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UNCTAD, 9 December 2013 | Experts meeting in Geneva will discuss how the sale and trade of goods sustainably harvested from forests, if expanded, may preserve stands of timber as carbon "sinks" and thus mitigate climate change. They will debate this topic and review efforts to conserve biodiversity during the Second BioTrade Congress (11-13 December 2013)... The Second BioTrade Congress has the theme "Integrating REDD+ into BioTrade Strategies".
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 December 2013 | Less than a month after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approved the seven decisions that comprise the “REDD Rulebook”, the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) today signed off on a new Methodological Framework for its Carbon Fund. Finalized during a meeting of Carbon Fund Participants in Paris, the new framework unshackles nearly $390 million already committed to REDD+ pilot programs in the developing world, and it could pave the way for millions more in pilot funding from donors... Lloyd Gamble, the Senior Forest Carbon Program Officer for WWF-US, says the new framework offers both an incentive to move forward and clarity on how to proceed."Tropical forest nations can now move forward and engage in REDD+ with a clear understanding of what they need to deliver in order to receive valuable performance-based payments for the conservation of their tropical forests,” he says.
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 December 2013 | In the birthplace of Arabica coffee — Ethiopia’s Kafa Biosphere Reserve — rangers are using Facebook to monitor and verify changes in their forests. In a joint study with the German nongovernmental organization Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) and scientists from Wageningen University, in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), use remote sensing satellite data to observe the area from space in near real time. If they detect a change, they immediately notify the 30 rangers on the ground via a private Facebook group. “From space we just see something is happening — but we don’t really know what, or why,” said Martin Herold, a professor at Wageningen University and a CIFOR associate. “But the rangers can go and say, firstly, if there is a change or not, and secondly, what’s the driver, what’s behind it. And that’s information you cannot see from space,” he said.
Tempo, 7 December 2013 | The Tasikmalaya Resort Police, West Java, raided two illegal storehouses and a wood processing factory in Gunung Kalong Village, Cibeureum and Jl. Letnan Harun, Indihiang district last Thursday. The teak woods (Tecona grandis) in the factory is believed to be obtained from illegal logging in the land belong to state-owned forestry company Perum Perhutani,Tasikmalaya Administrator in Cikalong region. According to the Police Adjunct Senior Commissioner Noffan Widyayoko, the police had seized about 50 cubic logs in the Cibeureum storehouse and 200 cubic of logs and furniture in Indihiang. Two guards of the storehouses have been brought to the police headquarter for further investigation. Noffan explained that the police had stopped three trucks loaded with firewood from entering Tasikmalaya city. After an inspection, the trucks were also loaded with the teak woods. "The firewoods are only a way to cover the teak woods," he said.
By Angela Dewan, Jakarta Globe, 4 December 2013 | Barges loaded with mountains of coal glide down the polluted Mahakam River on Indonesian Borneo every few minutes. Viewed from above, they form a dotted black line as far as the eye can see, destined for power stations in China and India. A coal rush that has drawn international miners to East Kalimantan province has ravaged the capital, Samarinda, which risks being swallowed up by mining if the exploitation of its deposits expands any further. Mines occupy more than 70 percent of Samarinda, government data show, forcing entire villages and schools to move away from toxic mudslides and contaminated water sources. The destruction of forest around the city to make way for mines has also removed a natural buffer against floods, leading to frequent waist-high deluges during the six-month rainy season.
By Richard Harris, NPR, 3 December 2013 | An expert panel at the National Academy of Sciences is calling for an early warning system to alert us to abrupt and potentially catastrophic events triggered by climate change. The committee says science can anticipate some major changes to the Earth that could affect everything from agriculture to sea level. But we aren't doing enough to look for those changes and anticipate their impacts. And this is not a matter for some distant future. The Earth is already experiencing both gradual and abrupt climate change. The air is warming up slowly, and we're also seeing rapid changes such as the melting Arctic ice cap. Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, says abrupt change is the bigger worry. "When you think about gradual changes you can kind of see where the road is and know where you're going," Barnosky said at a news conference unveiling the report Tuesday.
By Silvio Marcacci, Renew Economy, 4 December 2013 | California’s cap and trade market will expand in 2014 after a successful first year of operations that quelled fears of a European Union-style carbon allowance glut while powering a clean energy economic boom. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced a minimum of 81 million 2014 allowances and 37 million 2017 allowances will be auctioned during 2014, and the minimum reserve price for allowances will be set at $11.34. 2014’s available allowances and minimum reserve price are both increases over this year, when 57 million available 2013 allowances sold at a minimum reserve price of $10.71. But beyond increasing the number and cost of permits, several other developments suggest California’s carbon market will have an even more successful second year of operation.
