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REDD in the news: 31 May – 6 June 2010

REDD in the news: 31 May - 6 June 2010, PHOTO: University of Exeter

A 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 updated daily: REDD in the news.

Benefits of Tropical Forest Management under the New Climate Change Agreement

By N. Sasaki and A. Yoshimoto, Environmental Science and Policy, in press | Promoting sustainable forest management as part of the reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD)-plus mechanism in the Copenhagen Accord of December 2009 implies that tropical forests will no longer be ignored in the new climate change agreement… Cambodia’s highly stocked evergreen forest, which has experienced rapid degradation and deforestation, will be the first priority forest to be managed if financial incentives through a carbon payment scheme are available. By analyzing forest inventory data, we assessed the revenues and costs for managing a hypothetical 1 ha of forestland against six land-use options: business-as-usual timber harvesting (BAU-timber), forest management under the REDD-plus mechanism, forest-to-teak plantation, forest-to-acacia plantation, forest-to-rubber plantation, and forest-to-oil palm plantation.

IUCN Position Paper on REDD in Developing Countries

IUCN, June 2010 | IUCN urges Parties to reach an agreement on a REDD-plus mechanism that recognizes that avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a necessary component of achieving deep cuts in all sources of anthropogenic emissions in order to mitigate climate change.

International Conference on the Major Forest Basins, Paris, 11 March 2010

UNFCCC REDD web platform, posted June 2010 | This conference was convened to advance the implementation of agreed elements of REDD+ under the UNFCCC and to support further UNFCCC negotiations. The conference was hosted by the Government of France and was followed up by a conference hosted by the Government of Norway and held in Oslo, 27 May 2010. The following documents provide information on the meeting in various languages: Concept note of the meeting EN (52 kB) FR (60 kB); Meeting agenda EN (164 kB) ES (166 kB) FR (158 kB); Key note address by Norway EN (93 kB) ES (91 kB) FR (96 kB); Key note address by Papua New Guinea EN (361 kB) FR (370 kB); The Chair’s summary of the meeting EN (34 kB) FR (37 kB).

31 May 2010

President decides on allocation of Norway monies

Kaieteur News, 31 May 2010 | On Monday last, President Bharrat Jagdeo revealed another draft for his Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Two days later he jetted off to Oslo, Norway, where a $4B US fund was signed into existence for the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) initiatives. Before President Jagdeo left, he spoke of how the first installment of monies from Norway would be spent. In fact, he even looked at allocation of the next two years’ worth of funds. What the President did not address was the fact that the Guyana REDD Implementation Fund (GRIF) has yet to be established. According to the Joint Concept note signed between Guyana and Norway last November, receipt of the funds from Norway is contingent on the establishment of the GRIF.

Government puts foreign interests above the law and demolishes an important democratic principle

actnowpng.org, 31 May 2010 | By passing amendments to the Environment Act, the government has put foreign companies above the law; allowed their commercial interests to trample all over the rights of Papua New Guinea’s traditional landowners; and undermined our democracy by removing the fundamental protection of the separation of powers. On May 27th the government rushed through Parliament amendments to the Environment Act (see pdf document below) which give to the Secretary of the Department of Conservation new powers to approve activities by mining and petroleum companies without consulting traditional landowners or securing their agreement. This is a fundamental denial of the traditional rights of landowners but the changes to the law do not end there.

Norway won’t fund RI tree planting program: Govt

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 31 May 2010 | The billion dollar deal signed by Indonesia and Norway will only be used for preserving forests and peatlands and will not finance tree-planting in deforested areas, says a presidential aide. Agus Purnomo, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change, said Saturday that initially the agreement was to have covered REDD Plus programs, but Norway apparently agreed only to fund REDD (reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation) programs… “The agreement is for REDD Plus programs, but there is no money for carbon *absorption* enhancement through tree planting,” Agus told The Jakarta Post on Saturday… Wandojo Siswanto, the head of working group on the climate unit at forestry ministry, said tree planting was the most popular climate change initiative program in Indonesia. “We will renegotiate the agreement with Norway. Indonesia needs money for tree planting,” he said.

