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REDD in the news: 20-26 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.


 
Empty promises – The Clean Development Mechanism has failed to deliver

By Tessa Toumbourou, Inside Indonesia, July-September 2010 | The United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a way for companies, banks and governments in industrialised countries to invest in projects located in developing nations such as Indonesia, that promise to reduce net carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Yet the United Nations is approving Indonesia-based carbon offset projects that do not meet any of Indonesia’s own sustainable development criteria, including requirements for open consultation with local communities. There is also debate over whether many of the approved projects will actually reduce carbon emissions, much less deliver on promises of sustainable development for Indonesia.

Tenure Rights and Benefit Sharing Arrangements for REDD: A Case Study of Two REDD Pilot Projects in Cambodia

Global Environmental Policy, September 2010 | Paper presented at the Development Research Forum 3rd Annual Symposium on ” Research and Policy Response to Cambodia’s Recovery and Development” September 9-10 2010, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In Cambodia, two REDD pilot projects: Community Forestry Carbon Offset Project (CFCOP) in Oddar Meanchey province and the Seima Protection Forest Project (SPF) in Mundulkiri province, are being implemented. This study aims to contribute to the development of an effective REDD mechanism in Cambodia by examining land and forest tenures and benefit sharing arrangements under the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia. The paper employs concepts of discourse coalitions and rules of the game to explain tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements in the two projects.

2011 Global Carbon Markets & Green Energy Conference

Forest Carbon Portal, September 2010 | The 2011 Global Carbon Markets and Renewable Energy Conference & Exhibition will be the largest specifically focused Global Carbon Market & Green Energy event ever held in the region, with the expected participation of approximately 1,500+ industry policy makers, public officials, researchers, managers and experts from around the world, for three days of conference sessions, business meetings, networking, educational sessions, special events and upwards of 150 exhibitors throughout the venue. 2011 Global Carbon Markets & Green Energy Conference: Understand the Global Carbon Market & Explore Global Green & Clean Energy Developments Jumeirah Madinat, Dubai, U.A.E. 10th-13th July 2011.

Strengthening National REDD+ Readiness Through Regional Collaboration

American Carbon Registry, September 2010 | The Winrock-implemented Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program (ARBCP), which is funded by USAID, is working with governments in the lower Mekong Subregion (LMS) to provide technical assistance to LMS partners in the development of a regional REDD program. In May, over 70 participants from the region attended the LMS REDD+ workshop in Vietnam. The workshop was successful in convening national REDD practitioners from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and building the basis for collaboration in the future on REDD+. Winrock Ecosystem Services Group’s Dr. Sandra Brown and Dr. Sarah Walker spoke at the event. Dr. Brown provided participants with a view of the impact of REDD+ negotiations on reference emission level (REL) and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) accounting. She also provided information on the major technical issues required for REDD+ readiness.

EfD research on REDD+ discussed at UNITAR – Yale conference

Environment for Development, no date | Daniel Slunge, Policy Analyst at the Environmental Economics Unit, University of Gothenburg, was invited speaker at the second Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy: Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and Advance a Green Economy, organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Yale University, 17-19 September 2010… Daniel Slunge discussed the potential contribution of Strategic Environmental Social Assessment (SESA) to REDD+ initiatives drawing on experiences from earlier attempts to large scale forestry sector reforms and a recent World Bank pilot program on SEA… “We suggest that SESA can be a useful approach for strengthening institutions and governance needed for managing diverse environmental and social impacts related to REDD+…”, says Daniel Slunge.

20 September 2010

Coalition drops further green pledges on timber and renewables

By Allegra Stratton and Adam Vaughan, Guardian, 20 September 2010 | The coalition is being accused of reneging on two of its key environment pledges in a further blow to the credibility of David Cameron’s promise to lead the “greenest government ever”. In correspondence from a government minister to the Green MP Caroline Lucas, the government makes clear it will not honour a pledge to make it a criminal offence to posess, or bring into the country, illegal timber. Campaigners say such legal measures are necessary to help curb the 350m-650m square metres of forest that is illegally logged every year – possibly as much as 40% of the total market.

George Soros delivers harsh words for climate change movement

By Janet Whitman, Financial Post, 20 September 2010 | Mr. Soros said he’s focused on two specific areas in climate change: protecting rain forests and reducing coal’s carbon footprint. Rather than spending so much time debating whether global warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees Celsius, he said, “we must pull together and provide practical results.”

Development cannot and must not rely on immaculate conceptions

By Thomas B. Singh, letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 20 September 2010 | I respond to the statement made by Pat Hardcastle… [who] is reported to have said, “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 (LCDS).” It might well be that Mr. Hardcastle was mis-quoted, or that he had not been fully briefed. Even so, I believe it important to point out that in a meeting with Dr. Davenport (a member of the Evaluation Team) on Friday, September 3, 2010, at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Guyana (UG), some serious reservations were expressed about the LCDS. Unfortunately, Mr. Hardcastle was unable to attend that meeting. Here, with some additional commentary, are the reservations about the LCDS that I (and other Institute colleagues) mentioned at the meeting with Dr. Davenport…

REDD & climate change conference

By Joe Leong, borneopedia.com, 20 September 2010 | A TWO-DAY international conference is scheduled to be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, in November to bring about greater awareness to various parties on the crucial role of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). “We want to explore what is in store for Sabah and hope to come up with a strategy on how best to move forward,” Datuk Sam Mannan, director of Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) told Borneopedia.com from his head office in Sandakan Sept. 20, 2010. The SFD is taking a lead in organizing the conference to be held Nov 8 to 9, jointly with the WWF Malaysia, with the support of the Sabah state government.

