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REDD in the news: 15-21 February 2010

Broccoli, PHOTO by Global Witness

Here is this week’s round up of the last seven days’ news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). For those who can’t wait until Monday for last week’s REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: “REDD in the news“.

Future in Forests
Robert Hrubes (SCS), Carbon Trading, February 2010 | Any US cap-and-trade regime is likely to rely heavily on forest carbon offsets for a number of reasons, some of which are unique to the country. As the world’s top industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, the US needs a large supply of cost-effective offsets to reduce its emissions. Forest carbon offset projects have a lower cost than other offset project types and can potentially provide a large volume of carbon credits.

15 February 2010

President Jagdeo appointed to UN climate change panel
Caribbean Daily News, 15 February 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo has been appointed as one of four world leaders to sit on a United Nations panel to address financing for countries in the fight against climate change. Also named to the panel established by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Ethiopia and Norway. The body is viewed as critical to the recently held global climate change summit in Copenhagen last December and the follow-up event to be held in Mexico later this year. . . . The Guyana Government Information Agency (GINA) said lobbying efforts in Copenhagen were fervent and enabled the expansion of the Reduced Emissions on Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative to include countries, such as Guyana, that have low levels of deforestation.

In the Tropical Forests of Sumatra: Notes from Climate Change ‘Ground Zero’
By Andre Vltchek and Geoffrey Gunn, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 15 February 2010 | The country has already lost over 70 percent of its intact ancient forests and half of what is left are threatened by commercial logging, forest fires and clearances for palm oil plantations. And the greed seems to know no boundaries. No matter how pressing, the environmental issues can’t be separated from the general and continuous decay of Indonesian state – from its endemic corruption, impunity of armed forces, extreme breed of market fundamentalism and faith put above rational thinking.

Indonesia May Open More Forests to Palm Oil
By Arti Ekawati, Jakarta Globe, 15 February 2010 | As Indonesia looks for ways to meet its ambitious emissions-reduction targets, the Ministry of Forestry on Monday said it plans to issue a new regulation that would allow commercial forestry companies to plant crops such as palm oil in new concession areas. The ministry said the “mixed forest” regulation was intended to help companies survive the current low timber prices and would enable them to grow biofuel crops to help alleviate the country’s energy shortage. Environmental groups warned that the plan would accelerate deforestation, which contributes to global warming.

16 February 2010

Palm estate is forest, says ministry
By Adianto P- Simamora, Jakarta Post, 16 February 2010 | The Forestry Ministry is drafting a decree to include oil palm plantations in the forest sector to comply with international standards in mitigating climate change. The ministry said it believed the policy would not lead to massive forest conversion into palm oil plantations as many critics feared. “By definition, oil palm plantations will be defined as forest, but its management will be under the Agriculture Ministry,” head of research and development at the ministry, Tachrir Fathoni told The Jakarta Post on Monday. . . . “It is to anticipate the implementation of the REDD scheme,” he said.

Second all-Africa Carbon Forum to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on 3-5 March 2010
Bonner Presseblog, 16 February 2010 | The more than 500 expected participants will include some 60 national representatives – so-called CDM designated national authorities and national focal points – from more than 30 African countries. The conference programme is focused on topics of special interest to CDM in Africa with the expressed intention of catalyzing CDM activity on the continent – emerging opportunities in the area of agriculture, forestry and land use; carbon finance in waste management; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in Africa; opportunities for renewable energy; Africa-friendly methodologies and programmes of multiple CDM project activities; and raising capacity of CDM stakeholders, to name a few topics.

Analysts Say COP 15 Helped Bridge the Private-Public Divide
By Henry Teitelbaum, Ecosystem Marketplace, 16 February 2010 | Nowhere was positive momentum for engaging private sector expertise and financial support more on display than in efforts to promote REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. REDD, which helps support forest conservation by creating a mechanism whereby carbon emitting businesses in one country can buy offsets in the form of pollution allowances that essentially pay for the upkeep and preservation of rainforests in poorer countries. Stewart Maginnis, director of Environment and development at IUCN, a Switzerland-based environmental conservation group, says that COP15 produced significant progress in spreading understanding of REDD. “A clear idea of what is required to make REDD-plus work has now emerged, with real potential to contribute up to 30% of the global effort to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations over the next decade,” he says.

National Workshop on REDD Strategy Options
Government of Nepal Ministry of Forests, 16 February 2010 | REDD-Forestry and Climate Change is working to develop national REDD strategy Options for Nepal through service providers (FECOFUN and Practical Solution Consultancy Nepal). The service providers have completed three regional level consultation workshops in three different part of the country and have fixed the date for national level workshop for 17th February, 2010 at Training Hall, Department of Forest, Babarmahal, Kathmandu from 9:00 in the morning to 5: pm. The main purpose of the workshop is to share drivers of deforestation and forest degradation ( D and D) identified under component 2a and seek underlying causes behind it along with identifying probable solution to mitigate D and D.