Shock and Uncertainty Over Forest-Clearing Moratorium

By Arti Ekawati & Reuters, 31 May 2010 | Agus Purnomo, head of the secretariat of the National Climate Change Council, said the government would revoke existing forestry licenses held by palm oil and timber firms in the effort to save natural forests. “The spirit of the agreement was to save the remaining natural forests and peatlands, and we will do whatever humanly possibly to make it happen, within the legal context of Indonesia,” he said. “If we have to go through cancellations in the court system, we will do it.” … Derom Bangun, vice chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Board (DMSI), said the moratorium would cut the national rate of palm oil expansion in half over the next decade. He said compensating permit-holders may be “messy affair” involving huge payouts. “Just the initial investment to clear the land can reach $3,000 to $5,000 a hectare alone. It is hard to see whether they can fully compensate,” Derom said. “It will be a messy, complicated affair.”

Indonesia to scrap permits to save forests-official

By Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 31 May 2010 | Indonesia will revoke existing forestry licences held by palm oil and timber firms to save natural forests under a $1 billion climate change deal signed with Norway last week, a government official said on Monday… Part of the $1 billion promised by Norway will be spent on compensating businesses that have existing concessions cancelled in order to keep forests standing, said Agus Purnomo, head of the secretariat of Indonesia’s National Climate Change Council. “When you revoke licences, when you cancel things, it involves money,” Purnomo told Reuters by telephone. “It’s not that we will cancel all licences but (only) if there is a need to do so” to keep primary forest intact, he said. Compensation to permit holders could include cash, land swaps or other “amicable, workable and realistic solutions”, he said.

Bonn Picks up Where Oslo, Copenhagen, and Nairobi Left Off

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 May 2010 | Few here expect a year-end deal under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but the talks are expected to yield agreement on certain provisions that will, at the very least, make it easier to forge multilateral and bilateral agreements once the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. Provisions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) are being handled in a negotiating tract called the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), which on Tuesday begins working on a completely new negotiating text drafted in May by group chair Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe.

1 June 2010

Carbon credits for Aceh forest

By Hotli Simanjuntak, Jakarta Post, 1 June 2010 | At the moment, Aceh’s government is in the process of calculating Ulu Masen forest’s potential to act as a carbon sink, using standards devised by the forestry department. “The first step is to measure the diameter of the trees. Then we will determine the canopy coverage area from the trees we measure,” said Susilo, an employee of Flora and Fauna International, one of Aceh’s oldest international environmental groups, which has been working on a project to measure the forest’s potential to absorb carbon dioxide. “Can you imagine how much money Aceh would be able to earn if the forest remains and is well looked after?” said Susilo.

Indonesia Takes Concrete Steps to Address Deforestation as a Part of Agreement with Norway

Jake Schmidt’s Blog, Switchboard, from NRDC, 1 June 2010 | Indonesia and Norway inked a deal last week to take concrete actions to reduce Indonesia’s deforestation emissions. Indonesia is the world’s 3rd largest emitter of global warming pollution (when deforestation emissions are included) so this is a very important effort. The deal between Indonesia and Norway was reached in the lead-in to the Oslo forest conference where over 50 countries agreed to a new Partnership to address deforestation (as I discussed here). The deal with Indonesia is a critical agreement as it requires action from the Indonesian government and assistance from the Norwegian government to make a serious dent in the loss of Indonesia’s forests.

Environmental groups lobby for forestry policy at UN climate talks

NewNet News, 1 June 2010 | Environmentalists are seeking new ways forward to include emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the latest series of UN climate talks taking place in Germany this week. Lobby group Ecosystems Climate Alliance said although progress was made at the UN’s last round of major talks in Copenhagen in December 2009 these broke down before any firm agreement could be made. The group said stemming the tide of forest loss is a key link in the global effort against climate change. Forest destruction and degradation including loss of peatforest soils account for up to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

While You Were Gawking at the Gulf Gusher: UN’s REDD Forest Preservation Deal Gets Major Funding

By Matthew McDermott, Treehugger, 1 June 2010 | One more story making the rounds last week that you may have missed in the midst of all the continued oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, but is worthwhile paying attention to: The top line is that the UN REDD program got $4 billion in funding, with $1 billion coming from Norway and going to Indonesia to help stop rampant deforestation there. The details are a bit more complex, and as Fred Pearce reminds us, there are lots of twists and turns in REDD that can hinder its potential if not deftly negotiated.

