Indonesia and Norway have agreed on a first payment from a $1 billion deal under which Indonesia preserves its rainforests to curb carbon dioxide emissions.The agreement comes nearly a decade since the deal was signed in 2010, with the delay attributed largely to the need for legislation and policy frameworks to be put in place, as well as a change in the Indonesian government since then.The amount of the first payment still needs to be negotiated by both sides, with Indonesia pushing for a higher valuation than the $5 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent that Norway paid Brazil under a similar deal.Indonesia still has work to do to ensure a consistent pace of progress and tackle the forest fires that account for much of the loss of its forests. JAKARTA — It’s taken nearly a decade, but Indonesia is finally set to receive the first part of a $1 billion payment pledged by the Norwegian government for preserving some of the Southeast Asian country’s vast tropical rainforests.Indonesia’s environment minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, and her Norwegian counterpart, Ola Elvestuen, made the announcement in Jakarta on Feb. 16. The payment, whose amount is yet to be determined, is for Indonesia preventing the emission of 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) through reducing its rate of deforestation in 2017.“Indonesia has embarked on bold regulatory reforms, and it is showing results,” Elvestuen said. “It may be too early to see a clear trend, but if deforestation continues to drop we stand ready to increase our annual payments to reward Indonesia’s results and support its efforts.”The two countries signed the $1 billion pact in 2010, under the REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) mechanism. In exchange for the funding, Indonesia would have to slow its emissions from deforestation, which accounts for the bulk of its CO2 emissions.That it’s taken so long for the first payment to be announced is due to a combination of the structuring of the agreement and a change in the Indonesian government since the 2010 signing.The partnership is led by the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative, under which the oil-rich Scandinavian country has pledged to underwrite tropical forest conservation programs in Indonesia as well as Brazil, Liberia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guyana.The cooperation between the countries is divided into phases, in which the first two phases are about getting the rainforest countries ready to stop deforestation through changes in national legislation and frameworks.Phase three starts when the rainforest countries manage to reduce deforestation, and that’s when the fund starts paying out, based on reduced emissions.Indonesia was mired in the two initial phases following a setback in 2015, when President Joko Widodo, who took office a year earlier from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, disbanded BP REDD+, the agency his predecessor had set up to coordinate the scheme.Widodo delegated the agency’s duties and powers to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, headed by Siti. (The move was part of a wider restructuring headlined by the merger of the previously separate ministries of forestry and of the environment.)It also took long for Indonesia to prepare a comprehensive integrated measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system necessary to account for its progress in reducing emissions, further delaying the transition into phase three.REDD+ is designed to keep tropical forests standing, and carbon sequestered. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.‘A matter of life and death’Environmentalists have lauded the latest development, which mark’s Indonesia’s entry into the phase at which it’s starting to roll back emissions from deforestation. The funding serves as both an acknowledgement of the years of efforts to reach this stage of protecting the country’s forests, and an incentive to boost measures to combat deforestation.“This is fantastic news for the climate, for the world’s animal and plant species, and for the millions of people who depend on these forests,” said Øyvind Eggen, director of the Rainforest Foundation Norway, an NGO.Indonesia is home to the world’s third-largest span of tropical rainforest, after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. When these rainforests are destroyed or degraded, large amount of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere.Indonesia is already the fifth-largest emitter in the world, largely through its forestry sector. That makes preserving Indonesia’s rainforests pivotal for the world to prevent catastrophic climate change, experts say. Saving these forests is also critical for the survival of the rich biodiversity they host.