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REDD in the news: 12-18 February 2018

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

12 February 2018

[Bhutan] World Bank grants USD 4.8 million for REDD+ project
Kuensel, 12 February 2018
The World Bank granted USD 4.8 million to support the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through strengthening Bhutan’s forests under the Bhutan REDD+ Readiness Project on February 9 in Thimphu.
The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forest and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+) is a mitigation mechanism to combat climate change. The international programme operates under the principles of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing carbon sequestration through improved forest protection and management.

India’s overall forest and tree cover increases by 1% since 2015, says report, 12 February 2018
According to The India State of Forest Report, the forest cover increased by 6,778 sqkm and tree cover by 1,243 sqkm.
The country’s forest and tree cover has increased by 8,021 sq km or 1% since it was last surveyed in 2015, the India State of Forest Report said. The document, which is released every two years, attributed the rise to the Central government’s conservation and sustainable management policies.

Carbon Markets – The Enigma of Air Transport
By Dr Ruwantissa Abeyratne, Sri Lanka Guardian, 12 February 2018
On 7-9 February of this year, The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – the specialized agency of the United Nations on the subject of international civil aviation – held, at its headquarters in Montreal, a seminar on carbon markets. ICAO, which, by its own admission, is no expert on carbon markets, therefore judiciously gathered at this seminar experts on the subject from China, Japan, United Kingdom, South Korea, United States and Canada as well as the World Bank and several non-governmental organizations.

13 February 2018

New report shows landscape of finance for REDD+ and climate action in forests
By Breanna Lujan, EDF, 13 February 2018
A new report from Environmental Defense Fund and Forest Trends identifies the sources of funding currently available for REDD+ and climate action in forests, and analyzes the challenges and opportunities for accessing and coordinating this finance. Designed to serve as a resource for negotiators, policymakers, practitioners, NGOs, and others involved with the implementation of REDD+ and climate action in forests, the report aims to contribute to scaling up, coordinating, and allocating funding in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.

Finance To Protect Tropical Forests: Not Just One Silver Bullet
By Anne Thiel and Brian Schaap, Forest Trends, 13 February 2018
Tropical forest countries are critical for reaching the climate goals under the Paris Agreement. Many of them have ambitious targets for protecting forests, provided they receive sufficient support from the international community. Among the most important forest countries is Brazil, home to the vast expanses of the Amazon rainforest. Brazil had considerable success in reducing its deforestation rate while increasing agriculture production in the decade from 2004. However, in the last few years, economic difficulties have started to reverse these efforts, so policies and resources (public and private, international and local) need to be more effectively aligned. At the same time, there is the potential in Brazil to leverage the country’s advanced legislative framework for the protection of tropical forests—the Forest Code— to help it deliver on its national climate goals.

Global warming gathers pace
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 13 February 2018
Global surface temperatures during the three years from 2014 to 2016 – each hotter than the last – boosted the total level of global warming since 1900 by 25%, according to new research.
A separate study has confirmed that heat extremes, too, have outpaced the global average. Maximum temperatures during the hottest heat waves have in the last 30 years risen three times faster – especially in crowded cities that are home to more than 10 million – than average temperatures as a whole.

A eureka moment for the planet: we’re finally planting trees again
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 13 February 2018
China plans to plant forests the size of Ireland. Latin American countries have pledged to restore 20m hectares of degraded forest and African countries more than 100m hectares. India is to plant 13m hectares, and on a single day last year 1.5 million people planted 66m trees in Madhya Pradesh alone.

11 takeaways from the draft UN report on a 1.5C global warming limit
By Megan Darby, Climate Change News, 13 February 2018
Under the Paris Agreement, governments worldwide agreed to hold global warming “well below 2C” and to aim for 1.5C.
The inclusion of that second, tougher, goal was a victory for small island states and other countries on the front line of climate change. It was an acknowledgement of fears that higher temperature rise posed an unacceptable threat to their futures.
But the vast bulk of research and analysis prior to 2015 centred on the 2C threshold, a more established international target. What would it take to bend the curve to 1.5C?

Rainfall recycling: Trees as rainmakers
By Hannah Maddison-Harris, CIFOR Forests News, 13 February 2018
A commonly held view is that water is transpired from trees and lost from the landscape. But research now shows that this water, rather than disappearing, falls back as rain, either over the same area or elsewhere, in a process dubbed ‘rainfall recycling’.
A discussion forum at the recent Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, examined the role of forests in regulating the water cycle and looked at research that suggests vegetation plays a critical role in the frequency and intensity of rainfall. It also explored how this can affect landscape restoration, water management and climate change adaptation.

