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REDD in the news: 30 August – 5 September 2010

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REDD in the news: 30 August - 5 September 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.

Quantifying the impacts of the quality of governance on deforestation

By Chisa Umemiya, Ewald Rametsteiner and Florian Kraxner, Environmental Science and Policy, 3 August 2010 | The quality of governance is known to have effects on deforestation, together with other social and economic factors. However, assessing the impact of governance quality is a challenging task due to the complex and diverse mechanisms of deforestation as well as limited data availability. In this paper, interrelations between governance quality and deforestation rates are analysed on a global scale, using national data on governance quality and deforestation. Results indicate an increase in governance quality tends to be associated with a decrease in deforestation rates (i.e., a lower level of deforestation). The paper then discusses the limitations of the quantitative assessment, including data issues.

An Interim Mechanism to Protect Tropical Forests

By Eduard Muller & Cyril Kormos, IUCN, August 2010 | Report on the Workshop held in San Jose Costa Rica, March 2010. Why We Shouldn’t Rely on REDD+ in the Short Term to Address Biodiversity/CC Crises: • REDD+ will not be implemented quickly: • Capacity building for REDD will be a slow process – forest governance is a persistent concern, need technical capacity for MRV, uniform or at least consistent standards etc. • Funding mechanisms are not agreed • REDD+ does not prioritize conservation: • It’s theoretically possible that a REDD+ mechanism would be largely if not exclusively focused on SFM, with few or even no conservation projects. Indeed – much of current focus of REDD readiness is for SFM. • SFM (which mainly focuses on industrial logging) is not a proven commodity in the tropics – after decades of efforts, less than 5% of tropical forests are sustainably managed. • Putting safeguards in place in REDD for biodiversity (and social and other concerns) doesn’t do the job…

Trading carbon

FERN, August 2010 | In the drive to tackle climate change, carbon trading has become the policy instrument of choice among governments. It is also a central element of the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol. National or regional carbon trading schemes are now operational in Europe, the USA, New Zealand and elsewhere. Yet carbon trading remains highly controversial. Some see it as a dangerous distraction and a false solution to the problem of climate change. Unfortunately the subject is characterised by jargon, abstract concepts, mathematical formulae and technical detail, making it hard for most people to understand its implications and assess its merits or otherwise. This guide attempts to unravel some of this complexity. [R-M: The report can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/civhGv]

Carbon Expo: Australasia’s premier carbon conference

Melbourne, Australia 11-13 October 2010 | Australasia’s premier Trade Fair & Carbon Conference for emissions intensive business and low-carbon economy product & service providers will be this year’s best opportunity to network with key domestic and international carbon business players, and to develop strategies to minimise costs and maximise benefits associated with emissions reductions and carbon pricing.

Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries

CBD, 20-23 September 2010 | Meeting Documents: CBD Technical Series No. 41 Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Report of the Second Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change; CBD Technical Series No. 43 Forest Resilience Biodiversity, and Climate Change: A Synthesis of the Biodiversity/Resilience/ Stability Relationship in Forest Ecosystems; Information Note for Participants; UNEP/CBD/COP/10/3 Report of the Fourteenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (see Annex p. 31); Expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity; Greening REDD+: Challenges and opportunities for forest biodiversity conservation. Workshop Summary.; OECD Environment Working Papers No. 11: Promoting Biodiversity Co-Benefits in REDD; Biodiversity and Livelihoods: REDD Benefits; Proceedings of the UN-REDD workshop on identifying and promoting ecosystem co-benefits from REDD+ …

Committee on Forestry Twentieth Session Rome, Italy, 4-8 October 2010

FAO, August 2010 | Delegates are kindly invited to note that the provisional timetable for the 20th Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) plenary sessions is listed in this document (Provisional Timetable COFO 2010/Inf.1). Details on World Forest Week events on key forest issues, information sessions and other meetings, from Monday 4 October until Friday 8 October inclusive, can be downloaded from the COFO web site http://bit.ly/a0Z5Eh or obtained in-session from the Documents Desk.

International Conference-Forum: Emerging Economic Mechanisms: Implications for Forest-Related Policies and Sector Governance

FAO, August 2010 | An International Conference-Forum on:”Emerging Economic Mechanisms: Implications for Forest-Related Policies and Sector Governance” will take place in Rome, FAO Headquarters, from 5 to 7 October 2010, as an event of the World Forest Week. The conference-forum is co-organised by the University of Tuscia and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), with the support of IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations). Some 100 forest management and policy scentists from all over the world will confront their views to forest managers and policy deciders on the recent international development of forestry measures.