“Saving this rainforest is a matter of life and death, and is important to us all,” Eggen said.Female Sumatran rhino in Way Kambas, Sumatra, Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Quantifying emissions reductionsNow that Indonesia’s MRV protocol is in place, it has to convince Norway about the integrity of the system in verifying that reductions in CO2 emissions really are being achieved.“We’ve been discussing this MRV protocol [with Norway] since last year because it will affect the calculation of carbon emissions that we’ve reduced,” said Ruandha Agung Suhardiman, the Indonesian environment ministry’s head of climate change.The country initially measured its progress in reducing emissions from deforestation by using as its baseline the deforestation rate in 1990, which was inordinately high. That would inflate the apparent progress being made toward reductions, Ruandha said.Both countries subsequently agreed that Indonesia’s results should be measured against a 10-year average level of emissions for the 2006-2016 period. Annual emissions during that period were estimated at 237 million tons CO2e from deforestation and 42 million tons from forest degradation.“The government then started to issue regulations aimed at lowering emissions,” Ruandha said. “[Norway] wouldn’t have accepted not having such regulations in place, because then we might have lowered our emissions based on sheer luck, for example because of weather factors.”A crested black macaque in Sulawesi. Image for Mongabay.Defining deforestationNorway’s acknowledgement of Indonesia’s MRV system marks another important development in Indonesia’s forest management, says Arief Wijaya, a senior manager for climate and forests at the World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia.Indonesia has for years courted controversy over the definition of what counts as deforestation.The term is almost universally understood to mean the conversion of natural forest cover to other land-use categories. That includes clearing forests for the cultivation of industrial plantations: acacia and eucalyptus for pulpwood, for instance.The Indonesian government, on the other hand, doesn’t take that view. It counts man-made plantations, including industrial pulpwood plantations, as forested areas. That means that when non-forested areas are planted with acacia and eucalyptus, they are considered forest.The WRI, a Washington-based think tank with an office in Indonesia, has cautioned that the disparity may hamper Indonesia’s bid to seek foreign funding to support its initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.Without a universally agreed-on definition of deforestation, it might be difficult for Indonesia to cite its own data to claim funding.But Norway’s acceptance of Indonesia’s MRV system indicates that Jakarta has abandoned its own definition, at least for the purposes of the deal with Norway, according to Arief.“It’s up to Indonesia to report its deforestation rate in accordance with its own definition,” he said. “But look — Norway only considers emissions reductions from deforestation in natural forests. It means that when natural forests are converted into industrial plantations, deforestation has happened, according to this bilateral agreement.”Arief said this made Indonesia’s published data on emissions reductions more accountable.“It means it’s true that Indonesia has indeed managed to reduce 4.8 million tons of CO2e,” he said, “especially since the figure accounts for uncertainties. I’m quite confident about the number.”He said the 2017 reduction was the equivalent of preventing the deforestation of 100 square kilometers (38 square miles) of forest, on the assumption that a hectare of tropical forest in Indonesia holds an average 132 tons of CO2e.“A hundred square kilometers seems very small, compared to the forestry ministry’s data on declining deforestation, which was very high,” at 1,510 square kilometers in 2017. “But the ministry’s figure counts industrial plantations,” Arief said.Fires smoldering from a peat forest in West Kalimantan. Image by Aseanty Pahlevi/Mongabay Indonesia.Money mattersWhile the first tranche of the payment has been agreed to, there’s still some way to go before the money is actually released.First, both countries need to agree on the amount. Ruandha said the Indonesian government wanted a high valuation for each ton of CO2e reduced to be high, more than what Brazil earned under its own deal with Norway.