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REDD in the news: 25 June – 1 July 2018

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

25 June 2018

Benefit-sharing mechanisms: Barking up the wrong tree?
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 25 June 2018
As the quest to protect and restore forests advances and evolves, the age-old question of “who gets what?” seems as pertinent – and complex – as ever.
In recent years, a range of benefit-sharing mechanisms (BSMs) has emerged under REDD+ – a UN-backed program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and promote restoration – most of which seek to incentivize communities to change their forest management practices in the forests they depend on for their livelihoods.

Veridium Announces Stellar Partnership and New Advisory Board Members
Veridium press release, 25 June 2018
Veridium Labs Ltd, an environmental blockchain company that has created the world’s first environmental social impact token, is announcing today two company developments: the addition of new key advisory board members and a partnership and integration onto the Stellar Network. Last month, Veridium announced a collaboration with IBM with the goal of making it easier for companies to offset their environmental footprints.

26 June 2018

Deforestation Is Accelerating, Despite Mounting Efforts to Protect Tropical Forests. What Are We Doing Wrong?
By Frances Seymour, World Resources Institute, 26 June 2018
The 2017 tree cover loss numbers are in, and they’re not looking good. Despite a decade of intensifying efforts to slow tropical deforestation, last year was the second-highest on record for tree cover loss, down just slightly from 2016. The tropics lost an area of forest the size of Vietnam in just the last two years.

[India] Forest fires cause pollution worse than that in toxic cities, says NRSC study
By Richa Sharma, New Indian Express, 26 June 2018
As massive fires engulfed forests in Uttarakhand last month, a study by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) found that such high-magnitude events had the potential to destroy a wide variety of flora and fauna as the levels of pollution become higher than those in some highly polluted cities in the country.
The Hyderabad-based NRSC studied changes induced by forest fires in the atmosphere over Uttarakhand, using space-based observations and model simulations. The study revealed that concentrations of trace gases and aerosols rose to alarming levels during a massive fire in April-May 2016.“CO (carbon monoxide) levels were more than double the normal values, while NO2 (nitrogen oxide) concentrations were nearly three times the normal values.

‘Green gold’: Pakistan plants hundreds of millions of trees
Al Jazeera, 26 June 2018
The change is drastic: around the region of Heroshah, previously arid hills are now covered with forest as far as the horizon. In northwestern Pakistan, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted to fight deforestation.
In 2015 and 2016 some 16,000 labourers planted more than 900,000 fast-growing eucalyptus trees at regular, geometric intervals in Heroshah – and the titanic task is just a fraction of the effort across the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

27 June 2018

Norway’s International Forest and Climate Initiative – 10 years of kissing frogs
By Simon Counsell, Development Today, 27 June 2018
Beneath a picture of a tropical frog, the Norwegian Facebook page dedicated to this week’s Oslo ‘REDD Exchange’ meeting – a biennial congregation of the supporters and beneficiaries of the Norwegian International Climate and Forests Initiative – tells us: “In the tropical forest in Tanzania lives a little frog which is named after Norway. Why Norway? It is a thank you for the Norwegian effort to protect tropical forests the world over.” This particular frog is hopefully not suffering from the deadly chytrid fungus, a plague affecting amphibians which has already wiped out 200 species worldwide. A frog-themed art installation created by Ståle Sørensen and street artist Peacetu will perhaps cheer NICFI’s supplicants, who increasingly worry, for good reason, that Norway’s REDD programme is looking distinctly mouldy round the edges, and possibly facing extinction.

ICAO Adopts Crucial Rules for Implementing 15-Year Aviation Climate Agreement
By Annie Petsonk, EDF, 27 June 2018
In an important step forward in its efforts to address the role of air travel in contributing to climate change, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council adopted today the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). These rules, which will become an addition to the Annexes of the legally binding Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, provide important requirements for airlines and States to report the emissions of international flights, calculate the carbon reduction and offsetting obligations of individual airlines, and ensure that airlines can meet those obligations using only emissions credits and alternative fuels that ICAO determines meet a further set of detailed requirements for integrity and sustainability.

FAO and Norway announces project to improve forest monitoring platform SEPAL
FAO press release, 27 June 2018
Access to satellite data and cutting-edge geospatial technologies will be broadened thanks to deeper collaboration between FAO and Norway, whose International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) agreed to scale up an innovative FAO digital platform that helps countries measure, monitor and report on their forests and land use.
The $6 million, three-year project, announced during the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum, will allow for boosting the power and reach of FAO’s innovative forest monitoring platform, SEPAL (System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring).

