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By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 31 October 2014 | The Amazon rainforest has degraded to the point where it is losing its ability to benignly regulate weather systems, according to a stark new warning from one of Brazil’s leading scientists. In a new report, Antonio Nobre, researcher in the government’s space institute, earth system science centre, says the logging and burning of the world’s greatest forest might be connected to worsening droughts – such as the one currently plaguing São Paulo – and is likely to lead eventually to more extreme weather events. The study, which is a summary drawing from more than 200 existing papers on Amazonian climate and forest science, is intended as a wake-up call. “I realised the problem is much more serious than we realised, even in academia and the reason is that science has become so fragmented. Atmospheric scientists don’t look at forests as much as they should and vice versa,” said Nobre, who wrote the report for a lay audience.
By Freddie Kissoon, Kaieteur News, 29 October 2014 | I would strongly urge all Guyanese to keep in front of their eyes, the big picture in relation to the Anil Nandlall tape. It is the story of a cabal inside the Government of Guyana that came to a decision on what to do with Glenn Lall and the Kaieteur News paper itself. In the coming days, the obsessive talk on this scandal will persist. But the big picture will be lost if we keep Nandlall in the frame as the main culprit. He is not. The chief conspirator in this drama is the cabal. Nandlall is just one of the players who mouthed off to a journalist he knows well. Why did the Government in less than 24 hours, issue a statement supporting Nandlall? Because the statement was in support of the government itself.
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 27 October 2014 | Few companies have seen their green reputation undergo a more dramatic transformation than that experienced in recent years by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). For years the Indonesia-based paper giant was a bête noire of environmental campaigners and was repeatedly targeted by high-profile protests designed to highlight the connection between the company's blue-chip clients and the rainforest destruction that cleared the way for APP's plantations. Then, in early 2013, something remarkable and largely unprecedented happened. The company announced it would bring an immediate halt to deforestation, and what is more it would work with its former foes at Greenpeace to ensure the new zero deforestation policy was fully enacted.
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 October 2014 | Governor Irwandi Yusuf of Aceh Province was an early proponent. Big REDD: the Ulu Masen. Project Roughly 2000 kilometers to the west of the operation that Lemons and Galdikas were undertaking, Yusuf was looking to save a rapidly-disappearing forest called the Ulu Masen Ecosystem. It spread across 750,000 hectares, and the consulting team he hired, headed by John-O Niles of the Tropical Forest Group, estimated that an 85% reduction in deforestation would prevent more than 3 million tons of CO2 from billowing into the atmosphere every year. Yusuf began spearheading what would have become the largest REDD project to date – one designed to slow deforestation in part by jump-starting sustainable palm oil, coffee, and cocoa programs. This would ensure that the activities driving deforestation in Ulu Masen don't just migrate down the road (a process called "leakage"), but are instead transformed into more sustainable practices...
WWF, 27 October 2014 | WWF Guianas welcomes Guyana President Ramotar’s announcement of Norway’s 2012 calendar year performance-based payment into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). The payment of US$35 million was reduced by US$10 million due to the disappointing 50% jump in deforestation between 2011 (0.054%) and 2012 (0.079%). WWF recognizes that REDD+ implementation is an enormous challenge and commends the two governments’ commitment to work through the process and deliver results that enable Guyana’s sustainable economic development while contributing to the global fight against climate change. Encouragingly, preliminary 2013 results indicate the rate of deforestation dropped to 0.068% last year (a 15% reduction from 2012); a positive development, signifying a payment closer to the $45 million annual maximum amount will be due once those results are verified.
By Abby Swan, RealClimate, 27 October 2014 | On a 20-40 year time scale, there is no question that planting trees will transfer carbon from the atmosphere into the trees, slowing the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere and thereby slowing global warming. On a 100-year time scale, I would say that we cannot plant our way out of the problem. However, we know that tropical forests keep carbon out of the atmosphere, keep the land surface cool, and play a critical role in providing habitat, maintaining biodiversity, and other good stuff for people. These things are hugely important and it is a no-brainer that we need to fight to keep tropical forests as intact as possible. Maintaining tropical forest does lots of great things, and also helps to slow global warming. But we probably shouldn’t expect to combat global warming in the long term by planting trees in other latitudes. It might not totally save the planet, but we should do everything we can to maintain the tropical forest.