“Of course we want Indonesia to get a higher price,” he said. “It takes tremendous effort to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia. It doesn’t happen overnight. And how would we compensate for people’s livelihoods? If they can’t cut down trees, what’s the compensation [for them]? That’s why we don’t want a low price.”Brazil earns $5 for each ton of CO2e it reduces through preventing deforestation, according to Arief. Between 2009 and 2016, it earned an average of 925 million krone ($108 million) a year from Norway, with the money channeled to the Amazon Fund, set up by Brazil as part of its initiative to reduce deforestation.Based on that price, Indonesia would receive $24 million from Norway for its 2017 efforts — a valuation that Ruandha called “very low.”Another missing piece of the puzzle is the lack of official funding mechanism in Indonesia, akin to Brazil’s Amazon Fund.When BP REDD+ was still in charge, it worked on a funding scheme called Financing REDD+ in Indonesia (FREDDI). Its purpose was to distribute financial assistance via grants, investments and trade intermediaries. But the scheme was scrapped along with BP REDD+. In its place, the government moved to establish a new funding instrument that would underwrite all environmental initiatives, not just those under REDD+.The office of Indonesia’s coordinating minister for the economy plans to establish the new funding instrument, known by its Indonesian acronym, BLU, sometime this year.The existing funding instrument under the forestry ministry will be integrated into the new BLU, according to Siti, the minister.“It’s not easy [to establish the BLU], but we’re currently trying to find a model that’s the easiest for us,” she said.As both countries work on the details of the payout, environmentalists have urged Indonesia not to get sidetracked by the money and to focus on tackling addressing the litany of tasks needed to improve its forest governance.Anggalia Putri Permatasari, a researcher at the NGO Madani Foundation for Sustainability, said the spirit of REDD+ and the bilateral partnership wasn’t meant to be financial. “[The money] is an incentive to mobilize actions [to reduce deforestation],” she said.Through the deal, REDD+ is expected to serve as an entry point for a slew of improvements to land and forest management, including good governance, transparency, and anti-corruption measures, Anggalia said. She said lack of transparency still dogged Indonesia’s forest management, citing the land ministry’s decision to withhold data on right-to-cultivate permits for plantation and farming businesses, known as HGU permits.Each HGU permit includes details such as land boundaries, coordinates and the area of the concession, as well as the leaseholder’s name. The HGU documents are vital because withholding them enables land-grabbing, with companies often laying claim to community lands without having to show their concession maps.Arief said that while Indonesia had implemented a number of critical reforms and actions in the forestry sector over the last few years, including a ban on destroying primary forests and peatlands, and increased law enforcement action against forest crimes, there were still some areas rich in rainforests at risk of deforestation, such as the easternmost region of Papua.“Law enforcement has to be strengthened because we’re seeing a serious threat against rainforests in Papua and West Papua provinces,” Arief said. “Recently, more than 300 containers of illegally logged timber from Papua were confiscated. There’s also ongoing forest clearing in Boven Digoel district. Land clearing due to palm oil expansion has also intensified in Teluk Bintuni district.”A clouded leopard in Kalimantan. Photo by Spencer Wright/Wikimedia CommonsFluctuating by the yearArief said Indonesia could stand to learn from Brazil’s experience in its REDD+ deal with Norway, including the importance of being consistent in efforts to reduce deforestation.In 2017, he said, Norway’s rainforest payment to Brazil was dropped to 350 million krone ($41 million) as a result of increased deforestation in the Amazon the previous year.“This means that all efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation must continue,” Arief said. “Since the largest amount of [Indonesia’s] emissions come from forest fires and deforestation, the government needs to make sure there are no more fires if they want to keep getting paid.”During the particularly dire dry season of 2015, forest fires in Indonesia raged so intensely that they generated huge clouds of toxic smog that spread as far as Singapore and Malaysia, sparking a diplomatic spat. In Indonesia alone, the smoke sickened half a million people, according to government figures.The 2015 fires razed 26,000 square kilometers (10,038 square miles) of land across Indonesia, but since then the problem largely abated. In 2017, the area burned was just 6 percent of the 2015 total, allowing Indonesia to claim an emissions reduction of 24.4 percent from the business-as-usual scenario.In 2018, however, there was a significant uptick of forest fires, with 5,100 square kilometers (1,970 square miles) of land scorched — three times the size of area burned in 2017 — thanks to a more intense dry season than in the previous two years.Fires in peat forests alone in 2016 emitted 96.7 million tons of CO2, according to government figures. The final figure for 2018, not yet published, is expected to far exceed that, given that peat fire emissions in the first eight months of the year already hit 76 million tons.Crucially, emission reductions from peat degradation and peat fires aren’t included in Indoensia’s REDD+ deal with Norway. But they are expected to be included in the accounting mechanism as estimates improve.