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Environment, Carbon and Forests

[UK] Boiler room fraudsters jailed over £11m investment scams

REDD monitor news - 1 hour 11 min ago
By Alex Steger, New Model Advisor, 23 April 2014 | Two boiler room fraudsters have each been sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to running multi-million pound land banking and carbon credit scams. Matthew Noad and Clive Griston, both from Kent, were sentenced at the Old Bailey and have been disqualified from being company directors for 10 years. Between 2005 and 2010 the pair ran a London-based boiler room which took more than £10 million from victims who were sold plots of land in the belief they would be redeveloped for housing, but which in reality had no planning permission. Despite first being arrested in December 2010 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, Noad and Griston were released on bail and set up another boiler room selling carbon credits via a firm called Capital Carbon Credits, netting another £1 million.

[UK] Final member of boiler room scam gang jailed

REDD monitor news - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 13:57
Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, 14 April 2014 | A salesman who took part in a boiler room scam which fleeced investors out of more than £4m was today jailed for three years today (MON). John Curtin, 38, sold worthless shares for up to four times the agreed value and then siphoned off the profits as part of the scam run by American Brian O’Brien and his British wife Lynne D’Albertson. O’Brien and D’Albertson, who used to live in Westfield, were also jailed for their role in the scam. D’Albertson’s son Damien Smith, of Eversfield Mews North, St Leonards was jailed for three years and four month... Prosecutor Amanda Pinto QC said: “Between 2005 and 2007 the defendant was a sales manager involved in the fraudulent sale of company shares at vastly inflated price. “The defendant would call potential investors and over a couple of months £4m was acquired..."

Brazil looks to swap World Cup publicity for carbon credits

REDD monitor news - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 13:47
By Marcello Teixeira, Reuters, 15 April 2014 | Brazil, looking to offset the carbon emissions generated by construction, travel and other activities related to hosting the 2014 Soccer World Cup, said on Tuesday it wants holders of United Nations-backed carbon credits to swap them for publicity during the games. The World Cup begins June 12 and Brazil's Environment Ministry said it has launched a program to convince owners of credits to exchange them for publicity in official documents of the event. The country, which is spending 26 billion reais ($11.6 billion) to prepare for the world's top soccer tournament, has no plans to buy offsets in the market, even if carbon prices are at historical lows. "We talked to some holders of credits and they were receptive to the idea of donating the credits", said Eduardo Valente, an official working with the program. The government will accept only certified emission reductions (CERs) from Brazil-based projects of the U.N.'s CDM.

Biodiversity Boom Bolsters Peruvian Forests (And REDD) Ahead Of Year-End Climate Talks There

REDD monitor news - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 13:44
By Lauren Cooper, Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 April 2014 | A new survey, by UC Berkeley, SIU-Carbondale, and Illinois Wesleyan University is bringing some much-needed positivity in global biodiversity news. Despite species and biodiversity figures dropping all over the world, Manu National Park of southern Peru has surpassed its own record for species biodiversity. The park continues to hold title as the richest biodiversity hotspot in the world for reptiles and amphibians. Located in the Department of Madre de Dios in southern Peru, Manu Park is already a world-renowned attraction for “eco-tourists” – specifically bird watchers, scientists, and conservationists. The World Heritage List in 1987. The nearly 1.5 million protected hectares hosts a variety of ecosystems, including lowland moist Amazonian rain forest, high-altitude cloud forest, and Andean grasslands.

New Study: Global Paper Company Makes Progress, but Continues to Face Challenges in Ensuring Legality of Land Holdings in China

REDD monitor news - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 13:42
Rights and Resources Initiative press release, 15 April 2014 | Despite headway in addressing land rights violations made in recent years, Stora Enso has yet to fully ensure legality of all lands acquired in the past. A new report reveals that Stora Enso Oyj (Stora Enso), one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies, has made substantial progress in reviewing the legality of its land acquisitions in China, but has not yet fully ensured respect for local land rights in their operations. These challenges continue despite important steps by the company since 2009 to improve its land acquisition practices against the backdrop of China’s ongoing nationwide forest tenure reform.

[Guyana] China logging firm pushing ahead with big expansion

REDD monitor news - Thu, 17/04/2014 - 13:33
Stabroek News, 14 April 2014 | The Chinese logging firm Bai Shan Lin is moving to construct a wood processing facility, ship building operation and exhibition centre and has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental authorization. In an ad in the Stabroek News, the EPA said that it has determined that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not required for the projects and an environmental authorization with specific conditions for environmental management may be granted to the applicants for the implementation of the projects. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

How Well Are Performance-Based Payments Working? Lessons from Guyana

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 17:54
By Jonah Busch and Nancy Birdsall, Center For Global Development, 7 April 2014 | We found some noteworthy successes. The performance-based payment system has functioned as designed: Guyana has built an excellent national system for monitoring deforestation, and Guyana’s continued low rates of deforestation are being assessed relative to a reference level that is appropriate for a country with high forest cover and low deforestation rates. Three tranches of performance-based payments of about $115M have been approved, of which about $65M has been delivered. Payments have been lower in years when deforestation emissions are higher, consistent with a credible contingent payment system. Furthermore, buy-in for the principles of the Low Carbon Development Strategy is broadly shared, and some notable strengthening of institutions of forest governance has taken place. However, we found some worrisome developments as well.