Amazon rainforests that were once fire-proof have become flammable
By Luiz Aragão, Jos Barlow, and Liana Anderson, The Conversation, 13 February 2018
The Amazon rainforest is described as the planet’s lungs for good reason. So much carbon is locked up in its trees that protecting the forest is a must if we want to do something about global warming. However, reducing the CO₂ that is emitted when a tropical forest is destroyed depends not only on stopping the actual deforestation, but also on fighting wildfires within the forest.

[India] Number of forest fires jump by 38% in 13 years but national policy still lacking
By Malavika Vyawahare, Hindustan Times, 13 February 2018
Recognising the threat of forest fires, the government has published comprehensive data on forest fires for the first time in its State of Forest Report 2017.
Between 2003 and 2016, the forest fires have jumped by almost 38% from 24,450 to 33,664, in part because of better reporting but also from degradation of forests and dryness of foliage due to rising temperatures.
“Over 95% of the fires are caused by humans,” Siddhanta Das, director general of forests, said in a recent interview.

[Kenya] Wildfires threat to water towers and wetlands
By Stephen Rutto, The Star, 13 February 2018
Wild fires have consumed more than 500 acres of forests in Elgeyo Marakwet and Trans Nzoia counties, Kenya Forest Service has reported.
The two counties boast of Embobut and Cherangay forests, which form the 65,000 hectare Cherangany water tower.
KFS on Sunday said the latest fires have destroyed at least 200 acres of Embobut forest.

[USA] Wyoming, Utah explore funding legal challenges to West Coast coal policies
By Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 13 February 2018
Lawmakers in coal-producing Utah and Wyoming, faced by a shrinking market for the fuel, this week introduced laws to fund legal challenges in California and Washington of policies that they believe hurt coal sales.
A Utah lawmaker on Monday proposed allocating $2 million to cover legal fees to private attorneys that would challenge a California surcharge on Utah coal, imposed as part of a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions there.

WWF Zambia applauds Government’s plan to strengthen forestry sector, 13 February 2018
The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia has welcomed the six-point plan adopted by the Government towards improving the management and governance of forestry sector.
The plan was revealed by Vice President Ms. Inonge Wina at Ndubula Primary School in Rufunsa recently during the commemoration of the 2017/2018 national tree planting season.

14 February 2018

A theory of physics explains the fragmentation of tropical forests, 14 February 2018
Tropical forests around the world play a key role in the global carbon cycle and harbour more than half of the species worldwide. However, increases in land use in recent decades caused unprecedented losses of tropical forest. Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have adapted a method from physics to describe the fragmentation of tropical forests mathematically. In the scientific journal Nature, they explain how this allows them to model and understand the fragmentation of forests on a global scale. They found that forest fragmentation on all three continents is close to a critical point beyond which the fragment number will strongly increase. This will have severe consequences for biodiversity and carbon storage.

Amazon’s Fires Almost as Harmful to the Environment as Deforestation
By Reinaldo Jose Lopes, Folha de S. Paulo, 14 February 2018
Reducing the Amazon’s deforestation was Brazil’s greatest contribution to fight climate change in the past few decades, but such effort may be reduced to ashes, according to a new study.
Heat waves in the forest region, jointly with a higher vulnerability to fires, among other factors, have caused large fires whose effects are almost as damaging to the environment as deforestation.
Scientist of Inpe (National Institute for Space Research) have done the math in an article recently published in the scientific journal “Nature Communications”.

[Indonesia] How local elections could ruin Asian Games in Palembang
By Moses Ompusunggu, Jakarta Post, 14 February 2018
The city of Palembang in South of Sumatra will co-host the Asian Games from August to September and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered his aides and regional officials to focus on preventing the worst thing that could happen in the province at that time: major forest and land fires.
The haze resulting from raging fires would seriously disrupt the prestigious sporting event and put Indonesia’s reputation as the host on the line.

