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REDD in the news: 17-23 January 2011

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REDD in the news: 17-23 January 2011

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.

An Introduction to Forest Governance, People and REDD+ in Latin America: Obstacles and Opportunities

By Anne M. Larson and Elena Petkova, Forests, Volume 2, Issue 1 | REDD+ is a potentially significant financial mechanism for shifting the incentives from deforestation and land use change to forest conservation and sustainability. Even though REDD+ is not primarily a governance reform, it will affect or be affected by forest governance, it can improve forest governance or be undermined by its failures and, therefore, it depends on good forest governance if it is to be efficient, effective and equitable. This article provides an overview of key issues in forest governance in Latin America and discusses the risk and opportunities for REDD+. Though progress has been made in some areas, there is still much to be done, and REDD+ could reinforce or be undermined by problematic governance tendencies that affect its effectiveness, ability to decrease carbon emissions, and/or its legitimacy.

UN-REDD Newsletter 15

UN-REDD Programme, December 2010/January 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme organized and participated in various events at COP16 and Forest Day 4 in Cancun, with the goal of facilitating and contributing to knowledge sharing and a greater understanding of what countries need to make REDD+ work.

REDD-plus & Biodiversity e-Newsletter, Volume 13

CBD, January 2011 | The aim of this e-Newsletter is to inform CBD National Focal Points and CBD partners about biodiversity aspects in relation to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD-plus).

Trust Fund Factsheet – REDD+ JP Partnership Support

UNDP, no date | This joint programme is established to support the REDD+ Partnership through a set of secretariat services. These will be provided by the three participating UN Organizations, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat. The programme will contribute to scaling up of REDD+ actions and finance. In summary, the outcomes of the programme – specified in section 5 – are related to: 1) a voluntary REDD+ database, 2) lessons learned on REDD+ initiatives, 3) website to exchange views and share information, 4) support to partnership meetings, and 5) coordination of the secretariat services.

The impact of UK overseas aid on environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation

www.parliament.uk, Written evidence submitted by Greenpeace UK, no date | REDD has the potential to help support rainforest nations in their transition towards sustainable, zero-deforestation economies. We are grateful for the Government’s continuing support for REDD, and its promise to maintain the existing commitment of £480 million in this area. However, we are extremely concerned that REDD plans currently going through the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) , and the CIFs Forest Investment Programme (FIP), could result in increased support for industrial logging and plantation establishment, at the expense of the protection of natural forests and support for local people… Greenpeace analysis of Indonesian proposals to meet its national climate change targets, further illustrates the risks of REDD funding being used to underpin business and usual for the logging and plantation sectors at the expense of natural forests.

TerraCarbon issues 4Q 2010 edition of the Forest Carbon Market Update

TerraCarbon, January 2011 | TerraCarbon has issued its fourth quarter 2010 edition of the Forest Carbon Market Update. Highlights include: International market developments, a summary of REDD outcomes in Cancun; US market developments, including further details on California’s planned cap-and-trade program; Voluntary market developments, including approval of new VCS REDD methodologies; and Our quarterly market price update. The Forest Carbon Market Update is provided to TerraCarbon’s clients, partners, and colleagues each quarter and provides a brief update on key market developments in the rapidly evolving forest carbon sector.

The Outcome for Forests Emerging from Cancun

By Charlie Parker (Global Canopy Programme), The REDD desk, 2011 | The deci sion may have been a long time coming and it is far from perfect, but forest watchers have reason to rejoice following a historic decision on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in Cancun. Whilst expectation s were low in the run up to the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Con vention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), REDD was seen by many as the great hope for this year’s climate conference. After two weeks of heavy negotiations that were conducted in the most part behind closed doors, the 192 Parties to the Convention reached a decision on tropical forests, thereby establishing a new international framework for reducing emission s from deforestation and forest degradation.

