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REDD in the news: 29 March – 4 April 2010

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A 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 their REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: REDD in the news.

Networks emerge as key actors in community forestry

By Imogen Badgery-Parker, CIFOR, March 2010 | In recent years, governments in developing countries have transferred at least 200 million hectares of forests to communities living in and around them. Now, more than a quarter of forests in developing countries are owned by or assigned to communities. Tenure is particularly important in light of the ongoing global negotiations on REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). For REDD schemes to be successful, clear usage and access rights and responsibilities over forest resources and carbon pools needs to be established so that efficient and equitable payments for carbon sequestration can be made. Communities will only benefit from these schemes if their rights are secure.

Global Project: UN-REDD International Support

UNDP, March 2010 | The Joint Programme is focused on international support functions (global activities) that attempt to support the country actions and provide the international community with confidence and understanding of the technical and social aspects of a post 2012 REDD mechanism. The programme design draws from the respective strengths of the partner agencies in line with One-UN objectives and provides technical and scientific support as well as knowledge management. Specifically the international support functions aim to achieve the following outcomes by mid 2010: Outcome 1: Improved guidance on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) approaches (led by FAO) Outcome 2: Increased engagement of stakeholders in the REDD agenda (led by UNEP) Outcome 3: Improved analytical and technical framework of multiple benefits for REDD decision-makers (led by UNDP and UNEP) Outcome 4: Increased knowledge management, coordination and communication (co-led by the three agencies)

Forestry Carbon Consultant on Environmental Expert

Jobs, environmental-expert.com, April 2010 | My client is looking for an experienced Forestry Carbon Consultant to join their team in Chile. This is an exciting role and an opportunity to join one of the most successful companies specialising in the ecosystem and land-use space today. Responsibilities:- · Assessing forestry projects (reforestation, afforestation, REDD etc) to understand the potential for emission reduction or offsetting · Overseeing the asset management, development and financing of such projects · Working closely with forestry professionals to review progress of existing projects · Making key strategic decisions on which projects to develop and invest in · Frequent travel to parts of South America in order to visit project sites · Working with landowners of endangered forest areas in order to ensure the value of their assets are maximised and to minimise deforestation.

29 March 2010

Norway widens carbon VAT fraud probe into money laundering

By Gwladys Fouche, Reuters, 29 March 2010 | A Norwegian police investigation into alleged carbon tax evasion is widening its scope into money laundering, with five men charged, Oslo police said on Monday. The Norwegian authorities’ investigation is part of a wider probe into tax fraud relating to carbon emissions trading that European police agency Europol said cost treasuries up to 5 billion euros ($6.72 billion) in lost revenues. “We have three arrested and five charged … Altogether it’s six companies (we are investigating),” said police superintendent Boerre Walderhaug, head of the finance and environment unit at Oslo police.

Scientists hold climate talks in Kenya

By Rambui Waweru, Capital News, 29 March 2010 | Scientists from 14 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa gathered in Nairobi on Monday at the start of a three-day workshop to address the role of sustainable agriculture, forestry and agro-forestry in the fight against climate change. The workshop is expected to determine research priorities and the next steps for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) and agriculture in the region. The workshop is co-hosted by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the World Agro-forestry Centre. “One way to improve African participation in the bio-carbon market is better governance,” said George Wamukoya, climate change advisor to the COMESA secretariat.

HSBC Ejects Carbon Traders From Index

By James Kantor, Green Inc. Blog, NYTimes.com, 29 March 2010 | The banking giant HSBC removed two companies involved in carbon trading from its Climate Change Index on Monday because they had lost too much value. Analysts from HSBC said the cause was mainly that governments had failed to come up with a timetable for a global climate deal at the United Nations summit in Copenhagen in December. “Carbon trading was the major loser from Copenhagen,” HSBC analysts said in their March 21010 Quarterly Index Review. “Cap and trade needs hard targets and binding rules – and Copenhagen delivered neither,” HSBC said. The two companies ejected were Climate Exchange and Trading Emissions. Both companies are based in the Isle of Man and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Forests May Depend on Survival of Native People

By Stephen Leahy, IPS, 29 March 2010 | After the failures in Copenhagen to agree on a new climate protection treaty, and more recently at the Doha meetings on trade in endangered species to prevent bluefin tuna from going extinct, indigenous forest communities may offer examples of sensible governance for shared resources on a small planet. Hundreds of poor Mexican Zapotec indigenous farmers have become owners of a multi-million-dollar diversified forest industry, offering an important model of a community-based enterprise that supports local people and conserves the natural environment, says David Barton Bray, a professor and associate chair in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University in Miami.

