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REDD in the news: 18-24 October 2010

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REDD in the news: 18-24 October 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.

Forest Industries Investment and Financing Forum

fao.org, 16-17 November 2010 | Argentina 16-17 November 2010. Palacio San Miguel – Suipacha 84 – Buenos Aires. The Forum follows the successful model of the private sector events organized at the XIII World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires in Oct. 2009. It provides a dynamic dialogue between forest producers and industry, timberland investors, the financing community and policy makers. Purpose is to stimulate the investment climate and international collaboration in the forestry sector of Argentina.

REDD-plus Briefing Paper

FIELD, October 2010 | FIELD has prepared this briefing paper to assist UNFCCC negotiators from developing countries who are working on REDD-plus. It is available in English, French and Spanish through http://www.field.org.uk… The Executive Secretary may also be requested to collaborate with the members of the CPF, other initiatives and the Parties to engage with the discussions on REDD. The potential scope of his mandate is not yet clear (e.g. ‘contribute to the discussions’ or ‘provide advice’). To strengthen the implementation of its programme of work in tropical forests the CBD Secretariat also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in March 2010. The ITTO is an intergovernmental organisation governed by the International Tropical Timber Agreement which promotes the sustainable use and trade of tropical forest resources.

Can forests help to solve climate challenges?

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK, no date | Forest carbon project development and due diligence. The forest protection agenda has recently been dominated by the potential for carbon markets to provide the financial mechanism to protect forests. Progress has been hampered, however, by the conceptual and implementation issues that must be overcome before the carbon markets can provide the finance required to reduce deforestation at the rate required. With specialists in climate change, forestry and carbon markets services, PwC has a deep understanding of the concerns and issues surrounding forest carbon projects and the macro-scale drivers of opportunity and risk in the forest carbon market. We can ensure that your projects are effectively designed to mitigate risks and take advantage of opportunities. PwC brings wide experience from diverse, international projects and we are engaged at the forefront of debates on forest carbon.

Aligning Sustainable Development Opportunities for Forestry and Mining in Indonesia

Monash University, no date | Indonesia is facing challenges in reducing poverty, sustainably developing its human and natural resources, and responding proactively to climate change. Indonesia’s status as a major emitter of greenhouse gases (mainly through deforestation) has prompted action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Utilisation of Indonesia’s natural resources through forestry and mining is a key driver of its economy. However, many current activities are incompatible with or in conflict with the challenges above. Monash University and the Government of Indonesia seek to examine the spatial planning and governance arrangements leading to consistent policy responsive to sustainable resource and community development, poverty reduction, and climate change.

PNRPS seen as a way to improve Philippine forestry system

Code Redd, no date | FMB Director Marlo Mendoza, in his welcome address to fifty-one (51) participants to the PNRPS Action Planning and Budgeting Workshop, held on August 26-27, 2010 at Legend Villas, Mandaluyong City, lauded the participants for the important contribution of the workshop outputs to the entire system of improving the forestry sector. He urged the participants to spend more time in the more challenging aspects of the action plan such as carbon ownership and equitable benefit sharing. Benefits should go to local people directly addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation for such use and not any other, Director Mendoza stressed.

18 October 2010

Britain uses economics to protect biodiversity

By Heather Howard, Daily Yomiuri, 18 October 2010 | “Forests are not just forests. Forests are home to lots of ecosystems,” [David] Fitton [deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Tokyo] said. “Degradation from climate change leads to loss of habitats, declining species…[while] biodiversity, maintaining forests, helps climate change objectives. If you can achieve your climate change objectives, cut down on global warming, then you don’t lose habitats, you don’t cause species to become extinct. “I think we’ve long been convinced in the U.K. that you can’t achieve your climate change objectives without a focus on forestry,” he said. “Our hope is that this [REDD+ meeting] will lead into linking the COP10 outcome to the [Nov. 29-Dec. 10] Cancun meeting with COP16 with the UNFCCC (U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change).”

PNG forests dying in decades

Papua New Guinea Blogs, 18 October 2010 | The accessible forests of Papua New Guinea are likely to be logged or disappear in the next decade or two, according to a leading international team of scientists. In an article in the journal Nature this week, the scientists say that weak governance in Papua New Guinea is allowing foreign logging companies to over-exploit the country’s native forests. “Most accessible forests in Papua New Guinea are being seriously over-exploited,” said lead author Professor William Laurance of James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. “The rate of logging is definitely unsustainable.”

Exclusive: Liberian president calls for extradition of British businessman over alleged carbon offset deal

By Felicity Carus, Business Green, 18 October 2010 | The president of Liberia has demanded the extradition of a British businessman on charges of bribery in connection with a carbon offsetting deal worth up to $2.2bn. President Elizabeth Sirleaf Johnson issued a statement last week that announced the dismissal of several government forestry officials and directed the Liberian foreign and justice ministries to begin extradition proceedings against Michael Foster, a businessman from Widnes, Cheshire… [O]ften the potential for Redd schemes is greatest in countries with poor levels of governance, and President Sirleaf Johnson has pledged to crack down on alleged corruption.

New Country Maps Pinpoint Places Where Investments in Carbon Can Contribute to Community Livelihoods and Wider Conservation Goals

UNEP WCMC press release, 18 October 2010 | Mapping where a country’s carbon stocks overlap with areas that are rich in wildlife and important for local peoples’ livelihoods is underway in Asia, Africa and Latin America… The maps, being compiled by a partnership led by the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), are overlaying the carbon held in the vegetation and soils of a country’s terrestrial ecosystems with other key features. These include population densities; economic activities such as honey and gum production; the location of existing Protected Areas and biodiversity. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The aim is to assist governments in setting priorities for carbon investments. In Tanzania for example, several carbon rich parts of the country are in areas where the ranges of almost 70% of the country’s mammal species overlap.”

