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REDD in the news: 16-22 August 2010

REDD in the news: 16-20 August 2010

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.

Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership Releases Policy Brief on REDD+ in Indonesia

Climate-L.org, August 2010 | The Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership … (ASB) has released a policy brief on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) in Indonesia inside and outside areas officially defined as “forest.” The authors note that, based on Indonesia’s definition of institutional forest, approximately one-third of emissions from deforestation occur outside of “forests” and are not accounted for under national REDD+ policy. The authors highlight the potential for leakage to occur based on increased deforestation in areas not technically defined as forest. The policy brief suggests that accounting for emissions through a framework for reducing emissions from all land uses (REALU) will be more effective than Indonesia’s current REDD+ approach. ASB is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

DENR Approved the National REDD+ Strategy

Code Redd, no date | The Philippine National REDD Plus Strategy (PNRPS), the product of a participatory, multi-stakeholder process, was approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Executive Committee on August 09, 2010. Thus the PNRPS now becomes an official document endorsed by the DENR. The succeeding step of the process is for the PNRPS to be approved by the Climate Change Commission.

Forest Conservation and REDD in Ecuador

KfW, no date | Ecuador is rich in forests (approx. 40 per cent of the country’s land area is covered by natural forests) and has one of the highest deforestation rates in Latin America (around 1.5 per cent annually). This is mainly caused by the continuous pressure to open up areas for oil and gas production and mining, the mostly illegal tree-felling as well as the expansion of the “agrarian frontier” (particularly for large plantations, pastures). In view of the paramount importance of forest conservation for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), KfW supports forest conservation with EUR 10 million on behalf of the German government. The project is based on the Programa Socio Bosque (PSB), which was started in 2008 by the Ecuadorian Environmental Ministry and was financed so far solely through Ecuador’s own funds.

16 August 2010

Ministry wants money for planting trees

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 16 August 2010 | Indonesia hopes to renegotiate its US$1 billion deal with Norway on reducing carbon emissions by curbing deforestation, hoping Norway will accept tree planting as an eligible part of the program. “We hope REDD+ activities could be applied in the Indonesia-Norway climate deal,” Hadi Daryanto, director general of forest production at the Forestry Ministry, told The Jakarta Post Saturday… The current letter of intent (LoI) between Indonesia and Norway states that their climate change partnership is focused on “REDD+”, but the province hosting the pilot project “must have large undisturbed tracts of rainforest, and professionally documented plans for forestry intentions and other projects that may cause environmental degradation”. The initial LoI did not include compensation for tree planting efforts, although the United Nations REDD+ interpretation does recompense some reforestation endeavors.

Indonesia critical in climate fight, but questions remain: TNC

Jakarta Post, 16 August 2010 | Dina Indrasafitri spoke with The Nature Conservancy’s European representative and executive director Sascha Müller-Kraenner… TNC has a project in the Berau district that is the biggest of its kind worldwide. There have been a number of smaller, simpler pilot projects there such as taking an area of normal pristine forest, putting it under [government] protection or by taking up a timber concession and talking with one timber company… From Europe there are currently three countries that have expressed interests. The French government expressed an interest in providing loans to timber concessions; Germany is working on an agreement with the Indonesian government to support three REDD pilot project over Indonesia and one of them will be Berau, which includes timber concessions and also protection forests. One country from Europe that is already giving support to work in Berau is Norway.

Govt may name local firm as fund manager

Jakarta Post, 16 August 2010 | The Indonesian government will likely appoint a local financial institution to manage the US$1 billion forestry fund to be provided by Norway as part of the environmental deal signed in Oslo early this year. Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said the government would prefer a local but reputable financial institution to manage the fund, instead of an international agency such as the World Bank or Asian Development Bank. “We will hire an Indonesian financial institution with an international reputation,” he told a press conference at his office on Friday. Hatta said the financing institution would be one of topics of discussion next week at the second RI-Norway meeting on the implementation of a bilateral climate deal between the two countries. “We will discuss the continuation of our working agreement to combat deforestation, including the disbursement mechanism,” he said, referring to the two-day meeting to be held from Aug. 18-19.

IGES REDD+ Online Database

carbonpositive.net, 16 August 2010 | The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) has launched an online database to make information on REDD-plus readiness activities and projects readily accessible for analysis and learning. The database mainly provides profiles of REDD-plus projects using a common template, but the intention is to also provide country summaries of REDD-plus policies and frameworks. The project profiles organise information from publicly available sources (mainly project design documents, PDDs). Most of the text is copied directly from these sources; hence any views or evaluative statements are those of the authors of the original documents.

