Tag Archives: land use

CPI receives MapBiomas team for workshop on land mapping and use in Brazil

August 17, 2017 |

 

MapBiomas workshop in CPI in Rio de Janeiro

Project aims at helping researchers with a fast and detailed system

Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) hosted the Brazilian Annual Land Use and Land Cover Mapping Project (MapBiomas) team for a workshop to present the platform and explain how it operates. The event, held in early August at CPI’s office in Rio de Janeiro, gathered researchers, analysts and university faculty from CPI and other institutions including IBGE, FIOCRUZ, BVRio, and UFRJ.

MapBiomas is an initiative that involves a collaborative network of biomes, land use, remote sensing, GIS (Geographic Information System) and computer science experts. It relies on Google Earth Engine platform and its cloud processing and automated classifiers capabilities to map and present dynamics of land use changes in agriculture, farming, forests and urban areas, among others.

In Brazil, CPI works to support policymakers to implement the most effective policies for protecting Brazil’s natural resources while also advancing the nation’s agricultural production.

For CPI executive director Juliano Assunção, MapBiomas greatly expands the volume of information for land use analysis in Brazil and provides an example for other initiatives involving collaborative work. Assunção believes that the project enhance CPI’s research. “CPI focuses its efforts on generating evidence on the effectiveness of policies and their various impacts on Brazilian society. With MapBiomas, we can now investigate dynamics of land use conversion inside and outside the Amazon biome with much more precision,” he says.

 

Land use and land cover maps, satellite images mosaics, and a public web platform are among the MapBiomas products. According to the coordinator of the project Tasso Azevedo, the platform aims to provide analysts and researchers with the tools needed to analyze data and build on. “We wanted to replace the simple matrix “forest and non-forest” with a more nuanced one. The challenge is and has always been to map in a cheap, fast and historical way”, he says. One of the unique characteristics of MapBiomas is that it classifies using temporal and spatial filters, which can be applied to a more detailed analysis.

MapBiomas provides a series of scientific analyses for the improvement of policies. According to Assunção, besides putting together detailed information on territories, MapBiomas presents the data in an intuitive and comprehensible way. “Although the actual data are not precise for calculating deforestation rates, for example, its potential is huge. For example, important topics such as infrastructure can be studied in depth,” the CPI director says.

Currently, only Brazil develops a mapping of tropical countries and their lands. Nevertheless, it is expected that over the next two years a project like MapBiomas might become a potential investment for other countries. The development of MapBiomas is constant and an updated version, with adjustments in the filters, will be launched soon.

For more information about MapBiomas, see http://mapbiomas.org/.

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Identifying strategic opportunities for philanthropy to engage in sustainable land use finance

May 2, 2016 |

 

With growing global demand for food and fuel in a climate-constrained world, the question of how to best reorient land use towards more sustainable and productive practices is a key challenge for governments, businesses, and individuals. This is particularly true for developing countries, where agricultural expansion is a major source of economic growth and development, but also a major source of emissions and environmental degradation.

In recent years, significant international efforts have focused on developing mechanisms to deliver incentives for developing countries to maintain high-value ecosystems. This has happened primarily through bilateral and multilateral funds in support of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), as well as through voluntary carbon markets and ad-hoc payments for ecosystem services (PES) pilots. However, such mechanisms have often proved disappointing, failing to deliver on the intended results or suffering from inadequate funding and difficult implementation.

There is a need to better understand how investments are currently being delivered on the ground to support the land use sector, and to support the most appropriate interventions to shape investments towards more sustainable and less destructive land use activities.

To explore these opportunities, CPI partnered with the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) to identify entry points for philanthropic funders to unlock capital in support of more sustainable land use practices. CPI analysis shows that there are distinct, powerful, and accessible finance-related levers that philanthropy can use to unlock investment in and reorient capital towards more sustainable land use practices. Philanthropy can often act in more nimble and strategic ways compared with public donors who may be constrained by slow bureaucratic processes and competing political priorities.

These opportunities were presented to CLUA and key stakeholders at a retreat in early March, and are now presented here. In the coming months, CPI will continue this work with CLUA and will rank and more fully develop the most promising interventions that can be supported by philanthropy.

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Three ways international development partners can help Indonesia solve its land use challenges

February 24, 2016 | and

 

At least 25 major aid organizations have been actively engaged in efforts to reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions from land use over the last five years. Several of these funders, including the UK Climate Change Unit Indonesia, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, have even refocused a large portion of their programs in Indonesia on the land use challenge.

