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REDD in the news: 18-24 September 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.

Article 6 submissions portal
IETA, September 2017
Ahead of COP23, governments have been invited to submit their views on the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to the UNFCCC. This submission process excludes observers and other stakeholders, including the business community and NGOs.
We at IETA strongly believe that observers, and the business community in particular, are key to the success of Article 6. Our voice must be heard. This is particularly true in areas where business and other observers can add strength to the process – such as on carbon markets.
To respond to this gap, we decided to create a space where business can put forward its views on the implementation and operationalisation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. All the submissions made via this portal will be publicly accessible, viewable by anyone from the general public to policymakers and government officials.

Lao PDR to Host a Meeting of Forestry Minds to Exchange Knowledge
Climate Investment Funds, September 2017
The city of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, will play host to the 2017 Forest Investment Program (FIP) Pilot Countries Meeting, on September 27-29. The FIP provides indispensable direct investments to benefit forests, development and the climate, with a parallel focus on enhancing partner learning and coordination. Annual pilot country meetings bring together participants from government, the private sector, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, local community groups, and colleagues from the multilateral development banks (MDBs) that implement FIP-funded projects, to foster peer-to-peer learning among the 53 pilot countries—from practical issues related to the design and implementation of FIP investment plans to other forestry activities.

How tax support for the petroleum industry could contradict Norway’s climate goals
By Adrian Down and Peter Erickson, Stockholm Environment Institute, September 2017
This discussion brief evaluates how two tax support measures will boost future oil and gas production in Norway, increasing the country’s fossil fuel exports and the world’s CO2 emissions.
For the past four decades, Norway has built a large portion of its economy on oil and gas production. The government’s shared ownership with industry of oil and gas fields has helped it build the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

18 September 2017

Ambitious 1.5C Paris climate target is still possible, new analysis shows
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 18 September 2017
The highly ambitious aim of limiting global warming to less than 1.5C remains in reach, a new scientific analysis shows.
The 1.5C target was set as an aspiration by the global Paris climate change deal in 2015 to limit the damage wreaked by extreme weather and sea level rise.
It was widely seen as impossible because analysis at the time indicated it required carbon emissions to fall to zero within seven years, a speed deemed “incompatible with democracy” by one climate economist.

New climate calculations could buy the Earth some time — if they’re right
By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 18 September 2017
A group of prominent scientists on Monday created a potential whiplash moment for climate policy, suggesting that humanity could have considerably more time than previously thought to avoid a “dangerous” level of global warming.
The upward revision to the planet’s influential “carbon budget” was published by a number of researchers who have been deeply involved in studying the concept, making it all the more unexpected. But other outside researchers raised questions about the work, leaving it unclear whether the new analysis — which, if correct, would have very large implications — will stick.

Forests versus hurricanes
By Douglas Sheil, CIFOR Forests News, 18 September 2017
The 12-year absence of major hurricane landfalls in the continental USA ended earlier this year: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma … perhaps the list and the destruction will continue. But what does this have to do with forests?
As an ecologist concerned with how forests respond to damage, I know how destructive cyclonic storms—hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones (henceforth simply ‘cyclones’)—can be. But aside from the ecological impacts, recent research suggests that forests and cyclones share a more fundamental link: their relationship with atmospheric moisture.

[Brazil] Stronger forest protection key to Amazon replanting push – experts
By Karla Mendes, Reuters, 18 September 2017
An ambitious Amazon restoration effort could help cut forest losses in Brazil – but only if it is combined with stronger policies to curb logging and agricultural expansion in forest areas, environmentalists and scholars say.
Conservation International, an environmental protection organization, announced late last week a project to add 73 million native trees to Brazil’s Amazon by 2023.

Figueres calls for EU action plan on ‘imported deforestation’
By Frédéric Simon, EURACTIV.com, 18 September 2017
Former UN climate Chief Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, has called on the European Union to step up regulatory action against deforestation in the global south by tackling emissions of imported agricultural goods like beef, soy and palm oil.
As climate week opens in New York, the former secretary-general of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was in Brussels to drum up support for tackling emissions related to forestry and land use.

