Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 17, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

COP24 ends with agreement on rules for transparency but not much else

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 17, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

COP24 wrapped up with agreement on how countries should track their emissions but not much else. In related news: Canada encouraged the establishment of a global market with carbon pricing; while the role of forests and carbon credits was debated but put off until next year.

In Company news: Despite tensions with China, Don Kayne calls BC trade mission business as usual; Canfor extends temporary curtailments in BC; Western Forest Products sells 7% of its Alberni Operation to First Nations group; Tolko targets February for rebuild of Williams Lake mill; and Port Hawkesbury Paper is doing well six-years after shutdown.

In Forestry news: the US Farm Bill does the right thing; Secretary Zinke steps down due to federal investigations; a winter wildfire threatens two Alberta communities; and California takes some heat on wildfire spending.

Finally, Ontario proposes hunting season for cormorants to reduce their impact on fish and forest habitats.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor 

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Business & Politics

Catherine McKenna: Canada supports momentum on Paris Agreement rules

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
December 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Catherine McKenna

KATOWICE, Poland – “Today demonstrates that multilateralism works to tackle a clear global problem—climate change. Three years ago almost to the day, some 200 countries came together to land an ambitious Paris Agreement. Over the last few weeks, the world gathered once again in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) where our team worked hard throughout the negotiations to find common ground between developed and developing countries. “I am pleased countries around the world came together to agree to rules for transparently reporting how all countries are fulfilling their commitments to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. To increase our ambition for climate action, we need clear and transparent rules. “Canada also played a leading role in laying the groundwork for a global carbon market, to help mobilize the billions of dollars of investments needed to tackle climate change.

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Canfor Extends Temporary BC Curtailment

By Canfor Corporation
Cision Newswire
December 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER –  Canfor Corporation announced today it will be extending its temporary curtailment at sawmills in British Columbia (BC) and will be reducing operating hours at some sawmills throughout Q1 2019. This decision is due to a continuing decline in lumber prices, in addition to high log costs and log supply constraints. The curtailment extension and reduction in operating hours is expected to reduce Canfor’s production output by an additional 55 million board feet in Q1. The sawmills are scheduled to resume production on January 7, 2019. Canfor has 13 sawmills in Canada, with a total annual capacity of approximately 3.8 billion board feet.

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Western Forest Products Inc. Announces Sale of Ownership Interest in Port Alberni Forest Operation to Huu-ay-aht First Nations

By Western Forest Products
Globe Newswire
December 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PORT ALBERNI, British Columbia—Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Western Forest Products Inc. have reached an agreement whereby Huu-ay-aht will acquire a 7% interest from Western in a newly formed Limited Partnership for $7.2 million, subject to closing adjustments. The assets of the Limited Partnership will consist of certain Western assets in its Port Alberni Forest Operation, including TFL 44 and other associated assets and liabilities. The completion of the Transaction is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, approval by the B.C. Provincial Government and Huu-ay-aht People’s Assembly, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019. As part of the agreement announced today, Western may sell Huu-ay-aht an incremental interest in the Limited Partnership subject to further negotiation. This announcement is consistent with the goals of the parties’ March 2018 Reconciliation Protocol Agreement. Western will continue to source fibre from the Limited Partnership assets to support its B.C. manufacturing facilities.

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B.C. forest industry wraps Asia trade mission in China after minister pulls out

Canadian Press in the National Post
December 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Meng Wanzhou

VANCOUVER — Delegates from British Columbia’s forest industry have concluded what they characterize as a successful trade mission to Asia despite tensions over the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson visited Korea and Japan with the delegates but pulled out of the China leg of the tour this week. He said it wouldn’t be prudent for a government representative to travel to the country. The BC Council of Forest Industries says in a news release that delegates spent Wednesday through Friday in China and focused throughout the Asia trip on new opportunities to advance wood construction. Council CEO Susan Yurkovich says the mission was an opportunity to strengthen trade relationships with Korea, Japan and China, where B.C.’s renewable forest products continue to be in demand.