Forests soak up carbon, but for how long?

By Douglas Fischer, The Daily Climate, 18 October 2010 | U.S. forests offset roughly 11 percent of the nation’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions, storing “significant amounts” of carbon that would otherwise pollute the atmosphere, according to new government data. The findings, released last week, estimate the nation’s expanding forests sequester an additional 192 million metric tons of carbon annually due to increases in both the total area of forest land and the amount of carbon stored per acre. That’s the equivalent of removing about half the cars on the roads nationwide, or almost 135 million vehicles. But as emissions increase and the planet warms, that storage capacity could be compromised, scientists warn.

Financing in Spotlight as Biodiversity Talks Open in Nagoya

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 October 2010 | The last time the planet lost species at today’s rate, the dinosaurs disappeared. The UN vows to halt species loss by 2020, but a decade ago it vowed to halt that loss by 2010. This time around, the results could be better – if negotiators meeting in Nagoya manage to attack the financial drivers of species loss… The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opened today with CBD boss Ahmed Djoghlaf imploring delegates to finalize and adopt the Aichi-Nagoya Strategic Plan, which aims to halt species loss by 2020, among other things. “This is not just another plan,” said Djoghlaf. “It will be, as recommended by last month’s historic New York summit on biodiversity, the overarching coordinated global biodiversity framework of the whole biodiversity family, including the United Nations system.”

GEF 5 Biodiversity and SFM REDD+ Strategy Presented at the CBD COP10

By Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI, Global Environment Facility, 18 October 2010 | Noting that this event outlines key shifts in strategies from the Global Environment Facility’s fourth to fifth replenishments (GEF-4 and GEF-5), Mark Zimsky, GEF, said that these changes resulted from guidance from CBD COP-9. Zimsky explained that protected areas continue to be a central focus, but that a theoretical shift from site-specific action to systemic approaches has occurred. He noted the increased robustness of the results-based management framework under GEF-5.

REDD+ Cooperation Paper

Bank Information Center, 18 October 2010 | FCPF, FIP and UNREDD Paper- Draft 10.17.2010 to be discussed at Joint Session on November 6, 2010. [R-M: report can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/aglqwQ]

A safer bet for REDD+: Review of the evidence on the relationship between biodiversity and the resilience of forest carbon stocks

UN-REDD Programme, 18 October 2010 | Key Findings Resilience of forest carbon stocks to climate change, in terms of resistance to and recovery from its direct and indirect impacts, is essential for the long-term viability of REDD+. There is strong evidence that the carbon stocks of intact forests are more resilient than those of degraded or fragmented forest, and hence that reducing degradation should be a key REDD+ activity. There is a little evidence to suggest that whilst management decisions can increase planted forests’ resilience to change, naturally-occurring forests may be more resilient. This evidence lends some additional support to the rationale for a safeguard on the conversion of natural forest, already justified in terms of emissions reduction…

Climate talks must ensure carbon trading: World Bank official

Bank Information Center, 18 October 2010 | Major talks on global warming next month must provide reassurances for the future of the market in greenhouse-gas emissions beyond 2012, the World Bank’s environment chief said Monday. “What they have to find out is how to ensure that carbon trading does not collapse,” Inger Andersen, the Bank’s vice-president for sustainable development, told AFP in an interview. She added that “finding a way that that can be ensured would be very important to the world”. Carbon trading began under the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only treaty to set down targeted curbs in man-made gases that trap solar heat, inflicting potentially catastrophic changes to the world’s climate system. Developed countries which have ratified the Protocol, mainly in Europe, can buy or sell credits to help meet their emissions quota.

Political impasse dims prospects for UN climate meet

By Anastasia Moloney, Reuters AlertNet, 18 October 2010 | A political deadlock between developing and industrialised nations over obligations to reduce carbon emissions has lowered expectations for progress on a new global deal at this year’s U.N. climate change conference in Mexico, experts say… Some experts are also warning that negotiators at the Cancun meeting may not finalise the mechanisms and funding needed to run initiatives that offer developing nations financial incentives to preserve forests under the fledgling U.N.-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme. “REDD will be discussed but not defined in Cancun. A protocol still needs to be put in place for REDD programmes. It comes down to a matter of cost in reaching agreements like these,” said Juan Manuel Soto, head of Green Action in Colombia… He added that for REDD schemes to expand, they need to attract private investors who see protecting forests as a “business opportunity”.

Creating Wealth by Reducing Carbon

By Jigar Shah, ClimateBiz, 18 October 2010 | Investors and U.S. policymakers today face a historic choice: Invest in energy infrastructure now or wait for economic recovery. Certainly, the world faces serious challenges to both capital markets and the global economy as the effects of the financial crisis unfold, but this is not an “either/or” issue. Green investment is not a luxury that we cannot afford, as some commentators say. Rather, investing in clean energy infrastructure is a business and environmental necessity that we cannot afford to postpone.

Walmart takes on Amazon deforestation

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 18 October 2010 | The world’s largest retailer last week announced new sourcing criteria for commodities closely associated with deforestation: palm oil and beef from the Amazon. Walmart will require sustainably-sourced palm oil for all its private brand products globally by the end of 2015, a move that will provide critical support for initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of palm oil, which has at times been produced at the expense of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. Walmart says the move will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million metric tons by the end of 2015 for its U.K. and U.S. private brand products alone.

