REDD and Rainforests
Approaching final legalization, an advocacy group for Indonesia’s indigenous communities has asked to postpone passing a bill granting protections to indigenous people, stating some demands still need to be addressed.
Since 2008, governments have invested $1.64 billion in funds to kick-start REDD+, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, the global effort to conserve the world's forests in order to better mitigate climate change. However, a new report by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) finds that same amount of money could have secured the legal rights of indigenous and local people to 450 million hectares of forest, an area 40 percent larger than India.
By Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, 18 September 2014 | Indonesia is proposing to lead the forthcoming ASEAN secretariat in charge of joint efforts to mitigate transboundary air pollution caused by land and forest fires in the region. As the last of the signatories to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, Indonesia’s decision to officially adopt the decade-old treaty on Tuesday finally paved the way for the establishment of a joint secretariat that will function to coordinate the information, reports and policies needed to address the problems raised by transboundary haze pollution in the region.
'The green Amazon is red with indigenous blood': authorities pull bodies from river that may have belonged to slain leaders
Peruvian authorities have pulled more human remains from a remote river in the Amazon, which may belong to one of the four murdered Ashaninka natives killed on September 1st. It is believed the four Ashaninka men, including renowned leader Edwin Chota Valera, were assassinated for speaking up against illegal logging on their traditional lands.
A group of palm oil and timber companies that have pledged to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains have agreed to establish a standard for determining what constitutes forest in terms of carbon storage.
Activists have launched an urgent appeal calling upon outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to step up protection of the only ecosystem that houses Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers.
By Julian Caldecott, SciDev.Net, 16 September 2014 | But Indonesia, one of the largest GHG emitters in the 2000s, is a partial exception. In 2010, it signed a letter of intent to accept up to one billion US dollars under the Indonesia-Norway REDD+ Partnership, most of it payable for reducing emissions in the forest and peatland sector. Norway also negotiated REDD+ agreements with Brazil and Guyana. All stand out for their ‘game-changing’ intent (the ‘game’, of course, being very different in each country) and the large amounts of money on the table. With presidential leadership and start-up funds from Norway and others, some of Indonesia’s best and brightest officials and administrators were tasked with making REDD+ happen. But the scale of the challenge soon became clear. At the root of deforestation was how decisions affecting the use of land and forests were being made throughout Indonesian society — driven and distorted by the plantation sector’s demands...
Social Movements representing more than 200 million people around the world denounce corporate take-over of Ban Ki-Moon Climate Summit
Climate Space, 17 September 2014 | In a joint statement published on September 16, they call for systemic change rather than the voluntary pledges and market-based and destructive public-private partnership initiatives that currently feature on the Summit’s agenda, like REDD+ Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. The statement calls for 10 concrete actions to be taken to prevent climate chaos including immediate binding commitments to keep the temperature rise to no more than 1.5degrees Centigrade. The social movements go on to warn against what they call the “false solutions” and harmful actions that the big corporations that have been invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to play the lead role at the upcoming Climate Summit in New York are pushing for.
From 'production' forests to protected forests, groups work to save Sumatran orangutan habitat. But will it be enough?
The orangutan is native exclusively to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra — two regions that have seen the brunt of Indonesia's recent forest destruction due primarily to logging and plantation development. Although there are anywhere from 45,000 to 69,000 Bornean orangutans remaining in the wild, the Sumatran species numbers only about 7,300 according to a 2004 survey, and is dwindling further every year.
By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 15 September 2014 | A planned World Bank fund will employ options to spur climate-protection investment using rules created by carbon markets. The Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation will use auctions “to maximize the use of limited public resources,” the Washington-based bank said today in an e-mailed statement. Investors will bid for tradable put options giving the right to sell emission reductions to the fund at guaranteed prices. The approach could be used in the future for greenhouse gases other than methane and may attract investment from other institutions including the United Nations Green Climate Fund, which is raising about $10 billion. There’s less incentive to build carbon-reduction projects after the value of UN Certified Emission Reductions plunged 99 percent in the past six years, according to data from ICE Futures Europe in London.
AP, 16 September 2014 | In this Brazilian favela, a dense hodgepodge of humble cinderblock homes filled with some of Rio de Janeiro's poorest residents, the indigenous people whose cultures predate recorded history are struggling to keep their traditions alive in the face of modernity. Seeking jobs and forced out of their native lands by loggers, miners and farmers, an estimated 22,000 Brazilian Indians now call the crowded favelas their home. Deforestation continues to reshape the Amazon rain forest region that is home to a third of Brazil's indigenous people. The rate of deforestation rose 29 percent last year, compared with a year earlier, the Brazilian government reported last week. "There are no more forests, no more fish. We've got to survive so we go to the cities. But they're so expensive, where can we live but the favelas?" asked Sandra Benites, a Guarani tribeswoman who moved to Rio's Complexo Sao Carlos slum in 2010 from the neighboring state of Espirito Santo.
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 14 September 2014 | The unprecedented drought now affecting São Paulo, South America’s giant metropolis, is believed to be caused by the absence of the “flying rivers” − the vapour clouds from the Amazon that normally bring rain to the centre and south of Brazil. Some Brazilian scientists say the absence of rain that has dried up rivers and reservoirs in central and southeast Brazil is not just a quirk of nature, but a change brought about by a combination of the continuing deforestation of the Amazon and global warming. This combination, they say, is reducing the role of the Amazon rainforest as a giant “water pump”, releasing billions of litres of humidity from the trees into the air in the form of vapour.
