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Study Finds Lower Deforestation Net-Carbon Emissions (Ind. Report)
Ohio State University, Climate Change
Date: 2019-11-06
A joint study from Ohio State and Yale universities is reporting the environmental burden of deforestation might not be as bad as previously thought. Previous estimates show that 27 pct of man-made net carbon emissions were from deforestation, but the study determined that number is actually closer to 7 pct.

The study, which appeared Monday in the Journal of Forest Economics, takes into account the planting of new trees and forest management practices that eased environmental impacts. Previous studies did not take those factors into account. "There was a significant shift toward treating forests as a renewable, rather than nonrenewable, resource in the last century, and we estimate that those reforestation and forest management efforts have led to a far smaller carbon burden on the environment," Prof. Brent Sohngen said. (Source: The Ohio State University, PR, Columbus Dispatch, 4 Nov., 2019) Contact: Ohio State University, Prof. Brent Sohngen, Environmental and Resource Economics, 614-688-4640, sohngen.1@osu.edu, www.aede.osu.edu/our-people/brent-sohngen

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ohio State University,  Deforestation,  Carbon Emissions,  Reforestation,  


Indonesia Eying Chinese Palm Oil for Biofuels Market (Int'l.)
Indonesia Palm Oil
Date: 2019-10-30
In Jakarta, the Indonesian Office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy reports it is anticipating a boost in palm oil exports to China, taking advantage of an opportunity opened up by the escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington.

The move also presents the country with a respite from its planned phase-out of palm oil biofuel in the European Union, its second-biggest export market, and a likely increase in duties by India, its top export customer.

To meet the expected Chinese market demand, Indonesian producers will increase yields through better technology and seeds, rather than more deforestation for palm cultivation. Currently there are 162,000 square-kilometers of palm oil plantations across Indonesia.

As previously reported, the European Commission passed a measure in March to phase out palm oil-based biofuels by 2030, over environmental degradation concerns that palm production, often on land cleared of rainforest, contributes to global carbon emissions and thus exacerbates climate change. The Rainforest Foundation Norway estimates an area larger than the Netherlands might be destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations to feed biofuel demand through 2030. This, it warns, would result in the release of 7 billion tons of CO2 emissions over the next 20 years. (Source: Indonesian Office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mongabay, 28 Oct., 2019) Contact: Indonesian Office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, www.devex.com/organizations/coordinating-ministry-for-economic-affairs-indonesia-132480

More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  Biofuel,  


French Regulators End Palm Oil Diesel Fuel Incentives (Int'l.)
Palm Oil
Date: 2019-10-14
In Paris, France's highest constitutional authority has ruled in favor of excluding palm oil from the list of biofuels that enjoy tax incentives, effective 1st January, 2020. According to the French oil giant Total, the affected palm oil is valued at between &euro:70 million and €80 million per year.

As previously reported, the European Commission ruled palm oil is not a "green" fuel and should not be promoted because it causes deforestation. The use of palm oil in diesel in the EU will be gradually reduced as of 2023 and should reach zero in 2030.

The EU is the world's second largest importer of crude palm oil. In 2018 more than half of all palm imports were used to make biodiesel transportation fuels. (Source: European Commission, Green Car Congress, Oct., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  


Tobacco Giant PMI Aiming for 2030 Carbon Neutrality (Int'l)
Philip Morris Int'l.
Date: 2019-10-11
Lausanne, Switzerland-based diversified international tobacco industry giant Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) reports it aims to have all of its manufacturing facilities worldwide become carbon neutral by 2030.

At its first carbon neutral plant in Klaipeda, Lithuania, PMI implemented multiple projects to optimize its energy usage and reduce carbon emissions: upgrading utilities equipment, such as chillers and compressors, and facilitating heat recovery to optimize fuel use for heating purposes; installing a biomass boiler; procuring certified renewable electricity and offsetting natural gas carbon emissions with biogas certificates. To offset the remaining carbon emissions, PMI invested in Gold Standard certificates from climate protection initiatives.

PMI is also pursuing initiatives to address the pressing climate challenge beyond its operations. For example, it is working with farmers and suppliers across its tobacco supply chain to lower the greenhouse gas emissions in the tobacco curing process by 70 percent by 2020 (vs. 2010) and to achieve zero-net deforestation of natural forest by 2025. PMI has also set and committed to science-based targets -- greenhouse gas emissions levels that science acknowledges as tolerable for the planet -- and to go beyond these in its operations by aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030.

Among its diversified portfolio, Philip Morris purchased General Foods Corp. in 1985 for $5.7 billion and Kraft Inc. in 1989 for $13 billion. Despite its move into foods, Philip Morris' tobacco business reportedly still accounts for 65 pct of its operating profit and 40 pct of its operating revenue.(Source: Philip Morris International, PR, 10 Oct., 2019} Contact: Philip Morris Int'l., Huub Savelkouls , Chief Sustainability Officer, +41 (0)58 242 5502, www.pmi.com/sustainability, www.pmi.com, www.pmiscience.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Carbon-Neutral,  


Ethiopia Reports Record Reforestation Success (Int'l Report)
Reforestation,Ethiopia
Date: 2019-08-05
In Ethiopia, the Gulele Botanical Garden in Addis Ababa, reports more than 350 million trees were planted at roughy 1,000 sites acress the country in one day as part of a reforestation effort to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change. The effort easily surpassed its nationwide 200 million tree goal.

The UN estimates Ethiopia's forest coverage declined to a low of just 4 per cent in the 2000s. Global potential tree coverage stands at 4.4 billion hectares of canopy under the current climate. (Source: UN Modern Diplomacy, 4 Aug., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Deforestation,  Reforestation,  


Ghana, World Bank Deal to Cut Deforestation, CO2 Emissions (Int'l)
World Bank
Date: 2019-07-15
In Accra, the World Bank (WB) has announced an agreement with the Ghana Forestry Commission to address the role of deforestation and forest degradation on climate change. Under the agreement, the World Bank five-year Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) will reward community efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Ghana is the third country to initiate the deal.

The Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) carbon fund, is administered by the World Bank and unlocks unlocks performance-based payments of up to $50 million for carbon emission reductions from the forest and land use sectors.

Under the ERPA, the FCPF carbon fund commits to making initial results-based payments for reductions of 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. The agreement also specifies on carbon emission baselines, price per ton of avoided CO2 emissions, and a benefit-sharing mechanism. Ghana's emission reductions programme area covers 1.2 million hectares of forest reserves and national parks.

In Ghana, forest degradation and deforestation are driven primarily by cocoa farm expansion, coupled with logging and a recent increase in illegal mining. (Source: World Bank, Ghana News Agency, 10 July, 2019) Contact: Ghana Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, CEO, +233 30 240 1210, www.fcghana.org; World Bank Group, www.worldbank.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News World Bank,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  Deforestation,  


$84.9Mn Green Climate Funding Announced (Int'l. Report)
Green Climate Fund,UNDP
Date: 2019-07-08
Meeting in Songdo, Korea, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) reports its commitment of more than $84.9 million towards United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts in Bhutan, Timor-Leste, the Marshall Islands and Ecuador.

According to the GCF release, Ecuador the second country to receive financial resources from the GCF for having successfully reduced its deforestation and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions. The funding is expected to help in reducing emissions by 20 pct from the forest and land-use sector by 2025.

Bhutan, the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) and Timor-Leste -- among the Asia-Pacific region's most vulnerable countries to climate change -- received grants for climate adaptation initiatives. In Bhutan, with GCF funding over 118,000 people are expected to benefit from more sustainable land and water management, more climate-resilient agriculture and reliable climate-resilient irrigation schemes. In Timor-Leste, GCF funds will be used to "climate-proof" key rural infrastructure and improve policies and planning for a national response to the impacts of climate change.

With the approval of the four new projects, UNDP has supported a total of 23 countries to access more than $785.7 million in GCF finance for full-sized climate change projects.