Forest Carbon Stock in Community Forests in three watersheds (Ludikhola, Kayarkhola and Charnawati)

By Rijan Tamrakar, ForestryNepal.org, no date | Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and Federation of Community Forest Users’ Nepal (FECOFUN) are jointly implementing the project “Design and setting up of a governance and payment system for Nepal’s Community Forest Management under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)” in 104 community forests of three watersheds of Nepal, namely; Kayarkhola of Chitwan district, Charnawati of Dolakha district and Ludhikhola of Gorkha district. The project is in operation since July 2009 with financial support of Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The watersheds cover an area of 27,000 ha where community forest area alone stands at about 10,266 ha.

Work Program for the REDD+ Partnership Components and Timeline 2011-2012

REDD+ Partnership, no date | This work program is founded on the core objectives of the REDD+ Partnership, namely to contribute to the global battle against climate change by serving as an interim platform for the Partners to scale up REDD+ actions and finance, and to that end to take immediate action, including improving the effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and coordination of REDD+ initiatives and financial instruments, to facilitate among other things knowledge transfer, capacity enhancement, mitigation actions and technology development and transfer.

ASB Releases Policy Brief on Stewardship Agreements for REDD in Indonesia

Climate Change Policy & Practice, January 2011 | The ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins has released a policy brief that describes efforts to reduce conflicts over who controls forests and forest margins. The brief, titled “Stewardship Agreements to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Indonesia,” outlines the Hutan Desa regulation, which provides a framework for reconciling forest management targets and livelihood interests of forest edge villages within national forest. The regulation allows villages to become active forest management units. The brief notes that the application of Hutan Desa agreements can act as a low-cost approach to help realize benefits from REDD+. It underlines that only one community has applied this regulation but that there are many options for extension. ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

17 January 2011

The Climate Changes in Cancun

By Herbert Smith energy e-bulletin, 17 January 2011 | Another key development resulting from the negotiations at Cancun related to the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). The Cancun Agreements encourage developing countries to contribute to emission mitigation in the forestry sector by reducing deforestation and forest degradation, conserving forests and planting more trees. Developed countries are urged to provide financial support and to seek to address deforestation in their own territories. Certain details, such as definitions for the terms “forests” and “degradation”, were not set out in the decision documents resulting from the negotiations and will need to be added at a later date. Similarly, the types of finance that will be used and the methodology for setting reference emission levels will also need to be determined.

Climate Change Fix Threatens Indigenous Peoples

By Nkasi Adams, slaw.ca, 17 January 2011 | The treatment of Indigenous peoples’ rights in ongoing REDD negotiations, however, raises questions about whether the international community is serious about protecting Indigenous rights. Only three years after the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the UN General Assembly, there are questions about whether the international community is willing to give effect to Indigenous rights in the overall design and implementation of REDD. REDD has significant implications for Indigenous peoples. Vast portions of the remaining standing forest in developing countries which are currently targeted for conservation and protection under REDD are home to Indigenous peoples. They are often the poorest and most marginalised peoples in developing economies, lacking basic human rights and heavily dependent upon the forest for both their physical and cultural survival.

Amount of carbon absorbed by ecosystems each year is grossly overstated, says new study

By Emily Kirkland, mongabay.com, 17 January 2011 | According to a new paper published in Science, current carbon accounting methods significantly overstate the amount of carbon that can be absorbed by forests, plains, and other terrestrial ecosystems. That is because most current carbon accounting methods do not consider the methane and carbon dioxide released naturally by rivers, streams, and lakes. This new paper suggests that rivers, streams, and lakes emit the equivalent of 2.05 billion metric tons of carbon every year. (By comparison, all the terrestrial ecosystems on the world’s continents are thought to absorb around 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon each year). This is, as the lead author of the paper said, is a “major accounting error”.