The world lost an area of tropical forest the size of Bangladesh in 2017
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 27 June 2018
It has been a decade since the United Nations launched REDD+, an ambitious program to incentivize forest restoration and conservation in developing countries, as a part of a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The program has been heralded as an integral part of the solution to climate change as tropical forests and wetlands can deliver 23 percent of the total mitigation needed between now and 2030.

The world is losing vital forests quicker than ever
By Katharina Wecker, DW, 27 June 2018
Forests provide us with shelter, food, fuel security, and water. Around 80 percent of the world’s land-based animal and plant species are found in forests.
Trees also play a critical role in cleaning the air we breathe, and function as the largest land-based storehouses of CO2. Only oceans absorb more of the greenhouse gases that are changing our climate.

Colombia tree loss spikes as peace deal leads to land grabs
By Caitlin Tilley, Climate Home News, 27 June 2018
Tree loss in Colombia for 2017 jumped by 46% from 2016 to 2017, a World Resources Institute (WRI) report revealed on Wednesday. It follows a doubling of tree loss between 2001 and 2015.
The spike is linked to an outbreak of land-grabbing after Colombia’s largest rebel group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), signed a peace deal with the government in 2016.

Protecting Forests by Protecting Rights: Guyana’s scramble for land rights
Rainforest Foundation US, 27 June 2018
Indigenous communities are key to protecting the forest, and in Guyana, indigenous customary lands cover large extents of the interior. The government of Guyana has an international commitment to conserving an additional 2 million hectares of forest – the majority of which would overlap with customary indigenous lands.
Indigenous peoples’ ability to exercise control over their forest lands, as well as participate in policies and programs related to REDD+ and low-carbon development, is therefore critical.

[UK] ‘Wolf of Wimbledon’ fraudster gets another four years in UK jail
Reuters, 27 June 018
A jailed swindler who helped trick hundreds of British investors into buying worthless shares in a 70 million-pound ($93 million) scam has had his prison sentence extended by four years for failing to pay back millions of pounds.
A London court activated a default prison sentence for Jeffrey Revell-Reade, one of two men convicted in 2014, after he repaid less than half of a 7.5 million pound confiscation order, the UK Serious Fraud Office said on Wednesday.

[USA] Ontario ready to pull out of carbon market, leaving California in limbo
By Julie Cart, CALMatters, 27 June 2018
The agreement that linked the Canadian province of Ontario with California and Quebec in one of the world’s largest emissions trading markets was announced with much fanfare in 2017.
At last, it seemed, Gov. Jerry Brown’s vision of global neighbors sharing a carbon market — and lofty goals to green the planet — was launched.
“We’re on the side of science,” the California governor said at the time, “We’re on the side of reality.”
Sometimes reality bites.
The news of Ontario’s impending withdrawal from the bi-national cap-and-trade program, after less than a year of partnership, has landed with a thud. The retreat of California’s largest emissions trading partner is a function of politics as much as policy, but the sting to the state’s ambitions is no less felt.

28 June 2018

New report: New ideas for better rainforest protection
Rainforest Foundation Norway, 28 June 2018
There are three important reasons for the world’s failure to protect the remaining rainforest: Increasing demand for products leading to deforestation, fragmentation of intact and primary forests, and finance flows leading to deforestation. After ten years of high-level talks about forest protection, a new report from the Rainforest Foundation Norway gives recommendations for how the world can be more successful in its battle against forest destruction.

A Letter from United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
By Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Cornered by Protected Areas, 28 June 2018
Tropical forest loss is at an all-time high, fomenting the global climate crisis. The result is rising seas, threats to global food security, and conflict across the globe. Along with this violence against the earth, there is growing violence against the people who defend it. Last year, Global Witness tallied 197 murders of land rights and environmental defenders (link is external). Year after year, around 40 percent of these deaths are Indigenous Peoples.

Airlines eye massive carbon handout
By Megan Darby, Climate Home News, 28 June 2018
Airlines are cruising for weak climate action after their governing body on Wednesday deferred key decisions to implement its targets, campaigners warn.
The aviation sector has committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020, agreeing to “offset” extra emissions by paying for emissions cuts in other sectors.
But negotiators at the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) may allow airlines to use a glut of old offsets to meet their quotas. Thousands of dormant projects are ready to flood the market with cheap credits, according to European analysts, without driving any new emissions reductions.