“The 2018 fires were quite bad and so our emissions reduction will decrease again,” Ruandha said. “But we still have until 2030″ to meet a target of cutting emissions by 29 percent from business-as-usual projections.“The point is that if we can prevent fires from breaking out, and manage our peat forests well, then our climate target will be met.” Biodiversity, carbon, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Finance, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Change And Forests, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Carbon, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forestry, Illegal Logging, Palm Oil, Rainforest Biodiversity, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Redd, Redd And Biodiversity, Saving Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Deforestation Banner image: A coast in Nechiebe village of Ravenirara district, Papua province. Image by Christopel Paino/Mongabay-Indonesia. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong
He is survived by his wife: Tracey M. (Kaufer) McIntosh of Marengo, IN; sons, Joshua Wilkerson (Amanda) of Marengo, IN and Zachary McIntosh of Lousiville, KY; a brother, Bob McIntosh of Marengo, IN; sisters, Jean Harmon of Sandwich, Illinois, Susie Shelton of Milltown, IN, Judy Gabbard of Marengo, IN and Julia Freels of Maryville, IN; grandchildren: November Barnard, Peyton and Catherine Wilkerson.Funeral services will be on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the Brown Funeral Home in Milltown, Indiana. Interment will follow in the El Bethel Cemetery near Milltown, Indiana.Visitation will be on Friday, November 2, 2018 from 4-8 pm and on Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 10:00 am until time of the service time, all at the funeral home.Bro. Doug Byrum will officiate the service.Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimers Fund, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090.Arrangements are under the direction of the Brown Funeral Home in Milltown, Indiana. Richard Lee McIntosh, 63, of Marengo, Indiana died on October 29, 2018 at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon, Indiana. He was born on June 30, 1955 in Marengo, Indiana to the late Woodrow “Shorty” and Lelia Gibbs McIntosh.He was a grounds keeper for the Donald Ross Golf Course at French Lick Springs Resort. He was a musician and bass player for 50 years for local area bands. He enjoyed woodworking and loved spending time with his grandchildren.He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers: John and Mike McIntosh.
Yesteryear superstar Rajesh Khanna was on Saturday admitted to a city hospital, two days after he reassuringly waved to fans from the balcony of his residence to dispel concerns about his failing health.The 69-year-old actor’s wife Dimple Kapadia said he was “exhausted and a little weak”, while doctors refused to divulge details of his ailment.”Yes, Khanna has been admitted to our hospital,” said a senior doctor at Bandra’s Lilavati Hospital.”He is exhausted and a little weak so for better care we have brought him to the hospital,” Dimple, who is continuously by his side, said.Scores of worried fans, who lined up outside his house ‘Aashirwad’ on Carter Road in Bandra on Thursday after another of his health scares, had heaved a sigh of relief when he emerged on the balcony flanked by his wife and actor son-in-law Akshay Kumar.Though looking frail, a bearded Khanna, attired in a crisp Kurta and sporting black shades, repeatedly flashed the V sign with a smile.This was after media reports emerged that he had stopped taking food for 3-4 days. Akshay had rubbished reports of Khanna being unwell and said he was “hearty and healthy”.In April too, the actor was admitted to Lilavati hospital after he complained of uneasiness and exhaustion.The actor was hailed as India’s first superstar after 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972 including Aradhana, Haathi Mere Saathi, Anand and Amar Prem.He was recently seen appearing in his first television ad, directed by filmmaker R Balki, for Havell’s fan.advertisementKhanna married Dimple in 1973 and has two daughters from the marriage. The two split in 1984 and thereafter lived separately, but did not complete divorce proceedings.Their elder daughter Twinkle, actor-turned-interior decorator, is married to Akshay and younger daughter Rinke, also a former actor, has wed a London-based investment banker.