DENR, GTZ sign $3.73M grant on climate change

GMANews.tv, 20 September 2010 | The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) on Monday signed a $3.73 million grant for climate change and protection from forest denudation. DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and GTZ country director Jochem Lange signed the grant papers commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection, and Nuclear Safety. With the grant, the Philippines will implement measures on REDD or Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – an incentive-centered concept for developing countries to reduce forest loss – until 2012 and entails the prevention around 35,000 tons of carbon emissions, particularly in Leyte province and Panay island, as well as the yearly sequestration of 7,000 tons of cabon.

Forestry thrust gets €3M

Business World, 20 September 2010 | THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed an agreement with German Technical Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit, or GTZ) to improve forestry policies and implement Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) measures. The agreement, which entails €3.2 million for these two thrusts until September 2012, was signed by Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje and GTZ Country Director Jochem Lange yesterday. GTZ will provide €2.7 million, while the balance consists of local counterpart in kind from both the national government and local governments concerned.

UNFCCC Publishes AWG-LCA 12 Agenda and Scenario Note

Climate-L.org, 20 September 2010 | The UNFCCC Secretariat has published the provisional agenda (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/12) and the scenario note (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/13) for the 12th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 12). This session will be held in conjunction with the 14th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 14), in Tianjin, China, from 4-9 October 2010. The agenda includes the preparation of an outcome to be presented to the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) for adoption to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action now, up to and beyond 2012. The agenda also indicates that the Working Group will be invited to accelerate its efforts to resolve outstanding issues with a view to reaching agreement on an outcome to be presented to COP 16.

21 September 2010

UN’s biodiversity plans hit snag

AFP, 21 September 2010 | Already deeply troubled UN plans to brake the planet’s dizzying loss of species have been further damaged by a row over setting up a scientific panel to assess Earth’s biodiversity, sources here say. World governments are due to discuss the species crisis in New York on Wednesday, and the consensus is likely to be bleak. Under Target 7b of the Millennium Development Goals, UN members pledged to achieve by 2010 “a significant reduction” in the rate of wildlife loss. Yet every expert assessment points to accelerating declines in many species, especially mammals, birds and amphibians, their numbers ravaged by habitat loss, hunting or the suspected impact of climate change.

The Process Is Dead

By George Monbiot, Guardian, 21 September 2010 | The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome… Environmentalists tend to blame themselves for these failures. Perhaps we should have made people feel better about their lives. Or worse. Perhaps we should have done more to foster hope. Or despair. Perhaps we were too fixated on grand visions. Or techno-fixes. Perhaps we got too close to business. Or not close enough.

Confab on forest and climate change to be held in Nov – Sabah

Borneo Post, 21 September 2010 | A two-day international conference is to be held here in November to bring about greater awareness to various parties on the crucial role of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).“We want to explore what is in store for Sabah and hope to come up with a strategy on how best to move forward,” Datuk Sam Mannan, director of Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) said here yesterday. The SFD is taking a lead in organising the conference to be jointly held with the WWF Malaysia, with the support of the Sabah state government on Nov 8 to 9. He said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman would address and launch the conference entitled, ‘Forest and Climate – Decoding and Realising REDD in The Heart of Borneo (HoB), With Special Focus on Sabah’.

Climate Deal May Need Company Lobbying, Figueres Says

By Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg, 21 September 2010 | Success at climate-change talks in Mexico may depend on companies such as Siemens AG and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. prodding governments into action, said Christiana Figueres, the United Nations climate chief. Companies should lobby governments to recognize the business opportunities that arise from curbing global warming, Figueres today told a group that tracks carbon emissions by the world’s largest companies. Helping developing countries deliver more energy with fewer warming gases represents a “huge opportunity,” she said at a conference in New York… “Business needs to make the government representatives understand that this could be to their advantage,” Figueres said. “Government will be bolder if they are told that they can do so by investors and businesses.”

Climate solutions: Prioritizing investments for REDD+

By Dicky Simorangkir, Forest program director, The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program, Jakarta Post, 21 September 2010 | Indonesia has been a leader in making commitments and enacting policies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). While other countries have been criticized for their weak emission reduction targets and delayed action on fighting climate change, Indonesia is demonstrating true leadership… One of the challenges with REDD+ is that it must be pursued simultaneously at all levels. Indonesia is well positioned to demonstrate how to align action on REDD+ at national, sub-national and local levels… Careful selection of two or three provinces and five to eight priority districts would provide a basis to tackle the complexities of REDD+ while keeping the process manageable… A robust process for selecting priority provinces based on the six criteria presented here is fundamental to achieving this long-term vision for a national REDD+ program.

