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REDD in the news: 6-12 November 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.

6 November 2017

2017 among the three warmest years recorded
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 6 November 2017
For all of us, as 2017 proves one of the three warmest years on record, climate change presents a greater risk of sickness or death than it did four decades ago, the United Nations says. And for some of the world’s poorest people, the consequences of unpredictable weather caused by changing climate mean devastating disruption to their daily lives.
The news comes from the World Meteorological Organisation, the UN system’s leading agency on weather, climate and water, which has published its 2017 report on the state of the global climate. Much of it makes sombre reading.

Bonn climate talks must go further than Paris pledges to succeed
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 6 November 2017
Talanoa is a Fijian term for discussions aimed at building consensus, airing differences constructively, and finding ways to overcome difficulties or embark on new projects. It is one of the building blocks of Fijian society, used for centuries to foster greater understanding among a people distributed over many small islands, and carry them through a tough existence.
This week, talanoa comes to Europe, and the rest of the world. Fiji is hosting the UN’s climate talks, following on from the landmark Paris agreement of 2015, and will hold the conference in Bonn, Germany. Talanoa will be the founding principle of the conference, the means by which Fiji hopes to break through some of the seemingly intractable problems that have made these 20-plus years of negotiations a source of bitter conflict.

Forest Defenders Could Pave Way to a Low-Carbon Future
By Matthew Parsons, Human Rights Watch, 6 November 2017
Today not only marks the start of the 2017 climate change talks, but also the end of a long journey for a group of indigenous leaders who have been crisscrossing Europe for weeks drumming up support for indigenous forest defenders.
The Guardians of the Forest campaign has been hammering home a key point: One of the best ways to combat climate change is to support the world’s indigenous peoples and local communities in their efforts to protect forests.

Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals
By Brad Plumer adn Nadja Popovich, New York Times, 6 November 2017
Two years after countries signed a landmark climate agreement in Paris, the world remains far off course from preventing drastic global warming in the decades ahead. On Monday, the latest round of post-Paris international climate talks begin in Bonn, Germany, to discuss how to step up efforts.
Under the Paris deal, each country put forward a proposal to curtail its greenhouse-gas emissions between now and 2030. But no major industrialized country is currently on track to fulfill its pledge, according to new data from the Climate Action Tracker. Not the European Union. Not Canada. Not Japan. And not the United States, which under President Trump is still planning to leave the Paris agreement by 2020.

Protecting ‘high carbon’ rainforest areas also protects threatened wildlife
University of Kent press release, 6 November 2017
Conservation efforts focused on protecting forests using carbon-based policies also benefit mammal diversity, new research at the University of Kent has found.
To help mitigate the effects of climate change, policies have been developed across the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation.
Much of this deforestation is caused by large-scale agriculture and extractive industries in developing tropical countries.

Indigenous forests could be a key to averting climate catastrophe
By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres, Mongabay, 6 November 2017
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23), which opens today in Bonn, Germany occurs at a crisis point: most climate scientists now agree that the carbon cuts agreed to in Paris in 2015 are insufficient for keeping global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, with potentially catastrophic implications for civilization.
More bad news: the world’s tropical forests which helped store human carbon emissions until the start of the 21st century, may no longer be carbon sinks. Researchers at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts recently determined that tropical forests could have experienced a net loss of around 425 million tons of carbon between 2003 and 2014, largely the result of deforestation and forest degradation.

Record Number of UN Entities Achieve Climate Neutrality
By Leila Mead, IISD, 6 November 2017
Thirty-nine UN entities achieved climate neutrality in 2016, according to a report on the environmental impacts of the UN system’s facilities and operations, which details greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by the UN as a whole as well as by each UN entity individually. The 2017 edition of the UN’s ‘Greening the Blue’ report includes data from 67 entities reporting their emissions for 2016, covering 264,221 personnel.
According to the report, the UN emitted 1.90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) in 2016 or an average of 7.18 tCO2eq per capita. Facilities, including headquarter offices, field offices and warehouses, accounted for 46% of the UN’s emissions, air travel for 42% and other travel made up the remaining 12%. The organization offset 37% of its total reported emissions through the purchase of carbon credits.

COP23 Special: In Burkina Faso, finding new paths through a changing landscape
By Gabrielle Lipton, CIFOR Forests News, 6 November 2017
When the rains come in Burkina Faso, a familiar change sets in. Well-worn paths through the dry savannah plains and sparse forest become unrecognizable in their new, drenched state. Farmers rush out to plant their seeds at just the right moment in the freshly hydrated soil. This is how things have always been – until now.
Recent changes in climate and land use have disturbed the patterns of wet and dry seasons in the West African country’s dry forest landscape. Now, it’s difficult for farmers to know that their planted seeds won’t be wasted following a false start of the rains. As agriculture occupies more and more of the land, problems of deforestation and conflict among land users must be carefully addressed to protect the country’s ecology and its inhabitants.