Touch West have released their “Word from the West” newsletter for Autumn 2007. All the news, views, and important information from Western Australia and the rest of the Touch Football world are highlighted in this excellent edition.Feature pieces in the second edition of the “Word from the West” broach a wide range of pertinent topics. The “Word from the West” newsletter includes:The view from Touch West State Manager Matt Bamford’s desk, a wrap of the Barbarians 2007 National Touch League campaign, and the “Be Active State Championships”, as well as the “Be Active Member’s Equity Super League Finals Series”. Beach Touch in the West is also featured. Western Australia’s World Cup contingent is honoured in the newsletter, as well as the West’s NTL refereeing representatives, and a catalogue of events is listed to keep constituents up to date with all the upcoming events from the West.Please click onto the below attachment to read.Related Fileswa_newsletter_vol_2_autumn_2007-pdf
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Youseff Msakni in England for talks with Premier League trioby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTunisia forward Youseff Msakni is attracting Premier League interest.Msakni, who currently plays for Al Duhail in Qatar, has been in England this week trying to finalise a move ahead of the January market.Talks have been held with Watford, Cardiff City and Brighton.The three clubs are reported to be considering an initial six-month loan for the 28-year-old, with a view to a permanent deal, after the striker missed the World Cup in Russia with a knee ligament injury.Msakni scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists in 20 league games last season.
Wolves boss Nuno hails matchwinner Neves after Liverpool shockby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves stunned Liverpool to dump them out of the FA Cup on Monday night.Ruben Neves’ superb second-half strike sent Wolves through to the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of a Liverpool side that featured three teenagers making their full debuts.Reds boss Jurgen Klopp made nine changes to his starting XI, which included 17-year-old midfielder Curtis Jones and 18-year-old Rafael Camacho. They were joined by Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever – at 16, the club’s third youngest debutant – in the sixth minute following an injury to Dejan Lovren.Raul Jimenez fired Wolves ahead following an error by midfielder James Milner.Divock Origi levelled for the visitors six minutes after the break with the side’s first effort on target. But that parity lasted four minutes as Neves launched a venomous dipping shot from 31 yards that beat Simon Mignolet at his near post.Wolves boss Nuno stated: “I am very pleased, the team performed very well in a tough game. We took our chances.”He (Neves) has talent, he has done it before and we encourage him to shoot from range. It was a good strike and the fans were very special.”The draw is the draw, next we have Manchester City so we are focused on that.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say England coach Southgate insists he’s not tempted by Premier League returnby Paul Vegas19 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEngland coach Gareth Southgate insists he’s not tempted by a return to the Premier League.A newspaper report recently claimed Tottenham were lining him up to replace Mauricio Pochettino.But he says: “You go to bed Saturday night and you wake up Sunday morning and the agenda’s set.”Look, I’ve said in the summer, I’m not somebody that needs to hedge my bets and needs to play cleverly and say, ‘I’ll keep this door open, that door open’.”I’m the England manager and it’s a massive privilege to do the job. There’s a lot of work to do here with the team.”We think the team can continue to improve, and until I’m told otherwise, 2022 is my contract, and that’s it.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Burnley striker Chris Wood upset VAR denied equaliserby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBurnley striker Chris Wood felt they deserved a point-saving goal in a controversial finish at Leicester City.Wood put Burnley in front with his fourth goal in as many games and then with the Clarets pressing for a late leveller, Jonny Evans bundled the ball into his own net under pressure from Wood, whose initial effort had been saved by Kasper Schmeichel.City centre-back Evans looked to have no chance of clearing the ball and went to ground yards after the two players had come together.But following consultation with the VAR, referee Jon Moss disallowed the goal for a foul by Wood – to the frustration of the striker and his team-mates, whose four-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat.“In my opinion it should stand,” said Wood to the club’s website.“The ball has bounced off Jonny and gone in and I hear there might have been a little accidental clip of the heels.“But my eyes are looking at the ball, straight ahead or up, nowhere near him. When the clip happens the ball is already on the line, if not over.“There is no way he is getting back to clear it and is it clear and obvious enough to overrule the referee?“In my opinion, no. I don’t think that was in the least clear and obvious and it’s frustrating.“I’m a big fan of VAR and it’s been brought in for a reason. When it is done right and it is clear and obvious, then ok.“But in my opinion, if everyone doesn’t see it as clear and obvious, them it’s not clear and obvious. Hopefully it will keep on improving over the years and we can go on from here.”