Australia mulls foreign-linked carbon offset scheme

carbonpositive.net, 16 August 2010 | The Australian government is proposing to allow foresters and farmers to create carbon offset credits for international sale into foreign emissions trading markets. Prime Minister Julia Gillard launched the policy on the weekend, part of campaigning ahead of a federal election on August 21. Carbon sequestration through afforestation, reforestation and better forest and savannah management as well as reducing emissions from livestock and fertilisers would be recognised under the scheme, which would see reductions verified to national carbon accounting standards. Soil carbon and avoided deforestation would also be considered.

Logging may swamp Indonesian peatlands, destroy local sustainable sago industry

By Rhett Butler, mongabay.com, 16 August 2010 | Industrial logging concessions on islands off the coast of Sumatra threaten to undermine a sustainable community industry that may hold to key to protecting Indonesia’s carbon-dense, but increasingly endangered peatlands. The three concessions, which cover 72,280 hectares of peatlands and natural tropical forest in Kepulauan Meranti, islands north of Sumatra’s Kampar Peninula, are held by Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper/Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL), Lestari Unggul Makmur and Sumatera Riang Lestari Ltd (SRL), companies that sell wood pulp to APRIL. Local environmental groups say the permits to develop the land, which was earlier zoned for logging, were converted to industrial plantation permits (HPH) without proper gazetting, a requirement under the Indonesian Forest Act.

Trees Soaking Up Less Carbon Than Expected, Study Finds

University of Guelph, press release, 16 August 2010 | Scientists and policy-makers hoping to use forests to naturally soak up increasing amounts of carbon dioxide may have overestimated the role of trees as carbon sinks, according to a new study by University of Guelph researchers. Contrary to expectations, tree growth has declined over the past century despite rising amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, said Madhur Anand, a professor in Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences. Along with PhD students Lucas Silva and Mark Leithead, she co-authored a paper that appeared in the July issue of PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed international journal published by the Public Library of Science. It was also featured by the journal as a “pick of the month.”

Report Questions Forests’ Effectiveness in Storing Carbon

GreenBiz, 16 August 2010 | Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, believe estimates of how much carbon may be stored in forests may be overblown. This is because trees in temperate and boreal forests have grown more slowly, therefore storing less carbon than expected. “We need to entirely rethink impacts of climate change,” Madhur Anand, a professor in Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences, said in a statement. “We need to consider multiple stressors and interactions with disturbances. More research is needed in these areas to better predict implications for forest productivity, management and even restoration.”

REDD+: When the Stakes Are High

By Jacob Phelps, Edward L. Webb, Arun Agrawal, Science, 16 August 2010 | (Published E-Letter responses for Palmer, 328 (5982) 1105) These current events suggest that even initial REDD+ incentives are prompting government agencies and individual government actors to seek increased control over forest resources. Palmer suggests that under REDD+, “liability for carbon reversal could lie with the state, whereas additional incentives, such as REDD+ payments for environmental services, could be transferred to local actors.” Recent developments suggest the opposite: Governments are familiar with traditional risk-reward analyses, and are unlikely to distribute REDD+ rewards while reserving the liability for themselves. Although we recognize that there are countries where REDD+ may lead to multidimensional positive outcomes, the evidence demonstrates that such outcomes will be rare unless there is specific attention given to improving governance, identifying strategies for local engagement, and establishing institutional safeguards.

17 August 2010

Marubeni signs a General Collaboration Agreement with Cargill regarding joint business development in GHG emission reduction projects

asahi.com, 17 August 2010 | Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter “Marubeni”) has signed a General Collaboration Agreement with Cargill to promote collaboration in various GHG (Green House Gas) emission reduction projects that contribute to climate change mitigation. Under the agreement, Marubeni aims to promote collaboration with Cargill in various GHG emissions reduction projects including REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) in developing countries, biomass utilization, renewable energy projects and generation of emissions credit from those activities. Marubeni has been participating in GHG emission reduction projects overseas, obtained emissions credits from its projects, and has provided them to Japanese buyers including Japanese Government. Through promoting cooperation with Cargill, Marubeni will actively seek to develop GHG emission reduction projects under the current Kyoto Protocol as well as Post-Kyoto framework…

18 August 2010

Indonesia may cancel permits to save forest

By Sunanda Creagh and Neil Chatterjee, Reuters, 18 August 2010 | Indonesia’s planned moratorium on the clearing of natural forest from 2011 may lead to the revocation of some firms’ existing permits and will slash the size of a giant food estate, said the official in charge of the scheme. The two-year moratorium, agreed under a $1 billion deal with Norway to curb greenhouse gases from deforestation, has created uncertainty among investors in plantations, timber and mining, who fear their expansion could be stymied. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the presidential delivery unit, told Reuters the moratorium could also extend beyond two years, given that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was determined to protect the country’s extensive tropical forests.