How China and Environmentalists Became Unlikely Bedfellows
By Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg, 6 November 2017
If politics make strange bedfellows, few are more unlikely than the growing link between China and the environmentalists seeking to rein in climate change.
The nation that spews the most pollution and is building dozens of coal-fired power plants is also winning accolades from the likes of Greenpeace and WWF for its efforts to fight global warming and steer an eventual path away from fossil fuels.
“Air quality kills competitiveness, kills people — that’s a big driver for China,” said Rachel Kyte, a United Nations special representative who leads the Sustainable Energy for All program. “How that translates into their leadership beyond the way they’re already leading is something that will be important to watch.”

Indonesia’s REDD+ begins new chapter
By Moses Ompusunggu, Jakarta Post, 6 November 2017
The US$1 billion-worth Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) agreement between Indonesia and Norway entered its transformation phase on Friday, with the former now beginning to work to improve infrastructure supporting the program.
The phase will end in July next year, after which Indonesia is expected to receive $800 million from Norway… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Indonesia] Forest conservation: Facing clear and present danger
By Wimar Witoelar, Jakarta Post, 6 November 2017
Indonesia frequently faces criticism from domestic politicians as well as ASEAN countries for failing to control its forest fires and the resulting smog, which the media calls “haze.” The 2015 fires were the worst, costing an estimated Rp 220 trillion (US$16.5 billion) in economic losses, or 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Can blockchain save Indonesia’s forests?
By Hannah Koh, Eco-Business, 6 November 2017
Blockchain technology will be used for the first time this December in an attempt to protect Indonesia’s rainforests and prevent the peatland haze fires that blight the region on a regular basis.
Spearheaded by industry group Carbon Conservation, the Smart Contract for Good programme will automatically distribute funding to villages in Aceh when they successfully reduce incidences of fire, in a pilot project beginning next month.

[USA] A Bunch of Chinese Investors Lost Their Shirts On A Brazen Coworking-Space Scam And Now JPMorgan Chase Is Getting The Blame
By Owen Davis, Dealbreaker, 6 November 2017
Between 2015 and 2017, investors poured around $35 million into Bar Works, a New York startup that held itself out as “a new venture in the work space market, aiming to bring real vibrancy to the flexible working scene by adding full-service work spaces to former bar and restaurant premises in central city locations.” The company was purportedly run by one Jonathan Black, who had “a background in finance and start-up ventures” including “‘Car Share’, a car sharing APP.”

[USA] Bar Works victims sue JPMorgan for allegedly helping Ponzi scheme
By Konrad Putzier, The Real Deal, 6 November 2017
A group of Bar Works victims is suing JPMorgan Chase for $3 million over its role in the alleged Ponzi scheme.
The plaintiffs, a group of 27 Chinese investors, allege that the bank knew Bar Works was a Ponzi scheme but still allowed its mastermind Renwick Haddow to keep an account, which he used to collect millions from his victims.
“(JPMorgan Chase) had everything it needed to unmask and stop the fraud — it had unique information from which it could have reached only one plausible conclusion: Haddow was a thief,” according to the complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court Monday.

7 November 2017

Big meat and big dairy’s climate emissions put Exxon Mobil to shame
By Juliette Majot and Devlin Kuyek, The Guardian, 7 November 2017
Did you know that three meat companies – JBS, Cargill and Tyson – are estimated to have emitted more greenhouse gases last year than all of France and nearly as much as some of the biggest oil companies like Exxon, BP and Shell?
Few meat and dairy companies calculate or publish their climate emissions. So for the first time ever, we have estimated corporate emissions from livestock, using the most comprehensive methodology created to date by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
And before the meat and dairy industries descend upon COP23 to broadcast their “feed the world” narrative, let’s set the story straight: their emissions could lead us to a point of no return.

The Natural Ways to (Help) Solve the Climate Problem
By Doug Boucher, Union of Concerned Scientists, 7 November 2017
This week marks the beginning of the annual U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, chaired by the nation of Fiji, and this year it’s going to be different. At most of the negotiating sessions from the early 90s up to the Paris Agreement in 2015, the emphasis was, reasonably, on reaching a broad consensus on how to prevent dangerous climate change. But Paris achieved that, and all the world’s countries, with one exception—the United States—have accepted that agreement. So now the question is, how can we make it work? A real challenge—particularly since a key delegation to the talks is now led by the climate-denialist Trump administration.