CORSIA: Green groups left ‘extremely disappointed’ as aviation agency waters down offset deal rules
By Madleine Cuff, BusinessGreen, 28 June 2018
Campaigners argue rulebook for impending CORSIA offset deal will reward airlines for using fossil fuels.
The UN’s aviation agency ICAO yesterday agreed new standards to govern a pioneering carbon offset deal for the global aviation industry.
The scheme has been hailed as a major step forward for the sector, which will help drive investment in cleaner aviation fuels and mobilise investment in emission reduction schemes around the world. The offset scheme is also seen as critical to justifying investment in airport expansion, including the UK government’s controversial backing this week for a third runway at Heathrow.

A most unlikely hope: How the companies that destroyed the world’s forests can save them
By Glenn Hurowitz, Mongabay, 28 June 2018
Deep in the forest of the Bolivian Amazon, fire burns through thousands of acres of ancient Amazon rainforest. It’s a crude way to destroy an ecosystem. The scene offers no hint of all the technology that’s supposed to be transforming our world according to our Twitter feeds and thought leaders on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. But make no mistake: this simple act of destruction, prehistoric in its origins though modern in its scale, is shaping our world as much or more than every iPhone, missile, or the Internet of Things.

[Indonesia] RSPO to Dive Into Palm Oil Giant Wilmar Deforestation Link
By Sheany, Jakarta Globe, 28 June 2018
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, or RSPO, is investigating claims by environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace that one of the international lobby group’s major members is involved in deforestation.
Greenpeace said in a report published on Sunday (24/06) that Singapore-based Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader, had links to a company guilty of deforestation, despite its commitment to sustainable practices.
The allegation is the latest blow to the lobby group’s efforts to promote sustainable practices in the industry and polishing the commodity’s image as the most efficient vegetable oil.

29 June 2018

A fork in the road after the latest forest data
By Anita Makri, SciDev.net, 29 June 2018
A chunk of tropical forest the size of Bangladesh, 15.8 million hectares, disappeared last year.
This is according to data released this week by Global Forest Watch, and it comes after record losses seen in 2016 – a downward trend that had experts and ministers raising the alarm at the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum this week.

City forests store rainforest-levels of carbon, study finds
By Morgan Erickson-Davis, Mongabay, 29 June 2018
Nations are hurrying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming, and one way they’re going about this is by encouraging the protection of forests. Trees trap carbon in their biomass and in the soil, and it’s hoped that keeping them in the ground will keep their carbon out of the atmosphere.
Climate-focused forest conservation policies and programs tend to be focused on rainforests. Covering vast areas, rainforests have earned the moniker “lungs of the planet” for their ability to sequester carbon dioxide while producing oxygen.

[Bermuda] Hub Culture launches carbon token
By Scott Neil, The Royal Gazette, 29 June 2018
A digitised carbon token has been created to trade on Hub Culture’s new Ultra Exchange.
Bermudian-headquartered Hub Culture, which manages the world’s first digital currency, Ven, among a number of other functions, announced the token at the Transition Monaco Forum.
The token is called Ultra Carbon, and it enables real-time peer-to-peer exchange of a digital carbon asset.
The concept of carbon tokens is to expand the verifiable ecosystem of carbon credits, where producers of carbon pollution and other pollutants can offset their emissions — effectively reducing their carbon footprint — by purchasing carbon credits which are then retired.

Norway pledges £12m to global fight against forest crime
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 29 June 2018
The Norwegian government has announced a pledge of 145m kroner (£12m) to help fight forest crime such as illegal tree clearances.
The money will be shared by Interpol, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Rhipto Norwegian Centre for Global Analyses, which collects data on illegal logging. The funds will allow Interpol to expand its dedicated taskforce from six to 15 detectives.

30 June 2018

[India] Haryana may work with German agency on Aravalis
By Shilpy Arora, Times of India, 30 June 2018
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German development agency, is keen on working with the state forest department to devise solutions to meet local needs and achieve sustainable and inclusive development in the Aravalis.
Dr Ashish Chaturvedi, director climate change, GIZ, said, “We can work with the department on developing a project on forestry.”

1 July 2018

 

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