The GCF supports developing countries efforts to respond to the challenge of climate change, limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change, and promote low-emission and climate-resilient development. (Source: UN Development Programme, PR, July, 2019) Contact: UNDP, Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Executive Coordinator and Director, Global Environmental Finance, www.undp.org; Green Climate Fund, www.greenclimate.fund

More Low-Carbon Energy News Green Climate Fund,  UNDP,  Climate Change,  Climate Change Mitigation,  CO2,  Climate Change Adaptation,  


740 Sq-Km of Amazon Lost in May (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Amazon Deforestation
Date: 2019-06-19
Reuters is reporting the Amazon Rainforest -- aka the "Lungs of Earth" due to its capability of absorbing about 25 pct of the earth's total carbon dioxide emissions -- lost 740 sq-km (285 sq-miles) of forest, roughly the size of New York City and all of it's five boroughs, during the 31 days of May, 2019 due to human deforestation activity, according to data from an early-warning satellite system.

The May 2019 deforestation is 25 pct higher than in May 2018, May, and twice that of May, 2017.

Earlier this year, Brazil's freshman President Jair Bolsonaro's administration was reportedly planning to follow US President Donald Trump's lead and pull Brazil out of the Paris Climate Agreement. In his first 5 months in office, Bolsonaro abolished the ministries that dealt with climate change, trimmed the remaining agencies' budgets and now wants to privatize vast areas of the Amazon rain forest for agribusiness, timber and mining interests. (Source: Various Media, Reuters, June, 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Amazon Deforestation,  Carbon Emissions,  Deforestation,  


World Bank Fund to Support Climate-Smart Mining (Ind. Report)
World Bank Group
Date: 2019-05-06
The World Bank is reporting the launch of the Climate-Smart Mining Facility fund to support the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals used in clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar power, batteries for energy storage and electric vehicles. The new Facility focuses on helping resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals, while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimizes the environmental and climate footprint.

Facility partners include the German government and private sector companies, Rio Tinto and Anglo American. The Facility will also assist governments to build a robust policy, regulatory and legal framework that promotes climate-smart mining and creates an enabling environment for private capital. Facility projects may include:

  • Supporting the integration of renewable energy into mining operations, given that the mining sector accounts for up to 11 percent of global energy use and that mining operations in remote areas often rely on diesel or coal;
  • Supporting the strategic use of geological data for a better understanding of “strategic mineral” endowments;
  • Forest-smart mining -- preventing deforestation and supporting sustainable land-use practices; repurposing mine sites;
  • Recycling of minerals -- supporting developing countries to take a circular economy approach and reuse minerals in a way that respects the environment

    The World Bank is targeting a total investment of $50 million, to be deployed over a 5-year timeframe. The Facility will focus on activities around four core themes: climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; reducing material impacts and creating market opportunities, contributing to the decarbonization and reduction of material impacts along the supply chain of critical minerals needed for clean energy technologies. (Source: World Bank Group, Modern Diplomacy, May, 2019) Contact: World Bank Group, Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice, www.worldbank.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News World Bank,  Climate Smart,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  


  • European Commission Bans Palm Oil Biofuel Subsidies (Int'l Report)
    EU, Palm Oil
    Date: 2019-03-15
    This week in Brussels, the European Commission (EC) concluded that the cultivation of palm oil, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, results in excessive deforestation and accordingly should not be eligible for subsidies or count toward EU renewable transport targets for national governments. Such a ban on counting toward the target -- a 32 pct share of renewable energy by 2030 -- will likely occasion the phase-out the use of of palm oil-based fuel's in Europe.

    The EC concluded that 45 percent of the expansion of palm oil production since 2008 led to destruction of forests, wetlands or peatlands and resultant greenhouse gas releases.

    The EC has added a number of exemptions which mean some palm oil could still be promoted as a green fuel, under certain conditions including allowing additional palm oil production coming from yield increases or produced on unused land to still qualify as green.

    Although once seen as the main tool by which the EU could decarbonize road transport, and given generous subsidies under the 28-member trading bloc's Renewable Energy Directive over a decade ago, many environmentalists are reportedly pushing the EU to ban crop-based biofuels and move instead to incentivizing second-generation, cellulosic biofuels. (Source: EU, European Biodiesel Board, Successful Farning, Forbes, 14 Mar., 2019) Contact: European Biodiesel Board, www.ebb-eu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News European Commission,  Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  European Biodiesel Board,  


    ePURE Comments on EU Draft Regarding Palm Oil Use (Opinins, Editorials & Asides)
    ePure
    Date: 2019-02-18
    The European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) secretary general Emmanuel Desplechin has responded to the EU Commission's draft surrounding high risk indirect land-use change (ILUC) biofuels and the shift of focus away from unsustainable sources of palm oil.

    The draft details curbing any biofuels with a high ILUC-risk and its amount of consumption in 2019 within the Member States. The EU also outlined an ambitious goal of reducing any high-risk biofuel's contribution to 0 pct by 2030.

    "Directive (EU) 2018/2001 also calls for a specific limit to conventional biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels with high ILUC-risk and for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high carbon stock is observed, in the amount of their level of consumption in each Member State in 2019," the draft stated. "Starting from 31 December 2023, their contribution should be gradually reduced to 0 pct by 2030 at the latest."

    Despite the draft's promising changes to the uses of palm oil, ePure argues that the draft would still 'allow imported feedstock that violates spirit of RED II agreement.'

    "Making an exception for feedstock produced by smallholders isn't just allowing high-ILUC-risk biofuels such as palm oil into Europe through the back door, it's allowing it through the front door. The hard-won compromise reached on RED II couldn't have been clearer in its message that Europe should phase out biofuels associated with the significant deforestation and peatland drainage that has defined most palm oil expansion."

    "Low-ILUC-risk biofuels certified as such could escape from the phase-out, but these were clearly defined as either produced through improved agricultural practices or from unused land. By inventing a third, alternative criterion for smallholders, the Commission is making a mockery of the agreed RED II compromise," Desplechin claims. (Source: ePURE, Feb., 2019) Contact: ePURE Emmanuel Desplechin, Sec. Gen., +32 2 657 6679, info@epure.org, www.epure.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ePure,  Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  


    Palm Oil Still in EU Transportation Fuel Mix (Int'l Report)
    ePure
    Date: 2019-02-13
    Reporting from Brussels, the European Commission (EC) reports it has gone most of the way toward banning the use of unsustainable palm oil in EU transport, but it hasn't quite closed the deal. Instead of acting on the RED II agreement and removing "high-ILUC-risk" biofuels from the 28-member trading bloc's transport mix, it has left a door open, according to a release.

    "Making an exception for feedstock produced by smallholders isn't just allowing high-ILUC-risk biofuels such as palm oil into Europe through the back door, it's allowing it through the front door," said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association. "The hard-won compromise reached on RED II couldn't have been clearer in its message that Europe should phase out biofuels associated with the significant deforestation and peatland drainage that has defined most palm oil expansion."

    "Low-ILUC-risk biofuels certified as such could escape from the phase-out, but these were clearly defined as either produced through improved agricultural practices or from unused land. By inventing a third, alternative criterion for smallholders, the EC is making a mockery of the agreed RED II compromise," the ePure Secretary General added.

    European renewable ethanol is made from European feedstock and delivers high greenhouse-gas reduction and is not associated with deforestation. Its use cuts GHG emissions by more than 70 pct on average compared to fossil petrol. (Source: ePure, EC, Feb., 2019) Contact: European Renewable Ethanol Assoc. (ePURE), Emmanuel Desplechin, Sec. Gen., +32 2 657 6679, info@epure.org, www.epure.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biodiesel ,  ePure,  Biofuel,  


    Rwanda Launches Global GHG, Ozone Measurement Project (Int'l)
    Rwanda Environment Management Authority
    Date: 2019-01-14
    The Rwanda Ministries of Education, Environment, the Rwanda Meteorological Agency in partnership with the University of Massachusetts, are reporting the launch of the first African Air Quality and Climate Laboratory equipped with the "Medusa System" that will measure more than 50 gases that deplete the ozone layer. The $2 million project, which will be based at the University of Rwanda's College of Science and Technology, will measure Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that deplete the ozone layer as well as other Rwandan and regionally emitted GHGs.