Forest News Compilation: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD) – the link with wetlands

Forest News Compilation, 21 September 2010 | There are perhaps three potential dimensions to a linkage between wetlands and the concepts for REDD that are currently being advanced. First, as explained in section 1 above, some forests are also wetlands. UNFCCC Decision 2/CP.13 recognised that “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries can promote co-benefits and may complement the aims and objectives of other relevant international conventions and agreements”, and this would be a basis for perceiving one form of synergy between REDD and the Conventions on wetlands (Ramsar) and biodiversity (CBD), for example. Avoiding deforestation can support conservation of soil, water, biodiversity and non-timber forest products.

India Poised to Take Top Spot for Indonesian Coal Exports

Jakarta Globe, 21 September 2010 | As its economy surges, India grows ever more hungry for Indonesian commodities, especially coal and palm oil, and is likely to surpass Japan as the biggest buyer of Indonesian coal within the next two years, the Indonesian Coal Mining Association has said. Bob Kamandanu, chairman of the association, also known as Apbi, on Tuesday said India’s coal imports from Indonesia were likely to rise to 70 million metric tons by 2012, up from 40 million tons this year. “In the past, India only bought high-quality coal, but now they started buying a lot of low-rank coal also because of an increase in domestic consumption,” he said… Japan was still the biggest buyer of Indonesian coal this year, with imports of about 60 million tons, he said, with South Korea ranking third behind India.

Climate Justice Treks from Cochabamba to Cancún

By Daniela Estrada, IPS, 21 September 2010 | The “people’s” climate agenda that the Bolivian government and civil society produced at an April conference in Cochabamba has made its way to the official United Nations negotiating table. But its inclusion in a binding climate treaty is unlikely, say activists. The agreement approved by the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, was a response — founded on the idea of climate justice — to the derailed official talks for a new, obligatory global climate pact.

BNP Paribas and Wildlife Works Ink $50 million REDD Deal

Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 September 2010 | BNP Paribas Corporate & Investment Banking (BNP Paribas) has announced an agreement between its Commodity Derivatives business and Wildlife Works Carbon LLC, in which BNP Paribas will provide up to US$50 million in finance to combat tropical deforestation and climate change. The bank’s Carbon Finance business and Wildlife Works will develop a portfolio of large scale Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) carbon projects in Africa. BNP Paribas will have the option to purchase avoided emission credits created from the portfolio. The facility provides funding for Wildlife Works’ efforts to source, develop, implement and manage REDD projects in Africa. With BNP Paribas’ backing, Wildlife Works now has the financial resources to support its efforts to protect endangered forests in the region and reinforces its ability to manage large-scale preservation projects.

DENR to update national forest policy

Manila Times, 21 September 2010 | The Philippine government and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) have signed an agreement for the implementation of a project that would modernize the country’s forest policy. In an interview, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said the $3.73-million national forest policy modernization project is needed to make it more relevant for climate protection. The project, which would be implemented through the technical assistance from GTZ, also includes the piloting of the REDD measures in the country. “The concept was highlighted in the Bali Action Plan, which cited deforestation and forest degradation, especially in developing countries like the Philippines, contribute significantly to greenhouse gases and the innovation approaches and incentives should be made available to these nations taking efforts to arrest further degradation and deforestation,” Paje said.

22 September 2010

Peru weighs deporting rainforest defender after 20 years in the Amazon

By Fiona Mulligan, mongabay.com, 22 September 2010 | Meet Brother Paul McAuley. Striped button-down shirt neatly tucked in, ropes of semilla (seeds, for the grigos) necklaces laced around his neck, this man is one of the most outspoken individuals there is when it comes to campaigning for indigenous rights in Peru. And after 20 years, the Peruvian government has finally decided that they’ve had enough–they want this so-called agitator to go home to his native Britain and have accused him of “shatter[ing] democratic values” by inciting the indigenous groups in the area to stand up for their legal rights, explaining the potential dangers of oil exploration and logging, and educating them about the power they have to influence the government’s decision-making process.

Will Brazil Change its Forest Code – and Kill the Amazon?

By Richard Blaustein and Chris Santiago, Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 September 2010 | “Farms Here, Forests There!” It’s a catchphrase that was recently rolled out by Avoided Deforestation Partners (ADP) to drum up support for carbon payments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in the now-sidelined American Power Act. We can help to stop deforestation in the Amazon, the campaign argued, while bettering the situation for farmers here in the US. That same sloganeering recently found its way to Brazil, where people like Communist Party federal deputy Aldo Rebelo picked it up. For Rebelo and his allies, however, “Farms Here, Forests There” has an altogether different meaning: to them, the phrase means “rainforest conservation at the expense of Brazilian farmers.” … Ironically, Rebelo and his supporters have used ADP’s pro-conservation slogan to whip up support for their anti-conservation campaign.