Trees in a multifunctional landscape: Agro-forestry in Africa

By Angela Kariuki, Consultancy Africa Intelligence, 17 January 2011 | A large portion of the world’s extremely poor people are small-holder farmers, pastoralists, small-scale fishers or landless labourers in rural areas… The future of global land use is no longer just about land- it is about the future of the atmosphere, of biodiversity and water, fuel and food. There seems, therefore, to be a need to combine existing concepts such as the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) with other land uses covered under mitigation actions based on the fact that deforestation is an important source of global carbon emissions. The current challenge that needs to be addressed is how to factor in the potential of trees even outside forests in climate change mitigation and climate-related risk reduction, to achieve more appropriate practices to sustain the remaining forests, agricultural lands and other ecosystem services in the tropical forest margins.

Tanzania publishes first draft REDD+ Strategy for public comments

UN-REDD Programme blog, 17 January 2011 | On 10 January Tanzania published the draft REDD+ strategy for public comments. The strategy, developed by the REDD task force with the assistance of the REDD secretariat, will be refined and revised through further consultations and public comments. Comments can be emailed to atira@ira.udsm.ac.tz or input through www.reddtz.org until 31 January. See the press release and documents here.

Local voice, global forest, local forest, global voice

IIED, 17 January 2011 | Who had heard of G3 eighteen months ago? Nobody, because it didn’t exist. Yet an alliance known as The Three Rights Holders Group (G3) has had a strong presence at COP 16 in Cancun, manning an information booth and participating in various panels. The group’s message was a simple one, advocating for sustainable forest management and locally controlled forestry as a vital component in any realistic strategy going forward to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Local voice, global forest, local forest, global voice

IIED, 17 January 2011 | Who had heard of G3 eighteen months ago? Nobody, because it didn’t exist. Yet an alliance known as The Three Rights Holders Group (G3) has had a strong presence at COP 16 in Cancun, manning an information booth and participating in various panels. The group’s message was a simple one, advocating for sustainable forest management and locally controlled forestry as a vital component in any realistic strategy going forward to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Post-Cancun Analysis

The °Climate Group, 17 January 2011 | Deforestation (aka REDD+): No formal ‘REDD+ mechanism’ actually established, but agreement on: scope of activities; guidelines for developing and implementing policies; key national plans and systems to be developed; the need for a three phased approach to implementing policies and measures; the necessity of dev’d country finance to support REDD+ activities; a work programme to developed details on MRV of actions, monitoring of forest levels, and ID drivers of deforestation; further negotiation to explore financing options for full implementation of REDD+ activities. Essentially ensures REDD+ negotiations and activities can move ahead.

18 January 2011

Record Food Prices Causing Africa Riots Stoking U.S.

By Alan Bjerga and Tony Dreibus, Bloomberg, 18 January 2011 | The same record food prices causing riots in Algeria and export bans in India are allowing President Barack Obama to combine the biggest-ever U.S. farm exports with the tamest inflation since the 1960s. Global food costs jumped 25 percent last year to an all- time high in December, according to the United Nations. Countries probably spent at least $1 trillion on imports, with the poorest paying as much as 20 percent more than in 2009, the UN says. In the U.S., the largest exporter, retail food rose 1.5 percent last year and will gain as little as 2 percent in 2011, the Department of Agriculture estimates. Governments from Beijing to Belgrade are boosting imports, limiting sales or releasing stockpiles to curb food inflation… Commodities will keep rising, according to a Bloomberg survey of more than 100 analysts and traders.

Botswana approves $3bn mine as Bushman water case gets underway

Survival International, 18 January 2011 | Botswana’s government has green-lighted a massive $3bn mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – in the middle of the Kalahari Bushmen’s appeal against the Botswana authorities’ refusal to allow them access to water there. Gem Diamonds announced today that its application to open a huge diamond mine near the Bushman community of Gope in the reserve has been approved. The company claims to have secured the consent of the Bushmen on whose lands the mine will be located. Survival, however, has repeatedly told Gem Diamonds that the Bushmen are entitled to independent advice on what the likely impact of the mine will be. No such advice has been given, and many Bushmen whose lands will be affected still live outside the reserve in resettlement camps after their 2002 eviction, as the government refuses to allow them to hunt or even access water in the reserve.