Placing a value on Kenya’s largest forest

By David Shukman, BBC News, 18 October 2010 | They fall as mere raindrops but quickly transform into cogs in a billion-dollar machine crucial to the future of a nation’s economy. That’s the startling conclusion of new research into the economic value of the preserving Kenya’s Mau Forest, the country’s largest. In the jargon of environmental science, the forest’s ability to generate rain and to store water is “an ecosystem service” worth huge sums to activities downstream. The forest stretches over hills between the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria and is the source of no fewer than 12 rivers flowing through the heart of Kenya. Prized as a “natural water tower”, the forest has also been the target for aggressive clearance and timber logging in recent decades and its size has been cut by at least 40%. Research by the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates the economic benefit of the forest to be more than $1.3bn per year.

19 October 2010

Guyana: Amaila Falls Hydro: Social and Environmental Aspects

By Robert Goodland, Bank Information Center, 19 October 2010 | The Amaila Falls project is a 140 MW hydro project located in western Guyana. The Amaila Falls hydroelectric dam (AFHEP) site is located in the Pakaraima Mountains on the Kuribrong River, a tributary of the Potaro River. The construction of the first stage 154 MW AFHEP plus access roads and power transmission is estimated to cost over US$400M. AFHEP has two further phases for a final energy output of 1,060 MW for all three phases together. China will support construction of the Amaila Falls hydro-electricity project, which President Bharrat Jagdeo called the “flagship” of Guyana’s LCDS. The planned access road is 110 km in length (8 m wide) through virgin forest, plus 85 km of road where trails already exist. Synergy Holdings has commenced phase one of the Amaila Falls roads project and has started clearing the area in preparation for the construction of the 85 km access road to the proposed dam.

Synergy clearing road site

Stabroek News, 19 October 2010 | Synergy Holdings has commenced phase one of the Amaila Falls roads project and has started clearing the area in preparation for the construction of the road, Senior Government Engineer Walter Willis says. Willis was reluctant to speak on the project stating that the progress reports will be released in “due course” by the relevant authorities. President of Synergy Holdings Makeshwar Fip Motilall during a recent interview with public relations executive Cathy Hughes had promised that Guyanese would be allowed “to monitor” the project. He said that this would include persons being allowed to visit the site as long as it was safe.

Did Ministry of Labour inspectors not notice there were no interlocks between the hot and cold sides in Barama’s piping system?

By Janette Bulkan, Letter to the editor Stabroek News, 19 October 2010 | The table at the end of this letter shows that Barama Company Ltd has been running its plywood plant at lower and lower levels from its installed mill capacity of 108,000 m3 of plywood per year – in the last decade to 17 per cent of the installed capacity. In relation to the closure of Barama’s plywood plant and the firing of 274 Guyanese workers, I pose the following questions to the Ministry of Labour and Go-Invest through you: 1. When the Ministry of Labour has been inspecting the plywood plant, did its inspectors not notice that there were no interlocks between the hot and cold sides in the piping system which are surely standard practice or could such safety locks have been overridden?…

Clearest Explanation of the Logging Loophole proposed by developed countries

OneWorldTV, 19 October 2010 | Chris Henschel of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society explains LULUCF (Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry) and the good news and bad news of LULUCF for developing countries.

SBY failing the environment: NGOs

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 19 October 2010 | The government has failed to deliver on one of its main re-election campaign promises of prioritizing efforts to protect the environment, activists say. This view was shared by a coalition of seven environmental groups in an assessment of the first-year performance of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s second-term Cabinet. “Many of the government’s plans to protect the environment have yet to be implemented [in the field],” Chalid Muhammad, chairman of the Indonesian Green Institute, told reporters on Monday. The green groups gave the government a red rating – indicating poor performance – for environmental issues. Chalid said that Yudhoyono’s administration had used environmental issues to gain international popularity, but had failed to deliver on his promises at home.

Ecosystem Values Converge in Nagoya’s Ecosystems Pavilion

By Charlie Parker and Matthew Cranford, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 October 2010 | As delegates meet in Nagoya to discuss ways of getting money and expertise flowing under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), one of the key areas that they will need to make progress on is how to harness different sources of finance that are available for biodiversity and ecosystem services. The issue of financing biodiversity began in earnest today on the second day of the 10th meeting of the conference of the parties (COP 10) to the CBD. The first item of the day was a side event at the Rio Conventions’ Ecosystems Pavilion on Protected Area Finance and the afternoon saw discussions on resource mobilization get underway.

Africa benefits from new mapping to curb climate change and boost biodiversity

Ghana Business News, 19 October 2010 | Africa, as well as Asia and Latin America, are three continents that are currently benefitting from a new mapping strategy, where a country’s carbon stocks overlap with areas that are rich in wildlife and important for local peoples’ livelihoods, a statement issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has disclosed. According to the statement issued in Nagoya, Japan, the aim is to support international efforts to conserve forests in order to combat climate change, but in a way that delivers other benefits including conservation of economically-important ecosystems linked with water, fertile soils and other crucial services… Ascribing the reason for the new mapping, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The aim is to assist governments in setting priorities for carbon investments.”

Norwegian Climate Change Director to learn from Tanzania

Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative press release, 19 October 2010 | Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Director of Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative, visits Tanzania 19-21 October to learn about progress in stopping climate change through Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Norway provides USD 80 million to this partnership, which makes Tanzania a frontrunner in the fight against deforestation in Africa. The core of the Norway-Tanzania partnership on Climate and Forest is to provide financial and technical support to help Tanzania prepare for a future global mechanism for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Ambassador Hans Brattskar and his team from Oslo will meet with government representatives from the Vice Presidents office and Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. They will also meet with the UN REDD representatives and the secretariat to the National REDD task force.