Indigenous peoples’ knowledge, wisdom valuable to climate adaptation, Peruvian activists say
UN, 7 November 2017
Peruvian indigenous activists at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, made a strong call Tuesday for indigenous peoples to be part of the solution to tackling climate change, emphasizing their traditional wisdom and practical knowledge about adaptation methods.
“We don’t want to speak only about climate change but about climate catastrophe […] What can we do? There are alternatives, especially from the indigenous peoples, especially from the wisdom of indigenous women,” said Roberto Espinoza, Advisor for the Interethnic Association for the development of the Peruvian Rainforest (Asociation Interetnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana – AIDESEP), at a press conference.

Forests Deserve More Respect When It Comes to Climate Action
By Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch, World Resources Institute, 7 November 2017
Like the deadpan comic Rodney Dangerfield, forests “don’t get no respect” when it comes to their potential as a solution to climate change. A decade after tropical forests entered international climate negotiations, people now understand that losing trees to deforestation or degradation contributes to emissions, and they know more trees means more carbon dioxide taken out of the air. But, as argued in our book, Why Forests? Why Now? mobilizing global action on conserving and restoring forests to address climate change is more important, more affordable and more feasible than most people think.

COP23 Special: Sharing the benefits of REDD+ in Burkina Faso
By Gabrielle Lipton, 7 November 2017
As Burkina Faso’s dry forest landscapes come under the dual pressures of climate change and land-use change, REDD+ has been introduced as a possible solution for people and the environment.
The scheme aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, while supporting conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks. Social safeguards are also part of the deal, promising a fair distribution of benefits among local communities.
More than half a decade on since the country began readying for REDD+ in 2011, how are communities splitting the benefits, and what has it meant for their livelihoods?

[UK] Paradise Papers: Prince Charles lobbied on climate policy after shares purchase
BBC Panorama, 7 November 2017
Prince Charles campaigned to alter climate-change agreements without disclosing his private estate had an offshore financial interest in what he was promoting, BBC Panorama has found.
The Paradise Papers show the Duchy of Cornwall in 2007 secretly bought shares worth $113,500 in a Bermuda company that would benefit from a rule change.
The prince was a friend of a director of Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd.
The Duchy of Cornwall says he has no direct involvement in its investments.

8 November 2017

The seven megatrends that could beat global warming: ‘There is reason for hope’
By Damien Carrington, The Guardian, 8 November 2017
‘Everybody gets paralysed by bad news because they feel helpless,” says Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who delivered the landmark Paris climate change agreement. “It is so in our personal lives, in our national lives and in our planetary life.”
But it is becoming increasingly clear that it does not need to be all bad news: a series of fast-moving global megatrends, spurred by trillion-dollar investments, indicates that humanity might be able to avert the worst impacts of global warming. From trends already at full steam, including renewable energy, to those just now hitting the big time, such as mass-market electric cars, to those just emerging, such as plant-based alternatives to meat, these trends show that greenhouse gas emissions can be halted.

COP23 Special: Can REDD+ benefit the poor?
By Amy Duchelle, CIFOR Forests News, 8 November 2017
Can REDD+ benefit the poor? This is a question that we have been asking for many years through CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS-REDD+).
The REDD+ Safeguards articulated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change bring the so-called ‘non-carbon benefits’ of REDD+ to the forefront, including rights, participation and social co-benefits. Accordingly, the success of REDD+ depends on both reducing carbon emissions and enhancing, or at least protecting, the rights and well-being of people who depend on forests (and often forest clearing) for their livelihoods.

Putting a Price on Rainforests
By Lorenzo Bernasconi (Rockefeller Foundation), Project Syndicate, 8 November 2017
In early October, shortly after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that his company could, given the opportunity, rebuild the island’s electrical grid using solar power. Coming in the midst of so much human suffering, it was a bold claim. But from a technological perspective, the timing was perfect. By late October, solar panels and high-capacity batteries had been installed at San Juan’s Hospital del Niño, and additional projects are in the works.

A Radar-Based Change Detection Technology Is Helping Preserve Our Forests
By Rachel Wolfson, Huffington Post, 8 November 2017
The purpose of the forest industry is to provide the world with wood-based products, such as lumber, paper, and renewable energy. Yet as populations and standards of living increase, so does the need for wood products. The demand for more wood also gives rise to concern over earth’s remaining natural forests. With the need for producing more wood based products and keeping the earth’s untouched forests protected, it is evident that forestry must become more efficient.

JRC at COP23: A cleaner, greener planet is both possible and affordable
European Commission Joint Research Centre press release, 8 November 2017
Limiting global warming below the critical 2C level set out in the Paris Agreement is both feasible and consistent with economic growth – and the knock-on improvements to air quality could already cover the costs of mitigation measures and save more than 300,000 lives annually by 2030.
That’s one message that scientists from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, bring to this month’s 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where this week they present the 2017 Global Energy and Climate Outlook (GECO) report.