    Rwandan and regional policy makers will have access to and use of the data in their efforts to control power plant and transportation emissions, curb deforestation and encourage more tree planting, reduce fossil fuel use, develope smart green cities and other efforts. (Source: Rwanda Environment Management Authority, The New Times, Rwanda, 13 Jan., 2019) Contact: Rwanda Environment Management Authority Faustin Munyazikwiye, Deputy Director General, +250 25 258 9191, www.landportal.org/organization/rwanda-environment-management-authority

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ozone,  HFC,  GHGs,  Climate Change,  


    Palm Oil Producing Countries Comment on Biofuels, Climate Change (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries
    Date: 2019-01-14
    A recent meeting of the Jakarta-based Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) , issued the following policy developments in the EU on biofuel:
  • Under the proposed Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II), the Commission of the European Union is mandated to establish criteria to help distinguish between high and low risk Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) across the vegetable oil sector in general used for biofuels;

  • There are several EU models for ILUC that have been proposed none of which, nor could provide definitive evidence that would allow for a clear distinction between high and low risk ILUC. Nevertheless, the Commission is mandated to establish criteria by February 2019 to allow for such a distinction to be made;

  • The ILUC concept is of US and EU origin, but it is not a globally accepted approach or standard for assessing the impact of ILUC on climate change. It helps underpins EU policy, but it is not an international norm upon which palm oil producing countries could or should build their environmental policies;

  • CPOPC draws attention to the fact that there is over 1.7 billion hectares of land devoted to the production of crops globally, of which only 4 pct is devoted to biofuel. In our view, the very marginal use of land for biofuel calls in to question the very basis premises of indirect land use change resulting from the cultivation of vegetable oils for biofuel;

  • While CPOPC considers that the scientific community of palm oil producing countries should engage with the Commission, the Governments in the developing world should be fearful of being drawn in to acknowledging, accepting or offering legitimacy to the ILUC scheme within the RED II;

  • Palm oil producing countries should also be mindful in the weeks ahead of the objectiveness of the criteria being established and whether they are being applied impartially across all vegetable oils. In this respect, there is concern that palm oil will be targeted as several EU models are associated with the conversion of forests and peat lands with ILUC;

  • CPOPC is of the view that the use of ILC to target palm oil would represent a basic violation of the non-discriminatory principles upon which the WTO multilateral system is based; and that any related EU regulation or decision would likely constitute a Technical Barrier to Trade;

  • CPOPC does not necessarily subscribe to this concern, but we believe that criteria established by the EU should also address carbon retention in lands that have been converted from forests and peat in Europe; as well as to take account of the relative productivity of vegetable oils and the importance that this plays in protecting the global land bank;

  • There are wider concerns that have been expressed by palm oil producing countries that criteria should also take into-account the historical impact of mass deforestation in Europe;

  • CPOPC supports the UN global agreement to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (SDGs);

  • CPOPC considers that the SDGs does not mean a trade off between social and economic progress and the environment, but rather the need to balance out these aims and CPOPC and other Palm Oil Producing countries are willing and open to engage with trading partners and stakeholders on how to achieve the SDGs in the vegetable oil sector;

  • In contrast to the direction of EU RED II, CPOPC believes that the promotion of first generation biofuel is an essential element for achieving the SDGs in palm oil producing countries. The use of vegetable oils in biofuel is essential to combating climate change and it is also important for all Governments in Palm Oil Producing Countries to reassure and give certainty to our industries that biofuel investment will not be undermined as is the case in the European Union. (Source: CPOPC, Neutral English, Oct, 2018) Contact: CPOPC, Mahendra Siregar, Executive Director, +62 21 391 5160, +62 21 391 3961, secretariat@cpopc.org, www.cpopc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biofuel,  Climate Change,  


  • Norwegians Ban Palm Oil Biofuels (Int'l Report)
    Palmoil
    Date: 2018-12-14
    In Oslo, the Norwegian parliament has voted to ban the country's biofuel industry from purchasing palm oil and other dangerous biofuel feedstocks and biofuels that are linked to deforestation and harmful environmental practices, effective 1 Jan., 2020. The EU has also banned palm oil biofuels beginning in 2030.

    Norwegian palm oil consumption reached an all-time high in 2017 when fully 10 pct of the country's diesel consumption was based out of palm oil. (Source: Good News Network, 12 Dec., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  Biofuel,  


    Rwanda Imks Greenhouse Gases Reduction Agreement (Ind. Report)
    Greenhouse Gas Management Institute ,Carbon Institute
    Date: 2018-10-15
    Rwanda and the Washington, DC-headquartered Greenhouse Gas Management Institute and Carbon Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch an international 7-year partnership for carbon accounting in Rwanda, according to a statement from the Rwanda Ministry of Environment.

    The agreement will enhance the implementation of Rwanda's Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy and enable the country to participate in international emissions reduction mechanisms including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), and the mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). It will also allow Rwanda to become a regional training center for carbon accounting in the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions. The signatories will also collaborate to develop an Advanced Terrestrial Carbon Accounting Certificate programme at the University of Rwanda. (Source: Rwanda Ministry of Environment, Rwanda New Times, 13 Oct., 2018) Contact: Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, (202)350-9047, info@ghginstitute.org, https://ghginstitute.org; Rwanda Ministry of Environment, www.minirena.gov.rw

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Greenhouse Gas Management Institute,  Carbon Institute ,  


    Palm Oil Producing Countries Comment on Biofuels, Climate Change (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries
    Date: 2018-10-01
    Meeting last week in Jakarta, The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) , issued the following policy developments in the EU on biofuel:
  • Under the proposed Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II), the Commission of the European Union is mandated to establish criteria to help distinguish between high and low risk Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) across the vegetable oil sector in general used for biofuels;

  • There are several EU models for ILUC that have been proposed none of which, nor could provide definitive evidence that would allow for a clear distinction between high and low risk ILUC. Nevertheless, the Commission is mandated to establish criteria by February 2019 to allow for such a distinction to be made;

  • The ILUC concept is of US and EU origin, but it is not a globally accepted approach or standard for assessing the impact of ILUC on climate change. It helps underpins EU policy, but it is not an international norm upon which palm oil producing countries could or should build their environmental policies;

  • CPOPC draws attention to the fact that there is over 1.7 billion hectares of land devoted to the production of crops globally, of which only 4 pct is devoted to biofuel. In our view, the very marginal use of land for biofuel calls in to question the very basis premises of indirect land use change resulting from the cultivation of vegetable oils for biofuel;

  • While CPOPC considers that the scientific community of palm oil producing countries should engage with the Commission, the Governments in the developing world should be fearful of being drawn in to acknowledging, accepting or offering legitimacy to the ILUC scheme within the RED II;

  • Palm oil producing countries should also be mindful in the weeks ahead of the objectiveness of the criteria being established and whether they are being applied impartially across all vegetable oils. In this respect, there is concern that palm oil will be targeted as several EU models are associated with the conversion of forests and peat lands with ILUC;

  • CPOPC is of the view that the use of ILC to target palm oil would represent a basic violation of the non-discriminatory principles upon which the WTO multilateral system is based; and that any related EU regulation or decision would likely constitute a Technical Barrier to Trade;

  • CPOPC does not necessarily subscribe to this concern, but we believe that criteria established by the EU should also address carbon retention in lands that have been converted from forests and peat in Europe; as well as to take account of the relative productivity of vegetable oils and the importance that this plays in protecting the global land bank;

  • There are wider concerns that have been expressed by palm oil producing countries that criteria should also take into-account the historical impact of mass deforestation in Europe;

  • CPOPC supports the UN global agreement to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (SDGs);

  • CPOPC considers that the SDGs does not mean a trade off between social and economic progress and the environment, but rather the need to balance out these aims and CPOPC and other Palm Oil Producing countries are willing and open to engage with trading partners and stakeholders on how to achieve the SDGs in the vegetable oil sector;

  • In contrast to the direction of EU RED II, CPOPC believes that the promotion of first generation biofuel is an essential element for achieving the SDGs in palm oil producing countries. The use of vegetable oils in biofuel is essential to combating climate change and it is also important for all Governments in Palm Oil Producing Countries to reassure and give certainty to our industries that biofuel investment will not be undermined as is the case in the European Union. (Source: CPOPC, Neutral English, 1 Oct, 2018) Contact: CPOPC, Mahendra Siregar, Executive Director, +62 21 391 5160, +62 21 391 3961, secretariat@cpopc.org, www.cpopc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Biodiesel,  Palm Oil,  Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries,  


  • Fewer Biofuels, More Green Space May Benefit Environment, Study Finds (Ind. Report)
    University of Michigan
    Date: 2018-10-01
    According to a study from University of Michigan (UM) Energy Institute professor John DeCicco, growing and harvesting bioenergy crops -- corn for ethanol, trees to fuel power plants, and others -- is a poor use of land, which is a precious resource in the fight against climate change.