Indonesia’s Foray Into Carbon Trading Ripe for Fraud: Experts

By Fidelis E Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 18 August 2010 | Ambitious plans to harness Indonesia’s millions of hectares of forest to offset carbon emissions could give rise to a new strain of corruption and financial fraud unless managed properly, experts warn… “The central point that I’ve tried to make is that REDD poses an unavoidable paradox,” said Christopher Barr, a forest policy expert at consultancy Woods and Wayside International, which is based in Texas. “Large amounts of money are being mobilized to slow deforestation and forest degradation — up to $28 billion per year to bring about a 50 percent reduction in forest-based emissions globally,” Barr said. “However, a significant portion of these funds will be channeled to countries that have long histories of weak forest management and poor administration of public fiscal resources.”

Preparing for REDD in the Republic of Congo

By Kemen Austin, Fredd Stolle and Sophia Elmore, World Resources Institute, 18 August 2010 | A new WRI project will quantify forest degradation and associated greenhouse gas emissions in the forests of the Republic of Congo. The Republic of Congo is part of the larger Congo Basin region, which contains one quarter of the world’s tropical forests. Protecting the region’s forests has become a crucial part of the international effort to combat global warming. Yet the Republic of Congo, like other countries in the Congo Basin, is still putting the systems in place to implement an effective strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD) and to participate in future programs that incentivize reduction in emissions from these sources. To support this effort, WRI is spearheading an innovative new project entitled Quantifying Forest Degradation and Associated Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Forests of the Republic of Congo.

Russian Wildfires Retreat, but Economic Drivers Remain

By Daniel Kandy, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 August 2010 | The wildfires that choked Moscow over the past two months were fueled primarily by peat bogs that were drained to make way for farms and houses. Peatlands around the world could accelerate climate change by unleashing more carbon dioxide than any single industrial sector. Ecosystem Marketplace examines the role that carbon offsets can play in heading off the disaster… Indeed, environmentalists and conservationists around the world, along with politicians and economists, are only now beginning to embrace the concept of saving nature by embedding its value in our economy under a new conservation paradigm, often called “payment for ecosystem services” or PES. The concept is simple in theory: identify both an ecosystem service that nature provides and a beneficiary. Then, persuade the beneficiary to pay for that service’s upkeep.

Sarawak Supports REDD Initiatives

Malaysian Digest, 18 August 2010 | Sarawak supports the implementation of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiatives, Sarawak Forestry Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Len Talif said today. “Sarawak is interested in REDD. “Even parts of Anap Muput Forest Management Unit (FMU) was considering, during our discussion with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia, to examine the potential of REDD in these areas,” he said … at the 1st Carbon Offset and Forest Conservation Workshop… It is the first initiative held in Sarawak to familiarise the timber-related parties with carbon offset and REDD, towards implementing Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Sarawak. Speakers at the workshop were Dr Tom Evan, who is Director for the WCS REDD project in Cambodia, and Dr Gary Thesiera of Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry who has been involved in a number of the international climate change negotiaitions.

Forests – A Feminist Issue

Otesha Project Blog, 18 August 2010 | One text within the UNFCCC process that looks near completion is REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) which, as it stands, threatens the livelihoods of women across the world. Irrespective of whether the principles of REDD are sound, the host city for COP16 this November (that’s the 16th climate change conference to you and me) is Mexico, who would like nothing better than to say that they had helped seal the deal on REDD, and so will push countries to agree. Of course we could say that this is exactly what we are working towards – for countries to pull their fingers out and agree on something that can contribute to keeping us under 2 degrees global warming. But rushing an agreement through that does not take into account the particular needs of disadvantaged and minority groups, particularly women within indigenous communities, could end up making everything a whole lot worse.

