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. And if all this isn’t enough, you can follow the negotiations on UNFCCC’s “virtual participation” web page.
Building and Wood Workers’ International, no date | UN-REDD claims to have an approach which should include all stakeholders. As part of the advisory group which includes civil society, so far trade unions were not included in consultation processes especially those affecting workers. At the global level, BWI is engaging with the UN-REDD secretariat, as well as attending the discussions in Tianjin, China, in order to defend the interests of forestry workers, which have been so far lacking. We recognise that the situation is changing rapidly and that corrections can still be made to support a broader involvement of all stakeholders in the processes. At the national level, BWI affiliated trade unions are reporting that so far they are hardly being involved, if at all, in REDD discussions or so.
By Andrew Hedges, Norton Rose LLP, November 2010 | This report draws from public material and our experience in acting for a range of government and private participants in the area of REDD+ to ask how forest carbon rights are being approached in practice. In light of our experience and the excitement about the potential contribution of REDD+ in Africa, we have focused our attention on five African nations: Kenya, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
By Sunderlin, W.D.; Larson, A.M.; Duchelle, A.; Sills, E.O.; Luttrell, C.; Jagger, P.; Pattanayak, S.; Cronkleton, P.; Ekaputri, A.D, CIFOR, November 2010 | These technical guidelines are intended to serve six main purposes: A key reference document for members of the research team; A means for outside experts to understand and provide critical feedback on the study; A guide to enable non-CIFOR collaborators to conduct this form of research on their own; A source of information for REDD+ proponents on research activities conducted at their project sites; A way for donors to better understand the technical attributes of what they are funding; and A source of information on methods decisions for team members writing scientific reports.
Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, no date | India stands to gain a lot from a global REDD+ mechanism. It has specifi cally opened the possibilities for the country to expect compensation for its pro-conservation approach and sustainable management of forests resulting in even further increase of forest cover and thereby its forest carbon stocks.
Conservation International, no date | We hope to support the political process and development of policies in Cancun in order to achieve these main goals: Advancement of UNFCCC negotiations and agreement on a timeline that puts the world on track for comprehensive post-2012 climate agreement(s). A detailed REDD+ decision that, among other things: includes social and environmental safeguards and activities beyond deforestation and forest degradation; secures adequate and sustainable financing; and initiates a process to establish clear guidelines on reference levels and Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV). A detailed adaptation decision that includes a framework for adaptation action and support for community and ecosystem-based adaptation solutions.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change, December 2010 | A central issue in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is how best to provide for the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of parties’ mitigation actions and support. This brief describes and evaluates existing requirements under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and outlines recommendations for building on these mechanisms to establish a more robust MRV system. This enhanced system should include: significantly strengthening the existing system of reporting and expert review, and establishing a new mechanism for peer review of mitigation actions. Peer review and expert review would together constitute the international “consultations” and “analysis” envisioned in the Copenhagen Accord.
CIFOR, no date | Watch live video streaming from Forest Day at Cancún, Mexico, on Sunday, 5 December 2010, from 09:00–12:15, UTC/GMT-6 hours.
Global Earth Energy, press release, no date | Global Earth Energy, Inc. (OTCBB: GLER), a U.S.-based provider of energy solutions, is extremely pleased to announce a joint venture with Reflora de Brazil, a Brazilian based company. Involved in Carbon sequestration, Reflora expects that potential gross revenues, which are cited by an independent third party, could exceed $200mm over the next decade, potentially reaching into the billions. Revenues are expected to begin by the third quarter of 2011. Reflora de Brazil has the sole power to manage and control over 303,000 hectares (approximately 741,000 acres) of property in northern Brazil.
By Peter A. Minang, IISD, December 2010 | Despite predictions of a lame duck climate change meeting in Cancun in December 2010, potential areas for success exist. REDD-plus is one such area. A draft decision on REDD-plus is possible and would help to demonstrate that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations are heading in a positive direction. The Executive Director of the UNFCCC Secretariat, Christiana Figueres, remarked that a concrete outcome is needed at the Cancun climate change meetings to prevent the perception of multilateralism as a never-ending road. Forward movement on REDD-plus – a mechanism that has potential to provide substantial benefit to the poor in developing countries – would help to restore trust and belief in the UN negotiating system.
By Richard Kimbowa, REDD-net, December 2010 | On Thursday I attended a couple of meetings on REDD+, typically giving experiences from different regions and on different issues. Being a new concept, REDD+ is generating substantive attention at the side events of this UNFCCC COP. Governance is one such issue that was the focus of discussion in an event organized by a Brazilian non-profit research institution – The Amazon Institute for People and the Environment (Imazon).
29 November 2010
Subhankar Banerjee, Huffington Post, 29 November 2010 | Forests are dying all over the world at an unprecedented rate due to climate change – hundreds of millions of trees are dead – I wrote about it this summer. This is causing a lot of stress to the indigenous communities. Is this the time to tinker with trading carbons by taking away the forests from the indigenous inhabitants and then selling the credits to the polluters – or is it possible to develop a common global vision of moving away from fossil fuel altogether and working with forest dwellers on sustainable solutions? It is a moral question that we must answer. And that I’d call trust-and-partnership. Here are some last words from Tom Goldtooth: “Everyone who cares about our future, forests, Indigenous Peoples and human rights should reject REDD because it is irremediably flawed, cannot be fixed and because, despite efforts to develop safeguards for its implementation, REDD will always be potentially genocidal.”
Bretton Woods Project, 29 November 2010 | The World Bank’s engagement in carbon finance has expanded from its “pioneering” Prototype Carbon Fund in 1999, which provided the groundwork for a market-based approach to emission reductions. Today, the Bank’s carbon finance portfolio has grown to 12 funds and facilities, managing $2.4 billion, with over 200 active projects. The Carbon Finance Unit (CFU), headquartered in Washington DC, is presented as a natural extension of the Bank’s mission to reduce poverty. It has three main functions: a trustee role; an administrative role; and an advisory role.
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 29 November 2010 | On Wednesday, current co-chairs Federica Bietta, who represents Papua New Guinea, and Junya Nakano, who represents Japan, will post the latest version of the Partnership’s official work plan for the next two years. Stakeholders and other partners will then have until 8pm Sunday, December 5, to make comments, either via e-mail or through bilateral discussions, and the final version will be posted at 8pm on Monday, December 6.
mongabay.com, 29 November 2010 | A focus on conservation of high carbon landscapes via the proposed REDD mechanism could come at a detriment to biodiversity, argues a new paper published in Carbon Balance and Management. The research, led by Gary Paoli of Daemeter Consulting in Indonesia, analyzed other studies on biodiversity, vegetation types, and carbon emissions. It found that carbon-dense peat swamps, likely a focal point for REDD programs in Indonesia, “do not coincide with areas supporting the highest concentrations of threatened biodiversity,” according to a statement from the University of Kent. “The highest carbon savings are not necessarily located in places with the highest levels of species diversity,” said Paoli, in a statement.
The Biology Refugia, 29 November 2010 | Indonesia is a testbed for so-called ‘cash for carbon’ plans (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD), where developing countries are given credits for reducing deforestation; this not only preserves valuable forest habitat for wildlife, but curbs carbon emissions from deforestation itself. Greenpeace, however, has released a report that says Indonesia is planning to go ahead with massive forest clearance despite signing a new REDD agreement with Norway.
By Dallas Goldtooth, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, indybay.com, 29 November 2010 | In this show, we will introduce you to some of the indigenous peoples who have come to Cancun to represent communities impacted by the fossil fuels and extractive industries: Who they are, why they are here, and what they hope to accomplish. Then, for the rest of the hour will be joined by Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network to reflect on his engagement with the UN process so far and discuss what, according to his view, are the most important issues to follow in the next couple of weeks.
Climate Action, 29 November 2010 | Long-term biodiversity may be at risk from projects designed to cut carbon emissions from the forestry sector, scientists have advised. In a study published in the journal Carbon Balance and Management, on Tuesday, scientists from the University of Kent used examples from Indonesia to highlight ways in which emission reduction strategies could be detrimental to wildlife. In the report, entitled “Biodiversity Conservation in the REDD”, scientists stated that the bulk of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation Degradation (REDD) scheme was targeted at peat land, where deforestation is high but biodiversity is low. As non-peat land areas are not as high priority for REDD, it is feared that these areas, although high in biodiversity, could be used to set up palm oil or paper plantations. The study reveals peat forests harbour fewer bat species and lower densities of birds and several keystone terrestrial and arboreal vertebrates.
By Luis Ubiñas, Huffington Post, 29 November 2010 | This week, the international community is gathering in the Mexican city of Cancún to address one of the most serious and intractable issues facing the planet today: climate change. When the conversation turns to how to protect forests that help reduce greenhouse gases, the participants need look no further than right out their windows. Mexico has become a global leader in safeguarding its expansive forests. And it has done so not by fencing the forests behind “no trespassing” signs, but by giving local communities ownership rights and an opportunity to take responsibility for their stewardship. Indeed, communities now own more than 60 percent of Mexico’s forests. Surprisingly, this success story is one that most people, and even many Mexicans, are unaware of.
mongabay.com, 29 November 2010 | Converting peatlands for wood-pulp and oil palm plantations generates nearly 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare, making these ostensibly “green” sources of paper, vegetable oil and biofuels important drivers of climate change, reports new research published by scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that oil palm plantations established on peat soils generate nearly 60 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare over their 25-year life cycle. Roughly 62 percent of emissions arise from decomposition of peat, while 25 percent are released when the vegetation is burned shortly after clearing. Additional emissions result from use of nitrogen-based fertilizers.
By Randy Strobo, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Blog, 29 November 2010 | As part of the Yale delegation, I am working for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) to promote the adoption of policies and language in the negotiating text that addresses international demand side drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The EIA is working in tandem with the Environmental Climate Alliance (ECA) a conglomeration of international NGOs that have similar goals with regards to REDD and international forest policy. Prior to arriving in Cancun, I analyzed the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s (FCPF) REDD readiness plans (R-PPs) and UN REDD National Programme documents (NPDs) of several REDD countries to determine how they have incorporated drivers of forest degradation and deforestation into their REDD planning processes and specifically if the planning documents address international demand side drivers.
By Tensie Whelan (Rainforest Alliance), Huffington Post, 29 November 2010 | To be clear, we do need a comprehensive, binding agreement and all countries need to keep working for one in the near future. But meanwhile, COP16 may advance important decisions on implementing and financing REDD+ and other measures that will help developing countries conserve forests and improve land use. Taking those decisions would be a major step forward.
Antara News, 29 November 2010 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on the nation to pray that there would be no war in Indonesia, so that military personnel could help preserve the environment. The head of state, made the statement when visiting a rain tree (Samanea saman) or locally called “trembesi” nursery center located in a military compound, here Monday. Accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, the president took a close loot at around 125,000 seedlings of rain trees that he had donated to help greening programs in Aceh Province. Yudhoyono has been actively promoting the planting of rain trees in Indonesia. Last January, he launched a rain tree planting movement in an effort to help reduce global warming.