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Western Forest Products to honour Englewood Railway in Woss

By Justin Goulet
My Comox Valley Now
December 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

WOSS, B.C. – A decision has been made on how to best honour the legacy of the Englewood Railway on northern Vancouver Island. Western Forest Products (WFP), the company that owns Englewood, said rail memorabilia is going to be installed at Woss Heritage Park. WFP collected public feedback between June 4th and July 20th to make the decision. Comments were also collected from local First Nations, the Regional District of Mount Waddington, Western Forest Products employees and former rail workers. The public consultation included an open house, engagement through social media, meetings with key stakeholders and a public survey. According to the company, 138 surveys were received and they saw more than 200 people provide feedback.

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Tolko Lakeview Division sawmill rebuild targetting February start-up

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
BC Local News
December 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rebuild of Tolko’s Lakeview Division sawmill in Williams Lake is in full swing with a target restart in February 2019, confirmed plant manager Jason Favel this week. In November 2017 a fire at the site damaged the saw filer and general sawmill offices, necessitating the sawmill to be shut down and the company making the decision to reconstruct it. Favel said the project team has made great progress, with an “excellent safety record to date.” “The structural assembly of the building is nearing completion with the interior cladding and roofing well under way,” Favel said. “The electrical wiring and machine alignment is now the priority in the schedule.” There are more than 100 people on site currently working on the rebuild, Favel said, noting getting timely deliveries of material and equipment has been a challenge with how busy the construction industry is currently.

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Business as Usual for Canadian Lumber Chiefs on China Trade Trip

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg
December 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Don Kayne

Escalating diplomatic tensions between Canada and China aren’t fazing the head of a Vancouver-based lumber company on a trade mission in the Asian nation. Canfor Corp. Chief Executive Officer Don Kayne said the trip is progressing smoothly and he has no worries about being detained. “We’re not too concerned,” Kayne said by telephone from Beijing. The company is focused on expanding its business and demonstrating its commitment to Chinese customers, he said. …Kayne arrived in China on Tuesday and is among a delegation of about 30 Canadians from the forestry sector participating in meetings with Chinese customers as part of the trade mission to South Korea, Japan and China. China is the second-largest buyer of Canadian lumber and has become an increasingly important market as companies seek to diversify amid a recurring dispute over softwood exports with the U.S., the biggest importer.

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Port Hawkesbury Paper says order book full six years after reopening

By Nancy King
Cape Breton Post
December 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

POINT TUPPER, N.S. — Port Hawkesbury Paper’s order books for 2019 are essentially full, a senior company official says. It’s good news for the largest industrial employer in the Strait of Canso region, which is now six years removed from a year-long shutdown and sales process following the bankruptcy of its former American parent company. The company embarked upon its own economic impact study recently, conducted by Gardner Pinfold. It looked at the gross value of output, gross domestic product, employment, labour income and taxes. Allan Eddy is the mill’s director of business development, a role he has held since August. The reopening of the mill was assisted by an aid package of $124.5 million over 10 years from the province. The study was not something the mill was mandated to do under the terms of that agreement, Eddy said.

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South Carolina forest industry margins chopped by rising transportation costs

By Emily Williams
The Post and Courier
December 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Log Creek Timber, a family-owned timber harvesting business in Johnston, has… more than doubled the number of log trucks it owns. …The reason for Log Creek’s staffing changes is an issue that’s been straining timber-harvesting and -hauling companies in South Carolina and across the Southeast: skyrocketing transportation costs. …But the cost to insure them more than tripled in the last 12 months, Williams said, rising from about $7,000 to $8,000 to between $28,000 and $32,000 per driver. Because of that, the company now employs about five contract drivers, he said, and has flipped its business model to rely almost entirely on a fully-owned fleet. …Contract haulers, in particular, are viewed by carriers as a bigger risk because of previous losses, he said. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Crews find prized lumber in gutted Wisconsin warehouses

Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle
December 15, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

RACINE, Wis.  — A Wisconsin material design company is reclaiming 19th century timber from gutted warehouses in Racine that a company official says it like finding “a needle in a haystack.” Urban Evolutions co-owner Jeff Janson says he’s found the wooden equivalent of a hidden stash of gold in some dismantled JI Cast steam engine and thresher machine buildings, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Much of the wood is old-growth, longleaf pine from slow-growing forests that once covered an estimated 92 million acres of the South, from roughly East Texas to southern Virginia. …The reclaimed timber at the site, also known as “heart pine,” includes massive 10-inch by 10-inch structural beams weighing 1,000 pounds and floor joists measuring 2 inches by 11 inches and weighing 200 pounds. Janson hopes to harvest 2 million board feet of the timber from the site.