IFC Report Highlights Private Investment Opportunities for Climate Resilience
By Yihi Wang, IISD, 8 November 2017
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has released a report on the vital role of the private sector in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Titled ‘Creating Markets for Climate Business: An IFC Climate Investment Opportunities report,’ the publication shows that more than US$1 trillion in investments has flowed into climate-related projects in key industry sectors, such as renewable energy and off-grid solar and storage, while trillions more can be mobilized through an enabling policy and business environment.

[Brazil] Climate finance helps ayahuasca culture protect remote Amazon forest
By Fabiano Maisonnave, Climate Home, 8 November 2017
A light shower cooled the warm Amazon night as the Yawanawá priests started serving ayahuasca.
After my second cup of the bitter psychedelic brew, the rainforest that surrounded Nova Esperança (New Hope) village slowly started to acquire new colours, formats, and sounds.

Amazon Hydroelectrics, the UN Climate Treaty and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – will greed and corruption derail the international climate negotiations?
By Steve Schwartzman, EDF, 8 November 2017
Behind the headline-grabbing news about Brazilian political corruption, Brazilian climate change negotiators are busy pushing proposals that could seriously damage important new climate change agreements – and shut the door on much-needed finance for stopping deforestation.
New market mechanisms in the UN Paris Agreement and in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for Civil Aviation (CORSIA) could provide money Brazil needs to protect its rainforest, including protecting heavily threatened indigenous territories twice the size of California. The new mechanisms could also help other tropical countries stop deforestation. That would be great news for the global atmosphere and for the people who live in the forests.
But Brazil’s negotiators are dead set against it. Instead, they’re fighting hard to preserve the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a relic of the Kyoto Protocol.

Part II: Amazon Hydroelectrics, the UN Climate Treaty and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – will greed and corruption derail the international climate negotiations?
By Steve Schwartzman, EDF, 8 November 2017
Brazil’s climate change negotiators are trying to throw the best hope for at-scale finance for stopping deforestation under the bus to ensure a big payday for bogus carbon credits from Amazon dams and other Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects — benefitting the scandal-plagued national power company Eletrobrás at the expense of the Amazon. (See EDF and Brazilian partners report.) There are far better ways to combat climate change.

Could the peatlands of Congo be a carbon bomb?
AFP, 8 November 2017
Gruelling talks are unfolding in Bonn for implementing the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change, but many kilometres (miles) away, there are fears that any progress may be wiped out by a lurking carbon threat.
Scientists and green campaigners say central Africa’s peatlands hold gigatonnes of carbon — a stockpile that poses a grave threat to hopes of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

EU needs emissions deal to avoid ‘shame in Bonn’
By Peter Teffer, EUObserver, 8 November 2017
Key members of the European Parliament’s largest group said on Tuesday (7 November) that EU legislators should agree on the reform of the EU’s emission trading system (ETS) this week or face embarrassment at the climate negotiations in Bonn.
“It is important that we could reach an agreement tomorrow because Bonn has started yesterday,” said Belgian MEP Ivo Belet, who follows the file for his group, the European People’s Party (EPP).

[Ghana] Rare victory for rainforests as nations vow to stop ‘death by chocolate’
By Ruth Maclean, The Guardian, 8 November 2017
The governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast are formulating plans to immediately put a stop to all new deforestation after a Guardian investigation found that the cocoa industry was destroying their rainforests.
The west African neighbours have been drafting new measures to rescue their remaining forests and replant degraded ones.
In an investigation published in September, the Guardian found that deforestation-linked cocoa had entered the supply chains of some of the biggest players in the chocolate industry. At the same time, the environmental group Mighty Earth published Chocolate’s Dark Secret, a report that found that “a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally.”

[Indonesia] Leaked Records Reveal Offshore’s Role In Forest Destruction
By Scilla Alecci, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 8 November 2017
On the island of Padang, in the heart of Indonesia’s industrial logging country, a group of teenagers pointed to the charred remains of sago palm trees – the remnants of the fires that have scorched the archipelago nation’s lush forests for two decades.
“There’s a sense of anger,” said Alvin, 15, who grew up in the village of Bagan Melibur. “The effects of forest burning and deforestation are enormous” for both humans and animals, he said.

[Indonesia] Saving The Forest: The #30Claps Movement
By Christabel Sasabone, Indonesia Expat, 8 November 2017
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia is starting an online movement called #30claps to save the forests of Indonesia.
The #30claps movement encourages people to clap their hands for 30 times after they have washed their hands to reduce the amount of tissues used. WWF Indonesia claimed that by clapping 30 times after hand washing can help to save the forest.
According to a survey published in WWF Indonesia, 54 percent of Indonesians who live in big cities have a habit of using an average of three sheets of tissue to dry their hands. They added that drying hands only require one sheet of tissue or none at all. They are encouraging the public to change this habit through the #30claps movement, to reduce the use of tissues and for the replanting of damaged forests used for tissue production in Indonesia.

