New report finds falling prices, low demand, and environmental legislation could see $112bn-worth of future projects rendered uneconomic
More than 300,000 people demonstrated in New York Sunday, calling for tough action on climate change, with thousands more marching in cities around the world
Analysts say government may ditch plans to auction 1,500MW of solar projects for programme to fit 5,000-7,000MW each year
New Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid vehicle promising to slash carbon emissions and air pollution
From climate finance to forests and Leonardo DiCaprio - what will Ban Ki-moon's high-profile conference deliver?
Record levels of emissions predicted for 2014 leave the planet needing substantial carbon cuts to limit global warming to 2°C
By Loran Bell, mongabay.com, 19 September 2014 | Indonesia ended 12 years of stalling this week, becoming the last ASEAN nation to ratify an agreement on transboundary haze. As smoke from more than 1,200 fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan pushed air pollution in neighboring Singapore to 'unhealthy' levels, the Indonesian House of Representatives ratified the 2002 ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP). The move comes shortly after Singapore approved a bill allowing them to fine foreign companies responsible for producing haze, even if the activities occur outside of the country. The bill is aimed squarely at companies operating in Indonesia who's land clearing last year pushed Singapore's pollution index to a record setting 401. (Anything over 300 is considered 'hazardous'). Singapore again reached 100 this week—an 'unhealthy' level at which officials warn individuals should, "reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion."
mongabay.com, 20 September 2014 | Five of the world's largest palm oil producers have announced an immediate moratorium on palm oil sourced via clearance of potential high carbon stock forests. On Friday, Asian Agri, IOI Corporation Berhad, Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) Berhad, Musim Mas Group and Sime Darby Plantation said they will suspend forest clearing until they have completed a year-long study that aims to establish a threshold for defining what constitutes high carbon stock (HCS) forest. The move comes after intense campaigning by environmentalists pushed dozens of major palm oil buyers to establish zero deforestation sourcing policies for palm oil, which is one of the top drivers of forest conversion in Malaysia and Indonesia. At the time of the announcement, several major palm oil producers and traders — including Golden Agri-Resources, Wilmar, and Cargill — had already established zero deforestation commitments based on a definition of 35 tons of carbon per hectare...
By Michael Safi, The Guardian, 17 September 2014 | [W]hat took three years to negotiate was undone in three hours on 2 September this year, when the newly elected Liberal government of Will Hodgman achieved its first major legislative accomplishment: tearing up the “job-destroying” TFA. His resources minister, Paul Harriss, told parliament that “Tasmania’s forestry industry, and the use of our forest assets for economic gain, is not something of which we should be ashamed”. Echoing the calls of the prime minister, Tony Abbott, for a “renaissance of forestry in Tasmania”, Hodgman’s government removed 400,000 hectares of native forest from reserves, designating it “future potential production forest land” – available to be logged in six years’ time. A further 1.1m hectares of forest has been opened to the “speciality” wood sector, who harvest what might be considered the state’s rarer boutique timbers, among them myrtle, sassafras and huon pine, reputedly the oldest tree in Australia.
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 15 September 2014 | The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation of the Government of Nepal has assessed the country's drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in order to develop policy options for REDD+. The assessment includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of previous forest policies and measures, and reports on four key drivers of forest loss that vary across Nepal's biophysical, ecological and social landscapes. Drivers include illegal logging, fuelwood consumption, encroachment and road construction. The assessment also highlights underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation ranging from population growth and migration, to increased demand for forest products and corruption. The report draws links between degradation and deforestation, noting that the illegal removal or destruction of a few trees (degradation) can lead to deforestation.
By Ben Geman, National Journal, 17 September 2014 | A top White House adviser said President Obama will use next week's United Nations climate summit in New York City to push initiatives aimed at helping nations bolster their defenses against climate-related risks. "He'll be making a number of announcements that put America squarely on the side of building global resilience, trying to provide public goods to countries around the world, some of whom can't afford to build the kind of resilient tools they need to anticipate the effects of climate change," John Podesta said Wednesday. "The president will have a lot to say about that question next week," he said. Podesta spoke from Washington for a segment on Al Gore's annual, multimedia "24 Hours of Reality" event. Obama is among roughly 120 heads of state attending the Sept. 23 summit.
Press Association, 18 September 2014 | Institutional investors managing £15tn of assets have called for an ambitious global climate deal to give them certainty to invest in clean technology. More than 340 institutions including BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, AXA Group and Legal & General Investment Management, have called for strong policies to drive action on climate change. The organisations want governments to put a “stable, reliable and economically meaningful” price that polluters have to pay for their carbon emissions, which will help scale up investment towards clean power and energy efficiency. Ahead of a UN climate summit in New York next week, the investors are also calling on governments to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, an estimated £370bn worldwide a year, five times the £60bn paid in renewables subsidies.
