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REDD in the news: 21-27 May 2018

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

Earth’s Climate To Increase By 4 Degrees By 2084
Institute of Atmospheric Physics, May 2018
A collaborative research team from China has published a new analysis that shows the Earth’s climate would increase by 4 ℃, compared to pre-industrial levels, before the end of 21st century.
To understand the severity of this, consider the Paris Agreement of the United Nations. It’s a global effort to prevent an increase of 2 ℃. Nearly every country on the planet—the United States is the only country to withdraw—has agreed to work to prevent the catastrophic effects of two degrees of warming. The researchers published their analysis projecting a doubling of that increase in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on May 18, 2018.

21 May 2018

Analysis: How ‘natural climate solutions’ can reduce the need for BECCS
By Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief, 21 May 2018
To limit global warming in 2100 to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, many scientists assume that the large-scale use of negative emissions in the latter half of the 21st century will be needed. Negative emissions “suck” CO2 out of the atmosphere, allowing a more gradual reduction of emissions in the near-term.

Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 21 May 2018
Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet.
The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.

Poseidon Foundation appoints COO and CTO ahead of token sale
Poseidon Foundation press release, 21 May 2018
The Poseidon Foundation (Poseidon) a retail platform that allows consumers to rebalance their own carbon footprint at the point of sale today announced the appointments of Chidi Akutu as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Cesare Tagliaferri as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

[India] Fire continues to rage in Uttarakhand forests; locals complain of govt inaction
Down to Earth, 21 May 2018
Forest fire has been raging in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand for five days now. Srinagar, the largest town in the Garhwal Hills, is the worst affected with fire engulfing different parts of the forest area.
While locals residing in proximity to raging forests complain of inaction on the part of the administration, the forest department and Kalagarh tiger reserve officials admit that their efforts are being hindered by insufficient resources and manpower. According to media reports, the department has admitted that it has limited vehicles and equipment necessary to tackle forest fires.

World first: Peru moves to integrate REDD+ forest conservation projects into Paris climate plan
BusinessGreen, 21 May 2018
Moves to officially designate forestry conservation projects as contributors to meeting international climate targets have taken a step forward, with the announcement REDD+ carbon credits from two projects in Peru have been formally acknowledged by the nation’s Ministry of Environment.
Asset manager Althelia Funds and conservation finance specialist Ecosphere+ revealed on Wednesday that Peru has started the process of officially integrating carbon credits generated by the Tambopata-Bahuaja Reserve and Cordillera Azul National Park REDD+ conservation projects into its nationally determined contribution (NDC) climate action plan for meeting the Paris Agreement.

Britain’s Drax launches bioenergy carbon capture project
Reuters, 21 May 2018
British power company Drax will start work this month on a pilot bioenergy carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at its plant in Yorkshire, northern England, it said on Monday.
The project is the first of its kind in Europe, the company said, and will examine the potential of capturing carbon dioxide from bioenergy sources, effectively removing the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.

22 May 2018

World temperature rise nears danger level
By Paul Brown, Climate News Network, 22 May 2018
With world temperature rise already 1°C above pre-industrial levels, new research shows that there is only a 0.5°C safety margin left in the system before the most vulnerable groups of people suffer severely.
The current political target, agreed in Paris more than two years ago, of aiming to prevent temperature from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and certainly stopping a rise beyond 2°C, disguises the fact that we are already more than halfway to the danger point.

Blue carbon is the billion-dollar resource you’ve never heard of
By Brett Ruskin, CBC News, 22 May 2018
The Bay of Fundy may soon be known for more than its powerful tides.
Instead, the plants and mud in the coastal ecosystem have the potential to hold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of carbon-offset credits.
Environment and Climate Change Canada is studying how much “blue carbon” is stored along the Bay of Fundy coastline. It has hired a team to measure the bay’s potential for carbon sequestration.
“Blue carbon” is a term coined by scientists to describe carbon dioxide stored in coastal plants and soil.

Reversing nature loss is everyone’s business
By Jochem Verberne, WWF, 22 May 2018
From harnessing solar energy to mastering self-assembly and temperature regulation, nature beats human ingenuity and engineering hands down. Nature is amazing, beautiful, terrifying, nourishing, essential — and smart.
Harare’s Eastgate office complex climate control design is based on a termite mound. The nose of the Shinkansen Bullet Train is modelled on the beak of a kingfisher. Prairie-inspired agricultural systems can match yields from conventional farming while improving water and soil.