SustainbleBusiness.com, 29 November 2010 | Advice given by international consultants McKinsey & Company to governments of forested nations could harm a scheme to stem destruction of the rainforest, known as REDD, according to a new report released Thursday by the Rainforest Foundation UK. McKinsey has provided services to Brazil, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Guyana in the context of a global plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) which may be agreed at the United Nations climate change summit starting today in Cancun, Mexico. The report, “How McKinsey ‘cost curves’ are distorting REDD,” says that McKinsey’s advice is based on flawed analysis that hides key costs of programs to reduce deforestation and could lead to greater destruction of natural forests by logging and agribusinesses, further marginalisation of millions of poor farmers and the weakening environmental regulations.
Conservation International, 29 November 2010 | The rate of extinctions among nearly 2500 of the world’s most biologically unique forest species of amphibians, birds and mammals could be dramatically reduced – from 46-80 percent over a period of five years – with adequate financing to support reductions of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. That finding represents one of several encouraging estimates reported by scientists at Conservation International (CI) in a new scientific paper designed to support efforts during the 16th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun, Mexico.
By Kelly Benjjamin, Earth Journalism Network, 29 November 2010 | Approximately 15 to 20 percent of total global carbon emissions come from deforestation, so establishing a fund to pay developing nations not to chop or burn down their forests is significant but not without controversy. Mike Shanahan is with the International Institute of Environment and Development. “The idea of putting a price on the carbon that’s in a tree is a tricky one because then you must ask, ‘who owns the trees?’ Are they owned by a country, a community, or likely to be grabbed up by people who see trees do have money growing on them. One of the big problems for poor communities in developing countries is that many people live in and around forests and if forests come so commercially important as stocks of carbon… ”
The Hindu, 29 November 2010 | The United Nations Climate Change Conference that gets under way here on Monday may not result in much in terms of emission reduction agreements. The main focus could be on forestry issues and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus where significant progress could be made. The response to the conference is lukewarm but no less than 15,000 delegates are expected to attend the deliberations. REDD plus aims to reward the developing nations for protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests and it offers one of the cheapest options for cutting global greenhouse gases, according to the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Principal climate change scientist at the CIFOR Louis Verchot said that among the key issues likely to be addressed was whether to include REDD plus as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
30 November 2010
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 30 November 2010 | Despite doubts about the creation of a binding treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference here, Indonesia is still hopeful of a “balanced outcome.” Tazwin Hanif, the head of Indonesia’s negotiating team at the conference, which opened on Monday, said the host country hoped to avoid the mistakes of last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen by holding “inclusive and transparent meetings where all parties are involved.” “Our position is clear, we want Cancun’s outcome to be balanced,” he said.
mongabay.com, 30 November 2010 | Indonesia’s push to become the world’s largest supplier of palm oil and a major pulp and paper exporter has taken a heavy toll on the rainforests and peatlands of Sumatra, reveals a new assessment of the island’s forest cover by WWF. The assessment, based on analysis of satellite imagery, shows Sumatra has lost nearly half of its natural forest cover since 1985. The island’s forests were cleared and converted at a rate of 542,000 hectares, or 2.1 percent, per year. More than 80 percent of forest loss occurred in lowland areas, where the most biodiverse and carbon-dense ecosystems are found.
By Rosebeel Kagumire, IPS, 30 November 2010 | Uganda has lost more than two million hectares of forest since 1990, mostly converted to farmland by a growing population of smallholders. Carbon finance through the REDD programme is often presented as one way to arrest this destruction, but only if the benefits clearly translate to the grassroots.
Cision Wire, 30 November 2010 | A consortium led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing methods for monitoring tropical forests using satellite data in a project funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The objective of the ReCover project is to develop beyond the state-of-the-art service capabilities currently supporting the United Nations REDD programme which is fighting deforestation and forest degradation in the tropical region. Although REDD will probably not be officially accepted at the climate conference in Cancun, several REDD-related activities are already under way in the tropical region.
IUCN press release, 30 November 2010 | Governments must restore confidence in the negotiation process of the UNFCCC in Cancun by increasing climate funding and ensuring natural solutions are part of the post-2012 regime, says IUCN… Governments also need to close the deal on REDD plus and reach an agreement to make it a central part of the new climate deal. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time conserving forest natural resources on which millions of vulnerable people depend, is a win-win solution for people and nature,” says Carole Saint-Laurent, IUCN’s Senior Forest Policy Adviser .“It has been one of the most promising developments in the negotiations so far, and now it is time for a further push by governments to make REDD plus an integral part of the future climate deal.”
By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 30 November 2010 | Saleemul Haq, senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London, says there are two broad camps. One is the extremists or absolutists, the all or nothing group. The second group is more pragmatic; it looks to the “doable” and there could be some progress here. In terms of negotiations, the Copenhagen conference was close to an agreement on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus, adaptation and technology transfer, but the only question was how much money was available or would be given by the developed countries. A positive outcome was that for the first time, $30 billion was promised as fast start climate finance over the next three years. However, this offer was made so late that it was simply not enough to overcome the negative momentum last year.
Peter Holmgren, FAO & Climate Change, 30 November 2010 | REDD+ was all but agreed in Copenhagen. A well established concept, an almost finalised negotiation text and several billion dollars of start-up finance provided a considerable momentum. However, a broader climate change package, of which REDD+ would be part, was not decided. Instead the Copenhagen accord was instituted and the prospect of a comprehensive climate deal has slowed down considerably. In this situation, many countries agreed to establish the Voluntary REDD+ Partnership, to take REDD+ forward. The partnership was established in Oslo in May. The UN-REDD agencies (FAO, UNDP and UNEP) and the World Bank were asked to provide secretariat services to the partnership. One of the key outputs of the REDD+ Partnership is a consolidated database on REDD+ Finance, Actions and Results.
The UN-REDD programme blog, 30 November 2010 | The REDD+ Partnership met on Sunday 28 December, to discuss its work program for 2011-12. Partners and Stakeholders provided a rich array of comments on activities to be prioritized. Proposals included further work on gaps and overlaps in REDD+ financing and the Voluntary REDD+ Database, engagement of the private sector, addressing drivers of deforestation, and strengthening of capacity, efficiency and transparency of national institutions. Partners are expected to approve a framework work plan with indicative activities during COP16.
By Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, 30 November 2010 | “The REDD is in conflict with the Forest Rights Act (FRA),” said Shankar Gopalakrishnan of NGO Campaign For Survival and Dignity, which has been fighting for rights of tribals. FRA provides for rights of tribals and forest-dwellers. But under REDD, governments can allow companies to take over forests to sequester their carbon emissions. In return, the government will get paid and part of the money can be shared with forest-dwellers. BS Kishwan, Additional Director General of Forest in environment ministry, however, said, “REDD is not intended to take away rights of indigenous people but to provide them money to protect forests.” But he said lack of definition of forests in India can pose problems in implementation.
By Rowena Mason, Telegraph, 30 November 2010 | InfiniteEarth, a Hong Kong development project backed by a handful of private investors, is selling permits that cover 100,000 hectares of Indonesian rainforest. Its costs include paying the local landowners for a licence to protect the area, getting the certification and installing rangers and guards around the project. The company said on Tuesday that its first customers will include Gazprom Marketing & Trading in the UK, Germany’s Allianz GmbH and Switzerland’s Vitol. Voluntary carbon credits currently trade at $2 to $10 and are generally bought by companies hoping to improve their environmental image or airlines that can sell them on to passengers who want to offset the emissions of their flights.
By David Diaz, Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 November 2010 | No one can guarantee that carbon sequestered in any individual tree will stay there forever, but there are ways of guaranteeing that credits earned by saving trees won’t go up in smoke if something happens to the forest. Until now, it’s been done by keeping large swathes of rescued forest in “buffer pools”, but a new tool makes it easier and cheaper by moving towards private insurance for forest projects.
By Tom Goldtooth, Outreach, 30 November 2010 | On Saturday morning, I met with Mayan elders this region called Zona Maya [Maya territories] who expressed their concerns about their indigenous rights. This circle of Mayan elders sent by their communities worked very hard to finalize their own vision statement. That included the rejection of REDD. The Mayan elders expressed that it is unethical and not in accordance to their traditions and ancestral ways to participate in the REDD program that would pay them money in an offset program that allows polluters to continue to pollute, resulting in a program that would cause the warming of the Mother Earth and not for their stewardship of their forests.
Stop climate change, 30 November 2010 | The UN climate summit in Cancun (COP16) is now underway. As we noted in yesterday’s blog, it is hoped that Cancun will produce a set of decisions on a number of issues that will be included in an eventual overarching UN climate agreement. Somewhere towards the top of this list is an agreement on a framework for tackling emissions from the forest sector (in UNFCCC speak, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation – REDD), notably providing incentives for developing countries to prevent deforestation. However, what does this actually mean in practical terms?
Global Greengrants Fund, 30 November 2010 | While the policy sounds appealing—it avoids the unpopular idea of emissions caps that require large-scale change—it has fundamental flaws. REDD could be one of the largest global shifts of wealth in the history of the world (up to $30 billion a year by 2020). As huge sums of money move from the industrialized, global North to the forested South, we must ask the difficult questions: who will be the beneficiaries of this wealth? And how will they be held accountable? … Representing these concerns at this year’s COP16 is a large network of indigenous and forest-dependent peoples. Many are traveling from nearby Central America, including Greengrants Grantees Norvin Goff and Carlos García Bulux. Goff is President of the Honduran indigenous group, Mosquitia Asla Takanaka (MASTA), while Bulux represents the Mayan communities of Tonoticapán, Guatamala.
By Daniel F. Morris, Weathervane: A Climate Policy Blog from Resources for the Future, 30 November 2010 | The original REDD+ operated under the assumption that a large source of funding for projects and national systems would come from international carbon markets, where REDD credits could be traded. Developments over the past year, mainly the failure of the US to pass climate legislation, have cast uncertainty on how much funding will be available from markets over the short-to-medium term. This may lead negotiators to reconsider some of the structures they have proposed. Similarly, some nations are concerned about the possible commoditization of forests in carbon markets and the impact it may have on indigenous communities… Bolivian president Evo Morales came out strongly against REDD+ market mechanisms in the lead-up to Cancun. If other tropical forest countries start to agree with Bolivia’s position, it could throw a big wrench in the proceedings.
La Via Campesina, 30 November 2010 | Described as potentially the ‘largest land grab of all time,’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) places forests (and agricultural land, if we consider REDD +) directly into the carbon market for the benefit of TNCs. REDD allows polluting TNCs to buy their way out of reducing their greenhouse emissions at source by supposedly conserving forests. However, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network, REDD is rife with “perverse incentives” to convert natural forests into monoculture tree plantations and to actually increase deforestation.
By Agus Purnomo, Jakarta Post, 30 November 2010 | NGOs and civil society organizations have an important role to play in ensuring that REDD+ efforts are subject to high transparency and good governance. We welcome civil society vigilance, in particular to the key question of how REDD+ funds and benefits will flow to those communities who live closest to our forests and who have stewardship over them. Ensuring sustainable livelihoods and job opportunities for the rural poor is critical to the long-term success of REDD+ in Indonesia. However, the report launched by Greenpeace on Nov. 23 on industry expansion and REDD+ is not a helpful contribution to the debate. Vigilance has turned into scaremongering and selective argumentation aimed at generating catchy headlines with little concern with the realities on the ground.
