REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
GCF in Brief: REDD+
Green Climate Fund, February 2018
REDD+ is a financing model negotiated under the UNFCCC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. It is divided into three phases, which are roughly associated with readiness, implementation, and payment for results. This factsheet provides an overview of how GCF offers support for REDD+ across all three phases.
5 February 2018
NewEra – using the blockchain to reward individuals for being Green
By Saibu Baba, TG Daily, 5 February 2018
One of the biggest problems with regulating the environment so far has been maintaining accountability and aligning incentives. As long as people can damage the environment without anyone knowing or holding them accountable, things will get worse.
Conventional carbon credits schemes regulates this issue for companies, allowing companies which are less energy efficient to purchase carbon credits from companies which are more energy efficient. Despite the significant impact that the billions of individuals on the planet can make to the environment, there is no similar process or scheme for individuals to take part in.
NewEra Energy (“NewEra”) believes that the blockchain serves as a perfect answer for solving this problem in a technologically secure manner, and allowing players of all sizes to take part.
In the rush for landscape restoration goals, let’s not forget about biodiversity
By Yoly Gutierrez, CIFOR Forests News, 5 February 2018
The global momentum for restoration has never been greater. With ambitious targets like the Bonn Challenge, New York Declaration and those set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, plus billions of dollars invested annually, countries all over the world are rapidly moving forward with Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) initiatives as a way to address ecosystem conservation, sustainable development and climate goals.
[Cambodia] Murder of patrollers puts safety of those protecting Cambodia’s forests into spotlight
By Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon, Phnom Penh Post, 5 February 2018
The murder last week of three forest patrollers in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary has put a spotlight on the dangers to conservationists in the face of endemic logging, and reignited a conversation about how best to protect often ill-equipped patrollers.
The deaths have prompted soul searching among stakeholders, particularly over how to train – and potentially arm – forest patrollers, but observers in recent days have said such questions ignore an even thornier issue: how best to tackle widespread forest crimes when those being policed are often police themselves.
Indonesia to deal with last part of One Map Policy
By Anton Hermansyah, Jakarta Post, 5 February 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday that the Indonesian government was now dealing with the last part of One Map Policy by focusing on mapping Papua, Maluku and Java in 2018.
In 2016, the government started work on the Kalimantan map, and the following year, started to deal with the Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara map.
The President said the map reference was expected to be completed in 2019.
Deforestation wanes in Indonesia’s Aceh and Leuser Ecosystem, but threats remain, NGO says
by Hans Nicholas Jong and Junaidi Hanafiah, Mongabay, 5 February 2018
Deforestation slowed last year in the Indonesian province of Aceh, home to the Leuser Ecosystem biodiversity hotspot, according to a local forest watchdog.
The province, which spans 58,377 square kilometers (22,539 square miles) on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, lost 173 square kilometers (67 square miles) of forest in 2017, according to data from the group Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh (HAkA). That was down nearly 18 percent from area of forest lost in each of the past two years.
[Kenya] Conserve forests but uphold rights of locals
By Julius Kamau (East African Wild Life Society), Standard Digital, 5 February 2018
Cherangani Hills Forest is a critical water catchment that supports livelihoods within the Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins and feeds rivers in Kerio Valley. It covers approximately 95,600 hectares and is located within Elgeyo- Marakwet, West Pokot and Trans-Nzoia counties. One of the gazetted forests in the Cherangani Hills is the Embobut Forest in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, and covers an area of approximately 21,000 ha. The strategic ecological importance of this forest was first recognised by the British colonial administration in 1893.
6 February 2018
[Australia] Saving two birds with one stone: A carbon credit product that also preserves biodiversity
By Vaidehi Shah, Eco-Business, 6 February 2018
The Australian branch of global sustainability consultancy South Pole on Monday launched a new product that allows companies to offset their carbon emissions and support the protection of Australian biodiversity at the same time.
The product, called EcoAustralia, combines internationally verified carbon credits with “biodiversity credits” that have been endorsed by the Australian government. Each biodiversity credit represents 1.5 square metres of land under protection.