EurActiv, 21 October 2014 | European leaders meeting later this week for an EU summit on energy and climate change will discuss proposals allowing energy-rich nations like France and Germany to transfer 10% of CO2 emissions quotas to member states such as Poland, who are struggling to diversify their energy mix. The EU's 28 heads of states and government will try to reach agreement on climate and energy policy for 2030 at the EU summit, which takes place in Brussels on Thursday and Friday (23 and 24 October).
By Anastasia Moloney, The Guardian, 20 October 2014 | Farmers with smallholdings are not responsible for most of the destruction of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, but their contribution to deforestation is rising and must be addressed if the country is to hold on to recent gains, according to an environmental research group. Government efforts led to a 77% fall in deforestation in the Amazon between 2004 and 2011, but progress has slowed and deforestation is rising, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) said in a report. The report said that between 2004 and 2011, landowners with more than 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of property were responsible for about 48% of the deforestation. Areas owned by smallholders accounted for 12% of the forests destroyed during the same period. However, since 2005, the contribution to annual deforestation by the largest landowners has fallen by 63%, while that of smallholders has increased by 69%, the report said.
By Arthur Nelson, The Guardian, 20 October 2014 | A Danish bid to expand carbon offsetting to the transport sector has triggered uproar among NGOs and academics, with one new analysis saying it would devastate efforts to reign in fuel emissions. Transport is responsible for a quarter of Europe’s CO2 pollution and, unlike most sectors, its contribution is rising fast – up 36% since 1990. About half of Europe’s transport emissions come from cars and the EU has ordered car-makers to slash their fuel emissions by 2021. But the latest draft of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy package, due to be agreed later this week, suggests counting transport emissions within the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS). The document, seen by the Guardian, calls for concrete proposals allowing states to achieve their climate goals with “a new flexibility”.
By Sophia Yeo, RTCC, 22 October 2014 | China’s coal use has fallen for the first time this century – a turning point for a country which currently consumes almost half of the world’s coal supplies. Consumption dropped by 1-2% this year, even as the economy grew by 7.4%, coal analysts at Greenpeace revealed, using official data on China’s imports, production and stockpiles of coal. In contrast, China’s coal consumption more than doubled during the first decade of this century. It has has slowed in recent years; coal imports dropped to just 0.9% during the first half of 2014, compared to 13.3% a year earlier.
By Joshua S Hill, CleanTechnica, 23 October 2014 | Another strong quarter for issuances of green bonds has taken the year’s total up to $32 billion, more than double the total issued during 2013, and fuelling predictions that 2015 could see $100 billion worth of green bonds issued. Data from the Climate Bond Initiative published Tuesday claimed $9.2 billion green bonds were issued in the third quarter. “The league table shows that Crédit Agricole, BAML and SEB were the main drivers of the growth of the ‘labelled’ market in the last quarter that saw 28 green bonds issued,” said Climate Bonds Initiative CEO Sean Kidney. “We predict USD100 billion of issuance in 2015 and green bonds to go mainstream in 2016.”
By Liz Deakin and James Reed, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 October 2014 | ntegrated approaches to land management at landscape scales have been evident in the development and conservation sectors, under various guises, for many years now. But despite initial promise, strategies such as Integrated Conservation and Development Programs, Ecosystem Based Approaches and Integrated Watershed Management have in many cases failed to deliver on reconciling conservation and development objectives concomitantly. Meanwhile, the Integrated Landscape Approach is gaining traction as a more inclusive and equitable land-management tool for balancing competing demands among different sectors. While there have been many recent attempts to describe and define the landscape approach, a number of challenges persist.
By Mark Foss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 October 2014 | A group of international experts from academia, research institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has developed a typology to analyze the policy “ecosystem” for different land-management tools. “Our goal is to understand what combinations of actions by citizens, consumers, NGOs, corporations and governments are best suited to promote sustainable land use,” said Eric Lambin, a professor with the Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research in Belgium and Stanford University in the US. Lambin is the principal author of a research paper, published recently in Global Environmental Change, that came out of a workshop held in Brussels in 2013 in which participants examined the effectiveness of policies such as eco-certification, payment for environmental services (PES), land-use zoning and commodity roundtables.
regjeringen.no, 23 October 2014 | The Guyana-Norway climate and forest partnership continues to make significant progress. In 2012, Guyana kept deforestation and forest degradation at very low, though increased, levels. Based on this result, combined with improvements in forest governance in 2012-13, Norway today announces that it will contribute 35 million USD to the implementation of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. Today’s announcement of a US$35 million payment to Guyana is based on Guyana’s deforestation rate in 2012 as well as the country’s progress on indicators that will enable agreed goals for forest governance. "Guyana’s ambitious goal is to enhance economic growth while preserving the rainforest. I am happy that Norway can contribute to Guyana’s green development through our partnership on forest. Guyana’s deforestation is one of the lowest in the world..." says Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and the Environment in Norway.