Forest deals push forward as climate talks lag

By Laurie Goering, Reuters AlertNet, 22 September 2010 | With progress towards a U.N. climate deal lagging, financial institutions, donors and tropical forest countries are moving rapidly to set up their own systems to pay forest nations to preserve their trees as a means of curbing carbon emissions. Norway has approached the World Bank to act as an intermediary in a deal that would transfer $250 million to Guyana over six or seven years in exchange for stepped up protection of that South American nation’s stands of forest. The Scandinavian country was also scheduled Wednesday to sign a final binding agreement to provide Indonesia with $1 billion in exchange for boosting its forest protection, though the partners were struggling to agree on a bank to manage the effort.

September Issue of UN-REDD Newsletter Released

Climate-L.org, 22 September 2010 | The latest UN-REDD Newsletter includes articles on recent workshops and other activities related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). The Newsletter describes Indonesia’s REDD+ readiness activities, including a multi-stakeholder, consensus-building consultation process to build the national REDD+ strategy. The draft strategy proposes planning reforms in the land use sector, law reformation and enforcement, good governance principles and stakeholder involvement in keeping with free prior informed consent principles. The Newsletter also includes reports on training on a measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) system in Tanzania, and the launch of a REDD+ website in Mexico. [R-M: The newsletter can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/9RKIuX]

23 September 2010

Forests and how to save them: The world’s lungs

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | Economic development both causes deforestation and slows it. In the early stages of development people destroy forests for a meagre living. Globalisation is speeding up the process by boosting the demand for agricultural goods produced in tropical countries. At the same time, as people in emerging countries become more prosperous, they start thinking about issues beyond their family’s welfare; their governments begin to pass and slowly enforce laws to conserve the environment. Trade can also allow the greener concerns of rich-world consumers to influence developing-world producers. The transition from clearing to protecting, however, is occurring too slowly. The main international effort to speed it up is an idea known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which pays people in developing countries to leave trees standing. This is not an outlandish concept.

A special report on forests: Better REDD than dead

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | North of East Kalimantan’s scarified waste is an area where the extractive juggernaut has not yet reached. Beneath the helicopter’s blades, the woods thicken and the terrain rises to a seam of limestone crag, dripping with trees. Beyond it is the district of Berau, 70% of which is still covered in forest. It is lovely to behold, its multi-greened canopy like a vast head of broccoli, speckled with orange and yellow where an ironwood tree or a liana has forced itself up to the light. Borneo’s forest has more tree species per hectare than anywhere else. It is also packed with carbon: up to 400 tonnes per hectare. Yet much of this forest is doomed. It provides no tax revenues for the government, which owns it, and only a modest income for the local Dayaks, in rattan, honey and game. Failing a remarkable intervention, it too will get cleared.

A special report on forests: Seeing the wood

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | Daybreak is a heavenly time to look on the Amazonian canopy. From a Brazilian research tower high above it, a fuzzy grey sylvan view emerges from the thinning gloom, vastly undulating, more granular than a cloud. It is mind-bendingly beautiful. Chirruping and squawking, a few early risers – collared puffbirds, chestnut-rumped woodcreepers and the tautologous curve-billed scythebill – open up for the planet’s biggest avian choir. In a slick of molten gold, dawn breaks and the trees awaken. In every leaf, chlorophyll molecules are seizing the day for photosynthesis. Using sunlight to ship electrons, they split water molecules and combine the resulting hydrogen with carbon dioxide extracted from the air. This produces carbohydrates that the trees turn into sugars, to be burnt off in respiration or, by another chemical process, turned into new plant-matter. The main waste product, oxygen, they emit through their stomata in a watery belch.

A special report on forests: Money can grow on trees

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | From a helicopter, East Kalimantan, a province in the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, presents a dreary view. Where little over a decade ago rainforest transpired under a vaporous haze, the ground has been cleared, raked and gouged. Every few minutes, a black smudge, smattered with muddy puddles, denotes a coalmine. Angular plantations, 10km and more across, are studded with dark green oil palms. Tin roofs glitter on the shacks of loggers, miners and planters, each with a smallholding hacked out around it. Just a few straggly patches of forest remain, with greying logs scattered at their edges. As often in Indonesia, commercial loggers in East Kalimantan have grossly exceeded their quota in a small fraction of their allotted time. Prematurely abandoned, the degraded forest then falls to illegal loggers or it is cleared for agriculture, often by fire. In dry spells, which are becoming more common, the flames get out of hand.

A special report on forests: Keeping it in the community

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | At a sawmill in the misty hills of Michoacán in central Mexico, loggers sporting damp sombreros and droopy moustaches are working through a drizzle, hauling pine logs. With iron spikes they lever them into position, hack out any stones embedded in the pungent orange flesh and heave the logs on to a runner. A bullnecked lumberman guides them through a buzzing circular saw, slicing them into rough boards. Another cuts them into planks, which his mate tosses onto a rising stack. It barely takes a minute to transform giant trunks into building material. Most of it will be sold locally. The loggers, who belong to a rural co-operative (or ejido) that owns 680 hectares of the nearby Ocampo forest, will use the rest to make simple furniture. The business provides jobs for 20 of the ejido’s 138 members, hauling lumber, turning lathes and planting trees, and each member gets an annual profit share of around 15,000 pesos ($1,150).