I Warned CHC Not to Pay Bribe

Daily Observer, 19 October 2010 | John Woods, former Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), has strongly reacted to report of the Special Presidential Committee on the alleged agreement involving the Government of Liberia and London based Carbon Harvesting Company (CHC). In his response to the report, Woods said the Committee was speculative about whether a bribe was paid to him by CHC. “Other than the old vehicle which I refused to take, no member of CHC or its representative paid me a dime at any time. In fact I warned CHC many times not to pay bribe to anybody. I disclosed this to the Committee,” he said. “Why did the Committee prefer to speculate when I told them the truth?,” he asked.

International Experts Debate over Forests in Salta

La Radio de Martin Grande, 19 October 2010 | Officials and experts from eleven countries met yesterday in Salta Second Latin American Meeting of Countries Participating Cooperative Fund for the Development of Carbon in Forests. The meeting convened by the World Bank is to discuss strategies for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Rajland Robert Davis, a specialist from the World Bank spoke about climate change and forests, noting that between 20 and 30% of plant and animal species are at greater risk of extinction and productivity will decrease in lower latitudes which would increase the risk of hunger. [R-M: Full article available here in Spanish: http://bit.ly/bb4TNI]

EU to set CO2 offset limits in ETS in 6 weeks

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 19 October 2010 | The European Commission will within six weeks propose how to restrict the use of U.N. backed carbon offsets in the third phase of its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS), it said at a conference on Tuesday. The 27-nation bloc plans to limit the number of offsets called certified emissions reductions (CERs) from industrial gas projects that can be used in its carbon market from 2013-2020, Jos Delbeke, director general DG Climate Action, said at an industry event in Brussels, Point Carbon reported. He added the bloc will publish a proposal ahead of U.N. climate change talks in Cancun, which start on November 26.

20 October 2010

Financing the forests

By Stephen Minas, Inside Story, 20 October 2010 | “We want to avoid business as usual,” says Ilarius Wibisono. From the thirty-year insurgency to the Boxing Day tsunami to a frenetic reconstruction, not much of the recent past in Indonesia’s Aceh province could be described as “business as usual.” But Wibisono, an adviser on sustainability to the province’s governor, is talking about the sort of business as usual that results in greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere in ever-increasing volumes… A big test for the team is the world’s first commercially funded REDD project in the forests of Ulu Masen… [T]here are many other critics. Friends of the Earth Indonesia – known by its local acronym, WALHI – has flagged “a number of potentially problematic issues” with the Ulu Masen project, including concerns about “transparency” and “adequate representation of local communities,” and has called for the project to be monitored closely.

Indonesia moves on forest clearing moratorium

carbonpositive.net, 20 October 2010 | Indonesia says a proposed two-year moratorium on forest clearing will go ahead from January 2011, as scheduled under a wider REDD+ partnership with Norway. That deal will see up to $1 billion in forest preservation grants from Oslo to Jakarta in coming years. The partnership and moratorium were announced back in May and much of the detail of how the ban would work and wider REDD+ capability set up in Indonesia has been under negotiation and planning since. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said this week the government would draft a new regulation by Presidential Instruction before the end of the month to implement the forestry moratorium. The regulation would halt the issuance of new permits for “primary” forest and peatland clearing for the two years 2011 and 2012.

Shocking video of Papuan torture prompts calls for inquiry

Survival International, 20 October 2010 | Disturbing and graphic footage of two tribal Papuan men being tortured, allegedly by Indonesian soldiers, has led to widespread demands for an independent inquiry. One of the victims is an elderly man. The incident is believed to have been filmed on the mobile phone of one of the soldiers as a ‘trophy’. Analysis of the footage suggests it was taken in May this year in the highland region of West Papua, where a military operation has been taking place… Survival Director, Stephen Corry said, ‘This footage of an elderly man being tortured, allegedly by Indonesian soldiers, is truly horrific. There must be a full, independent investigation into this atrocity. Soldiers have been killing, raping and torturing Papuans with impunity for almost 50 years. The international community cannot sit back and allow this to continue.’

Lack of forest definition ‘major obstacle’ in fight to protect rainforests

By Kara Moses, The Ecologist, 20 October 2010 | In the second in our series examining REDD we report how ambiguous forest definitions are putting the future success of forest protection schemes in doubt and allowing logging companies to destroy biodiverse habitats. The current lack of a working definition of what degraded forest or land is ‘plays into the hands’ of logging companies, say forest campaigners. The companies claim to responsibly develop ‘only on degraded land’, but in reality this can actually mean they are clearing forests and peatlands… The World Resource Institute (WRI) are attempting to address this concern; project POTICO (Palm Oil, Timber, Carbon Offsets) aims to facilitate the diversion of new palm oil plantations away from virgin forests onto degraded lands, and incorporates a pilot scheme for swapping concessions already awarded on forested areas with degraded lands.

Solid Ground Needed for UN Forest Fix to Take Root

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 20 October 2010 | Experts are at odds over whether Indonesia is prepared to implement United Nations-mandated forest protection projects to reduce carbon emissions… Nur Masripatin, director of the Ministry of Forestry’s Center for Standardization and Environment, said on Wednesday that such measures were nothing new for foresters. “We’re still preparing to lay the policy groundwork to implement REDD projects so that we’re ready,” [Nur] said. However, Patrick Anderson, a policy adviser for the Forest Peoples Programme, said the state was not ready to implement REDD schemes, given its inconsistent approaches, especially on land tenure issues. “I don’t think Indonesia is ready,” he said. “There are so many experiments and there’s a lot of things that need to be learned, and I think [sticking to] national regulations is important for REDD schemes to work.”