2 June 2010

Palm Oil Firms Safe From Forest Moratorium

By Niluksi Koswanage, Jakarta Globe, 2 June 2010 | Contrary to previous statements, the government will not revoke existing forestry licenses for palm oil firms as part of a deal with Norway to preserve rain forests, a government minister and an industry official said on Wednesday. Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said the government had no intention of limiting the expansion of the $15 billion domestic palm oil industry, although it was committed to slowing deforestation. “We want to keep to our target of 40 million tons of crude palm oil,” he said on the sidelines of an industry conference. “We will not take away the existing licenses. “We have food-security interests and our export earnings to protect, but expansion will be at a sustainable pace for our future generations.” Hatta’s statement was the latest attempt to clarify the impact of the moratorium on clearing of natural forests

A total ban on primary forest logging needed to save the world, an interview with activist Glen Barry

By Jeremy Hance, 2 June 2010 | Glen Barry: REDD is another example, along with certified forestry and sustainable development, of a fantastic principle that is in the process of going wrong as industrial interests and governments have changed its meaning… If carbon money is going to be used for this there’s every indication that that would be the maximal way to keep carbon both sequestered, and there’s been new science in the last couple years that suggest, at least for now, primary forests continue to remove much new carbon and that this is a continuing sink… So there is a strong effort to have so-called sustainable forest management, which is industrial logging of primary forests. That somehow there could be elements of ‘sustainable forest management’ in primary forests that could be compensated under REDD. NGO greenwash of FSC set the stage for this.

Moratorium Forest, Opportunity Or Trap?

By FB Anggoro, Antara, 2 June 2010 | Agreement between the governments of Indonesia and Norway to produce decisions that are important to the conservation of forest due to the moratorium for two years. At the very least, the last remaining tropical forests in the country could “breathe” a longer pause when the policy was put in place cutting began in 2011. Bilateral cooperation for forest rescue agreed in Oslo, Norway, some time ago it also gives benefits in terms of financial support to Indonesia. The Norwegian government was willing poured funds approximately one billion U.S. dollars for Indonesia as the implementation of forest conservation concept + REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). [R-M: google translation]

Plantations are not forest: (REDD’s impacts on Indigenous People socio-economically and Biodiversity)

By Samwel Elisaria, Making it happen Tanzania blog, 2 June 2010 | There are a range of concerns associated with the implementation of REDD project, but the speed with which the strategy and planning processes are proceeding means that these concerns may not be fully addressed. From the point of view of indigenous peoples and minority/marginalized groups include; * Indigenous People and minority groups may be denied access to the forests for firewood and herbs, whilst lessees are granted the rights to harvest trees. * Carbon traders may require land titles, to the carbon in the forest or to the land, which indigenous people and minority groups may not have. * Profits for loggers, deforesters, and polluters will open a way for lessees to profit from logging in the name of sustainable harvesting. * REDD may mean that forests come to be viewed as mere mechanisms for carbon sequestration…

UNFCCC in Bonn: Emissions Reductions or Market Mechanisms?

By Tina Gerhardt, Huffington Post, 2 June 2010 | Prior to the UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, summits had taken place in various contexts and they asked that their findings be included in the UNFCCC considerations and draft text. The People World’s Conference on Climate Change (PWCCC) took place from April 19-21, 2010 in Cochabamba, bringing together 7,500 persons from 140 countries… From May 2-4, 2010, the Petersburg Conference took place outside Bonn, Germany. Representatives from 43 nations and the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP chairs met for an informal meeting, focusing mainly on adaptation and mitigation, and considering bilateral and multilateral initiatives. Last week, the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference took place on May 27 to discuss and start actions on REDD+… Persons from 50 countries attended, including delegates, NGOs, indigenous persons and the private sector.