Climate Resilient Development at COP23: experiences from the Peruvian Amazon
Global Canopy Programme, 8 November 2017
Peru is one of the countries most at risk from climate change, and with 76% of people living in urban areas, a focus on climate resilience in cities will be paramount. This is recognised in Peru’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which focuses on water, agriculture, fisheries, forests and health sectors as key priorities for adaptation. Two events GCP is participating in at COP will focus on how local actions in an urban context can contribute to NDC implementation, and how community-owned adaptation solutions can reach scale.

9 November 2017

REDD+ potential for abuses indicates need for indigenous rights-based approach
CIFOR press release, 9 November 2017
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) has potential to exacerbate conflicts over land and abuses of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, unless it is reoriented to promote participation and to strengthen indigenous rights.
In a new publication from the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), scientists Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti and Anne Larson analyse multiple allegations of abuses of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of readiness and implementation of the REDD+ mechanism, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

New research shows why forests are absolutely essential to meeting Paris Climate Agreement goals
By Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay, 9 November 2017
By now, it’s widely acknowledged that keeping what’s left of the world’s forests standing is crucial to combating climate change. But a suite of new research published last week shows that forests have an even larger role to play in achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement than was previously thought.
The research was released on the eve of the annual United Nations climate conference (the twenty-third conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP23), which kicked off in Bonn, Germany on November 6.

UNFCCC, FAO and IFAD Outline Challenges and Opportunities for Agriculture and Forestry at COP 23
By Stefan Jungcurt, IISD, 9 November 2017
Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) are responsible for almost one quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Reducing emissions from agriculture, food systems and forestry, therefore features high on the agenda of the Bonn Climate Conference.
The UNFCCC Secretariat has issued a press release that provides a comprehensive overview of the AFOLU issue under the Paris Agreement on climate change, including links to relevant publications and analyses by other organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).

Protecting Natural Capital: Q&A with Tetra Pak’s Elisabeth Comere
By Alyssa Danigelis, Environmental Leader, 6 November 2017
Tetra Pak’s motto “protect what’s good” also describes the global food processing and packaging company’s approach to environmental management. Their strategy, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, encompasses the entire value chain.
“Before, we were talking about sustainability and environmental performance in the sense of protecting the planet,” says Elisabeth Comere, director of environment and government affairs for Tetra Pak. She observes that recently the conversation has shifted. “Environmental performance has become a critical business driver.”

COP23 Special: From Balikpapan to global climate action
By Deanna Ramsay, CIFOR Forests News, 9 November 2017
Promising to stop cutting down forests is one thing. Actually doing it is another.
At the recent Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force Annual Meeting in Balikpapan, Indonesia, representatives hailing from disparate parts of the world – and mostly tropical states – met to discuss just how to do that. There they launched the Balikpapan Statement, which focuses on sustainable supply chains, the rights and livelihoods of indigenous communities and long-term financing.
At the COP23 in Bonn, Earth Innovation Institute (EII), the GCF Task Force and partners will hold a series of events to further the commitments made in Balikpapan.

From carbon sink to source: Brazil puts Amazon, Paris goals at risk
By Claire Salisbury, Mongabay, 9 November 2017
In 2012, Brazil celebrated a dramatic reduction in its deforestation rate. A sharp annual decline took forest loss to a record low, down 76 percent from 1990. Accomplishing this milestone — achieved alongside GDP growth and a major financial incentive scheme for reducing deforestation in collaboration with Norway — Brazil was hailed as an example for other nations to aspire to, especially during the landmark 2015 climate summit in Paris.
Today, that situation is largely reversed. Deforestation in Brazil rose rapidly and alarmingly in 2015-16, while Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions shot up by 8.9 percent in 2016. And though deforestation saw a measured decline in 2016-17, policymakers remain worried by an “exceedingly dangerous” suite of initiatives pushed forward over the last 12 months by President Michel Temer. They are so worried, in fact, that in June Norway threatened to withdraw financial support for Brazil’s deforestation effort if the nation didn’t reverse its flood of anti-environmental measures.

New project aims to restore and protect one trillion trees by 2050
Green News, 9 November 2017
A new initiative led by three of the world’s’ largest environmental NGOs aims to restore and protect one trillion trees by 2050 was outlined at COP23 in Bonn yesterday.
The TrillionTrees project, coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and BirdLife International (BLI) aims to ensure that one trillion trees have been re-grown, saved from loss and better protected around the world by mid-century.
Members from the NGOs, government representatives and the project’s organisers spoke at an information session and panel discussion at the WWF’s Panda Hub conference room in Bonn.