Report confirms critical economic importance of biodiversity

ClickGreen, 20 October 2010 | A three-year study project examining the benefits the world gets for free from nature has published its final report. TEEB – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – has gathered the best available economic evidence showing that the costs brought by the degradation of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity are nothing short of unaffordable for our societies. It has synthesised thousands of studies, examined valuation methods, policy instruments and examples of action from around the world. Referring to numerous case studies, the report concludes with ten recommendations to help citizens and policymakers factor biodiversity into everyday decisions. The European Commission is a major funder of the study, which was hosted by the UN environment programme.

Dominican Forum Illuminates “Next Phase” in Voluntary Carbon Finance

By Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 20 October 2010 | If demand for voluntary carbon credits is flat lining in the US and failed REDD+ talks are casting a shadow over forest carbon markets, one would never guess it from the vitality of the Latin American Carbon Forum held last week in the Dominican Republic. Latin America has good reason to be interested in voluntary carbon markets – credits from Latin American projects saw a dramatic increase in market share in 2009 and are reportedly still going strong. In the current year, Brazil, Colombia and other nations continue to develop market mechanisms that are unique to the region and the world. But the Dominican Republic hardly rivals its southern neighbors as it struggles to find its place in the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and has no projects actively generating voluntary carbon credits (VERs).

Bridging the Biodiversity Finance Gap

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 20 October 2010 | We humans have been living off the land for so long that we assume the air, water, and scenery are free. This assumption is so deep in us that we programmed it into our modern economic system, and that’s why we’re losing water, air, and species at such alarming rates. Fix that programming error, and we fix the problem. So runs the basic narrative of the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) consortium’s fourth report, “Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature”, which aims to bring the concepts that we cover in Ecosystem Marketplace to an audience beyond the scientific and policy-making community.

Jackpot: how international community could raise $141 billion for biodiversity

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 20 October 2010 | Leaders from around the world meeting in Nagoya, Japan for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to discuss solutions to stem the current mass extinction crisis may be in need of a little book: The Little Biodiversity Finance Book. While a recent report by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) found that degradation of ecosystems – including biodiversity loss – was costing the global economy $2-5 trillion annually, one of the primary threats to wildlife around the world is simply a lack of funds to enact program. But The Little Biodiversity Finance Book says that with the right policy initiatives the burgeoning ecosystem market could be worth $141 billion by 2020. “The Little Biodiversity Finance Book will be an indispensable tool, making biodiversity financing options more accessible for both newcomers to this field and national and international policy makers,” says Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the CBD.

New U.S. Report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Puts a Price on Nature

By Bryan Walsh, Ecocentric, Time.com, 20 October 2010 | Can you put a price on a tree? How about a babbling brook? Or an unspoiled mountain vista? It turns out you can—and this is not a Mastercard commercial. Early this morning at the Nagoya meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations released The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, one of the most wide-ranging attempts to accurately gauge the value of the natural world – and the economic damage that can result from the loss of biodiversity, clean air and water and wildlife habitat. According to the study – led by Pavan Sukhdev, seconded from his day job with Deutsche Bank – the world is losing $2 to $4.5 trillion worth of natural capital each year, thanks to pollution, deforestation, farming, industry and climate change. A few excerpts from the report show how Sukhdev and his colleagues put a price on what might seem priceless.

Profiting From Biodiversity

By Thomas E. Lovejoy, New York Times, 20 October 2010 | Last year the nations of the world gathered in Copenhagen in hopes of advancing the global agenda for climate change. Similarly — with much less fanfare yet no less importance — they are now gathered in Nagoya, Japan, to improve the prospects for the living planet and its biodiversity… A project initiated by the Group of 8 leading industrialized nations known as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, or TEEB, being released in Nagoya makes the case for bringing these factors into the economic calculus as much as possible.

If we are to save the Chaco forest, we need more funding

By John Burton, Guardian, 20 October 2010 < John Vidal's piece describing the Chaco forest as the "last agricultural frontier", where "great swaths of … virgin thorn forest … are being turned into prairie-style grasslands to rear meat for Europe and grow biofuel crops for cars" could not have been more timely... At the World Land Trust we have identified the situation in the Chaco as one of the worst examples of wanton destruction in the natural world. Vidal's article clearly lays out the issues confronting this habitat of rich biodiversity: "home to about 3,400 plant species, 500 bird species, 150 species of mammals, 120 species of reptiles, and 100 species of amphibians"... However, Vidal fails to highlight the most important point facing conservationists – the lack of available funding needed to protect this wilderness. This is also hampered by the fact that many people are simply unaware of where the Chaco is and why it is so important to conserve it. Paraguay emerging projects in the path of the carbon market

By Walberto Caballero, ABC Color, 20 October 2010 | The carbon market is a mechanism of economic exploitation related to climate change, particularly in mitigating the impact of emissions of greenhouse gases. In Paraguay, the Guyra Paraguay Association has been working on this project for three years. At the official level, the action is almost zero. Guyra Paraguay has a real project in the last stage of approval by an international company interested in compensating (pay or certify) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). The task of negotiation is under the charge of two important references of said entity: Oscar Alberto and Yanosky Rhodes, who are also supporting Humberto Rubin in the campaign “A todo pulmón Paraguay respira.” (Roughly, “Paraguay breathes with full lungs”) [R-M: Full article available here in Spanish: http://bit.ly/d1SIQZ]

21 October 2010

Where is the documentation of Mr Motilall’s road-building experience?