19 August 2010

State keen to adopt carbon offset scheme

By Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith, Borneo Post, 19 August 2010 | Currently the government is at the initial discussion stage with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia to examine REDD potential of the Forest Management Unit at Anap-Muput, located in the Bintulu interiors, as it is a certified sustainable forest management site. This is disclosed by Ministry of Planning and Resource Management deputy permanent secretary Datu Len Talif Salleh while officiating at the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) workshop on ‘Carbon Offset and Forest Conservation’ at Wisma STA yesterday… Len Talif said: “REDD is essentially a proposal whereby developed nations, seeking to meet commitments under international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, provide compensation and financial incentives to developing nations. “It is to help the developing nations to voluntarily reduce national deforestation rates and associated carbon emissions below a baseline.”

146 dams threaten Amazon basin

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 19 August 2010 | Although developers and government often tout dams as environmentally-friendly energy sources, this is not always the case. Dams impact river flows, changing ecosystems indefinitely; they may flood large areas forcing people and wildlife to move; and in the tropics they can also become massive source of greenhouse gases due to emissions of methane. Despite these concerns, the Amazon basin—the world’s largest tropical rainforest—is being seen as prime development for hydropower projects. Currently five nations—Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru—are planning over 146 big dams in the Amazon Basin. Some of these dams would flood pristine rainforests, others threaten indigenous people, and all would change the Amazonian ecosystem. Now a new website, Dams in Amazonia, outlines the sites and impacts of these dams with an interactive map.

Carbon Profit Grows on Trees as Kiwi Farmers Ditch Sheep

By Stuart Biggs, Bloomberg, 19 August 2010 | New Zealand’s sheep farmers are flocking to a government carbon trading program that pays more to plant trees than sell wool and mutton. The system, begun in 2008 and the only one of its kind outside Europe, awards farmers credits that are sold to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The project may earn them about NZ$600 a hectare ($172 per acre) a year on land unprofitable for grazing animals, said David Evison, a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury’s New Zealand School of Forestry. Forests planted for carbon credits may increase to 30,000 hectares a year compared with 3,500 hectares in 2009, the government estimates.

Human response to climate change is making matters worse

Ecologist, 19 August 2010 | Our attempts to adapt to, and mitigate, the effects of climate change, such as using biofuels, could worsen the direct effects of climate change on our ecoystems. The worst impacts of climate change may come about as a result of how humans respond to it, suggests a study by conservationists. While there has been a significant amount of focus on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, little consideration has been given to the impact of our responses to climate change, says the study published in the journal Conservation Letters this month. Biofuels: Renewable energy, for example, is a crucial part of every national and international strategy for curbing emissions, including plans to promote biofuels. However, rising ethanol production has been linked to losses of grassland habitats, while booming demand for palm oil, some of which is turned into biodiesel, is fuelling the clearance of biodiverse-rich forests across south-east Asia.

Group Hopes Health Care Can Help Save Forests

By Amelia Templeton, OPB News, 19 August 2010 | A conservation group is trying to save forest land by helping private timber owners pay for health care. The Pinchot Institute surveyed people across the country who will inherit forest land and asked them what would cause them to sell off the family forest. The top response was having to pay unexpected medical bills. Pinchot has partnered with the insurance company Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield. Their proposal would have carbon traders invest directly in health care plans and community health services for private forest owners. Catherin Mater is with the Pinchot institute. Catherin Mater: “We do have carbon investors on board who have indicated that they are interested in this, they want to move to the next phase on this.” Landowners would need to get their forests certified as sustainable to participate. A pilot project could start soon in Columbia County.

Insuring REDD Projects: Questions and Answers

By Gus Kent and Gabriel Thoumi, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 August 2010 | Just a few weeks of actual negotiating time remain before the year-end summit in Cancun, and climate talks are a mess. Sure, most parties agree it’s a good idea to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving trees, but that’s about all they agree on. This all highlights the amount of risk that investors take when paying for something today that won’t be delivered for decades – and the role that insurers could play in spreading the risk… Business is about risk, and insurance is about managing that risk. Without it, no sector can grow – and the REDD sector is certainly without it… In order to prepare for compliance mechanisms acceptance, there must be steps taken to secure the integrity of the voluntary process, and for that matter, secure the integrity of the compliance process. The current structures would not stand up if challenged in the U.S. Court of Law.

Indonesia gets first $30M from Norway under $1B forest deal

mongabay.com, 19 August 2010 | Norway has agreed to transfer an initial $30 million to Indonesia under its $1 billion REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) partnership with the Southeast Asian country. The fund will go towards Phase I of the partnership, which include “the establishment of an Indonesian REDD+ agency, development of a comprehensive national REDD+ strategy, implementation of an interim funding instrument, development of a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) framework, selection of a pilot province and the implementation of 2-year moratorium for new concessions on natural forests and peatland, commencing in 2011,” according to the Indonesian government.