Borneo’s carbon sink
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 6 February 2018
The decimation of Borneo’s forests over the past half century is well known. Every tree lost releases carbon into the atmosphere, hastening climate change.
But over the same time period, a new study has found, the forests that remain – the untouched, old-growth forests of the interior – are getting denser.
For millions of years, exuberant tropical vegetation has sprouted, bloomed and died here. The trees absorb and store carbon as they grow, and release it back into the atmosphere when they die and rot away.
[Cambodia] Monk forest chief files report against soldiers
By Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, 6 February 2018
A community forest chief in Oddar Meanchey province is pursuing legal action against a pair of soldiers over an incident last month in which they allegedly beat and threatened forest patrollers who caught them transporting luxury timber.
The Venerable Bun Saluth, head of the Sorng Rukhavorn community forest, filed a complaint to the Forestry Administration on Friday accusing soldiers Moeng Duong and Sam Pisey of forestry crimes and threatening to set a patroller’s family on fire after patrollers stopped a mini-tractor loaded with timber.
[Indonesia] Jokowi pledges fewer forest fires for this year
By Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Straits Times, 6 February 2018
President Joko Widodo has reminded all Indonesian officials on the need to continue to prevent forest and plantation fires, noting that the leaders of Malaysia and Singapore had praised him for the progress made so far.
The Indonesian leader said he had issued a guarantee of fewer forest fires for this year. (2018).
“In 2015, every time I met with the Singapore and Malaysian prime ministers and they complained to me about the haze,” the president said at a national coordination meeting at Merdeka Palace on forest and plantation fire mitigation on Tuesday (Feb 6).
[Uganda] Nantaba earns millions selling carbon credits through forestry
By Arthur Matsiko, The Observer (Uganda), 6 February 2018
Of recent, there is a trend among the corporate class to explore money-making opportunities in farming. But long before that phenomenon, PHOEBE NANTABA had already booked her spot and is already reaping from a venture started in 2004, writes Arthur Matsiko.
Countrywide, vast plantations of trees are sprouting, having been planted by those looking to tap into cash that flows from this long-term venture.
Thus, about 19 kilometres along Kampala-Mityana highway near Kisammula trading centre in Buloba stands a lofty 60 hectares of eucalyptus tree forest. I was intrigued to dig up more about this scenic view that overshadows this fast-developing town.
To my surprise, it is owned by Nantaba, a charming 35-year-old financial analyst. She is all smiles as she walks me through the trees that are at different stages of maturity.
7 February 2018
[Cambodia] Shooting victims ‘took bribe’
By Khuon Narim, Khmer Times, 7 February 2018
The three conservationists shot dead in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary last week reportedly agreed to accept a bribe in exchange for allowing the illegal logging, but still reported the incident.
A detailed National Police report obtained yesterday said the shooting – which killed a forest ranger, a military police officer and a Wildlife Conservation Society official – involved a bribe of five million Vietnamese dong, or about $220, for not cracking down on illegal logging.
[Cambodia] UN help sought in land dispute
By Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, 7 February 2018
Human rights representatives from NGO Adhoc and the United Nations have been asked to intervene in a land dispute between villagers and an army lieutenant they say was granted a land title illegally inside a protected community forest in Oddar Meanchey province.
Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said he and a UN representative from Battambang’s Office of the High Commission for Human Rights visited the area on Thursday, finding that the disputed land indeed lies within a community forest. It is supposed to be protected under the UN’s REDD+ program, through which forests are meant to be conserved in exchange for carbon credits.
All eyes on European Commission as crucial EU decision on deforestation due “in a matter of weeks”
Environmental Investigation Agency, 7 February 2018
In the coming weeks, the European Commission is set to make a momentous decision about the fate of the world’s forests.
The decision rests on whether the EU will develop an Action Plan on deforestation and degradation, as envisaged by the Council and Parliament in 2013 in the context of the 7th EU Environment Action Programme.
Failure to act would mean the EU will be unable to deliver on its international commitments to halt deforestation by 2020, to protect our climate and biodiversity, and to guarantee that human rights including the rights of indigenous peoples are respected.