A special report on forests: Not a small problem

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | On a scrubby hillside in southern Uganda sit waist-high mounds of grass and twigs. They are the huts of Twa pygmies, the oldest residents of the Great Lakes region. Until recently they inhabited the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, but around 4,000 were expelled in 1991 after the forest was turned into a national park to protect its population of mountain gorillas. Now the pygmies languish outside it, unskilled at cultivating crops and often inebriated. For longer than history records, the Twa inhabited the high-altitude rainforest near the western edge of the Rift Valley, hunting antelopes and harvesting honey. “There was no digging then,” recalls James Barangirana, an 80-year-old pygmy, “just hunting, gathering, eating and celebrating.” But in one of Africa’s most populous regions, the rainforest has been badly reduced. And so have the Twa.

A special report on forests: The long road to sustainability

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | In June last year Daniel Avelino, the public prosecutor of Brazil’s state of Pará, the home of most of the Amazon cattle-herd, probably saved more rainforest than many conservation groups ever will. He identified 20 big ranches operating on illegally cleared land and traced the slaughterhouses buying their cattle. He then established that some of the world’s best-known retailers, including Wal-Mart and Carrefour, were buying meat from them. He fined the ranchers and abattoirs 2 billion reais ($1.2 billion) and told the retailers that unless they cleaned up their supply chains he would fine them, too. The response was dramatic. Overnight, the retailers stopped buying meat from Pará and the slaughterhouses closed. To get themselves off the hook, and cows back on it, the abattoirs vowed that in future they would deal only with ranchers who had registered their names and property details and promised not to deforest illegally.

A special report on forests: Less smoke, less ire

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | The Amazon’s dry season, from July to September, is when the grileiros cut and burn the rainforest. The smoke is so thick it can be seen from space. It also stops rainclouds forming, so the flames burn higher. But on a recent surveillance flight over the forest frontier in Brazil’s state of Pará, there was hardly a wisp of smoke in the sky. Even the people from Greenpeace, whose flight this was, were impressed. They can take some credit, thanks to their Amazon beef campaign. But even before that Brazil’s deforestation rate had slumped. Between 1996 and 2005 some 19,500 sq km of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared each year. At that rate, a third would be gone by 2050 and the rest might wither. But the rate of clearance has been reduced drastically and in 2008-09 it was at its lowest level for two decades, at a mere 7,008 sq km.

A special report on forests: Something stirs

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | When Michael Williams, a British geographer, sat down in 1994 to write a chronicle of deforestation, “Deforesting the Earth”, he had a useful aide-memoire. Flashing near his study, outside the Los Angeles branch of the Hard Rock Café, was an ever-diminishing neon number, representing the remaining area of rainforest. It counted down at about 20 hectares a minute, at which rate no rainforest would be left by the end of this century. Despite a faddish Western concern for tropical forests, more were cleared in the ensuing decade than ever before. Most tropical countries, being poor and weak, could not have prevented that even if they had wanted to, and most did not. Anxious greens switched to another losing cause, mitigating climate change, and the Hard Rock Café took down its sign.

Saving trees in Amazonas: A well-hugged lot

The Economist, 23 September 2010 | Sustainable Development in Practice: Lessons Learned From Amazonas. By Virgilio Viana. International Institute for Environment and Development; 60 pages; $20 and £13.50 or free online… DEEP in the Amazon rainforest, a strong bid is being made to save the trees. Between 2003 and 2009, the deforestation rate of Amazonas, Brazil’s most forested state, which has more rainforest than any country save Brazil itself, dropped by 70%. This success was partly for reasons that have little to do with Amazonas. Over the same period, the federal government improved its enforcement of forest laws. Global demand for Brazil’s agricultural commodities, rivals for forestland, also dipped. Thus the country’s overall deforestation rate also slumped. But few have championed this change as effectively as Amazonas’s rulers, led by the state’s former governor, Eduardo Braga, and his environment secretary, Virgilio Viana.

UN Proposes Rescue Package to Halt Loss of Biodiversity

By Richard Johnson, InDepthNews, 23 September 2010 | The UN mechanism known as ‘REDD’ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) is particularly dangerous, for instance because it could reward those engaged in logging and starting large scale plantations whilst ignoring countries and communities that have low deforestation rates and live sustainably. “The main drivers of the current expansion of industrial tree plantations are big transnational forestry and cellulose corporations along with financial institutions such as the World Bank and even the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,” said Sebastian Valdomir, coordinator for Friends of the Earth International’s programme on Economic Justice and Resisting Neoliberalism.

Tribe’s SOS to save uncontacted families from extinction

Survival International, 23 September 2010 | Leaders of an isolated South American tribe have issued a desperate public appeal on behalf of their family members hiding in forest targeted by cattle ranchers. Some members of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe in western Paraguay have been forced out of the forest in recent decades, but others remain hidden – in an area of forest that is shrinking by the day. Permanently on the run from the bulldozers which are penetrating their last refuge, they avoid all contact with the outside world. Several of their abandoned houses have been found in recent years. A major Brazilian cattle-ranching company, Yaguarete Pora, has bought up part of the area. Having already destroyed some 3,000 hectares, its bulldozers were halted in May by the Paraguayan authorities, who accused the firm of failing to disclose that vulnerable uncontacted Indians lived in the area.