Forest Protection Partnership Attracts $4 Billion Investment

ENS-Newswire, 2 June 2010 | The effort to preserve and protect forests and particularly tropical rainforests took a step forward last week at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference in Norway, where 50 countries agreed on a framework for the rapid implementation of measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. Around US$4 billion was pledged for the period 2010-2012 for measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. “Measures to reduce deforestation are the quickest and least expensive way of achieving large emission cuts,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Massive REDD pledge to Indonesia to slow deforestation

New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association, 2 June 2010 | Rasmus Hansson, CEO of WWF-Norway says … “To WWF, it is of particular importance that the partners recognize that forest conservation is about much more than CO2 emissions. Safeguarding ecosystems, biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods is an absolute prerequisite for making this work — and obviously a crucial benefit in itself.” However REDD Monitor editor Chris Lang remains to be convinced. He points out that the Letter of Intent says Indonesia will implement a two year suspension on all new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forest. “This is not a ban, it is a temporary suspension, which applies only to new concessions.” … “The Letter of Intent has nothing to say, and will not affect, concessions for clearance that have already been awarded, but not yet cleared. This is potentially a vast area,” says Lang.

3 June 2010

REDD threatens rights of 350 million local people

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 3 June 2010 | The Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change, a coalition of some 100 organizations from 38 countries, has released a report outlining an alternative vision of REDD that would uphold the rights of local and indigenous people while protecting forests. “When forest-dependent communities gain control over forest resources, they are best at protecting them against destruction by others. Providing REDD funding to industrial logging or strict nature conservation programs that do not respect local peoples’ rights and usages of the forest could be counter-productive, and fuel conflict and poverty,” explains Nat Dyer of the Rainforest Foundation UK, which is a member of the coalition making up the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change. [R-M: The report is available here: http://bit.ly/arZdhr]

Safeguarding forest people’s rights within REDD-plus efforts

School of International Development, University of East Anglia, 3 June 2010 | Thomas Sikor (DEV) and six other leading experts on forest governance have suggested ways to safeguard forest people’s rights under efforts to reduce emissions from forests (REDD-plus) in an editorial forthcoming in the journal Global Environmental Change. They show how climate change negotiators can translate the attention given to the “rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities” at the last UNFCCC Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 into three operational principles: forest people need to participate in decisions about the design and implementation of REDD-plus, to receive an equitable share in REDD-plus benefits, and to be recognised for their particular identities, histories and experiences.

Improved forest management should be included in ongoing discussions of REDD policy

By Professor Francis E. Putz, Stabroek News letters, 3 June 2010 | While the Government of Guyana leads the world in plans for low carbon development, the considerable carbon emissions’ benefits of improved forest management are not being sufficiently stressed. This oversight is not unique to Guyana – around the world, deforestation and not forest degradation is in the limelight in debates about climate change policies. As a mostly forested country with vibrant forest industries and a dedicated forest regulatory authority, disregarding forest degradation is difficult to understand. Given that I have spent less than two weeks in Guyana, my opinions carry little weight and my calculations are suspect. These limitations notwithstanding, I want to make a case for including improved forest management in ongoing discussions of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) policy.

Fires in Amazon challenge emission reduction program

sciencecodex.com, 3 June 2010 | Fire occurrence rates in the Amazon have increased in 59% of areas with reduced deforestation and risks cancelling part of the carbon savings achieved by UN measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation. New research led by the University of Exeter, published on Friday 4 June, in Science, analysed satellite deforestation and fire data from the Brazilian Amazon to understand the influence of United Nation’s REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) policy on fire patterns in Amazonia. The NERC (National Environment Research Council) funded research shows that fire incidences may increase even with a decrease in deforestation rates.

10-11 June 2010 Carbon Markets Forestry & REDD USA Washington, DC

Point Carbon, 3 June 2010 | Carbon Markets, Forestry & REDD USA 2010 has assembled a faculty of industry-leading individuals to address the questions crucial to the forward progress of the carbon market in North America and beyond. Every link in the Carbon and Forestry value chain will be present for days of debate aimed at moving the market forward and realizing the potential of the forestry carbon markets in the USA and beyond. Learn from top industry professionals and leading experts including: Fabian Núñez Former Speaker, California State Assembly; David Hunter Director, US Policy, International Emissions Trading Association; Jeff Horowitz Founder, Avoided Deforestation Partners; Eric Bettelheim Founder & Former Executive Chairman, Sustainable Forestry Management.

4 June 2010

2 Day Seminar on REDD Potential in Bhutan begins

Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan, 4 June 2010 | The first ever two day seminar on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Potential in Bhutan started on June 3, 2010 at the Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL) conference hall in Thimphu. Hon’ble Lyonpo of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF), (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho graced the opening ceremony as the Chief Guest. The Seminar has been organised by the Watershed Management Division, Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS), MoAF with financial assistance from SNV.