30 March 2010

Carbon Trading and the Great Recession

By James Kanter, Green Inc. Blog, NYTimes.com, 30 March 2010 | The recession brought with it a slowdown in industrial production, and that has translated into far fewer greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 than in previous years… Mark C. Lewis, a research analyst at Deutsche Bank in London, forecast this week a decline in emissions of 10.4 percent compared with 2008 among industries covered by the system. Kjersti Ulset, the head of European carbon analysis for Point Carbon in Norway, estimated this week a decline of 11 percent… Two sectors to watch closely on Thursday are steel and cement. Companies in both of these sectors already have huge amounts of surplus permits they did not need to use because of the downturn. Steelmakers like ArcelorMittal and cement manufacturers like Lafarge can sell their surplus or bank them for use in coming years. That opportunity potentially represents a huge windfall for those companies.

Oil conglomerate ‘secretly funds climate change deniers’

By Tom Leonard, Telegraph, 30 March 2010 | An oil conglomerate has allegedly spent nearly £16.5 million ($25 million) on campaigns to discredit climate change and clean energy policies, according to a new report. Koch Industries, which is owned and run by two Kansas-based brothers and has substantial oil and chemicals interests, spent the sum between 2005 and 2008 to finance “organisations of the ‘climate denial machine'”, claims the environmental campaign group Greenpeace. Despite the relatively small size of the conglomerate, the sum is three times that spent by ExxonMobil, the western world’s biggest oil company, in the same period.

Is carbon trade a scam?

Al Jazeera, 30 March 2010 | Is carbon trading a win-win situation, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and helping poorer countries make money by selling their credits? Or is the system being exploited – to the detriment of the environment? [R-M: Discussion with Daphne Wysham of Institute for Policy Studies, Joe Romm of climateprogress.org, and Patrick Birley, Chief Executive of the European Climate Exchange.]

Will the global Forestry Carbon Market go REDD? Find out more at Carbon Markets 2010 conference

Carbon Markets Summit, 30 March 2010 | Will the global forestry carbon market turn to REDD credits? And where are the opportunities for Asia? The Carbon Markets 2010 conference offers a view into REDD, highlighting developments in Southeast Asia. While nearly $150 million has been spent to date on carbon offsets from planting trees and preserving forests, the market is in a precipitous position over limitations in the CDM for forestry projects. However, the industry got a boost at the Copenhagen talks, when nations promised a $3.5 billion international scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), with the U.S. alone pledging $1 billion, according to Reuters reports.

From Copenhagen to Cochabamba

By Franz Chávez, IPS, 30 March 2010 | A different way of fighting global warming will be tried out in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba when government representatives and thousands of activists gather for the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. The social organisations sponsoring the Apr. 19-22 conference have announced an alternative platform to the efforts of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-15), which ended in failure in icy Copenhagen in December 2009.

Japanese policy mix needs strong shot of emissions trading

WWF, 30 March 2010 | An effective policy approach to turn Japan into a low-carbon economy needs emissions trading at its heart, a WWF report has found. The new research shows that a strong emissions trading scheme would have little impact on the Japanese economy, while allowing the Hatoyama government to effectively reach its ambitious targets for emission reductions. “Japan has wasted years playing around with voluntary emissions trading, so it’s high time to finally get serious and design a strong scheme for this country, in order to regain our role as a competitive and modern economy”, said Naoyuki Yamagishi, Climate Programme Leader at WWF Japan.

Another alleged scam unearthed in the carbon markets

By Brady Yauch, Probe International, 30 March 2010 | Carbon markets are again facing allegations of a scam involving the trading of carbon credits. Reuters reports the Australian company WesternField Holdings Inc. has been accused of defrauding investors down under of A$3.5 million ($3.2 million) through a telemarketing swindle. Although blacklisted by the country’s securities regulator, the firm continues to operate. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), WesternField allegedly cold-called potential investors and promised them large returns for short-term investments in carbon credits. Investors were told they could review their “investment certificates” at an independent website registered under the name CTR Limited (carbontrustregistry.com), supposedly based in Hong Kong.

Pearl Jam guitarist sees business key to climate

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 30 March 2010 | While many people dream of becoming a rock star, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard says he is trying to be more of a businessman to help slow climate change. The U.S. band, which has sold 60 million albums since 1991, said Monday it was investing $210,000 to plant trees in Washington State to soak up an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide linked to a 32-date 2009 tour.

UN-REDD and Indonesia Collaborate to Curb Deforestation

Climate-L.org, 30 March 2010 | Indonesia and the UN-REDD Programme launched efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) in Indonesia by supporting the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry in their preparations for national REDD implementation. US$ 5.6 million, provided by the Norwegian Government, was allocated to help with policy preparation, testing of methodologies, and coordination between the different REDD initiatives in Indonesia. In launching the initiative, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan highlighted the importance of local communities in REDD, calling for REDD to help improve livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, as well as preserve forests and biodiversity.

