REDD in the news: 18-24 January 2010

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REDD in the news: 18-24 January 2010

A round up of media coverage of REDD over the past seven days. The Rights and Resources Initiative released an important report: “The End of the Hinterland: Forests, Conflict and Climate Change”.

The report warns that “the failure to set legal standards and safeguards for a mechanism to transfer funds to forest-rich nations may trigger a sharp rise in speculation and corruption, placing unprecedented pressures on tropical forest lands and the communities that inhabit them.”

Here’s REDD in the news, in chronological order with short extracts – click on the title for the full article. REDD-Monitor’s comments are in [square brackets]. For those who can’t wait until Monday morning for last week’s REDD news, REDD-Monitor has a new page: “REDD in the news,” which is updated daily.

» What Was Achieved in Copenhagen?
Energy Collective Webinar, 26 January 2010 | While the devil is certainly in the details, and most certainly the Copenhagen congress should only be viewed as a starting point for global action, it is clear that the world had hope for real progress and actionable goals. Did they get it? With this question in mind, The Energy Collective, with our enabling sponsor, Siemens, would like to invite you to join us as we break down what was achieved, and what got left undone in Copenhagen this year. In addition to your questions, we will examine the events of Cop15 from a number of angles, including: Was progress made on on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and adaptation aid to developing countries?

» UN-REDD Newsletter 5
UN-REDD, Issue # 5 Dec 2009 / Jan 2010 | Like many of you, the UN-REDD Programme followed the Copenhagen negotiations closely especially on the issue of REDD+. Doing so was critical since the outcomes of COP-15 will impact UN-REDD’s strategic options moving forward. The Programme has also followed the numerous and diverse analysis and opinions that have emerged out of COP-15. In this context, it’s helpful to revisit the facts with respect to REDD+ in Copenhagen.

» Forest Carbon Resources & Publications
WWF, January 2010 | “Discussion Paper – Proposed Checklist of Policy, Legal and Regulatory Requirements to Stimulate REDD activities” – This discussion paper is intended to provide a proposed checklist of policy, legal and regulatory requirements to stimulate REDD activities. This paper is not a statement of WWF’s position and should not be quoted as such, instead it is provided with a view to informing the discussions on this subject. [R-M: Many other WWF forest carbon reports are linked from this page.]

» Yeang Donal: REDD in Prey Long (Cambodia)
Yeang Donal, January 2010 | The film follows the development of a Cambodian forest climate project where researchers from Forest & Landscape are working together with local NGOs and the Cambodian forest administration to protect the country’s last intact lowland rainforest. This is being achieved by purchasing the existing timber concessions and financing the transaction by selling carbon credits from the preserved forest. . . . The film has been made by Ida Theilade and Lars Schmidt from Forest & Landscape, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with Conservation International and the Blue Moon Foundation. It is produced by Asian Images. [R-M: An article I wrote about Prey Long in May 2009: http://bit.ly/Ny0BR]

18 January 2010

» State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009
carbonpositive.net, 18 January 2010 | The ‘State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009’ report was released by Ecosystem Marketplace. It’s a landmark report that appears the best attempt yet at a comprehensive estimate of the volumes and value in the forest carbon sector worldwide over its 20-year history. It covers the market from the first projects in the late 1980s up to mid-2009. Although dated 2009, it was released in January 2010.

» Ode to Madang
By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet, 18 January 2010 | Nowhere is this more evident than in Madang Province, PNG, which contains some of Earth’s last remaining mostly intact tropical and marine ecosystems in the world. The “Jewel of the South Pacific” includes large ancient rainforest tracts, huge tuna and other fisheries, and barely explored mineral deposits; as well as beautiful, loving and peaceful people. Madang’s rainforests and oceans feed and house all its citizens, regulate national and regional climatic patterns, and make the Earth habitable by providing global ecosystem services. As Somare flits about in his new high-end private jet (who paid for that?) signing illicit business deals with Asian cartels and otherwise stealing Madang and the nation’s resources (including attempts to corner nascent carbon markets), Madang and PNG’s infrastructure including schools, hospitals, police and roads are in shambles.

