in Australia, Indonesia

REDD project in Sumatra slammed by Friends of the Earth Indonesia and Australia

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WALHI protest against REDD. PHOTO: Jakarta Post

Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) and Friends of the Earth Australia put out a press release today strongly criticising an A$30 million Australia-Indonesia REDD project in Sumatra, which was announced last week. WALHI and PPJ (United Farmers of Jambi) have also produced a position paper on the project and REDD in Jambi.

WALHI and Friends of the Earth Australia are particularly critical of the carbon offsets that are fundamental to this sort of REDD project. “REDD projects will provide a cheap source of ‘offsets’ to count towards Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments,” says James Goodman of Friends of the Earth Australia.

Sumatrian Forest Carbon Deal slammed by Australian and Indonesian environment groups

Media Release
11 March 2010
For Immediate Release

Friends of the Earth Australia and WAHLI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) have come out strongly in opposition to the new Australian-Indonesian Forest Carbon Partnership announced to coincide with the Indonesian President’s visit to Canberra. The REDD (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation) trial project will be located in the Jambi province and receive A$30 million in funding from the International Forest Carbon Initiative (IFCI), which is jointly managed by the Department of Climate Change and AusAID.

‘It is vital to globally reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, however, the international REDD framework fails to address the real drivers of deforestation nor will it reduce global carbon emissions’ said James Goodman from Friends of the Earth Australia.

‘REDD projects will instead provide a cheap source of ‘offsets’ to count towards Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments. Treasury modelling shows that the government plans to achieve its 5% (30.75 MtCO2) emission reduction target by purchasing 46MtCO2 of offsets for overseas, that is purchasing more tonnes of carbon offsets that we reduce emissions by! Without offsets the modelling shows that our emissions would actually increase by over 5%. Such ‘offsets’ do not reduce global carbon emissions, but provide a dangerous smokescreen behind which the Australia government can hide its lack of read action on climate change and continued fossil fuel dependence’ he continued.

WALHI and FOEA are extremely concerned that REDD projects will undermine the rights of Indigenous and forest-dependant peoples in the area. In September 2009 the United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination wrote Indonesia to express concerns that Indonesia REDD regulations do not respect the rights of Indigenous peoples. Documents from the Australian-Indonesian Kalimantan REDD project fail to guarantee the rights of Indigenous people in the area. ‘This raises human rights concerns and bad climate policy given that enhancing local control and management of forested areas by Indigenous and local communities is the best way to reduce deforestation’ said James Goodman.

There are additional concerns about the environmental utility of this scheme in light of a recent Indonesian government announcement that they are seeking to reclassify palm oil plantations as forests, meaning that the Indonesian government could still be paid for forest conservation in cases where old growth forest is clear-felled for palm oil plantations.

‘Australia REDD offset model violates Australia’s international obligations and should be considered as a fraud: the scheme aims to reduce deforestation is not, in fact aims to create a source of cheap credit for the increase in emissions in Australia.’ said Arif Munandar, Regional Executive Director of WALHI Jambi.

A position paper with further background information from WALHI is attached.

For further comment:

James Goodman, Friends of the Earth Australia (0425 264 401)

Arif Munandar, Regional Executive Director of WALHI Jambi (081274375845)

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  1. Before making emotive statements such as the above, perhaps it would have been better for you all to have talked to the many indigenous people in jambi who resent the loss and degradation of their traditional forest lands …a good REDD program almost by definition will respect both indigenous people’s dependence upon INTACT forest as well as the carbon and biodiversity values. Jambi, in particular western Jambi, has lost huge areas of forest to incomers and large companies with subsequent massive impacts upon local people and their environment who have historically respected and carefully used their forest estate without flattening it.
    I and my colleagues, most of whom come from forest edge communities in western Jambi believe that a good and well designed REDD program, whether or not it reduces global carbon emissions, has a potential to support sustainable use of forest and secure the rights of villagers to receive their traditional environmental services (clean water, access to NTFP, a safe environment free of floods or, in the dry season, loss or irrigation, guarantee their PLTA (village micro hydros powered by water protected by upriver forest)rather than its destruction for short term economic benefit.