Indonesia to establish rainforest trust fund

mongabay.com, 30 March 2010 | Indonesia is preparing to establish a trust fund to reduce deforestation, reports the Jakarta Globe. The National Forest Trust Fund, which will be raised by the Ministry of Forestry from foreign donors, would be an expansion of a pilot initiative established last year in a debt-for-nature swap between Indonesia and the United States, according to Hadi Daryanto, director general of forest production at the Ministry of Forestry. The money, which would be managed by an independent group, would finance conservation projects and promote sustainable forest management.

Minister of Forestry and the United Nations launch joint effort to combat deforestation and forest degradation

UNDP press release, 30 March 2010 | Today the Ministry of Forestry and the United Nations launched The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) with a kick-off workshop opened by H.E. Zulkifli Hasan, Minister of Forestry. In his opening remarks the Minister emphasized the danger of climate change and the need for action to reduce emissions “Our country is very vulnerable: it has 80,000 kilometre coast line, more than 17,000 islands, many people depend on agriculture, forestry and fisheries for their income and food security. Many of these forest dependent communities still live in poverty”.

31 March 2010

Depopulation may be harming the Amazon rainforest

Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 31 March 2010 | Urbanization may be having unexpected impacts in the Amazon rainforest by leaving forest areas vulnerable to exploitation by outsiders, report researchers writing in Conservation Letters. Conducting field surveys during the course of 10,000-kilometers of travel along remote Amazon rivers, Luke Parry of Lancaster University found that a sharp decrease in rural habitation has not been accompanied by a decline in harvesting of wildlife and forest resources, indicating that urban populations exact a heavy toll on distant forests through hunting, fishing, logging, and harvesting of non-timber forest products.

REDD: What would it mean for the tribal communities?

Find Your Feet’s Blog, 31 March 2010 | The Indian government is very keen to use REDD strategies to sustain its forests. But have they considered the sustainability of the livelihoods of adivasis, where forest produce is their sole source of income?… What the REDD scheme overlooks is the motivation factor i.e. financial gain. This is an arena waiting to be exploited by large corporations and corrupt government officials. Rewards of finance and carbon credits will encourage government agencies to repress the community voices and interests in order to give private companies access to the forest lands. Further commodification of forest resources, according to REDD’s strategy, is not the solution. An effective method for tackling these issues would be to ensure that the government of India implements and respects the existing legislations in India.

A Model for Reducing Illegal Logging in REDD Projects

By Dan Tefft, TreeBanker’s Blog, 31 March 2010 | Unfortunately you don’t have to look very far to find examples of scams associated with forestry carbon projects, and, right along side those stories you’ll find legitimate concerns about leakage from illegal loggers… he point I’m trying to make is that the carbon market has the potential to fund the protection of these valuable assets. REDD lays the foundation for using carbon credit funds to protect forests, especially rainforests… A world-wide carbon market is coming. Like any other market, the power to direct the market will be in the hands of the purchasers. Will they choose to buy credits from transparent, ethical sources or will it be the hurried, “Give me whatever you’ve got!!!”

Nepal’s forests: Selling carbon credits

Jagadish Chandra Baral PhD, The Himalayan Times, 31 March 2010 | Nepal, like any other developing country, now could sell carbon credits in the global market by way of reducing its contemporary deforestation and degradation rates and by way of forest conservation and enhancement. It sounds too good to be true? No, surely not. The world has now conceptually moved pretty ahead in terms of rewarding the developing countries for carbons with those origins… Thanks also to the global UNFCCC initiative which has prepared to take a great leap from its original Kyoto position (1997) that had limited its reward domain to the carbon generated from new plantations. Both the UNFCCC sponsored specialized group (AWG-LCA) and the much controversial Copenhagen have ratified the concept. It can thus be predicted that the forthcoming convention of parties (COP15) scheduled in Cancun in November 2010 would approve the case… Baral is associated with the MoFSC.

REDD Stakeholder National Consultation Workshop

Government of Nepal, 31 March 2010 | REDD stakeholder consultation workshop was organised by the REDD cell on 28th March 2010. There were 24 partcipants participated in the workshop. They were from government organisations, NGOs/INGOs, university teachers and studenys, forestry related associations and civil society. The main objective of the workshop to share, discuss and finalise the component 1 and 2 of the RPP. The participants discussed in group and finalised the contents of the componets.