Killings highlight risks of land trafficking and corruption in Peruvian Amazon
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 18 September 2017
The slaughter of six farmers in the Peruvian Amazon has placed a spotlight on issues of land grabbing, corruption and illegal deforestation in the eastern region of Ucayali.
The farmers, members of the Bello Paraiso Association of Agriculturalists, were tied up, tortured and shot by a group of between 20 and 40 assailants. The attack stemmed from a dispute over the ownership of agricultural land in the area, with local farmers and press reports blaming land traffickers.
“We have received death threats from the same land trafficking gang,” Robert Guimaraes, president of the local indigenous federation Feconau, told the Guardian.

[USA] Jerry Brown’s climate coalition now covers 39% of the global economy
By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home, 18 September 2017
The Marshall Islands and Mozambique have joined a growing group of governments convened by California governor Jerry Brown that have committed to deep carbon pollution cuts.
The Under2 coalition has now been signed or endorsed by 187 governments. Signatories agree to reduce their CO2 emissions drastically by the middle of the century.
On Sunday, on the eve of the UN’s Climate Week in New York, Brown announced ten new members, including the low-lying Pacific islands.

Trump Adviser Tells Ministers U.S. Will Leave Paris Climate Accord
By Lisa Friedman, New York Times, 18 September 2017
Gary D. Cohn, the top White House economic adviser, told ministers from several major allies on Monday that the Trump administration was “unambiguous” about its plans to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change unless new terms were met.
Ministers emerging from the 90-minute breakfast in a back room of The Smith, a brasserie near the United Nations, described the meeting as genial and productive. But, they said, they learned no specifics from Mr. Cohn about the likelihood of the United States’ remaining in the global accord or what changes would be needed to make it acceptable to the White House.

19 September 2017

Making peat a priority
By Suzana Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 19 September 2017
As global efforts to reduce climate change move forward, CIFOR researchers say more attention needs to be paid to the role of peatlands. Peat forests evolve over thousands of years and store millions of tons of carbon. They are tremendous stores of carbon when protected, but devastating sources of greenhouse gases when disturbed.
“In addition to providing essential ecosystem services, including water regulation across the landscape and habitat for unique biodiversity, peatlands are globally important for their prominent role as a carbon pool and sink,” says Kristell Hergoualc’h, a CIFOR scientist, and contributor to the special issue and IUFRO session.

New blockchain-based ‘carbon currency’ aims to make carbon pricing mainstream
By Madeleine Cuff, Business Green, 19 September 2017
A new carbon market founded upon the crypto-ledger principles that define blockchain technologies will be launched later today in New York, promising to bring carbon pricing to the mainstream by allowing customers and businesses to track the carbon footprint of their transactions.
Blockchain is the name given to a technology which creates an incorruptible digital ledger that records, tracks, and executes transactions between parties without the need for external validation.

Brazil photo essay; A eucalyptus plantation from cradle to pulp mill
By Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, 19 September 2017
In June 2011 the Tree Biotechnology Conference hosted by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations took place in Bahia, Brazil where many industrial eucalyptus plantations are concentrated and where future plantations of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees are planned.
On Wednesday, June 29th, I joined conference participants for a tour of a eucalyptus plantation owned by Veracel, a major Brazil-based pulp and paper corporation. This photo essay describes the field trip, which shows eucalyptus plantations from their beginnings in the clonal greenhouse, to their end in the pulp mill.
The tour was also mainly a public relations ploy by Veracel and began at their visitors center next to to a patch of wild forest that is surrounded by eucalyptus plantations.