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 4 December 2013 | One… hundred… billion dollars. Cue an outburst of Dr Evil-like pinky chewing in the offices of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF), just opened in South Korea. While the Austin Powers movie character threatened to destroy a major city every hour unless he was paid a large sum, the trustees of the GCF say that unless they get the aforementioned amount by 2020, developing countries won't be able to adapt to the worst impacts of climate change. So far, they've barely got enough readies to keep the lights on in their shiny new Songdo headquarters. Back at the ill-fated end-of-the-world-party that was the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, the rich countries promised to deliver the 100 billion sum by 2020. As a measure of good faith they said they would provide $10bn a year in fast-track finance, for three years, from 2011. But so far, the fast-track seems to be made of molasses.
By David Twomey, Eco News, 5 December 2013 | For the first time some institutional investors may consider investment in developing country projects as the United Nations-linked Green Climate Fund (GCF) opens for business. One such investor, the retirement fund PensionDanmark, that’s invested about US$1.8 billion in renewable energy certainly thinks its worth considering. “The GCF could be an interesting partner for pension funds” if it reduces the risks from investing in emerging markets, Torben Moger Pedersen, Chief Executive Officer of PensionDanmark in Copenhagen, told Bloomberg newsagency by phone. “We are facing the same challenges as other pension funds. Yields on government bonds are very low and not an attractive safe haven.”
BusinessDesk, 5 December 2013 | New Zealand's emissions trading scheme won't be able to trade certain international Kyoto units after 2015, due to the government's decision restricting access to those markets after the stalled climate change negotiations. From June next year, ETS participants will need to surrender New Zealand Units to meet their obligations after the government decided it will only allow Kyoto Protocol units to be used to account for obligations until May 31, 2015, Acting Climate Change Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement. The affected units are Kyoto Protocol first commitment period Certified Emission Reduction units, Emissions Reduction Units or Removal Units. Bridges said the current hold on issuing Letters of Approval for local entities to participate in clean development mechanism projects will continue, meaning the ETS will operate with restricted access to Kyoto markets from 2016.
Platts, 5 December 2013 | The supply of UN carbon dioxide offset credits is expected to hold broadly steady near recent low levels in December, according to UN data updated Thursday. Investors have requested a total of only 9.6 million Certified Emission Reductions in December, slightly above November's 9.5 million -- a near three-year low for monthly volume, according to UN data compiled by Platts... The volume of CERs issued has shown a sharp downward trend in 2013, falling from as high as 63 million mt issued in March. CER prices slumped to record lows of below 30 euro cent/mt in 2013 -- down from as high as Eur14.00/mt in 2011 -- driven by severe oversupply after governments failed to take on binding emissions reduction targets at UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 that would have created demand for the credits after 2012. With only a handful of countries committing to national emissions targets for 2020, the market has been left in chronic surplus...
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 December 2013 | Land acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa are on the rise and investment trends are shifting, increasing the need to close tax loopholes and improve legal frameworks, a top forestry scientist says. Historically, such transactions have been characterized by developed countries in the Northern Hemisphere investing in developing countries in the Southern Hemisphere, but increasingly they involve one southern nation investing in another — in 2012 an estimated $1.9 trillion in foreign direct investments occurred among emerging economies, according to Andrew Wardell, research director of the forests and governance portfolio with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Research shows that it’s not just the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — snapping up land, but such players as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore making purchases in such countries as Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Mozambique and Gabon.”
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 December 2013 | Accurate information on the causes of wildfires and the amount of carbon emissions they produce is critical if Indonesia is to meet its emissions reductions targets, said experts at an event on the sidelines of the U.N. climate change meetings in Warsaw, Poland. Earlier this year, fires swept across parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra — sending smoke billowing across the narrow Strait of Malacca and causing record-breaking air pollution levels in Singapore and Malaysia. Daniel Murdiyarso, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said that the international media attention the event generated must be translated into funding for more detailed research — and a commitment by the Indonesian government to address the issue. “The haze occurred in the wrong time in the wrong place — and so it got to the attention of media very quickly,” Murdiyarso said.
By Matt Chambers, The Australian, 29 November 2013 | Royal Dutch Shell actively lobbied the World Bank to stop funding coal-fired plants before an announcement this year that the lender would dramatically reduce its support of coal, Australia's second biggest export. Shell's head of gas, Maarten Wetselaar, said the energy giant had formed an advocacy department whose sole purpose was to convince governments and government-funded bodies to encourage gas as a power source over more polluting forms of energy, such as coal. He said the company also was very active in reducing subsidies for coal in South Korea, the second biggest buyer of Australian coal. Mr Wetselaar said Shell felt it was its responsibility, because of climate change considerations, to increase the use of gas in global markets. "We found out most coal plants get their funding started by using the bilateral funding agencies, such as the World Bank, so we were talking to them about the impact their policies have...