19 January 2010

» Good governance vital to the success of REDD
By James Clarke, CIFOR, 19 January 2010 | “The prominence of forests in the Copenhagen Accord has demonstrated that REDD can become a reality,” says Frances Seymour, Director General of CIFOR, headquartered in Indonesia. “But our new report underlines that we should be paying increased attention to the measurement, reporting, and verification of REDD-related financial flows. “Many of the countries with the most remaining forest are also those with weak or evolving governance structures for controlling corruption. We need to build management capacity in order to ensure that REDD funds end up in the pockets of the people who are actually the ones protecting the forest. This doesn’t mean we should stop REDD; the risks of corruption have to be balanced against the risks of no action, which are huge. We must introduce REDD in phases so that capacity on the ground can catch up with the intended benefits,” says Seymour.

» Indonesian government recommends moratorium on peatlands conversion
mongabay.com, 19 January 2010 | A study issued by Indonesian government recommends a moratorium on peatlands conversion in order to meet its greenhouse gas emissions target pledged for 2020, reports the Jakarta Post. The report, commissioned by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), says that conversion of peatlands accounts for 50 percent of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions but only one percent of GDP. A ban on conversion would therefore be a cost-effective way for the country to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions 26 percent from a projected baseline by 2020.

» The REDD mafia
By Ricardo Coelho, Cool the Earth Blog, 19 January 2010 | In Papua New Guinea, a native leader, Abilie Wape, from the Kamula Doso Peoples, was kidnapped and forced at gun point to give away the rights for the carbon stored in the idigenous’ forest. In Kenya, a UNEP-funded REDD project in the Mau forest has led to evictions and threatens the cultural survival of the Ogiek hunter-gathers (OneWorld.net). In order to allow our industries to go on polluting, we are ready to give money to mobsters and participate in acts of genocide. As Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network puts it, “Everyone who cares about our future, forests, Indigenous Peoples and human rights should reject REDD because it is irremediably flawed, cannot be fixed and because, despite efforts to develop safeguards for its implementation, REDD will always be potentially genocidal.”

» Conserving Nature Impacts People — But What Does That Mean?
By Rebecca Goldman (The Nature Conservancy), Ethiopian Review, 19 January 2010 | Conserving a forest through a REDD project might provide funds to compensate local people who relied on minimal timber harvest from that forest for income and who lived within the forest for shelter, but are these payments sufficient to compensate loss income and cost of displacement? The future of our effectiveness as conservationists — not to mention our credibility — demands that we ask these questions…and get the right answers.

» Innovative ways of retaining forests
By Fitrian Ardiansyah (WWF), Jakarta Post, 19 January 2010 | Stopping and reversing the loss and degradation of forests and peat land is a crucial element of any climate solution developed in Indonesia. Last year, in his pledge to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and in his Cabinet’s “100 days” program, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that Indonesia would tackle emissions from deforestation and changes in land use, including from forest and land fires. This year, the minister of forestry vowed to add an extra 21.15 million hectares of forest by 2020 (500,000 hectares per year) as the top priority to contribute to the President’s pledge. While this is a good move, it may not provide sufficient results to reduce the country’s GHG emissions.

20 January 2010

» Govt’s illegal logging target ‘irrational’: Activists
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 20 January 2010 | The Forestry Ministry’s program to mitigate climate change put combating illegal logging as one alternative to meet the government’s target to reduce 26 percent of the country’s emissions by 2020. The forestry sector was expected to contribute 14 percent to the target, which was announced by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the country’s commitment to tackle climate change. Data from the ministry said illegal logging was expected to reach only 488 cases from 2010 to 2020 with the total volume of illegal timber of 17,226 cubic meters. The ministry predicted that there would be 88 cases of illegal logging this year compared to 104 in 2009. In 2020, there would only be 17 illegal logging cases with 594 cubic meters of illegal timber. The Greenomics’ assessment of the ministry’s data showed the illegal logging would take place only in 1 hectare per province per year.

» Training Workshop for REDD in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Lao PDR
BPPT – The Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, 20-22 January 2010 | Outcomes The expected outcomes of this project scoping workshop include: (1) Identification of REDD project activities in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Lao PDR, (2) REDD project implementation plan for each of the three country REDD projects, (3) Development and dissemination of REDD materials (PDF background documents, relevant literature, PowerPoint presentations, etc.), (4) Establishment of a workshop website providing wider dissemination of training materials. The training and project identification will lead to near-term activities for developing REDD projects with the express purpose of trading the avoided deforestation emissions on either the compulsory (Kyoto) market (post-2012) or the voluntary carbon market (Chicago Climate Exchange – pending an approved REDD protocol and/or to direct investors).