Gender and Climate Change and REDD+ Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal

wocan.org, 30 August 2010 | At the global level, WOCAN has been the primary advocate for rural women in developing countries in the REDD+ dialogues. WOCAN seeks to make REDD+ a mechanism suitable for women to improve their household economy and social well being by making their contributions to forest preservation valued and rewarded through payment for environmental services schemes. There were about 80 participants in attendance, representing groups of women forest managers and farmers, local NGOs, donor organizations, government representatives from Ministries of Environment, Forest and Soil Resources, and Agriculture; and international organizations… WOCAN seeks to make REDD+ a mechanism suitable for women to improve their household economy and social well being by making their contributions to forest preservation valued and rewarded through payment for environmental services schemes.

Norway – Fast Start Finance

faststartfinance.org, August 2010 | The Norwegian fast start pledge has so far been our support for activities on reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Norway is transparent on the allocation split to multilateral institutions and bilateral agreements on our REDD+ pledge. Without yet having determined what other climate funding would be part of the Norwegian fast start contribution, the national official development assistance budget for 2010 allocates approximately a total of 560 million USD to climate finance. Of these, about 360 million USD are for REDD+, 110 million USD for mitigation and 70 million USD for adaptation. The rest of our climate budget is not yet classified… For the 2010-12 period, Norway has pledged 1 billion USD for REDD+, see table below for details on allocations for 2010.

30 August 2010

Rapid growth of palm oil industry tramples indigenous peoples’ rights, says report

mongabay.com, 30 August 2010 | Rapid expansion of oil palm plantations across Southeast Asia have run roughshod over customary tenure systems, resulting in exploitation of local communities, conflict, and outright human rights abuses, reports a new assessment of the palm oil sector by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), an international indigenous rights group. The report, Palm oil and indigenous peoples in South East Asia, concludes that the rapid growth of the palm oil industry has outpaced safeguards… “The global market for palm oil is thus driving a process of rapid land acquisition in the form of consolidated blocks of land, a demand which is testing the capacity of local land agencies, administrators and legislatures to the limits and beyond,” states the report, which is authored by Marcus Colchester, director of FPP… “If REDD is neither going to respect indigenous peoples’ rights nor curb palm oil expansion, it would seem to be a hollow promise.”

How best to balance economic growth and protection of the environment?

By Yani Saloh, Office of the President for Climate Change, Indonesia, mongabay.com, 30 August 2010 | Reducing emissions and sequestering carbon has become a new business opportunity. It will be essential, however, that the local communities are involved in these developments from the outset: in planning, decision-making and implementation. These developments will again attract people from the outside. This brings a risk that the carbon projects will fail unless they are developed with, and by, local people, who need compensation for their efforts. “REDD provides an opportunity for international communities, namely developed countries and companies, to contribute to the solutions of maintaining carbon stocks above and below the ground, while creating new sustainable livelihood opportunities for the locals,” explains Agus Purnomo, Special Staff to the President of Republic Indonesia for Climate Change.

There are less forest fires in conservation areas attended by the Bolsa Floresta Program

Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS), 30 August 2010 | Data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show that the Amazonas state’s conservation units, where there is the Bolsa Floresta Program, have registered, from May 1st to August 20th this year, lower incidence of fires than other protected areas also in the Amazonas state. On average, the these areas under the Bolsa Floresta Program had 3.6 fire spots for each one million hectares, while the others – not served by the Bolsa Floresta – had 5.7 fire spots (state conservation units), 6.5 (indigenous lands), and 17.5 fires spots in federal conservation units. The number of forest fires is obtained based on 11 satellites analyzed by INPE… The Bolsa Floresta Program is the largest project of payments for environmental services in the world, totalling over 10 million hectares, and has rewarded and improved traditional people’s welfare for conserving environmental services provided by rainforests…

Carbon project market leads with REDD methodology

carbonpositive.net, 30 August 2010 | The landmark approval of a carbon accounting methodology to underpin REDD projects in Asia shows the project-based voluntary carbon market leading the way in the development of mechanisms to halt the destruction of climate-critical tropical forests. Last week, project proponents announced they had won the first approval for a project methodology under the Voluntary Carbon Standard for REDD activities, or reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation. The methodology for calculating carbon emissions savings from forest preservation will be applied to a project attacking deforestation on its frontline – conserving 100,000 hectares of peatland forest in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Indonesia’s Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo. Borneo along with neighbouring Sumatra, is also home to the threatened orang-utan, while the region has some of highest rates of deforestation worldwide.