Can blockchain unblock climate finance?
By Sam Greene (IIED), Eco-Business, 22 May 2018
Climate finance is not getting to the people who need it most – vulnerable communities on the front line, hardest hit by the impacts of climate change but least able to respond. IIED estimates only 1 in 10 dollars of the $60 billion in public and private climate finance from dedicated climate funds is directly committed to local level activities.

Private capital in conservation: addressing cost concerns
By Koen Kusters, CIFOR Landscape News, 22 May 2018
Attracting private capital into conservation is a hot topic. Conservation agencies, governments and financial institutions are increasingly joining hands to generate the funds needed to address the world’s environmental challenges.
However, there are also concerns that private investments in nature could have negative effects on local communities. A recent white paper by Althelia and Ecosphere+ addresses these concerns, arguing that involved organizations should hold themselves to the highest standards of accountability to both investors and local communities.

Carbon markets back from the brink of collapse, says World Bank
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 22 May 2018
Global carbon markets have been revived from the brink of collapse as, after years in the doldrums, recent developments have provided a much-needed boost, according to a new report from the World Bank.
China has made strong progress on its new carbon markets, which when complete will be the biggest in the world, while the EU initiated reforms of its carbon trading system which have already had an effect on prices.

How the “Carbon Budget” Is Causing Problems
By Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, 22 May 2018
Few ideas in climate science have gained greater public attention in the last decade than the concept of the “carbon budget.” It’s an estimate of how much carbon dioxide can be emitted by humans before temperatures spill over a potentially dangerous threshold.
The concept carries immense weight for international climate policy, because the Paris Agreement calls for keeping global temperatures within at least 2 degrees Celsius, if not a more ambitious 1.5 C, over preindustrial levels. The idea is to have a carbon “budget” to help world leaders develop detailed plans to address warming. Falling into debt carries unknown risks. Numerous studies in recent years have attempted to quantify just how much nations can cumulatively emit without overshooting those goals.

April-May 2018 Carbon Markets and Pricing Update: ‘Learning by Doing” for Effective Carbon Markets
By Beate Antonich, IISD, 22 May 2018
Setting up effective carbon markets, such as mandatory emissions trading systems (ETS), is a complex task that requires continuous learning and improvement to ensure that carbon markets run smoothly and result in a carbon price high enough to impact emissions levels. Over the period of April and May 2018, events, research publications, and ETS updates showed that the carbon market community is making efforts to address some of the key challenges by learning from past experiences, including the need to arrive at meaningful carbon prices, address competitiveness concerns, and advancing international cooperation.

Using the ‘four powers’ to tackle land use dilemmas
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Forests News, 22 May 2018
Exclusion from land is inherently negative. A handful of actors hold all the power to control relations around land use. Dilemmas concerning land transformation are too complex to tackle.
These are some of the common beliefs coauthors of the book Powers of Exclusion: land dilemmas in South East Asia debunked during the digital summit ‘Landscape transformation: what does power have to do with it?,’ hosted by the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) and moderated by Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) scientist Bimbika Sijapati Basnett.

Costa Rica coffee farmers brew up a carbon neutral future
By Sophie Hares, Reuters, 22 May 2018
Climbing the steep slope by his house, Fernando Solis Arguedas examined a leaf on one of his 50-year-old trees that produces arabica beans for the world’s first officially certified carbon neutral coffee.
Blaming an increasingly unpredictable climate for the first spots of roya fungus, he explained how sustainable techniques such as reducing chemical sprays and planting more shade trees meant higher prices for his coffee cooperative, Coopedota.

[India] Uttrakhand forest fire: Blaze reaches Rishikesh-Badrinath Highway; scores of animals killed
India TV, 22 May 2018
The forest fire in Uttrakhand, raging on for past five days, has destroyed a vast area of natural vegetation in the state while killing several animals. The fire has now reached Rishikesh-Badrinath Highway 58, creating trouble for the commuters. On Monday, the forest fire reached residential colonies in Srinagar area of the state.