By Emile Mervin, Letter to the editor Stabroek News, 21 October 2010 | In response to your news article, ‘Synergy clearing road site,’ (October 19), I want to challenge your newspaper as well as all other private media houses to sharpen focus on this entire project, starting with this road for which Mr Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall was awarded US$15.4M from public funds to construct. From the time this road project was awarded to Mr Motilall earlier this year, the public has yet to receive convincing documentation of his trumpeted road-building experience in Florida and Georgia, and what is worse, the government does not seem to care… Editor, how the government can award Mr Motilall US$15.4M even though there is no convincing evidence of his road-building experience is at the core of ongoing questions of the government’s lack of transparency and even reckless disregard for public concerns over projects and deals involving public funds and resources.

UN Biodiversity Summit, Nagoya: Questions over local REDD+ fund management capacity open up critical role for NGOs and Environmental Funds

PricewaterhouseCoopers Media Centre, 21 October 2010 | NGOs and Environmental Funds could play a vital role in dispelling the uncertainty slowing the delivery of $4.5bn fast start funding committed at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, and in securing the future flows of private sector investment. These are amongst the key findings in the first detailed analysis of how current REDD+ funding could be managed and circulated in the future within multiple recipient nations. The new report, ‘National REDD+ funding frameworks and achieving REDD+ readiness’ was commissioned by The Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA), and produced by PwC, and will be launched today at the UN summit on Biodiversity and Ecosystems in Nagoya, Japan. It explores six in depth case studies (Brazil, Indonesia, DRC, Peru, Madagascar, Cambodia) and identifies that the total private and public REDD funds assigned to date range from $250-300 million.

Update on the Negotiations at COP-10: Will Biodiversity Survive the Process?

Climate Connections, 21 October 2010 | Wednesday (yesterday) began the CBD COP-10 Working Group negotiations directly related to the work of Global Justice Ecology Project. The first item on the agenda: Biodiversity and Climate Change, under which fell topics including geoengineering – on which ETC Group is here leading a valiant effort for a strong moratorium – and REDD, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation scheme. While several countries spoke in favor of a moratorium on geoengineering, REDD received extensive support. With all of the propaganda here in favor of REDD and other market-based conservation schemes, this outcome is hardly surprising.

Corporations, conservation, and the green movement

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 21 October 2010 | The image of rainforests being torn down by giant bulldozers, felled by chainsaw-wielding loggers, and torched by large-scale developers has never been more poignant. Corporations have today replaced small-scale farmers as the prime drivers of deforestation, a shift that has critical implications for conservation… As counter-intuitive as it may seem, corporate consolidation—a trend since the 1990s—is also making it easier for green groups to go after companies. As Jason Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Transformation at WWF, noted in his July TED talk in Oxford, convincing leading companies to change the way they source commodities can have a substantial impact on global supply chains.

Following the REDD+ Money Trail

By Kristina Van Dexter, Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 October 2010 | A new report from the Conservation Finance Alliance, “National REDD+ Funding Frameworks and Achieving REDD+ Readiness – findings from consultation,” takes a look at REDD+ activity in six countries and explores opportunities for synergies between private and public financing, methodology development and capacity building for scalable REDD+ projects. With recommendations based on stakeholder input, the report analyzes the roles of NGOs and environmental funds during the REDD+ readiness phase and in preparing countries for a national-scale REDD+ mechanism. There is $4.5 billion in ‘Fast Start’ funding for REDD+ committed during the 2010-2012 ‘readiness’ phase of REDD+, with much of it going towards capacity building and the design of financial architecture to prepare countries for REDD+.

Carbon shame goes global

Washington Times, 21 October 2010 | Earlier this month, the World Bank announced the creation of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund, in which Norway pays Guyana $30 million for “limiting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.” The payout could reach $250 million by 2015 to fund “urgent action to avert climate catastrophe with Guyana’s sustainable development,” according to Ashni Singh, Guyana’s minister of finance. In return for its money, Norway receives “ecosystem services.” Because the Scandinavian nation is located more than 5,000 miles from Guyana and receives no tangible benefit from this deal, Norwegians presumably can be comforted in the knowledge that their krones are preserving South American forests, thereby granting them absolution of guilt arising from damage they might wreak on their own forests. No carbon shame for them.

UN 10 commandments to put price on nature

EurActiv, 21 October 2010 | A major UN report demands that all countries swiftly study their natural resources and take stock of world’s forests and ecosystem services, in order to draw up actual accounts to charge people and businesses for the “major externalities” they impose on society and nature… The two-year study concluded with ten recommendations to demonstrate the “multi-trillion dollar” economic importance of forests, freshwater, soils and coral reefs and to incorporate the value of nature into decision-making. The first asks to assess and communicate the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the economy and ensure public disclosure of, and accountability for, impacts on nature. The second requests a rapid upgrade of current national accounting systems to make them include the value of changes in natural capital stocks and ecosystem service flows.

A Green Development Mechanism for Biodiversity?

By Alexander James and Francis Vorhies, Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 October 2010 | The United Nations aims to halt biodiversity loss by 2020, in part by promoting financing schemes that recognize the economic value of our planet’s living ecosystems. One such scheme is the “Green Development Mechanism”, which is designed to both promote economic development and preserve biodiversity… The GDM is intended to supplement government assistance – not to substitute for it. Like the CDM, it is specifically designed to tap the resources of private sector companies and individuals who wish to begin the process of compensating for their ecological footprint. The CBD can – and should – have two mechanisms of funding: one for capturing government resources, and the other for private-sector participant. Proposals for a GDM are an attempt to tap private sector financial resources, inspired in part by the success of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol.