Channel for Norway $$ posed difficulties – Jagdeo

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 4 June 2010 | Following difficulties in agreeing a mechanism through which money from the Guyana-Norway forest protection agreement will flow to this country, President Bharrat Jagdeo is optimistic that the issue will be resolved soon. The two countries have chosen the World Bank as the agency through which the money will be channelled. “We have worked for a very long time on this and we had grave difficulties, significant difficulties”, the Head of State said in an interview with Stabroek News in Oslo, Norway last week.

REDD-plus, forest people’s rights and nested climate governance

By Matthew McDermott, Treehugger, 4 June 2010 | Though support, both political and financial, for the UN REDD forest protection scheme has been growing, there’s also a growing opposition voice expressing the concern that, though keeping forests standing is a good thing, the REDD program could well run roughshod over the rights of indigenous people as international financiers, corporations and timber companies get involved. Mongabay points out that an alternative vision of REDD is being put forth by the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change that addresses these concerns.

REDD Forest Protection Program Could Threaten Rights of 350 Million People

Citizen’s Global Platform, 4 June 2010 | A forthcoming editorial in the journal Global Environmental Change discusses three broad principles for protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities under REDD-plus actions. Thomas Sikor, Johannes Stahl, Thomas Enters, Jesse C. Ribot, Neera Singh, William D. Sunderlin, and Lini Wollenberg show how climate change negotiators can operationalize the “rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities” acknowledged by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action at the last UNFCCC Conference in Copenhagen. Pointing to recent experience with the recognition of forest people’s rights, they suggest the need for forest people’s participation in political decision making, equitable distribution of forest benefits, and recognition of their particular identities, histories and experiences. [R-M: Editorial available here: http://bit.ly/bmRy6C]

Police probe as carbon deal hit by bribe accusation

By Michael Peel and Fiona Harvey, Financial Times, 4 June 2010 | Police are probing a planned deal for a British company to rent one-fifth of Liberia’s forests, in a striking example of possible criminal activity around the expanding business of carbon emission trading. The City of London police on Thursday arrested the director of a Merseyside-based business in connection with an alleged plan to pay Liberian officials $2.5m (£1.7m) in connection with land concessions the company hoped would earn it more than $2bn, people familiar with the matter said. The case, which centres on one of Africa’s smallest and most densely forested countries, is likely to stoke worries over potential abuses around efforts by foreign investors to buy up jungle in less industrialised nations to offset greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.

6 June 2010

Liberia literally hopes to find money growing on trees

AFP, 6 June 2010 | Conserve the rainforests and we will pay you … so goes the gist of an ambitious plan by the West to protect forests in developing countries including Liberia. And it could earn Africa billions of dollars. With its lush forests vulnerable to miners and loggers, Liberia is well-placed to join the scheme, through which African nations would earn money while at the same time helping the West to meet its climate change goals… “Sequestration of carbon is a new product that Africa can sell and the global community wants,” said Ravi Prabhu, senior programme officer for forests and climate change with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). … “This new form of protecting the forest is at the same time trying to generate benefit from the forest without cutting it down,” said Nouhou Ndam, chief technical advisor for REDD with the British-based NGO Fauna and Flora International, which is helping Liberia design its pilot carbon project.

Amazon forest fires ‘on the rise’

By Mark Kinver, BBC News, 6 June 2010 | The number of fires destroying Amazon rainforests are increasing, a study has found. A team of scientists said fires in the region could release similar amounts of carbon as deliberate deforestation. Writing in Science, they said fire occurrence rates had increased in 59% of areas with reduced deforestation. As a result, the rise in fires could jeopardise the long-term success of schemes to reduce emissions from deforestation, they added… “Fires following drought years are likely to release a similar amount of carbon as emissions from deliberate deforestation,” the researchers wrote. “The higher probability of a drier Amazon in the 21st Century predicted by some global circulation models… may push Amazonia towards an amplified fire-prone system.” … “Forest landscapes in Amazonia are becoming more fragmented and, therefore, a growing proportion of forests is exposed to the leakage of accidental fires from adjacent farms,” they suggested.

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  1. At least they aren’t going with any replanting…