Indonesia’s indigenous schools initiate participatory conservation
By Grace Susetyo, CIFOR Landscape News, 22 May 2018
Self-funded, volunteer-run indigenous schools (sekolah adat) in Indonesia are reintroducing cultural concepts of participatory conservation, now contextualized to address global interests in local cultural and natural resources.
These schools are empowering indigenous communities to transform their ancestral knowledge into relevant contemporary instruments for protecting natural landscapes and the cultural livelihoods dependent on them.

[Kenya] Two groups clash over Sh360 million UNDP funding in Elgeyo Marakwet
By Fred Kibor, Standard Digital, 22 May 2018
Two groups claiming to represent indigenous communities living in Embobut Forest have clashed over release of Sh360 million for conservation by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The factions – Sengwer indigenous people of Embobut and Cherangany Hills and another group purporting to represent Marakwet, Sengwer, Keiyo and Pokots – have written conflicting letters to the UNDP, each claiming to represent the interests of the communities.

[Pakistan] Private forests in Pindi region struggling for survival
By Kashif Abbasi, Dawn, 22 May 2018
‘Guzara’ forests in the Rawalpindi region are facing survival concerns as their owners are no longer taking interest in their maintenance and protection.
This was stated by Divisional Forest Officer (Guzara forests) Asad Ali while briefing mediapersons in Murree.

[Sweden] Why I crashed an exclusive logging event on International Biodiversity Day
By Ethan Gilbert, Greenpeace, 22 May 2018
I’m a polite person. You know, all the basics; holding the door open for people, giving away my seat on the bus. I would usually never show up to someone else’s party uninvited. But these are unusual times.
We’ve all seen the news. Scientists are sounding the alarm that we are entering the sixth mass extinction. Species are being lost before we have time to understand them, and habitats are being decimated for humanity’s insatiable appetite for more resources.

23 May 2018

Outcomes for forests at the Bonn Climate Change Conference
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News, 23 May 2018
It has been nearly three years since countries entered into the Paris Agreement. During that time, as was made abundantly clear during the most recent Bonn Climate Change Conference, climate negotiations have descended into complexity and uncertainty on many issues, buoyed by the U.S.’s lack of political momentum and, across many countries, entrenched positioning and unwillingness to compromise.

Our laws make slaves of nature. It’s not just humans who need rights
By Mari Margil, The Guardian, 23 May 2018
The Amazon rainforest is often called the earth’s lungs, and generates 20% of the world’s oxygen. Yet in the past half-century nearly a fifth of it has been cut down. The felling and burning of millions of trees is releasing massive amounts of carbon, in turn depleting the Amazon’s capacity to be one of the world’s largest carbon sinks – the natural systems that suck up and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Forests for peace: the role of forests in conflict reduction
By Thomas Woolnough, Jose Carlos Fernandez Ugalde, and Amanda Bradley, UN-REDD Programme, 23 May 2018
Forests sequester carbon, support the livelihoods of 1.7 billion people and act as vital reservoirs for biodiversity. However, as a valuable resource, forests have frequently been the spark that ignites conflict among multiple stakeholders having divergent priorities for the same landscape. When one group — whether inadvertently or deliberately — withholds access to a forest resource or to the decision-making process from another user group, non-violent or violent conflict is more likely. Conflict can also lead to the inequitable distribution of benefits, disputes over land rights and access, and a lack of engagement with the forest management process. It is estimated that between 1970 and 2008, 29 to 56 percent of all civil conflict globally involved natural resources including forests. However, inclusive forest governance arrangements have the potential to contribute to peacebuilding and lasting peace in post-conflict zones.

Trio of studies challenges Indian government claim of increasing forest cover
By T.V. Padma, Mongabay, 23 May 2018
Natural forests across India are slowly disappearing, a set of new studies shows, contradicting recent government claims about increasing forest cover.
The three studies, published over the past seven months, use a mix of satellite data, ground vegetation observations and historical maps. They show the Eastern Ghats, a series of mountains running along India’s eastern coast, have lost 15.83 percent of its forest area over a span of almost 100 years. Tropical montane forests are also disappearing in the eastern Himalayas in the state of Sikkim, particularly at lower elevations, the reports note, and there is a noticeable decline across all forest types in India.

