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REDD in the news: 3-9 May 2010

REDD in the news: 3-9 May 2010

Here’s the round up of the news on REDD from last week, 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 usually updated daily: REDD in the news.

Liberia Climate Change, a OneWorld briefing

One World, May 2010 | Whilst doubts remain as to the capacity of Liberia’s Forest Development Authority (FDA) to enforce regulations in dealing with commercial interests, the process of reform will deepen as Liberia seeks to benefit from international proposals for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). The “Readiness Plan” now in preparation will seek to demonstrate that, in return for generous REDD funding, Liberia can accurately monitor its forest coverage. It must also establish mechanisms which engage and reward local communities for sustainable forest management. Very considerable pressures stand in the way of the REDD vision. There is no magic wand which can lift the daily threat to Liberia’s forests from industrial mining, logging, rubber and oil palm interests, from small scale farm clearance and from domestic fuel needs. Disputes over incoherent legal rights of tenure are a major impediment.

Latin America and Caribbean Forestry Commission Twenty-Six Session Guatemala City, 24-28 May 2010

FAO, April 2010 | The discussion on mechanisms to mitigate the impact of climate change and the recognition of forests as a key element in carbon sequestration and storage, have placed them at the center of the environmental discussion and have generated significant opportunities for the forestry sector. However, to enable countries to benefit from the funding for different mechanisms such as REDD+, it is necessary to have the tools that can be used to demonstrate that deforestation and degradation of forests is being reduced. Therefore, it is necessary to improve measurement, reporting and verification systems… Several countries have initiated processes to complete forest inventories with field surveys. The most advanced are Brazil and Ecuador. Both Brazil and Ecuador are working on a methodology to meet with REDD+ as required by the IPCC as part of the convention on climate change.

Definitions: Reducing forest emissions

SciDev.Net | Below is a directory of terms used in the debate about reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Most of the terms have been reproduced from the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the Meridian Institute.

3 May 2010

Can markets protect nature?

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 3 May 2010 | An interview with Michael Jenkins, President and CEO of Forest Trends… Jenkins: Copenhagen was a huge disappointment to a lot of folks in the traditional market sense. It was a big disappointment for the carbon market and a lot of the big financial institutions, who have since backed away from the table. A lot of people in these institutions have been laid off and carbon desks have folded. But one interesting thing to come out of Copenhagen was that forestry became the “Promised Land”. It is especially ironic since three years ago forestry was in the same category as nuclear, you couldn’t trade it in the EU, ETS, the European Carbon trading system, effectively kept completely out of the climate negotiations. And now, coming out of Copenhagen, forests were one bright light that I think will translate into an agreement on forests at the next COP in Mexico this December.

4 May 2010

Illegal Logging in Indonesia: Environmental, Economic, & Social Costs Outlined in a New Report

By Jake Schmidt, Switchboard from NRDC, 4 May 2010 | Illegal logging has a huge impact on the loss of tropical forests in the key countries that account for the vast majority of deforestation (as I discussed here). These forests are being lost at the rate of two football fields a minute and contribute the same amount of global warming pollution as all of the world’s transportation emissions, so stopping forest loss is critical to our efforts to address global warming. And no country is as important in these efforts as Indonesia (Brazil and Indonesia are the two largest deforesting countries). A new report from labor and environmental organizations – the Blue Green Alliance, NRDC, United Steel Workers, Sierra Club, and Rainforest Action Network – looks at the environmental, economic, and social cost of the loss of Indonesia’s rainforests from illegal logging.

Forest Investors Grapple with Sustainability

By Mark Nicholls, Ecosystem Marketplace, 4 May 2010 | But, while methodologies are under development for the voluntary carbon market – via the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the American Carbon Registry – how REDD+ would work in the UN climate context is still very unclear. Speaking at an Environmental Finance webinar in late April, Leslie Durschinger, CEO of San Francisco-based advisory firm Terra Capital Partners, warned than most REDD projects are currently not viable without donor funding, although she noted that aid agencies such as USAID are ramping up their resources dedicated to the issue. “There are a lot of people knocking on doors in Washington and Norway hoping to get backing for REDD projects,” says Campanale, given support from the US and Norwegian governments for REDD. “However, I’m not seeing many getting backed with private capital.”

PM clears air on mining issue

Guyana Chronicle, 4 May 2010 | “There is no hiding from the fact that until a few decades ago, many miners did not see the hinterland in the same way as they saw the coastland in which they lived, and regard any rights they have as subordinated to their mining rights,” he said. He further stated that Government has no apologies for its programme which has assigned 14 percent of Guyana’s surface rights to about 100 Amerindian villages. This places Amerindians in command of the surface use of this land and does not grant small and medium scale mining without agreement to those villages. “Government recognises how unsettling it is to miners in the challenge to adopt new thinking, and the challenge, uncertainty, and anxiety in learning new ways. Government is therefore being patient and counsels patience,” he said. The PM urged that all must guard against any degeneration into disorder.