    The assumption that bioenergy simply recycles carbon is a major accounting error, DeCicco and William Schlesinger, president emeritus of the Milbrook, New York-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, held. The core of the assumption is the idea that producing a biofuel and then burning it for energy moves a given amount of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere, and back again in an unending and stable cycle. That's in contrast to the current one-way flow of fossil-fuel carbon from the Earth to the atmosphere.

    According to DeCicco, for bioenergy to be actually carbon neutral, harvesting the biomass to produce it would have to greatly speed up the net flow of carbon from the atmosphere back into vegetation. Otherwise, decades can pass before the "carbon debt" of excess CO2 in the air is repaid by future plant growth. "All currently commercial forms of bioenergy require land and risk carbon debts that last decades into the future. Given the urgency of the climate problem, it is puzzling why some parties find these excess near-term CO2 emissions acceptable," the researchers noted.

    In his 2016 study, DeCicco found that just 37 pct, rather than 100 pct, of the CO2 released from burning biofuels was balanced out by increased carbon uptake in crops over the first eight years of the U.S. biofuel mandate.

    To reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere requires avoiding deforestation and reforesting harvested areas, up to one-third of current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels could be sequestered in the biosphere," the researchers wrote. "Terrestrial carbon management can keep carbon out of the atmosphere for many decades."

    The new opinion was published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Source: Univ. of Michigan, Rahunuma Daily, 1 Oct., 2018) Contact: University of Michigan Energy Institute, Prof John DeCicco, (734) 764-6757, DeCicco@umich.edu, www.umich.edu; Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, (845) 677-5343, www.caryinstitute.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change news,  CO2 news,  Carbon Emissions news,  Bioenergy news,  


    Amazon Mangroves Key to Carbon Storage, says Study (Ind. Report)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2018-09-26
    In Corvallis, Scientists led by Oregon State University ecologist Prof. J. Boone Kauffman have determined for the first time that the Amazon's waterlogged coastal mangrove forests, which are being clear cut for cattle pastures and shrimp ponds, store significantly more carbon per acre than the region's rainforest.

    The recently released long-term study offers a better understanding of how mangrove deforestation contributes to the greenhouse gas effect, one of the leading causes of global warming.

    The Brazilian mangrove forest fringes the entirety of the Atlantic Coast at the mouth of the Amazon, the largest river in the world with the largest mangrove forest. Mangroves -- aka Blue Carbon -- represent 0.6 pct of all the world's tropical forests but their deforestation accounts for as much as 12 pct of GHG emissions from all tropical deforestation.

    Partial funding for the study was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program. (Source: Oregon State University, KTVZ.COM, 24 Sept., 2018) Contact: Oregon State University, J. Boone Kauffman, Research Leader, www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Kauffman3

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Blue Carbon,  Carbon Sequestration,  Mangrove,  


    Notable Quote on Climate Change
    Climate Change
    Date: 2018-09-12
    "Climate change is moving faster than we are. We need to put the brake on deadly greenhouse gas emissions and drive climate action."

    "These (2015 Paris Climate Agreement) targets were the bare minimum to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but scientists tell us that we are far off track. According to a U.N. study, the commitments made so far by parties to the Paris agreement represent just one-third of what is needed."

    "We need to rapidly shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels. We need to replace them with clean energy from water, wind and sun. We must halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and change the way we farm."

    "If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us. Keeping our planet's warming to well below 2 degrees (Celsius) is essential for global prosperity, people's well-being and the security of nations." -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

    (Source: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 10 Sept., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  Paris Climate Agreement,  


    Learning to Use the Land so it Produces Fewer Greenhouse Gases (Ind. Report Attached)
    Global Environment Facility
    Date: 2018-09-05

    "Agriculture and forestry are a major source of greenhouse gases, contributing 20 -- 24 pct of all emissions. Livestock, fertilizers and burning biomass all produce greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide, or a combination of these and other gases. Deforestation and forest degradation are also major sources. However, agriculture and forestry can also act as carbon sinks -- plants take up carbon dioxide as they grow and store carbon in the soils. Land use is therefore part of the solution," according to the report.

    The 2016-2019 project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by UN Environment was designed to help land management projects to evaluate their 'carbon benefits'. These can accrue in different land-use scenarios and ecosystems across the globe.

    Download Learning to Use the Land so it Produces Fewer Greenhouse Gases report details HERE. (Source: UN Environment, 3 Sept., 2018) Contact: UN Environment, www.unenvironment.org; GEF, www.thegef.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Sink,  Greenhouse Gas,  GHGs,  Global Environment Facility ,  


    Indonesia Imposing B20 to Limit Oil Imports (Int'l Report)
    Biodiesel,ndonesian Ministry of Industry
    Date: 2018-08-08
    Reporting from Jakarta, Reuters notes the Indonesian Government's Ministry of Industry will require all diesel fuel used in the country to contain 20 pct biodiesel (B20) -- primarily from palm oil -- starting next month. The move is intended to boost palm oil consumption, slash fuel imports, and narrow a current account gap. Indonesia presently imports approximately 400,000 bpd of crude oil.

    The government has said it will provide incentives to biodiesel producers, but has not provided details. Rules introduced in 2015 make B20 mandatory in subsidized biodiesel up to January 2020, after which B30 is scheduled to become mandatory.

    While the plan has been welcomed by the palm oil industry and government, environmentalists have expressed concern that increased local palm oil consumption will hasten Indonesia's rapidly spreading deforestation. (Source: Indonesian Ministry of Industry, Jakarta Post, Reuters, Aug., 2018) Contact: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia, www.esdm.go.id/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Indonesia Biodiesel,  Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  


    EU Palm Oil Biofuel Ban Stalled Until 2030 (Ind. Report)
    EU, Palm Oil
    Date: 2018-06-25
    A recent meeting between the European Parliament, Commission, and European Council has suspended the implementation of a policy that would have banned the use of crude palm oil as a basic material for biofuel in 2020 and instead set a target of 2030 for the complete ban of palm oil.

    The EU's new policy will start reducing crude palm oil imports gradually in 2023 before the complete banning effective in 2030. Until then, the percentage of palm oil in EU biofuel will be kept at 2019 levels.

    Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for 85 pct of the world's palm oil supply, reportedly expressed relief in response to the EU decision while the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) said that although the EU decision was "very welcome" the upcoming ban would cause it to aggressively seek new markets.

    Under current EU law, palm oil must come from certified sustainable plantations. Even so, environmentalists note that palm oil diesel still produces three times the carbon emissions of fossil diesel. Environmental organizations and green activists accuse the palm oil industry of causing massive deforestation and rainforest destruction, thus hastening climate change. (Source: Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Citizen Truth, 24 June, 2018)Contact: Malaysian Palm Oil Council, www.mpoc.org.my

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biofuel,  


    EC Proposes Sustainable Finance in Climate Change Fight (Int'l)
    Global Witness,EC
    Date: 2018-05-28
    In Brussels, the European Commission (EC) announced last week an action plan on sustainable finance aimed at encouraging the EU financial sector to invest in a greener and cleaner low-carbon economy. The proposals are initially focused on environmental investments but social factors are expected to be included as the proposals progress.

    The NGO Global Witness, known for its campaign against "blood diamonds", is calling for robust regulations to curb the excesses of financial deregulation which have driven global deforestation and other abuses that contribute to climate change.

