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REDD in the news: 4-10 June 2018

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

4 June 2018

Reducing Earth to a price tag: How economics devalues nature
By Zach Fitzner, earth.com, 4 June 2018
BBC reported on October 24, 2010 that there was finally a price tag on the loss of natural resources in the world. A second article by BBC continues the discussion about the value of nature, stating,
“The natural world supports the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people the world over. It also provides the foundations upon which all the world’s major corporate enterprises are built…The majority of businesses, for example, would struggle to survive without clean and accessible water.”

‘Carbon bubble’ could spark global financial crisis, study warns
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 4 June 2018
Plunging prices for renewable energy and rapidly increasing investment in low-carbon technologies could leave fossil fuel companies with trillions in stranded assets and spark a global financial crisis, a new study has found.
A sudden drop in demand for fossil fuels before 2035 is likely, according to the study, given the current global investments and economic advantages in a low-carbon transition.

Carbon farming isn’t worth it for farmers. Two blockchain companies want to change that
By Jessica McKenzie, The New Food Economy, 4 June 2018
When the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed at the end of 2017, analysts crunched the numbers and concluded that the cryptocurrency was set to consume the entire global energy supply by the end of 2020. “Mining” Bitcoin involves solving increasingly complex mathematical equations that secure the network in exchange for newly-minted cryptocurrency—which incidentally requires lots of energy. Huge server farms have popped up around the world for the express purpose of generating the virtual cash, from China to upstate New York, where one town put a moratorium on new commercial cryptocurrency mining operations to protect “the City’s natural, historic, cultural and electrical resources.”

Global CO2 emissions from airlines expected to rise 4.4% this year as fuel consumption continues to grow
Green Air Online, 4 June 2018
Carbon emissions from airlines are forecast by IATA to grow to 897 million tonnes (Mt) in 2018 as a result of an historically high fuel consumption of 94 billion US gallons. This is an upward forecast from the industry association in December 2017 when it estimated carbon missions would reach 874 Mt from a lower fuel consumption. Its new forecast would represent a 4.4% increase on 2017 emissions of 859 Mt. Against a backdrop of increasing oil prices, IATA forecasts the airline industry will spend $188 billion on its fuel in 2018, or around 24.2% of its overall expenses, up from 21.4% in 2017. Speaking at the opening of its annual general meeting in Sydney, IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac urged more governments to join the ICAO CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme from the start in 2020 as well as support the implementation of sustainable aviation fuels.

Cultivating Indigenous Forest Economies in the Amazon
Rainforest Alliance, 4 June 2018
An indigenous federation is forging a new partnership with the Rainforest Alliance to cultivate sustainable forest economies across the Amazon.
In November 2017, a delegation of indigenous and rural leaders traveled throughout Europe under the banner #GUARDIANSOFTHEFOR­EST, meeting with officials, environmental NGOs, and youth groups in several cities. They ended their tour in Bonn, Germany, with a clear message for the world leaders gathered there for the UN climate conference: the leadership of indigenous people is critical to the success of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Belize gives hope that global trend of mangroves loss can be reversed
By Nadia Bood, WWF, 4 June 2018
Mangroves provide many important services to society including protecting shorelines from storm waves and winds, and serving as nursery grounds and home to many marine and fish species. But perhaps, the most crucial role of mangroves is that they protect vulnerable coastlines from strong waves by holding the soil together which prevents coastal erosion and sediment falling into the sea. Too much sediment can kill coral reefs because reefs require clean waters to survive.

To protect the Congolese peatlands, protect local land rights
By Bart Crezee, Mongabay, 4 June 2018
Sometime in March, I found myself trudging forward in a remote swamp in the heart of the Congo rainforest. As I worriedly tried to keep my boots from getting sucked in by the soft, brown mud, I wondered how far we could go on. It was our final day. In the two weeks prior, our team of British and Congolese researchers, together with men from the local village of Lokolama, had cut a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) trail into this dense, swampy forest. It had proved to be painstakingly slow work. Some days were spent walking up and down the trail for up to eight hours, which only left us with a few hours of sunlight to actually work. But that day, upon reaching the furthest point yet, we tried to push for a few hundred meters more with the little light that was left — all to answer one big question: How much mud were we actually walking on?

Can cryptocurrencies save Indonesia’s carbon forests?
By Peter Howson, Mongabay, 4 June 2018
Blockchain technology is already connecting buyers and sellers around the world, even if they don’t trust each other. It’s cutting through bureaucracy and bypassing corrupt governments, all with just a few strings of code.
The technology could even save Indonesia’s forests.
The growing hype around cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is nowhere more obvious than in Indonesia. Despite being illegal as a transaction mechanism, Indonesians are moving $15-20 million worth of digital currency every single day.

5 June 2018

Airline carbon scheme in crucial phase
By Steve Creedy, AirlineRatings, 5 June 2018
A global aviation carbon offset scheme crucial to airline plans to tackle climate change is reaching a critical stage and any delay could undermine it, an industry expert has warned.
The flow of nations joining the voluntary phase of the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) has slowed to a trickle with only one additional nation joining the scheme since October.