Seeing REDD over forest peoples

By Arun Agrawal, BBC News, 4 May 2010 | By the end of this year, governments may have finalised arrangements for preserving developing countries’ forests under the UN climate convention. But, argues Arun Agrawal, forests used to belong to people – and people are being left out of the equation… Despite massive investments, forests continue to be lost because of a combination of high demand for wood products in the West and in emerging economies, imperfect decentralisation, ongoing disenfranchisement of local communities, and corrupt enforcement… In comparison to the $40bn global trade in forest products, the sums allocated for REDD are small. But they are very substantial in comparison to the budgets of forest departments in developing countries. Of course, the greater hope is that a global carbon market will emerge in the next five to 10 years, and today’s initiatives will jumpstart massive private sector involvement in forest carbon trade.

Positive Attitudes Towards Forest Carbon Offsets Have Significantly Increased in the Past Year, Especially in Europe

Press Release, 4 May 2010 | EcoSecurities, a leading organisation in the business of sourcing and developing greenhouse gas emission reduction projects, Conservation International, The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance, ClimateBiz and Norton Rose Group announce the findings of their second annual ‘forest carbon offsetting report 2010′, which focuses on corporations’ attitudes towards carbon offsets from forestry projects. The survey received responses from 207 organisations. Specifically, 157 responses from global, multinational and regional companies covering a diverse range of sectors and industries, and 50 responses from specialised carbon companies. Highlights of the research include: – Positive attitudes towards forest carbon offsetting have increased in the past year, with nearly 80% of respondents having a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ attitude compared to only 58% in 2009.

5 May 2010

Annual Progress Report on REDD-plus enablers – 2009 – for the Norway-Guyana MoU

By Janette Bulkan, Stabroek News, 5 May 2010 | The report on the Norway-Guyana MoU is an unusual event in the normally secretive apparatus of government in Guyana. Contrary to the requirement in the Guyana Forestry Commission Act (a revision was enacted in 2007), Article 25, the GFC does not provide to the National Assembly an annual report or audited accounts. So this report is in some ways a new exercise for the forest-related agencies of the Government of Guyana. It is surprising that the government-owned daily newspaper, the Guyana Chronicle has not mentioned this report. A summary has been published by the independent Stabroek News as ‘Guyana met all REDD+ targets in ’09,’ (April 25).

Kenya Turns to Carbon Trade in a Bid to Curb Climate Change

By Paul Mwaura, Newstime Africa, 5 May 2010 | Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said the country is keen to partner with investment bankers to promote trading in carbon markets and ensure the rehabilitation of the Mau and other threatened forests in the country. “ We see opportunities in the evolving carbon markets as negotiations continue under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that established the Reducing Emissions from forest Destruction and Degradation (REDD) plus initiative” he said. The Premier will be visiting Norway, in three weeks time to push for a fair share of the US$ 30 billion under the REDD plus project and help boost carbon trade in Kenya. The REDD plus initiative was mooted last year during the Global conference on Climate Change held in Copenhagen to help the developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change towards the reduction of the level of green house emissions.

6 May 2010

Read draft law, PM tells Kenyans

By Catherine Karong’o, Capital News, 6 May 2010 | Speaking during a meeting on the restoration of the Mau forest, [Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga] said the government also wanted to ensure that the rehabilitation of the Mau and other forests could be exploited as a source of financial resources. “We see opportunities in the evolving carbon markets as negotiations continue under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are already engaged in serious discussions with investment bankers and others all of whom see real and considerable opportunities in carbon trading in our forestry development programs,” Mr Odinga said. He said there were also opportunities in the REDD (Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Degradation) initiative. “I am traveling to Norway in three weeks to participate in discussions of partnership agreement which should facilitate in making REDD more readily available for Kenya and other developing countries,” he said.

Tree-planting drive to earn Kenya revenue

By George Omondi, Business Daily, 6 May 2010 | Prime Minister Raila Odinga says several investment bankers and overseas investors are currently engaged in negotiations with the government on how the country’s invigorated tree planting campaign can benefit from the international carbon credit market. “These are investors who see real and considerable opportunities in our forestry development programmes,” Mr Odinga said at a consultative forum on Mau Rehabilitation held in Nairobi on Wednesday. The UN is working on a legal framework called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) under which the industrial countries will fund forest development projects in the developing world in order to offset the amount of green gases that their factories emit. The finer details of the UN’s environment financing facility will be unveiled later this month when delegates from all over the world meet in Norway to conclude the partnership agreement.

Rich nations could pledge $5B for forest protection this month

Stabroek News, 6 May 2010 | Rich nations are likely to promise US$5 billion this month to protect forests in developing nations, Reuters has reported. Norway’s environment minister, Erik Solheim said the money, due to be outlined at ministerial talks in Oslo on May 27, would add about $1.5 billion to the $3.5 billion outlined for 2010-12 by major donors at a United Nations climate summit at Copenhagen in December. Protecting forests from the Amazon to the Congo is part of a shift in emphasis in 2010 towards practical actions to combat global warming after the Copenhagen summit failed to reach an over-arching new climate treaty… President Bharrat Jagdeo had expressed concern in March that the US$10 billion that should have been available this year had not yet been realized. He had said that “very little work” has been done at the global level to secure the money and find a mechanism for its disbursement.