No More Cutting Natural Forests, Minister Orders

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 18 January 2011 | The forestry minister on Monday warned some logging companies that they needed to stop harvesting trees from natural woodlands immediately. Minister Zulkifli Hasan’s warning was aimed not only at logging firms granted concessions this year, but also at timber companies still harvesting trees from natural forest concessions they had been granted in 2010. “We are reorganizing the management of the pulp and paper industry,” Zulkifli said. “Previously, they had been allowed to cut down trees from natural forests, but after 2010, not anymore.” The reorganization comes as part of a two-year moratorium, due to start this month on granting new concessions in peatlands and primary forests.

East Asian cap and trade plans hit the wall

carbonpositive.net, 18 January 2011 | The new year sees emissions trading plans in Japan shelved and under mounting question marks in South Korea as their respective governments face heavy political pressure from industry. Japan’s plan for an emissions cap and trade scheme to start in 2013 have been shelved for now following heavy opposition from the business sector against the plan… In South Korea, the fourth largest emitter in Asia, the government had signalled it would introduce an ETS in 2013 with draft laws due to go before parliament next month. But there, too, the business sector is ramping up opposition on competitiveness grounds, and it appears to have found support within the government.

Indonesia warns against lumbering natural forest

Xinhua, 18 January 2011 | Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifly Hassan warned logging companies to stop harvesting trees from natural woodlands immediately, otherwise they will see their concession revoked by the government, local media reported here on Tuesday. Minister Zulkifli Hasan’s warning was aimed not only at logging firms granted concessions this year, but also at timber companies still harvesting trees from natural forest concessions they had been granted in 2010. “We are reorganizing the management of the pulp and paper industry,” Zulkifli said on Monday.

Victims of Climate Change

By Sydney Kornegay, Americans for Informed Democracy, 18 January 2011 | Other initiatives, such as REDD+ schemes, also have the potential to negatively impact indigenous groups. REDD+ schemes are meant to curb deforestation, which accounts for 20% of all CO2 emissions, by allowing developed countries to pay poorer countries to protect their forests. This allows developed countries to offset their own carbon emissions, and motivates governments to limit deforestation. However, the schemes raise questions about land ownership in developing countries. Who owns the trees, the forest, and the land the forests are grown on, and who should be paid to preserve it? Tens of millions of people live in and depend on the forests for a livelihood, and may face eviction by their government under the REDD+ schemes. Indigenous groups are understandably wary of the potential outcomes of REDD+ plans.

What’s Next For Climate Change Policy?

By Jason Scorse, Progressive Fix, 18 January 2011 | Significant progress was made in the recent COP16 meetings in Cancun, with the major developing country emitters agreeing to verification of their emissions reductions in the future. Steps were also made to begin the implementation of the major forest carbon program, REDD, which has the potential to provide a cheap path to effective carbon emissions, while also preserving much of the world’s remaining forests. As I detail in my new book, What Environmentalists Need To Know About Economics, the theory, facts, and ingredients for good policy, are on the side of those who want to take an aggressive and forward-looking approach to global climate change (and other critical environmental issues); hopefully, the intellectually honest and serious Republicans and conservatives will pressure the GOP to return to its pro-environmental roots and become constructive players in the national conversation.

Boiling Down “29 Pages of Dense Text” in The Cancun Climate Agreements

By Andrew Deutz, Planet Change, 18 January 2011 | [I]n the case of REDD, the UNFCCC still has to provide guidance on setting forest-sector emissions baselines and forest carbon monitoring techniques, a mechanism to review safeguards for REDD projects and programs, and it still has to sort out the role of markets in the future financing of REDD. To put all this in perspective, the UN Secretariat has indicated that it is expecting to arrange another four to six negotiating sessions over the course of 2011 before we get to the next big conference in December in Durban, South Africa. And there is no guarantee that they will all be sorted out within the year. In other words, it’s already time to get right back on the negotiating treadmill. But the biggest challenges are still going to be back in national capitals – and those relate to finding the political will to effectively reduce emissions in the long term.