[Liberia] BlackRock’s Climate Problem
By Jeff Conant, FoE US, 23 May 2018
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is holding its annual shareholder meeting this week in New York City. With $6.3 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock has a lot of financial weight to throw around — so when BlackRock CEO Larry Fink penned his annual open letter this February stating that corporations need to have a social purpose beyond short-term profit, it mattered.

24 May 2018

This tech offsets the carbon footprint of each item you buy
By Adele Peters, Fast Company, 24 May 2018
If you buy ice cream from a Ben & Jerry’s store in London’s Soho neighborhood, the company will spend a penny to offset the carbon footprint of each scoop, and the cashier will ask if you’d like to donate an additional penny to make even more of an impact. In a new pilot, the cafe is the first retail store in the world to start using a tech platform that makes it possible to immediately and cheaply offset the climate impact of daily purchases.

Illegal loggers ‘cook the books’ to harvest Amazon’s most valuable tree
By Jenny Gonzales, Mongabay, 24 May 2018
Brazil’s Ipê tree is one of the most valuable tree species in the world, and a chief target for illicit deforestation, with primary export markets for its illegally harvested timber especially found in the U.S. and Europe.
In the past, a weak licensing system, along with continued indiscriminate, illicit logging of Ipê (formerly Tabebuia spp., but reclassified as Handroanthus spp.), has caused serious damage to the Amazon rainforest according to a Greenpeace Brazil investigation.

[Brazil] Soy traders in Cerrado under fire for illegal activities
By Andre Vasconcelos and Helen Burley, Trase, 24 May 2018
The Brazilian authorities have sent a warning shot across the bows of the big soy traders, imposing fines on five companies for activities linked to illegal deforestation in the Cerrado — recognised as the world’s most biodiverse savannah.
Bunge, Cargill, ABC Indústria e Comércio SA, JJ Samar Agronegócios Eireli, and Uniggel Proteção de Plantas Ltda were fined as part of the Brazilian Environmental Agency’s (IBAMA) Operation “Soy Sauce” in the Matopiba region.

[DR Congo] Keeping the Cuvette Centrale Peatlands wet
UN-REDD Programme, 24 May 2018
This year, the Global Peatlands Initiative achieved a milestone result with the signing of the Brazzaville Declaration in March 2018. The Declaration is an unprecedented commitment for cooperation and concerted action for the protection of the globally important and regionally vital Congo Basin peatlands. The Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Indonesia, as key tropical peatland countries have agreed to work together with expert support from UN Environment and the Global Peatlands Initiative partners towards the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of the largest transboundary peatland located in the Congo Basin, the Cuvette Centrale peatlands.

36 jailed for huge French carbon tax fraud
RFI, 24 May 2018
The three ringleaders of a huge carbon tax fraud have been jailed for eight to 10 years by a French court that found all 33 other defendants guilty of a scam that cost the French taxman 385 million euros.
What tax investigators dubbed an “unprecedented” haul was salted away in tax havens in 2008 and 2009, so effectively hidden that 200 million euros has yet to be traced.
The scam, seen as a speciality of Franco-Israeli criminals, turned attempts to use market mechanisms to fight climate change against the taxman.
It involved buying carbon credits abroad and selling them in France with VAT added, but omitting to pay the VAT to the French tax authorities.

Small Island States Talk Aviation Emission Cuts
By Waisea Nasokia, Fiji Sun Online, 24 May 2018
Delegates from the Small Island De­veloping States (SIDS) met in Nadi yesterday to help collaborate actions to protect the environment and cut aviation emission.
They are learning to raise awareness on various funding mechanisms available to SIDS in implementing the aviation emis­sion measures.
The seminar is to equip the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with guidance re­quired to implement aviation environmen­tal protection measures focusing especially on the needs of SIDS.

25 May 2018

EXPOTUR Receives International Declaration of Carbon Neutrality in Costa Rica
The Costa Rica News, 25 May 2018
Today, May 25th, 2018, a group of 123 volunteers -including 36 foreigners- carried out a symbolic planting of 500 trees in Salitrillos de Montes de Oca. With this call to action, the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professionals (ACOPROT) closes the actions undertaken to follow its path as the first fair of its kind in the 100% sustainable region.
In adherence to the sustainability plan established for Expotur 2018, the fair fulfilled its environmental commitment and received for the fifth consecutive year the Ecological Blue Flag in the Events category and also received part of the 100% Carbon Neutral program, an international declaration of Carbon Neutrality.

