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REDD in the news: 15-21 January 2018

REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

15 January 2018

ANALYSIS: ICAO carbon offsetting scheme under fire
By Kerry Reals, FlightGlobal, 15 January 2018
Opinions are divided over whether ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation should be the only market-based measure applied to the airline industry to address its impact on climate change. [R-M: Registration needed.]

January / February 2018 edition of The REDD+ Resource now available!
UN-REDD programme, 15 January 2018
The dawn of the New Year brings a fresh set of opportunities as many developing countries move to REDD+ implementation and seek innovative ways to finance their forest-based development agendas. Linking sustainable development to forests, these governments are forging ahead through uncharted territory as they move forward along a climate-friendly pathway.
This issue is filled with an assortment of stories coming from different parts of the world, among them an article from a bank in Viet Nam that is adopting a REDD+ based approach to promote the national green growth agenda.

Ethiopia: Nation to Restore Over 20 Mln Ha Forest Landscape
By Genet Fekade, The Ethiopian Herald, 15 January 2018
Ethiopia has planned ambitious programs of forest landscape restoration to resuscitate more than 20 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes within the next 20 years, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change disclosed.
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Dr. Yitebitu Moges, Manager for REDD+ program under the Ministry, said that the forest coverage of the country will leap to 20 percent by 2030 from its three percent status it was in two decades ago.

NCCF Co-develops India’s Forest Management Certification Standard in Association with Ministries, Forest Departments, Industry and NGOs
Network for Certification & Conservation of Forests press release, 15 January 2018
Network for Certification & Conservation of Forests (NCCF) in association with the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change; Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare; Ministry of Commerce & Industry; Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH); state forest departments; international organizations; forest-based industry; civil society organizations; farmers groups; tribal groups and workers associations; and many more forest based stakeholders has developed and released India’s country-specific and internationally benchmarked Forest Management Certification Standard. The occasion also marked the launch of the National Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management. The scheme announced at the National Conference on Forest Certification organized by NCCF will bring a paradigm shift towards ensuring responsible utilisation of natural resources and trade of forest products.

Indonesia tries educating palm oil critics
By Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata, Bangkok Post, 15 January 2018
Indonesia has vowed to continue the fight against what it sees as an unfair global camaign against its palm-oil industry, a key economic driver that generated more than US$17 billion worth of exports in 2016.
Palm oil “faces negative campaigns and discrimination in Europe and the United States”, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi declared to an audience of foreign ambassadors on Jan 9. “Indonesia shall not stand by idly.”

Indonesian villages see virtually zero progress in program to manage peatlands
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 15 January 2018
Of the nearly 3,000 villages located within peatlands throughout Indonesia, only one is permitted to manage the forest — a glaring omission that the government has been slow to address through its “social forestry” program.
The program, one of the key policies of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, is based on the understanding that indigenous communities and others who have for generations lived sustainably off the land are the best stewards of these important, carbon-rich ecosystems.

16 January 2018

Many Operators Exempt From Upcoming ICAO Carbon Requirements
By Nick Zazulia, Avionics, 16 January 2018
Beginning in 2020, ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation will require that airlines operating flights between more than 70 participating countries to purchase carbon credits if they fail to comply with mandates. However, fewer than 100 operators in North America are expected to produce enough carbon dioxide to qualify for the program.
Other operators will likely fall below the annual 10,000 metric-ton threshold for CORSIA requirements, according to National Business Aviation Association VP for Regulatory and International Affairs Doug Carr. He cited estimates that current-generation business jet fleets would need to purchase approximately 1 million gallons of fuel to reach 10,000 metric tons.

Should we burn trees for energy?
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forest News, 16 January 2018
As the European Union Parliament debates changes to a directive on renewable energy, more than 650 scientists have signed a letter demanding an amendment to the directive’s definition of forest biomass.
Under the current definition, nations and industries can count as ‘renewable’ the energy sourced from burning trees that were cut down just for that purpose. The letter from scientists states that only the forest biomass from residues and waste left by trees cut down for other purposes should count toward the EU target of at least 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. The signatories warn that a failure to make this change will continue to put global climate goals, and the world’s forests, at risk.