19 January 2011

EU locks carbon market after security breach

By Nina Chestney and Pete Harrison, Reuters, 19 January 2011 | The European Union locked all accounts in its carbon market Wednesday, after a security breach, seeking to protect the battered reputation of the EU’s main weapon against climate change. The United States, Japan and Australia have all delayed implementing similar cap and trade schemes, and the latest glitch to the EU scheme could detract further from carbon trading as a global policy… The European Commission suspended much of its Emissions Trading Scheme, the hub of a 92 billion euros ($124 billion) global market, following the suspected theft of about 7 million euros of emissions permits from the Czech Republic’s carbon registry. This theft and a hacking attack on the Austrian registry on January10 follows a raft of scandals to hit the market in the past two years, including VAT fraud, a phishing scam and the re-sale of used carbon credits. “All traders have left the market – this is serious,” said one emissions trader.

European carbon market suspended over fraud fears

By Rowena Mason, Telegraph, 19 January 2011 | The suspension follows allegations that 475,000 carbon credits worth €7m were stolen in a hacking attack on the Czech carbon register. It appears that the intangible allowances were bounced between eastern European countries before disappearing without a trace. France’s Bluenext exchange was the first to close its platform, while Austria, Poland, Estonia and Greece also shut their registries for trade. This is not the first challenge to the credibility of the €90bn annual market in carbon allowances… it has been plagued by fraud, with Europol estimating that carbon trading criminals trying to play the system may have accounted for up to 90pc of all market activity in some European countries during 2009. Fraudulent traders mainly from Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland pocketed an estimated €5bn.

Guyana to get US$40M more from Norway this year – Finance Minister

Kaieteur News, 19 January 2011 | The second tranche of the funds for Guyana under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed with the Kingdom of Norway is expected to be placed in the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) early this year.
This is according to Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh who told the House on Monday last, during his budget presentation that “Early in 2011, we also expect to receive the second tranche disbursed by Norway, amounting to US$40 million, to lend further support to projects under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).” This follows the US$30 million that was disbursed last year but which is still to be released to Guyana.

Climate Justice in Cancun and at Home

Ella Baker Center Blog, 19 January 2011 | The Climate Negotiations in Cancun failed the people of the world. Driven by market-based solutions like Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, otherwise known as REDD, that were advocated by countries like the US, activists and community organizers from front-line and fence-line communities throughout the world fought hard to include a different politic. A politic that was based in human rights. A politic that honored the safeguards outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A politic that recognized the global south and developing countries, low-income communities and communities of color in the US, the global south within the US, are the communities experiencing the severest affects of Climate Change.

20 January 2011

Carbon credits ‘stolen’

mongabay.com, 20 January 2011 | The European Commission suspended most of its Emissions Trading Scheme following the disclosure of a theft of 475,000 E.U. carbon dioxide emissions allowances (EUAs) from the Czech Republic’s carbon registry. The EUAs, worth around €7 million, were transferred to an account in Poland, then Estonia, and then Lichtenstein, before disappearing. It isn’t the first scandal to hit the carbon market. “This theft and a hacking attack on the Austrian registry on January 10 follows a raft of scandals to hit the market in the past two years, including VAT fraud, a phishing scam, and the resale of used carbon credits,” states Reuters… “Hacking attacks of this type have also occurred elsewhere within the EU in the recent past,” said [Point Carbon’s Kjersti] Ulset in a statement. “Although such incidents are negligible in terms of actual market impact they will over time undermine the credibility of carbon trading as a policy measure to reduce emissions in Europe.”

