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REDD in the news: 24-30 January 2011

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REDD in the news: 24-30 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.

Citola – Carbon Management Solutions

citola.com, no date | Forest Carbon Specialist (Location: London, UK) Citola is looking for a Forest Carbon Specialist to join the team and assist in the technical development of a large-scale REDD program. Working with principles, staff and external consultants, the successful candidate will be responsible for the evaluation and technical development of a REDD program to achieve VCS validation, verification and registration.

Cancun Agreement: Implications for Southeast Asia

By Irene A. Kuntjoro and Mely Caballero-Anthony, NTS Alert January 2011 (Issue 2) | REDD and REDD+ (the extension of REDD which includes the role of conservation, the sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks) are important avenues for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to deforestation, a substantial contributor to the increasing levels of atmospheric GHG. These avenues also provide developed countries with relatively cheap mitigation alternatives, by giving them the option of funding initiatives to curb deforestation in developing countries. This funding is an incentive to developing countries to invest in low-carbon development and environmental conservation. UNFCCC formal support for REDD and REDD+ is an important milestone for Southeast Asia for two main reasons.

Debating REDD

Amazon Watch, no date | The devil, however, is in the details. Fundamental questions about how REDD would be implemented (Where does the money come from? How is it channeled? How is it used to save forests? Who benefits? Who loses?), have not been answered. The responses to these and other questions have huge implications and will determine whether REDD can really work or is destined for failure from the outset. REDD has in fact emerged as a concept nearly as controversial as the drivers of deforestation – logging, expanding agriculture, oil and gas projects, mega-dams – that it is designed to counteract.

24 January 2011

COMESA at COP 16, Cancun- Mexico

COMESA, 24 January 2011 | Exhibitions and numerous side meetings and events played an important role in information sharing, networking and alliance building, project promotion as well as resource mobilization. A Tripartite (COMESA-EAC-SADC) side event on “REDD Without Borders” was held on 4th December 2010 where country experiences from Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Kenya were shared and presentations made by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This event was organized by the SADC Secretariat with the support of GTZ.

Dow Chemical Partners With The Nature Conservancy to Improve Sustainablity

ENS, 24 January 2011 | The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy today annnounced a new collaboration between the two organizations to help Dow recognize, value and incorporate nature into its business goals, decisions and strategies… “At Dow, we see sustainability as an adjective and one that we apply to almost everything we do: sustainable manufacturing, sustainable solutions and sustainable opportunities to constantly add to the quality of life for our communities and fellow citizens,” [Andrew Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer] said. “Today, tomorrow, always.”

“Kiss goodbye” to Cancun CO2 goals, says IEA chief economist

By Peter C Glover, energy Tribune, 24 January 2011 | It is “virtually impossible” for the world to keep CO2 emissions within the “safe” limits agreed by world governments just weeks ago in Cancun. Speaking what for climate alarmists is ‘the unspeakable’, Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency, was addressing an audience at London’s Imperial College on January 19. And Dr Birol was unequivocal that the world can “kiss goodbye” to its CO2 emissions peaking target set for 2020. Dr Birol said that the Cancun agreement, just weeks old, stands little chance of achieving the goal of keeping the world’s temperature from rising by 2 degrees C. He cited two main reasons. First, the key emitting nations are not serious about cutting CO2 growth. Second, the shale gas revolution threatens the viability of renewable energy projects worldwide.

World ponders alternatives to troubled carbon market

By Thin Lei Win, Alertnet, 24 January 2011 | Carbon trading, in which the right to emit the greenhouse gas is bought and sold, is considered an important tool in the fight against climate change. But a growing group of researchers and environmental activists say taxing carbon offers a fairer, more transparent and less corruptible way of limiting emissions. Charles Sampford, director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law at Australia’s Griffith University, favours a levy on consumers of high carbon products similar to the value-added tax (VAT) imposed on retail sales in many countries. A carbon-added tax (CAT) could be applied to imports, placing the financial burden on the end users of products. In contrast to carbon trading, it would spread the burden wider, as well as preventing companies from lobbying for free carbon credits and market speculators profiting from price fluctuations, Sampford says.

REDDy, or not?

Conservation Magazine, 24 January 2011 | An emerging global agreement to combat climate change by preventing deforestation will fail unless it pays more attention the needs of local people, concludes a new report from a prominent body of forest experts. The emerging pact – known as “REDD,” … – needs to give greater weight to local and national efforts to sustainably manage forests, says the report, released on the eve of a major United Nations meeting on forest management… But “international approaches that aim to transform forests into storehouses for carbon, or for biodiversity or some other narrow purpose, are inevitably going to produce disappointing results,” warns Constance McDermott of Oxford University in the United Kingdom. She is one of about 60 experts who contributed to Embracing complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance, a report coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Forests: REDD or dead?

By Richard Black, BBC News, 24 January 2011 | There’s pretty strong criticism this week for the UN-backed initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) – criticism timed for the opening, in New York, of the UN Forum on Forests. Reducing deforestation is something of a no-brainer – forest loss harms wildlife, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, can damage water supplies and often brings no lasting benefit to communities living in the area – so why wouldn’t you want to reduce it? Whether everything is rosy in the REDD garden is, however, another matter.

To succeed, REDD should consider factors outside forest sector

mongabay.com, 24 January 2011 | