Will Iceland’s palm oil ban deliver a sustainable solution?
By Helen Bellfield, Global Canopy, 17 April 2018
Iceland’s announcement that it is going to ban palm oil from all of its own products by the end of 2018 has shone a welcome spotlight on the problems with the sustainable production of this vegetable oil, which is found in roughly half of all supermarket products.
The ban was in response to the continuing devastating impact of palm oil production on rainforests across South East Asia and, in their view, the limited effectiveness of certified palm oil in stopping deforestation.
But will the ban help drive progress on sustainable production in the palm oil trade?
Comment: It’s time to confront the collusion between the palm oil industry and politicians that is driving Indonesia’s deforestation crisis
Gecko Project, 18 April 2018
Two decades on from the fall of the Suharto dictatorship, Indonesia’s transition to democracy is regarded as a global success story. But lurking beneath the surface is an ugly truth. A now irrefutable body of evidence shows that regional elections, for the town mayors, district chiefs and provincial governors who hold huge sway over the lives of citizens in a decentralised state, are overwhelmingly corrupted by dark money.
Ghosts in the machine: The land deals behind the downfall of Indonesia’s top judge
The Gecko Project, 18 April 2018
Prologue: Jakarta, 2013
It was long after the close of business when Indonesia’s highest-ranking judge stepped out of his official residence in Jakarta to greet some guests, one night in October 2013. It had been a busy few months for Akil Mochtar. In his capacity as chief justice of the Constitutional Court, he had been called upon to preside over a flurry of cases brought by candidates who had recently taken part in regional elections. Those who felt they had been cheated out of victory through bribes, vote tampering or any of a number of ruses used to gain an edge in close-fought contests could challenge the result in Akil’s court.
What’s Changing As Countries Turn INDCs into NDCs? 5 Early Insights
By Mengpin Ge and Kelly Levin, WRI, 18 April 2018
In the lead up to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted in 2015, more than 160 countries and the European Union submitted their own plans to address climate change, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). According to the global climate pact, a country’s INDC is converted to a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) when it formally joins the Paris Agreement by submitting an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, unless a country decides otherwise.
In REDD+ villages, women say their wellbeing has declined
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 18 April 2018
Climate change interventions in forest communities are still not getting it right when it comes to gender, a study has found.
Striking new results from the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS REDD+) show that women in REDD+ sites feel worse off after interventions take place in their villages, compared with those in control sites.
“REDD+ has clearly not had a positive impact on women’s wellbeing,“ says lead author and Principal Scientist Anne Larson from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
DR Congo’s Mai-Ndombe Forest ‘Savaged’ As Landless Communities Struggle
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, IPS, 17 April 2018
Thousands of logs loaded into makeshift boats at the port of Inongo at Lake Mai-Ndombe stand ready to be transported to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Inongo is the provincial capital of the Mai-Ndombe Province, a 13-million-hectare area located some 650 km northeast of Kinshasa. The logs have been illegally cut from the Mai-Ndombe forest, an area of 10 million hectares, which has some trees measuring between 35 and 45 meters.
Climate change mitigation project threatens local ecosystem resilience in Ethiopia
Stockholm University press release, 16 April 2018
REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) is an UN-led programme aiming to increase carbon sequestration in tropical forests. REDD+ is included among technologies for negative emissions, which stand for a large share of the emission reductions in the climate models internationally agreed on to keep global warming below 2°C. But increasing forest cover in developing counties can threaten other values, as shown in this new study. In southern Ethiopia the tree heather heathlands above the treeline are regularly burnt in order to improve livestock pasture, a practice that authorities within the REDD+ system now tries to stop in order to increase carbon storage. A new study from Stockholm University shows that the ancient pasture burning maintains biodiversity and habitats for alpine plant species not found anywhere else.
Carbon indulgences: Pay to lighten your carbon footprint
By Irina Zhorov, Whyy, 19 April 2018
The average American contributes 17 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.
Carbon dioxide is one of several greenhouse gases produced by land use changes, like deforestation and burning fossil fuels — everything from an airplane burning jet fuel during a trans-Atlantic flight to your car’s exhaust on a jaunt around town.
Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere and drives climate change.
Even the most eco-conscious people have a carbon footprint.
German enivronment minister open to national carbon price
By Sven Egenter, Clean Energy Wire, 20 April 2018
Germany’s new environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) has indicated support for a national price on carbon emissions. The Social Democrat told the daily energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background that a carbon price model needed to be “socially innovative” to ease the burden on poorer households.
Murdered land activist adds to rising death toll in Brazil’s Amazon
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 17 April 2018
Brazil’s Amazonian state of Pará has added to its reputation as a killing ground for land activists with the murder of an anti-palm oil campaigner.
Nazildo dos Santos Brito – a leader of a Quilombo Afro-Brazilian community formed by runaway slaves – was killed at the weekend. It was the third assassination in four weeks in the north-eastern corner of the state, which also saw more killings over territory and the environment than any other last year.
Brito’s body was found on Sunday morning. He had been shot in the head and the stomach. None of his belongings had been taken, prompting police to believe he was the victim of an execution-style killing.