Stabroek News, 25 October 2014 | Guyana is in line for a new payment of US$35M under its forest protection agreement with Norway, after a marginal increase in deforestation and forest degradation in 2012. Although the figure represents an expected drop in earnings, President Donald Ramotar in an address to the nation characterised the announcement as “a strong rebuttal” to those who he said have tried to “kill” government’s Low Carbon Develop-ment Strategy (LCDS) and the Guyana-Norway partnership, while hinting at progress on resuscitating the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. Government planned to use some US$80M from payments received from Norway as equity for the project, which was shelved after the developer pulled out last year.
By Lisa Cox, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 October 2014 | Senior Abbott government members are increasingly confident a deal to pass its direct action climate change policy will be reached before Christmas after Clive Palmer appeared to soften his party's hardline position on the scheme. Australia has been without a climate change policy since July, when it became the first country to abolish a carbon price and key crossbench senators stressed their opposition to direct action on the grounds it was expensive and would fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The central plank of direct action is an emissions reduction fund - $2.55 billion drawn from the budget that would be used to pay polluters who could deliver emission cuts at lowest cost.
By Wimar Witoelar, The Jakarta Post, 24 October 2014 | President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has never been a foreign minister or diplomat, but he has a keen sense of the world and the reciprocal interests it has with the national needs of Indonesia. As a businessman he had from early on linked his products to international markets and frequently participated in international fora. As a mayor he was internationally recognized and won several awards. Now there is the exciting prospect of extending his global view to the presidency. This will allow him to meet domestic issues with the power of broad perspectives. It will jump-start his presidency beyond the reach of petty political opposition. Jokowi, who won the election by grassroots popular support, can make his presidency a success through strategic foreign policy. One major challenge facing him at the dawn of his presidency is the resolution of the decades-long horror of forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
By Arthur Nelson, The Guardian, 24 October 2014 | In the economically flush days of 2007 as states prepared poker stances for an anticipated Kyoto II deal in Copenhagen, the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2020 were seen as a ‘me first!’ moment. Six years later, the bloc’s sequel is already being denounced by the clean energy industry and environmentalists as a ‘why me?’ package that barely rises above the EU’s own ‘business as usual’ forecasts, and comes with caveats that could render it toothless. The 20-20-20 benchmarks for 2020 – of 20% CO2 cuts, renewable energy share and efficiency gains – had appeared to offer global leadership. Reciprocal pledges were expected to allow a dynamic new US president to galvanise a coherent response to climate change. The 40-27-27 goals for 2030 slow the EU’s pace of change and extend to renewable energy the one clear failure of the 2008 package – a ‘non-binding’ energy efficiency goal that the bloc looks set to miss.
By Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 24 October 2014 | It sounds bold and ambitious. European Union leaders last night signed off on an agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. But climate scientists are wary of applauding the plan. For one thing, the target is a cut of 40 per cent compared with greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 – nearly 25 years ago. Since then, the EU has made cuts of almost 20 per cent, mainly through burning less coal and outsourcing heavy industries to developing countries. So it is virtually halfway there already. EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said after the deal that the new target left the EU's 28 member states "right on target" to meet its longer-term aspiration of an 80 per cent cut by 2050. But it's easy to argue otherwise – we're already nearly halfway there to the new 40 per cent target for 2030, but we'll have to act tougher and faster to cut a further 40 per cent in the remaining 20 years before 2050.
Reuters, 21 October 2014 | The Brazilian government said on Tuesday it has put an environmentally rich area of the Amazon rainforest under federal protection, creating a reserve larger than the U.S. state of Delaware. The new reserve, called Alto Maues, has 6,680 square km (668,000 hectares or 1.65 million acres) of mostly untouched forests that are not known to have human presence, the Brazilian Environment Ministry said. Declaring a federal reserve means forest clearing and similar development are forbidden. Putting large areas of mostly intact rainforest under federal protection is one of the tools the Brazilian government has to combat deforestation and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The creation of these reserves is part of the country's climate policy. Deforestation is the main cause of carbon emissions in Brazil, unlike most countries where the burning of fossil fuels leads emissions.