17 February 2010

Plantation inclusion will ‘kill forests’
Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, 17 February 2010 | Environmental activists have condemned the government’s plan to classify oil palm plantations as forests, calling it a ploy to legalize forest conversions. Activists from Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), Telapak Indonesia and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) called on the Forestry Ministry to rescind the plan if the government was serious in efforts to safeguard the country’s already threatened forests. FWI executive director Wirendro Sumargo said the plan would increase the threat to forests because it would allow local authorities to easily reallocate forest use to increase their budgets. “It would not be surprising that under the new decree, natural forests can be easily converted for business uses,” Wirendro told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana now appointed to sit on UN climate change group. Why?
Baiganchoka.com, 17 February 2010 | UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a week ago launched a new high level group aimed at addressing climate change. The goal is to mobilize financing to aid developing countries to combat the effects of rising temperatures that they are experiencing. Heading the group will Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. . . . According to Secretary Ban “There will be an even balance between developing and developed countries”, hence, the reason why President Jagdeo might be sitting on this high level panel. . . . While Guyana stands at the cross roads of change, we have to keep in mind that voice of Guyana belongs 800,000 that live there and they all need be involved. In the words of Guyanese Journalist Neil Marks “People in Guyana understand that the LCDS strategy means preserving trees and that they should get money for it – but the understanding stops there.”

Preserving Indonesia’s forests
AlJazeera, 17 February 2010 | Indonesia’s forests are home to a wealth of species and are one of the world’s biological treasures. But the rate of deforestation there is faster than anywhere else in the world. As Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports, Indonesian businessmen are hoping to change that with a controversial new plan to reduce emissions from deforestation.

18 February 2010

Cash from Carbon
101 East, AlJazeera, 18 February 2010 | Imagine a way to save tropical rainforests without having to reduce greenhouse gases. Imagine a way to make environmental conservation profitable. Some claim carbon trading is the best option for major corporations to pay for emitting pollution. They can do this by buying a forest, or funding a conservation programme in a developing country. But critics say this billion dollar business will only benefit banks and investors and allow polluters to keep on polluting. The global carbon market is expanding, particularly in Asia. But is it reducing emissions or impeding real solutions to climate change? On this edition of 101 East, we ask if carbon trading can slow down global warming. [R-M: Features a studio debate between Walden Bello (Focus on the Global South) and Dorjee Sun (Carbon Conservation).]

Progress Report MFP II Period October-December 2009
DfID Multistakeholder Forestry Programme, Indonesia, 18 February 2010 | The progress in this report still can not be considered as a big achievement of the MFP II program, as there was a program refocusing which has made 2 big programs that have been facilitated by MFP II cannot be continued, those were Community Foundation development for facilitating community access to develop the Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) and forming the Forest Management Unit (KPH) as well as the program on Climate Change and Reduce Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). The refocusing of the program was not stated in the official document. However, it was informed officially to the stakeholders. Therefore it is difficult to say that the program has significant progress, except it has become a lesson of the on going process. [R-M: The Progress Report is available here: http://bit.ly/bCLlNl]

REDD Consultation Forum Meeting
Government of Nepal, Ministry of Forests, 18 February 2010 | REDD-Forestry and Climate Change cell is planning to organise REDD Consultation Forum Meeting on 01 March 2010. The main objectives of the meeting are: to inform stakeholders on REDD and REDD+ under the UNFCCC process/negotiation; to share the progress/process of RPP under FCPF; to share REDD and REDD+ pilot projects in Nepal(FECOFUN,WWF/WINROCK etc); and to identify the roles of stakeholders in the REDD process.

Is REDD the new green?
Gregor Pfeifer, africapractice, 18 February 2010 | For Africa, there are immense opportunities to attract climate finance to the Congo Basin Forest which is the world’s second biggest tropical forest after the Amazon. It contains about one quarter of the world’s tropical forest, a wealth of biodiversity with about 10,000 plant species and 70% of Africa’s plant cover. Its vegetation alone contains about 25-30 billion tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of about four years of current global anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Making the Most of Climate Finance: A Development Perspective
By Kseniya Lvovsky (World Bank), Climate-L.org, 18 February 2010 | One example of exploring new ideas with our partners is the world’s first weather derivative developed in Malawi. This is an option on a rainfall index, linking rainfall and maize production, with a maximum payout of $5 million. As a result of the programme, over 2,600 farmers were insured in one season. . . . As the international climate finance architecture is being developed, experience by the multilateral development banks in delivering and leveraging finance and supporting implementation is worth looking at to clarify what works, when, and why. Knowledge gained by countries through participation in the FCPF, for instance, contributed to the advance of the REDD-Plus agenda in Copenhagen. CIF experience also offers unique lessons: in both innovative governance and flexible financing at scale.