Welcome to another edition of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. Teams are ranked according to a projection of their strength over the coming week using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For a more detailed explanation of the process behind these numbers, see our first rankings post.Some stray thoughts on the rankings:The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a bit of a precarious position. After losing two of their three games over the past week, they occupy the 10th slot in the Western Conference standings. And despite the talent on hand, our simulations give them just a 53.5 percent probability of making the playoffs, down 19.1 percentage points from a week ago. It’s no coincidence that over the same span, the Phoenix Suns won two of three to move four games clear of Oklahoma City. The Suns’ playoff chances rose by 10.5 points to 50.1 percent.Sandwiched between Phoenix and Oklahoma City in the West standings is New Orleans, but the Pelicans check in with just an 18.1 percent probability of making the playoffs. Why? They have neither the Suns’ advantage in the standings nor the talent edge of the Thunder. That said, New Orleans is improving on both counts, winning two of three over the past week. The Pelicans’ projected rating is 1.1 points per 100 possessions higher in this week’s power ratings, thanks to progress on offense.Why did the San Antonio Spurs drop a two slots and lose a league-high 1.9 points per 100 possessions from their rating? Blame Tony Parker (mostly). Parker is struggling to find his form after a hamstring injury earlier in the season, and he has one of the league’s worst RPM ratings this season (which only got worse after a rough performance in the Spurs’ 20-point home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday). The playing-time projections for our ratings see Parker logging more minutes this week, so the numbers view him as personally responsible for nearly half of the Spurs’ projected decline.The biggest raw gainers are the Minnesota Timberwolves, who upped their expected rating for the week to -7.0 from -10.6 a week ago, an improvement of 3.6 points per 100 possessions. A little of that is the remarkably rapid development of our buddy Andrew Wiggins, but it’s much more due to the return of Ricky Rubio. Plus-minus style statistics have always thought more highly of Rubio than the public at large, and here he carries the 26th-highest individual per-possession rating of any player in our data set. It’s doubly beneficial for Minnesota because Rubio’s return cuts into the minutes of Zach LaVine, who has been arguably the worst player in the NBA this season. (I’m at least allowed to say that, right?)As bad as my hometown Philadelphia 76ers have been this season, something jumps out about their coterie of ratings at the bottom of the table: Their defense is above average! The decidedly poor offensive RPM numbers of Nerlens Noel (-5.0), Luc Mbah a Moute (-3.6), Henry Sims (-3.5), K.J. McDaniels (-3.4) and even Michael Carter-Williams (-2.5) hides a collection of pretty decent defenders. For instance, Noel’s defensive RPM (+2.2) is roughly equivalent to that of DeAndre Jordan, who finished third in last year’s voting for defensive player of the year. Of course, the Sixers are still awful, and that means their offense must be especially bad to offset an above-average defense. Sure enough, they’re tracking for the worst offense (in terms of offensive rating relative to league average) in the history of major professional basketball.
Ohio State senior shortstop Lilli Piper (22) celebrates after coming home safely in a game against Indiana on March 24 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternThe Ohio State softball team won its third straight game in a 5-2 extra-inning win against Pittsburgh (5-29) 5-2, recording 10 hits and four walks. Early on, Ohio State thrived defensively, ending the first inning with a diving catch by freshman right fielder Kaitlyn Coffman, while senior pitcher Morgan Ray recorded two swinging strikeouts at the end of the second and third inning. The Buckeyes got on board at the beginning of the fourth inning. Junior outfielder Andi Farrah doubled down the left field line, scoring sophomore outfielder Summer Constable. In the fifth inning, Coffman homered to left center, her sixth of the season, extending the lead to 2-0The Panthers soon caught up and tied the game with a two-run homer by senior first baseman Gabrielle Fredericks in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ray finished the game allowing two runs on three hits, striking out five in 5.2 innings pitched. With the game tied heading into the ninth inning Ohio State senior second baseman Emily Clark hit a two-run homer over the left field wall. Freshman Ashley Prange extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 5-2 with another home run in the ninth.Freshman center fielder Meg Otte was one of two players, along with Prange, with three hits in four at bats. The win brings Ohio State to 21-10 on the year with a 5-1 record in the Big Ten. Ohio State will start a three-game series against Rutgers. The first game will start at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by a game at 2 p.m. Saturday, with the final game of the series at 1 p.m. Sunday.