How Ethiopia Is Slowing Climate Change By Reviving Its Forests – And Its Economy
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 16 January 2018
According to legend, a young man named Khalid discovered the invigorating effects of coffee while herding his goats through the misty, mountainous forests of Kaffa, at the eastern edge of the Kingdom of Abyssinia, around 750 AD. The animals, it’s said, became rambunctious after devouring the red berries for which the region is named, so Khalid ate some as well, and the rest is history.
To this day, Abyssinia – or the land we now call Ethiopia – is Africa’s largest producer of coffee, and 15 million Ethiopians earn their living growing it, roasting it, or processing it.

17 January 2018

Funding a low-carbon future
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 17 January 2018
As the challenges of climate change come into clearer focus, international initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals lay out ambitious targets to shift humanity’s course to a less-destructive trajectory.
But change requires financial investment as well as political will, and there’s a significant funding gap between what’s been committed and what’s actually required to achieve these aims. Private finance presents a powerful – and oft-cited – possibility to close the gap, with trillions of dollars of investment apparently available to be deployed for the purpose.

Blockchain: Secret weapon in the fight against climate change
By Jeremy Deaton, Renew Economy, 17 January 2018
Bitcoin, the much-hyped cryptocurrency, made headlines recently for driving a surge in power use. Around the globe, digital entrepreneurs are ‘mining’ Bitcoins by solving complex math problems, using supercomputers to get the job done. Those supercomputers use a ton of power, which largely comes form coal- and gas-fired power plants spewing gobs of carbon pollution.
But, while hackers wreak havoc on the climate, blockchain, the bleeding-edge technology behind Bitcoin, could one day help clean up the mess. Climate wonks say blockchain has a role to play in the clean-energy economy, helping homeowners sell electricity, allowing businesses to trade carbon credits, and making it easier for governments to track greenhouse gas emissions.

Paul Polman on Fixing a Broken Food System
By Paul Polman, Wall Street Journal, 17 January 2018
Until recently, the international community lacked a shared strategy for creating more-inclusive development and tackling the seemingly insurmountable, complex challenge of climate change.
Yet in 2015, we collectively addressed this challenge. The Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a bold framework to create a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive world by 2030.
Yet an issue essential to achieving these goals remains largely sidelined from the global agenda, written off as too complicated to solve: our food and land-use systems.

The pope is visiting a Peruvian town ‘absolutely destroying itself’ for gold
By Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, 17 January 2018
Guadalupe Tayori and her four children spent eight hours traveling by truck, canoe and bus to reach the capital of Madre de Dios, in southeastern Peru, in hopes of hearing Pope Francis.
And the weathered 58-year-old woman from Puerto Luz is clear about what she wants from him: help clearing out the illegal gold-mining operations that have been encroaching on her indigenous reserve.
“Our rivers are dirty and drying up and the plants and the fish are dying,” she said. “We need him to help.”

18 January 2018

Planting Trees To Save The Planet Is Turning Into Big Business
By Adele Peters, Fast Company, 18 January 2018
In Myanmar, one startup is using drones to quickly replant a massive mangrove forest. In Cameroon, another startup is using an invention called a “cocoon”–a biodegradable paper donut–to help thousands of seedlings survive near refugee camps. In the U.S., a third startup is replanting abandoned farmland with pongamia, a type of tree that needs little irrigation and produces oil that can be used in biofuel and food.

Record Amazon fires, intensified by forest degradation, burn indigenous lands
By Zoe Sullivan, Mongabay, 18 January 2018
There were nearly 26,000 fire alerts in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará over a single week in December of last year, according to Global Forest Fires Watch. And as of September, Pará had seen a stunning 229 percent increase in fires over 2016, as reported by the Guardian newspaper, with 2017 on track to be Brazil´s worst ever fire year, according the World Resources Institute (WRI).
But statistics tell only part of the story: Brazil’s likely record wildfire season last year incinerated vast swathes of valuable trees, habitat and wildlife, sometimes within indigenous territories, natural resources which native communities rely on for their survival.