How Big Forests Solve Global Problems
By Thomas E. Lovejoy and John Reid, New York Times, 19 April 2018
Sit on a log by the Madidi River in Bolivia at dusk and you can hear what an Amazon forest should sound like. The music includes red howler monkeys, breathy thumps from the mutum jungle fowl, droning cicadas, eerie calls locals attribute to deadly bushmaster vipers and the unhinged excitement of elusive titi monkeys. Around your feet, the beach is crisscrossed by jaguar tracks and those of the pony-size tapir, a shy beast that, if you keep quiet, will saunter out of the forest and swim across the river.
Igniting a movement: Using local legislation, AMAN advanced tenure security over more than 1.5 million hectares of Indigenous Peoples’ land and forest in Indonesia
Rights and Resources Initiative, 18 April 2018
In 2015, the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) set out to test an idea with Tenure Facility support. Capitalizing on a 2013 Constitutional Court Ruling that customary forests were not part of state forests and should be returned to customary communities, AMAN decided to use district-level legislation to secure indigenous land rights in five districts.
Scaling-up efforts to restore forests
By Jaboury Ghazoul and Nicole Kalas, ETH Zurich, 17 April 2018
We are at the cusp of a transformation that is changing societal perspectives and values on our environment. The Bonn Challenge – which seeks to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 – represents a global response to deforestation, land degradation, and climate change.
Climate change a threat to forgotten people of Uganda
By Gerald Tenywa, New Vision, 16 April 2018
The cost of conservation and climate change has been felt by forest dwelling communities who were displaced to set up two national parks, Bwindi and Mt. Elgon.
Three decades after being displaced, the Batwa and Benets also known as indigenous people are still landless. Today, climate change has created benefits to keepers of forests. Will the indigenous people benefit from this initiative?
Good Clean Love Gets Good and Carbon Neutral for ‘More Brand Trust’
By Jennifer Hermes, Environmental Leader, 18 April 2018
Good Clean Love, a manufacturer of intimacy products distributed in retail locations including CVS, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Whole Foods, is going carbon neutral with its flagship Almost Naked product. The company is working with Carbon Credit Capital (CCC) to measure the emissions generated by the manufacture and distribution of the product and donate funds for every lubricant bottle purchased to a project that reduces greenhouse gases by an amount equivalent to that bottle’s carbon footprint.
[Canada] Trudeau’s carbon scheme takes our money for nothing
By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, 18 April 2018
Small wonder the Trudeau government waited to release its annual report on Canada’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions until the prime minister was in France, boasting about Canada’s efforts to fight climate change.
That’s because Canada’s latest report on emissions submitted to the United Nations shows an insignificant drop for 2016, the first year for which the Trudeau government is entirely responsible, and the last for which figures are available.
Delta among airlines expected to raise fares to offset carbon caps, Moody’s reports
By David Pendered, Saporta Report, 18 April 2018
Delta Air Lines is among the airlines that are expected to raise fares in the coming years to offset the cost of caps on their carbon emissions, according to a report released today by Moody’s Investors Service.
The REDD desk, April 2018
Welcome to REDD Countries – a searchable database where users can find information and analysis on REDD+ readiness in 29 tropical forest countries. Through in-country visits to interview local partners and ground truth information, we provide unique detailed overviews of national progress towards REDD+ readiness. Our database summarises and analyses key national information on REDD+ policies, plans, laws, statistics, initiatives and financing.
Every Lyft ride to be offset by a carbon credit to reduce global warming
By Marco della Cava, USA Today, 19 April 2018
Cars and trucks contribute nearly a third of the nation’s greenhouse gases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
If that pains you, Lyft is offering a salve.
Starting Thursday, the pollution produced by every vehicle on Lyft’s platform will be offset by a self-imposed carbon tax, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green announced in a blog post on Medium.
[India] Flames in the forest
By Apoorv Devgan and Stephan Marchal, The Indian Express, 21 April 2018
Have you ever seen trees, hundreds of years old, being engulfed in flames? A fire that destroys the entire ecology of our beloved mountains like a monster, from the riverside to the top? If you live in the Himalayas, you must have seen this disheartening sight many times. As in many other regions of the country, forests are simply vanishing from the Himalayas, and fires are a major cause.
[Nigeria] UN Backs NCF To Redefine Forest Mgt In Cross River
By Innocent Anoruo, Independent, 20 April 2018
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Global Environment Facility, Small Grant Programme (GEF-SGP) is supporting the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to re-define forest management, conservation of landscape and rural livelihoods in selected forest-edge communities of Cross Rivers State.
Indigenous leaders at UN forum ask for more accountability in international aid
By Amy Lieberman, Devex, 20 April 2018
Greater accountability for funders of governments with poor human rights records is needed as attacks on indigenous communities and human rights activists increase, indigenous women human rights defenders warned Thursday at the United Nations.
Wildfire Season in Costa Rica Has Been The Worst in Three Years
By Laura Alvarado, The Costa Rica Star, 20 April 2018
The 2018 wildfires season has been the worse in Costa Rica in the past three years.
According to the National System of Areas of Conservation (SINAC) a total of 47 wildfires have been recorded from January 1st through April 17 while in this same lapse in 2017 there were 33 forest fires, 36 in 2016 and in 2015 a total of 34.
Boiler room duo jailed in £3.5m carbon credits scam
By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 21 April 2018
Two crooks with a long history of dodgy deals have been jailed after running boiler room frauds that tricked investors out of £3.5million by selling worthless carbon credits and diamonds.
Dylan Creaven, 44, and Andrew Rowe, 41, appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court in London last Thursday. Both were sentenced to 13 years in prison after being convicted of fraud.