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REDD in the news: 1-7 November 2008

REDD in the news: 1-7 November 2008

This week saw Prince Charles in Indonesia where he planted a tree and talked about his Rainforest Project. A study for Carbon Positive found “significant differences” between four forest carbon standards. The price of carbon collapsed (not for the first time) and Greenpeace launched its Forests for Climate initiative.



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2 November 2008
Prince Charles joins RI forest conservation drive
The Jakarta Post reports on Prince Charles’ visit to Indonesia. Prince Charles visited the Harapan Rainforest project, a forest restoration project that was initiated by a consortium of local NGOs, Burung Indonesia, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife International.

Head of BirdLife International’s global program department Dieter Hoffmann said the group was exploring the possibility of adopting the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism, an alternative emissions cutting scheme adopted at the Bali climate change conference last year.

He said the forest could absorb up to five millions tons of carbon per year.

“The total carbon absorbed by the project is equal to the annual emissions of Manchester,” he said.

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3 November 2008
HRH The Prince of Wales delivers the Presidential Lecture, Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Indonesia
In his speech in Jakarta, Prince Charles outlined the plans of the Prince’s Rainforests Project which will release its initial conclusions in the next few weeks for comments. The heart of the Prince’s Rainforests Project, Prince Charles said, is the “truly awesome power of private sector capital to provide emergency financing”.

I have been engaged with the pension sector through a group known as the P8 (in other words, eight of the biggest pension funds in the world) for some time and from this I know that there is an appetite for quality, long-term investments that help combat climate change. The P8 Group has recently started to explore, with the World Bank, how it might be possible to develop mechanisms by which the pension sector could put substantial money into investments that address global warming. I call this initiative the “Pension Plan for the Planet” and if the plan can be realized, it will be investment that can make a difference on a global scale.

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Prince Charles: Rich countries should pay annual ‘bills’ to stop rainforest destruction
The Telegraph reports on Prince Charles’ speech in Jakarta (see above) commenting on his idea that developing nations should pay an annual “utility bill” for protecting the rainforests..

However Simon Counsell of the Rainforest Foundation said plans to pay developing nations to protect rainforests could fuel existing corruption in developing countries and give developed countries an excuse to carry on polluting because they are able to buy carbon offsets from poorer nations.

“Yes, we want to protect the rainforests but not at the expense of reducing pollution… or fuelling corruption,” he said.

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Choose forest carbon standard carefully: Study
A new report “Forestry Carbon Standards 2008” published by Carbon Positive compares four different forest carbon standards: the Voluntary Carbon Standard’s (VCS) AFOLU program, the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS), CarbonFix Standard (CFS) and the Plan Vivo Systems and Standard. The report (which is available here) found that:

There are significant differences in approach among the emerging group of offset kitemarks and this also has implications for the buyers of the resulting credits.

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4 November 2008
Protecting the forests
Editorial in The Asahi Shimbun, which notes that this autumn the World Bank started a new project to study “the effectiveness of the REDD mechanism”. Japan is taking part in the project.

If developing countries are allowed to use an emissions trading market to sell carbon credits earned by preventing forest reduction, the perception would spread that preserving forests makes more economic sense than allowing their trees to be steadily destroyed.

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5 November 2008
Policy leap vital for any serious cut in carbon emissions
The Times reports that in the last three months, “The price of carbon has collapsed.”

[T]he ETS [Europe’s emissions trading system] is making a mockery of Europe’s stumbling attempts to lead the world in a market-based carbon strategy. It is causing irritation and frustration to the armies of advisers and investors who seek to cajole utilities into big investments in carbon reduction.

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Forests for Climate initiative launches in Indonesia
Mongabay reports on the launch of Greenpeace’s Forests for Climate (FFC) initiative. FFC is a “non-market avoided deforestation scheme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by slowing forest destruction”.

Greenpeace claims that FFC is “the only mechanism that involves local and indigenous forest peoples’ representatives to ensure their rights and livelihoods are respected.”
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Greenpeace opposes market-based mechanisms — including the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism being supported by the World Banks’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) — for forest conservation. Greenpeace is instead pushing for FFC to become part of the second phase of the Kyoto (post-2012) agreement on climate change.

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