Climate change & REDD/REDD+

InfoSpring.org, 30 August 2010 | Is there any experience where forest communities participated in a REDD/REDD+ project and gained substantial and sustained (every year) benefits?

UN-REDD Blog back online!

UN-REDD Programme blog, 30 August 2010 | Since COP-15, the UN-REDD Programme has been busy, continuing to support REDD+ efforts in our nine pilot countries and among our growing list of partner countries (read more about the Programme’s five new partner countries here). We’ve also been busy finalizing our five-year Programme strategy, and supporting the new Interim REDD+ Partnership, established at the Olso Climate and Forest Conference in May. Now we are ramping up for an even busier fall, in the lead up to COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico. To keep track of all the fast-moving discourse and developments on REDD+, we want to reopen this blog and encourage everyone to engage with us through this platform. In the coming months, we will blog weekly on REDD+ news and issues, and daily some of the biggest upcoming forestry meetings, including COFO, Nagoya and Tianjin in October and COP-16 in December.

Santa Cruz Mountains redwoods lure cash for trapping carbon

By Kurtis Alexander, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 30 August 2010 | PG&E is handing over tens of thousands of dollars to the nonprofit Sempervirens Fund to protect a 425-acre stand of redwoods once slated for logging deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The deal, expected to be completed next month, is part of the utility’s efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions, in this case safeguarding trees for carbon absorption, and is helping to drive a new marketplace where people and business are offered an incentive to offset pollution. “We’re finding a new financial model here for doing things to capture greenhouse gases that wouldn’t have been done otherwise,” said Robert Parkhurst, climate protection and analysis manager for PG&E. “It’s a new paradigm for protecting the environment.”

31 August 2010

Climate panel must ‘fundamentally reform’ to survive

By Michael Marshal, New Scientist, 31 August 2010 | The world’s climate science authority must “fundamentally reform” its organisation and how it operates if it is to regain the public’s trust, according to a major review. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was hit by a series of scandals earlier this year, when some statements in its most recent assessment of climate change were found to be either exaggerated or incorrect. In the aftermath of these revelations, the InterAcademy Council (IAC), an umbrella organisation made up of scientific societies from around the world, was asked to investigate the IPCC’s procedures and practices, and to report on how they should be reformed. Their review of the IPCC, led by Princeton economist Harold Shapiro, was released on Monday.

Letter to the Editor MindaNews

By Crissy Guerrero, CoDe REDD, 31 August 2010 | [T]he CDM should be differentiated from the emerging REDD+ mechanism. First, although Mr. Bacongco suggests that REDD+ is already market-linked, the UNFCCC has not decided whether REDD+ payments will be a market or fund-based. Second, REDD+ is part of a national approach to reduce emissions (rather than the CDM project-based approach). As such, countries like the Philippines will be able to design their own policy reforms, safeguards, consultation and education processes and demonstration activities, allowing greater control over what is/is not allowed within mechanism. Third, REDD+ is performance-based. This means that emissions reductions must be measured, reported and externally verified, and that the carbon market could only come into play (if it does at all) after all preparatory systems and activities are compliant with UNFCCC- IPCC good practice guidelines.

Gazprom, Shell and Clinton Fdn Back Rainforest Carbon Deal in Borneo

Climate Connections, 31 August 2010 | The following article, though one week old, is very important, as it is the first REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project to be approved through the “Voluntary Carbon Standard Program”. It allows the privatization of forests in Indonesia for use as carbon offsets by Shell and Gazprom–enabling them to continue polluting. This project could also signal the future of REDD, with forest carbon offset projects brought online through bilateral agreements organized outside of the UN’s Climate Convention. It is clear to us that putting forests in the carbon market will not solve climate change, but will certainly create economic incentives to rob Indigenous and marginalized peoples of their forested lands.

Deforestation behind Pakistan catastrophe

carbonpositive.net, 31 August 2010 | Pakistan’s horrendous floods were a disaster waiting to happen, when the destructive effects of intense – but not unprecedented – rains were magnified by a deforested landscape and huge stockpiles of illegally-felled logs. Deforestation and other actions of the country’s ‘timber mafia’ were ticking time bombs detonated by monsoon rains, it is argued in a feature article in the Herald Scotland: … “But this month the mud and water deluge cascaded off the tree-bare mountains and hills with exceptional force and barrelled down towards the plains in mammoth fury … Trees felled by so-called illegal loggers – an infamous “timber mafia” that has representatives in the Pakistan Parliament in Islamabad and connections right to the top of government and the military – are stacked in the innumerable nullahs [steep narrow valleys], gorges and ravines leading into the main rivers.