By Lisa Cox, The Age, 19 September 2014 | Australia is refusing to take a plan for deeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to a special world leaders' climate summit in New York next week, rejecting calls from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who will represent the Abbott government at the conference on Tuesday, ruled out bringing to the table beefed-up emissions reduction targets, despite hopes the meeting would build momentum towards signing a new post-2020 global climate change deal in Paris next year. US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron are among the 125 world leaders who will attend the summit where Mr Ban has demanded "bold announcements and actions" from countries to demonstrate readiness to "scale up" action on global warming.
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 September 2014 | We must continuously adapt our institutions to deal with accelerated social and environmental change if we are to make real progress in protecting forests and achieving sustainability, says Eduardo Brondízio, Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University. “Our efforts to reconcile development and conservation in forest regions currently rest on unsustainable grounds,” Brondízio said in an interview with Forests News. “We need to confront — intellectually and in practice — several mismatches and misconceptions.” Brondízio is one of six panelists presenting ‘big ideas’ for discussion at the Colloquium on Forests and Climate: New Thinking for Transformational Change at Columbia University in New York on 24 September, where he hopes to provoke questions that people may not be thinking about — “the kinds of questions that force us to think about the next 10, 20 years.”
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 17 September 2014 | Climate policy will require greater engagement from the scientific community — and an upcoming high-level forum can help to chart “where the science-policy interface needs to go on forestry issues,” said Louis Verchot, Director of Forests and Environment Research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “As we move past 2015, the UN negotiations are going to be shifting gears from big international negotiations to implementation at national and sub-national scales,” Verchot said in an interview with CIFOR’s blog, Forests News. “So it is a good time to ask how science can be more effective to support policy on tropical forests and help the international community be more effective in dealing with climate change.” Verchot will represent CIFOR at the Colloquium on Forests and Climate at Columbia University on 24 September and will lead the wrap-up discussion at the end of the event.
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 September 2014 | One of the world’s top climate scientists warns that the tropical forests of the future could look like an ‘impoverished kind of savannah’ under climate change. Carlos Nobre, Brazil’s National Secretary for Research and Development Policies and a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, said that despite tremendous progress in curbing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, modeling gives a glimpse of the potential negative impacts of climate change. “We are in a good moment in terms of transforming land-use change in the tropics … but in the present there are areas in the Amazon in which a repeated cycle of deforestation, regrowth and fire has led to a landscape that is highly degraded,” he told Forests News, the blog of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “It’s an impoverished kind of savannah. And I think that’s what the forests of the future will look like..."
By Quincy Saul, Truthout, 16 September 2014 | In discussions over the past month with a wide range of people - UN diplomats, radical Vermonters, unionists, professors, liberal Democrats, etc. - the same thing has been repeated to me by everyone: "If we get a huge number of people, no one will be able to ignore us." "The mainstream media will be forced to cover it." So what is being billed and organized as The People's Climate March, and An Invitation to Change Everything, turns out to be a massive photo op. The spectacle of thousands of First World citizens marching for climate justice, while they continue to generate the vast majority of carbon emissions, brings to mind the spectacle of George W. Bush visiting New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
By Amantha Perera, IPS, 20 September 2014 | When she talks about the forests in her native Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, Maridiana Deren’s facial expression changes. The calm, almost shy person is transformed into an emotionally charged woman, her fists clench and she stares wide-eyed at whoever is listening to her. “The ‘boohmi’ (earth) is our mother, the forest our air, the water our blood,” says the activist, who has been taking on mining and oil industries operating in her native island for over a decade. Deren, who counts herself among the Dayak people, works as a nurse and has had numerous run-ins with powerful, organised and rich commercial entities. They have sometimes been violent – she was once stabbed and on another occasion rammed by a motorcycle. After years of taking on wealthy corporations, Deren is now facing a new opponent, one she finds even harder to tackle – her own government.
By Melanie Arnost, ABC News, 19 September 2014 | The Federal Government is trying to provide reassurance to organisations selling carbon credits, that there is a future for their operations. Fish River Station was first indigenous-owned property to sell such credits under the former Labor Government scheme. Melanie Arnost reports, the station's managers are waiting for find out whether it will continue to be eligible.
By Nelson Bennett, Business in Vancouver, 18 September 2014 | The B.C. government is resuming the buying of carbon offsets, over a year after it announced it would dissolve the controversial Pacific Carbon Trust. The B.C. government issued a procurement call September 18 to fund private enterprise projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through carbon offsets. Under the program, the government will invest in projects, like tree planting or fuel switching, if the proponent can demonstrate they will reduce greenhouse gases. “B.C.'s carbon neutral government successes have shown that offset projects provide a cost-effective approach to meeting the province's GHG reduction targets while supporting innovation for new, clean technologies,” B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said. The buying and selling of carbon offsets was previously done by the Pacific Carbon Trust, a Crown corporation set up in 2008.