[India] Forest fires trigger respiratory ailments among villagers living near jungles
By Shivani Azad, Times of India, 25 May 2018
Persistent smoke caused by raging forest fires since the past few days has led to a rise in cases of respiratory and eye ailments among hundreds of villagers in Pauri, Nainital and Bageshwar districts.
“Our areas are covered with thick smoke and visibility is down to almost zero. The smoke is affecting everybody’s health,” said Anil Negi, pradhan, Kaljikhal village in Pauri. He added that most primary health centres in the hills were not equipped to handle the situation.

The benefits – and costs – of coastal reforestation in Senegal
By Andrew Bilski, CIFOR Landscape News, 25 May 2018
Because they absorb carbon at up to 10 times the rate of rainforests, mangroves are a powerful, and sometimes lucrative, tool in international efforts to mitigate climate change.
In Senegal, severe droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as increasing urbanization, devastated thousands of acres of trees. Mangroves — one of the richest ecosystems in the world — were especially affected.

Negative emissions: Scientists meet in Sweden for first international conference
Carbon Brief, 25 May 2018
This week, Gothenburg in Sweden played host to the first international conference on “negative emissions”.
The three-day event brought together around 250 researchers at Chalmers University of Technology to discuss the different ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it on land, underground or in the oceans.
The topics presented and debated ranged from “natural” solutions to the technologically advanced, through to the potential limitations and risks. Running parallel to the scientific discussions was a focus on the policy challenges.

26 May 2018

European Business Aviation Remains Committed to CORSIA
By Cathy Buyck, AINonline, 26 May 2018
By this time next year, several business aircraft operators will have started monitoring their CO2 emissions output as part of ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) requirements. CORSIA is aimed at curbing the aviation industry’s carbon dioxide footprint worldwide and from January 1 next year commercial operators must measure and report the fuel use and emissions of all international flights.

Indonesia Considers Stopping Palm Oil Exports to the EU
By Adinda Normala, Jakarta Globe, 26 May 2018
Indonesia is preparing for a worst-case scenario should the European Parliament’s draft of a ban on the use of palm oil in biofuels get approved by the European Commission and European Council.
In January, members of the European Parliament voted in favor to phase out the use of biofuels made from palm oil by 2021 to fulfill the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive, which aims to reach a renewable energy target of 27 percent by 2030, including in transport fuels.
A decision on whether the ban will be legally imposed in all EU country members will be made in 2019. If approved, Indonesia and Malaysia, who together produce nearly 90 percent of the world’s palm oil, will suffer a hard blow.

27 May 2018

Are there any reasons left to invest in Stellar Lumens (XLM) right now?
By Ali Qamar, Global Coin, 27 May 2018
So you’re looking for a cryptocurrency that can capture your interest? Well, there’s a minimal set of crypto coins that have been designated by observers and investors as genuinely viable and exciting. Stellar Lumen’s XLM is one of them.
Stellar’s XLM is already being used in the real world (through a partnership with IBM), so it’s proven itself. It has the approval (and adoption) of some of the world’s big players (thirty banks the world over are using it already). This all means that Stellar has the potential to go all the way and you shouldn’t be left out.

[Australia] Emissions scheme wastes millions on projects that would have gone ahead anyway
By Adam Morton, The Guardian, 27 May 2018
Independent experts advising the Turnbull government have called for changes to the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy to prevent tens of millions of dollars of public money going to projects that would have gone ahead anyway.
The recommendation is in a review of the $2.55bn emissions reduction fund, the central plank of Direct Action, which pays landowners and companies to avoid emissions or sequester carbon dioxide in plants at the lowest cost. The fund is supposed to support projects that would reduce Australia’s carbon pollution below what it would otherwise have been.

Forget US-China, the Malaysia-Indonesia-EU trade war may be upon us
By Jeffrey Hutton, South China Morning Post, 27 May 2018
A trade war is looming between the European Union and the world’s biggest producers of palm oil, Indonesia and Malaysia, over proposals to strip biofuel off the menu of renewable energy sources member states may use to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
At issue is the US$39 billion palm oil industry. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s two biggest producers of the crop, used in everything from fuel to cosmetics to cookies.

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