[Guyana] Wapichan people expose rights violations and growing threats to their forest and communities from mining and illegal resource use
South Rupununi District Council press release, 19 September 2017
Amidst increasing concerns about threats to their forests, wetlands and way of life, the Wapichan People of Guyana (South America) have set up their own ground-breaking system to defend their human rights and monitor their ancestral lands against harmful development. Community information has been collected using a grassroots land use monitoring arrangement that involves community monitoring teams, the use of smartphone technology, drones, and community digital maps – all controlled and managed directly by the villages. Today, the Wapichan People are launching a locally owned and managed website to present their monitoring information on the internet. The web site can be accessed here: http://wapichanao.communitylands.org/

Norway’s oil fund tops $1tn in assets for first time
By Richard Milne, Financial Times, 19 September 2017
Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has topped $1tn in assets for the first time in its history.
The oil fund, which started in 1996, reached NKr7,811bn ($1.001tn) in market value on Tuesday. Officials confirmed it was the first time it has breached the trillion-dollar barrier. 

[USA] Uh-oh: Dueling carbon initiatives
The Olympian, 19 September 2017
The political path to imposing a tax on carbon-fuel emissions is very rocky in the U.S. Even in a politically green state like Washington, there is no carbon tax to strongly curb the emissions from fossil fuels that climate scientists link directly to global warming.
Resistance from business groups and Republicans — along with divisions among environmental and labor interests — have stymied progress in the state Legislature and on the statewide ballot.
So it is with some concern that Washington tribes are talking about a rival measure in 2018 that could go alongside any carbon measure that environmentalists groups are already working on.
Thus far, the Quinault Indian Nation is the main force behind talk of a second ballot measure addressing climate in addition to one getting drafted by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.

20 September 2017

Poseidon Brings Value To Nature Through Carbon Blockchain Technology
By Richard Kastelein, Blockchain News, 19 September 2017
Laszlo Giricz, founder of the venture Poseidon, announced the launch of a partnership to create a carbon currency that will revolutionise the way we value nature, using Blockchain technology to access the carbon market.
This initiative aims to bring carbon pricing to the mainstream by giving both consumers and incorporates an economically viable, incorruptible, and transparent way of making sustainable transactions and lowering their carbon footprint in real terms.

Preeminent Investor & CNBC Contributor BRIAN KELLY Joins Veridium Labs Board of Advisors
Veridium Labs press release, 20 September 2017
September 20, 2017 — Veridium Labs Ltd., the environmental fintech company creating an open natural capital market powered by blockchain, has announced that prominent investor Brian Kelly has joined its Board of Advisors. Announced at the United Nations headquarters in a forum moderated by CNN host Fareed Zakaria, Brian Kelly will advise the team on business development and lend his expertise in investing and cryptocurrency to further Veridium Labs’ mission of creating a transparent and liquid marketplace for natural capital, and providing economically viable solutions for corporate sustainability. Last month, Veridium Labs, in collaboration with ConsenSys, the world’s largest blockchain venture studio, announced plans to create the platform. Alchemist Ventures, a full-service blockchain consulting company will be providing advisory services.

Leonardo DiCaprio Commits $20 Million To Fight Climate Change
By Philip Perry, Big Think, 20 September 2017
Leonardo DiCaprio is more than just a leading man in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Along with being a writer and producer, he’s also an outspoken activist ringing the alarm bells of the catastrophe to befall us, should we ignore our role in global warming. DiCaprio himself has been a long-time advocate for the environment, and sits on the board of many prominent organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The Largest Ever Amazon Restoration Project Is Set to Happen in Brazil
By Ankita Rao, Motherboard, 20 September 2017
The Amazon rainforest has been under threat for decades now—losing close to 20 percent in the past 40 years. Deforestation for the sake of so-called development in the Brazilian part of the Amazon has been rampant again since 2012, as a Yale article pointed out, with a sharp increase of 29 percent last year.
But finally, the region might be catching a much-needed break. Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment has promised to restore almost 30,000 hectares—or 73 million trees—of the rainforest by 2023 in an $8 million joint initiative with international agencies like the World Bank and Conservation International.