1 December 2010
By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 1 December 2010 | Brazil today hailed the lowest levels of Amazon rainforest deforestation in more than two decades, although the rate of destruction was higher than expected. Between August 2009 and July 2010 about 6,451 square kilometres of forest were razed in Brazil’s Amazon, an area around four times the size of the southern metropolis of São Paulo. Brazil’s environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, described the numbers as “fantastic”. “This is the lowest level of deforestation in the history of Amazonia,” said Teixeira, who is tipped to keep her position under Brazil’s incoming president Dilma Rousseff who takes office on 1 January.
By Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate, 1 December 2010 | An arcane accounting rule governing emissions from logging forests that is now being negotiated at climate talks in Cancun is threatening to put the integrity of a future global-warming deal at risk, environmental groups said in a new analysis. The groups urged UN negotiators to shut the so-called loophole for good during the Nov 29-Dec. 10 talks. The incentive would allow rich nations to ramp up logging without accounting for the greenhouse gases that result, in effect hiding emissions increases. It takes the form of a proposed revision of the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) rules under the Kyoto Protocol. “At the moment they’re cheating so badly on the LULUCF that it’s almost a joke,” said Melanie Coath, senior climate change policy officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, one of the groups behind the research.
By Angela Dewan, Asia Sentinel, 29 November 2010 | An in-depth look at graft in forestry is needed before leaders agree on anti-corruption mechanisms in Cancun. There is rising concern that the US$30 billion pledged to protect forests last year during the Copenhagen conference on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is going into the pockets of corrupt officials in some of the world’s developing countries… “There is a lot of money pledged right now to fund readiness activities, preparation funds to make sure countries are ready to enter a REDD+ mechanism,” said Estelle Fach from the United Nations Development Program in New York. “There needs to be a focus on corruption and good governance. The risks are there because forest governance is not perfect anywhere.”
By Hannah Kett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 December 2010 | No one expects a major breakthrough at global climate talks in Cancun, but talks on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming and forestry are progressing rapidly. The decrease in deforesation in recent years, as one climate and forest expert put it, is “really one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy picture, as far as global warming is concerned.” Experts shared their opinions on what to expect on REDD from Cancun.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 1 December 2010 | Nepalese housewife Manohara Khadka believes rural women are the best protectors of local forests. For rural women, the forest is a source of livelihood, providing fuel and food, she said. Because of that, women do their best to care for the forest. Women, however, have so far been excluded from international discussions on protecting forests —the so-called REDD talks. REDD stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and is a plan to do just that — reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. With the REDD plan in place, countries are required to reduce deforestation and receive financial benefits in return. “Women have been excluded from the discussions, meaning they are not considered stakeholders,” Khadka said. “It also sends the wrong message to women that REDD will end community access to forests.”
By Stuart Grudgings, Reuters, 1 December 2010 | Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s leading climate scientists at the National Institute for Space Research, said there was a danger that global falls in deforestation would lull the world into a false sense of security. Even if deforestation globally falls to zero, the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions implies “massive change” in forests like the Amazon, he said. “Everybody will go home and say ‘OK, the forests are safe, biodiversity will be preserved.’ No, that’s not the case,” he said. “It’s a very serious situation.” … INPE’s research has found that deforestation of the Amazon would have to reach 40 percent, double its current level, to trigger a widespread dieback. But in areas like Mato Grosso, where the remaining forest is fragmented and subject to dry winds and fire, the process is visibly speeding up. “In those degraded areas, if they continue to use fire, you might reach a point of no return,” Nobre said. Weird weather leaves Amazon forest thirsty
By Marianna Keen, Climate Action, 1 December 2010 | The climate change mitigation solution, REDD+, is considered fundamental in coping with climate change, and with many initiatives, including the UN-REDD Programme currently developing and supporting it, there is hope for progress in Cancun. The 16th Conference of Parties, which opened in Cancun, Mexico on Monday, is considered by many developing nations and forest dependent people as the last chance to reach agreement on the steps towards an eventual treaty. Delivering as One: Partnerships for REDD+ is the title given to the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (UN-REDD) Programme event to be held in Cancun tomorrow (2nd December). As the name suggests, the event aims to synchronise climate efforts between nations and stakeholders, with a focus on responsible use of the world’s resources.
By Adam Gibbon, The Frog Blog UK: The blog of the Rainforest Alliance in the UK, 1 December 2010 | After attending the last two COPs (Conference of the Parties) I decided to try and be a virtual delegate this year to avoid the queues, crowds and carbon emissions. Here are my tips for enjoying the COP from the comfort of your own home… The UNFCCC have made a page dedicated to virtual participation: http://unfccc.int/virtual_participation/items/5780.php This page links you through to their YouTube channel, twitter page, as well as other interesting things such as interactive maps. Not going to Cancun for COP16? You don’t need to miss out
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 1 December 2010 | The burgeoning global program REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) could do more than mitigate climate change, according to a new study in Conservation Letters by scientists with Conservation International (CI). Analyzing a sample of 2,500 forest animals, including mammals, birds and amphibians, researchers found that REDD+ could reduce the rate of extinction among these species by 46-82% over five years. The wide range in the study’s findings depends on the amount of funds devoted to REDD+: more funds means greater forest preservation and, thereby, less extinction. Modeling deforestation in 85 countries under current rates versus various REDD+ scenarios, the model found that a fully financed REDD+ program (i.e. about $30 billion a year) would cut global deforestation by about 70% and furthermore cut extinction rates by up to 82%…
ABC Radio Australia, 1 December 2010 | Greenpeace accuses the government of plannning to increase the land dedicated to forestry and mining by 63 million hectares over time… [AGUS] PURNOMO: These figures are actually made uop figures, it’s totally wrong. I could not even trace back these figures. So I did ask and I couldn’t find a good answer of it. We do have some projections of our plan for various sectors to use land from now until 2030. The Ministry of Foresrty has come to a figure of 24 million in degraded forests. The 24 million hectares will also cover the expansion on pulp and paper plantations, on palm oil plantations, on mining and on various other development activities. So it’s only one-third of the figures that Greenpeace accused us of planned deforestation and, I have to repeat it again, all of that 24 millions will take place in the already degraded forest.
Africa Science News Service, 1 December 2010 | As the world convenes in Cancun, Mexico for yet another year of climate change discussions at the 16th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16), the big question still remains: How can initiatives to reduce emissions work efficiently to produce desired outputs while at the same time equitably rewarding all those involved in the reduction process? … The answer lies in looking beyond the forest to capture emissions and manage carbon stocks from other land uses. This calls for a whole landscape approach which can overcome challenges that hinder the successful implementation of REDD+.
By Neil Marks, Kaieteur News, 1 December 2010 | Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which the government is using to get money from rich countries in order to preserve the forest, is based on advice that has been described by a UK-based forest protection group as “junk economics.” International consultants McKinsey and Company have provided services to Guyana and other countries in the context of … REDD, which may be agreed to at the UN Climate Summit in Cancun. McKinsey’s advice has been used wholesale by Guyana to produce the LCDS, which forms the basis for a five-year forest-saving deal with Norway worth US$250 million. The LCDS is also being supported with financing by the World Bank. But Rainforest Foundation UK, which has been working since 1989 for the protection of the forest, says McKinsey’s advice is based on flawed analysis which could end up causing more destruction of natural forests and weaken forestry regulations in Guyana.
IIMA Consultora press release, 1 December 2010 | IIMA Consultora is developing this avoided deforestation project to address the causes of degradation of an important forestry extension of nearly 50,000 ha, in the Chaco region in the province of Salta, northeast Argentina. This, the first REDD project developed in Argentina, poses an alternative to forest clearing based on the generation of carbon credits through the conservation of the woodland. In this way the financial credit that is generated enables the maintenance and recovery of existing Chaco forest in return for renouncing any clearing, forestry or agricultural exploitation which are included in the province development plans.
Environmental Defense Fund, 1 December 2010 | One of the biggest issues expected to be addressed in the U.N. climate summit that started Monday in Cancún, Mexico is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). REDD+ policies provide economic incentives for forest conservation by taking into account the amount of carbon trees store and putting a value on living forests and their ecosystems, but REDD+ also has an important human element to it. A critical component of making REDD+ policies effective is engaging indigenous peoples who both rely on the rainforests for their survival and have valuable knowledge of the forest lands. Their livelihoods and cultures are put at risk when forests are destroyed, so they have a great deal to gain from preserving their forests through the REDD+ approach.
By Jon Alexander, Conservation Economy, 1 December 2010 | The main track being pursued at present is to try to find ways to make the benefits of forests show up in GDP. From Prince Charles’ Rainforest Project, through to the catchy REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation) and less neat LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) mechanisms, what we’re essentially trying to do is find a way to make forests worth more standing than cleared. This may be me being difficult, but I couldn’t help thinking it’s a hell of a hard way of doing things. Generally, if you find the facts really don’t fit, you have to admit it’s time to change the model, rather than keep trying to wedge them in. Given that national accounting systems based on GDP don’t allow for the climatic, species, or social benefits of forests, isn’t it time to have a look at our systems?
By Anil Naidoo, Council of Canadians’ Blog, 1 December 2010 | After the disaster in Copenhagen expectations are, unfortunately, very low. This negative feeling is being heightened by positions being taken by governments like Canada’s. Canada started the COP with the same winning ways of all previous COP’s since the Conservatives have been government, winning all three fossils of the day – this is not a good thing… REDD and REDD+ are also being vigorously debated with few on the anti-REDD side and lots of money promoting REDD. The theory sounds fine, who would not want to reduce environmental degradation and deforestation (REDD), but the trouble comes in the implementation. Another terrible thing is that the U.S. is pressing for a pledge and review process which is non-binding and non-negotiable….they set the targets and you can take it or leave it….sadly, others in Annex 1, which have been legally-bound under Kyoto, are joining this travesty.
By Nnimmo Bassey, 234next.com, 1 December 2010 | President Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa of Mexico … intoned that the world must embark on the pursuit of “green development” and “green economy” as the path to sustainable development. He also stated that some of the steps to be taken to attain this ideal include progress on the negotiations on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD), as well as development of technologies to reduce fuel emission. These were nice words. These were also very contentious ideas. There are several red flags and concerns about REDD by indigenous groups and forest dependent peoples, as well as mass social movements across the world. The idea of canvassing the extension of financial assistance to the poorest and the most vulnerable countries is also seen by critics as a possible way of dividing them and making them pliable to suggestions and decisions that may actually be contrary to their best interests.
Decolonizing Environmentalism, 1 December 2010 | I also attached the action proposal of the photo campaign “Indigenous Peoples are NOT for SALE! Listen to Indigenous Peoples’ solution for climate justice”, which is also one of the outcomes of the Camp. With this campaign, we are calling for the full and active participation of the Indigenous peoples, including indigenous youth and women in all climate change decision making processes and expresses our disapproval of any forms of market-based solutions to mitigate climate change such as REDD and REDD Plus mechanisms.