PG&E’s ClimateSmart program receives carbon offsets verification

istockanalyst.com, 31 August 2010 | Sempervirens Fund and Pacific Gas and Electric’s, or PG&E’s, ClimateSmart program have announced that a joint effort to sequester greenhouse gas emissions by preserving a redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains has received an independent verification of its carbon offsets. By managing redwood growth and preventing future logging, the Lompico Forest Carbon Project will preserve 425 acres of redwood trees for the next 100 years. The verification confirms that the project has captured the equivalent of 9,248 metric tons of CO2 emissions, equal to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of more than 1,700 cars for one year, said PG&E… Robert Parkhurst, climate protection and analysis manager for PG&E, said: “The ClimateSmart program’s contract with Sempervirens Fund allows enrolled customers to balance out their own energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, while helping preserve redwood trees in the Lompico Forest.”

Portugal’s Forests Losing Ability to Capture Carbon

By Mario de Queiroz, IPS, 31 August 2010 | Environmentalists are alarmed: fires have destroyed close to 100,000 hectares of forest in Portugal this summer, releasing one million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Worst of all, the forests are losing their ability to absorb carbon. Experts say the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is not a major concern, compared to emissions in 2008 – the latest year for which official statistics are available – but stress that the fact that the forested area of the country has lost three percent of its carbon-fixing capacity is definitely worrying… Who is to blame? The usual suspects: logging and pulp companies, landowners who fail to clear their land of brushwood, and arsonists. So far the police have arrested 38 people suspected of deliberately lighting fires.

Amazon deforestation falls significantly in 2010, according to preliminary data

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 31 August 2010 | Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is down significantly since last year, according to preliminary estimates released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO that tracks forest loss and degradation across the Amazon. Analysis of NASA MODIS data by Imazon found some 1,488 square kilometers of forest were cleared during the 12 months ended July 31, 2010, down 16 percent from the same period last year, when 1,766 square kilometers were deforested. Nearly half (47 percent) of forest loss occurred in the state of Para, where agricultural expansion is fast-expanding. Mato Grosso, the Amazon’s major cattle- and soy-producing state accounted for 23 percent of deforestation during the period.

Updated standard provides new guidance for using forests to address climate change

Climate Action Reserve, 31 August 2010 | The newest version of the Forest Project Protocol from the Climate Action Reserve, North America’s largest carbon offset registry, has been officially released for use in the carbon market. Updates in version 3.2 of the protocol create stronger standards for ensuring integrity and long-term environmental benefit in forest offset projects across the U.S. While other offset project types prevent carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) from entering the atmosphere, forest offset projects are unique because they remove CO2 from the atmosphere, in a sense “reversing” emissions that already happened.

Clark Labs receives funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for REDD

Clark Labs, press release, 31 August 2010 | The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded a grant of $451,000 to Clark Labs in support of their current work with Google.org in the development of on-line tools for REDD projects. REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, is a climate change mitigation strategy that offers developing countries incentives to reduce forest carbon emissions… One of the first required activities of REDD is the modeling of a business-as-usual baseline, a scenario of projected deforestation that would occur in the absence of REDD. The Land Change Modeler application within the IDRISI Taiga software, developed by Clark Labs, includes the capacity to model a baseline, with tools for the calibration, validation and creation of maps of expected future deforestation trends, a fairly complex process. Yet the implementation of REDD relies on substantial computing and data resources, and requires significant effort and investment.

What an increase of 3.5C really means to the planet

By Mark Lynas, Independent, 31 August 2010 | Once global temperatures pass 3C, several crucial tipping points in the Earth’s climate system are likely to have been crossed. Firstly, the ice cap over the North Pole will have disappeared entirely during the summer months, changing the planet’s energy balance and weather patterns. Secondly, melting permafrost in Siberia and other high-latitude areas will be releasing millions of tonnes of the extra-powerful greenhouse gas methane, and there will be nothing we can do to stop it. And lastly, the world’s most important and biodiverse tropical forest, the Amazon region, will be burning up and transforming into desert. Life for humans will be getting increasingly hot and sticky. Saharan-type temperatures, well over 50C, will be striking regularly in summertime continental interiors, from the southern United States to the south Asian subcontinent to the Middle East.