Brexit drops more uncertainty on EU carbon rollercoaster ride
By Ben Garside and Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 20 September 2017
The EU ETS faces an extensive re-wiring next year as Brussels prepares contingency plans to guard against an un-coordinated Brexit, wrapping a new layer of uncertainty around the market just as lawmakers near completion of an extensive, years-long reform process.
Carbon Pulse is gathering carbon traders, analysts, regulators and other experts in London on Sep. 26-28 for the second annual Carbon Forward conference, an event aimed at helping emitters, traders and investors navigate the quickly evolving European and global carbon market landscape.

Better laws can help stop illegal forest conversion in Ghana – report
By Robyn Meadwell, ClientEarth, 20 September 2017
Ghana’s forests are rapidly being lost to mines and farms, both large and small. Farmers, especially those growing cocoa, and gold miners (both legal and illegal) are driving deforestation.
ClientEarth has reviewed the current laws and regulations that govern forest conversion in Ghana and found that major problems like illegal deforestation, community land rights’ violations and conflicting land titles stem from laws that are incomplete, unclear or not fit for purpose.

Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities
By Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 20 September 2017
Vinod Kumar remembers a time, not so long ago, when the fields in his village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were green all year round.
His family lived comfortably from its farmland of just over 2 acres (0.8 hectares), growing vegetables, coconuts and millet irrigated by the Cauvery river and the rain.
Kumar grew up believing the farm would be his life.
But today, the 30-year-old drives a car for a living in the city of Chennai, 250 km (155 miles) away. His family joined him two years ago, abandoning what had been for generations their home and their land.

[Nigeria] Environmentalists urge Ambode to consider recommendations on past climate change summits
By Tunde Alao, Nigerian Tribune, 20 September 2017
In view of unpleasant environmental conditions experienced by Lagos residents in the past few weeks such as flooding, including the seemingly uncontrollable sand digging exercises in the metropolis, which are considered inimical to a safe environment, stakeholders in the environment sector have urged Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to look at the past recommendations made at the various Climate Change Summit.

[USA] San Francisco, Oakland sue major oil companies over rising seas
By Kurtis Alexander, SFGate, 20 September 2017
The cities of San Francisco and Oakland are suing some of the world’s largest oil companies over climate change, joining an emerging legal effort to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for the damages wrought by rising seas.
The suits, filed separately in Superior Court in San Francisco and Alameda County and announced Wednesday, claim that a slate of oil, gas and coal producers not only caused the heat-trapping gases that drove sea level rise but knowingly did so, a challenge akin to litigation against big tobacco companies in the 1990s.
Both cities are asking the companies, which include Bay Area-based Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, to pay billions in compensation for past and future flooding, coastal erosion and property damage resulting from climate change.

21 September 2017

Climate optimism has been a disaster. We need a new language – desperately
By Ellie Mae O’Hagan, The Guardian, 21 September 2017
In 1988, when the scientist James Hansen told a senate committee that it was “time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here”, those who took him seriously assumed that if they just persisted with emphasising that this terrible fact would eventually destroy us, action would be taken. Instead, the opposite happened: when confronted with the awful reality of climate change, most people tended to retreat into a panglossian vision of the future, or simply didn’t want to hear about it.

Scientists Call for “Rapid Mitigation” to Stay under 1.5°C, Climate Champions Launch Climate Action Leadership Network
By Elea Kosolapova, IISD, 21 September 2017
High-level Climate Champions Hakima El Haite, Moroccan Minister Delegate in Charge of Environment, and Inia Seruiratu, Fijian Minister of Agriculture, launched the Climate Action Leadership Network to drive climate action ahead of 2020. Also during Climate Week NYC 2017, scientists have published an article outlining greenhouse gas (GHG) emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, which is likely to require strengthened pledges for 2030, followed by “challengingly deep and rapid” mitigation.

A long-awaited reader on gender and forestry
By Manon Koningstein, CIFOR Forests News, 21 September 2017
A new book launched today brings together 30 years of scholarship on a topic that is gaining increasing attention worldwide: gender and forestry. The Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests brings together an accessible collection of theory, analysis, methodology, case studies and more, defining the position of gender and forestry in the social sciences, and laying out the ongoing debates in the field.

