There has been much discussion in the press (and fierce debate online) about climate change gloom and doom in response to “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells. The New York Magazine piece describes a planet that becomes the enemy of the human race by the end of the 21st century. Some very smart climate change reporters such as David Roberts at Vox think it is valuable to discuss and understand worst case outcomes, whereas others such as the scientist Michael Mann, writing for the Washington Post, worry that fear-mongering only turns people off when doomsday is described as inevitable.
Whatever your take, how we communicate about climate change matters. But what we do about it matters, too. Building on the current conversation, I want to share my thoughts on another climate publication we should all be talking about — one that approaches the issue from a very different angle.
[India] NGT notice to environment ministry over Seminary Hills forest fire
Times of India, 14 July 2017
A city lawyer has moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for declaring Japanese Garden and Seminary Hills as a ‘smoke-free area’. Taking cognisance of forest fires that engulfed a major portion of the area on April 20 this year, the lawyer filed an Environment Interest Litigation (EIL) demanding setting up vigilance mechanism to prevent its recurrences.
The Pune-based NGT bench comprising justice UD Salvi issued notices to state’s chief conservator of forest, Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), directing them to remain present with their reply on affidavit on August 1.
[USA] California bill would make the state 100 percent renewable by 2045
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 14 July 2017
A bill mandating that California receive all of its electricity from renewable sources passed through a key legislative committee this week, moving the nation’s sixth largest economy one step closer to becoming 100 percent renewable.
The bill, sponsored by Senate President Kevin de León (D), would revise the state’s renewable portfolio standard to require the state obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, or hydropower by 2045. It would also move up the state’s previous goal of reaching the 50 percent clean energy threshold by 2030 to 2026.
California Gov. Jerry Brown Is Backing a Climate Bill Full of Giveaways to Polluters
By Kate Arnoff, In These Times, 14 July 2017
California Gov. Jerry Brown and several state Democratic legislators unveiled legislation Monday evening that would extend the state’s controversial cap-and-trade program, which is set to expire in 2020. Progressive lawmakers and environmental justice groups from around the state were quick to fire back, saying the proposal is too generous to California’s biggest polluters.
Assembly Bill 398 was crafted in an attempt to garner the support of Republicans and business-aligned Democratic lawmakers, and with them, a two-thirds vote. A 2010 ballot initiative, Proposition 26 (the “Stop Hidden Taxes” Initiative), amended the California constitution to require that revenue-raising proposals—like cap-and-trade—be passed by two-thirds of the legislature.
[USA] Environmentalists Protest As Gov. Jerry Brown Promotes Climate-Change Laws That Would Hurt Bay Area Ability to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions
By Will Parrish, East Bay Express, 14 July 2017
Climate-justice advocates were out in force yesterday at the state Capitol, protesting two bills that they argue would eliminate the Bay Area control over curbing pollution.
The California Senate Environmental Quality Committee bucked their demands, however, and voted in line with Gov. Jerry Brown’s wishes, in favor of the contentious proposed laws.
In a rare appearance in front of a legislative committee, Brown — who has made the market-based cap-and-trade program’s extension a centerpiece of his legacy — told legislators that Thursday’s vote was “the most important vote of your life.”
[USA] NOAA erases ‘human activity’ from news release on soaring greenhouse gases
By Joe Romm, Think Progress, 14 July 2017
In a truly shocking news release on its Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has erased any reference to “human activity” or fossil fuels. The index monitors the warming influence of greenhouse gases like CO2.
Last year, NOAA’s news release for the index featured the picture of flaring gas from fossil fuel extraction (see top image). The release began by stating, “human activity has increased the direct warming effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by 50 percent above pre-industrial levels during the past 25 years, according to NOAA’s 10th annual Greenhouse Gas Index.”
This year, the news release begins, “NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which tracks the warming influence of long-lived greenhouse gases, has increased by 40 percent from 1990 to 2016 — with most of that attributable to rising carbon dioxide levels, according to NOAA climate scientists.”