[Brazil] Cerrado Manifesto raises the bar
Global Canopy Programme, 9 November 2017
Efforts to tackle deforestation in the Cerrado have been given a boost with 23 global companies signing up to support the Cerrado Manifesto. But, if the Cerrado is to be protected, there is a need to engage and put pressure on the majority of companies still to make any kind of commitment.
The manifesto calls for immediate action by members of the private sector to protect this vitally important region and biodiversity hot spot through adopting effective policies that eliminate deforestation and the conversion of native ecosystems from their supply chains and investments.

Brazil Begins Effort to Plant 73 Million Trees in the Amazon
By Jason Daley, Smithsonian.com, 6 November 2017
Assuming everything goes to plan, over the next six years, the Amazon rainforest will get 73 million new trees. The mass planting is part of a project sponsored by Conservation International, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, and a number of other NGOs and corporations. As John Converse Townsend at Fast Company reports, it is the largest tropical reforestation effort ever attempted.
According to a press release from Conservation International, the effort will span deforested pasture lands over a 74,000-acre region spanning several Brazilian states—with the greatest focus in Southern Amazonas, Rondônia, Acre, Pará and the Xingu watershed. The purpose of the project is, in part, to revive the 20 percent of the Amazon that has been lost to deforestation due to agriculture and pasturing during the last 40 years. But the effort is also geared toward learning how to restore tropical forests.

[DRC] ‘Much deeper than we expected’: Huge peatland offers up more surprises
By John Vidal, Mongabay, 9 November 2017
Lokolama barely registers on atlases and maps. The small Pygmy village, home to a few hundred people, lies deep in the Congo Basin rainforest 48 kilometers (30 miles) south of the equator. It has a dilapidated church that doubles as a primary school, a single television set, a few rice and vegetable fields, and a dirt track that is impassable when it rains.
But last week the remote community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was put on the world map when international scientists, government officials and forest campaigners from three continents camped for two nights on its edge in order to conduct research and confirm the presence of one of the world’s most important carbon sinks.

[EU] Emissions trading deal fails to impress
By Sam Morgan, EURACTIV.com, 9 November 2017
EU negotiators from member states and the institutions reached a compromise on an Emissions Trading System (ETS) reform early on Thursday (9 November). But green groups have criticised the deal for ditching flagship climate policy status for a fossil fuel subsidy.
The deal was reached early on Thursday after months of dogged talks among EU nations, the European Parliament and the European Commission to finalise reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System for the period after 2020.

[Nigeria] New Allegations Challenge the Environment Record of Top U.N. Official
By Colum Lynch and Siobhán O’Grady, Forest Policy, 9 November 2017
Amina J. Mohammed, the U.N. deputy secretary-general, has ascended to the lofty pinnacle of global diplomacy on the back of her record as a champion of the environment and the poor. But in January, just weeks before assuming her current job, she spent her final days as Nigeria’s environment minister doing something that has outraged activists. Despite a ban then in force on the export of rosewood, an endangered resource, she signed thousands of certificates authorizing the shipment of vast quantities of the wood.

[Zimbabwe] Kariba REDD+ to be Inaugural Supply Side Project on the EARTH Token Natural Asset Exchange
By Carrie Brunner, NB Herard, 9 November 2017
ImpactChoice and Carbon Green Investments today announced that natural assets provided by Kariba REDD+ will be the first supply side project to make natural assets available for sale on the EARTH token Natural Asset Exchange (NAE). The Kariba REDD+ project has a long-standing relationship with impactChoice and will be using EARTH token for the settlement of transactions on the platform.
“Carbon Green Investments as project proponent to the Kariba REDD+ project is pleased to be a preferred supplier of Voluntary Carbon offsets to the EARTH Token project. Carbon Green Investment sees this advanced initiative of climate change mitigation as a positive step to keeping up with the ever developing world we will live in.” – Steve Wentzel – Co-Founder, Carbon Green Investments.

10 November 2017

What’s at Stake in the Bonn Climate Talks?
By Brad Plumer, New York Times, 10 November 2017
The Paris climate agreement of 2015 was a key moment in the battle against climate change: 195 countries vowed to help limit the rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
But the Paris deal was just the start of a long, arduous process. The world’s nations are still struggling to translate their lofty promises into meaningful cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Which explains why diplomats are now meeting for yet another round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, which began on Nov. 6 and continue through Friday.

COP23 Special: What would a rights-based REDD+ look like?
By Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti and Anne M. Larson, CIFOR Forests News, 10 November 2017
From its outset, REDD+ has divided opinions over its potential impacts on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Partly, this is because REDD+ seeks to address a global issue, but is being readied and implemented locally, often in forests with large areas traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples. These forests are located in countries with different – and often fraught – histories of interactions and levels of recognition and respect for the rights of indigenous and other forest-dependent citizens.