Insuring the Rain Forest with Green Bonds

By Dr. Steven L. Siegel and Leon V. Terrano, Gerson Lehrman Group, 19 August 2010 | The successful implementation of any REDD program requires several separate and disparate groups to act together, each for their own individual benefit; the indigenous population, local and federal governments, the United Nations and investors. The benefits to these groups are significant; the indigenous people get improved roads, schools and hospitals while maintaining their homeland in a relatively pristine state, the local and federal governments will not have to spend resources to develop infrastructure while also benefiting from the improved political stability thus reducing the need for significant security expenditures, the United Nations is able to positively impact the environment through a reduction in global warming, and investors can reap significant returns on investments, often in excess of ten times the original investment, that, in most cases, are only in the ten million dollar range.

Saving Forests with Carrots as well as Sticks – Part 1

By Tensie Whelan (Rainforest Alliance), Huffington Post, 19 August 2010 | Forests cover about a third of Earth’s land area and contain about 70% of the carbon found in living things. They are one of the keys to climate change, especially tropical forests, which also harbor 95% of the planet’s terrestrial biodiversity and 40% of terrestrial carbon, and are responsible for at least one-third of the annual exchange of carbon dioxide between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Today deforestation and forest degradation accounts for 20% of global atmospheric carbon emissions, and the bulk of that comes from tropical countries. Protecting forests, especially tropical forests, is one of the most cost-effective ways there is to reduce emissions as well as preserve biodiversity. Yet globalization has accelerated the alarming rate at which we have been losing forests worldwide, including sensitive tropical forests in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

20 August 2010

Saving Forests with Carrots as well as Sticks – Part 2

By Tensie Whelan (Rainforest Alliance), Huffington Post, 20 August 2010 | [T]here are other important factors in the current gains that we shouldn’t ignore, because they will be decisive in future gains. They include better due-diligence tracking, building markets for voluntary sustainability certification regimes and sourcing practices, encouraging higher industry CSR standards and greater consumer demand for legal and sustainable wood products, plus positive incentives for forest preservation. It will take all these factors working together with interdiction to cut illegal logging all the way to zero. In other words, we need carrots as well as sticks. Protecting forests is not only or even primarily a question of policing bad actors; it’s mainly a question of shifting the future of the global forestry onto a positive, sustainable path.

Indonesia says forest moratorium to start off small

By David Fogarty, Reuters, 20 August 2010 | Indonesia plans to initially protect less than half its remaining forest cover under a two-year ban forming part of a $1 billion deal with Norway aimed at fighting deforestation and carbon emissions. The ban from 2011 on clearing natural forest has spooked palm oil and mining firms who fear it will crimp expansion and earnings. In a nation noted for corruption and the sway of its resources firms, the move will test resolve to use donor cash transparently. “If we surrender to the negative forces, there is no solution,” Agus Purnomo, the president’s special adviser on climate change, told Reuters. “But if we go with concrete action, step by step, if we go with the very minimum level of commitment and then expanding the commitment in the future, we will be able to do it.”

Carbon markets need urgent oversight

By Michael K.Dorsey and Jerome Whitington, Carbon Market Europe, Point Carbon, 20 August 2010 | Interpol’s forthcoming, September 2010, Environmental Crime Conference and related venues may offer spaces to foment rules to address seemingly broad, systemic problems in carbon markets. Such efforts may accommodate the needs and interests of multiple stakeholder participants as some have advocated but ultimately must achieve real emissions reductions. The inability to bring robust and adequate governance structures around carbon markets will exacerbate injustice, facilitate new problems of wealth disparity and may ultimately cause increases in emissions.

High prices triggering new gold rush

Stabroek News, 20 August 2010 | Continually rising gold prices coupled with a highly successful 2009 for the industry appears to have triggered a fresh wave of investment interest in the sector by coastal businessmen who have traditionally paid little if any attention to the gold-mining industry; and according to Executive Secretary of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Edward Shields Guyana’s latest ‘gold rush’ could add to the already existing challenges facing the industry… Gold miners clashed with the authorities earlier this year over a proposed new regulation which government said was designed to reduce deforestation under the LCDS and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degra-dation (REDD+) programme.

Booklet on REDD+ and IPs – Nepali

Indigenous Climate Portal, 20 August 2010 | Publication of NEFIN (Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities) on REDD+ and Indigenous Peoples. Produced in partnership with Tebtebba, AIPP and IWGIA. Nepali language.