[Indonesia] Asia Pulp and Paper’s sustainability progress ‘not sufficient’ say NGOs
By Robin Hicks, Eco-Business, 7 February 2018
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has not lived up to the sustainability commitments it made five years ago, a coalition of non-government organisations (NGOs) has claimed on the anniversary of the controversial paper company’s Forest Conservation Policy (FCP).
The Indonesia-headquartered firm committed to stop clearing natural forest on 5 February 2013, following years of campaigning by green groups. At the time, the announcement was seen as a sustainability milestone for the company. Until that day, APP had cleared more than 2 million hectares of tropical forests over 34 years of operations in Indonesia, according to a report by Eyes on the Forest.
[Kenya] Work with locals to protect forests and end animosity, Tolgos tells KFS
By Stephen Rutto, The Star, 7 February 2018
Kenya Forest Service has ignored local communities in forest conservation, Elgeyo Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos has said.
Tolgos noted on Wednesday that the 65,000-hectare Cherangany water tower and the 21,000-hectare Embobut Forest are owned and conserved by clans.
He asked KFS to involve residents in conservation to end animosity with the service.
[Pakistan] Cash incentives could help save forest cover: experts
The Express Tribune, 7 February 2018
Payments to forest communities for not cutting the trees can result in efficient, cost effective and equitable conservation of forests as natural resources, said experts at the at a seminar.
The initiative of payments to save trees comes under global REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks in Developing Countries) and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES).
Moment of Truth: Promise or Peril for the Amazon as Peru Confronts its Illegal Timber Trade
Environmental Investigation Agency, 7 February 2018
EIA’s new report describes important advances since 2012 in Peru’s fight against illegal logging, timber laundering, and its associated international trade – as well as the backlash against these new approaches.
The evidence of persistent illegal logging, systemic corruption, laundering, and illegal timber in Peru’s exports remains overwhelming. While the U.S. has begun to crack down on illegal Peruvian timber, major importing countries like China and Mexico are turning a blind eye.
[USA] Scientists find strong link between climate change and wildfires
By Lauren Holland and Albert Kyi, Phys.org, 7 February 2018
Wildfires in western states have been increasing in number and severity over the past few decades. They cause severe destruction to property, sometimes harm or kill people, and cost a lot of money to local and state governments. One recent wildfire in the news, the Thomas Fire in California, has burned through more than 379 square miles and incurred damages greater than $110.2 million. Preventing these wildfires is of utmost importance to humans and to wildlife in the area, so scientists have begun trying to find what exactly is causing these fires.
8 February 2018
Chevron Fights Cities’ Climate Suits With ‘Creative Lawyering’
By Kartikay Mehrotra, Bloomberg, 8 February 2018
If Chevron Corp. has caused climate change and has to pay for its damage, so should pretty much every company that’s ever explored for oil and gas near North America, as well as manufacturers of cars and equipment that burn fuel, plus consumers.
That’s Chevron’s response to lawsuits by San Francisco and Oakland, California, blaming “the nuisance of global warming” on decades of fossil fuel production. So Chevron turned around and sued Oslo-based Statoil ASA, calling it “one of many” oil producers that should help foot the bill if the industry is found liable. Several of the biggest — BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc — were already named by the cities as defendants.
Aviation giants call for CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme to be cleared for take-off
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 8 February 2018
Air Transport Action Group call on more states to embrace voluntary phase of imminent carbon offsetting scheme
Some of the world’s largest aviation companies have called for governments to step up efforts to deliver a new international carbon offsetting scheme for the industry.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) yesterday opened its Carbon Markets Seminar in Montreal, as it continued work to deliver the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme that was agreed in 2016 after years of negotiations.
No Better Time for Indonesia’s Indigenous Communities to Reclaim Land Rights
By Dean Affandi, World Resources Institute, 8 February 2018
For more than a half-century, Indonesia’s government-backed economic development has been based on exploiting and exporting the vast natural resource wealth in its waters and forests— often to the detriment of indigenous people who historically occupied these areas. This exploitation has also gone against the customary laws of those indigenous people.
