REDD and Rainforests
By Sisonke Msimang, africasacountry.com, 19 October 2014 | The Ebola crisis in Liberia has also shone a spotlight on the faults of the international development system that has propped up Sirleaf’s political leadership. In many ways, one could argue that Ebola serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of ignoring cronyism in countries where a government that is friendly to Western governments is in place. Liberia is one of the most dependent countries on Earth: 73% of its gross national income comes from aid agencies and Monrovia, its capital city, is crawling with aid agencies. There are literally hundreds of international NGOs with offices in the city, and in addition to the 800 million the country receives in foreign assistance each year, the UN spends an additional $500 million annually on maintaining a peacekeeping force. So one might have expected that the easiest place to contain Ebola would have been Liberia.
environmentalresearchweb, 20 October 2014 | Rane Cortez from The Nature Conservancy, Chief of Party of the Allianza MREDD+ states, “Mexico is quickly becoming a leader on REDD+ and can serve as a model for other countries. This biomass map and dataset represent one of the important advancements that Mexico has made in developing its national monitoring system and will help the country prioritize its strategies and investments for reducing emissions from deforestation.” This work was made possible by USAID within the framework of Mexico’s REDD+ project, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Google.org, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. Partners include CONAFOR, MNP, NASA, the University of Maryland, the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CANABIO), the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, and Natural Areas and Sustainable Development (ENDESU).
By Kevin Smith, World Development Movement, 22 October 2014 | Representatives from Colombia and Indonesia have arrived in London to tell the BHP Billiton board that coal-mining is destroying communities. On Thursday morning the board of controversial mining company BHP Billiton will be facing a series of angry community representatives at their AGM who have come to London to describe the impact that coal mining is having in different parts of the world. We're going to be supporting them in a demonstration outside the AGM at 10am at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. Rogelio Ustate and Francisco Tovar are from communities impacted by the Cerrejón coal mine in the La Guajira region of Colombia. The mine, which is part-owned by BHP Billiton has led to the forced removal of numerous farming communities, almost all of Indigenous or African descent.
Gold mining is on the rise in the Guiana Shield, a geographic region of South America that holds one of the world’s largest undisturbed tract of rainforest. A new mapping technology using a radar and optical imaging combination has detected a significant increase in mining since 2000, threatening the region's forests and water quality.
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 21 October 2014 | A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers' commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. The report focuses on the zero deforestation policy established in 2011 by Golden-Agri Resources (GAR), Indonesia s largest palm oil producer. It looks at how well that commitment is being implemented for a pilot project across eight concessions in West and Central Kalimantan, provinces in Indonesian Borneo. Based on analysis of satellite imagery and government data, the study finds that GAR is effectively protecting high carbon stock (HCS) areas in seven of those concessions, all located in West Kalimantan.
By Manu Bansal, Guyana Chronicle, 22 October 2014 | Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. notes the letter written by Assistant Professor Janette Bulkan, University of British Columbia, Canada, regarding our proposed investments in Guyana (SN 15/10/14). We wish to state that the company is quite happy to release information regarding itself and its activities in Guyana (and indeed around the world) to anyone that requests that information, particularly concerned Guyanese. The letter writer has provided us the opportunity to highlight the areas of concerns raised, and while we would have been equally pleased to provide this information in response to a polite request, we seek your indulgence in allowing us to publicly provide some information regarding our company, its antecedents, and our proposed investments in Guyana.
Reuters, 20 October 2014 | Britain wants reforms to Europe’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) to start from 2017 to tackle the scheme’s massive oversupply and boost investment in clean technologies. Siding with an earlier view from Germany, the British government said in a statement on Monday that it wants the so-called market stability reserve (MSR) to be in place four years earlier than proposed by the European Commission. The Commission, the EU executive, has proposed from 2021 to set aside hundreds of millions of surplus carbon allowances from the ETS to help firms cope with economic shocks. Britain also wants 900 million carbon allowances from a more limited backloading reform programme to be cancelled or inserted directly into the reserve.
By Robert Nasi and John E. Fa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 October 2014 | “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—Let them eat cake—is the phrase supposedly uttered by a great princess (though often attributed to Marie Antoinette) upon learning that France’s peasants had no bread. This is a similar response, in our estimation, to what seems to be permeating from certain quarters with respect to the consumption of bushmeat and its links to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever). A number of opinion pieces have appeared in reputable magazines such as New Scientist and The Ecologist containing the suggestion that disease outbreaks from the Ebola virus could have been avoided if only people stopped eating wild meat. This argument is unsound. One of the reasons for this misjudgment has to do with what seems to be a general misunderstanding of human diseases, their origins, and what we have to do to live with them.