Land use challenges in Indonesia - Photo credit: Elysha Rom-Povolo

Photo credit: Elysha Rom-Povolo

This sharp focus isn’t surprising when you take into account that 44% of global land use and forestry emissions came from Indonesia in 2012 Last year saw unprecedented emissions from forest and peat fires in Indonesia, with emissions from fires alone expected to reach around 1750 MtCO2-eq., which is almost equal to Indonesia’s entire greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors in 2012.

The involvement of many international development organizations is also good news given that the Government of Indonesia has sent strong signals to the international community that their support is needed. Indonesia has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020, scaling up to 29% by 2030, and further extending their ambition to 41% with international support. Around 90% of that target is anticipated to come from reducing deforestation and peat emissions.

The question is, have the efforts been working?

We recently took on this question in a study that looked at international public climate finance flows to land use from major development partners, “Taking Stock of International Contributions to Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Land Use in Indonesia.”

We found mixed results.

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Graphic Spotlight: Who benefits from Indonesia’s palm oil revenues?

January 27, 2016 |

 

The fiscal system may inadvertently increase deforestation

Indonesia’s palm oil sector has been making headlines recently because of the sector’s connection with fires from peatland conversion. Late last year, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced a shift in peatland management, with policies designed to halt agricultural expansion into peat forests while facilitating the rehabilitation of already degraded peatlands.

Given the economic importance of palm oil, Indonesian policy makers, industry, and communities are looking for ways to grow the sector’s productivity without contributing to this deforestation and emissions.

Indonesia's palm oil revenuesCPI analysts recently looked at how fiscal incentives for palm oil – and land use more broadly – could be adjusted to contribute to a more efficient and sustainable sector.

This graphic, produced by Tim Varga and Angela Falconer, shows that of the nearly one billion USD the Indonesian government collects annually in tax revenues from palm oil, less than 15% goes to the regions that produce the crop.

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Reforming fiscal policies to remedy land use woes

January 11, 2016 | and

 

This post was originally published by the Jakarta Post.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has been busy this year, announcing several new policy packages to strengthen the economy in a few months. Then in November the President declared a radical shift in peatland management, with policies designed to halt agricultural expansion into peat forests while facilitating the rehabilitation of already degraded peatlands.

In December, Indonesia made a commitment at the Paris climate change negotiations to reduce emissions by 29 percent by 2030.

This tension between economic growth and environmental protection requires skillful balancing across Indonesia’s economy and particularly, in the expanding agriculture sector.

The proposed economic packages offer tried and true approaches to encouraging business growth. But they lack consideration of how fiscal adjustments could encourage environmental protection while encouraging growth.

Our analysis shows big potential, uncovering inefficiencies in fiscal policies in the land use sector, and suggesting that reforms in this area may be a win-win for better, cleaner growth.

For example, currently, 93.5 percent of all government revenue related to land use comes from levies based on production volume instead of land size.

The more you produce, the more you pay, and there are neither penalties nor rewards to use less land. Only for the land and building tax and a few state taxes are levied in proportion to land used — the more land in play, the more tax you pay.

However, even these taxes create little correlation between the value of the land and the amount paid. So, for now, with land undertaxed, businesses have every reason to use more land to increase production, rather than improving the productivity of land already in play.

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The Paris Agreement is a signal to unlock trillions in climate finance

December 14, 2015 | and

 

The objectives laid out in the Paris Agreement are visionary but not overambitious as they build on trends already happening in reality. The agreement’s guiding star is the science-based goal of limiting temperature rise to ‘below 2 degrees Celsius’. In combination with the mention of 1.5 degrees Celsius, this goal sends a clear signal, giving governments and businesses an incentive to escalate efforts to decarbonise their economies, supply chains and business models. Even more importantly for business, this deal has teeth. It includes a mechanism to ramp up action every five years, starting in 2018, and importantly, does not allow backsliding.

A strong signal steering investors away from fossil fuels, towards sustainable growth

For business and investors, it means the direction of travel is clear and with appropriate support it is time to seize the opportunities on offer. “This is one of the greatest wealth opportunities in human history,” says Jigar Shah of Generate Capital. The Paris Agreement also signals that investment in fossil fuels is no longer a low-risk enterprise – or, as Anthony Hobley, CEO of The Carbon Tracker Initiative, puts it, “[it] tells markets the fossil fuel era is over.”

The Agreement also builds the case for both public and private actors to explore low-carbon and climate-resilient options. For developing countries and emerging economies and their partners, the clear message is that growth without sustainability is off the table, whereas sustainable growth is a win for climate and development. As Hillary Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, says, “We don’t have to choose between economic growth and protecting our planet – we can do both.”

Many investors are already on board

CPI’s Global Landscape for Climate Finance estimated USD 391 billion in primary investment flows in 2014, up 18% from the previous year. Private investment surged 26% from 2013, reaching 62% of total global investment in climate action driven largely by falling renewable technology costs supported by government measures.

