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REDD in the news: 9-15 October 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.

9 October 2017

The risks of large-scale biosequestration in the context of Carbon Dioxide Removal
Global Forest Coalition, 9 October 2017
The explicit reference to “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases” (Art. 4) in the 2015 Paris Agreement has given a strong impetus to Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) proposals that aim to remove greenhouse gas emissions through bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS). While actual implementation of BECCS is still in a state of “infancy” according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, large-scale biosequestration in the form of monoculture tree plantations for carbon sequestration and/or bioenergy production is already supported with climate finance, including through the voluntary forest carbon offset market and the Forest Investment Program.

History, partnership and calculated risk in times of change for the FSC
By Julia Young (WWF) and Mikhail Tarasov (IKEA), WWF, 9 October 2017
Ideas shape the course of history. And as we approach the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) 25th anniversary, we should remind ourselves of the ideas and ambitions that have made forest and market history.
A failure to tackle social exclusion, rampant deforestation and illegal logging in tropical forests in the 1980s, paired with a weak outcome on forests at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit gave birth to something extraordinary — instrumental collaboration between companies and NGOs who before were ‘enemies’, and the emergence of market-driven environmental governance. Commonplace today, in the ’90s it was quiet revolution.

[Brazil] Zero deforestation commitments: the Amazon’s gain is the Cerrado’s loss
Global Canopy Programme, 9 October 2017
The deforestation of the Amazon to produce ‘forest risk’ commodities like soy and cattle has been a focal point of environmental advocacy for years. Following pressure from consumer groups, retailers and suppliers, the Amazon Soy Moratorium, banning further deforestation for soy production, came into force a decade ago. While this was a huge step forward for the Amazon, it has lead to a number of serious negative impacts elsewhere.

Can Europe Reform its Carbon Market?
By Jamie Horgan, The American Interest, 9 October 2017
There’s no denying that the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is, in its current configuration, failing as a carbon market. The bloc’s attempt to put a price on carbon—and therefore incentivize emissions reductions—was bold, but its execution has been flawed from the beginning. The problem is easily identified: the price for carbon credits in this system is entirely too low to effectively motivate heavy emitters to change their behavior. But solving that problem—reforming the market—is proving devilishly difficult.

[Indonesia] Peat fires and toxic haze: The power of perception
by Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 9 October 2017
With something as evident as fire, it would be easy to assume that what you see is what you get. But according to a new study, perceptions of peatland fires in Indonesia vary considerably among different actors, offering an explanation of behavior, action and environmental outcomes on the ground.
A study led by Rachel Carmenta, then at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in collaboration with the Universities of Lancaster, Cambridge and Florida, used a novel approach to map out the perceptions of different stakeholders, from international policymakers to local farmers and absentee landlords, all of whom have a role to play in the use, management and future of peatlands.

[Indonesia] Business success flows for former illegal logger
Jakarta Post, 9 October 2017
Life is good for Mahyudin Pasaribu. He now spends more time with his family and worries less about how he will fund his children’s education, even as he cuts back on the time he spends working.
“In the past, I would only spend time with them once a week because I would spend most of my time in the forest. Now, I can go home every day and I have a fixed source of income, said the 43-year-old from Pangkalan Kerinci, Pelalawan regency, in Riau, Sumatra.
It wasn’t always this way. As an illegal logger felling trees in the forests in Pelalawan regency, life was uncertain and irregular income meant he could barely make ends meet. That was more than a decade ago, when he graduated with limited skills from high school in 1993 and followed others into the forest to make a living.

[Papua New Guinea] 30 Million Hectares Intact: Tomuriesa
By Matthew Vari, Post Courier, 9 October 2017
Papua New Guinea currently has 30 million hectares of untouched pristine rainforest cover in the country.
This does not include an additional six million hectares currently subjected to human activities.
Minister for Forests, Douglas Tomuriesa announced the figures for the country’s forest inventory at the launch of the country’s National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) 2017-2027.
“I am pleased to inform the gathering today that about 75 per cent or 30 million hectares of our forest are still intact with very little or no human disturbances,” he said.

PNG To Maintain Pressure On Major Greenhouse Gas Emitters
By Matthew Vari, Post Courier, 9 October 2017
Vocal Environment and Climate Change Minister, John Pundari, says major contributors to greenhouse emission need to be reminded about their role in the issue of climate change.
He made the sentiments known when launching the country’s first National REDD+ strategy that will govern the initiatives set out for the country to receive financial incentives to maintain its forests.
Forest plays a vital role in the atmosphere by being carbon sinks in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The minister said the challenges of environmental degradations are now more pressing than ever as they are being exacerbated by a threat that has its origins far from the country’s shores.