By David Malingha Doya, Bloomberg, 1 December 2010 | Rwanda will probably reach its target of 30 percent forest coverage by 2013, seven years ahead of schedule, Christophe Bazivamo, minister for forestry and mines, said. The government plans to plant 44 million trees by the end of next year, Bazivamo said today in the Senate in Kigali, the capital. Forest cover is currently about 21 percent, he said. The East African nation, a tea and coffee grower, is trying to rebuild its forests after deforestation cut tree cover to 10 percent in 2009. About 90 percent of Rwandans use wood for heating, resulting in a loss of 7 million trees a year, Bazivamo said. “Tree planting will help reduce soil erosion and improve climate conditions,” he said.
By Allie Carter, Repower America, 1 December 2010 | Earlier this year, a deal was struck between Indonesia and Norway, in which Norway will contribute $1 billion to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. A key piece of this effort includes a two-year moratorium on clearing and protecting remaining natural forests. A report from Greenpeace, however, warns of the paper and pulp industry’s efforts to circumvent such efforts. This could happen if remaining forests or peatlands get labeled as “degraded” and thus used for industrial palm oil or timber production, rather than being allowed to remain in their natural state.
By Laura Petersen, New York Times, 1 December 2010 | As international programs that pay developing countries to keep carbon locked in forests and soils proliferate, the United Nations is examining how the battle against global warming can bolster biodiversity and local economies. Valerie Kapos, a forest ecologist at the U.N. Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, has teamed up with colleagues from six countries to develop maps that overlay carbon stocks with biodiversity, protected areas, population, poverty and economic activities.
Daily Independent, 1 December 2010 | Women must be included in all international efforts to save the world’s remaining forests and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has said at the ongoing UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico. A new gender initiative, launched by IUCN and partners at the UN climate summit in Cancun, aims to ensure that women are an integral part of negotiations on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation), an international process that seeks to reduce the effects of climate change due to the logging and mismanagement of forests. “Political will for REDD exists, but donors sponsoring REDD initiatives still do not mainstream gender in projects on the ground even though they have mandate – and hence obligation – to do so,” says Lorena Aguilar, Global Senior Advisor on Gender for IUCN.
Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 1 December 2010 | Women must be included in all international efforts to save the world’s remaining forests and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17%, according to IUCN. A new gender initiative, launched by IUCN and partners at the UN climate summit in Cancun, aims to ensure that women are an integral part of negotiations on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degredation), an international process that seeks to reduce the effects of climate change due to the logging and mismanagement of forests. “Political will for REDD exists, but donors sponsoring REDD initiatives still do not mainstream gender in projects on the ground even though they have mandate – and hence obligation – to do so,” says Lorena Aguilar, Global Senior Advisor on Gender for IUCN.
Global Forest Coalition press release, 1 December 2010 | A report released by the Global Forest Coalition today at the UN Climate Talks in Cancun, Mexico reveals that measures to address deforestation, like REDD (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) are likely to fail because they do not address the underlying causes of forest loss, such as excessive global demand for wood, plantation agriculture, expanding agrofuel production, and a rapid shift toward a bioenergy economy.
Washington Post, 1 December 2010 | Sarene Marshall (The Nature Conservancy): There is a lot of encouraging news on the REDD front. In two of the leading forest emitter countries – Indonesia and Brazil – the governments have made pledges to dramatically cut deforestation and the emissons caused by forest destruction. Brazil has set up an Amazon Fund, with financial assistance from the Government of Norway, to fund actions that will contribute to these goals. These funds are targeting some of the municipalities that are responsible for the highest levels of deforestation, and helping farmers, ranchers, industry and local governments do what is necessary to comply with environmental laws and produce agricultural products with a lower carbon footprint. The Nature Conservancy helped one of these municipalities – Paragominas – get off Brazil’s deforestation “black list” in April.
2 December 2010
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 2 December 2010 | The forests of Sumatra are disappearing faster than any others. Those that remain have the highest diversity of plants on earth. Many of their large mammals – such as the tiger, orangutan, elephant and clouded leopard – are in danger of extinction. The clearance there affects everyone, because it exposes one of the world’s largest deposits of peat. When the peat is exposed and drained, it begins to oxidise, making carbon dioxide. Forest clearance is the reason why Indonesia now has the third-highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, after the US and China. The environment group WWF alleges that APP is responsible for “more natural forest clearance in Sumatra . . . than any other company”. Since the 80s, it claims, APP has cleared more than 1m hectares. In July this year, a group of NGOs in the Sumatran province of Riau published a devastating investigative report about APP’s activities.
mongabay.com, 2 December 2010 | Indonesia’s national climate change strategy document includes text suggesting that dumping mining waste in peatlands could be used as an approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions… The national strategy document prepared by the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) lists several standard approaches for reducing emissions from peatlands degradation, including avoiding development of deep peat (greater than 3 meters in depth, as stipulated under an earlier presidential decree); controlling burning; and maintaining water levels (draining peat leads to decomposition, leading to carbon emissions). But the document also includes a non-conventional approach: “use of ameliorant”. It states: “Various waste substances, such as steel crust, which contains high Fe and Si has the potential to bind (chelating) simple organic acid so that the decomposition of such organic acid is not easy.”
Reuters, 2 December 2010 | Deforestation of the Amazon forest has fallen to its lowest level on record. That’s according to Brazilian government figures – released as the U.N. begins a new round of climate change talks in Cancun. The preservation of the trees – which soak up carbon dioxide – is one of Brazil’s efforts to slash its greenhouse gas emissions. Outgoing Brazilian President Lula da Silva said his country was meeting its conservation targets, but the world would fail to agree ambitious cuts in Cancun.
The Frog Blog UK: The blog of the Rainforest Alliance in the UK, 2 December 2010 | This brings us back to COP16. At these climate meetings, the Rainforest Alliance is advocating the robust inclusion of REDD+ within any international agreement on climate change. Together with a broad range of partners, we’re helping country negotiators and the international climate community learn about existing REDD+ tools, guidance, and successful projects … Though the prospect of reaching a binding agreement in Cancun is all but off the table, the Rainforest Alliance and other REDD+ supporters will continue to advocate for progress on REDD+ within the United Nations system.
By Siwi Nugraheni, Jakarta Post, 2 December 2010 | Projects on emission reduction from Indonesia’s forests are usually implemented with funding assistance of CDM and REDD. In several projects the World Bank provides support through trust funds and establishes the Forest Carbon Trust (FCT). The objectives of the FCT are to provide credibility to incentive payment schemes and to provide certainty for the long-term nature of the income stream. While reducing GHG emissions from the forestry sector have to continue, the potential of GHG reduction from other sectors such as energy should also be promoted. The energy sector contributes only 9 percent to the total GHG emission. However, the emissions from the sector have increased significantly at the level of 7 percent per year.
By Terrance Graves, letter to the editor Guyana Chronicle, 2 December 2010 | Rainforest Foundation UK has to be a misnomer since there is no rainforest in the UK. In fact, the UK has very little forests, as is the case in so many other developed countries which have used up the forests and other natural resources they once had in their development pursuits. From this rather shaky foundation, Rainforest Foundation UK proceeds to claim that the advice from McKinsey & Company could harm the Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) scheme to stem destruction of the rainforest.
Survival International, 2 December 2010 | A beleaguered Indian community in Brazil which has been cut off from the outside world by the rancher who has taken over their lands is still imprisoned, despite winning a recent court ruling. The Guarani community of Ypo’i returned to their ancestral land in 2009, which had been taken over by a rancher called Firmino Escobar. Mr Escobar then blocked the road leading to the Indians’ community, and gunmen surrounded their houses, cutting off their access to water, food and healthcare.
By Bryan Walsh, Time, 2 December 2010 | The more I write about environmental issues, the more I like writing about technology. Maybe that’s because while reporting on the decline of the environment can be, frankly, depressing (the naturalist Lois Crisler once remarked of the inextricable link between “love [of the earth] and despair”), while technology is undeniably optimistic, one new and better product rolling off the line after the last. More and more, however, I find the two areas – the environment and technology – overlapping.
By Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 2 December 2010 | Google Inc unveiled technology on Thursday it says will help build trust between rich and poor countries on projects designed to protect the world’s tropical forests. Measuring the success of forest-protection plans in places like the Amazon, Indonesia and the Congo basin has always been difficult because tree disease, corruption, and illegal logging threaten vast remote areas that scientists can’t monitor by land. The future of the projects are important to global talks on climate being held in Cancun for two weeks ending December 10 because forest destruction is responsible for up to 17 percent of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. The platform, called Google Earth Engine, takes vast amounts of forest images from U.S. and French satellites and crunches it at shared data centers, through cloud computing. It allows scientists to monitor forests from their own computers in minutes or seconds instead of the hours or days it took before.
By Julet Eilperin, Washington Post, 2 December 2010 | In what promises to be one of the most impressive innovations to come out of the Cancun climate talks, the philanthropic arm of Google is launching a new technology platform Thursday that will allow worldwide monitoring and measurement of changes in the earth’s environment. Google Earth Engine draws on 25 years of satellite images collected by LANDSAT, the longest continuing orbiting satellite on earth, to provide what the project’s engineering manager Rebecca Moore calls “a living, breathing model of the earth with all of the data and analysis that’s available.”
Climate Action, 2 December 2010 | Clark Labs will unveil new forest saving tools during the Forest Day 4 event at the 16th Conference of Parties it has been confirmed by Clark University. New forest saving geographic information system (GIS) tools implemented by Clark Labs, will help to implement strategies of the REDD+ climate mitigation solution. Clark Labs has established research advancements in areas such as land change analysis, image time series analysis and decision support, including extensive software development and consulting services for REDD implementation.
By Steve Zwick and Hannah Kett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 December 2010 | Healthy mangroves offer double protection against climate change: they slow it by sucking massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, and they help us adapt to it by protecting coastal areas from storms – yet no formal mechanism exists for capturing the economic value of these treasures. A diverse network of conservationists, scientists, and policymakers aims to change that in Cancun.
By Matt Ball, Spatial Sustain, 2 December 2010 | The UN Environmental Program is using spatial analysis to help countries understand the value of carbon management for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+). A key tool in this effort is a carbon mapping capability that shows the carbon stored in ecosystems, highlighting areas of significant biodiversity and ecosystem services importance, and quantifies the threats to forests. Used together with other decision support tools, it helps countries to develop national REDD+ strategies that maximize the development potential that forests provide. As countries meet in Cancun this week for the COP16 talks, there is a side event on REDD+ that is taking place. A new report on the “Perspectives on REDD” frames the issues that are being discussed.
The UN-REDD Programme blog, 2 December 2010 | The first of three open discussion sessions was held on 1 December in the Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion Meeting Room in Cancun. These sessions provide interested parties, NGOs and other stakeholders with the opportunity to participate in informal, one-on-one discussions with REDD+ experts. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss key issues about REDD+ in an open setting.