Airline industry urged to prepare for monitoring carbon emissions as CORSIA nears adoption
Green Air Online, 5 June 2018
With less than seven months before CO2 monitoring requirements under ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme come into force, the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) has reminded airlines and business aircraft operators of the urgent need to prepare. Although the voluntary pilot phase doesn’t start until 2021, all operators with international services – regardless of whether the country the operator is registered has agreed to join from the start – must start monitoring their CO2 emissions from 1 January 2019. A major reason for this is so a baseline of global emissions from international flights can be established for future carbon offsetting obligations. A lower baseline, which is fixed until the end of the scheme in 2035, as a result of a failure by operators to report emissions could lead to higher offsetting costs for the industry as a whole.

EU pushes back against weakening of aviation emissions deal
Reuters, 5 June 2018
European countries are pushing back against any weakening of the rules underpinning a landmark global agreement to cap airline emissions at 2020 levels, especially those related to the types of aviation biofuels that can be used.
France, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands have written to the U.N. aviation agency, which brokered the 2016 deal, to say they would have to reconsider their support should the compromise be weakened.

[India] PM Narendra Modi and 69 Top Politicians Gets UNFCCC Carbon Neutrality Certificates
EnKing International press release, 5 June 2018
On June 5th, the ‘World Environment Day’, EnKing International who are working to help Clean Energy producer & Energy Efficient Companies, have started a campaign as a mark of respect to protect to the environment. In this campaign, 5 Carbon Credits will be presented to premier dignitaries on this day. Carbon Credit is an authority (permit) to the nation or institute for emission of Carbon in a particular restricted quantity and in case of a surplus it can be traded.

Over 1000 orangutans threatened by illegal operations in Indonesia
Greenpeace, 5 June 2018
A new Greenpeace International investigation reveals a major illegal logging operation in a critical orangutan landscape in West Kalimantan, in Indonesian Borneo – despite efforts by the Indonesian Government to protect it.[1]
Photos taken by Greenpeace Indonesia in March 2018 reveal at least six illegal logging settlements inside the PT Moharison Pawan Khatulistiwa (MPK) concession in Sungai Putri, a 57,000 hectare peatland forest and one of the last orangutan strongholds in the world.

Community Conservation Resilience Initiative in Nepal
Global Forest Coalition, 5 June 2018
The Federation of Community Forestry Users in Nepal (FECOFUN) conducted the CCRI assessment with communities in the Barandabhar corridor, the Basanta corridor and the Panchase landscape in Nepal. Community forests in these areas, covering about 12,000 ha (DoF, 2016), are managed by 215 legally recognised Community Forest User Groups. The user groups have played a critical role in conserving the biodiversity and ecosystems in these areas.

[USA] House Republicans attack environmental group over its climate work in China
By Steven Mufson and Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 5 June 2018
The chairman and a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee have written a letter to the Natural Resources Defense Council suggesting that the environmental organization register as a foreign agent because of its climate and environment activities in China and public statements the lawmakers alleged served China’s interests.
In the letter, committee Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), chairman of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, demand that NRDC President Rhea Suh produce documents about the nonprofit group’s relationship with the Chinese government, its transactions in China and any effort to register as foreign agents of China.

6 June 2018

Where REDD+ money goes – and doesn’t go
By Christi Hang, CIFOR Forests News, 6 June 2018
REDD+ financing’s annual average of USD 323 million might sound like a lot on its own, but compare this to the 41 billion spent on agricultural subsidies and biofuel, and it’s just a drop in the bucket.
This is one of many findings elucidated in a forthcoming study on funding for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). The study was led by the international consulting group COWI, along with the Öko-Institut and scientists from the Center for the International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Time is running out for palm oil certification
By Nusa Urbancic, Mongabay, 6 June 2018
Changing Markets Foundation’s recent report “The False Promise of Certification” analyzed the merits of different voluntary initiatives and certification schemes in the palm oil, fisheries, and textile sectors, all of which are notorious for causing extensive harm to the environment.
As campaigns director for Changing Markets Foundation, I was part of the team that researched and wrote the report. We set out to critically evaluate what role these voluntary schemes played in advancing environmental sustainability and improving corporate practices in the three sectors.

The UN is failing on all fronts to tackle the climate impact of flying
By Bill Hemmings (Transport & Environment), Eurative.com, 6 June 2018
The UN is having another go at addressing the climate impact of flying next week as its aviation agency, ICAO, meets in Singapore. ICAO’s environment committee is having yet another discussion on the offsetting scheme for aircraft CO2 emissions – known as CORSIA – and the rules for airlines to report their emissions, which need to be finalised by year’s end.
Air travel is today responsible for 5% of man-made climate change, and NGO observers at ICAO are focused on the need for the aviation sector to get serious about the Paris agreement and decarbonisation. We have good reason to be worried.