Dutch utility pays over market for CO2 credits from Nepal project

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:17
By Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 7 April 2014 | Dutch utility Eneco has agreed to pay above market rates for hundreds of thousands of carbon credits to back an environmental project in Nepal under the U.N. scheme to fund emission reduction projects in poor countries. The project, which was registered last week, aims to provide poor households with new wood-burning stoves that require 60 percent less fuel, which helps reduce family fuel bills, air pollution and deforestation as well as improving household health conditions. Eneco, owned by 55 Dutch municipalities, said it was willing to pay more than the market rate to ensure the project goes ahead.

REDD and a green economy are inseparable – but concerns for equity remain: UN report

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:16
By Angela Dewan, Landscapes, 11 April 2014 | The world is transitioning to a green economy, but the many synergies between greater sustainability and the forest-focused REDD+ mechanism are underutilized, according to a recent United Nations report. Countries with tropical forests have for years been preparing for a full-scale implementation of REDD+, and can offer a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned for the broad shift towards a green economy, according to the report. “If designed well, REDD+ can thereby contribute to the key elements of a green economy: low-carbon development, social inclusiveness, increased human well-being and respect for natural capital,” says the report, “Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy” by the UN Environment Program’s International Resource Panel.

Landmark REDD+ Talks: Colombia Event Inspires Crowd in Cartagena

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:14
Code REDD press release, 11 April 2014 | On April 9th, 2014, Code REDD and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presented an historic, first ever event - REDD+ Talks: Colombia in Cartagena. The packed event brought together leaders from the private, public, and civil society sectors to advance the role of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in sustainable business and development. The event provided a platform for Latin American and global REDD+ stakeholders – including project practitioners, indigenous peoples, business leaders, multilateral institutions, and policy makers – to explore the contributions the private sector can make to REDD+ through finance, sustainable operations, project investment, and public-private partnership.

[Australia] Carbon farming to become easier

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:13
By Eliza Rogers, ABC Rural, 11 April 2014 | The change of Federal Government is expected to make it easier and quicker for farmers to take part in the Carbon Farming Initiative. The CFI allows farmers to earn and sell carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions through activities like capturing methane from piggeries and landfills, and reducing cattle burping. It also helps farmers increase their efficiency and productivity. Since its inception three years ago, the Carbon Farming Initiative has rolled out a number of projects. But managing director of Australian Carbon Traders, Ben Keogh, says new government policy could kick it up a gear. "The Coalition is moving to a direct action plan where the government will purchase (carbon) credits from farmers and other industries. Hopefully the government will honour its commitment to make it much quicker, simpler and easier for farmers to participate."

Carbon Grab—the Next Natural Resource Dilemma?

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:11
By Kim Lewis, Voice of America, 10 April 2014 | Research conducted by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) reveals that there are no laws to guarantee that indigenous peoples and local communities will benefit from the global trade of carbon credits as nations cope with carbon emissions that impact global climate change. As deforestation threatens the livelihoods of remote forested regions, governments and investors may profit while rural communities suffer. “Carbon grab is sort of an offset of land grabbing,” says Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque, the lead researcher for the RRI study. He explained that any sort of grab of a resource is based on the idea that the rights of local communities are not necessarily respected.

Forest degradation: firming up the second ‘D’ in REDD

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:10
environmentalresearchweb.org, 10 April 2014 | The UN’s programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) has seen considerable attention paid to deforestation but “the second ‘D’ is poorly understood and accounted”, according to a team from Winrock International, US. With that in mind, the researchers have come up with a simple method for emissions accounting of selective timber harvesting, based on the volume of wood extracted. “Timber harvesting in tropical forests is often confused with deforestation – we wanted to show unequivocally that the impact of logging is vastly different from deforestation in terms of carbon emissions,” Tim Pearson of Winrock International told environmentalresearchweb. “We also wanted to develop a method that readily correlates emissions with an easily captured metric of logging. We designed an approach that would work equally across forests throughout the world with relatively low fieldwork costs.”

Emissions from rainforest logging average 16% of those from deforestation

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:08
mongabay.com, 8 April 2014 | Carbon emissions from selective logging operations in tropical rainforests are roughly a sixth of those from outright forest clearing, finds a new study that evaluated 13 forestry concessions in six countries. The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters by scientists from Winrock International, analyzed carbon losses from different aspects of logging operations, including timber extraction, collateral damage to surrounding vegetation, and logging infrastructure like roads and skid trails. The approach, which offers a more complete estimate than prior methodologies, shows that emissions are highly variable depending on the type of logging, the extraction rate, and the forest itself. Emissions in the study areas ranged from less than seven tons of carbon per hectare in Brazil to more than 50 tons per hectare in Indonesia.