Leading by Example on the Road to Cancun

CIFOR’s blog, 31 August 2010 | The success of any major endeavor depends to a large degree on leadership, and REDD+ is no exception. Showing remarkable leadership by example, Mexico is helping create the conditions for REDD+ success through its increased financial commitment to the forestry sector, giving high priority to indigenous people, especially women, in the development of community-based forest enterprises. This was a key message of Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, Juan Elvira Quesada, in his opening remarks at the Workshop on Forest Governance, decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean, which began today in Oaxaca, Mexico, where hundreds of community-based forestry projects are now under way.

1 September 2010

Bushmen launch appeal over right to water

Survival International, 1 September 2010 | The Bushmen of Botswana have lodged an appeal against a High Court decision that denied them access to water on their ancestral lands. In July, Justice Walia dismissed the Bushmen’s application for permission to use a well on their lands inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, expressing sympathy for the government’s position that ‘having chosen to settle at an uncomfortably distant location, [the Bushmen] have brought upon themselves any discomfort they may endure.’ The ruling came a week before the UN formally recognized water as a fundamental human right. It has also been condemned by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Africa’s key human rights body, for denying the ‘right to life’ enshrined in the African Charter.

The Risks and Rewards of REDD+

CIFOR’s blog, 1 September 2010 | While opinions vary about what exactly good forest governance means, participants in the Oaxaca workshop dealing with this subject agreed passionately that it is critical if REDD+ is to succeed in creating powerful new financial incentives for sustainable forest management. That accounted perhaps for the energy driving a day of intense discussions on “people, forest governance and forests,” the first of the workshop’s four main themes. Four research papers laid the foundation for these exchanges, uncovering the deep roots of current governance arrangements and revealing the many barriers to change while also pointing to positive signs, such as sweeping land tenure reforms, which have clarified the rights of rural communities, including many indigenous groups.

Sanctions may hurt CO2 auditors

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 1 September 2010 | A proposal to make carbon emissions auditors liable for issuing excess U.N. carbon offets would hurt the verifiers and could both cut supply and increase demand for credits, Point Carbon analysts said. Under the U.N.’s clean development mechanism (CDM), companies can invest in emissions reduction projects in developing countries and in return receive carbon offsets. The offsets — called certified emissions reductions (CERs) — can be traded and bought by emitters to offset their carbon dioxide output. From Sept. 13 to 17, the CDM’s Executive Board will hold a meeting. The meeting’s agenda contains a proposal to make clean energy project verifiers, known as designated operational entities (DOEs), liable for issuing too many CERs.

Carbon Trading Lurches Off Course

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop, NY Times, 1 September 2010 | In July 2007, the Australian Climate Exchange, known as the A.C.X., introduced the first electronic trading system for greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Voluntary Emission Reductions, or VERs, generated by abatement projects verified by the government-sponsored Australian Greenhouse Office, had been introduced a few months earlier and initial business on the exchange was brisk. It set up a registry for Australian VER certificates and soon was also trading similar instruments from overseas. But this January, the A.C.X. discreetly halted business, and what had started like a lion went out like a lamb. “We had to close the business down because we’d run out of funds to continue,” said Tim Hanlin, the former managing director of the exchange. “The government of Kevin Rudd had indicated the focus would move toward a mandatory market and we had made significant investments to get ready for that eventuality. That was our downfall.”

2 September 2010

Local banks still shy to fund green projects: UN

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 2 September 2010 | Indonesian banks and financial institutions are reluctant to finance carbon trading projects — despite the government’s drive to cut emissions and fight climate change, says a UN report. The report shows that Malaysia has 83 registered projects promoting clean development mechanisms (CDMs), surpassing 48 projects registered in Indonesia. The Malaysian government has 176 approved CDM projects, Thailand has 133 and Indonesia has 131, the report said. “We are very eager to see the local banking system finance CDM projects,” National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) CDM unit head Dicky Edwin Hindarto said Wednesday. Dicky said that the investment climate was far more favorable in Malaysia, where the local banking system supported CDM projects.

80% of tropical agricultural expansion between 1980-2000 came at expense of forests

By Rhett Butler, mongabay.com, 2 September 2010 | More than 80 percent of agricultural expansion in the tropics between 1980 and 2000 came at the expense of forests, reports research published last week in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study, based on analysis satellite images collected by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and led by Holly Gibbs of Stanford University, found that 55 percent of new agricultural land came at the expense of intact forests, while 28 percent came from disturbed forests. The remainder came from shrub lands. “This finding confirms that agricultural expansion did not arise largely from previously cleared land and that agricultural expansion indeed has been a major driver of deforestation and the associated carbon emissions,” write the authors. “This study confirms that rainforests were the primary source for new agricultural land throughout the tropics during the 1980s and 1990s.”