EU Commission surrenders to United Nations’ ICAO on aviation biofuels
Transport & Environment, 10 November 2017
The European Commission and EU member states look set to agree to almost entirely remove sustainability criteria for bio jet fuel at the UN’s aviation agency (ICAO) Council meeting today in Montreal. The countries gathered at the ICAO meeting will trash ten sustainability points out of 12, which will mean that highly unsustainable biofuels would qualify for the aviation’s global carbon offsetting scheme dubbed CORSIA.

U.N. aviation agency recommends weaker rules for biofuels: sources
By Allison Lampert, Reuters, 10 November 2017
The United Nations’ aviation agency on Friday recommended scaling back criteria for biofuels used on international flights as part of a compromise with developing countries who felt the rules would be too stringent, two sources familiar with the discussions said.
Aviation biofuels, now produced in small volumes from renewable sources, are expected to play an important role in a landmark 2016 aviation accord brokered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that aims to cap airline pollution at 2020 levels.

Conservation Groups Launch ‘Breathtakingly Audacious’ Plan to Reforest the Amazon
By Steve Williams, Care2, 10 November 2017
A band of conservation groups have launched a massive reforesting operation to help save the Amazon and the many creatures who rely on it.
The new project, which was announced in September at the “Rock in Rio” music festival in Brazil, sees several leading groups from different sectors come together to kickstart what will be the biggest tropical reforesting project ever.
“This is a breathtakingly audacious project,” M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International (CI), is quoted as saying. “The fate of the Amazon depends on getting this right — as do the region’s 25 million residents, its countless species and the climate of our planet.”

[Brazil] COP 23 should consider the strategic character of the implementation of the climate targets in its negotiations
Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, 10 November 2017
The official negotiations at COP 23 will have the important mission of advancing to devise the rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which will standardize the NDCs (climate targets) to ensure that the commitments of the countries are comparable. Brazil, as well as the majority of the signatory countries, is at this stage, and to make the Agreement a reality, needs to rely on a strategic plan for implementation of its NDC.

Germany Could Escape Carbon Hole at Home by Investing Abroad
By Mathew Carr and Brian Parkin, Bloomberg, 10 November 2017
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel finds herself in a bit of a pollution pickle.
After she promised voters just before the September general election that Europe’s biggest economy would find a way to meet its emissions target no matter what, her government is now signaling it may miss the 2020 goal.
But a potential solution is at hand. Germany could comply by helping reduce emissions abroad using international carbon markets, although it would cost several hundred million euros, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. The trade route to meet 2020 targets is already used by nations from Japan to Norway as well as the European Union.

Indonesia tries to learn from Brazil’s success in REDD+
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 10 November 2017
Indonesia is taking a page out of Brazil’s playbook as it seeks to catch up on its carbon reduction commitments and net a financial windfall.
Indonesia, a major emitter of carbon dioxide, largely through its forestry sector, has committed to initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), in exchange for pledged funding of $1 billion from the Norwegian government.

11 November 2017

People, planet and the climate talks: poles apart?
By Tetet Nera-Lauron, IBON International, 11 November 2017
The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is happening from November 6-17, 2017 in Germany, with the Government of Fiji presiding. The 2-week talks aim to set the wheels of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA) on climate change into motion. It has been almost two years since 195 countries signed on to signify their commitment to take action on one of the biggest challenges facing the world today, climate change. The Paris Agreement is hailed as a landmark agreement that will chart the way to keep global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible, below 1.5 degrees C.

Ethereum’s Annual Conference: Devcon Three Focuses on Scalability
By Jamie Holmes, BTC Manager, 11 November 2017
Regen.network plans to use Ethereum as part of a vision to reverse global climate change and incentivize the global agricultural community to directly engage in regeneration. The concept relies on a mechanism known as ‘reverse mining;’ with the neoliberal agenda against developing economies regarding trade liberalization, this had led to the degradation of the Earth’s natural beauty, putting profit above sustainability.
Gregory Landua said:
“I’m a farmer, grounding this whole conversation as our whole life depends on farmers. Farmers are the only ones who can change the world and save the planet from climate change, via carbon sequestration. The challenge is verifying what is happening on the ground, the world’s soil. With carbon emitted into atmosphere, to balance it out, we need to put carbon back into the ground.”