By Randy Strobo, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Blog, 2 December 2010 | The LCA REDD negotiating text contains two options – Option 1 (from Tianjin) and Option 2 (from Copenhagen) . Most groups thought that Option 2 would likely prevail at the negotiations in Cancun. Thus, preparations were made to comment on and suggest text as it pertains to Option 2. However, the Chair’s text (CRP.1) was introduced just prior to the opening of COP-16 in Cancun. The consensus among most NGOs is that the Chair’s REDD text sets a good starting point, but most are refraining to officially comment until the delegations have indicated which option they wish to pursue.
Forest Carbon Portal, 2 December 2010 | Regions where community forest enterprises dominate the landscape have low to non-existent deforestation, sustainable forest management, enhancement of carbon stocks, forest conservation and substantial generation of sustainable livelihoods. Corruption and deforestation are also associated with some Mexican forest communities, but these regions have created a sector with hundreds of well-managed community forests that contribute to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. Some 60–70% of Mexican forests are now owned by communities.
Forest Carbon Portal, 2 December 2010 | Increasing forest financing requires better communication and understanding between the forestry and finance sectors. This can take the form of joint development of financing strategies, instruments and business cases.
mongabay.com, 2 December 2010 | Efforts to protect tropical forests under the proposed reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) program should focus on conserving large-scale moisture gradients and areas that provide connectivity between major ecozones in order to reduce the impacts of climate change on ecosystem function and the compounding effects of deforestation, argue scientists writing in the journal Nature. Noting that drying trends in the tropics are exacerbating fire and facilitating the destruction of forests, Jedediah Brodie of the University of Montana, Eric Post of Penn State University, and William Laurance of Australia’s James Cook University say such measures could safeguard biodiversity by creating migration corridors for plants and wildlife and protecting water cycles dependent on forests. Some research suggests forests act as giant moisture pumps that help deliver precipitation to regions that would otherwise be much drier.
Indian Country Today, 2 December 2010 | Indigenous peoples from all regions of the world held a preparatory meeting Nov. 27 – 28 in Cancun, and agreed to present the following statement to the opening session of COP 16…. The threats to our survival and the violations of our internationally-recognized human rights as a result of climate change are increasing on a daily basis. Market-based mitigation strategies such as the Clean Development Mechanism and carbon offsets, including forest offsets and REDD, further threaten our human rights, including our right to free prior and informed consent among many others. Our land and territories, food sovereignty, biodiversity, cultural practices and traditional life ways are being placed in further jeopardy, and we reject these false solutions.
Huffington Post, 2 December 2010 | Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, debuted its shiny new tool at the COP 16 climate conference in Cancun today. It’s a database that will help scientists and conservationists track and analyze changes in Earth’s environment, and hopefully slow deforestation. The satellite imagery tool, called Google Earth Engine, takes advantage of Google’s large-scale “cloud” computing infrastructure to build a powerful database out of the thousands of satellite photographs from the past 25 years, many of which have never been analyzed. It will be available online for use by scientists, independent researchers and nations.
By Damaris E. Mateche, Institute for Security Studies, 2 December 2010 | Cancun needs to produce an agreement on aspects of the key implementing activities to be delivered by the international agreement e.g., … REDD … etc. Whether or not every aspect of these issues will be resolved, it is possible to make significant progress on each of these issues at Cancun. While there are aspects of these that are still controversial, it is possible to agree in Cancun on key elements that enable tangible action to take place. Progress on these fronts is essential to prove to countries and the general public that the UNFCCC can move forward and make a real difference in the efforts to address the impacts of Climate Change. The notion of “nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed” must be set aside in favour of re-establishing confidence by progressively building the agreement component by component.
By Michale M’Gonigle and Louise Takeda, rabble.ca, 2 December 2010 | The stage is set for a collision between evidence and ideology, between social justice and economic power, between planetary opportunity and state intransigence. As American cultural theorist Frederic Jameson remarked, it is easier to envision the end of the planet than the end of capitalism. We are suffering from a deadly lack of imagination. Most obvious is the obsession with “market mechanisms” that try to price all aspects of nature. High on the priority list is REDD — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. This program may sound good but has been widely condemned as ineffective while encouraging land grabs. Then there are the carbon offsets that keep wealthy fliers guilt-free for $15 a trip, carbon trading schemes that return big profits to Wall Street, and carbon taxes set at politically beneficial, but environmentally meaningless, levels.
By Philippe Rother, Life’s a journey – this is mine!, 2 December 2010 | The first event I attended was called: Enhancing Coordinated Delivery of REDD+ and was jointly organized by UN-REDD and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF)… For the most part I sat there and tried to wrap my head around what they were talking about. It wasn’t the most easy thing to do, as the langunage was highly technical (containing many abbreviations). Besides it wasn’t terribly interesting either, as much of the talks revolved around procedural issues. You wonder what this means? Nothing more than a debate on how the chair of the next six months should be elected, for example.
By Glen Besa (Sierra Club), Compass, 2 December 2010 | Still, the key areas for possible progress (or failure) are clear… Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) – how do the wealthy nations incentivize less developed countries to protect the vast carbon sinks that are their forests, rather than cutting them down (like all the Western countries did years ago)? How do we insure that once a forest is protected that it stays protected? … Like most international negotiations, it is a giant poker game. The U.S. insists that any agreement be comprehensive, that incremental progress be made across the board on all issues. Other countries want to lock in partial agreements that can be made on less controversial issues.
By Ambassador Pablo Solon, Outreach, 2 December 2010 | Cancun should be about those responsible for climate change committing to reduce greenhouse gases. It sounds like a strange thing to say. Unfortunately our experience in past climate talks is that emission reductions is often the last thing discussed. Instead valuable time is spent trying to shift responsibility from those who have caused climate change to those suffering the effects, and looking for ever more creative financial mechanisms for multinational corporations to make profits from climate change… The Cochabamba Accord includes the following key demands: … Rejection of carbon markets and commodification of nature and forests through the REDD programme.
Ethiopian Review, 2 December 2010 | Deputy Special Envoy Pershing said … “We are seeking a balanced package of decisions, one that preserves the balance of the Accord from Copenhagen, which was something that our President, along with many other world leaders, directly negotiated and to which a large majority of the world’s nations have subscribed. Agreements here in Cancun should make progress on all of the key issues – mitigation, transparency, financing, adaptation, technology, and forests, or as it’s known here, REDD. To get to this outcome, which advances the global effort to mitigate climate change, we are prepared to be pragmatic and flexible. Others must be too. Just as there is a way forward to make progress on such things as a Green Fund and REDD, there is equally a way forward with transparency and with anchoring mitigation commitments.”
By Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Nurfika Osman, Jakarta Globe, 2 December 2010 | Analysts and government officials on Thursday accused the environmental group Greenpeace of fabricating its data on environmental destruction in Indonesia, and have called for the group to defend its claims. In the discussion “Menguak Dusta Greenpeace” (“Revealing Greenpeace’s Lies”), participants said there were strong indications of double standards in the organization’s work, influenced by the political and financial interests of its donors. The discussion was held to promote a newly published book of the same title, written by Syarif Hidayatullah, a lawyer for plantation and mining interests. Agus Purnomo, the presidential adviser for environmental affairs, said that while Greenpeace had raised many worthwhile issues, many of its reports of environmental damage “use fake data to harm the target country.”
By Navin Singh Khadka, Kathmandu Post, 2 December 2010 | Many believe that there could be a concrete agreement on Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests (REDD plus) so that forests can be used to lessen carbon emissions and suck in the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere… But REDD is something that has been on the table for so many years now and for such an international agreement, you will first need to draw consensus on the basic technicalities of forestry. For instance, what kind of forests and trees can really sequester carbon from the atmosphere and how do you measure that. Several international studies have shown conflicting results of how forests work in terms of dealing with carbon. Some have shown particular forests work as sinks that suck up carbon, while other studies have pointed out that the same type of forests emit more greenhouse gases or cause the soil they stand on to do so.
By Kumi Naidoo (Greenpeace), Huffington Post, 2 December 2010 | The program being negotiated to end deforestation is known as REDD (Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation). A good REDD deal would benefit biodiversity, people, and the climate. A bad deal would allow corporations to use claims of forest protection to hide their refusal to cut their emissions to safe levels. Here’s an example of what hangs in the balance at these talks: Norway and Indonesia have proposed a plan that has the potential to be a benchmark for future deals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting Indonesia’s natural forests and carbon-rich peatlands… However, the new moratorium will not cover the millions of hectares of forests already slated for destruction. What’s more, as shown in the recent Greenpeace report, “REDD Alert: Protection Money”, deals such as this face serious risks as industries involved in forest destruction position themselves for REDD funds.
By Mohammed Yahia, House of Wisdom, 2 December 2010 | REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a relatively newcomer to the discussions, but certainly a favoured one. It is one of the interventions that are relatively cheap to apply and have a large yield. The basic principle behind REDD is that countries should be compensated for not cutting down their forests, thus keeping them as carbon traps. It is a complicated issue, however, because there is no general definition of REDD that works with all countries, let alone what exactly IS a forest.
Tebtebba press release, 2 December 2010 | More than 500 indigenous persons from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Arctic and North America are present in Cancun to ensure that their concerns are taken on board by the 16th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC. Among these are the members of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Network on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (IPCCSD) and the Tebtebba Partners on Forests and Climate Change. We are working to ensure that the following are realized in Cancun … retention of the paragraphs on social, economic, environmental and governance safeguards in the REDD Plus Text in Document FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/14 (pages. 56-58), in particular, the recognition of the relevance of the UNDRIP, their full and effective engagement in REDD Plus processes and the need to integrate their traditional knowledge systems and practices on the sustainable management of forests.
IUCN, 2 December 2010 | Women must be included in all international efforts to save the world’s remaining forests and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17%, according to IUCN. A new gender initiative, launched by IUCN and partners at the UN climate summit in Cancun, aims to ensure that women are an integral part of negotiations on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), an international process that seeks to reduce the effects of climate change due to the logging and mismanagement of forests. “Political will for REDD exists, but donors sponsoring REDD initiatives still do not mainstream gender in projects on the ground even though they have mandate – and hence obligation – to do so,” says Lorena Aguilar, Global Senior Advisor on Gender for IUCN.
The Guardian, 2 December 2010 | A major problem, however, is that some governments and businesses would like to use REDD projects as an offset against the continued excavation and burning of fossil fuels. This makes no sense whatsoever: maintaining carbon-sink capacity should be no excuse for additional greenhouse gas emissions. Far from contributing to climatic stability this would increase not only the sum total of carbon in the global carbon cycle but also the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. If governments are to endorse a multilateral REDD scheme at Cancun, they should do so only if there is no linkage at all between forest conservation and further greenhouse gas emissions. Dr David Humphreys Open University
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 2 December 2010 | On a more optimistic note, efforts are being put into achieving a concrete deal for the UN-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme, or REDD+, which will see developed nations paying developing nations to conserve or sustainably manage their forests, primarily to mitigate climate change. Delegations have expressed their dedication to REDD+ roadblocks, tackling issues with indigenous people’s rights, land tenure and measurement, reporting and verification. What delegations may disagree on are market mechanisms for REDD+, a controversy that has hampered REDD+ progress since its inception. That issue may be left for COP17 in Durban next year.