 

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Forestry

Coun. Justice calling for pause in municipal logging plans for Stoney Hill

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
December 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Christopher Justice

Christopher Justice wants the Municipality of North Cowichan to stop its logging plans in the Stoney Hill area until a community discussion is held on the issue. Justice, a newly elected councillor in North Cowichan, put forward a notice of motion on the issue at the council meeting on Dec. 5 and it’s expected it will be put on the agenda to be discussed at the next council meeting, scheduled for Dec. 19. Justice said North Cowichan’s entire 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve is a “great gem” whose future he also would like to be part of the public discussions, but he’s currently more focused on Stoney Hill due to the municipality’s plans to log some areas of it, and the fact that much of its lower-altitude section is a unique and rare Douglas fir ecosystem. 

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Winter wildfire a reminder for Albertans to exercise caution year-round

CBC News
December 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A December wildfire that was whipped out of control and threatened the evacuation of some Alberta communities this weekend isn’t as out-of-season as it might seem. “Every year, we see some fires in the wintertime. This one just garnered a little bit more attention than they normally do,” Melissa Story, a provincial information officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, told CBC News on Saturday. There were two fires discovered Friday afternoon in the area about 75 kilometres southwest of Edson, Alta. One was very small — only about 500-square-metres big — but the second, fanned by wind gusts up to 110 km/h, rapidly grew in size to about 100 hectares. It was located between the communities of Cadomin and Mercoal in Yellowhead County. “The conditions that we saw yesterday with the heavier winds definitely gave that fire a bit of a run but we have it under control now,” she said.

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Ontario government proposes hunting season for cormorants

By Christian Pass-Lang
The Globe and Mail
December 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…the double-crested cormorant is not the most loved of birds. …The fish-eating birds are notorious for destroying the trees in which they roost. In recent decades, more trees have died as the species recovered from a population decline in the 1960s. Now, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has submitted a proposal to classify the double-crested cormorant as a game bird and create a hunting season between March 15 and Dec. 31. The province said the proposal was crafted in response to concerns that “cormorants have been detrimental to fish populations, island forest habitats, other species and aesthetics.” The proposal would allow hunters to kill and dispose of up to 50 cormorants a day without having to consume them… Cormorants are considered inedible for humans.

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How Nova Scotia’s forestry regulators are undermining the Lahey report

By Linda Pannozzo
Halifax Examiner
December 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

In her 2014 book, Capitalism: A Ghost Story, Arundhati Roy shows us how India’s government is essentially controlled by an elite ruling class made up of a handful of companies that control the economy. …Roy writes that they had to figure out a way to deal with the growing unrest that would result, to “turn protesters into pets” and “vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into blind alleys.” In both respects, Nova Scotia’s recent forest practices review is a perfect case in point. …But as I’ve watched the government maneuvering in response to Lahey’s forest practices review all I’m able to see is the strangle hold the large forest interests continue to have on the department as it continues to squander the public trust.

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U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke leaving Trump administration

Associated Press in the Vancouver Sun
December 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Ryan Zinke

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, facing federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, will be leaving the administration at year’s end, President Donald Trump said Saturday. In his resignation letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Zinke said “vicious and politically motivated attacks” against him had “created an unfortunate distraction” in fulfilling the agency’s mission.  Trump, in tweeting Zinke’s departure, said the former Montana congressman “accomplished much during his tenure” and that a replacement would be announced next week. The Cabinet post requires Senate confirmation. Zinke is leaving weeks before Democrats take control of the House, a shift in power that promises to sharpen the probes into his conduct. His departure comes amid a staff shake-up as Trump heads into his third year in office facing increased legal exposure due to intensifying investigations into his campaign, business, foundation and administration.