Launch of the UNDP- GEF-LDCF Project : “Enhancing Sustainability and Climate Resilience of Forest and Agricultural Landscape and Community Livelihoods in Bhutan
UNDP press release, 11 November 2017
As COP23 international climate talks continue in Bonn, Bhutan has launched a ground-breaking US$13.9 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) project aimed at enhancing the resilience of communities and protecting the country’s unique and rich biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
The UNDP-supported project, ‘Enhancing Sustainability and Climate Resilience of Forest and Agriculture Landscape and Community Livelihoods in Bhutan’, will be implemented over six years. Covering 12 dzongkhags, 38 gewogs, four biological corridors and three protected areas, the project is Bhutan’s first integrated initiative, designed to support the interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Life on Land (SDG15), Climate Action (SDG13) and No Poverty (SDG1).

[India] ICFRE organises seminar on REDD+
The Pioneer, 11 November 2017
An important event on afforestation and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in India was organised by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun on November 9, during the ongoing 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) under the aegis of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.
“Forests play a crucial role in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Forestry sector in India is making positive contribution for climate change mitigation in India,” said the ICFRE director general Suresh Gairola while chairing the event at India Pavilion.

12 November 2017

Forests Carbon Projects Can Narrow Emissions Gap, But Not All Are Created Equal
By Bryan C. Foster, Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 November 2017
Before year-end climate talks began in Bonn, Germany last Monday, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) published its 2017 Emissions Gap Report, which warned that existing climate action plans – called “Nationally Determined Reductions” (NDRs) – won’t keep global temperatures from rising 2oC.
Although emissions in the forestry sector are widely acknowledged to contribute only 10% to global carbon dioxide emissions, projects in this sector contribute disproportionately to developing-country NDRs because they’re often home to tropical forests and have few other emission sources to control. Forest carbon projects (many of which are included in the definition of “REDD+”), also account for another 15 percent of the activities suggested by the UNEP to close the emissions gap.

Africa needs practical solutions, not promises to tackle climate change
By Kaddu Kiwe Sebunya (African Wildlife Foundation), Daily Nation, 12 November 2017
World leaders and conservation stakeholders are meeting this week in Bonn, Germany, for the annual climate change conference.
This year’s meeting, known as the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23), seeks to negotiate and outline how to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change now signed by all countries except USA. The agreement (adopted in 2015) is an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poorer countries adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

Congo basin’s peaty swamps are new front in climate change battle
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 12 November 2017
Stumbling on submerged roots, attacked by bees and wading waist-deep through leech-infested water, the three researchers and their Pygmy guides progress at just 100 metres an hour through the largest and least-explored tropical bog in the world.
The group halt and unpack what looks like a spear, which is plunged over and over again into the waterlogged forest floor. Each time it brings up a metre-long core of rich, black peat made up of partly decomposed leaves and ancient plantlife. The deepest the steel blade reaches before meeting the underlying clay is 3.7 metres.

Statement on the announcement that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has started a process to lift its moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions
Rainforest Foundation UK, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Global Witness, Greenpeace, Réseau des Ressources Naturelles (RRN), 12 November 2017
We are alarmed that, as it speaks at COP23 on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations on the importance of protecting its forests, the government of DRC has held a meeting in Kinshasa on 10 November to start a process that would lead to the destruction of large areas of the Congolese forest, in contravention of its own forestry laws and Presidential decree.
The meeting, convened by the Congolese Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, considered lifting the long-standing national moratorium on the allocation of new industrial logging concessions, which for some years has restrained DRC’s chaotic and often illegal logging industry and helped to keep the country’s forests relatively intact.

[Fiji] Fight in the forest
By Reama Naco, Fiji Times, 12 November 2017
With our Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama presiding as chair for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany this week, it is important to showcase some of the work Fiji is doing to try and combat the impacts of climate change. Emalu, Fiji’s National REDD+ pilot site is a good case study of Fiji’s efforts to strengthen mitigation and adaptation actions through a participatory and multi-sectoral approach.

Indonesian president recognizes land rights of nine more indigenous groups
By Basten Gokkon, Mongabay, 12 November 2017
The Indonesian government has relinquished control over nine tracts of forest to the indigenous communities that have lived there for generations, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced at a recent conference on land tenure in Jakarta.
The move follows the government’s recognition last December of nine other communities’ rights to their ancestral forests, in line with a 2013 decision by Indonesia’s highest court that removed indigenous peoples’ customary forests from under state control.

As U.S. Sheds Role as Climate Change Leader, Who Will Fill the Void?
By Lisa Friedman, New York Times, 12 November 2017
When President Trump announced in June that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, America officially ceded its global leadership on climate change.
The retreat had actually begun months earlier, when climate change disappeared from most government websites and vanished from America’s domestic and international agendas. No longer would the United States federal government address climate change at home or raise global warming with ministers and heads of state, as former President Barack Obama and his cabinet routinely did.
It was a dramatic shift, and it was meant to be.

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