Climate change – the way forward in a post-Copenhagen World

By Chris Huhne, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, 23 September 2010 | The failure to secure a binding deal at Copenhagen stemmed from a breakdown in political will. Suspicion and division overcame confidence in our chances of achieving a fair and firm agreement. In the UK, we did not follow through on our political leadership. There were warm words and evangelism, but not enough spelling out of the hard-headed consequences if we do not act… Last year, the global market for low carbon goods and services was already worth £3.2 trillion – a £150 billion increase in 12 months. It is forecast to grow by around 4% a year over the next five years… A fifth of our fast-start finance is already deployed against deforestation. We can explore in more detail the links between deforestation and biodiversity; building on our reputation and membership of the REDD [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation] Partnership.

China’s great green wall grows in climate fight

By Mitch Moxley, IPS, 23 September 2010 | Dubbed “The Great Green Wall,” a human-made ecological barrier designed to stop rapidly encroaching deserts and combat climate change is coming up across China. By 2050, the artificial forest is to stretch 400 million hectares – covering more than 42 percent of China’s landmass. China already has the largest human-made forest in the world, covering more than 500,000 square kilometres, and the Communist Party this year announced it had reached its stated goal of 20 percent forest cover by 2010. The government envisions a line of trees stretching 4,480 km from Xinjiang province in the far west to Heilongjiang province in the east.

Minister asks NGOs not to discredit their own country

Antara News, 23 September 2010 | Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has asked Indonesian non-governmental organization activists not discredit their own country abroad and thus disrupt the country`s business development. “We ask for the NGOs` cooperation to jointly settle any problem that arises. Do not denigrate your own country abroad,” he said after inspecting an acacia nursery of PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper in Pelalawan, Riau, Sumatra on Thursday. The minister made the statement in response to NGO activists who have often used peat land forests in the Kampar peninsula for a negative campaign abroad against the government and the private business sector with regard to environmental preservation. The fact is there are a lot of wise ways the NGOs could take to tackle the problem such as jointly discussing it with the government and the companies concerned.

UN sets out seven objectives for Cancún climate talks

Environmental Finance, 23 September 2010 | The Cancún climate talks could realistically make progress in seven areas, according to a leading UN climate official. Halldor Thorgeirsson, director of Bali Road Map Support at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, said that the talks, in Mexico in December, will be a “test of procedure” for climate negotiations following last year’s meeting in Copenhagen that was characterised by disunity among nations… 6. Establishing a global goal – most likely to limit global temperature rise to 2°C – and a process for measuring progress towards and reviewing that goal; and 7. Launching of a “readiness phase” for a mechanism to direct finance to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.

Nigeria: Minister Makes Case for Carbon Credit Market

Daily Trust, 23 September 2010 | The Minster of Environment, John Odey said since Nigeria now controls over 40 percent of the certified emission reduction in Africa, it can leverage on it to generate ingestible funds. Speaking at the Lagos State Carbon Credit Awareness Campaign and Capacity Development Programme, Odey said, Nigeria’s capture of over 40 percent of Africa’s Certified Emission Reduction units from three registered Clean Development projects, would help in the battle to eradicating poverty. This would also put the nation at vantage position to reap from opportunities inherent in Carbon Credit Mechanism (CDM) towards the attainment of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, he said.

China Bets on Panda to Take a Bite Out of Land-Use Emissions (and Reduce Poverty)

By Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 23 September 2010 | China generates the lion’s share of global offsets under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), but it doesn’t cap its own emissions. It does, however, have its own voluntary carbon standard – the “Panda Standard” – which was unveiled at last year’s Climate-Change Conference in Copenhagen and is designed to drive domestic demand for forestry and poverty alleviation with a vehicle that is uniquely Chinese. The voluntary carbon market may not by itself generate the volume of emission reductions necessary to slow climate change, but it does act as an incubator for market and project innovations.

24 September 2010

ERA Executes Term Sheet with the Forest Carbon Group AG for the Sale of 1,800,000 Tonnes of VERs over 3 Years

ERA news, 24 September 2010 | ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. (TSX­-V: ESR) through its 100% owned subsidiary ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc, (ERA) is pleased to announce that it has executed a term sheet for the sale of 1,800,000 tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions (VER) to the German based Forest Carbon Group AG. The transaction, which is subject to due diligence and entering a formal Verified Emissions Reductions Purchase Agreement (VERPA), would deliver 600,000 tonnes of validated VERs in 2011, 600,000 tonnes of VERs in 2012 and 600,000 tonnes of VERs in 2013. The VERs being produced are being sourced from ERA’s reforestation and conservation projects based in Canada. The VERs will be validated and verified to the International Standard Organization’s ISO 14064-2 standard and, if applicable, to the Community, Climate and Biodiversity Alliance’s CCBA standard or a mutually agreed upon equivalent standard.