    The EC says it aims at becoming a global leader in fighting climate change and achieving the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions agreed at the COP21 Paris Climate accord meeting in December 2015. The impact of climate change already threatens financial stability and leads to major economic losses through floods, land erosion or droughts, the EC acknowledged. To achieve the EU's 2030 climate targets, approximately €180 billion per year of additional investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy would be needed. Mobilizing private capital to fund sustainable investment is essential, the EC added. (Source: EC, Brussels Times, 27 May, 2018) Contact: Global Witness, www.globalwitness.org; European Commission, Miguel Arias Canete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, https://ec.europa.eu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News European Commission,  Climate Change,  Deforestation,  ,  


    A Blast from the Past (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Shell Oil
    Date: 2018-04-06
    "Man-made carbon dioxide, released into and accumulated in the atmosphere, is believed to warm the earth through the so-called greenhouse effect. The gas acts like the transparent walls of a greenhouse and traps the heat in the atmosphere that would normally be radiated back into space. Mainly due to fossil fuel burning and deforestation, the atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased some 15 percent in the present century to a level of about 340 ppm. If this trend continues, the concentration will be doubled by the third quarter of the next century. The most sophisticated geophysical computer models predict that such a doubling could increase the global mean temperature by 1.3 to 3.3 degrees C. The release of other trace gases, notably chloroflurocarbons, methane, ozone and nitrous oxide have the same effect, may amplfy the warming by predicted factors ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 degrees C..

    "Mathematical models of the earth's climate indicate that if this warming occurs then it could create significant changes in sea level, ocean currents, precipitation patterns, regional temperatures and weather. These changes could be larger than any that have occurred over the last 12,000 years. Such relatively fast and dramatic change would impact on the human environment, future living standards and food supplies, and could have major social, economic and political consequences." -- Shell Oil "Confidential" Internal Report, 1988 (Source: Shell, De Correspondent, E&E News, April, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  CO2,  Shell Oil,  


    CDP Reports Emissions Cuts Saved Companies $14Bn in 2017 (Int'l)
    CDP
    Date: 2018-02-21
    According to the environmental disclosure platform CDP's Closing the Gap: Scaling up Sustainable Supply Chain Practices report, major global companies significantly reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their supply chains and saved approximately $14 billion as a result of emission reduction activities in 2017. The report is based on climate, water and deforestation-related data collected from over 4,800 companies, and points to increased awareness of climate change-related risks and opportunities down the supply chain.

    According to the findings, carbon emissions in supply chains are four times greater than those of a company's direct operations. Of those responding to CDP, over 75 pct of suppliers identified some climate change risks to their business, and more than 50 pct said they have integrated climate change into their business strategies. The number of companies that address emissions in their supply chains doubled within a year, with emission reductions totaling 551 million metric tonnes of CO2.

    The report also compares the efforts of suppliers in eight major economies to mitigate environmental risk. It finds that 80 pct of companies in France are likely to have climate change integrated into their businesses. Japanese companies have the highest rates of disclosure, and are the most likely to set emissions reduction targets. Of the organizations on the Supplier Engagement leader board, 33 pct are from the US, followed by 15 pct from the UK. (Source: CDP, PR, UNFCCC, Feb., 2018) Contact: CDP, Lance Pierce, Pres. North America, (212) 378 2086, info.northamerica@cdp.net, www.cdp.net

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CDP,  Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  


    Bhutan REDD+ Project to Fight Climate Change Scores $4.8Mn (Int'l)
    World Bank,REDD+
    Date: 2018-02-12
    The World Bank reports it has granted $4.8 million to support Bhutan's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through strengthening the country's forests under the Bhutan REDD+ Readiness Project.

    The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forest and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+) is a mitigation mechanism to combat climate change. The international programme operates under the principles of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing carbon sequestration through improved forest protection and management.

    The REDD+ Readiness programme was established in Bhutan in 2010. In 2013, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank approved the REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) and the project was implemented from 2015 with $3.8 million in World Bank grant funding. In the three years, the project completed the National Forest Inventory, established heritage forests, land use and land cover mapping 2016, revised forest and nature conservation rules and regulations of 2017, build capacity for forest management, and institutionalized national forest monitoring system and forest reference emission level including the forest resource information management system. (Source: Kuensel, World Bank, 12 Feb., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News REDD+,  World Bank,  Reforestation,  Deforestation,  Climate Change,  


    Cypriot Env. Commissioner Sounds Climate Change Alarm (Int'l)
    Cypriot Environment Commissioner
    Date: 2018-01-22
    In Nicosia, the Cypriot Environment Commissioner, Ioanna Panayiotou, reports that Cyprus is danger of missing it Paris Climate and other climate goals and and needs to focus on renewable, sustainable development and a "circular" economy in relation to the island's natural resources.

    According to the Cyprus Island Plan -- a town planning law that sets out economic, cultural, social and population planning objectives for rural areas -- while legislation is in place, a study is needed to identify climate change and clean energy related problems and financially and ecologically beneficial initiatives and solutions. The commissioner was referring to the need to activate Article 7 of the Island Plan to deal with uneven development, the wasting of natural resources, deforestation and the uneven distribution of national and European funds. (Source: Cyprus Mail, 21 Jan., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


    EU Considers Zero Palm Oil in Transport Fuels (Reg & Leg, Int'l)
    EU, ePURE
    Date: 2018-01-10
    EURACTIV is reporting that EU parliamentarians (MEPs) are considering a complete phase out of palm oil in transport fuels by 2021. The proposal, which has garnered support from the biggest political groups in the European Parliament, would be a victory for environmentalists who have long warned against the deforestation and other damage caused by palm oil.

    A 2016 EU-funded study found that biodiesel produced from palm oil was three times more polluting than traditional diesel. In 2017, MEPs voted on a resolution urging the European Commission to phase-out the use of vegetable oils in biofuels by 2020. They also called for a single certification scheme to guarantee only sustainably produced palm oil enters the EU market.

    According to the ethanol trade group ePURE Secretary General Emmanuel Desplechin."The (European) Parliament needs to send a clear message that not all biofuels are created equal. It is time for the European Parliament to put into law the resolution on palm oil it adopted last spring and stop promoting the use of palm oil and derivatives in biofuels. Crucially, ethanol is not responsible for any of the concerns associated with palm oil cultivation,"

    The proposed ban on palm oil still faces hurdles however, starting with a political agreement from the 28 EU member states, which will be required to finalise the adoption of the revised renewable energy directive.

    There are still concerns however that the EU's bioenergy policy might lead to deforestation -- especially when it comes to "solid biomass" that is sometimes burned to generate electricity. The EC's sustainability criteria for biomass includes imports of wood pellets from Canada and the US, which are produced from round trees and are shipped to Europe for burning in power plants. . (Source: EC, EURACTIV, 9 Jan., 2018) Contact: European Renewable Ethanol Assoc. (ePURE), Emmanuel Desplechin, Sec. Gen., +32 2 657 6679, info@epure.org, www.epure.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  ePURE,  


    EU, MEPs Agree on Forest Sector 2030 Carbon Emission Target (Int'l)
    EU,CO2,Carbon Dioxide
    Date: 2017-12-18
    In Brussels, EU member states report they have come to a preliminary agreement with the European Parliament (EP) on the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) regulation agreeing to set a "zero target" for emissions from this sector. The agreement provides EU-wide accounting rules for LULUCF activities for the 2021-2030 period.

    Along with transport, agriculture, buildings and waste -- which are not covered by the EU's Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) -- the LULUCF sector is required to contribute a 30 pct emissions cut by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, as part of the EU-wide commitment to cut overall emissions by 40 pct by 2030.

    The 2000-2009 period has been set as the reference point for comparing carbon emissions, after MEPs had arbitrarily set this to 2009-2012 under pressure from Sweden, Finnland and other countries with large forestry sectors.

    The lack of linkage between the European accounting from LULUCF and other continents' methods of forest management means that under the current proposal for the post 2020 Renewable Energy Directive, the EU counts burning biomass (pellets and wood) as renewable energy but does not take into account the net increase in emission if this wood is imported. (Source: EURACTV, 14 Dec., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EU ETS,  EU,  Carbon Sink,  Forest Carbon,  CO2,  Deforestation,  Reforestaion,  


    Carnegie Air Observatory Tracks Borneo's Carbon Reserves (Int'l)
    Carnegie Airborne Observatory
    Date: 2017-12-08
    Ecologists at the Washibgto, D.C. Carnegie Institution for Science, in coordination with the Sabah Forestry Department in Malaysian Borneo, the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership and others are using the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, an airplane filled with scientific instruments, to map Malaysian Borneo's carbon stocks to help conservationists locate and track the island’s most important carbon reserves.