Backtracking on reform: how Indonesia’s Government is weakening its palm oil standards
Environmental Investigation Agency, 8 February 2018
Last week it emerged that a new draft regulation on the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification scheme has been produced by the Government. In 2016, the Indonesian Government announced it would strengthen the ISPO scheme, given increasing global demand for sustainable, deforestation-free palm oil. Following an initially participative process, it had been hoped that reforming the ISPO would result in enhanced legality, environmental protection and human rights. However, the new draft ignores multi-stakeholder input and raises questions as to the Government’s resolve to make palm oil more sustainable.
Hindering instead of helping in Uganda
By Rosalia Omungo, CIFOR Forests News, 8 February 2018
For better or worse, politics play a big role in Uganda’s forest tenure reform efforts. The topic was explored during a workshop, titled ‘Forest tenure reform implementation in Uganda: What lessons for policy and practice?’, which took place late last year in Kampala, and introduced five new publications stemming from four years of research in Uganda.
Esther Mwangi, a team leader at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said the workshop was held to present results to a diverse range of actors from the fields of forest conservation management and community resources in hopes of fostering debate on reform in Uganda.
9 February 2018
Give local development a chance
By Benno Pokorny, CIFOR Forests News, 9 February 2018
Amazonian forests play a crucial role in the global fight against climate change and loss of biodiversity. They are also an integral part of the social fabric in the region.
Efforts to protect these important forests have tended to focus on sustainable land use for the well-being of poor smallholders, including indigenous groups, traditional communities and small farmers. However, success has been rather modest. The destruction of forests continues with unabated speed, land conflicts between local and non-local actors remain aggravated, and the gap between urban rich and rural poor is ever increasing.
10 February 2018
Cambodia’s emerging ‘killing fields’
By Denis D. Gray, Nikkei Asian Review, 10 February 2018
Political opponents have been jailed or driven into exile, the media is muzzled and the voices of civil society are barely heard these days. Cambodia’s authoritarian regime has swept clear the field of potential political rivals as Prime Minister Hun Sen prepares for general elections in July.
But among the silent majority, a few individuals have continued to speak out and act against the country’s power brokers. These are the guardians of its increasingly devastated environment — and they have paid a deadly price. Around 20 environmental advocates and campaigners have been killed in Cambodia since 2005 and others have been jailed, attacked or threatened with assassination.
They don’t dig it: Mining firms are dismayed by a new Congolese mining law
The Economist, 10 February 2018
Robert Friedland, the boss of Ivanhoe Mines, a large Canadian firm that digs out copper and zinc in Africa, is not one for pessimism. In his speech to an annual mining industry jamboree, Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, his promises about the potential of the business were as copious as the ore bodies his firm mines. But amid the hyperbole about electric cars, Chinese consumers and the “most disruptive copper discovery in the world” there was a note of panic. Money, he warned, is “a coward”, and may be about to flee.
11 February 2018
Are Disney’s Cambodian Carbon Credits a Fantasy?
By David Boyle and Sun Narin, Voice of America, 11 February 2018
The killing of three conservationists patrolling Cambodia’s biggest carbon credit project exposes the nearly insurmountable conflicts of interest plaguing schemes in which huge corporations such as Disney and Virgin Atlantic have invested millions of dollars, observers say.
Military Police Officer Sek Wathana, Environment Ministry Ranger Teurn Soknai and Wildlife Conservation Society staffer Thol Khna were shot dead Jan. 30 in O’Raing district while patrolling in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.
Wildfires Take Away 1,000 Hectares of Chilean Forest in 1 Day
teleSUR, 11 February 2018
The worst wildfires in Chile’s modern history are ravaging wide swaths of the country’s central-south regions.
About 1,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed in the past 24 hours in Chile’s central region of Valparaiso, while authorities have declared the red alert in five areas on Sunday.
[UK] £27m debt of Privilege Wealth as it goes into administration
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 11 February 2018
An international investment company I warned against in 2016 crashed into administration last Monday with debts put at $38 million (about £27 million).
Privilege Wealth plc, based in Hertfordshire, has defaulted on a debt said to be owed to its Gibraltar sister company.
A further $7 million (£5 million) may also be owed to a Luxembourg-based fund that backed Privilege Wealth.