» Clark Labs Announces the Creation of a New Blog on REDD
GeoCommunity, 20 January 2010 | Clark Labs is pleased to announce the creation of a blog devoted to utilizing its GIS technology for REDD applications. The development of REDD projects requires robust modeling tools to address the inherent complexities of such projects. REDD initiatives and pilot projects are currently underway by many organizations at various sites, and Clark Labs continues to play a key role in areas such as training, advising and software development. . . . Research Associate, Stefano Crema, is the primary author of this blog. Observations and comments are encouraged. Visit the blog at www.redd-modeling.org.

» The PPP’s unsubstantiated attacks on Guyanese citizens at home and abroad brings discredit to our nation
Alliance for Change, 20 January 2010 | Climate change has no borders. The PPP’s unsubstantiated attack on Guyanese citizens who are playing their part to address this issue at home and abroad brings discredit to our nation The PPP/C administration is being inept and opportunistic in its attack on Ms Janette Bulkan, an internationally respected expert on forestry issues. The regime seems not to understand the difference between politics and diplomacy. The AFC wishes to remind the governing PPP that the role of a political Party-in-Power is to represent fair-mindedly and democratically all of Guyana’s citizens, those in and out of Guyana, PPP and non-PPP supporters.

» Rainforest allies make headway
By Lisa Lerer, Politico.com, 20 January 2010 | Over the past two years, Avoided Deforestation Partners has pushed REDD to a long list of lawmakers and administration officials, including Larry Summers, the top White House economic adviser; Carol Browner, the senior climate adviser; Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Early last year, Horowitz brought together industry and NGOs for a series of closed-door negotiations that included energy companies such as American Electric Power, Duke Energy and PG&E, along with most of the major environmental groups. “Jeff’s attitude was, ‘I just want to protect the world’s rainforests; I’m not taking sides in the NGOs’ fights,’” said Gustavo Silva-Chavez, an international climate change analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund and expert in REDD who participated in the talks.

21 January 2010

» Journalist who criticized illegal logging activities in Mindanao is missing
Mindanao Examiner, 21 January 2010 | A radio broadcaster who strongly criticized rampant illegal logging activities in the southern Philippines was reported missing, reports said Thursday. Emmanuel Ansihagan, who works for the radio station dxRS, disappeared after he went to the police to report that he was being threatened after exposing about the unabated illegal logging operations in Misamis Oriental province. Ansihagan, who also writes for the Caraga Times, reported the threats to his life to the police on Thursday. His cousin Mark Ansihagan and uncle, Datu Bayhon Ansihagan, said the journalist has not returned home since, according to a report by television giant GMA News. . . . Last year, at least 31 journalists were massacred along with more that two dozen people after their convoy were attacked by some 100 gunmen allegedly led by the scion of powerful political clan, Andal Ampatuan Jr., who is the also the mayor of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao.

» The Carbon Credit Deal Between South Africa’s Nedbank and Wildlife Works
By Gina-Marie Cheeseman, triplepundit.com, 21 January 2010 | Nedbank Group, one of South Africa’s largest banks, and the U.S.-based Wildlife Works Inc. (WWI), an apparel company that assists conservation efforts in Kenya, signed a multi-million dollar agreement on a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project in Kenya. Nedbank will acquire Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) through WWI to offset its carbon footprint. The goal of WWI’s REDD project in Kenya is to avoid deforestation of the Kasigau Corridor in the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. The project is validated by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), and awarded gold level approval under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance’s (CCBA) forestry protection standard.When WWI established 80,000 acres in 1997 in the Kasigau Corridor, the land was “on the brink of disaster,” according to WWI’s website.

» World Bank replies to Persaud’s protest
Kaieteur News, 21 January 2010 | The World Bank yesterday said that it is replying to Guyana’s protest of a map of Suriname which included Guyana’s territory as used at one of its recent meetings. In November, the government, through Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, filed a protest with the World Bank over a map of Suriname that included part of Guyana’s territory, which was presented at an October meeting of the participants committee of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). “Indeed, we have received Minister Persaud’s letter and we are in the process of preparing a reply,” Isabel Hagbrink, Senior Communications Officer with the Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank Group told Kaieteur News. Hagbrink refrained from going into details about that reply.