China spearheads biodiversity efforts: UNEP

By Daniel Ooko, Xinhua, 6 May 2010 | UNEP spokesman Nick Nuttall said China is among the six countries in the world with the highest increase in land being converted or in the process of being converted to organic agriculture – up 300,000 hectares between 2007 and 2008… He said Climate change represented an over-arching challenge with many species at risk of decline and even extinction as climates across the world change. “But climate change, in terms of an international response, can also assist. In Copenhagen, at the recent UN climate convention meeting, governments gave the green light to Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD),” he said… Nuttall said pioneering efforts are underway in Kenya to restore and rehabilitate the Mau forest complex – the largest closed canopy forest in the region which is also the water tower for some of the country’s major river systems.

7 May 2010

Deforestation failure sounds climate alarm

PhysOrg.com, 7 May 2010 | The research was done by Andrew Macintosh from the Centre for Climate Law and Policy at ANU and published by the Australia Institute. It looked at the Australian experience with deforestation to highlight some of the risks associated with an international Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme. It found a raft of pitfalls, including the potential for political manipulation of baseline levels, the difficulty of measuring deforestation emissions and the challenge of controlling deforestation. “The Australian deforestation experience shows that there is a significant risk that, if deforestation baselines are negotiated, they will be manipulated to generate ‘hot air’ credits – credits that do not represent a reduction in emissions,” said Mr Macintosh.

GCF task force-3 preparations in Aceh almost completed

Antara News, 7 May 2010 | Preparations for the holding of a Governors Climate and Forestry (GCF) Task Force-3 meeting in Aceh from May 17-22, 2010 are almost completed, a local official said. “Preparations for the international meeting are almost completed. We are now waiting for confirmation from a number of foreign delegations we have invited to the event,” GCF Task Force-3 committee chairman Husaini Syamaun said here on Friday. He said the GCF Task Force-3 meeting was a continuation of the GCF Task Force-2 gathering in the United States city of Los Angeles, California on September 30 last year.

8 May 2010

DENR calls for public participation in forest management

balita.ph, 8 May 2010 | Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Horacio Ramos said Saturday that a meaningful multi-sectoral participation in the government’s forest management is urgently needed to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in its forest product requirements… Ramos said the professional expertise of foresters is highly needed in forestry planning and in the implementation, monitoring, assessment, reporting and knowledge management. He cited as an example a current collaboration between his agency and the professors and graduates of UPLB-CFNR in the formulation of the National Strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)

Vietnam national workshop on Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses

By Matilda Palm and Minh Ha Hoang, World Agroforestry Centre Vietnam, 8 May 2010 | The national consultation workshop “Reducing Emissions from All land Uses: an approach toward REDD/REDD+ and National Appropriate Mitigation Action” took place in Tam Dao, Vietnam, on Tuesday, 27 April, 2010. At the workshop, the sixty-five participants from all sectors of society discussed how Reducing Emissions Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) activities in Vietnam applied to climate change mitigation. The results from research on Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU) were presented and discussed along with problems in national land classification, causes of land-use conversion, particularly the loss of natural forest for perennial crops in Tay Nguyen highland plateau. Land-use rights, resource access and tenure were discussed along with the current inefficient land-use planning.

Implications of Climate Change Agreements on Forest Management in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

By Nophea Sasaki, Tsuneaki Yoshida and Hirokazu Yamamoto, Nophea Sasaki Study Blog, 8 May 2010 | Abstract: Concerns over the rapid increase of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere led to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, under which 5.2% reduction of the global GHGs emissions was committed. More reduction commitment is expected for the new climate change agreements as new pledges of 80% reductions were recently announced by the G8 countries. Climate change agreements are likely to benefit the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) financially and technologically in various development fields, particularly forestry if GMS countries are well prepared. In this report, we discuss the current and future climate change agreements and propose prioritized multidisciplinary research in forest management and its roles in sustainable development in the GMS.

9 May 2010

The nuts and bolts of carbon-trading exchanges

By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 9 May 2010 | In conclusion, it should be noted that the price arrived at in climate carbon exchanges has extraordinary significance. It is supposed to represent the economic value, which should be placed on the harmful emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as a result of human activity! Important as this function is, however, the climate exchanges are expected to do more than fix the price. Through their arrangements climate exchanges are also expected to generate the required liquidity in the instruments traded in order to facilitate their widespread acceptance and use. Ease of acquisition and disposition (sale) is vital to the continued success of carbon markets. As a consequence the importance of price signals and liquidity of traded instruments on climate exchanges cannot be exaggerated.

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  1. How can our villages get money for coserving their forests?