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Can California Improve Forest Management And Prevent Wildfires Without Going Broke?

By Ezra David Romero
Capital Public Radio
December 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Making forests safer is expensive. …The Tahoe National Forest is 1.3 million acres of public and private land, and $7 million was recently allocated to help manage the effects of climate change.  But that money will treat just 9,800 acres. It breaks down to roughly $1,450 per acre, according to Kim Carr with the National Forest Foundation… The grant comes from Cal Fire’s Forest Health Grant Program… and it pays for everything from paperwork and hiring to cutting trees, burning and hauling debris out. …“There’s certain areas that it is going to cost you $700 an acre, but other acres you can treat for $50 or $100 an acre,” Stewart said. …He thinks there’s an even more economical way, but its controversial: using more logging as a tool to fund forest-health projects. … “We found we could reduce fire risk by half on 80 percent of the acres but actually break even” by embracing things such as logging.

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Land Board To Discuss Elliott State Forest Ownership Options

By Cassandra Profita
Oregon Public Broadcasting
December 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon Land Board will be discussing the options for public ownership of the Elliott State Forest at its meeting in Salem on Tuesday. Last year, the board voted to keep the 82,500-acre forest in public ownership rather than sell it into private hands. Since then, seven different parties have told the state they want to play a role in public ownership. The groups will all present information to the board on Tuesday, according to Allie Ryan-Hansen with the Oregon Department of State Lands. …State leaders have begun the process of establishing a federal Habitat Conservation Plan for the forest to protect endangered species such as the spotted owl and marbled murrelet while allowing for some logging.

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Farm bill does the right things for forests

By the Editorial Board
Mail Tribune
December 14, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Rep. Greg Walden says he’s disappointed that provisions to allow ramped-up logging were removed from the 2018 Farm Bill, but the forestry-related measures that are in the final version that passed Wednesday will do more to address wildfire risk and smoke, and are less likely to wind up mired in court battles.   …The final version that passed the House on Wednesday doubles money authorized for collaborative forest thinning projects from $40 million to $80 million. The bill also includes more funding for local governments to enter into “good neighbor” agreements with the Forest Service to help with forest restoration. And it provides grants to state foresters to promote hazardous fuel reduction projects that include federal and non-federal land, along with reauthorizing funding for Hazardous Fuels Reduction projects.

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Report rips expensive decisions in 2016 California wildfire fight

By Brian Melley 
Associated Press in the Washington Post
December 15, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES — .The Soberanes Fire burned its way into the record books, costing $262 million as the most expensive wildland firefight in U.S. history in what a new report calls an “extreme example of excessive, unaccountable, budget-busting suppression spending.” The report by Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology criticizes fire managers for not adapting their approach to the changing nature of the blaze. The nonprofit group, which gets funding from the Leonard DiCaprio Foundation and other environmental organizations, advocates ending “warfare on wildfires” by ecologically managing them. The report suggests the Forest Service response was the result of a “use it or lose it” attitude to spend its entire budget, which had been boosted by $700 million because of a destructive 2015 fire season. The agency managed to spend nearly all its 2016 money in a less-active fire season on about half the amount of land that burned the year before.

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Westerman submits wildfire bill

Times Record
December 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Bruce Westerman

An Arkansas congressman submitted a bill this week he hopes will curb devastating wildfires. U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, introduced H.R. 7315, the Protecting American Communities from Wildfire Act, on Thursday. Westerman is the only forester in Congress and has attempted several times over the past three years in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives to usher legislation through various channels that addresses U.S. Forest Service issues like “fire borrowing” and litigation that hamstrings the Forest Service from forest management. Most recently, these efforts to curb wildfires were seen in the forestry title of the 2018 Farm Bill. Although the bill passed in the House, it was nixed in the Senate. “As more and more Americans move closer to our nation’s forests, it is imperative that Congress protect our communities from the devastation of wildfire,” Westerman said in a news release Friday.