    Tropical deforestation and ecological degradation account for roughly 10 pct of the planet's annual carbon emissions. Meanwhile, Borneo is home to one of the most efficient carbon recycling and storage systems on the planet. The latest research efforts show, some 40 percent of the island's carbon stocks are without maximum protections and could suffer deforestation and degradation if the land is converted into agriculture or cleared for development.

    Using the latest data collected by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, the researchers found the island could double its carbon stocks by allowing previously felled forests to regenerate. (Source: Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Newsline, UPI, 4 Dec., 2017) Carnegie Airborne Observatory, https://cao.carnegiescience.edu; Carnegie Institution for Science, (202) 387-6400, https://carnegiescience.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon,  Deforestation,  Carbon Storage,  


    Planet Alpha Offering Forest Carbon Securities to Reverse Deforestation (Ind. Report)
    Planet Alpha
    Date: 2017-12-01
    Cambridge, Mass.- based Planet Alpha Corp. (PAC) reports it is offering up to 5,000,000 Non-Voting Series A Preferred shares, at $10 per share, to develop world-wide forest carbon projects supporting communities and forest restoration. There is no minimum investment, allowing purchase of a single share ($10) by accredited and non-accredited investors alike. The proceeds will be used develop forest carbon sequestration projects in ecologically diverse locations around the planet.

    PAC projects are developed and implemented in collaboration with local, community-based organizations that rely on cultural knowledge to manage forest ecosystems. PAC's "measurement-to-monetization" services are provided at no cost to landowners. PAC services are available to verify emission reduction for Paris Agreement signatories.

    PAC aims to reduce CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases by restoring nature. The company deploys carbon measurement infrastructure on forest lands to accurately measure carbon offsets for sale as carbon securities and carbon products. (Source: Planet Alpha Corp., PR, PRZen, 28 Nov., 2017) Contact: Planet Alpha Corp., D.V. Marino, CEO, https://planetalphaforest.earth

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Deforestation,  Planet Alpha,  Fotest Carbon,  Carbon Credits,  Carbon Sequestration,  


    "Seeing REDD: Why The European Union Needs to Embrace Forest Carbon Finance" -- Report Attached (Ind. Report)
    REDD,Forest Carbon
    Date: 2017-11-29
    "A new report on forest finance has found that conserving and restoring tropical forests could deliver up to 30 pct of the carbon savings necessary to keep the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C -- but as the report shows, only about 1 pct of international development funding for climate mitigation is directed towards this.

    "Worse, finance for sustainable forestry and agriculture aligned with climate goals -- approximately $20 billion since 2010 -- is dwarfed by the $777 billion pumped into the sectors that drive deforestation.

    " For many developing countries, forest conservation represents the main contribution they can make to the global climate effort. While all tropical forest countries have committed to reduce forest emissions as part of their national climate plans, many have pledged further reductions on the condition that they receive international support. And more than 50 developing countries have been running programmes to prepare the ground for REDD+, including establishing social and environmental safeguards and forest monitoring systems that will enable them to access payments for verified carbon savings."

    Download the Progress on the New York Declaration on Forests report HERE. (Source: Climate Focus, New York Declaration on Forest Assessment Partners, Climate and Land Use Alliance, Ecosystem Marketplace, Nov., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News REDD,  Deforestation,  Carbon Sink,  Forest Carbon,  


    Burning Forest Waste for Energy Contentious in NSW (Int'l)
    Woody Biomass
    Date: 2017-11-27
    In the Land Down Under, new research by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has analyzed timber production areas on the New South Wales State (NSW) north coast and found there were enough residues in the forests and sawmills to power more than 200,000 homes a year.

    The National Parks Association disagreed on the grounds that evidence from Europe showed the adoption of biomass power was driving deforestation in Russia, Canada, the USA, Slovakia, Italy, Spain and Finland. "Given what we know, that biomass use overseas is driving deforestation, and the evidence that burning forests for power is driving climate change, this is reckless in the extreme," Dr Sweeney said.

    On the other hand, a report from DPI research scientist Fabiano Ximenes finds that "Biomass from forestry residues has great potential for large-scale electricity generation, industrial heat, biofuels and valuable natural chemicals. So you're taking more sustainable biomass from the forest, reducing wastage, but also looking at areas for growth for the bioenergy industry in general. In doing so [you are] reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the state, but also quite importantly contributing to regional economic growth for the north coast as well."

    Download the full DPI report HERE. (Source: NSW Department of Primary Industries, DPI Research, ABC North Coast, 22 Nov., 2017) Contact: NSW Department of Primary Industries, Research, Fabiano Ximenes, www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Forest Waste,  Biomass-to-Energy,  


    ICAO Green Fuel called "Palm Oil Trojan Horse" (Int'l Report)
    ICAO ,Air Transport Action Group
    Date: 2017-10-16
    In a joint letter to ICAO Airline industry representatives have strongly rejected suggestions put forward this week by a group of environmental NGOs that the planned widespread use of alternative aviation fuels would rely on palm oil and result in more deforestation.

    According to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) , the aviation industry envisions that 2 pct of all international jet fuel will come from sustainable sources by 2025. However, for the industry to meet its goal of halving carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 compared to 2005, much wider deployment of biofuels will be essential. Although five alternative jet fuel pathways from a range of feedstocks have been approved for use in aviation, with more waiting in the wings, the NGOs behind the letter to ICAO believe that only fuels derived from vegetable oils can be scaled up sufficiently.

    According to bioenergy campaign group Biofuelwatch, any large-scale use of aviation biofuels made from hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) would almost certainly rely on palm oil -- the cheapest type of vegetable oil available in large quantities, and is cheaper to refine to HVO than other types of vegetable oil. The group has described the airline industry's green fuel plans as "a Trojan horse for palm oil." (Source: ATAG, Runway Girl. 12 Oct., 2017) Contact: ATAG, ATAG executive director Michael Gill Sustainable Aviation Fuels User Group, www.safug.org; Air Transport Action Group, www.atag.org; ICAO, +52 55 52 50 3211, icaonacc@icao.int, [www.icao.int

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Air Transport Action Group,  ICAO ,  Aviation Biofuel,  Palm Oil,  


    Vietnam Aims to Increase Forest Carbon Storage (Int'l)
    VietNam,Carbon Emissions
    Date: 2017-10-06
    VietNamNet Bridge reports the Vietnamese government is launching a project aimed at cutting emissions from deforestation and increasing forest CO2 absorption. The project will be implemented in the six provinces where forest coverage accounts for 57 pct or 2.9 million hectares, of the country's total forest area.

    The global Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and World Bank have committed to pay Viet Nam $60 million for the absorption of 10.3 million tonnes of CO2 from 2018 to 2024.

    This project is the first regional-level project implemented by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme in Viet Nam. Cities discharge 70 pct of Vietnam's CO2. (Source: Vietnam Bridge Vietnam Net, Others, Oct., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  Deforestation,  Reforestation,  


    Forest Carbon "Sinks" Added to EU 2030 Carbon Budget (Int'l Report)
    EU
    Date: 2017-09-15
    In Brussels, European Union Parliamentarians (MEPs) report their approval of new rules for accounting for the "negative emissions" from forestry as part of the EU's 2030 climate change policy.

    The EU has a target to cut emissions by 40 pct by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and forests acting as "carbon sinks" removing more than 400 Mt CO2 from the atmosphere annually -- equivalent to 10 pct of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions -- is part of the EU's meeting its carbon reduction targets.

    The European Commission's initial proposal for a regulation on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) introduced a "no-debit" or zero target whereby EU countries must offset all deforestation either by equivalent reforestation or improved forest management and thus have a neutral impact on climate change. The Commission proposal also required all 28 EU states to account for the emissions produced from burning biofuels, which was not the case previously.

