By Chriss W. Street, breitbart.com, 23 August 2014 | California environmentalists were giddy after the market for pollution credits traded up in price to a new high on record volume. But rather than a sign of greater enthusiasm to fight CO2, the California legislature quietly passed in 2012 a law that allows private utilities to pay the state for credits at any price, slap on a very nice profit, and then make their public customers foot the bill. Following the announcement that California’s Air Resources Board auction on August 16th was a blow out sale of 9.56 million CO2 permits at $11.10 per unit, Bloomberg reported that California pollution credits for 2016 traded up on a record volume of 1.83 million units to $12.50 a unit. The previous high was 960,000 units traded on May 21st.
Eastbourne Herald, 22 August 2014 | A crooked gem dealer who conned elderly investors into buying over-priced diamonds with their life savings as part of a £1m fraud is facing jail. John Bishop, 32, cold-called scores of victims from his sales office in Marbella to promise sky high returns on their money. The year-long scam was masterminded by Bishop’s friend Adam Simmons, 28, and was based at the No.1 Gems firm in Hove. One of their victims was a retired police officer who spent £140,000 on coloured stones worth little more than £10,000. Simmons was jailed in September last year along with his father Michael, brother-in-law Adam Leach and colleague Lee Miller. Bishop was not arrested until October after returning to the UK from Spain.
Study recommends only two portions of red meat a week if the world is to feed growing populations and head off runaway emissions
By Lynn Davis, Phys.org, 22 August 2014 | Trees take in and store a lot of carbon dioxide, or CO2, a greenhouse gas. Being able to measure forestry and agricultural intake and emissions of CO2 is critical to developing a strategy for addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. A team of 38 scientists, including a Virginia Tech researcher, has developed science-based methods for measuring fluxes in greenhouse gases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on July 31. The standardized methods can be used to quantify changes in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage following a change in land or forest management, such as adoption of a new practice or technology.
Xinhua News Agency, 22 August 2014 | The Lao government has received a 3.6 million U.S. dollar grant to strengthen forest protection and management, according to a World Bank press release Friday. The grant agreement was signed by the Lao government and the World Bank while the 3.6 million U.S. dollar grant was provided by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The grant will support the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 's Department of Forestry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and other stakeholders who support sustainable forest management. Since the FCPF Participants Committee approved Laos' Readiness Preparation Proposal in 2010 the government has been working on institutional framework for implementing Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities.
UNEP press release, 22 August 2014 | While significant efforts are underway to better understand the role that forests play in climate change, the field of study remains relatively new. This is especially true when considering the complex policy, governance and technical requirements associated with managing climate change mitigation services provided by forests. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation while promoting conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+) provides an international framework for action. In this context, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN-REDD Programme together with the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies have developed a pedagogical guide for REDD+ aimed at university professors and graduate students. The guide may also be useful to a broader audience interested in building capacity, knowledge and awareness on REDD+ and related issues.
By Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee, 21 August 2014 | Industrial companies and other businesses paid a combined $331.8 million for carbon credits in California’s latest cap-and-trade auction, state officials said Thursday. Environmentalists said the results of the latest quarterly auction were positive in light of recent controversy surrounding the market. Oil refiners, some legislators and others want the state to postpone the scheduled Jan. 1 expansion of the program to include emissions from motor vehicles for the first time, which is expected to inflate gasoline pump prices. In the auction, which was held Monday, companies paid $11.50 a ton for carbon credits that can be used this year, according to the California Air Resources Board. All 22.5 million available credits sold out. Bidders paid $11.34 a ton for carbon credits to be used in 2017; about two-thirds of the 9.3 million available credits were purchased.
By Ed King, RTCC, 21 August 2014 | The UN and World Bank are the big winners from an international programme to combat deforestation, a report commissioned by Norway’s government has found. It warned that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme, which channels millions of dollars to forest protection, is inefficient and overly bureaucratic. Norway set aside US$3.3 billion for forest protection efforts between 2008 and 2013, but so far only $1.7 billion of that pot has been used. “There is a danger that the growing perception that the main beneficiaries of REDD+ will be the multilateral institutions and large civil society organisations involved in processes will be found to be true,” the report, compiled by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) said.