Amazon at lowest level for 40 years

Telegraph, 2 September 2010 | Officials in the Peruvian city of Iquitos said the river level had fallen to 14.4ft, a point not seen in more than four decades, and was predicted to drop further. Low levels have brought economic havoc in areas of Peru that depend on the Amazon for shipping, by denying boats a navigable river as well as usable ports and harbors. At least six boats are stranded because of the lack of river flow over the past three weeks and several shipping companies have been forced to suspend service, leading to economic hardship in areas of Peru that depend on the Amazon for shipping. The drop has been caused by a lack of rain and high temperatures. The Amazon is the second-longest river in the world, after the Nile, but discharges far more water at its mouth than any other. It also drains more territory than any other, from Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela before running across Brazil and into the Atlantic.

Forest Community Capitalism

CIFOR’s blog, 2 September 2010 | Land tenure reforms in Mexico during the last century – which coincided with a global trend toward devolution of forest land to rural communities, including indigenous groups – provided no guarantee of better forest conservation. But the reforms did offer rural communities across the country an opportunity to derive livelihoods from these resources through appropriate management. Few communities have realized that opportunity more fully than Ixtlán de Juárez, one of three towns in Oaxaca’s Sierra Norte (the others being Santa Catarina Ixtepeji and Calpulalpan de Méndez) that workshop participants visited as a critical part of their deliberations on forest governance, decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean.

3 September 2010

Nationwide acceptance of LCDS impresses forest evaluation experts

By Guyana Chronicle, 3 September 2010 | A delegation sent to conduct a real time evaluation of the Norwegian Global Initiative on Climate Change and Forestry in Guyana is impressed with the mass acceptance of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The team, led by Pete Hardcastel, a forester and consultant, met President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) after concluding a baseline assessment of their four-year assignment. “One of the things that we found is that everybody that we have met, without exception, has been supportive of the Low Carbon Development Strategy,” Dr Hardcastel said. Its wide-based concept, Dr Hardcastel, said is enough conviction for the strategy to be genuinely and universally accepted as an initiative good for Guyana.

New climate change mitigation schemes could benefit elites rather than the rural poor

CIFOR, press release, 3 September 2010 | With governments across Latin America preparing to implement a new financial mechanism aimed at mitigating climate change by curbing carbon emissions from the destruction of tropical forests, experts gathering here today warned against a “one-size-fits-all” approach, calling instead for flexible, balanced solutions to the thorny dilemmas surrounding this new mechanism. Among the experts’ chief worries is that the wealthy and powerful could capture many of the benefits, largely at the expense of rural communities, including indigenous groups… During recent conferences in Bolivia and Costa Rica, representatives of such groups complained that, just as they have historically been deprived of benefits from the use of natural resources in their territories, including timber, minerals and hydrocarbons, history will likely repeat itself, as “carbon cowboys” descend upon them with new, but ultimately empty, promises of big benefits.

Big dry and legal doubts fuel progress to new forest burn boom in Brazil

WWF, 3 September 2010 | High temperatures, low humidity and uncertainty over the future of forest laws are fuelling a boost in forest fires over much of Brazil… The 45,860 forest fires recorded so far this year is nearly 50 per cent higher than from the equivalent January to August period in 2009, putting Brazil on track to exceed the fire totals for 2007, the highest in the last five years. While high temperatures – 30-35 degrees C in central Brazil – and humidity readings of under 20 per cent are undoubtedly contributing, Alberto Setzer, INPEs Forest Fire Monitoring coordinator, believes that the increase of fire occurrences this year is also related to the undefined future of the Brazilian Forest Code, which has been under severe attack by some sectors of the Brazilian Congress.

BMKG to take lead in monitoring emissions

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 3 September 2010 | The national weather forecasting agency said it would take the lead in measuring greenhouse gas emissions from forests and peatlands as critics continue to cast doubt on the accuracy of Indonesia’s emissions data. The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said it would set up five stations to measure and monitor concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane — the main greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. BMKG’s head of climate change and air quality, Edvin Aldrian, admitted that the government had tasked the agency with developing a measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) system. “We will focus on measuring and monitoring emissions from both forests and peatland,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. The MRV is a system developed to ensure all emissions claims by countries can be verified by independent auditors in the field.