Governance, carbon management and land-use in Tanzania
By Abigail Wills, Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative, 9 October 2017
This year, CIFOR released a Working Paper on multilevel governance, carbon management and land-use decisions in Tanzania, which includes a comparative analysis of nine pilot REDD+ projects in the country.
As one of the project implmenters, we have decided to provide an overview of some of the key findings. These are put into context using real-life examples experienced on the ground in Kilwa District.

[USA] Massive forest fire raging in Northern California
By Matthew Rozsa, Salon, 9 October 2017
A firestorm is sweeping through eight counties in Northern California. With more than 1,500 structures destroyed so far, Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The pictures and videos emerging from the firestorm need to be seen to be believed.

10 October 2017

A Giant, Mysterious Hole Has Opened Up in Antarctica
By Kate Lunau, Motherboard, 10 October 2017
A hole as large as Lake Superior or the state of Maine has opened up in Antarctica, and scientists aren’t sure why it’s there.
The gigantic, mysterious hole “is quite remarkable,” atmospheric physicist Kent Moore, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, told me over the phone. “It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice.”

Illegal use of natural resources in the protected Brazilian Amazon mapped
Science Daily, 10 October 2017
New research published in the open access peer-reviewed journal PeerJ uses law enforcement data collected from 2010 to 2015 to understand the geographical distribution of the illegal use of natural resources across the region’s protected area network.
In the study, a total of 4243 reports of illegal use of natural resources were evaluated and mapped. These reports generated US$ 224.6 million in fines. Overall, 27 types of illegal uses of natural resources were found, with the most commonly registered illegal activities related to the suppression and degradation of vegetation (37.36%), followed by illegal fishing (27.34%) and hunting activities (18.15%).

[Cambodia] Forest loss data show 2016 increase
By Phak Seangly and Ananth Baliga, Phnom Penh Post, 10 October 2017
Newly released satellite imagery shows that Cambodian forests were cleared in 2016 at a rate 30 percent higher than in 2015 – despite Military Police forming a special task force to undertake a yearlong crackdown on illegal logging that same year.
The new data, released by the University of Maryland, tracks forest cover loss globally using satellite imagery. Results showed that not only was 2016 worse than 2015, but of the 16 years for which deforestation was recorded, last year was the fourth worst – with around 200,000 hectares lost. The imagery also puts into view the rampant logging that has occurred in the country’s northeast, which has been a conduit for illegal exports of timber to Vietnam.

Exclusive: EU plans carbon credits, not quotas, for electric vehicles
By Alissa de Carbonnel, Reuters, 10 October 2017
A European Union proposal to promote electric cars will shy away from quotas and instead include carbon credits that carmakers can use to offset emissions targets, EU sources told Reuters.
The proposal is expected on Nov. 8, the sources said, and will introduce new CO2 standards for cars and vans for beyond 2020 to help to achieve the bloc’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The sources said the European Commission’s draft law will set a target for passenger car fleets of a 25-35 percent reduction in average CO2 emissions by 2030 and 30-40 percent for vans. The final figures within the ranges will be decided in a high-level discussion among EU commissioners closer to the date.

[Ghana] FC To Hold 2nd National REDD+ Forum
Modern Ghana, 10 October 2017
The Forestry Commission is set to hold the second national REDD+ forum on Thursday at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Speaking on the drive time show on JOYFM with host Lexis Bill on Monday, Roselyn Adjei who is the Deputy Head of Climate Change Unit at the Forestry Commission explained REDD+ is a group by the Forestry Commission that seeks to stop deforestation and to promote planting and conserving of trees.
”We know that this is a livelihood for some people so REDD+ seeks to put a structure in place to prevent the deforestation and at the same time look for a way to prevent these people from going out of work, she said.

11 October 2017

REDD+ Progress: Forest Towards Solving Climate Change
By Namita Rao, New Security Beat, 11 October 2017
From 1870 to 2015, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased significantly, said Professor Maria Sanz, scientific director at the Basque Center for Climate Change in a recent webinar organized by WWF Forest and Climate. Forests have been responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions through forestry and other land use activities. However, she noted that forests also absorb nearly one-third of the emissions generated from fossil fuels.

Climate change and conservative forest management may mean bigger and more frequent wildfires
By H. Anu Kramer, Science, 11 October 2017
On 22 September, the first day of fall, fire season in many parts of the United States should have been winding down, yet the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center reported 38 large wildfires still burning in the west (1). These fires alone had burned more than 1.4 million acres (approximately the size of the state of Delaware).
A single fire of a similar size engulfed Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, last summer. This blaze destroyed 2800 homes, forced the evacuation of 88,000 people, and will likely end up costing nearly $9 billion.