Total Global Steel says still holds recycled CERs

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 21 October 2010 | UK-based trading house, Total Global Steel (TGS), still holds recycled U.N. carbon credits, its chairman and chief executive said. In April, TGS was connected to trade in recycled Hungarian certified emission reductions (CERs). Hungary’s former government earlier this year sold some 800,000 CERs that had already been surrendered to it by industry under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. The used credits were then sold over the French spot emissions exchange BlueNext. Trading used CERs is technically legal, exploiting a loophole under the Kyoto Protocol, but it is against EU rules for a company to count the permits against its emissions in Europe, making them invalid there. “Some of them went through our book, and we’ve still got a few … enough to make it a long-term investment for us,” Martin Lonergan told Point Carbon News, refusing to say how many.

Tokyo wants to cooperate with countries sharing the Amazon forest

ABC Color, 21 October 2010 | “We are interested in working with Latin American countries that share the Amazon rainforest. We just started it, “said the director of the Climate Change Division, Takehiro Kano, at a press conference in Tokyo. The Amazon, considered the lungs of the world, covers 4.1 million hectares, but is rapidly losing its trees from deforestation. Kano explained that the next day 26 in the Japanese city of Nagoya, the UN Conference on Biological Diversity (COP10), will analyze various aspects of the partnership with Papua New Guinea as part of UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). REDD is expected that with the support of countries like Japan and France provides for credits for emission reductions, work starting next year with Brazil for the protection of forests, Kano said. R-M: Full article available here in Spanish: http://bit.ly/b09LdK]

Worst haze from Indonesia in 4 years hits neighbors hard

By Nopporn Wong-Anan, Reuters, 21 October 2010 | Illegal forest clearing fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island are sending haze across the Malacca Strait to neighboring Malaysia and Singapore, causing the worst air pollution since 2006, officials said on Thursday. Despite pledge among governments to deter fires, the haze prompted Malaysia to alert vessels in the Malacca Strait of poor visibility as short as 2 nautical miles and shut many schools. Singapore, covered in thick smoke this week, saw its air pollution index hit the highest level since 2006 on Wednesday. The port and international airport are still functioning as normal. “The suspicion is that this is coming from forests that have been opened up for plantations. We think it may be for palm oil,” Purwasto Saroprayogi, head of the land and forest fires department at Indonesia’s Environment Ministry, told Reuters.

Foreign corporations devastating Papua New Guinea rainforests

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 21 October 2010 | A letter in Nature from seven top scientists warns that Papua New Guinea will lose all of its accessible forest in just ten to twenty years if swift action isn’t taken. A potent mix of poor governance, corruption, and corporate disregard is leading to the rapid loss of Papua New Guinea’s much-heralded rainforests, home to a vast array of species found no-where else in the world. “Papua New Guinea has some of the world’s most biologically and culturally rich forests, and they’re vanishing before our eyes,” author William Laurance of James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, said in a statement. As logging is being driven largely by Malaysian firms, Papua New Guinea is seeing little benefit. After forests are cleared, raw logs are shipped to China for production into finished products, which are eventually exported to feed the demand of rich nations for cheap wood products.

22 October 2010

Businesses Warm to Indonesia’s Moratorium on Forest Clearing

Voice of America, 22 October 2010 | The Indonesian government is imposing a moratorium on forest clearing in return for $1 billion grant from Norway to fund projects to curtail deforestation and land degradation. Environmental groups and some businesses welcome the freeze. Starting in January, Indonesia will bar companies from clearing native forest and peat lands for two years. Timber, pulp and paper operations, and palm oil plantations will be banned from expanding onto new concessions. The decision initially raised concerns that it would set off a rush of land acquisitions or hurt the economy. But now many business people and environmentalists say timber industries can still develop land for which they already hold licenses, and they will be able to expand into areas that have been degraded by erosion or previous uses.

Every country plays critical role in protecting biodiversity: US envoy

Daily Express, 22 October 2010 | Every country plays a critical role in protecting biodiversity and meeting the challenges of climate change, new US Ambassador to Malaysia, Paul Jones, said here, Thursday. “Over the last few decades, we all came to understand the critical role of biodiversity play in human survival and well being,” Jones noted in his talk entitled “US Perspectives on Environmental Protection and Climate Change” at the Sabah State Library, which was attended by Datuk Herbert Lagadan, Assistant Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, while State Library Director, Wong Vui Yin, hosted the function. “But we also came to understand that the loss of biodiversity worldwide is accelerating at an alarming rate,” Jones added.

Forest biodiversity: mitigation and adaptation – Day 4

Pavilion News Digest, 22 October, 2010 | Norwegian triple win – “Promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction”, Birthe Ivars, from the Norwegian Ministry of Environment said, “is an integral part of the International Climate and Forest Initiative, which gives its full support to NGOs, civil society organizations”. Norway has spent hundreds of millions in grants for international REDD efforts, supporting countries ready to scale-up like Brazil or Indonesia. Fervent supporter of the TEEB study, Norway is committed to make a success of the Cancun Conference. “We are convinced that REDD mechanism will be a breakthrough,” she says.

Walmart and General Mills Bullish on Sustainable Palm Oil

By Mindy S. Lubber, GreenBiz.com, 22 October 2010 | At the global level, increased movement towards carbon-pricing systems could benefit sustainable palm producers as carbon markets ramp up and landowners are compensated for avoided carbon emissions. Last year’s Copenhagen summit, for example, saw Britain, Norway, and other developed countries pledge $4.5 billion by 2012 to REDD, a scheme in which developing countries will be paid to conserve rainforests. With deforestation accounting for about 15 percent of global carbon emissions, a proportion larger than the entire global transportation sector, expect REDD to grow.

