Environment, Carbon and Forests
World Rainforest Movement, 25 February 2014 | We, the No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN) together with the undersigned organizations and individuals, strongly condemn the massive evictions and forced relocation of the Sengwer Indigenous People, one of the few remaining hunter-gatherers of the world, from their ancestral home in Kenya’s Cherangany Hills. The Kenyan government calls the Sengwer People ‘squatters,’ despite the fact that they and their ancestors have lived in the Cherangany Hills since time immemorial; and that Article (63d) of the Kenyan constitution (2010) grants them inalienable rights to their ancestral lands... We are alarmed at the obvious connection between these evictions and the World Bank’s funding of the Kenyan government’s REDD+ ‘readiness’ program in the Cherangany Hills through the bank’s Natural Resource Management project (NRMP).
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 February 2014 | But Agus Sari, who is developing a REDD+ Funding Instrument for Indonesia’s REDD+ Agency, says it’s not as complicated as many believe. Last year he proposed the creation of an interim financing mechanism called Financing REDD+ in Indonesia (FREDDI) that would act as a “fund of funds” administered by under the REDD+ Agency to support forest conservation. In an interview with Ecosystem Marketplace he said those activities would include the purchase of REDD offsets voluntarily earned and certified to private carbon standards. As the first country to create a high-level REDD+ Agency, Indonesia is seen as model of sorts for other governments looking to implement similar strategies. For that reason, Sari’s proposal could have global ramifications.
Offsetters Climate Solutions press release, 25 February 2014 | Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. is pleased to report that it has successfully retired a portfolio of 160,000 tonnes of carbon offsets from a selection of high-quality international offset projects on behalf of Dow Chemical Company. Dow engaged Offsetters to offset the travel footprint of spectators and media attendees prior to the Games. These carbon credits come from a portfolio of high-quality projects developed to international standards, recognized under the International Carbon Offset and Reduction Alliance (ICROA) Code of Best Practice. All offsets were retired upon delivery. The portfolio includes projects from Russia, Brazil and South Korea, in addition to a project implemented by Dow at one of its manufacturing facilities in the United States.
By Erik Meijaard, The Jakarta Globe, 24 February 2014 | In 2009 and 2012, we interviewed nearly 8,000 people in 800 villages in both Indonesian and Malaysian parts of Kalimantan. We asked respondents about the biggest impact of deforestation on their health, well-being and welfare. “Heat” is what 33 percent of our respondents answered. In fact, it was by far the most common response, with clean water supply and flooding in a distant second place. People clarified these perceived heat impacts by explaining that among others the higher temperatures resulting from deforestation increased the incidence of malaria and other diseases, caused crop failures and reduced crop yields, and made people much more tired. Being hotter significantly reduced people’s quality of life. With ongoing global climate change, the impacts of higher temperatures on economic outputs and social well-being are increasingly scrutinized by scientists.
By Yuliasri Perdani, The Jakarta Post, 21 February 2014 | The Judicial Commission (KY) has launched a probe into a low-ranking police officer convicted of controlling illegal logging and fuel smuggling businesses, which had netted him billions of rupiah. Commission chairman Suparman Marzuki on Thursday questioned the Sorong District Court’s decision to acquit Adj. First. Insp. Labora Sitorus from money laundering charges, despite the evidence that up to Rp 1.5 trillion (US$127.5 million) in suspicious funds had been deposited in his bank accounts. “We are now trying to obtain copies of the verdict,” Suparman said. On Monday, a panel of judges, led by Martinus Bala, found Sitorus guilty of violating multiple articles of the 2004 Forestry Law and the 2001 Oil and Gas Law. Aside from two years in prison, the court ordered him to pay Rp 50 million in fines.
The Jakarta Post, 23 February 2014 | The Indonesian government needs to have strong regulations in order to tackle environmental problems and dilemmas that exist in the country, as part of joining the global action to fight climate change. Sir David King, the UK foreign secretary’s special representative for climate change, said on Friday that Indonesia was a very special ally in the battle against climate change, while at the same time being a rapidly developing country in economic terms. He said some of the country’s booming sectors, like the palm oil industry, which was triggered by global demands, should be acknowledged as bringing positive benefits and creating wealth for the nation. However, the industry is not regulated strictly, which could result in environmental degradation in the next 10 to 20 years, due to the industry’s large impact on deforestation. “The [deforestation] is irrevocable, often irreversible,” King said.