By Joan Baxter, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 October 2014 | Policymakers working on forests and climate change in Central Africa often lack knowledge of fundamental concepts of those issues, according to a sobering new study. The research points to a greater need for capacity-building in the countries that are home to the world’s second-largest area of tropical forest. It is all but undisputed fact—few exceptions aside—that tropical forests can be a powerful force in the fight against climate change, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere even as they age, while emitting carbon when they are cleared. But not enough of this information has reached people where findings meet forests, according to the study, “What are we talking about? The state of perceptions and knowledge on REDD+ and adaptation to climate change in Central Africa.” This knowledge gap could hamper efforts to help local people manage their natural resources and slow the uptake of programs such as REDD+...
Colombia has for the first time released an annual report on deforestation, revealing that forest loss during 2013 was lower than the recent average. The government says some 120,933 hectares of natural forest were cleared between January and December 2013.
Four of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers signed a landmark commitment in New York in September to further implement sustainable practices across one of the country’s largest commercial sectors. Then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) witnessed the undertaking, which is hoped to expand the country’s palm oil industry while making it more environmentally friendly.
What do the climate and orangutans have in common? They are both threatened by coal - the first by burning it, and the second by mining it. At the recent United Nations Climate Summit in New York, world leaders and multinational corporations pledged a variety of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation to avert a looming disaster caused by global warming.
A number of the world's top conservation scientists have raised concerns about plans for commercial logging on Woodlark Island, a hugely biodiverse rainforest island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The scientists, with the Alliance of Leading Environmental Scientists and Thinkers (ALERT), warn that commercial logging on the island could imperil the island's stunning local species and its indigenous people.
It's no secret that when it comes to the wild cats of Asia—and, really, cats in general—tigers get all the press. In fact, tigers—down to an estimated 3,200 individuals—arguably dominate conservation across Asia. But as magnificent, grand, and endangered as the tigers are, there are a number of other felines in the region that are much less studied—and may be just as imperiled.
By Isobel Frodsham, Leicester Mercury, 20 October 2014 | Last December, East Midlands Airport became the first UK airport to announce that its entire ground services were carbon neutral. One way of achieving this is by a process known as “offsetting” carbon emissions by funding trees to be planted in forest locations. The Carbon Tree, based in Leicester, provides such a service. Founded by Tom Riley and Dennis Marshall-Hasdell in January, the Carbon Tree offers the opportunity for businesses to purchase woodland carbon capture units in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Scotland.
A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers' commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group.
By Richard Fidler, Green Left Weekly, 20 October 2014 | Bolivian President Evo Morales was re-elected for his third term on October 12 with more than 60% of the vote. The “process of change” that the Morales government leads ― its “democratic and cultural revolution” as Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera terms it ― is still in its early stages. But it has already attracted considerable interest ― and some controversy ― internationally, not least because of its role as a leading critic of global climate change, which it attributes to the effects and the logic inherent to the capitalist mode of production. Below, Richard Fidler looks at some ways Bolivia seems to go “beyond capitalism”. It is abridged from a longer presentation, the full version of which can be read at Fidler's blog Life on The Left.
If you see people wearing orange this October, it might not be for Halloween, but for orangutans. Chester Zoo’s conservation campaign, Go Orange for Orangutans, kicks off this month for its second year. The campaign aims to raise money, and awareness, for orangutans in Borneo, which have become hugely impacted by deforestation often linked to palm oil plantations.
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 14 October 2014 | The UNFCCC Secretariat has published the report of an expert meeting held to discuss the information hub to be created for activities related to REDD+ (FCCC/SBI/2014/INF.13). According to the report, meeting participants concluded that a significant degree of flexibility for adjustments should be built into the hub. The experts noted that parties may wish to revise the hub as experience tracking results is gained or to link it with other information systems that may be created under the UNFCCC. The experts, who met in Bonn, Germany, on 2-3 September 2014, shared their knowledge of national and intergovermental REDD+ information portals and offered proposals for the hub, which will be created and hosted by the UNFCCC Secretariat.
By Katie Sullivan, RTCC, 13 October 2014 | From a business perspective, the issues of climate finance and carbon pricing stole the show at last month’s UN Climate Summit in New York City. The event’s centerpiece on climate finance was a formal session structured around the broad and inter-connected areas of green finance, green regulatory frameworks, and UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) pledges. As the 23 September summit wrapped up, World Bank president Jim Kim summed it up best when he remarked: “The message is clear. Investor interest in a clean future is rising.” This was evidenced by the remarkable number of wide-ranging climate finance declarations and commitments...