‘Take advantage of flawed Copenhagen Accord’ – President Jagdeo told regional environment ministers

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 3 September 2010 | Countries in the region should have a collective position on climate change and take advantage of what little there is in the flawed Copenhagen Accord instead of forlornly looking ahead to COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, where the chances of a binding agreement are slim to none. This is according to President Bharrat Jagdeo, speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Third Joint Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) at the Guyana International Conference centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara… President Jagdeo said … “I don’t think we have time for self-pity and to be engaged in those issues because climate change, as we all know, has a disproportionate impact on our region. We can’t afford to stand still. We can’t afford not to do anything or to wait on the international community.”

Skepticism mounts on benefits of moratorium

Jakarta Post, 3 September 2010 | Industry stakeholders backed by renowned scientists have challenged the government’s forest moratorium plan and demanded valid scientific assessments of its impact on the sustainability of the environment and economy. University of Lampung agricultural economist Bustanul Arifin says the moratorium, which fell under the government’s carbon emission reduction scheme (REDD), is based on variables that were not based on justifiable scientific findings. Among the variables, he said, was a 26 percent reduction of carbon emissions by the end of 2010 and a 41 percent reduction target… “To date, scientific justifications for the targets are unclear,” Bustanul said at a seminar on the moratorium. “It is also difficult to say that the REDD scheme takes into account the livelihoods of people living around the forest,” he said.

Forestry Agency in Mimika Refuses Allegations of REDD Area Relocation

By Markus Makur and Angga Haksoro, Voice of Human Rights News Center, 3 September 2010 | The Mimika Forestry and Plantation Agency, Papua, refused allegations of relocation area for REDD project in Kampung Nayaro of Mimika Baru district, Papua. One of these allegations said that PT Freeport Indonesia has pushed the agency to relocate the REDD area. The Head of Mimika Forestry and Agency Plantation Syahrial said that, indeed, the Agency has been discussing the issue with PT Freeport. “But the relocation plan is still discussed, it has not been executed yet,” explained Syahrial. Syahrial said that the REDD location belonging to Emerald Planet Biofuel and New Forest is tangent to a concession area of PT Freeport Indonesia. REDD program in Papua will use 100 thousand hectares of land in Kampung Navaro, that lies from coastal area to the Mile 50 area. Forest in the area surrounding Kampung Navaro, Papua, is one of two REDD locations, developed by Emerald Planet Biofuel and New Forest.

Dalits denied their forest pie

Kathmandu Post, 3 September 2010 | Participation of the underprivileged Dalit community has been largely ignored in forest management and sharing of benefits of natural resources, experts said. Speaking at a two-day workshop on Climate Change and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) that concluded on Friday, Sunil Pariyar, Chairperson of Dalit Alliance for Natural Resources (DANAR) Nepal, said inclusiveness of Dalits in community forestry was minimal. According to a study report published on Thursday, representation of Dalits in community forestry programme is only 17 percent in the country. Presenting the findings, Pariyar said, “Though the REDD programme provisions empowering indigenous communities to ensure them benefits over natural resources, it will not benefit the Dalit unless they have ownership over water, forests and land.”

Money Alone Can’t Save the Forests

CIFOR’s blog, 3 September 2010 | REDD+ was conceived primarily as a financial mechanism for reducing carbon emissions caused by forest destruction. So, logically the negotiations taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have focused increasingly on money. And it appears that quite a lot of it will be available to finance REDD+ schemes. Yet, just as money alone can’t buy love and happiness, it won’t be enough to save all the forests either, according to three experts addressing “landscape change, forest management and REDD+,” the second main theme of the Oaxaca workshop. In fact, the most serious threat to the long-term success of this new approach, said the first presenter, is not a lack of money but rather the “urgency in spending it and the need to show tangible emission reduction results quickly.”

REDD+ and Rural Communities: Threat or Opportunity?

CIFOR’s blog, 3 September 2010 | One of the “hot-button” issues surrounding REDD+ that will no doubt generate heated debate at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP16), to be held in Cancun, Mexico, this December, is that of rights to forests and carbon. Representatives of rural communities, especially indigenous groups, are already posing tough questions to determine whether REDD+ schemes will harm or help them and how. Four presentations, followed by vigorous question-and-answer as well as round-table sessions on “rights, livelihoods and forests” (the fourth and final theme of the Oaxaca workshop) provided an engaging preview of scenes that are likely to unfold at COP16. They addressed the issues in detail, drawing on diverse experiences and evidence from Latin America.

Bridging the Divide between the Forestry and Financial Worlds

CIFOR’s blog, 3 September 2010 | While it is true that trees do not grow just on money but under carefully crafted governance conditions, REDD+ funding does represent an important opportunity to promote sustainable forest management. So, it is critical to know which arrangements are most conducive to effective use of funds for this purpose. Emphasizing the need to broaden the financial base for sustainable forest management, three researchers presented analyses of “forest finance and finance for REDD+,” the third theme of the Oaxaca workshop, which was also treated in round-table discussions. The idea was to derive lessons from recent experiences with forestry finance that might usefully inform the development of REDD+ schemes.