22 January 2010

» AFC denounces gov’t attack on Janette Bulkan
Stabroek News, 22 January 2010 | The Alliance For Change (AFC) says that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government is being “inept and opportunistic” in requesting that the World Bank remove forestry activist, Dr Janette Bulkan from a Technical Advisory Panel. “The PPP’s unsubstantiated attack on Guyanese citizens who are playing their part to address this issue (climate change) at home and abroad brings discredit to our nation”, said the AFC in a press release yesterday.

» Study projects increased conflict and speculation in tropical forests despite Copenhagen Accord
Rights and Resources Initiative, Press Release, 22 January 2010 | The report, released today by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) at an event at Chatham House, concludes that unclear land rights in some countries, coupled with threats from corruption, could block success of the US$3.5 billion pledged for a program to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by preventing the unfettered destruction of tropical forests. The authors of The End of the Hinterland: Forests, Conflict and Climate Change cite numerous studies suggesting that in 2010 the potential for enormous profits will lead to increased competition over forest resources between powerful global governments and investors on the one hand, and local actors on the other, resulting in new and resurging violent conflict. [R-M: the report can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/8yHtVz]

» Publication: The End of the Hinterland
Rights and Resources Initiative, January 2010 | Forests have long been a hinterland: remote, “backward” areas largely controlled by external, often urban, actors and seen to be of little use to national development or the world except as a supply of low-valued natural resources. 2009 marks the beginning of the end of this era: Forest lands are booming in value for the production of food, fuel, fiber and now carbon. New global satellite and communications technology allow the world to peer into, assess the value of, and potentially control forests from anywhere in the world. More than ever, forests are bargaining chips in global climate negotiations and markets. This unprecedented exposure and pressure, and risk to local people and their forests, is being met by unprecedented levels of local organization and political influence, providing nations and the world at large tremendous opportunity to right historic wrongs, advance rural development and save forests.

» Copenhagen ‘fails forest people’
By Mark Kinver, BBC News, 22 January 2010 | A multi-billion dollar deal tabled at the Copenhagen climate summit could lead to conflicts in forest-rich nations, a report has warned. The study by the Rights and Resources Initiative said the funds could place “unprecedented pressure” on some areas. . . . “One of the things that the world has learned over the years is that Redd is far more difficult than many people imagined,” said Andy White, co-ordinator of RRI, a US-based think-tank, and one of the report’s lead authors. “The forested areas of the world – by and large – have very high levels of poverty, low levels of respect for local rights, and a very low level of control among local people to shape and control their destiny. “So the rather simplistic notion that money from the rich North can control or limit deforestation was unrealistic.”

» Increased conflict in tropical forests projected despite Copenhagen Accord
Oneindia News, 22 January 2010 | “Throwing heaps of money into a system without agreeing to any framework or standards has the potential to unleash a wave of speculation unlike anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetime,” said Andy White, Coordinator of RRI and one of the lead authors of the report. “The result will be chaos on the carbon markets, as well as chaos in the field. It will be like the Wild, Wild West,” he added. . . . “Forests will remain remote from the centers of power, but they will be carved up, controlled, and used as global political bargaining chips like never before,” said Jeffrey Hatcher, Policy Analyst for RRI and co-author of the report. “Unless governments adopt the necessary tenure and governance reforms that will lead to a reduction in emissions, the world faces a devastating back-slide into a ‘business as usual’ mode of thinking,” he added.

» China’s forest tenure reform good example: report
Xinhua News, 22 January 2010 | As pressure to preserve the world’s precious forest resources is growing, China’s forest tenure reform in recent years serves as a good example for other countries, said an international research report released here Friday. The report, published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a global coalition of top forest organizations, referred to the tenure reform in China as “arguably the largest in world history:” It has affected over 400 million landowners and 100 million hectares of forest and benefited farmers’ income and afforestation.