The Best Investment Opportunity Ever: Investing In Nature 101
By Mark Tercek (TNC), Forbes, 11 October 2017
Nine years ago, I said goodbye to Wall Street. After a 24-year career at Goldman Sachs where I was a partner and led a number of key business units, I left the firm to become president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the world’s largest environmental organization. My game plan—become an investment banker for nature.
When I arrived, TNC—along with organizations like World Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and many others—was doing great work. Project by project, we were getting great things done for nature. But alas, as good as we were, it wasn’t quite enough. You could say we were winning many battles but losing the war. Environmental harm continued. And looking ahead—especially with rapid population growth and the threat of climate change—our challenges would only grow more intense.

2017 on course to be deadliest on record for land defenders
By Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 11 October 2017
The number of people killed this year while defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife has passed 150 – meaning 2017 is on course to be the deadliest year on record.
Environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders are locked in fierce conflicts with mining, logging and agricultural companies in hundreds of places around the world. The Guardian is working with watchdog Global Witness to record all the deaths in 2017, and this week that figure reached 153 with a spate of killings across three continents.

Signature Flight Support Announces Carbon Neutral Fuel Collaboration with Air BP
Signature Flight Support press release, 11 October 2017
Signature Flight Support announced today that Air BP Sterling Card holders will soon be able to fly using carbon-neutral fuel under a new agreement with the aviation division of BP.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the carbon emissions from jet fuel purchased by Air BP Sterling Card holders at any participating Signature FBO location in the U.S. will be offset via BP Target Neutral, BP’s voluntary carbon offsetting program. This joint approach to carbon reduction shows the commitment of two major players in the business aviation market to achieve a lower-carbon future.

Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forests
By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres, Mongabay, 11 October 2017
Figures from the Brazilian government’s INPE (National Institute of Space Research) show that 2017 is shaping up to be the worst year on record for forest fires: 208,278 were detected by 5 October. Alberto Setzer, who runs INPE’s fire monitoring department, told Mongabay that 2017 was now on course to overtake 2004, until now the year with the most fires, when 270,295 were detected. More fires were seen in September of this year (110,736) than in any previous month in the 20 years that INPE has been recording fires.

Germany to miss climate targets ‘disastrously’: leaked government paper
By Sören Amelang, Climate Home, 11 October 2017
Germany’s environment ministry fears high emissions from coal-fired power plants and transport will make the country miss its 2020 climate targets by a wider margin than previously anticipated.
The ministry’s warning adds further pressure to make fast progress on climate-related issues in upcoming talks aimed at forming a new government following September’s general elections.

12 October 2017

New airplane biofuels plan would ‘destroy rainforests’, warn campaigners
By Arthur Nelsen, The Guardian, 12 October 2017
A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops.
Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with an 8% leap reported in Europe last year and a global fourfold increase in CO2 pollution expected by 2050.

Cash for conservation: Do payments for ecosystem services work?
By Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay, 12 October 2017
As far as conservation strategies go, payments for ecosystem services (PES) are based on a relatively simple concept — perhaps deceptively simple. The idea behind PES is, essentially, to pay landowners to protect their land in the interest of ensuring the provision of some “service” rendered by nature, such as clean water, habitat for wildlife, or carbon storage in forests.

Fossil fuels win billions in public money after Paris climate deal, angry campaigners claim
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 12 October 2017
Billions of dollars of public money was sunk in new fossil fuel projects by the world’s major development banks in the year after the Paris climate change deal was agreed, according to campaigners who are calling for the banks to halt their financing of coal, oil and gas.
The new analysis also reveals that some of the taxpayers’ money given to coal and gas projects was counted as “climate” finance.
Funding for fossil fuel projects from the six main international development banks totalled at least $5bn in 2016, according to a report from researchers at Oil Change International (OCI).

Forestry Commission to develop Ghana’s second REDD+ programme
Ghana News Agency, 12 October 2017
The Forestry Commission is partnering the United Nations Development Programme to develop Ghana’s second REDD+ programme, which focused on reducing deforestation and forest degradation in the savannah landscape.
Mr John Allottey, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, who announced this, said Ghana hopes to attract funding from the Green Climate Fund for the implementation of the programme.
Mr Allottey was speaking at a meeting organized by the Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) working group to update Civil Society Orgaisations (CSOs) on the progress of various activities undertaken by the group.

Governing mangroves: From Tanzania to Indonesia
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Forests News, 12 October 2017
Mangroves constitute only 0.5 percent of forest area worldwide, but millions of people depend on them for food, income and protection of coastlines against erosion. Since 1980, about one-fifth of the world’s mangroves have disappeared. Although human pressures are a major threat, little is known about the governance conditions that facilitate long-term conservation and restoration of these coastal forests — questions that will become all the more relevant as countries develop frameworks for action on climate change.