    The MEPs have also adopted a mandatory 2000 -2012 historical baseline obliging EU countries to count all emissions coming from changes in forest management in subsequent years. This means that if a country increased its harvesting levels, the reduction in "carbon sink" capacity would be accounted as a net increase in emissions. The MEPs also raised the upper limit for forest credits that EU countries can use to offset emissions in other types of land (wetlands, for example) from 3,5 pct to 7 pct of the total current sink capacity of forests. (Source: European Commission, EURACTIV.com, Various Others 14 Sept., 2017) Contact: European Commission, ec.europa.eu/commission

    More Low-Carbon Energy News European Commission,  Carbon Sink,  Forest Carbon,  CO2,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Walmart Expects 1 Billion Tonne CO2 Emissions Cut (Ind. Report)
    Walmart
    Date: 2017-09-01
    Arkansas-headquartered retail giant Walmart reports the launch of Project Gigaton, a new sustainability platform that will eliminate over 1 billion metric tons (gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the Walmart supply chain by 2030 -- the equivalent of removing 211 million cars from the road for an entire year. By way of comparison, in 2014 entire plant's total carbon emissions was 9.75 gigatons.

    Project Gigaton focuses on limiting Scope 3 carbon emissions which are a consequence of normal business operations, but over which the company has no direct control. In order to cut down on these carbon emissions Walmart has launched an online portal where their suppliers can navigate to better manage their waste, energy use, product design, packaging, deforestation, and more. The project is also intended to make Walmart's processes and operations more transparent. (Source: Walmart, Good360, 30 Aug., 2017) Contact: Walmart, Kathleen McLaughlin, VP, corporate.walmart.com/contact-us

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  Carbon Emissions,  Walmart,  Carbon Footprint,  


    CGIAR Addressing Soil Carbon, Climate Change (Ind. Report)
    Global Soil Partnership
    Date: 2017-08-23
    According to the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), soil carbon could help mitigate significant greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting food production and adaptation to climate change. As such, soil carbon could be crucial to meeting the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to below 2 degrees as well as Sustainable Development Goals related to food security and climate. However, we still lack the knowledge needed to sustainably manage soil for carbon, the GSP adds.

    On June 19, 30 CGIAR scientists, representing seven CGIAR Centers and six CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), exchanged recent research findings and identified priorities for a future research agenda on soil carbon and climate change. CGIAR's current soil carbon and climate change work includes:

  • Improving understanding of the factors and underlying mechanisms that drive changes in soil carbon and critical soil functions;
  • Examining agronomic practices that improve soil health, agricultural productivity or socio-economic benefits affect soil carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation;
  • Investigating the relationships among forests, soils, water and climate;
  • Analyzing the effects of land use change on soil carbon stocks, including loss of soil carbon through deforestation and land degradation, and the potential for soil carbon sequestration through restoration of degraded soils;
  • Assessing the extent of peatland soils globally and estimating current carbon stocks in peatlands;
  • Supporting policy to avoid loss of carbon from peatlands, forestlands and wetlands;
  • Developing standardized methods and metrics for assessing soil carbon and its dynamics, especially as an indicator of ecosystem health, at plot and landscape scales;
  • Facilitating the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework Network, which now has 200 sites and 30,000 reference points in the global tropics, mostly openly accessible data. (Source: CGIAR, World AgroForestry Center, Aug., 2017) Contact: 4p1000, http://4p1000.org; Global Soil Partnership, www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/en; CGIAR, www.cgiar.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Soil Carbon,  


  • Bay State Gov. Supporting Woody Biomass Biofuels (Ind. Report)
    Biofuels
    Date: 2017-08-09
    The Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's (R) administration has proposed rules that would designate fuel derived from felled trees as a form of renewable energy. The Governor's regulations would provide financial incentives and subsidies for woody biomass renewable fuels.

    Environmental advocates and others are opposed to the initiative on the grounds that the rules would increase carbon emissions and lead to greater deforestation. Supporters say the Governor's scheme poses little threat of deforestation to the state which is 62 pct forest covered and the 8th most forested state in the nation. (Source: Olympian, Boston Globe, AP 7 Aug., 2017) Contact: Office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, (617) 725-4005, www.mass.gov/governor

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Biofuels,  


    Report Recommends Cap on UK Bioenergy Crop Production (Int'l)
    Royal Academy of Engineering ,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2017-07-24
    In the UK, a newly released report from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAENG) is calling for a cap on the production of bioenergy crops on prime agricultural lands as a means of avoiding an inadvertent increase greenhouse gas emissions.

    According to the report, energy crops should only be cultivated on marginal land which is unsuitable for food production or housing, or has been degraded through deforestation.

    The report also calls for a renewed focus on converting waste cooking oil, municipal solid waste, whisky production dregs and others into second generation biofuels.

    On the downside, limiting bioenergy crop production could cause new problems. Vivergo Fuels, which converts 1.1 million tpy of feed-grade wheat into bioethanol, has previously said it could face closure if crop-based biofuels in petrol were to be restricted.

    UK National Farmers Union (NFU) NFU combinable crops chairman Mike Hambly says: "This report clearly demonstrates the need for biofuels and we are pleased to see the RAENG recognise the role UK agriculture has to play in this. The report focuses heavily on the benefits of second generation biofuels -- something the NFU has long supported -- but we caution investment into this next step will only be secured on the back of first generation fuels and the Government must recognise this in future policy making." (Source: NFU, Royal Academy of Engineering, FG Insight, 28 July, 2017) Contact: NFU,www.nfuonline.com; Royal Academy of Engineering, www.raeng.org.uk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Bioenergy Crop,  


    UK Researchers Measuring Tree CO2 Capacity (Int'l R&D)
    University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research
    Date: 2017-06-26
    In the UK, England, researchers are testing Researchers at University of Birmingham's Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) have begun a 10-year experiment that will pump a forest full of carbon dioxide in an effort to determine how much carbon dioxide trees can take.

    The Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment will expose a mature woodland to CO2 levels predicted to be prevalent in 2050. Scientists aim to measure the forest's capacity to capture carbon released by fossil fuel burning, and thus determine the trees capacity to absorb carbon pollution long-term.

    With deforestation shrinking the carbon storage capacity of the world's forests, researchers hope that a greater understanding of their role in climate change mitigation could help policymakers make informed decisions. (Source: University of Birmingham, Citizen Digital, Reuters, 24 June, 2017)Contact: University of Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, Michael Tausz, Co-Director, +44 1785 284624, www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bifor/index.aspx

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Forest Carboon,  Carbon Storage,  CO2,  


    Norwegians Ban Palm Oil Biofuel (Int'l. Report)
    Palm Oil Biofuel
    Date: 2017-06-16
    In Oslo, the Norwegian parliament has amended the country's Public Procurement Act to immediately cease the importation and use of palm oil-based biofuel. Conservationists laud the move and recommend the EU's biofuel policy be updated to reflect concerns about palm oil.

    The growth of the palm oil industry has been blamed for damaging environmental impacts, such as deforestation and high carbon emissions and research indicates that palm oil biofuel may be worse for the environment and the climate than fossil fuels.(Source: Mongabay, EcoBusiness, Others, June, 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil Biofuel,  


    For Peat's Sake -- Understanding the Climate Implications of Palm Oil Biodiesel--Consumption -- Report Attached (Ind. Report)

    Date: 2017-06-16
    "For decades the palm oil industry in Southeast Asia has been inextricably linked to deforestation, habitat loss and peat destruction in some of the most biodiversity rich areas of the planet. While recent efforts to reduce the ecological footprint of palm oil production are well-intended, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge and a number of corporate commitments to halt deforestation, the current reality is that palm oil expansion is an ongoing environmental catastrophe.

    "Most palm oil is destined for human consumption, either as an ingredient or cooking oil, but in the last decade the most rapidly expanding vegetable oil market in the world has been biodiesel, driven in large part by European climate policy. In 2014, it has been estimated that over three million tonnes of palm oil biodiesel was consumed by EU vehicles, nearly a third of total EU biodiesel consumption. By tradition, biofuel carbon accounting treats land as a carbon-free commodity, a simplification that has allowed policymakers to believe that palm oil biodiesel is better for the climate than fossil diesel. Unfortunately, the truth is very different -- increased biodiesel demand in Europe drives palm oil expansion in Malaysia and Indonesia, and with that comes deforestation, peat drainage and biodiversity loss."