4 September 2010

President schools German International broadcaster on LCDS

Guyana Chronicle, 4 September 2010 | The international acclaim which Guyana has been receiving, particularly through its efforts to promote forest protection and biodiversity, continues to attract widespread attention. The country’s intact forest and revolutionary Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) have attracted the attention of Deutsche Welle TV, a renowned international broadcaster in Germany. The television station is at present working on a documentary focusing on the efforts of developing countries in tackling climate change which it expects to be aired around Europe by mid September. Journalist Christoph Kober and cameraman Axel Warnstedt recently concluded a venture to the Rupununi where they were able to discover the social life of the Amerindians and the operations of logging concessions.

Government to boost climate change council for int’l talks

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 4 September 2010 | The government is revising a regulation on the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) to strengthen its role to improve Indonesia’s position at climate change talks. The proposed revision would give the council a permanent secretariat to manage a budget and support the daily tasks of the council and its working groups, deputy senior minister at the Coordinating Public Welfare Minister’s Office Indroyono Soesilo, said… The DNPI was set up in 2008 under a presidential regulation with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as chairman and the coordinating minister as deputy… Yudhoyono is expected to establish a new council on the UN’s REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) proposals and an independent agency on the MRV (measurable, reportable and verifiable) program this year as part of the US$1 billion climate deal with Norway.

5 September 2010

Villagers try experimental defence

By Supara Janchitfah, Bangkok Post, 5 September 2010 | It was not the first time that Pachoen Chusaeng and the Tra village committee had led guests into their heavily forested enclave inside the Bantad Wildlife Sanctuary in Palian district of Trang province. The villagers are justly proud of the job they’ve done to preserve and even enhance the natural environment in the mixed orchards where they cultivate a variety of fruits, as well as pararubber trees. The orchards serve the purposes of supermarket, medical dispensary and place of worship for them and are a sanctuary for humans, wildlife and many types of plants. Mr Pachoen and his group are eager to make this point to guests who might have the preconceived notion that this land had been given over to monotonous rows of pararubber trees. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Is carbon protection the same as biodiversity protection?

By Amy Hinsley (FFI), mongabay.com, 5 September 2010 | Protection of forests for their carbon value through Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) schemes has been increasing in recent years. These schemes concentrate on preserving forest cover, and thus have great potential for the conservation of natural biodiversity. Some (REDD+) initiatives already specifically take biodiversity protection into account. There has been debate about the potential impacts of REDD schemes on biodiversity, given its potential to protect natural forests. However, where REDD projects are not well designed, they could fail to effectively protect the biodiversity within the forest itself; protecting these areas for their carbon value may not necessarily conserve their biodiversity value. Furthermore, relatively little is known about how such reductions in biodiversity may in turn affect the ability of a forest to store carbon.

Supply fears hit UN carbon credits

By Harvey Morris, Financial Times, 5 September 2010 | Uncertainty about the supply of UN-issued carbon credits has led to their price hitting a four-month high. Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) have surged on international carbon markets in recent weeks after a UN board acted over concerns that chemical plants in China and elsewhere in the developing world were deliberately overproducing HFC 23, a potent greenhouse gas, in order to claim the saleable credits for subsequently destroying it. Under the European Union’s cap-and-trade system, energy utilities and other polluters are set annual targets to cut carbon emissions. They can either physically cut their emissions or buy credits, including CERs, on international carbon exchanges to cover any shortfall.

Global warming science is still evolving — but not in the direction the disinformers think

By Simon Lewis, Climate Progress, 5 September 2010 | The WSJ pushed a new meme in its editorial, “Climate of Uncertainty: Global warming science is still evolving; will future IPCC reports reflect that?“ Ironically, if the WSJ actually followed the scientific literature, rather than the disinformation campaign’s twisted version of it, they would know that global warming science is indeed evolving away from the 2007 IPCC report – but not in the direction they think… A bizarre Wall Street Journal editorial published this week asks, ‘Global warming science is still evolving; will future IPCC reports reflect that?’ And ends, ‘… our understanding of how our climate works is still evolving. Is it too much to ask the climate establishment to acknowledge as much?’ So has the IPCC been hiding the evolution of scientists’ knowledge of climate change? Let’s take a single example, the detection of 20th century climate change and its possible attribution to human activities.

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