Countries take first steps to implement their partnership to combat deforestation

norway.or.id, 20 August 2010 | Norway finances establishment and start-up activities of Indonesian REDD+ Agency with USD 30 million contribution. The government of Norway has agreed to transfer an initial contribution of USD 30 million through an international financing mechanism to finance Phase I of the Indonesia-Norway partnership on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) in Indonesia. The two sides signed a Letter of Intent in Oslo in May of this year outlining the framework for a USD 1 billion partnership to combat deforestation and forest degradation. President Yudhoyono stated in Oslo that the partnership is well-aligned with Indonesia’s national efforts, and the global UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) pathway to build a viable system to reduce emissions from deforestation and peat land conversion.

Financing the Tropical Forest Conservation Act

By Eric Novinson, Costing a Green Future, 20 August 2010 | The Tropical Forest Conservation Act is an incentive program that provides less developed countries with debt relief when they protect their forests. According to USAID, this act includes funding from both the United States federal government and private organizations. The Tropical Forest Conservation Act funds protect forests throughout all regions of the world, including Bangladesh, Belize, Jamaica, and Botswana, as well as others. The Tropical Forest Conservation Act was originally authorized by President Bush in 2001. President Obama has continued funding this program and more nations and sources of funding are added periodically.

21 August 2010

UN board could rein in $2.7 billion carbon market

By John Heilprin, Associated Press, 21 August 2010 | An obscure U.N. board that oversees a $2.7 billion market intended to cut heat-trapping gases has agreed to take steps that could lead to it eventually reining in what European and U.S. environmentalists are calling a huge scam. At a meeting this week that ended Friday, the executive board of the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism said that five chemical plants in China would no longer qualify for funding as so-called carbon offset credits until the environmentalists’ claims can be further investigated. The “CDM” credits have been widely used in the carbon trading markets of the European Union, Japan and other nations that signed onto the 1997 Kyoto Protocol requiring mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases. Rather than cut their own carbon emissions, industrialized nations can buy the credits which then pay developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases instead.

Norway to soon disburse $30m of $1b forestry fund

Jakarta Post, 21 August 2010 | Norway has agreed to start the implementation of a bilateral climate deal worth US$1 billion by disbursing an initial fund worth $30 million in September, a senior official says. “The initial fund will be disbursed next month through the UN-REDD program,” Forestry Ministry Director General of Production Forest Development Hadi Daryanto told The Jakarta Post on Friday at his office. The UN’s reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) program had been agreed on as an interim financial institution for the Indonesia-Norway climate deal in a two-day meeting held from Aug. 18 to 19. The Indonesian delegation was led by Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4) chairman Kuntoro Mangkusubroto and the Norwegian delegation by Eivind S. Homme, Norway’s ambassador to Indonesia. Hadi said the UN-REDD program was chosen as the interim financial institution due to its experience in managing funds.

22 August 2010

The case for the Marriot Hotel- Conclusion

By Christopher Ram, Stabroek News, 22 August 2010 | As a major forester described the matter, the ‘S’ in LCDS stands for sacrifice to be made by the forestry and mining sector as they are strangled by draconian regulations and the commitments by President Jagdeo to the Norwegians. Currently the income from forestry and mining flows to the operators and the government, while jobs are provided for both coastlanders and members of hinterland communities. There is a perception that the persons making the money from these sectors are not supporters of the government, and in consequence, they are dispensable and will be sacrificed to the LCDS. LCDS funds flow directly to the government which alone decides how they will be spent. If it wants to support a particular project or person, all it has to do is put it in the context of the LCDS as in the case of Amaila and Fip Motilall. And if another project – like a hotel – is not that easy, just prefix the project with the word “green.”

Guyana one step closer to receiving money from Norway

Kaieteur News, 22 August 2010 | The Forestry Commission is currently seeking an Independent Forest Monitor, to undertake the initial scoping mission in 2010 and a monitoring assessment in 2011, which are required before any money can be disbursed from Norway to Guyana under the Memorandum of Understanding signed. That MOU between the Government of Guyana and the Government of Norway outlines the activities to be covered during the 2009 and 2010 period, which includes the establishment of a system for Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM). The successful IFM chosen, will draw on the work which would have been done in Guyana, and will allow for a mechanism for assessment of illegality in the forest sector. It will cover all significant drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Guyana and thus, has direct links to a Reduced Emissions from Emissions, Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) monitoring programme.

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