ANTARA News, 13 September 2014 | The Managing Agency of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) has launched 10 green schools in Central Kalimantan Province. "We hope every stakeholder provides support to the establishment of green schools by REDD+, particularly the first 10 schools to be launched," Yusurum Jagau, representative of the agency in Central Kalimantan said here on Saturday. The campaign for green schools has been running since 2011 in some 185 schools and has involved more than one thousand participants in Central Kalimantan, he added. In addition to green schools, the agency has also developed green villages, particularly in the location of the former geothermal power plant in Kapuas, South Barito, Pisau Isle, and Palangkaraya.
CIOMA press release, 12 September 2014 | The California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) today requested that the California Attorney General immediately open an investigation into “competition destruction” of the independent oil and fuels industry by the California Air Resources Board as a result of the design of the wholesale fuel market under “Fuels Under the Cap” regulations. In a letter dated September 8, 2014 addressed to California AG Kamala Harris, CIOMA described the impact of AB 32 cap-and-trade regulations on its members, stating that Fuels Under the Cap will create an anti-competitive, high-risk market for independent fuel distributors, which could cause many of its members’ businesses in California to fail. “The typical independent fuel supplier cannot pass along the cost of cap-and-trade to its wholesale fuel customers without absorbing significant financial risk,” said Jay McKeeman, Vice President of Government Affairs and Communication for CIOMA.
By Benupraj Bhattarai, myrepublica.com, 13 September 2014 | While the locals, especially the indigenous nationalities, feel threatened, environmentalists in the district, however, try to allay their fear. The Ilam district president for the Federation for Community Forest Users Groups (FECOFUN), Dhurba Shrestha says there is no need to panic. "We are working toward preventing the impact of climate change from affecting the forestlands. There is no particular reason why the people should fear about their livelihood when are so actively involved in protection of the forests," says he. In the same breath he adds that the right of consumers to use forest products should not be breached at any cost. "Things will get better if we start conserving trees and increase the process of carbon sequestration in the forest areas," explains Shrestha. "And we have taking steps to that effect, too."
Lancashire Evening Post, 13 September 2014 | Three Preston men were involved in a multi-million pound carbon credit theft that shut down the European carbon trading market for a week, costing millions to the economy, a court heard. Father-of-three Hanif Patel, 53, of Elgin Street, Deepdale, who was the director of a PPI firm, appeared at Preston Crown Court with Mohammed Hanif Patel, 53, of St Thomas’s Road and a third Preston man. A probe was launched by the National Crime Agency into the theft of 475,000 EU carbon dioxide emissions allowances (EUAs) worth £6m from the Czech Republic’s carbon registry OTE, on January 18, 2011 – following a hoax bomb scare at their base. It formed part of a wider theft of a total of 1.25 million carbon credits - a form of permit allowing organisations to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be traded between firms. The theft was discovered on January 19, 2011, but thieves had already sold the credits on.
Korea JoongAng Daily, 13 September 2014 | The government’s decision last Tuesday to start a carbon-emission trading system next year will increase regular households’ monthly electricity bills by about 3,000 won ($2.90) for the next three years, according to data from the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco). The price will increase because Kepco’s power generating affiliates will have to buy extra carbon credits due to the massive amount of emissions from power plants, according to Kepco data submitted to the National Assembly’s trade, industry and energy committee and released by committee member and Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Che-ik yesterday. The carbon emission trading system will run a trial period from January through 2017. According to Lee’s statement, Kepco’s affiliates will have to buy carbon credits worth about 400 billion won per year. This will require Kepco to collect about 1.3 trillion won more through its customers’ power bills by 2017.
By Suzanne Goldberg, The Guardian, 14 September 2014 | With her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, Klein hopes to set off the kind of powerful mass movement that could – finally – produce the radical changes needed to avoid a global warming catastrophe and fix capitalism at the same time. She argues that we have all been thinking about the climate crisis the wrong way around: it’s about capitalism – not carbon – the extreme anti-regulatory version that has seized global economies since the 1980s and has set us on a course of destruction and deepening inequality. “I think we are on a collision course,” she says. Twenty-five years ago, when the first climate scientist was called to testify to Congress and make global warming a policy challenge, there might have still been time for big industries to shrink their carbon footprints. But governments at the time were seized with the idea that there should be no restraints on industry.
AFP, 15 September 2014 | Brazil is building a giant observation tower in the heart of the Amazon to monitor climate change and its impact on the region's sensitive ecosystem, a newspaper reported Sunday. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is a project of Brazil's National Institute of Amazonian Research and Germany's Max Planck Institute, O Estado de Sao Paulo said. The tower, which will rise 325 meters (over 1,000 feet) from the ground, will be equipped with high-tech instruments and an observatory to monitor relationships between the jungle and the atmosphere. It will gather data on heat, water, carbon gas, winds, cloud formation, carbon absorption and weather patterns.
By Wendy Koch, USA Today, 15 September 2014 | At least 150 major companies worldwide - including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States - are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report today says. The U.S. has yet to impose a price on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, but other nations are starting to do so as a way to address global warming so U.S.-based companies are factoring an eventual one into their plans, says the international non-profit CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The report is the group's first one to look at corporate carbon pricing on a global scale. "We're seeing companies taking steps they're not required to, and they're doing this to be competitive in a carbon-constrained world," says Zoe Antitch, spokeswoman of CDP North America, noting many do business in multiple countries. "They're looking ahead. ... They're climate ready."