» Avoiding the REDD Monster
By CJA Bradshaw, ConservationBytes.com, 22 January 2010 | A short post about a small letter that recently appeared in the latest issue of Conservation Biology – the dangers of REDD. . . . Venter and colleagues in their letter entitled Avoiding Unintended Outcomes from REDD now warn us about another potential hazard of REDD that needs some pretty quick thinking and clever political manoeuvring to avoid. . . . Essentially they argue that when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, there could be a 2-year gap when forest loss would not be counted against carbon payments, and its in this window that countries might fell forests and expand agriculture before REDD takes effect (i.e., clear now and avoid later penalties). How do we avoid this? The authors suggest that the implementation of policies to reward early efforts to reduce forest clearance and to penalise those who rush to do early clearing need to be put in place NOW.

» Your Story or Your Life: Violent Attacks Increasing Against Enviro Journalists
By Emily Gertz, onearth.org, 22 January 2010 | Sometimes reporters who are detained or threatened are trying to cover logging in developing nations — an issue that is central the climate change mitigation/funding for developments combos being negotiated under the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) program. In one case noted in the RSF report, a correspondent in Southeast Asia for several French news outlets, was investigating illegal logging in Sumatra last year. Cyril Payen and his crew were arrested last July by security guards of the PT Lontar Papirup Pulp and Papers company. (PT Lontar’s corporate parent is Sinar Mas, a major Indonesian conglomerate.) The company’s head of security and local police tried to suppress video the crew had taken of trucks being loaded with timber.

» ACCC tackles growing trend of false green claims
By Ilya Gridneff, WAToday.com, 22 January 2010 But founder and chief operating officer Dave Sag will not be drawn on Carbon Planet’s own involvement in PNG and, in particular, it relationship with self-proclaimed “carbon kingpin” Kirk Roberts, a former disqualified Australian horse trainer who once ran a Philippine cockfighting business. Sag did not respond to AAP’s questions or interview requests and has made various legal threats to international media covering the issue. In December last year, Mr Sag walked out of a SBS television interview when asked about Mr Roberts and PNG. Mr Sag said in the latest statement: “Do your research, ask the right questions and insist on owning the credits you are purchasing”.

23 January 2010

» PNG: Carbon traders move in
By Simon Butler, Green Left, 23 January 2010 | During the United Nations Copenhagen climate summit in December, fresh allegations emerged that unscrupulous carbon traders were buying up the rights to the carbon stored in forests in Papua New Guinea from indigenous landowners. One PNG man told the December 12 SBS news he was forced to sign up at the point of a gun.

» Leave Forest Communities alone to manage the Ecology of Forests
Searching Alternative Narratives, 23 January 2010 | “There is a real fear that REDD will lead to dispossession of local communities [as] governments stake their claim on emissions reduction credits – says Ashwini Chhatre”. “Trade-offs and synergies between carbon storage and livelihood benefits from forest commons” Authors : Ashwini Chhatre and Arun Agrawal. [R-M: the report, published in PNAS and edited by Elinor Ostrom, can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/7C4CWV]

24 January 2010

» Saving the planet through its trees
The Japan Times Online, 24 January 2010 | Nic [C.W. Nicol] is one of the leaders of Nihon ni Kenzen na Mori wo Tsukuri Naosu Iinkai (Committee to Recreate Healthy Forests in Japan), a citizen-based policy group formed to focus public opinion and government policies on protecting and sustainably using Japan’s forests. The committee is made up of 12 scholars, writers, and forestry professionals. Last autumn, the group handed a set of proposals to Masahiko Yamada, a senior vice-minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, calling on the Japanese government to begin moving immediately toward a low-carbon society that judiciously conserves and capitalizes on its forests. The committee proposes that Japan should commit to reducing oil use by at least 1 percent per year; begin using the natural energy of forests; become a nation that takes up forestry as a national occupation; and make this country a model for wise use of forest resources.

» Carbon traders quit emissions market amid drop in demand
The Guardian, 24 January 2010 | Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012. Carbon financiers have already begun leaving banks in London because of the lack of activity and the drop-off in investment demand. The Guardian has been told that backers have this month pulled out of a large planned clean-energy project in the developing world because of the expected fall in emissions credits after 2012. Anthony Hobley, partner and global head of climate change and carbon finance at law firm Norton Rose, said: “People will gradually start to leave carbon desks, we are beginning to see that already. We are seeing a freeze in banks’ recruitment plans for the carbon market. It’s not clear at what point this will turn into a cull or a rout.”

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