By Alex Abutu, SciDev.net, 2 December 2010 | Bamboo, a wild grass that grows in Africa, Asia and Latin America, could help tackle climate change and provide income for local communities, a conference has heard. It can sequester carbon faster than similar fast-growing tree species such as Chinese fir and eucalyptus when properly managed, said Coosje Hoogendoorn, director-general of International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), based in Beijing, China.
3 December 2010
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 December 2010 | When Brazil’s 1300-strong Suruí people embarked on a 50-year sustainable development plan, they did so without quick logging cash. Instead, they will be protecting 240,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest in hopes of earning eight million carbon credits, and they’ve set up a unique carbon fund to administer the income and coordinate future development.
By David Diaz, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 December 2010 | As formal negotiations regarding the role of forest conservation to fight climate change occur behind closed doors, another major milestone is announced in the voluntary forest carbon market. After more than two years of development, a broad new REDD methodology has finally cleared the second validation needed for acceptance under the Voluntary Carbon Standard… And so, while negotiators debate if and how to move forward with a mechanism to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), Robert O’Sullivan of Climate Focus announced Tuesday evening that a major new step forward had been achieved for standardizing the way REDD projects get designed, monitored, and rewarded in the voluntary market.
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 3 December 2010 | The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial “Copenhagen accord”, the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.
Antara News, 3 December 2010 | Despite the tense and difficult situation at the negotiation tables, many parties have welcomed Indonesia`s position at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at Cancun, Mexico, as the main catalyst for basic changes. Eddy Pratomo, Indonesian ambassador to Germany, in his capacity as a senior advisor to the Indonesian delegation at the conference, said here on Friday Indonesia was deemed as the main catalyst for change because Indonesia was among the first few developing countries which had agreed the role of MRV ((Measurable, Reportable, and Verifiable) as a mechanism to be applied in the emission reduction of the parties. In written information made available to ANTARA News by the Indonesian delegation at Cancun on Friday, negotiations on MRV have reached fundamental changes as reflected by the fact that the majority of developed countries and developing countries have agreed to the vital roles of MRV and therefore needed to be adopted.
Antara News, 3 December 2010 | USAID is partnering with the government of Indonesia to stem deforestation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support climate change adaptation, according to the US embassy here on its Website. The USAID Indonesia Forestry and Climate Support (USAID IFACS) project supports the new U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership announced during the recent trip by President Barack Obama. The USAID IFACS project will reduce the threats of deforestation and climate change, and help the Government of Indonesia to conserve the country`s tropical forests and wildlife (including orangutans). In doing so, the project will support activities to reduce carbon emissions and soil erosion and increase the availability of clean water… This four-year $40 million project is expected to result in a 50 percent reduction in the rate of forest degradation and loss from conversion, illegal extraction, over-harvesting and climate change for six million hectares.
Penn State University, 3 December 2010 | Conservation and international aid groups may be on the wrong course to address the havoc wreaked on tropical rainforests by climate change, according to a commentary appearing in the journal Nature on Dec. 2. “Most of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is contained in tropical rainforests, and climate change is looming ever larger as one of the major threats to these ecosystems, but how humans deal with climate change may be even more important,” said Penn State Professor of Biology Eric Post, one of the letter’s authors. Post explained that rising temperatures and altered precipitation are important concerns; however, how humans respond to these altered conditions may be exacerbating an already bad situation.
By Lisa Hayden (The Nature Conservancy), Planet Change, 3 December 2010 | Heading into Sunday’s “Forest Day” at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, two of The Nature Conservancy’s leading forest experts, Jeff Fiedler and Frank Lowenstein, sat down to brainstorm their list of “top 10 reasons why forests matter” (in no particular order). 1. Absorbing and storing carbon…
By Jane Goodall, The Guardian, 3 December 2010 | [T]o protect the forest we must do more than curb habitat destruction, for not only do apes need forest habitat to survive, but they, in turn, play an important role in the survival of the forests. In fact, biodiversity – the whole complex mix of animal and plant species in a forest ecosystem – must be preserved if we are to ensure the health and long-term survival of the forest itself because the countless life forms found there are interdependent in ways we do not yet fully understand.
By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 3 December 2010 | Even if there is little interest in the conference, there is some faint hope that it will spur the Mexican government to put into place some much-needed policies to facilitate sustainable growth, create livelihood and reduce poverty. However, strong opposition continues from mass-based organisations such as Via Campesina, which feels that the conference is already seen as a failure that will affect the future of humanity, as its only result will be to strengthen the intention of multinational companies to divert money away from the climate crisis. In a statement, Alberto Gomez of La Via Campesina international coordination has condemned the favouring of carbon markets and the abandonment of the proposals of the People’s Agreement signed in Cochabamba. The trend, he says, is to favour carbon market and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which supports global privatisation of forests, jungles and territories.
OFW Journalism Consortium, 3 December 2010 | We oppose REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation Forest Degradation) and its modalities (REDD plus, plus) because it will impact indigenous peoples and rural farmers territories – undermining their tenurial rights, displace communities dependent on forests products, loss of livelihood, destroy biodiversity and promote monoculture. REDD is a scheme that would mean “ business-as usual” for rich countries that will not only exacerbate climate crisis, but will eventually led to corporate control and privatization of the forests and natural resources and ecosystems of the developing countries as well as put further poor countries into the quagmire of indebtedness and dependency to international financial institutions.
By Toby Webb, Reflections on Ethical Business, 3 December 2010 | Given the negotiations over in Mexico about climate change right now, here’s a link to an interesting blog post, entitled: “The Top 10: What’s wrong with REDD?”.
By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 3 December 2010 | The highest-priced coal in two years is making wood pellets a viable fuel alternative for U.K. power producers, heralding a doubling of electricity generation from biomass in the next three years.
Kontan, 3 December 2010 | Merrill Lynch Bank of America donated funds amounting to U.S. $ 300,000 to support the forest carbon program in Berau, East Kalimantan. Funding is part of the grant is prepared to support innovative forest conservation efforts in China and Brazil. “This is a breakthrough project that can help safeguard the forests and reducing emissions,” said Brian J. Brille, President of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific.
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 3 December 2010 | FORESTS Plan: Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (Redd). To set up an international forest and land use agreement which will allow countries to offset carbon emissions by protecting forests – and locking away emissions – in developing countries. The prize: Possible $30bn a year to go to developing countries to protect and restore forests. Progress: Little. Informal discussions taking place but Saudi Arabia is hostile. Setbacks: Concerns that a bad agreement could fund loggers and lead to corruption. Outlook: Good. No final agreement but all parties determined to deliver one. Comment: Peg Putt, Tasmanian Greens leader: “We need to ensure natural forests will be protected, and biodiversity is maintained.”
By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 3 December 2010 | A large number of social organisations are not pleased with the international convention on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) being negotiated at the COP16 climate summit. “Our concern is that the agreement will fail to recognise the rights of indigenous peoples, and we want it to include our right to be consulted,” native Panamanian Marcial Arias, secretary general of the Foundation for the Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge (FPCI), told TerraViva.
By David Fogarty, Reuters, 3 December 2010 | Deep in the flooded jungles of southern Borneo, muddy peat oozes underfoot like jello, threatening to consume anyone who tries to walk even a few yards into the thick, steaming forest. Hard to imagine this brown, gooey stuff could become a new global currency worth billions a year, much less an important tool in the fight against climate change. Yet this is a new frontier for business, says Bali-based consultant Rezal Kusumaatmadja, and a new way to pay for conservation efforts in a world facing ever more pressure on the land to grow food and extract timber, coal and other resources. He and his fellow Indonesian business partner Dharsono Hartono are trying to preserve and replant a peat swamp forest three times the size of Singapore in Central Kalimantan province in Indonesia’s part of Borneo.
By Gerard Wynn, Reuters, 3 December 2010 | Community leaders managing a fragment of ancient Mexican jungle say their approach to logging precious hardwoods protects rare jaguar and may guide nearby U.N. climate talks seeking a forest blueprint. Community forest management means giving land ownership to local villagers, so that they harvest timber with an eye on the future and damage the forest less than industrial logging concessions which typically last 20 or 30 years.
Terra Global Capital press release, 3 December 2010 | The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) has approved the first Mosaic REDD methodology after it successfully completed the dual validation process. Developed by Terra Global Capital, LLC, the methodology was designed to support the development of a REDD project in the Oddar Meanchey province of northwestern Cambodia. The project is being implemented by the Cambodian Forestry Administration, Pact, and the local NGO Children’s Development Association, with validation funding provided by the Clinton Climate Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and pro-bono legal counsel from SNR Denton. VCS CEO David Antonioli said: “This approval is a milestone. It is the second VCS-approved methodology for crediting projects that reduce deforestation – and the first to lay out robust carbon accounting rules for the range of activities needed to address mosaic deforestation.”
By Theresa Bradley, National Geographic, 3 December 2010 | Brazilian businessman Roberto Waack has told potential investors around the world about his sustainable forestry firm, explaining how it sells certified wood, conserves water, and protects forests. But at meeting after meeting, he gets the same question: Is there money to be made from trees absorbing fossil fuel emissions? Waack says he has watched a wave of speculators edge in on Brazil, eyeing the world’s biggest tropical-forest country as the ideal place for polluters to pay off the wrongs they’ve done to the atmosphere. By paying to preserve a piece of the Amazon, they hope to “offset” the carbon dioxide they’ve released by burning coal, oil, and natural gas in factories and power plants across North America, Europe, and Japan.
By Raja Jarrah (CARE International), tcktcktck.org, 3 December 2010 | The word REDD is just asking for word play, isn´t it? We have already had REDD alert, we had REDD light, we had the little REDD book. And now we have Women in REDD. OK please try to get that awful song out of your head and let’s instead look at the serious subject of how women are involved in REDD. The short answer is – not much so far. It is curious that in the whole debate on REDD somehow the role of women in conserving forests seems to have hardly been discussed. That´s why today, a new campaign was launched to raise the profile of women’s role in REDD. At the launch of this campaign we heard from women activists who repeatedly told tales of how forest policies the world over seem to ignore the role of women, the impact of conservation on women and the needs of women.
By David Fogarty, Reuters, 3 December 2010 | Governments, polluting companies and investors in rich nations would buy REDD credits from projects that preserve and protect large areas of tropical forest. In return, the credits would be used to offset a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions in rich nations. Money from the sale of credits – mostly to companies who may have to comply with a greenhouse emissions cap – each representing a tonne of carbon locked away in the forest, would flow to central governments in REDD countries, project investors and local communities for livelihood programmes.
Green Building Press, 3 December 2010 | Ian Redmond OBE, Chairman of the Ape Alliance, has delivered an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to use his influence to ensure that ambitious targets for reducing deforestation and forest degradation are agreed. Ian Redmond said: “It is vital that a sound mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is finalised at Cancun.” The Ape Alliance’s letter to the Prime Minister calls for the REDD+ mechanism to include ‘clear and ambitious targets’ and respect the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 3 December 2010 | If REDD+ is agreed upon and rolled out globally, measuring its impacts on livelihoods years down the track will be relatively straightforward. What is a lot more difficult is measuring how communities affected by current REDD+ projects would have benefited or lost out if REDD+ had not been piloted. It may sound a little abstract, but accurate information on these hypothetical scenarios can be very useful for REDD+ project design. Many debates on REDD+ are fueled by assumption. If a REDD+ project were not in one community, maybe they would have better access to resources. If REDD+ project were not in another community, maybe their homes would be of poorer quality. But how can anyone really know?