  2. It is time to identify all those who are working 24/7 to advertise, promote, trade cheap forest carbon credits helping polluters to avoid emissions reduction efforts. You will see them talking, giving keynotes, and presentation in all “expo carbon events” of REDD project shopping malls. I will start with the Aussie fellows:
    Brett Janissen, Executive Director, AETF
    Geoff Leeper, Deputy Secretary, Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority (ACCRA) Group, Australian Government
    Ilona Millar, Senior Associate, Baker & McKenzie
    Richard Doyle, Division Director, Macquarie Bank
    Martijn Wilder, Partner, Baker & McKenzie
    Richard Doyle, Division Director, Macquarie Bank
    Michael Wiener, Director Operations, Perenia
    Arek Sinanian, National Technical Executive, Climate Change
    Garth Taylor, Trade Commissioner for ASEAN, Austrade.
    Robert Purves, Chairman Environment Business Australia, member of the Copenhagen Climate Council
    Dr Tony Beck, Chairman, Asia-Pacific Emissions Trading Forum
    Matthew Skoien, Senior Director, Queensland Government Office of Climate Change
    The Hon Greg Combet AM MP, Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change
    Robert Hill, Australian Carbon Trust; former Australian Environment Minister
    Seb Henbest, Manager, Australia, New Energy Finance
    Geoff Pollard, Book Leader, Emissions & Power, BP Singapore

  3. Recently Climate Focus (carbon consultancy firm) and Jeff Hayward, Climate Initiative Manager at Rainforest Alliance hosted a press briefing at COP15 to promote and speed up forest carbon business transactions (now called “REDD”) by training companies to “accurately” account for emission reductions. Potential clients of Climate Focus for Rainforest Alliance certifications as follow:
    ABN AMRO
    AES Carbon Exchange
    AGCert International
    Al Tayyar Energy
    Asia Green Capital
    Banque d’Affaires de Tunisie
    BASF
    BioCarbon Gestão Ambiental
    BioX Carbon
    BSH Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte
    Bujugali Energy Limited
    Carbon International
    Compañía Cervecera de Nicaragua
    Core Carbon Group
    Credit Suisse
    D1 Oils
    Dong Energy
    EasyCarbon
    Ecoconsil
    Endesa
    EnD-I Ag
    Eneco Energy Trading
    Equator Environmental
    Essent Energgy Trading
    Ethos Investment
    Enviroserve
    Europe China Power
    Evolution Markets
    F&S Holding
    Factor CO2
    First Climate Germany
    Forestal Santa Blanca
    Gas Natural
    Generadora Union
    GIRSA
    Global Climate Change Consultancy, Tsinghua University
    Holcim Group Support
    Hong Kong Stock Exchange
    Indian Acrylics Limited
    KfW Bankengruppe
    Lee International
    Leong Partnership
    Lighthouse Business Management Russia
    Mosgaz
    Mikro-Tek
    Nuon
    Rabobank International
    RenGen Energy
    Royal Haskoning
    Saint Gobain Oberland
    Santander Investment
    Sofreco Chemicals, Energy and Mines
    Statkraft Markets
    Sustainable Forest Management
    TNT
    Tú Transformas
    Union Fenosa
    Verdeo Group
    Vertis Environmental Finance
    Waterland Asia Bioventures
    Winrock International
    The “environmental record” of some of these companies is very objectional.
    More information about who is who in the corrupted forest carbon business soon.

  4. @Nenek Kincai – Thanks for this comment. The project proponents should also have talked to the Indigenous People in Jambi – before launching their REDD project. You may well be right that a “good and well designed” REDD project “has a potential to support sustainable use of forest and secure the rights of villagers”. However, such a programme must obtain the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and Indigenous Peoples.

    I also think it’s true that a project that sells carbon credits needs the free, prior and informed consent of the people living near the polluting coal-fired power station that will continue to pollute as a result of buying forest carbon from the REDD project.

    Another issue with this type of REDD project is that it may stop deforestation in the project area, but because it does nothing to address the underlying causes of deforestation, the palm oil and pulpwood companies will simply move somewhere else (possibly still in Jambi, or a neighbouring province) and continue their destructive activities there.

  5. The last two points made by Chris Lang are (of course) entirely valid. Agree.
    That said, in the end, big pictures are made up of little pixels. If we can change even a few pixels at a time – with full, prior and informed consent of the traditional communities involved, lets do it.

  6. We need to shut down the palm oil companies and other corporations pursuing destructive activities. To do so, how about allocating the money from the REDD project that would go into the same hands that are destroying the forests and give it to the government. Logic being that if the government had this compensation maybe they would not have to depend on outside corporations for tax revenue.