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Conserving forests in Northeast Georgia just got a little easier, farm bill proponents say

By Joshua Silavent
The Gainesville Times
December 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The U.S. Congress last week passed a bipartisan $867 billion farm bill that includes the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act, which lawmakers said will expand recreation in Northeast Georgia through “modified land exchanges.” The act allows the U.S. Forest Service to sell isolated parcels within the two national forests. …“The money generated from the sales of these small areas of land will be put towards buying more critical lands for conservation and recreation, a result that benefits all Georgians,” Deron Davis, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, said in a statement. …U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said the act will also update some park boundaries to improve recreational access and support its economic impact on the region.

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Native forest logging agreement raises accountability issues, says independent reviewer

By Peta Doherty, Claire Wheaton, Simon Lauder and Jen Hunt
ABC News Australia
December 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ewan Waller

A new agreement between New South Wales and the Commonwealth that will govern logging in native forests until 2039 and beyond is being criticised as a step backwards — and even the man who advised on the deal says it raises questions of accountability. The Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs) between State and Federal Governments allow for logging of native timber on public land after certain conditions are met, such as protecting biodiversity and endangered species. Former Victorian chief fire officer Ewan Waller, commissioned …to review the performance of the RFAs, said key obligations had been removed in the new agreements.  The former regional forestry manager said he welcomed signs of commitment from both levels of government in the new agreements — which are a variation of documents created in the late 90s — but he said they were more a “rehash” with “necessary inclusions like climate change and carbon”.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Climate and Fire, Why Biomass Matters to Both

By Seth Ginther, U.S. Industrial Wood Pellet Association
Biomass Magazine
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Seth Ginther

…The effects of climate change, including forest fires, have dominated the news for much of the last month. …And two recent studies on climate—one from the U.N., and the Trump Administration’s Black Friday release—suggest that fires will continue to get worse. …We need a dramatic pivot, and we need it today. The good news (if we can call it that) is, when it comes to the related issues of climate and fire, there are two things that most experts agree on: 1) we need to replace coal and other fossil fuels with renewable energy; and 2) we need to better manage our forests to minimize the “super fires” that we are seeing in California and elsewhere. Wood biomass is a solution that—right now—can help us solve both of these challenges. 

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Carbon Benefits Of Managed Forests

By Eric D. Vance, recently retired from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.
Science Trends
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Forests have a complicated relationship with carbon and climate. They sequester huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, estimated at 10-20 percent of U.S. emissions, thus limiting its potential as a greenhouse gas. In turn, forests are also impacted by changes in climate, which affects how much carbon they store. Because forests managed in some capacity may hold less carbon than some of their “natural,” unmanaged counterparts and are harvested periodically, it’s logical to assume their carbon benefits are greatly diminished. However, the carbon forests hold at any point in time is only one of many factors affecting what the atmosphere sees, and those other factors tend to favor managed forests. Both temporal and spatial factors influence the carbon benefits of managed forests relative to those preserved with little intervention. 

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Haines explores the possibility of using local timber as fuel for biomass boilers

By Henry Leasia
KHNS Radio
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Biomass boilers have been springing up across Haines over the past few years. The boilers generate heat by burning wood pellets made of condensed sawdust. Now the borough hopes to install a boiler that runs on larger wood chips to heat several municipal buildings. If the wood chips are produced locally that could mean savings for the borough and a new source of income for the local timber industry. …In 2012, CIA installed a biomass boiler for a subdivision it manages. Harriet Brouillette is the tribal administrator for CIA. She said heating with pellets is definitely cheaper, but it doesn’t solve the issues of sustainability and fuel security. “We are happy with the pellet system, but we’re reliant on shipping pellets from the lower 48. How do you create a sustainable community if you’re having to import pellets? It doesn’t make sense,” Brouillette said.

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Corporation Commission can help save the forest

By the Editorial Board
Payson Roundup
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

We fear the Arizona Corporation Commission’s about to make a terrible mistake.Advocates of forest restoration have been bombarding the commissioners in an effort to prevent wildfires from turning towns like Payson to ash.  …Arizona Public Service did a study on what it would take to burn all that fuel. Someone would have to build one or two new power plants at a cost of roughly $500 million each. Because of the need to haul the low-value wood to the power plant, the APS study estimates burning biomass would cost two or three times as much as building new solar or natural gas power plants. Therefore, the utility company’s study estimated turning 1.5 million tons of biomass into electricity each year would raise bills by $1 to $4 a month. That’s a bargain, given the cost of letting a plague of wildfires ravage Arizona’s forests.