Transparency and Compliance Update: UNFCCC Reports on Technical Assessment of Ethiopia’s Proposed FREL, Compliance Committee Holds Annual Meeting
By Gillian Nelson, IISD, 21 September 2017
UNFCCC Secretariat has published a number of reports in accordance with the current transparency system of the UNFCCC. These include: reports on the individual review of Parties’ annual submissions; technical analyses of the first biennial update reports (BURs); a report on the review of the report to facilitate the calculation of the assigned amount for the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period (CP2) of Portugal; and a report on the technical assessment of the proposed forest reference emission level (FREL) of Ethiopia. The Kyoto Protocol Compliance Committee convened for its 19th meeting.

[Indonesia] Forest Fires, 24 Hot Spots Observed in West Kalimantan
Netral English, 21 September 2017
Land and forest fires (karhutla) was observed to have increased particularly in West Kalimantan with 24 hot spots observed by NOAA satellite on Wednesday (9/20/2017) at 20 pm.
Director of Land and Forest Fire Control of Directorate General of Climate Change Raffles B. Pandjaitan, in Jakarta, Thursday (9/21), said the rise in hot spots in West Kalimantan can be caused of land clearing is done at the same time, although there are limitations in implementation.

Nicaragua to sign Paris Agreement, leaving America and Syria as the only countries not in it
By Mythili Sampathkumar, Independent, 21 September 2017
Nicaragua has announced it will sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, which leaves the US and Syria as the only two countries not participating in the global accord.
Nearly 200 countries signed the deal in December 2015 in an effort to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and contain global warming while helping poorer countries adapt to an already-changed planet.

22 September 2017

ConsenSys And Tapscotts Are Warming Up To Global Ethereum-Based CarbonX Platform
By Jeremy Nation, ETHNews, 22 September 2017
On September 21, 2017, blockchain software company ConsenSys announced the launch of a peer-to-peer (P2P) trading company, CarbonX, which will employ the Ethereum blockchain to tokenize carbon credits.
CarbonX is backed by a co-founding group that includes co-authors of best-selling book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, Don and Alex Tapscott. The company intends to purchase Certified Emission Reduction Credits, also called carbon credits, to be tokenized with the Ethereum blockchain.

Long-lost Congo notebooks may shed light on how trees react to climate change
By Daniel Grossman, The Guardian, 22 September 2017
A cache of decaying notebooks found in a crumbling Congo research station has provided unexpected evidence with which to help solve a crucial puzzle – predicting how vegetation will respond to climate change.
The treasure trove of tree growth data dating from the 1930s was found by the biologist Koen Hufkens in a tumbledown building at the Yangambi Biological Station, which was once Africa’s leading forest and agriculture research institution. Combined with other records, the recovered data allows Hufkens to make improved predictions about the health of the forest.

Zambia fears humanitarian crisis as influx of Congo refugees escalates
By Chris Mfula, Reuters, 22 September 2017
Zambia fears a looming humanitarian crisis after more than 6,000 refugees fleeing turmoil in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) entered its territory in one month, the presidency said on Friday.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than one million forced to flee their homes in the DRC’s eastern Kasai region since the start of an insurrection nearly a year ago by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which is demanding the withdrawal of military forces from the area.

23 September 2017

Fiji’s forestry sector
Fiji Times, 23 September 2017
Forests have long played an integral role in the development of national economies. About 30 per cent of the world’s land surface is covered by forests; more than two million people rely on forests for shelter, livelihoods, water, food and fuel security and around 300 million people live in forests, which is 0.4 per cent of the world’s population (World Wide Fund for Nature, 2017).
The formal forestry sector employs around 13.7 million people globally, representing 0.4 per cent of the total labour force (International Labour Organisation, 1996-2017).

24 September 2017

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