Wikileaks: US embassy condemned eviction of Kalahari Bushmen

Survival International, 20 January 2011 | The US Ambassador to Botswana strongly condemned the government’s forced eviction of the Kalahari Bushmen, according to secret US embassy cables released today. Ambassador Joseph Huggins told his bosses in Washington in 2005 that the Bushmen had been ‘dumped in economically absolutely unviable situations without forethought, and without follow-up support. The lack of imagination displayed… is breathtaking.’ He concluded by saying, ‘The special tragedy of New Xade’s dependent population [i.e. the Bushmen in the relocation camp] is that it could have been avoided.’

Consultations on the LCDS are not finished

By Peter Persaud letter to the editor Stabroek News, 20 January 2011 | I wish to refer to a letter under the caption ‘Only one introductory LCDS meeting was held in Santa Rosa’ in your issue of January11. The letter-writer, apparently from Santa Rosa Village, who did not disclose his/her name appears to have a wrong conceptulisation about Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) even though he/she claims to “sometimes be reading things in relation to the LCDS.” Can the letter-writer say what “things” he/she has been reading about the strategy, and where they originate from? I am aware that anti-LCDS documentation is in circulation in Amerindian villages and communities to mislead residents about the LCDS.

Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 20 January 2011 | We expect a lot of discussion around REDD and other forest carbon issues following on the official launch of the International Year of Forests on February 2 in New York City. Indonesia, in its ongoing game of two steps forward, one step back, faced another delay in enacting its elusive two-year moratorium on forest clearing concessions. We’ll see whether the lack of movement will also lead to further delays in the handing out of funds from the $1 billion pledged by Norway last year. For standards organizations, we saw a couple more blips in the news. CarbonFix joined the long-sought ranking among the CDM, VCS, Gold Standard, and CAR after receiving official endorsement from the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance. VCS meanwhile continued clearing the queue of methodologies in its pipeline, minting another new REDD methodology.

REDD plus women

By Manohara Khadka, Kathmandu Post, 20 January 2011 | Implementing a gender perspective and strategies in REDD+ is possible by four means. First, donors should help the government to implement CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), which the government ratified in 1990. Secondly, reform in the forest sector’s policy and governance should define concrete measures on how women can have access to forest benefits and leadership positions and can participate in forest policymaking. Thirdly, Nepali experts on rural poverty and gender issues in forestry and natural resource management should be engaged in REDD+ policy discussions and decisions, policy writing, carbon market negotiation and decisions, and REDD+ implementation. Finally, REDD+ dialogues and knowledge sharing spaces at the national and international level need to be gender balanced.

Link to US REDD Strategy

By John O-Niles, Tropical Forest Group blog, 20 January 2011 | The US government put out its REDD strategy in December 2010. You can find it hyper-linked in the title bar. Thus far, there seems to be little reaction to the plan.

Event: Agriculture and Climate Change Roundtable on Reconciling REDD+ and Agriculture

Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, 20 January 2011 | EcoAgriculture Partners and the FAO of the United Nations are convening their next discussion on climate change and agriculture on February 2, 2011 at The United Nations Foundation. This month’s roundtable will focus on the role agriculture can play in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), particularly in light of the agreement made at the UNFCCC COP16 in Cancun. We hope to stimulate some lively discussion on the linkages between agriculture and REDD, and to take this opportunity to build a foundation of ideas for anticipated future projects. As usual, a few presentations on the topic will be followed by brief updates from participants around the table and then opened up for discussion, with an informal reception at the conclusion. Christine Negra, co-author of the new CCAFS report “Lessons from REDD+ for Agriculture” (with Eva Wollenberg) will be presenting the study during this meeting.

United States, Environment, U.N. Talks in Cancun Mark Steps Toward Global Emissions Limitations or Reduction Targets, But Many Issues Remain

By Chris Papanicolaou, mondaq.com, 20 January 2011 | Broad agreement was also reached on creating carbon credits through projects to avoid deforestation under the framework known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or “REDD.” Deforestation is believed to account for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite talk of the Cancun Agreement being a new step forward, many key issues remain unresolved, and there was no consensus on how to move the framework of the Kyoto Protocol forward. With nations such as Japan, Canada, and Australia unwilling to commit without specific reduction commitments from the United States and major developing countries, such as China, time is running out to finalize, and then ratify, an agreement for a post-2012 emission reduction commitment period.