Bangkok Post, 26 February 2014 | The National Parks Department will seek to bolster its forest conservation projects in a bid to showcase national efforts to combat climate change and prepare for the possible launch of a UN-led forestry scheme. DNP deputy chief Theerapat Prayurasiddhi said many forest conservation projects have already been implemented nationwide that are in line with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's REDD+ scheme. The REDD scheme aims at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, while the "plus" sign denotes measures to conserve forests, enhance forest carbon stocks and manage forest land sustainably. The concept was developed in 2006 as a tool for climate change mitigation. Mr Theerapat said the DNP was preparing for the implementation of the scheme in Thailand, even though the government is yet to make a final decision on whether to adopt the project.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 February 2014 | Here in Washington DC, the Forest Carbon Portal last week covered the launch of Global Forest Watch, an exciting new Google-powered tool that combines global high-resolution satellite imagery, high-powered cloud computing, open data and human networks to give a picture of forest loss (or growth) in real time – or at least a lot closer to real time than has ever been achieved before. "You don't need a PhD in remote sensing science to use Global Forest Watch," said Nigel Sizer, Director of the World Resources Institute's Global Forest Initiative that led the development of the tool. "If you can use Google Maps to find a friend's house, then you can use Global Forest Watch to understand what is happening to the forests in your neighborhood, across your entire country or even on the other side of the world."
By Ed King, RTCC, 24 February 2014 | The UN’s carbon market requires “bold” action to get it back on track, the new chair of its governing panel has warned. Hugh Sealy, an environmental scientist from Barbados, said the Clean Development Mechanism is a “fantastic tool” but it needed “imagination” to encourage greater use. “These are challenging times for the CDM. The ship is sound, in the best shape ever after years of improvement, but there is little wind in her sails,” he said. “We need to use our imagination and be bold in looking for ways to encourage use of this mechanism.” Sealy took over as head of the CDM Executive Board last week, with Germany’s Lambert Schneider, a researcher in carbon markets, elected as his deputy. CDM credits can be used by governments and businesses to meet carbon targets, and since its launch it has generated more than $315 billion in climate finance.
By Alula Berhe Kidani, Sudan Vision Daily, 25 February 2014 | The second policy area is mitigation. Mitigation in Africa can be achieved through many means. The major alternatives include reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and promoting green energy. Local and international financial sources should be tapped to assist with the reclamation of degraded lands, reforestation, afforestation and agro-forestry practices that can play the triple roles of providing adaptation, mitigation and income generation for the poor (Tannis and Henry 2012). Given the potential benefits of REDD+, policymakers should focus on tackling the political, institutional, technical, social and economic challenges associated with its implementation (Cheikh et al. 2012). Moreover, as one of the significant outcomes of COP19 in Warsaw was an agreement on a framework to financially support REDD+ in developing nations, African countries need to be prepared to benefit from this framework
The Australian, 24 February 2014 | GreenCollar Group will issue the first ever Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUS) for a Native Forest Protection project on a Western Lands lease. GreenCollar Group said it had worked closely with landholders in Western NSW for the last three years to develop forestry projects under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). GreenCollar Group is working with landholders to manage over 50,000 ha of Native Forest in Western NSW for carbon whilst maintaining traditional farm activities including grazing and cropping, it said. The ACCUs generated from these projects will be sold to companies with liabilities under the Carbon Pricing Mechanism as well as the government's new Emission Reduction Fund. “The creation of these carbon credits represents a significant new income stream to farmers on Western Lands Leases. For farmers carbon credits are now an important part of the picture when making land use planning decisions,” said James Schultz, CEO of GCS.
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 23 February 2014 | Forest people’s groups say many governments are failing to protect their right to their ancestral lands, and argue that this neglect is damaging efforts to slow climate change. Their argument is supported by campaigners. Research by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) says the pace of provision of new legal protection for indigenous communities has fallen, despite an increase in professions of support by industry, governments and international initiatives like REDD+ and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. RRI says fewer new laws have been passed to protect indigenous land rights since 2008 than in the six preceding years, and the legislation that has been enacted is weaker. Previous RRI research into 12 emerging market countries found that at least one out of every three hectares licensed for natural resource development overlaps with indigenous community land.
Herald Sun, 24 february 2014 | The federal government will today take the first step in scrapping the carbon tax by introducing a surprise regulation to cancel an auction of billions of dollars of carbon credits. Environment Minister Greg Hunt will block the Clean Energy Regulator from selling any more credits to businesses, which was to be conducted before June this year. In an unexpected move that will take Labor and the Greens by surprise, a regulation signed secretly last week will be tabled in both houses of parliament this morning. While saving $1 million in administrative costs alone, the move will also force Labor leader Bill Shorten to side with the Greens in the senate to veto the government. Environment Minister Greg Hunt told The Daily Telegraph: “Labor says they don’t support the carbon tax any more, yet they refuse to vote to repeal it. We’re forcing Labor to take a stand and vote in favour of a price on carbon if they want to keep it.