The Kyoto Protocol Question is a Very Difficult One

By Nicholas Stern, newsblaze.com, 24 September 2010 | The only other thing that I would say very briefly is that I think that there as actually quite broad convergence around this table yesterday and today to have a need to have a balanced package of decisions. Nobody is anticipating or expecting in any way a legal treaty to be done in Cancun this year. The focus at this point is really on a set of decisions on the core issues. Again, those are essentially mitigation, transparency or sometimes referred to as MRV, finance, technology, adaptation, and the forest issue, which in the lingo is known as REDD. So I think that there was broad consensus on the need to have decisions on those issues. And in a balanced way meaning that you don’t move on two or three of them and make no progress on the others but they all kind of have to march together and at more or less the same speed at least roughly speaking. This is obviously easier said than done.

Timber certification hopes to kill Pacific exploitation

By Geraldine Coutts, ABC Radio Australia, 24 September 2010 | COUTTS: And so we’re talking about sustainability and low carbon paths and reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the short form for that is REDD. But is there a simple way to explain how you do that and what it is? DR WEAVER: Essentially, it is a wee bit like if you don’t burn oil then theoretically the oil would stay in the ground and not go into the atmosphere. Similarly, if you don’t cut down and burn a forest the carbon would stay in the forest and not in the atmosphere. So it’s all about avoiding emissions. The trouble is people who own these forests are saying ‘hey goodness, I own my forest, I want to make a living out of it. Everyone else in the world has made a good living out of cutting down forests, so what am I supposed to do?’ So carbon credit is a funding mechanism to help those people make a living from protecting their forests, instead of making a living from cutting them down.

Farming carbon

By Adam Barclay, Science Alert, 24 September 2010 | On 1 July this year NCOS came into effect. It is designed to give Australian businesses, particularly farm businesses, opportunities to develop offset credits for voluntary carbon markets. Emissions from revegetation, forest management, and cropland and grazing land management – while not currently counted towards Australia’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol target – are eligible for the generation of carbon offset credits under NCOS. The inclusion of offsets from increased soil carbon through farmland management has stirred a lot of interest. In brief, if farmers adopt land management strategies that sequester carbon from the atmosphere into their soils, they will be eligible to receive carbon credits that can be sold to organisations aiming to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. A company with high emissions, for example, could pay farmers for their credits and thus promote themselves as carbon neutral.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto chairs REDD+ task force

Jakarta Post, 24 September 2010 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a decree on a task force to prepare the establishment of institutions needed to implement a climate deal between Indonesia and Norway. The decree, signed on Sept. 20, appointed Kuntoro Mangkusubroto – now chief of the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4) – as chairman of the task force. Task force members include Heru Prasetyo, Anny Ratnawati, Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo, Joyo Winoto, Hadi Daryanto, Masnellyarti Hilman, Agus Purnomo, Imam Santoso and Nirarta Samadhi. Article 3 of the decree states that the task force would work to ensure the formulation of a national strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and the national plan of action to cut emissions.

Terra Global offers ‘nested REDD’ blueprint

carbonpositive.net, 24 September 2010 | A broad proposal for how forest carbon projects could be allowed to operate within a future international REDD+ framework has been outlined in a new industry paper. In the paper, forest carbon project consultants Terra Global Capital attempts to show how individual REDD projects might able to generate tradable offsets compliant with emerging national and international mechanisms. The paper was written for the US Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force and is titled “An Integrated REDD Offset Program (IREDD) for Nesting Projects under Jurisdictional Accounting.”

President moves to access Norway LCDS funds

Guyana Chronicle, 24 September 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday announced that Guyana will agree to the current World Bank mechanism to access the first US$30M tranche of climate change funds from Norway because he wants to move the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) along. He said in New York that because he wants to get the LCDS moving, he told Norway’s Environment Minister Erik Solheim that Guyana will “sign on to whatever they have now just to get it (LCDS moving)…because I can’t wait any more, the indigenous people can’t wait any more”…l Wangari Maathai, Founder and Chair, The Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate, said activities to protect the forests have to happen at all levels – at the top (both policy and political) as demonstrated by President Jagdeo – and at the community level because “you are dealing with a very basic natural resource that provides us with very essential environmental services without which we cannot survive on this planet.”

Asian Development Bank helps Beijing set up international carbon trade center

By Lisa Friedman, ClimateWire, 24 September 2010 | Beijing is positioning itself as an international center for clean technology finance, and the Asian Development Bank plans to spend about $500,000 to help China achieve its goal. In a new assessment, out this week, of China’s green finance development strategy, the ADB said it intends to help China meet its target of reducing carbon intensity 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 by helping it develop a carbon finance district in Beijing and developing the China Beijing Environmental Exchange as a major carbon market in the country.

Prioritizing climate investments in REDD+ projects

Beyond Climate Change, 24 September 2010 | In an article in the Jakarta Post this week, the director of the Nature Conservancy’s forest program in Indonesia gave some good advice for how that country should implement REDD+. There is plenty of REDD guidance being published these days, but I thought this article was particularly clear and to the point. The author notes the importance of selecting the right provinces and districts for the forest projects themselves – and the six factors that will make or break those decisions. These criteria fall into three categories: Political support… Biophysical conditions… Economic considerations.