REDD promises to be a risky business for forests and people

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 12:07
By Simon Milledge (IIED), Thomson Reuters Foundation, 9 April 2014 | The recently released IPCC report only serves to remind us that our duty to humankind demands a greater sense of urgency. But any policy response can bring risks to people or the environment, and the costs of dealing with the consequences can be far greater than avoiding them. Forest nations should take note as they prepare to engage with REDD+, a scheme being negotiated at the UN climate change talks to financially reward countries for reducing greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Take Nepal. Its forests provide livelihoods for rural people and habitats for wild species. They help regulate river flow, and offer options to communities as they adapt to the changing climate. So engaging with REDD+ could offer multiple benefits to communities, landscapes and economies aside from financial reward. But sceptics in Nepal are increasingly asking critical questions about how REDD+ will unfold.

[Brazil] Indigenous leaders empowering communities through social enterprise

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 11:59
By Claudia Cahalane, The Guardian, 14 April 2014 | Chief Almir Surui, of the PaiterSurui people, has fought against illegal logging in his area since the mid-eighties, when he was just 10. Van Roosmalen told how the chief had been on a long journey to develop income sources that are both independent of charities and don't require destruction of trees. The group is now expected to bring in millions of dollars through selling carbon offsetting credits to natural toiletries company Natura, the second largest cosmetics company in Brazil. The money gained is for protecting land from logging and replanting trees under a new initiative created by Almir called the REDD+. It will be used for education and to continue protecting the forests. The initiative is an advance on the REDD that adds in a "plus sustainable forest management" clause into the "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation" requirements.

Global study: REDD initiatives see challenges — and opportunities

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 11:56
By Imogen Badgery-Parker, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 April 2014 | Actions must be taken to clarify land tenure in forest-rich developing countries, and to improve the economic viability of REDD+ or risk jeopardizing efforts to reduce deforestation and mitigate climate change, a new study based on 23 forest carbon initiatives suggests. Hundreds of pilot initiatives designed to test the feasibility of REDD+, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, have got under way in recent years. But with obstacles mounting and a climate agreement still elusive, some initiative proponents are losing their enthusiasm for REDD+, according to the study, led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

[Australia] Tasmanian forests set for logging as Liberals push ahead with repeal

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 11:52
The Guardian, 8 April 2014 | Hundreds of thousands of hectares of Tasmanian forest have been earmarked for logging after the newly elected state government pushed ahead with the repeal of a historic forestry deal. The state government has unveiled its plans for undoing the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement - a deal reached in 2011 by industry groups and conservationists. About 400,000 hectares of forest set aside in the agreement as potential reserves will be reclassified as "future potential production forest". However, there will be no logging in these zones for at least six years as the timber industry is rebuilt. Paul Harriss, resources minister in Will Hodgman’s Liberal cabinet, said the government was acting on the overwhelming mandate it had received at last month's election. "We opposed the forest deal because it was based on politics not science, which destroyed jobs and regional communities, and which locked away forever future productive forest," he said on Tuesday.

[USA] Could California Make or Break REDD?

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 11:51
By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, April 2014 | No other term in the forest carbon market generates both excitement and controversy quite like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). These projects have developed in voluntary carbon market circles as a way to place a value on the carbon sequestration provided by tropical forests and allow this value to be monetized in a way that ensures dollars flow down to local governments and community groups to encourage them to conserve forests. “There’s been great progress, at least in the voluntary space,” said Toby Janson-Smith, Director for the Verified Carbon Standard’s Agriculture, Forestry & Other Land Use program, speaking at the Climate Action Reserve’s (CAR) Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) conference in San Francisco last month.

Brazil Sees Promise, but Need For New Funding Source for REDD

REDD monitor news - Mon, 14/04/2014 - 11:50
By Gloria Gonzalez, Forest Carbon Portal, April 2014 | Brazilian company Natura caused quite a stir in the global carbon markets in 2013 when it engaged in a first-of-its-kind deal to purchase 120,000 tons of carbon offsets from a project developed by the Paiter-Suruí indigenous community in the Amazon under the Verified Carbon Standard’s Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) methodology. In 2007, the cosmetics giant launched its corporate carbon neutral program, which now supports 15 carbon offset projects in Brazil and one in Colombia, Mariama Vendramini told attendees of the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in San Francisco. Vendramini is the commercial and financial director for Biofilica, which provides environmental services and develops REDD offsets for Brazilian companies. She estimated the total number of offsets voluntarily purchased by the company at 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

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by Dr. Radut