    Download the For Peat's Sake -- Understanding the Climate Implications of Palm Oil Biodiesel--Consumption report HERE. (Source: Rainforest Foundation of Norway, May, 201&) Rainforest Foundation of Norway, +47) 23 10 95 00, rainforest@rainforest.no, www.regnskog.no/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil Biofuel,  Biodiesel,  


    Potential Decline in Carbon Carrying Capacity Under Projected Climate-Wildfire Interactions in the Sierra Nevada -- Report Attached (Ind. Report)
    University of New Mexico, Carbon Storage
    Date: 2017-05-29
    Potential Decline in Carbon Carrying Capacity Under Projected Climate-Wildfire Interactions in the Sierra Nevada, just released study from a multi-university team of biologists shows what could be a startling drop in the amount of carbon stored in the Sierra Nevada mountains due to projected climate change and wildfire events.

    According to University of New Mexico Assistant Professor Matthew Hurteau and report co-author, roughly half of all human-emitted carbon is absorbed by vegetation and the ocean, and is stored through natural processes -- something that helps limit our actual carbon impact on the atmosphere. But, as forests begin to change due to global warming and large scale fires, the amount of forest carbon uptake will decrease, accelerating the amount of man-made carbon making its way into the atmosphere.

    Because California is experiencing warmer and dryer conditions due to global warming, certain tree species are not able to flourish across particular geographic regions like they once were. Less tree growth, means less carbon uptake in forests.

    The study also shows that wildfires will play a big role in the reduction of stored carbon. And while many of these incidents will occur naturally, Hurteau says we are, in part, to blame for their significance. Hurteau adds that researchers have identified strategies for reducing some of the fire risk by actively thinning forests to manage tree density and restoring surface fires.

    Download the Potential Decline in Carbon Carrying Capacity Under Projected Climate-Wildfire Interactions in the Sierra Nevada report HERE. (Source: University of New Mexico, PR, Scientific Reports, 25 May, 2017) Contact: Univ. of New Mexico, Prof. Mathew Hurteau, (505) 277-0863, mhurteau@unm.edu, www.hurteaulab.org/the-team.htm

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Storage,  Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Capture,  Deforestation,  


    Jamaica Joins UN REED Program to Curb GHG Emissions (Int'l)
    UNFCCC,REDD+,UNEP
    Date: 2017-05-15
    Jamaica reports it has embarked on the first phase of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forestry Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), a global initiative to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

    The Programme aims to provide positive incentives to countries to contribute to climate-change mitigation through activities in the forestry and land use sectors. The programme falls under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and seeks to curb emissions, particularly in the forestry sector, most of which are tropical forests in developing countries.

    The UNFCCC developed a set of guidelines for countries to implement the REDD+ mechanism which are to be implemented over three phases. The first is REDD+ Readiness, where countries are expected to design national strategies and action plans alongside relevant stakeholders, to be able to combat the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, build capacity and develop policies.

    The phase also includes establishing a National Forest Monitoring System, which is a holistic system to monitor forest cover nationally over a period of time, as well as a measurement reporting and verification (MRV) system.

    The country will also establish the forest reference emission levels, to estimate the total carbon dioxide the forested areas are emitting on an annual basis. This is used as a baseline to determine how well the country does in REDD+ activities.

    A safeguard information system will also be set up to ensure that REDD+ activities are environmentally friendly and that any benefits accrued are distributed equitably to all stakeholders involved in the mitigation activities.

    The UN-REDD was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Jamaica is receiving support for the programme through the Green Climate Fund of the UNEP. (Source: Jamaica Information Service, 12 May, 2017) Contact: Jamaica Information Service, +876 926 3590, jis.gov.jm; UNDP, www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home.html; UNFCCC, http://unfccc.int

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Deforestation,  Reforestation,  UNFCCC,  Climate Change,  REDD+,  UNEP Green Climate Fund,  


    Ethiopian CO2 Reduction Project Finds Funding (Int'l)
    World Bank "Bio-carbon Trust Fund"
    Date: 2017-05-05
    A new Ethiopian climate related initiative, the Oromia (State) Forested Landscape Project (OFLP), has been launched with the intent of significantly cutting Ethiopian carbon emissions by 2030. carbon emission by 2030 was launched yesterday. The project, which received an initial $18 million in grant funding from the World Bank Bio-carbon Trust Fund , could qualify for an additional grant of $50 million Bio-Carbon Fund based on results in slowing deforestation throughout Oromia State. The project is intended to support forest protection, sustainable forest management, and forest development all of which could contribute to reduction of emissions and enhancement of carbon stock in Oromia forested landscapes, according to the state Environment, Forest and Climate Change Authority.

    The OFLP pilot project is part of an international initiative that includes Zambia, Columbia and Indonesia. (Source: World Bank Bio-carbon Trust Fund, Ethiopian Herald, 3 May, 2017) Contact: World Bank Bio-carbon Trust Fund, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/PAKISTANEXTN/Resources/293051-1089890926900/BioCF-Backgrounder.pdf

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  CO2 Emissions,  Carbon Emissions,  Deforestation,  


    Toshiba Tec Carbon Zero Initiative Lauded by UN (Int'l)
    Toshiba Tec,CO2balance
    Date: 2017-04-28
    Toshiba Tec Corporation reports that its pan-European Carbon Zero Scheme is an official partner to the United Nations' (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is now listed on its website.

    The Toshiba Carbon Zero Scheme offsets the carbon generated from parts procurement and manufacture of devices through to delivery to the customer, in cooperation with UK-based CO2balance, the leading global carbon management company. To date, Toshiba Tec has offset 500,000 tons of CO2e w-- equivalent to the annual emission from 110,000 European homes. All carbon emissions have been offset through projects that help benefit the lives of individuals in developing countries.

    Initiatives include an energy efficient stoves project, in which villagers in Kenya reduce their use of wood for fuel through the provision of highly efficient stoves. Further projects currently underway include the creation of boreholes in Uganda that supply clean water, as well as work on reducing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

    In addition to the European Carbon Zero Scheme, Toshiba Tec is involved in similar initiatives across the world. These are one of the activities to achieve its environmental policy, the "Three Greens": Greening of Products, Greening of Process, and Green Management. (Source: TeshibaTec, PR, 27 April, 2017) Contact: Toshiba Tec, www.toshibatec.com/global; CO2balance, +44 1823 332233, www.co2balance.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2balance,  Toshiba Tec,  Carbon Zero,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Malaysia to Fight EU Ban on Palm Oil Biofuels (Int'l)
    Palm Oil,Malaysian Palm Oil Board
    Date: 2017-04-10
    In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian officials and legislators have almost unanimously agreed to lobby against the European Parliament's non-binding motion to ban the use of palm oil for biofuel -- biodiesel -- production. The EU regulators are calling for greater vetting of palm and other vegetable oils used in transportation biofuels to meet the EU's renewable transport targets for post-2020 that subsequently could lead to increased carbon emissions, deforestation and rapid climate change.

    To counter the EU's concerns, the Malaysians are calling for direct meetins with EU parliamentarians and a single Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) scheme to ensure that Europe-bound palm oil and other vegetable oil exports are sustainably produced.

    As previously reported, EU lawmakers have called for a wider discussion of palm oil production and use for biofuels with specific focus on the rapidly expanding palm oil industry's harmful impact on climate mitigation and biodiversity.

    After India and before China, the EU is Malaysia's second-largest export market, accounting for 2,059,207 tons of palm oil products in 2016, one third of which is used for biodiesel. Indonesia and Malaysia account for approximately 85 pct of global oil palm production. (Source: Malaysian Palm Oil Board, telesur, 5 April, 2017) Contact: Malaysian Palm Oil Board, www.mpob.gov.my

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biofuel,  European Commission,  


    EU Parliamentarians Call for End of Palm Oil Biodiesel (Int'l)
    European Commission
    Date: 2017-03-13
    A group of European Union parliamentarians is reportedly calling for the European Commission to take measure to promote the responsible cultivation of palm oil and phase out its use for biofuels. In 2014, 45 pct of all palm oil imported into Europe was used as transport biofuel fuel.

    Palm oil production leads to deforestation and the destruction of jungles which are replaced by palm plantations. resulting in increased forest fires, the drying up of rivers, soil erosion, loss of groundwater, pollution of waterways and habitat destruction. The EU parliamentarians are calling for strengthened environmental measures to prevent palm oil-related deforestation and phase out the use of palm oil as a component of biodiesel by 2020. Products should also be able to be certified for the socially responsible origin of their palm oil. (Source: EurActiv, Biofuels Int'l, Others , Mar., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biofuel,  European Commission ,  

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