13 October 2017

NASA Reports Recent Surge in CO2 Emissions From Natural Sources
By Matt Smith, Seeker, 13 October 2017
The recent Pacific Ocean hot streak known as El Niño led to a surge in carbon dioxide emissions from natural sources across the tropics, contributing to record global temperatures before fading.
The US space agency’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 started beaming back planet-warming CO2 readings from space in 2014, around the time the periodic Pacific warming trend last emerged. The 2014-2016 El Niño drove average global temperatures to three straight annual records — and that warmth boosted the amount of CO2 that the world’s tropical forests gave up by about 2.5 billion tons in 2015, scientists working with the satellite data reported Thursday.

Here’s What We Know about Wildfires and Climate Change
By Chelsea Harvey, Scientific America, 13 October 2017
As deadly wildfires rage across California’s wine country, leaving at least 29 dead and a trail of destruction in their wake, the influence of climate change is again being questioned.
Just Monday, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech at the University of California, Davis, in which she noted that “it’s been a tough couple of weeks with hurricanes and earthquakes and now these terrible fires”.

[Bhutan] REDD+ options strategy workshop conducted in Tsirang
Bhutan Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 13 October 2017
A total of seventy six participants attended the workshop on formulation of REDD + options strategy for Tsirang Dzongkhag at Damphu Resort.
The Dzongkhag level consultative REDD+ (countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) strategy development workshop was conducted in two phases.

Give the Congo Basin forest a chance
By Victorine Che Thoener, Greenpeace International, 13 October 2017
Approaching the forest in the Congo, I am met with an overwhelming wall of green. Flying over it, I see the meandering rivers merging together. I see animals drinking from the rivers, frolicking with joy in the water. Walking into the forest, I hear a chorus of teeming life – birds, lowland and mountain gorillas, forest elephants, bonobos – many of which are now endangered.

This land is our land: Kenyan hunter-gatherers and an African dilemma
By David Pilling, Financial Times, 13 October 2017
Kotiogo Ng’usilo is 86 years old but he shimmies up the tree like a teenager. Carrying a smouldering bundle of bark and moss in one hand, he approaches the beehive high up in the branches. Down below on the forest floor, Fred Ng’usilo, his 31-year-old grandson, explains that the smoke makes the bees drowsy, though evidently not that drowsy. “They become harsh. They sting, sting, sting!” he whoops. He looks up in admiration at the man nearly three times his age. “I can climb, but I cannot climb as well as him.”

[USA] ‘Catastrophe’ as 32 killed in California’s deadliest wildfires
By Adam Arnold, Sky, 13 October 2017
At least 32 people have been killed and around 90,000 forced to leave their homes as a result of the deadliest week of wildfires in California’s history.
The massive blazes, which began on Sunday, have swept through the state’s wine country, leaving thousands homeless.
With many of the flames still burning out of control, the fires have grown to more than 300 square miles (777 square km) – an area as large as New York City.

14 October 2017

Geoengineering is not a quick fix for climate change, experts warn Trump
By Kate Connolly, The Guardian, 14 October 2017
Leading climate scientists have warned that geoengineering research could be hijacked by climate change deniers as an excuse not to reduce CO2 emissions, citing the US administration under Donald Trump as a major threat to their work.
David Keith, a solar geoengineering (GE) expert at Harvard University has said there is a real danger that his work could be exploited by those who oppose action on emissions, at the same time as he defended himself and colleagues from the claims GE strengthens the argument for abandoning the targets set by the Paris climate agreement.

15 October 2017

[Fiji] Saving the people of Draubuta
By Sikeli Qounadovu, Fiji Times, 15 October 2017
It is often said behind every successful man is a strong woman. For Draubuta Village deep in the highlands of the Navosa region, women have stood by their men and are the architects, engineers and backbone of development in the village.
For a village located on the foot of a steep hill which takes more than an hour to climb to reach the nearest dirt road and then three hours to Sigatoka, everything started with the pilot project orchestrated by the Ministry of Forests’ REDD+ Unit and ably supported by the German Government’s Society for International Cooperation or Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), World Bank and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

[Indonesia] Balancing Development and Forest Protection in Papua
By Josefhine Chitra, Arief Wijaya and Rizky Firmansyah, World Resources Institute, 15 October 2017
As part of the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia faces a unique challenge in achieving equitable development across its 16,000 islands. Despite strong overall economic growth, development is still concentrated in the western parts of Indonesia, like Java, while the more remote islands in the east struggle to keep up. Therefore, President Joko Widodo’s commitment to boost the economy in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces―Papua and West Papua―is welcomed by most.

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