Cancún talks must put paralyzed U.N. climate negotiations back on track

By Jennifer Haverkamp, Environmental Defense Fund, 22 October 2010 | Although negotiators spent the week in Tianjin crafting a mechanism to make this accounting method more transparent, the review process would do little more than make a bad approach transparently bad. Similarly disappointing is the lack of progress in the REDD-plus Partnership, which 50 countries launched in May 2010 to provide billions of dollars toward reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries. It’s particularly dismaying that a process launched with such high hopes earlier this year is being bogged down by debates over procedural hurdles. REDD policies are crucial, since deforestation and forest degradation account for 15 to 17 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Donor countries must stop dickering and start releasing the funding needed for this partnership to make REDD-plus a reality.

Paraguayan Mennonites hit back at criticism of environmental record

By John Vidal, Guardian, 22 October 2010 | What is it with Mennonites? Two weeks ago I wrote a piece from Paraguay on how the vast dry forest known as the Gran Chaco was being felled at an alarming rate mainly by people from this Christian fundamentalist sect… The piece I wrote went down like a lead balloon in parts of Paraguay where the Mennonites are powerful industrialists. Here’s a declaration by the Mennonite community, from a full-page advertisement placed in one newspaper: “We don’t understand why foreigners make such a big deal about some situations in Paraguay, that to the Paraguayans are really not that important. Livestock production and rearing have been attacked in a totally incomprehensible way. For the past 80 years, us Mennonites have worked and organised a production system in the Paraguayan Chaco that today has an important role.”

World Bank pays $4 for forest CERs

carbonpostive.net, 22 October 2010 | Africa’s first significant CDM forest carbon project has attracted a price of $US4 per tonne in temporary CER (tCER) carbon credits, according to a media report. The World Bank will buy the credits for half the carbon stored up to 2017 from an Ethiopian forestry project, the Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project. The first large-scale afforestation and reforestation (A/R) project to be registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s CDM, the Clean Development Mechanism, began in 2007. It involves the restoration and replanting of indigenous tree species on 2,728 hectares of degraded mountain forest area that has been stripped for fuel wood in south-western Ethiopia. The Humbo project developer, World Vision, has arranged 800 local people into seven reforestation cooperatives…

REDD+ Partnership: who cares about the forests?

By Massimo Bounomo, reddnetwork.blogspot.com, 22 October 2010 | I was there. In Brasilia. At the first technical meeting of the REDD+ Partnership. I was very excited. After all I was participating at the first serious meeting to save the world forests… Because, my dear reader, if that outcome should come from current negotiations in the Partnership forget it. It will never happen. The interests are so many and so conflicting with one another that saving the forests seem the least and the last of the results pursued. And, in fact, if you see how the negotiations proceed you would have an idea of the serious fights going on inside the Partnership. It is nearly everybody against anybody. But let me clarify this point for you, my reader interested in saving the forests. First and biggest problem is the role of stakeholders in the Partnership.

23 October 2010

National Toshaos Council (NTC) slated to meet next week

Kaieteur News, 23 October 2010 | With the theme, “Advancing Development in a Low Carbon Economy,” the National Toshaos Council (NTC) will meet from October 25 to October 29, 2010 at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, with President Bharrat Jagdeo. Some 160 leaders including all Toshaos and Senior Councillors, 12 Community Development Officers (CDOs) and Regional Officials are expected to attend the said meeting. President Jagdeo will lead a two-day interactive discussion session during which updates on the Low Carbon Development Strategy’s Implementation phase and on several Government of Guyana initiatives viz. Solar Panels, Land Demarcation, Funding of Amerindian Villages Community Development Plans (CDPs), One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Programme and the Amaila Falls Hydro-electricity will be discussed among other issues relevant to village development.

24 October 2010

Borneo’s majestic rainforest is being killed by the timber mafia

By Tracy McVeigh, Observer, 24 October 2010 | Many believe that the saving of the depleted Kalimantan forest can only happen through pressure from the outside, when consumers start to question the wood they are buying. In the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the new secretary-general of the Ministry of Forestry [says] … “We have halved the numbers who have access to the forests and are working to protect our forests from illegal loggers”… Norway has just given the country a grant on condition that it suspends new concessions in the forests from 2012, but Hadi insists a full moratorium is not the answer. “There is $10bn coming in from palm oil, $4bn from pulp and paper, and the people who work in these concessions are many, so we cannot just stop it all or the IMF will collapse us as an economy. “So please be wise about this, who will pay for that? Europe and the US has a financial crisis and who is going to help us just for the sake of climate change? Nobody.”

Guyana on exciting low-carbon development pathway

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 24 October 2010 | Just back from the last meeting of the United Nations High Level Advisory Panel on Climate Financing, President Bharrat Jagdeo says Guyana’s receipt of the first tranche of US$30 million from the agreement with Norway marks the commencement of an exciting pathway to low-carbon development. At a press conference Friday at the Office of the President complex, he said the depositing into a World Bank account of the US$30 million resulted from a long process that “saw us doing a study that was very important in establishing a notional value for forest carbon in our forests and then an extensive process of consultation based on strategies that we developed.” … The President added: “We have not only created a financial flow through the establishment of GRIF (Guyana REDD Investment Fund) in Guyana, but we have created a model that has changed the concept of REDD-plus that includes conservation as part of a compensatory scheme.”

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