19 February 2010

The miners’ plight
By Rawle Lucas, Stabroek News, 19 February 2010 | A conflict-soup between small-scale miners and the administration that was simmering for sometime finally boiled over in Bartica on Wednesday February 3, 2010. Frustrated by the latest policy of insensitivity towards them, the small-scale miners, along with family and friends, took to the streets of Bartica to protest the decision by the administration for miners to delay production activity on new claims for a period of six months. The latest policy was induced by the low carbon development strategy (LCDS) that has as its drivers the agreement signed by the Governments of Guyana and Norway last year and anticipated funding from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank.

Lessons on UN Negotiating from Papua New Guinea
By Nemat Sadat, OhMyGov!, 19 February 2010 | For over two years, Mr. Conrad built a growing coalition within the G-77. When asked what he recommends to other negotiators, Conrad answered: “Sometimes it is good not to be the expert, because you are likely to ask a dumb questions and set an informal process that leads you to another direction. And small victories lead to big victories over time.” Mr. Conrad brought to his side the major developing countries and coincidently the major re-forester (China), the country spending the most on conservation (India), and the largest de-forester (Brazil) by making REDD more inclusive, keeping the language vague and avoiding specificity, and deferring major “battles” for another day. “We allowed everyone to see what they wanted to see. Everyone looked at the prize and could see their face in it. A reflection of themselves,” Conrad said.

Putting the Brakes on Offsets: Three Major Concerns
By Nick Krafft, Open Economics blog, 19 February 2010 | The cap-and-trade scheme under consideration in Waxman-Markey relies heavily on carbon emission offsets, whereby developed countries buy the right to emit more by offsetting emissions elsewhere. Offsets carry a number of issues, which I’ve begun to discuss in the context of cap-and-trade here and here. Three aspects I’d like to talk a little more about are the effects of offsets in the “elsewhere” countries, the uncertainty abou their valuation, and implementation issues.

20 February 2010

Delegates lack skills to defend indigenous people: Activists
By Adianto P Simamora, Jakarta Post, 20 February 2010 | Indonesian delegates to international conferences lack the skills to defense indigenous people’s rights and promote their role in climate change mitigation, activists say. They are antagonistic to indigenous groups challenging the official stance on climate change, activists added. “We frequently get asked why indigenous rights issues are not raised in international forums,” Mina Susana Setra, an activist from the Alliance of Archipelagic Indigenous People (AMAN), said at a seminar Thursday. “The fact is only a few of our negotiators understand the real problems faced by indigenous people.” The two-day seminar titled “After the Copenhagen Conference” was organized by the Ford Foundation and the Samdhana Institute.

We’re off to see the Wizard
By Terry Lacey, Sri Lanka Guardian, 20 February 2010 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia is off to see the Wizard of Oz, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on March 8th. Will this meeting of wizards bear political fruit or will they prove to be a prickly pair? . . . Australia has just agreed to US$27.74 million for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Indonesia and despite whatever befell wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen the Wizard of Oz should have enough magic powers to open up Indonesian environmental markets for Australian investment and firms, or retire to fish in a bilabong.

21 February 2010

Saving the Amazon may be the most cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions
By Margot Roosevelt, LA Times, 21 February 2010 | An hour outside Manaus, the Amazon’s biggest city, the blackened remains of a virgin forest smolder. Chain saws whine. And Jonas Mendes tosses logs, one after another, into his kiln. “I know it’s wrong to cut down the trees,” said Mendes, 48, sweat streaming down his neck and torso. “But I have no other way to make a living.” Under a lean-to, his teenage son hacks charcoal into pieces with a machete. His wife fills 110-pound plastic bags that sell for $4 each. If the Obama administration succeeds in its pledge to curb climate change, billions could flow from the U.S. to help forest dwellers such as Mendes change their ways.

Companies fund projects to preserve Amazon rain forest
By Margot Roosevelt, LA Times, 21 February 2010 | “If money increases, then life gets better,” said Deodato da Silva, 56, with a toothless grin as he peeled cassava under a mango tree. Families in Boa Frente receive $29 a month to spend in a town upriver. The village also has a new brick walkway, rainwater cisterns and a new school with solar panels and Internet access. In exchange, residents agree to protect the forest surrounding their plots instead of clearing more trees for farming or fuel. The windfall comes courtesy of Marriott International Inc., the $12-billion hotel chain. It is part of a complex — and controversial — plan to save the world’s rain forests with the help of big business.

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  1. In East Kalimantan REED still debating in bentween with different stakeholder. Becaue, REDD ideas is news product in forestry world in east kalimantan. So, every stakehoder have level knowledges.

    In many facts, there is not same concept betwen government and local communities. The governmnet claim that the land is own governmnet. But local communities say that is my land. I stay here for a long time ago.

    I predict, they could raice many, many conflict if REDD applyed in East Kalimantan. But I hope not so.