André Veneman of AkzoNobel says achieving a high ranking is less important than the process of continually improving corporate sustainability performance
By Brendan Mackey and James Watson, National Geographic, 22 August 2014 | It’s now or never if the world’s surviving primary forests are to be saved. Will the international community act or continue to turn a blind eye to our planet’s key life support systems? Despite their shortcomings, international environmental agreements can provide incentives for national governments and land custodians to turn back the tide of forest destruction. Primary forests, however, remain invisible in forest policy debates and oddly off the radar for most conservation organizations.
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 21 August 2014 | The Tasmanian government is on course to pass legislation that would tear up the state’s forestry peace deal, with environmentalists claiming the move will open up 1.5m hectares of largely pristine forest to logging. The state government’s forestry bill has already passed the lower house, which it controls, and is in the process of negotiating the legislative council, the upper house of parliament. Key independent Robert Armstrong has indicated support for the bill, meaning it is likely to pass. The bill will remove 400,000ha of native forest from reserves set up by the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. An additional 657,000ha in conservation areas and 454,000ha in regional reserves will also be opened up to “partial logging” for the speciality timber industry.
The Economist, 23 August 2014 | It would be too much to say that forests have made a full recovery. Worldwide, over 5m hectares of jungle—getting on for two Belgiums—are still being felled or burned down each year. In some countries, notably Indonesia, the chainsaws are growing louder. But the crisis is passing and the prognosis is starting to improve. Fears that the great forests of the Congo would be cleared have proved unfounded so far. Brazil and Mexico have reduced their deforestation rates by well over two-thirds. India and Costa Rica have done more than reduce the rate of loss: they are replanting areas that were once clear-cut... Rich countries spend billions on renewable energy at home, which has so far cut carbon emissions only a bit. They should be willing to spend a few millions abroad, protecting tropical forests that reduce emissions a lot.
Decarbonisation target and council tax rebates for energy efficiency improvements among party's manifesto plans
No REDD in Africa Network, 25 August 2014 | The NO REDD in Africa! Network (NRAN) was at the 2014 SADC Peoples Summit in Bulawayo City, Zimbabwe. The summit final declaration brings strong demands to the Heads of States. The Rejection of the False Solutions to Climate Change, such as REDD+, is one of the demands. The SADC Peoples called on SADC member states and Governments to: "Reject externally driven false solutions to climate change embedded in for example the existing REDD Plus, Green Revolution and Climate Smart Agriculture proposals".
ALERT press release, 26 August 2014 | An international scientific group has decried the Thai government’s plan to dramatically enlarge a roadway through one of its most important natural areas. A two-lane road, called Highway 304, cuts through the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai (DPKY) Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site in central Thailand renowned for its outstanding biodiversity. Now the Thai government wants to enlarge it into a much larger, four-lane highway. “From an environmental perspective it’s truly dangerous,” said William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Australia and director of ALERT, the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers. “This is a hotspot for nature - the largest tract of surviving forest in central Thailand and a globally famous tourist destination,” said Professor Lian Pin Koh at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Report triggers controversy after press release appears to have been sent to Heathrow and back before being issued to rivals
Source: Radio New Zealand International - The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, says he is deeply concerned about the effects of climate change in the Pacific.
Source: BusinessGreen - Are the UN summit's hosts on a collision course with the Obama administration?
Source: Sydney Morning Herald - Small island nations, particularly those in the Pacific, are already experiencing "extreme effects" from global warming, and rich nations including Australia have a "moral responsibility" to help them cope with future unavoidable threats, a senior World Bank executive said.
Source: Al-Jazeera - UN conference set to tackle climate and economic issues facing the world's most vulnerable countries.