21 January 2011

Carbon Crooks Swapped Stolen Credits for $38 Million in Cash

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 January 2011 | Cyberthieves who hacked the Czech carbon registry on Tuesday had intimate knowledge of different registries. They acted just days before a key security upgrade would have made the heist impossible, then sold the credits immediately – keeping the cash and letting the credits bounce around the system. Participants are now bracing for a fight over who will bear the loss.

Tanzania to create forest inventory to help fight climate change

By Mohamed Issa, AlertNet, 21 January 2011 | Tanzania plans to draw up a comprehensive inventory of its forests to replace outdated statistics and help the east African country to conserve woodland, preserve livelihoods and curb climate change… Under the project, trees will be counted to determine their age, size and species. The statistics will then be translated into national maps of forests and other land uses. “Information collection, analysis and the handling of data will help us to monitor the available forestry resources,” said project coordinator Nurdin Chamunya from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Cancun syndrome

By Silvia Ribeiro (ETC), Ecology and Jesuits in Communication, 21 January 2011 | The spirit of the United Nations appeared at some concrete points. Some examples were the endorsement of the new market mechanisms such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) in geological formations that have huge impacts and the REDD programs. The REDD programs were approved in their most extreme models to allow de facto privatization of forests and threatening communities as there seems to be an elimination of any discussion on indigenous rights and safeguarding biodiversity. Environmental NGOs and indigenous peoples, who claimed to defend the market mechanism to protect forests, worked in the most benign interpretation as useful pawns to corporations and speculators. The investor and speculator George Soros celebrated the adoption of REDD as a welcome stimulus to this market.

22 January 2011

Carbon Thieves Force European Union to Improve Security, Close Spot Market

By Ewa Krukowska and Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 22 January 2011 | The European Union, whose decision to suspend registries halted the region’s spot carbon-emissions market following the theft of permits, said it won’t lift restrictions until member states step up identification checks… “It’s unfortunate they’ve had to shut down the market to try to fix this,” Louis Redshaw, the London-based head of environment markets for Barclays Capital, said yesterday by phone. “Hopefully this is the wake-up call that’s required for things to actually change.”

UN-REDD lauds C. Sulawesi’s active support for forests

Jakarta Post, 22 January 2011 | Central Sulawesi, which has been chosen as a pilot project for the United Nations REDD plus program, has been very active in ensuring the success of the forest-protection program, a UN official says. National Programme Director for UN-REDD, Yuyu Rahayu, said Friday that local communities, including forest-dependent indigenous people, particularly in Central Sulawesi, had arranged initiatives related to REDD plus issues, showing an increased awareness of the importance of good management of forests and wise use of forest resources as part of global efforts to fight climate change. Citing an example, he said the Central Sulawesi governor would establish a REDD plus task force team in 2011, comprising representatives from the local government, civil society organizations and NGOs, and indigenous people.

Guyana considers implications of new EU’s laws on illegal timber

Kaieteur News, 22 January 2011 | Europe has passed new legislation to counter the flow of illegal timber into its markets. With Guyana last year exporting timber to the tune of US$5M ($1B) to the European Union, the market is one that the country could ill-afford to lose. Next Wednesday, the Forest Products Association of Guyana (FPA) will be holding a workshop with the assistance from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, to increase awareness of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) new measures which have implications for exporting countries. According to the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, the workshop will be held next Wednesday at the Grand Coastal Inn and will include representatives of the forestry sector, government and other stakeholders.

23 January 2011

Dogs of law are off the leash

AFP, 23 January 2011 | Lawsuits related to climate change have surged in recent years, although many have been thrown out, some are focussed on regulatory issues and the key question of liability remains undetermined… Compensation claims could theoretically lead to bills in the hundreds of billions of dollars, for those who extract fossil fuels, sell them and burn them. In the courts, these cases have run into uncertainty about judicial competence and legal responsibility. Two major cases have reached the US Supreme Court.