[USA] Pruitt commits to creating regulatory certainty for biomass
By Erin Voegele, Biomass Magazine, 14 February 2018
On Feb. 13, U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with members of the forest products industry and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu to discuss a range of environmental issues. Pruitt also provided Sununu with a letter announcing EPA’s efforts to work towards a carbon-neutral policy for biomass and clarify federal procurement recommendations for responsibly managed forests.
“For years, the federal government rendered most U.S. forestry producers ineligible for federal procurement projects and created confusion around biomass carbon neutrality,” Pruitt said. “Understanding the importance of the forest products industry to the State of New Hampshire, EPA is focused on clarifying regulations that were encumbering the industry.”

15 February 2018

Climate Chain Coalition Supports Blockchain Technology Use
By Leila Mead, IISD, 15 February 2018
The UNFCCC Secretariat has initiated and facilitated the creation of the Climate Chain Coalition to encourage use of distributed ledger technology (DLT). DLT, or blockchain technology, enables the continual update of climate action information from a range of sources. It also supports open and transparent data sharing.

Verified Carbon Standard Changes Name To Verra
Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 February 2018
As of today, the organization that began as the Voluntary Carbon Standard and then became the Verified Carbon Standard is now called “Verra“, to reflect its broadening coverage of attributes associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Verified Carbon Standard continues to exist as one category of standardization, along with the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards, the California Offset Project Registry, the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard, and others.
The new tagline is “Standards for a sustainable future.”

Taking a landscape approach to the world’s biggest challenges
By Deanna Ramsay and Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forests News 15 February 2018
In 2018, action around the world is in full swing to meet global goals on climate change, sustainable development and restoration of forest landscapes. These big goals address even bigger problems, making it difficult to know where to start in addressing them.
A landscape approach could be the best starting point, says Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), who spoke at the opening of the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) at the end of 2017 in Bonn, Germany.

Forest fires increasingly dominate Amazonian carbon emissions during droughts, 15 February 2018
Carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon are increasingly dominated by forest fires during extreme droughts rather than by emissions from fires directly associated with the deforestation process, according to a study in Nature Communications.
The authors suggest that recurrent 21st century droughts may undermine achievements in reducing emissions from deforestation in this region.

Congo defends right to explore for oil in national parks
By Aaron Ross, Reuters, 15 February 2018
Democratic Republic of Congo’s oil minister on Thursday defended the country’s right to explore for oil anywhere on its territory after media reports that President Joseph Kabila approved drilling in Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve.
Oil minister Aime Ngoy Mukena declined to confirm a report in Germany’s Die Tageszeitung newspaper that Kabila had this month authorised exploration inside Salonga National Park, but he said that no land should be off-limits.

Could Europe’s €10 carbon price rise yet higher still?
By Michael Holder, BusinessGreen, 15 February 2018
The price of emissions allowances traded on the European carbon market reached double digits for the first time in six years yesterday amid strong demand from buyers, fuelling hopes the moribund market is enjoying a significant revival. But experts agree that it remains unclear whether the upwards trend in carbon prices can be sustained.
The EU Allowance (EUA) price had been steadily rising since last May, but a 20 per cent surge since the turn of the year briefly pushed it to €10 per tonne of carbon emitted for the first time since 2011. Prices dropped off slightly later in the day, but the milestone had been reached.

[Ghana] Forestry Commission commits to reduce emissions in cocoa-forest landscapes
Ghana News Agency, 15 February 2018
The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has reiterated the commitment of the Commission to help reduce carbon emissions in Cocoa-forest landscapes through the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP).

16 February 2018

17 February 2018

Kenya’s indigenous communities threatened
By Catherine Soi, Al Jazeera, 17 February 2018
Thousands of people from an indigenous forest community in Kenya are accusing the government of forcefully evicting them from their ancestral land.
The Sengwer indigenous people live in the Embobut forest in the western highlands of Kenya.
They’ve been targets of violence and threats from the Kenya Forest Service.
Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi reports from Western Kenya.

[UK] Teak tree scam directors are banned for 10 years
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 17 February 2018
Two directors of a scam investment fund that promised an annual yield of 10 per cent from teak trees in Brazil have been banned from British boardrooms for ten years after investigators from the Insolvency Service found their business owed at least £24 million to investors.
Andrew Skeene and Omari Bowers, from South London, set up GFI Consultants Limited to market leases on forestry land in Brazil. In addition to the minimum fixed yield, they told investors there would be an additional potential return of up to 5 per cent every few years, when trees were harvested.

18 February 2018

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