Connecting the Dots on REDD+

GreenDump, 24 September 2010 | When it was first brought into the international climate negotiations in 2005, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was a revelation. By using the power of carbon markets to encourage forest conservation, REDD promised to supply the incentives and support needed to reduce deforestation at a scale sufficient to fight climate change. But when I was recruited by the Conservancy to “figure REDD out,” the gap between the REDD projects already operating and national implementation promoted by climate negotiators was huge. The sums of money being discussed made communities, governments and corporations take notice. They started to develop pilot programs, design and advocate policy proposals and conduct research. Over the past five years, this has produced a relatively coherent – albeit rough – roadmap for national REDD+ implementation based on planning and action at sub-national government levels.

Address by His Excellency Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo President Republic of Guyana at the sixty-fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

24 September 2010 | My country recognizes that we must deliver our part. We are on track to meet most of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in the areas of education and health. We are doing all we can to weather the financial crisis with the minimum suffering for our people. And we recognize that we must do more than just complain about climate change – we have created our Low Carbon Development Strategy which sets out a long term path to protect our 16 million hectare rainforest and move our entire economy onto a low carbon trajectory. But there are times when it feels like the international system sets out to put hurdles on the path to overcome these challenges. Inconsistencies and a lack of coherence between aid, trade and climate policies in the developed world, to name just three areas, often-times create difficulties for developing countries who seek to make progress.

25 September 2010

Big new tax only option, Abbott told

By Sid Maher, The Australian, 25 September 2010 | Treasury has repudiated Tony Abbott’s direct action approach to climate change. It argues that it would be in Australia’s national interest to “rely on market-based mechanisms” to limit the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions… “A broad-based market mechanism which prices carbon, driving large-scale abatement through long-term investment in low-emissions technologies and changes in behaviour by both producers and consumers across the economy, is the only realistic way of achieving the deep cuts in emissions that are required,” Treasury said. It said market-based mechanisms represented the lowest cost pathway when compared with regulation, mandatory standards or budget financed initiatives. “A market-based mechanism can achieve the necessary abatement at a cost per tonne of emissions that is far lower per tonne of emissions than alternative direct action policies.”

‘Forests on 27 hectares disappear annually’

Business Recorder, 25 September 2010 | The process of deforestation continues in the country as 27 hectares forest disappears annually which not only add to rapid environmental degradation but also adversely affect eco-system land under cultivation. This was stated by Federal Minister for Environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi while addressing a certificate awarding ceremony at the end of Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Climate change mitigation, adaptation and REDD workshop here on Friday. “Pakistan is the most vulnerable country for climate change effects due to limited forest area,” said Afridi, adding that with the increasing temperatures, melting of glaciers, monsoon variability, unpredictable rainfall and floods have become the most important issues for this country. He further said that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) had been the main instrument to reduce the emissions of harmful gases.

Sinar Mas hopes to show public it “cares” about environment

By Dicky Christanto, Jakarta Post, 25 September 2010 | The Forestry Ministry is joining forces with private companies to support the government’s forest preservation program as it strives to achieve Indonesia’s pledge to reduce its emissions by 26 percent by 2020. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan recently signed a memorandum of understanding with PT Putra Riau Perkasa, a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Forestry, which agreed to spare its 15,640-hectare concession in Semenanjung Kampar, Riau, for a giant carbon storage facility… “This should prove that large companies are concerned about preserving forests,” Zulkifli said at the signing of the MoU at the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing. The agreement was signed regardless of gray areas in the REDD+ benefit-sharing scheme, which regulates carbon trade… “The forest preservation program will enable us to respond to several third parties’ doubts about our commitments to preserving nature while running our business,” he said.

Raziah Grabs Multi-Million Dollar Forest for just RM 250!

Sarawak Report, 25 September 2010 | In an act of breathtaking meanness and greed the multi-billionaire Taib family are seeking to deprive impoverished Ibans of one of Sarawak’s last remaining hardwood forests, for a paltry compensation of just RM250 per family. Meanwhile, Sarawak Report has received exclusive new leaks which indicate that the Chief Minister himself stands to personally profit by a million times that amount (an estimated RM250,000,00) in corrupt backhanders from the deal.

Mine given green light to dump waste into ocean

By Liam Fox, ABC News, 25 September 2010 | A mine can now proceed to dump millions of tonnes of waste into the sea in Papua New Guinea after a legal battle to stop it was abandoned. A temporary injunction had been preventing the Ramu nickel mine from building a deep-sea tailings pipeline in Astrolabe Bay, near Madang. But this week the landowners who won the injunction dumped their lawyer and abandoned the legal battle to make it a permanent ban. National court Justice David Cannings approved their request to discontinue the proceedings, but said their change of heart was “suspicious”. He said people would legitimately wonder if the landowners had been threatened, intimidated or paid off. The decision means the majority Chinese-owned mine can proceed with plans to dump 5 million tonnes of tailings a year into a deep-sea trench.

President calls on UN to craft global accountability indicators

Guyana Chronicle, 25 September 2010 | Speaking at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s annual high-level debate yesterday, President Bharrat Jagdeo called on the UN to establish global accountability indicators to assess whether the implementation of policies is in accordance with the international responsibilities… In the area of climate change, he said there is the absence of scientific evidence to global policy responses that mitigate the worst extremes of climate change.
 

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