New study suggests global pacts like REDD ignore primary causes of destruction of forests

International Union of Forest Research Organizations press release, 23 January 2011 | A new study issued today by some of the world’s top experts on forest governance finds fault with a spate of international accords, and helps explain their failure to stop rampant destruction of the world’s most vulnerable forests. The report suggests that global efforts have too often ignored local needs, while failing to address the most fundamental challenge to global forest management that deforestation usually is caused by economic pressures imposed from outside the forests. “Our findings suggest that disregarding the impact on forests of sectors such as agriculture and energy will doom any new international efforts whose goal is to conserve forests and slow climate change,” said Jeremy Rayner, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan Graduate School of Public Policy and chair of the panel of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) that produced the new assessment.

Global Pulp & Paper Leader Announces New Research and Development Initiatives

Asia Pulp and Paper press release, 23 January 2011 | Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers, is announcing a series of social and environmental initiatives to kick off the United Nations’ Year of the Forest and mark the company’s support for Indonesia’s two-year moratorium on new forest conversions… The moratorium is a unique opportunity for us to reflect on what we’ve done well, where we need continuous improvement, and what relevant best practices exist worldwide. We will look across our plantation development, pulp and paper production operations, and conservation and community development initiatives, all with an eye on the future and the ideal of creating a sustainability roadmap to take us to 2020 and beyond,” said Aida Greenbury, Managing Director for APP.

Ancient woodland under threat

By Louise Gray, Telegraph, 23 January 2011 | The Department for the Environment is due to publish a consultation this week setting out plans to privatise forests. The controversial plan has been attacked by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a host of celebrities including Judi Dench, Bill Bryson and Richard Briers. More than 170,000 members of the public have signed a petition against the sale, and according to polls the majority of people are against it. However ministers are remaining firm in their determination to sell off at least some of the 620,000 acres owned by the Forestry Commission. In an effort to “minimise the damage”, environmental groups are now focusing on persuading the Government to sell off as small a proportion as possible.

U.N. climate plans said too narrow to save forests

By Alistair Doyle, Reuters, 23 January 2011 | World efforts to slow deforestation should do more to address underlying causes such as rising demand for crops or biofuels, widening from a U.N. focus on using trees to fight climate change, a study said Monday. It said a series of projects to protect forests had had limited success in recent decades — U.N. figures show that 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forest were lost every year from 2000-09, an area equivalent to the size of Greece. The report by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) suggested that the current U.N.-led efforts to protect forests had too narrow a focus on promoting trees as stores of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Bolivia right to reject Cancun climate farce

By Simon Butler, Green Left Weekly, 23 January 2011 | One government – that of Bolivia – stood alone against the world at December’s UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. It dared to reject an agreement endorsed by 191 other nations. And Bolivia was right to do so. Cancun was a step backwards for action on climate change… Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, explained his country’s stance in the December 21 Guardian: … “These pledges [to cut emissions] contradict the stated goal of capping the rise in temperature at 2°C, instead guiding us to 4°C or more. The text is full of loopholes for polluters, opportunities for expanding carbon markets and similar mechanisms – like the forestry scheme REDD – that reduce the obligation of developed countries to act.”

Global Peasant Movement Left Seeing REDD

By Chris Bisson, linchpin.ca, 23 January 2011 | Though this agreement set a maximum cap of 2 degrees Celsius average global rise in temperature, it involves no binding agreements and relies almost entirely on market mechanisms to accomplish this. Most nefarious of all, the primary mechanism opted for is the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD) programme – which is basically a system whereby rich industrialized countries bribe poor developing countries into cutting back on deforestation. There are currently no specific details on where this money will come from, though theoretically it is supposed to be generated through a mixture of carbon markets and government funding.

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