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Advocates fear death blow for forest restoration

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The Arizona Corporation Commission this week could gut rules on burning forest biomass, which would deal a near death blow to efforts to restore the forest and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, say advocates. Supporters of the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI) panicked last week when they got a look at a long-awaited commission staff report on generating power from biomass – the millions of tons of branches, small trees and slash generated by efforts to thin two million acres of Northern Arizona forests. Forest restoration backers want the commission to boost the amount of biomass utilities now use from 28 megawatts to 90 megawatts. That would provide a market for enough biomass to thin 50,000 acres of ponderosa pine forest annually. Instead, the staff report provided a rationale for eliminating even the current 28 megawatt requirement – which has sustained the single, biomass power plant in the state.

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Pakistan, China sign MoU for forestation and climate

Radio Pakistan
December 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Ministry of Climate Change and Chinese government have signed an MoU to strengthen bilateral relations in the field of forestry and climate. Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and Ambassador of China Yao Jing also witnessed the ceremony in this connection on Monday. Advisor on Climate Change on this occasion lauded the Chinese government environmental projects of Eco-Civilization and Green Wall of China. He said that China has supported professionals from Pakistan through participation in training courses on forestry, wildlife, rangeland improvement, wetland management and desertification control in the past. Malik Amin Aslam said Pakistan is also in the process of implementing massive forestation projects in the country hence Pakistan will get an opportunity to learn from the Chinese experience.

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What was agreed at COP24 in Poland and why did it take so long?

By Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
December 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Countries settled on most of the tricky elements of the “rulebook” for putting the 2015 Paris agreement into practice. …There was a row over carbon credits, which are awarded to countries for their emissions-cutting efforts and their carbon sinks, such as forests, which absorb carbon. These credits count towards countries’ emissions-cutting targets. Brazil, which hopes to benefit from its large rainforest cover, insisted on a new form of wording that critics said would allow double counting of credits, undermining the integrity of the system. This issue has been put off until next year. …Largely absent from these talks, which had a technical focus, was the key question of how countries will step up their targets on cutting emissions. …The key deadline is 2020, when countries must show they have met targets set a decade ago for cutting their emissions, and when they must affirm new, much tougher targets.

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Nations Agree On Rules To Put Paris Climate Agreement Into Action

By Rebecca Hersher
National Public Radio
December 15, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Nearly 200 countries have agreed on a set of rules to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, a crucial step in implementing the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. The rules describe in detail how countries will track their emissions and communicate with each other about their progress in the coming years and decades. But it stops short of committing them to the more ambitious emissions reductions necessary to slow climate change. …One of the most fundamental parts of the so-called rule book negotiated at the talks is a section on transparency, which governs what information governments must disclose to each other about their greenhouse gas emissions. …But the talks also left many issues unresolved, including whether countries will commit to transitioning even more quickly to clean energy sources, and how much richer countries will help poorer countries pay for that transition.

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Health & Safety

Worksafe BC says combination of human and manufacturer error led to Domtar worker’s death

By James Peters
CFJC Today
December 14, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — Worksafe BC says a combination of human error and manufacturer’s mistake led to an accident that killed a Domtar employee last June. The accident on June 29, 2017 killed a crane operator and seriously injured another worker. A redacted incident investigation report released today (Dec. 14) refers to the fatality victim as ‘Operator 1’, but Unifor has identified the man as 57-year-old Jim MacLeod. The report says MacLeod and his co-worker were standing on a crane chassis, attempting to stow a jib — an extension to the boom of a crane — when the jib fell. The huge piece of equipment struck both men, causing them to fall more than two metres off the crane chassis and killing MacLeod. Worksafe’s report says the accident happened because the jib was not connected to the boom of the crane, and lists three contributing factors to the accident.

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