1 April 2010

In Europe, a Call for Tighter Caps on Emissions

By James Kanter, New York Times, 1 April 2010 | Climate advocates called for tighter caps on greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union after figures released on Thursday showed that some of the dirtiest industries benefited from a surplus of permits. The figures from the European Commission showed the largest annual decline in emissions from industries covered by the bloc’s carbon trading program since it began in 2005, a drop that was largely a result of the global economic slowdown. Many of the companies that were issued permits have made millions of euros from selling their excess credits, anticipating that they would have plenty in years to come, or because they needed to generate cash to shore up their balance sheets as the economic crisis bit deeper. In many cases these companies have also held on to some of their surpluses, which would make it easier for them to offset future emissions after the economy recovers.

Native Peoples Reject Market Mechanisms

By Daniel Zueras, IPS, 1 April 2010 | Solutions to global warming based on the logic of the market are a threat to the rights and way of life of indigenous peoples, the Latin American Indigenous Forum on Climate Change concluded this week in Costa Rica. Proposals from governments and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the Clean Development Mechanism and the UN-REDD Programme (United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), “are new forms of economic geopolitics” that endanger indigenous rights enshrined in treaties, says the final declaration of the forum, which ended Wednesday. These proposals allow states and transnational corporations to promote dams, agrofuels, oil exploration, tree plantations and monoculture crops, that cause expropriation and destruction of indigenous peoples’ territories and the criminalisation, prosecution and even murder of native people.

India to seek funds for developing nations to increase forest cover

By Padmaparna Ghosh, livemint.com, 1 April 2010 | India will press for a global fund to help developing countries increase their forest cover—as part of efforts to combat climate change—at a crucial meet to be held in Norway next month, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said. The country is unlikely to benefit from a $3.5 billion (around Rs15,785 crore) fund being mobilized for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, also known as REDD.

Madagascar’s conservationists pin hopes on UN’s REDD scheme

ethiopianreview.com, 1 April 2010 | Johannes Ebeling, a Madagascar-based independent carbon markets expert, believes the potential of REDD is huge in African nations such as Madagascar, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “It would be a huge opportunity to mitigate greenhouse gases in a lot of different countries, especially those that don’t have a lot of industrial emissions,” said Ebeling… Jeannicq Randrianarisoa, who is overseeing Conservation International’s pilot REDD project in eastern Madagascar, says the most daunting task ahead is to change traditional ways of life. “The biggest challenge is to have these communities change their current practices of slash-and-burn cultivation,” said Randrianarisoa. “That’s how their ancestors showed them how to make a living, so it’s a very hard cycle to break as it’s the only way they know how to live.”

IUCN report on REDD and national implementation

By Bill Eichler, Trust & Verify Online, 1 April 2010 | In December 2009, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published what the MEA Bulletin describes as a ‘comprehensive’ report on ‘national legal frameworks for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD).’ Focusing on four case studies – Brazil, Cameroon, Guyana and Papua New Guinea – the study ‘identifies main themes for ensuring successful REDD legal regimes and elaborates relevant legal and policy considerations with regard to each.’

3 April 2010

Govt warns provinces over annual forest fires

Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 3 April 2010 | The government has warned local authorities to take preventative measures against expected forest fires that have become an annual threat during dry season. Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta has summoned governors, regents and lawmakers from 10 provinces prone to forest fires as the country prepares to enter the dry season by late April. “We have warned authorities, particularly from six-prone provinces to take action to prevent forest fires,” he told reporters…. “Slash and burn farming practices are still commonplace among local farmers clearing land. Local administrations should deal with the practice to curb the forest fires,” he said. Hatta claimed that big companies such as plantations had implemented the non-burning land clearance practices. “But what we are worry about is the big companies will utilize local people to clear the land by burning,” he said.

4 April 2010

LCDS: Stepping-stone to a global forest-carbon market!

By Dr. Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 4 April 2010 | Significantly, the Quick Assessment Report is categoric in stating upfront its conclusion that: “At present a national approach to assess carbon stock has not been developed nor implemented in Guyana” (p 1). The report does recognise that a limited number of aspects and areas of forest assessments have been in process across several agencies in the country in recent years. It does, however, conclude that there still needs to be a “methodological assessment model developed to assess carbon stock at the national level” (p 1). Disconcertingly, I have found the report to be conflicting in reporting the results of its assessment of the degraded forest area.

Germany backs RP initiatives on climate change

The Philippine Star, 4 April 2010 | Encouraged by the Philippines’ determined actions to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change, the development enterprise German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) has launched innovative environmental protection measures in the country budgeted at almost five million euros (P325 million) for the next two to three years. GTZ is implementing the 2.7-million-euro “Climate-Relevant Modernization of the National Forest Policy and Piloting of REDD Measures in the Philippines” in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and in behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

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  1. Good to hear about Mexico, depressing about everything else.