Ecuador: Waorani people map their rainforest to save it
By Daniela Aguilar, Mongabay, 6 June 2018
After a 20-minute canoe ride down the Curaray River, past a swamp that leaves her legs caked in mud up to her knees, Obe heads toward a waterfall set amid pristine forest. This is the territory of the Waorani indigenous people, in Pastaza province in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Motorists forced to burn more rainforest to meet EU green energy targets – 2017 figures
Transport & Environment, 6 June 2018
Diesel cars and trucks burned more than half (51%) of all the palm oil used in Europe in 2017 – a 13.5% rise in palm biodiesel over the previous year – new data from OILWORLD, the industry reference for vegetable oils markets, released today by T&E shows. Since the introduction of an EU law to promote biofuels in 2009, palm oil used to make biofuel has steadily increased from 825,000 tonnes in 2008 to 3.9 million tonnes in 2017. The use of palm oil for biodiesel dwarfs palm oil use in other products such as cookies, chocolate spreads, shampoo or lipsticks, which combined add up to 39% of total use in 2017 – the lowest point in the past decade.

[USA] Land of the Fee?
By Kate Yoder, Grist, 6 June 2018
Beth Brunton’s magenta umbrella shields her from the weather on an April afternoon in Seattle. It’s a curious sight, because today is the first day in months without a drop of rain. It’s 75 degrees, and there’s not a cloud in the sky.
“It gets their attention,” she says about her umbrella, as a diverse array of bare-armed people wearing sunglasses pass by on the brick-red campus of Seattle Central College. Brunton stops a young black woman.
“Have you signed to put clean energy on the ballot?” Brunton asks.

7 June 2018

Sucking carbon dioxide from air is cheaper than scientists thought
By Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 7 June 2018
Siphoning carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere could be more than an expensive last-ditch strategy for averting climate catastrophe. A detailed economic analysis published on 7 June suggests that the geoengineering technology is inching closer to commercial viability.
The study, in Joule, was written by researchers at Carbon Engineering in Calgary, Canada, which has been operating a pilot CO2-extraction plant in British Columbia since 2015.

A new era of land struggle on the horizon—holding governments to their commitments to collective tenure
By Liz Alden Wily, Rights and Resources Initiative, 7 June 2018
The back has been broken on legal denial of community property. This is the conclusion of a study of land laws in 100 countries.
Most administrations now acknowledge community lands as a viable unit of property and provide mechanisms through which this essentially social form may be formally mapped and registered. And I mean community property, with comparable legal protections as private and corporate property. The trend is global, including in Europe. While enactment is taking longer to achieve than was the case in the 1980s and 1990s, there are a sufficient number of new draft laws each year to conclude the trend will continue into the future.

[India] Nature or Locals: Who is to Blame for Uttarakhand Forest Fires?
By Eshwar Gole, The Quint, 7 June 2018
Forest fires across Uttarakhand have been a pressing problem for decades.
At least 295 new forest fires were reported from different parts of Uttarakhand on 21 May itself, prompting Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to reprimand the officials concerned for their “lack of preparedness”.

How corrupt elections fuel the sell-off of Indonesia’s natural resources
Gecko Project, 7 June 2018
In June this year, elections will take place in 171 districts, provinces and municipalities across Indonesia. On paper, millions of citizens in the world’s third-largest democracy will be afforded the right to select leaders with extensive powers over their everyday lives. In practice, however, most will be offered a choice between candidates already hopelessly in hock to secretive corporate interests. Many citizens will unknowingly vote for politicians backed by companies that have violated their human rights and caused irrevocable harm to the environment.

8 June 2018

The best way to save the planet? Drop meat and dairy
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 8 June 2018
Whether human beings survive this century and the next, whether other lifeforms can live alongside us: more than anything, this depends on the way we eat. We can cut our consumption of everything else almost to zero and still we will drive living systems to collapse, unless we change our diets.
All the evidence now points in one direction: the crucial shift is from an animal- to a plant-based diet. A paper published last week in Science reveals that while some kinds of meat and dairy production are more damaging than others, all are more harmful to the living world than growing plant protein.

Carbon market: Industry reveals sharp uptick in confidence in EU ETS following reforms
By Madeleine Cuff, BusinessGreen, 8 June 2018
The European Emissions Trading System (ETS) is set to become an increasingly important tool for decarbonisation, thanks to recent reforms.
That is the view of a growing number of carbon market participants, according to a new survey of 370 traders and analysts, released yesterday by the Thomson Reuters Point Carbon team.

[Indonesia] In pursuit of traceability, palm oil giant tests GPS-based solution
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 8 June 2018
One of the world’s biggest palm oil companies is testing new GPS-based technology to trace the provenance of palm fruit all the way back to the plantation where it was grown.
But Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), which manages more than 5,000 square kilometers (1,940 square miles) of plantations in Indonesia — an area the size of Grand Canyon National Park — acknowledges that the opaque nature of the supply side of the industry makes the endeavor a challenging one.

[New Zealand] Forestry ETS rules get overhaul
Waatea News, 8 June 2018
Changes to the scheme by the previous Government his Maori landowners hard, with the value of carbon credits plummeting and little incentive for forest owners to replant.
Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw have released a consultation paper proposing 12 changes.

9 June 2018

10 June 2018

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