New satellite data reveals forest loss far greater than expected in Brazil Amazon
By Sue Palminteri, Mongabay, 18 January 2018
The Brazilian Amazon lost 184 km2 of forest in December 2017, according to the country’s Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon (Imazon). The data, obtained exclusively by the Brazilian news network GLOBO, show a significant increase in deforestation over that of December 2016, when just 9 km2 of deforestation was recorded.
More than a new surge in deforestation, this massive increase actually reflects an improvement in Brazil’s capacity to measure rainforest extent. Imazon, an environmental NGO that monitors the Amazon region, now incorporates radar imagery from the European Space Agency (ESA)’s new Sentinel-1 satellite. Launched into space in 2014, the Sentinel-1 is used to monitor everything from the Arctic thaw to earthquakes, oil spills, and volcanoes.

Undecided land claims in Colombia put slave descendants at risk, study says
By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 18 January 2018
Hundreds of land claims by Afro-Colombians sitting unresolved, some for over a decade, put those communities in danger of being driven off their land by business interests, according to new research.
Efforts by the government to award collective land titles have largely overlooked claims by Colombians of African descent whose families arrived as slaves, said researchers at Javeriana University in Bogota.
Without formal titles of ownership, Afro-Colombian communities are at acute risk of displacement and have little say over use of their land, researchers said.

680000 acres of Amazon rainforest may be lost to Peru’s new roads
By Morgan Erickson-Davis, Mongabay, 18 January 2018
Late last year, the Peruvian government gave the go-ahead for the construction of new roads along its border with Brazil in the Ucayali and Madre de Dios regions. The main road would span 172 miles, connecting the towns of Puerto Esperanza and Iñapari.
But such development has a cost. A new analysis finds around 680,000 acres (2,750 square kilometers) of primary rainforest will be put at risk from the road construction – including forest in protected areas and indigenous reserves.

In Uganda, change is afoot for rights to forests
By Deanna Ramsay, CIFOR Forests News, 18 January 2018
Fifteen years ago Uganda launched reforms to its land tenure system. The country’s forests, once lush and expansive, had come under threat due to agricultural expansion and the increasing demand for forest products. The reforms were an attempt to address this.
But until now it has been unclear how implementation of these changes has progressed, if there have been roadblocks, and how local communities and their rights to land have been impacted.

19 January 2018

It’s time to bring our planet back from the brink. Together. Now.
By Marco Lambertini, WWF, 19 January 2018
As world leaders gather in Davos this week to discuss how to better shape our future through strengthened cooperation, it’s imperative to also focus on how to prevent the health of our planet from failing. This is not ‘doom and gloom’, the risk is real.
The main theme at this year’s World Economic Forum is the role of technology in solving the world’s biggest problems. We are already embarking on a new phase of technological revolution that will fundamentally change the way we live, work, relate to one another and to the external world. The speed, breadth and depth of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent and is disrupting almost every sector in every country.

Outrage and conspiracy claims as Indonesia, Malaysia react to EU ban on palm oil in biofuels
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 19 January 2018
Officials in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s biggest producers of palm oil, have lambasted the European Parliament’s decision to phase out the commodity from motor fuels over the next three years due to environmental concerns.
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said Thursday that the vote to reduce to zero “the contribution from biofuels and bioliquids produced from palm oil” by 2021 was misguided and unfair, given that Jakarta had taken steps to address the environmental impact of the palm oil industry.

[USA] NY Court imposes penalties in excess of $83m on companies run by Bitcoin scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, Finance Feeds, 19 January 2018
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has secured an important victory against Bitcoin fraud. On January 18, 2018, Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court signed a number of orders granting SEC’s applications for final default judgements against three entities run by Bitcoin scammer Renwick Haddow.

20 January 2018

21 January 2018

On the Amazon’s lawless frontier, murder mystery divides the locals and loggers
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 21 January 2018
Sairá Ka’apor patrolled one of the most murderous frontiers in the world, a remote and largely lawless region of the Brazilian Amazon where his indigenous community has fought for generations to protect their forest land.
Armed with clubs, bows and arrows, GPS trackers and crude guns, he and fellow members of Ka’apor Forest Guard drove off – and sometimes attacked – loggers who intruded into their territory, the 530,000-hectare Alto Turiaçu Indigenous Land, which is roughly three times the area of Greater London and contains about half of the Amazon forest left in Brazil’s northern Maranhão state. That vigilante role came to an end last April when Sairá was stabbed to death in Betel, a logging town close to Ka’apor territory.

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