The Paris Agreement means that these investors and project developers who have already started transitioning their business models can now have the confidence to continue shifting their assets, in order to avoid stranding their own portfolios.

From ambition to action: the critical role of national policy

However, right now the bulk of climate investment (74%) originates and is spent in the same place, whether in developed or developing countries. This indicates there is still work to do to scale up finance that crosses borders, and our research indicates that policy frameworks and enabling environments are the first prerequisite. As Felipe Calderon, former President of Mexico, says, “The next step is for governments to turn their commitments into national policy.”

Building confidence for the next five years through enhanced transparency

Developed countries must continue to take the lead in implementing the world’s first universal binding climate agreement. Building confidence that commitments outlined in the agreement are being met is key, and transparency is critical to this goal. Transparency on progress toward the commitment to continue to mobilize at least USD 100 billion per year from 2020 onwards is a case in point, and here work remains to be done. The OECD Report done in collaboration with CPI on progress toward the USD 100 billion was the first serious attempt to estimate public and private finance mobilized by developed countries’ interventions in developing countries by applying a transparent accounting framework. CPI welcomes the fact the Paris Agreement puts efforts to increase consensus and transparency on this and other climate finance issues at the centre of its work plan going forward.

Such transparency can help ensure confidence that finance is flowing from north to south, and to the right technologies, and that private investors are being mobilised in line with country interests. As countries move from negotiations to implementation, CPI stands ready to support their efforts.

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COP21: A good deal for climate and for growth

December 13, 2015 |

 

COP21-good-deal-for-growth

This weekend, world leaders signed on to a new climate deal that aims to limit global temperature rise to well below two degrees, continue $100 billion a year in climate finance, and ramp up action every five years.

I’ve been present at the climate negotiations since the beginning, and I will leave Paris tomorrow optimistic for the future, but not for the reasons you might expect.

While the deal itself is a big step forward, the larger leap has been the recognition, all over the world, that action on climate change and economic growth can – and should – go hand-in-hand.  The Paris agreements have recognized that the substantial gaps between the costs of clean and fossil energy have collapsed, and that returns increase when we produce food by using less land better. The spread of market driven activities consistent with these realizations will provide the foundations on which the Paris commitments will deepen.

The deal this week wouldn’t have been possible if nations and businesses weren’t already moving in this direction. The plans for climate action that countries committed to ahead of Paris were already enough to cover a large portion of needed emissions reduction. And while analysts pointed out that the sum total of the plans pre-Paris wouldn’t be enough to limit warming from dangerous levels, they still show that there is significant momentum.

Businesses, too, stepped up this year. High-worth individuals, family offices, and foundations committed to financial support to help move new clean energy solutions to viability, and heads of large companies, including Richard Branson and Paul Polman, called for zero emissions by 2050.

Why have nations and businesses changed their tune?

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Changing land use patterns in Brazil

October 29, 2015 | and

 

As the demand for food and climate change risk both increase, a new study explores paths to more efficient land use in the country.

As Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promised to reduce Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030. Brazil became the first major developing country to pledge an absolute reduction in emissions over the next fifteen years. Since the country is an agricultural leader with abundant natural resources, it clearly has many challenges ahead. One of the questions that arises is whether it is possible to simultaneously promote economic growth and improve ecosystem protection within Brazil’s rural landscape.

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How better price risk policy in Brazil could improve agricultural productivity

February 24, 2015 | and

 

Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour and Pedro Hemsley co-authored this post.

In Brazil’s agricultural sector, fluctuations in crop prices that are not mitigated by insurance or public policy can hinder farmers’ productivity and income, as well as the agriculture sector’s economic growth. For example, a farmer who makes planting decisions under the expectation of high harvest prices, which then fall short, can suffer severe losses. Understanding agricultural price volatility and mitigation is important to improving relevant public policy.

As part of CPI’s series of work on how to improve agricultural productivity while reducing deforestation in Brazil, we recently looked at agricultural price volatility, current policy to mitigate price risks, and what Brazil could do differently.

Our main finding is that current policy in Brazil does not meet farmers’ needs. The policy for price risk mitigation is based on direct government intervention in the market: when prices fall below a threshold, the government takes part of total output and allocates it out of the market. In 2013, the federal budget for price risk mitigation totaled BRL 5.4 billion, with over two fifths of it being destined for government buyouts and storage expenses. However, we find this policy yields only 8.03% of total production value, or BRL 4 billion per year in gains to producers of the four most important crops in Brazil – soybean, sugarcane, maize, and coffee.

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Land use policy in Brazil: A brief video overview

July 30, 2013 |

 

In this brief video, CPI senior analyst Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour discusses land use policy in Brazil in the context of deforestation, climate change, and economic growth.

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