By Peter Holmgren, FAO & Climate Change, 3 December 2010 | The UN-REDD Programme has prepared a short paper where key aspects of REDD+ are analysed. The three articles cover stakeholder engagement, multiple benefits and MRV & monitoring. The paper gives some insights in the broader aspects of REDD+ implementation, beyond the negotiation texts.
The UN-REDD Programme blog, 3 December 2010 | On 2 December in Cancun, the UN agencies of the UN-REDD Programme (FAO, UNDP and UNEP) hosted a joint side event at COP16 entitled, “Delivering as One: Achievements and Lessons Learned from REDD+ Readiness Activities”. Mr. Henning Wuester, Special Adviser to the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) moderated the event and started off by emphasizing the importance of the “One UN” delivery approach on the ground, pointing to the UN-REDD Programme as a good example of this.
By Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate News, 3 December 2010 | Big holes remain in some of the most basic but contentious issues in a UN-backed scheme to prevent deforestation, fueling speculation of a weaker than expected forestry agreement at the Cancun climate talks. Sticking points include the mechanisms to monitor critical safeguards that protect biodiversity and the rights of indigenous people and the question of whether to finance the plan with public money or offsets. “They’re all pretty fundamental issues,” said Davyth Stewart, a lawyer with the UK-based campaign group Global Witness. “Each of these, depending on how you decide it, could lead to a really bad deal.”
By Jodie Van Horn, Greenpeace, 3 December 2010 | Google is one private sector attendee. The top-ranked company in the Political Advocacy category of our last Cool IT Leaderboard, Google will speak tomorrow at a climate conference side event, convened by our Cool IT team to address an important plank in solving the climate crisis: transformative IT solutions and the governmental support needed for their widespread deployment. And today Google unveiled what may prove to be a transformative technology that can help countries curb a very important contributor to the world’s carbon problem, deforestation. Google Earth Engine, as the technology is called, will apply satellite imagery data to monitor and measure the world’s forests.
By James Murray, businessGreen, 3 December 2010 | Proposals to reform the global carbon market dominated the third day of the international climate change negotiations in Cancun yesterday as countries clashed over plans to extend the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) offsetting scheme. The talks once again ended in deadlock as Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing states stepped up calls for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects to be granted the right to issue carbon credits under the CDM – a proposal fiercely opposed by Brazil and a number of countries.
By Daniel T’seleie, straight.com, 3 December 2010 | One thing many indigenous people here are talking about is the REDD scheme that is being negotiated (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation). The idea is that protecting forests from being logged will help keep greenhouse gases out of the air, and so companies can keep on polluting as long as they pay to preserve forests somewhere in the world. Some are worried that their forests may be cut down and replanted with non-native crops that still count as “forests” under the REDD policy. This would destroy their traditional ways of life. Others seem to be working on agreements that would actually protect their traditional forests, which is a good thing, but there is concern over the companies that are paying to protect these forests. If a company pays to protect a forest in one country, but destroys forests in another through logging, mining, or fossil fuels developments, is that a good thing?
Greenpeace International, 3 December 2010 | This week saw a historic moment in the campaign to save the Amazon rainforest: rates of deforestation there have fallen to a record low. On December 1st Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported that between August 2009 and July 2010 deforestation had dropped by 14% from the previous year.
greendetectives.net, 3 December 2010 | Here are excerpts from today’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin. “Markets are an important tool for setting a price for carbon and reducing emissions, but the private sector is increasingly anxious about the future of international carbon trading. Copenhagen failed to provide the necessary clarity and now time is running out,” explained one carbon market expert. Negotiators also seemed to be aware of the rapidly approaching 2012 deadline: topics discussed on Thursday included ways to send a signal on the clean development mechanism (CDM’s) continuation and possible crediting during the increasingly likely “gap period” after the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period. Familiar and highly politicized debates also continued on issues such as carbon capture and sequestration and nuclear energy under the CDM, creation of new market mechanisms and the merits and desirability of market approaches: “Markets are not the solution,” explained one observer.
Americas MexicoreBlog, 3 December 2010 | In Mexico City, marchers carry hundreds of signs with the message “The rich contaminate, and the South gets exterminated” (a rhyme in Spanish). They also view many of the proposals for mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases as cures that are at least as bad as the disease. At an international forum held before the march, experts examined how the U.N.’s forestry program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation or REDD) could deliver indigenous and peasant forests for “protection” to international bodies or even to businesses. Ana de Ita of the Center for the Study of Rural Change called it potentially “a huge land-grab of indigenous common lands.”
By Emilie Novaczek, Canadian Youth Delegation, 3 December 2010 | History has seen countless movements to commodify land, food, labour, forests, water, genes and ideas. Carbon trading is yet another way for capitalism to transform our natural environment into a product that can be bought and sold in a global market. The schemes put together under REDD+ do not and will not contribute to the protection and preservation of our planet; they are ill thought out and often amplify social inequalities in the areas where they are implemented.
By Lucy Brinicombe (Oxfam), The Guardian, 3 December 2010 | The UN climate talks are essentially two separate conversations. The first concerns the Kyoto protocol, with all negotiators working towards extending the commitment by rich countries to cut their emissions by an agreed amount. But the other conversation, known as LCA (Long-term Co-operative Action), which focuses on adaptation, funding, REDD among others – does not have a legally defined goal. It could be a treaty, a protocol, a list of separate agreements with – or without (perish the thought) – a legal obligation. If the Kyoto protocol is not to hit a disappointing dead end when it expires in 2012, the legal architecture must be agreed. This has to be resolved at Cancún – and, turning this whole thing on its head – Japan’s announcement could mean that this tricky conversation will finally happen.
The Financial Gazette, 3 December 2010 | Under the carbon financing regime is the World Bank’s Reducing Emis-sions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), a mechanism that creates an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage and use their forest resources wisely, contributing to the global fight against climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. REDD strategies aim to make forests more valuable standing than they would cut down, by creating a financial value for the carbon storage and other benefits of forests. For Zimbabwe, this is the way to go along with reforestation and finding alternative sources of energy. But there appears to be some pistons misfiring among the country’s environmental agencies. While the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has a specific mandate to protect and manage the country’s environment and natural resources it is presently constrained in so many ways.
mongabay.com, 3 December 2010 | Brazil will provide technical assistance to help tropical countries improve their forest monitoring capabilities, according to an official with the South American country’s satellite agency. Carlos Nobre, head of the Earth System Science Center at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), said Brazil will share “knowledge and technology” on its leading satellite-based deforestation monitoring system with countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. “The goal is to train countries in geospatial information systems so they can eventually adapt and benefit from the REDD system that will be defined under the UN Convention on Climate Change,” said Nobre in a statement.
By David Diaz, Forest Carbon Portal, 3 December 2010 | Negotiators under the Ad Hoc Working Group for Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) met to discuss REDD+ provisions this afternoon for two hours. This is the first time negotiators have wrangled with REDD+ issues since convening earlier this week. Inside reports suggest the talks are still on track to produce a REDD mechanism by the end of the Climate Conference.
By Tamra Gilbertson, carbontradewatch.org, 3 December 2010 | It is sometimes argued that REDD+, alongside the inclusion of afforestation/reforestation of CDM, would significantly benefit the South. Yet the existence of considerable forested areas does not in itself guarantee a significant flow of REDD+ cash. Historical deforestation rates have been high in Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia, for example, which may be (perversely) rewarded by REDD+ for having deforested more rapidly than other countries unless a ‘correction factor’ is built into the scheme. Alternatively, the ‘baselines’ for REDD could be set so high that payments will be triggered for increases in deforestation, as is the case with a recent agreement between Norway and Guyana.
4 December 2010
Jason Funk, Environmental Defense Fund, 4 December 2010 | The tiny Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu and South Africa at the U.N. climate talks in Cancún this week proposed new forestry climate accounting schemes that would undo three years of tough negotiating to create fair rules for all forestry nations in the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol.
By Keya Acharya, IPS, 4 December 2010 | Forest rights advocates and indigenous community organisations from India are adding their voices to what promises to become the newest division in the climate talks here: the inclusion of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation + in developing countries, or REDD+, as an agreement… But the clause is not going down well with forest rights and tribal groups in India over the draft REDD+’s use of agri-business plantations and ambiguity over the land categories to be used for the programme, the latter of which clashes with land rights given to tribal communities under India’s recent Forest Rights Act.
By Ben Doherty, The Age, 4 December 2010 | The monks’ community forest is one of 13 such sites in Oddar Meanchey province, on Cambodia’s northern border with Thailand. Combined, they preserve nearly 68,000 hectares of forest land and, maintained over 30 years, are expected to sequester 7.1 million tonnes of carbon. Within months they will seek a carbon buyer. But even before a dollar has been paid to the monks, they feel they’ve won a victory in taking control of land that – informally at least – they have regarded as theirs for generations… Kurt MacLeod, vice-president of Pact, a non-government organisation helping Oddar Meanchey’s community forests bring their carbon to market, says REDD projects will bring enormous benefits and development to the poor communities running them.
By Rosebell Kagumire, IPS, 4 December 2010 | The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is moving to support its member countries to tap into benefits from the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) framework… “The purpose our REDD Programme is to improve the capacity of SADC member states to manage and benefit from their national REDD programmes and also pool resources together to collaborate on REDD+ issues in which regional approaches make sense and are more cost efficient than those that can be attained purely by individual national actions,” said Nyambe H. Nyambe from SADC’s Natural Resources Management Unit.
Xinhua, 4 December 2010 | The United States seeks a balanced outcome in the Cancun climate negotiations that cover all major issues concerning climate change, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said Friday. “What we need to do is to produce a balanced package of decisions covering all the core issues from the Copenhagen Accord, including mitigation, transparency, financing, technology, adaptation and the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) issue,” Stern told a press conference. An agreement that does not make comparable progress on all of them is not acceptable, Stern said. “Anyone who says that any of these issues is too difficult or should be put off for another day is not trying hard enough,” he said. “None of these issues is too difficult for us and none of them should be put off.”
By Wil Longbottom, Mail Online, 4 December 2010 | A UN-backed scheme called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) has been launched aimed at rewarding poorer nations for preserving their forests. New data reveals that around 10 per cent of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the clearing and burning of forests. The programme is one of the points of debate at the UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, and the REDD policy could form a central part of any new global climate agreement from 2013. Under the scheme, a value would be placed on every ton of carbon that rain forests soak up. This could lead to a global market in carbon credits potentially worth $30billion a year. These credit could be used to reward governments and local communities to preserve their forests and to compete against other interests including palm oil and pulp or paper firms.