By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 6 December 2013 | “Can I say it was disappointing?” asked Charlotte Streck, director of Climate Focus. “Probably not, because that would mean that I had expectations.” Streck’s question and answer prompted nervous laughter from a full house at the Wednesday night debrief that Ecosystem Marketplace, McGuireWood LLP and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) held in Washington, DC to take stock of the 19th international climate conference, which concluded in Warsaw on November 23. Her reaction was a far cry from the euphoria that enveloped Warsaw after the “REDD Rulebook” (see sidebar, right) was approved. “At the end you have decisions,” Streck acknowledged. “And that gives hope, at least for a moment. Until you read the decisions and you say Oh god, there’s actually nothing written in it.”
By Edward Welsch, Bloomberg, 6 December 2013 | Quebec sold a third of the carbon-emission allowances offered in its first cap-and-trade auction this week and the permits cleared at the lowest possible price. Bidders purchased 1.03 million of the 2.97 million 2013 permits auctioned Dec. 3, according to results released by the province today. They sold for the floor price of $10.75 per metric ton of carbon dioxide because of the low demand. “It was a surprisingly under-subscribed auction,” William Nelson, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said. “Quebec has done a pretty poor job of signaling the start of their cap-and-trade scheme.” ... Nelson said that the province’s failure to sell all the allowances in the first auction was a “one-time freak result,” and that future auctions may fare better. “Those guys who didn’t buy this week, but still need to cover their emissions for the next two years, will eventually have to show up to these auctions,” he said.
phys.org, 6 December 2013 | This Envisat radar image was acquired over the city of Boca do Acre in western Brazil... This scene is a compilation of three images from Envisat's radar, acquired on 28 October 2005, 12 September 2008 and 17 September 2010. The individual images are each assigned a colour – red, green and blue – and when combined, reveal changes in the surface between Envisat's passes. In this image, the colours reveal large areas of deforestation – evident by the large, geometrically shaped plots cut out along linear roads. Satellite observations also support the United Nations' REDD initiative... REDD gives a financial incentive for developing countries to maintain forested areas. Reducing or preventing deforestation is the mitigation option with the largest and most immediate carbon stock impact in the short term, as the release of carbon as emissions into the atmosphere is prevented.
By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 6 December 2013 | A U.N. deal on forest protection will attract more government funding to help poorer nations, but could fail to prevent a slump in the fledgling market for carbon credits from projects that cut emissions by slowing deforestation... The Warsaw meeting passed a series of resolutions that could pave the way for REDD's eventual use as a source of offset credits for regulated markets and encourage richer nations to donate cash to kick-start REDD initiatives... "We had a foundation for the house. Now we have the walls, the plumbing, the electricity and the roof for REDD," said Chris Meyer, of U.S.-based green group the Environmental Defense Fund(EDF)... Eric Bettelheim of Floresta Group, a developer with REDD projects in Indonesia and Brazil, said it could take years for demand to rise. "Some recent reports say we will have an oversupply of forest-based carbon credits in the voluntary markets that looks like it will continue for some time."
The Commonwealth Club, 4 December 2013 | This past August, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa abandoned a plan to save the Yasuni rainforest, one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. Meanwhile, climate change mitigation strategies like REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) are helping to protect millions of forest acres in the Congo, Kenya and Brazil. Though some corporations see forests as places to extract resources, Microsoft and others see conservation as a way to offset pollution. Are trees worth more standing or cut down? Can we protect the forests and still support economic development to lift countries out of poverty? Join us for a conversation about the struggle between dollars and deforestation in the journey to create a more sustainable future.
By TJ DiCaprio (Microsoft), GreenBiz, 4 December 2013 | As part of tonight’s conversation, we will be discussing the role of corporations in supporting conservation at scale as a way to offset carbon pollution. This is a commitment that more and more companies are making each year as part of their global environmental stewardship efforts to reduce the impact of their operations and help mitigate climate change. How can corporations help? As they work to reduce the impact of their operations on the planet, many corporations are turning to carbon offsets as a tool to reduce their unavoidable carbon liability. Carbon offset projects that support forest conservation not only offset emissions but also enable economic development and sustainability. This approach can be particularly attractive for businesses and community development. Corporations can have a meaningful impact both locally and globally.