Is Ikea cutting down 600-year-old trees to use for flat pack furniture? Swedish giant loses forestry stewardship certificate for felling protected woodland in Russia
Daily Mail, 23 February 2014 | Flat-pack giant Ikea has had a forestry stewardship certificate suspended after it was revealed the furniture chain has been felling 600-year-old trees from protected woodlands. The Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes the responsible management of the world's woodlands, says the wood Ikea cuts from forests in Karelia, Russia, isn't being harvested sustainably. Swedwood, the Swedish firm's forestry subsidiary, has been refused certification by the international not for-profit organisation for its Karelia operation until action is taken.
By Fabien Tepper, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 February 2014 | An ambitious international effort to track the rapid disappearance of the world's forests has provoked a mix of hope and skepticism among those most invested in their conservation. Powered by a $25-million budget and Google-donated cloud services, Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online tool that algorithmically analyzes NASA satellite photos of the world's forested areas, to detect changes indicating deforestation or fires, both of which have been identified as contributors to global warming... But a sticking point of the project may be the difficulty of distinguishing forest cover from agricultural plantations, which are often in direct competition. Managed plantations rarely allow the species diversity that arises in a forest, and most use harmful pesticides.
Greenpeace International, 17 February 2014 | Belgium-based international retailer Delhaize Group has become the first supermarket chain in the world to commit to a No Deforestation Policy with full traceability. The move follows public pressure in Belgium and just three days after Greenpeace launched a global campaign demanding an end to forest destruction for palm oil. “This is a win for consumers in Belgium and around the world demanding products free from forest destruction. Delhaize joins a growing list of companies, such as L’Oréal, Ferrero and Unilever that are listening to the movement demanding forest-friendly products. Greenpeace demands other companies such as P&G and Colgate Palmolive follow their lead,” said Areeba Hamid, forest campaigner at Greenpeace International.
By David Hill, The Guardian, 19 February 2014 | The Ecuadorian government was negotiating a secret $1bn deal with a Chinese bank to drill for oil under the Yasuni national park in the Amazon while pursuing a high-profile scheme to keep the oil under the ground in return for international donations, according to a government document seen by the Guardian. The proposed behind-the-scenes deal, which traded drilling access in exchange for Chinese lending for Ecuadorian government projects, will dismay green and human rights groups who had praised Ecuador for its pioneering Yasuni-ITT Initiative to protect the forest. Yasuni is one of the most biodiverse places in the world and home to indigenous peoples – some of whom are living in what Ecuador's constitution calls "voluntary isolation".
By David Robinson, The Guardian, 19 February 2014 | Since it controversially scrapped the Yasuni-ITT initiative last August – a plan that sought money from the international community to guarantee that oil beneath the park would remain unexploited – the Ecuadorian government has vowed that Yasuni will be left "99.9% intact" by oil extraction. But this pledge seems to ignore the fact that drilling platforms already litter the Unesco world heritage site. Now it has emerged that, according to a 2009 government document, the Ecuadorian government was quietly in talks with a Chinese oil company and bank about a scheme to allow drilling in Yasuni even while the government was soliciting donations in return for protecting the forest.
By Oliver Balch, The Guardian, 20 February 2014 | Everyone knows the philosophical puzzle about the tree falling down in a forest: if no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? It doesn't – at least, not in the world of real forests and real deforestation. Lack of accurate, timely data means it can take months for word of large-scale felling to get out. By the time the authorities arrive to investigate, the damage is done. A new global mapping service promises to change all that. Launched today, Global Forest Watch is pitched as the world's first monitoring tool providing 'near real time' data on changes in forest cover. The brainchild of the World Resources Institute (WRI), a US-based environment non-profit, the web-based service is free to access, global in scope and simple to use.
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 18 February 2014 | The 2013 Annual Report of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), titled 'Rooted in Learning, Growing with Results,' discusses CIF projects and programmes, private sector engagement and measuring results. It also includes an in-depth analysis of, and lessons learned from, the Forest Investment Program (FIP). The report indicates that 48 pilot countries are moving from the investment and planning phase to implementation in the CIF areas of clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable forest management (SFM) and climate resilience, with 75 projects and programmes (about 32% of the CIF portfolio) approved thus far by multilateral development banks (MDBs). With additional contributions in 2013, the total amount pledged to the CIF, now in its fifth year, has reached US$8 billion, leveraging approximately US$55 billion, and thus providing further opportunities to “test the flexibility and reach of climate financing models.”