By Tejo Pramono, Jakarta Post, 4 December 2010 | So far, REDD is not yet been made official with a binding commitment on the implementation of the CDM in the Kyoto Protocol. But these roles and initiatives lack transparency and did not go through a process that involved as many small farmers, indigenous people and broader civil societies as possible. The opinion article of Agus Purnomo, President Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change, in this paper (Nov. 30) to clarify facts and plans related to the REDD initiatives of Indonesian government is an example of the minimum transparency and consultancy. Such a process of deals, especially those at the international level, may turn into unworkable activities on the ground due to complex conflicts and tension. From the small farmer organization’s perspective, REDD projects are a failure as farmers were just ignored from the public consultation process as if they know anything about such a complex agreement.
By Warief Djajanto Basorie, Jakarta Post, 4 December 2010 | So what are Indonesia’s hopes in Cancun? In a pre-departure press conference, Rachmat Witoelar, the President’s special envoy on climate change, spelled out desired outcomes in at least four areas. First is deep cuts in emissions by developed countries with an attached compliance mechanism. Second is voluntary cuts by developing countries. Third is a model in the scheme … REDD. Fourth is new funds to help developing nations. If these expectations are not met and not included in the “Cancun Outcomes”, Indonesia should pursue separate bilateral deals. Indonesia has bilateral cooperation in its REDD program. The US is unlikely to sign to a legally binding agreement without approval from its Congress, but it is open to enter bilateral cooperation, said Witoelar, Indonesia’s environment minister from 2004-2009. Indonesia has vast tracts of tropical rainforest in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua.
By David Diaz, Ecosystem Marketplace, 4 December 2010 | The REDD+ Partnership, currently co-chaired by Japan and Papua New Guinea, is convening alongside the official Cancun climate negotations to establish a Work Program through 2012. But despite reported consensus among Partners about the need for safeguards, the latest draft released by the Partnership removes many of the potentially binding guidelines for safeguards on social, environmental, and governance issues that were found in earlier drafts.
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 4 December 2010 | “We need to find a way to finance REDD+,” said Frances Seymour, CIFOR’s director general. Different opinions on how to finance forest conservation has been a major roadblock to progress on REDD+ negotiations… Ken Andrasko, a methodological specialist with the World Bank’s FCPF, said that delegates needed to be open to a multi-faceted finance mechanism. “I’d like to tell them, don’t get trapped in thinking you have to make a decision between different financing methods. We must pursue every possible avenue. Each country’s settings are different. Laos and Vietnam, for example, are socialist systems, so private investment might not work there. So beware of false policy choice. We do not need to get in a big debate about which one method to choose.”
By Ben Vickers, RECOFTC’s blog, 4 December 2010 | I must apologize. I seem to have given the impression that the Cancun talks started on Monday. My mistake; at least as far as REDD+ is concerned the negotiations only start tomorrow. For the last five days parties have been arguing over which text to begin with. As this briefing from FIELD sets out, there were broadly four different REDD+ texts available to negotiators after Tianjin; the Copenhagen version (with minor tweaks at Bonn in June), the Bolivian bracketed text, the Saudi bracketed text, and a version prepared by the Chair. The latter version had no formal status as an accepted text, but it is this version that parties have now finally chosen as the basis for their negotiations over the remaining days of COP16.
By Regan Susuki, RECOFTC’s blog, 4 December 2010 | [A] recent report by the Rainforest Foundation poses some serious challenges to the way REDD activities have been conducted to date. The report accuses a widely used REDD cost accounting methodology, the carbon mitigation ‘cost-curve’, of being misleading to policy makers, deeply methodologically flawed and inherently undermining of local community interests. Brought into the popular sphere by the Stern Report and long associated with the McKinsey consulting firm in Australia, undeniable biases are built into the methodology which favor economically quantifiable activities and in particular, commercial interests. In efforts aimed at grasping first for ‘low hanging fruit’, McKinsey has used the cost-curve to advocate for eliminating shifting agriculture as a ‘cheap’ option for reducing deforestation.
Astrium press release, 4 December 2010 | France honours its commitment made last year in Copenhagen to provide high resolution satellite imagery to favour sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin countries. Through the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France will finance the provision of SPOT satellite imagery to central African countries to help them prepare the future REDD mechanism.
By Jeff Conant, Climate Justice Blog, 4 December 2010 | REDD – one of the key policy proposals on the table in Cancun – is indicative of the difference between Copenhagen and Cochabamba. Far too complex to explain in a few sentences here, REDD proposes putting a price on forests based on the value of the Co2 they capture, in order to keep trees standing by making them worth more as trees than as timber. A fundamental market-based approach to mitigating the climate crisis, many indigenous people and campesino groups, including la Via Campesina and the Indigenous Environmental Network, see REDD as a Trojan Horse concealing within its byzantine innards potentially the largest land grab of all time. Indeed, many of the indigenous delegates I’ve talked to view it as a both a violation of the sacred and the next phase of the genocide they’ve survived for centuries.
By Alex Stark, adoptanegotiator.org, 4 December 2010 | The U.S. delegation held its third press briefing of the talks yesterday. This time, the briefing featured Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. State Department, head of U.S. delegation Jonathan Pershing’s boss, who had just arrived in the morning. Stern underscored some of the points that Pershing has made in the past, stressing that country parties need to produce “a balanced package of decisions covering all Accord issues from the Copenhagen Accord, including mitigation, transparency, financing, technology, adaptation, and the REDD issue, forestry.”
Praxis Pictures, 4 December 2010 | With the COP16 UN Climate Conference already under way, La Via Campesina has organized an international caravan transporting people from all over Mexico to Cancun. “The sixth Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16) is already seen as a failure” stated Alberto Gomez from La Via Campesina international coordination, “that will affect the future of humanity, as its only result will be to strenghthen the intention of TNCs to divert money away from the climate crisis. During the last moments of discussion, the proposals of the People’s Agreement signed in Cochabamba have been left aside. The trend is to favour carbon market and REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), this mechanism supports global privatisation of forests, jungles and territories,” explained Gomez.
Kaieteur News, 4 December 2010 | The World Bank’s climate change enjoy, Andrew Steer, has defended the Bank’s delay in disbursing funds to Guyana under the forest-saving deal with Norway, saying the Bank wants to ensure the money is well used. “Why would your President say the World Bank is a problem?” Steer responded when asked to comment on President Bharrat Jagdeo’s accusation in late October that “silly, useless” World Bank officials were stalling the release of the funds. “Maybe it’s because we were asked to do something by the other party (Norway) and we have to do it otherwise we are not fulfilling our obligations,” said Steer in response to Jagdeo’s allegations that the Bank was delaying the release of the funds. “If you put money in, and you are Norway, there are certain things you want. You want to know you’re getting the results. Who checks the results? Did Norway, or do we just trust Guyana? … ” said Steer, who is attending the UN Climate talks in Cancun.
By Peter Persaud, Letter to the editor Guyana Chronicle, 4 December 2010 | The Rainforest Foundation of the United Kingdom is one such group which wants to see badly the failure of Guyana’s LCDS and its REDD+ Strategy wickedly using Guyana’s indigenous peoples as its trump card. But this group calling itself the rainforest foundation of the UK shall fail in its political agenda, since the indigenous Peoples of Guyana do not support or accept their unfounded contentions. It is also interesting to note what right this unknown grouping in the United Kingdom has to do with Guyana’s indigenous Peoples and its REDD + Strategy. This group claims to be engaged in Forest Foundation of the UK then a Grouping of mystery without a Forest Foundation?
5 December 2010
By Peter Holmgren, FAO & Climate Change, 5 December 2010 | In the opening keynote on Forest Day 4, Dan Nepstad spoke well about deforestation in the Amazon, the impact of climate change on forest dieback and possible pathways for REDD+ payments… One aspect of Dan Nepstad’s presentation may need further consideration. He stated that the rising food prices cause additional deforestation and carbon emissions. First, it is good to higlight the direct link between forests and agriculture. Deforestation is largely a consequence of expanding agriclture. Many REDD+ actions should be taken in the agriculture sector rather than in the forest sector. But rising food prices may also have opposite effects than what Nepstad stated. Higher investment potentials may lead to more climate-smart and sustainable agriculture. At a very minimum, this is an area for further analyses. And, rising food prices is of course first and foremost an issue for the poor and hungry.
By Ben Vickers, RECOFTC’s blog, 5 December 2010 | According to Dan Zarin of the Packard Foundation, negotiations currently appear to be so far divorced from the real world that the Moon Palace probably is the ideal name for the venue. While waiting for the discussions to come back down to Earth, CLUA seeks to make use of their own resources to help fast-start REDD+ readiness actually start fast… Many commentators continue to aver that REDD+ does not yet exist, or that it is impossible to know how it will take shape. In fact, as David Kaimowitz of the Ford Foundation succinctly put it, REDD+ is whatever you make it. The term merely defines the final destination. It can be reached by many roads. Local communities and indigenous peoples have travelled these roads for longer and more frequently than any other stakeholders, and should therefore be trusted to show the rest of us the way.
By Ash Pemberton, Green Left Weekly, 5 December 2010 | The United Nations global climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, looks set to repeat the failures of Copenhagen. The chances of Cancun producing a binding agreement that would avert climate disaster are next to zero… Its primary proposals for reducing carbon emissions are new market mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). A report released by FoEI on November 29 criticised REDD for placing the world’s forests under the control of “bankers and carbon traders”. The FoEI report said that REDD “has the potential to exacerbate inequality, reaping huge rewards for corporate investors whilst bringing considerably fewer benefits or even serious disadvantages to forest dependent communities”.
By Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 5 December 2010 | International projects generating voluntary carbon credits by protecting forests are slowly moving forward despite blocked U.N. climate talks, emissions markets developers said… Jeffrey Horowitz, a founding partner of the nongovernmental group Avoided Deforestation Partners, said U.S. power companies interested in hedging their future emissions risks are among entities that have shown the most interest in international forestry offsets and that oil companies would likely also become buyers.
By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 5 December 2010 | Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation or REDD plus is becoming the new mantra for sustainable development. Geared to achieve broader human development goals, the programme’s intent is manyfold, according to Antonio G M La Vina, lead negotiator for the Philippines and Dean, Ateneo School of Government, Manila University. REDD plus now encompasses human rights and broader governance objectives and policy reforms, and this has only strengthened it from the initial aim of being a climate mitigation strategy. To make this attractive for developing countries, REDD plus has not only development objectives but governance reforms that are important so that the mechanism is efficient. La Vina said the evolution of the new text at COP 16 illustrates a balancing of development, human rights, and broader environmental objectives and governance, apart from climate change.
By Maria E. Hatziolos, blogs.worldbank.org, 5 December 2010 | The delegates and observers at the COP16 in Cancun are getting an earful about Blue Carbon—shorthand for atmospheric carbon sequestered in the earth’s coastal and nearshore environments. Oceans Day at Cancun will feature a session on Blue Carbon, and briefs, and blogs by ocean advocates are circulating on the net and at side events. The reason for the buzz is that coastal wetlands, including tidal salt marshes, estuaries and river deltas, mangroves and sea grass beds are highly efficient at taking up CO2 from the atmosphere and converting it into organic material—then storing it in the soil. In fact, the root systems and sediment layers which build up as this organic material is generated, broken down and deposited, are up to ten times more rich in carbon than the biomass above the surface.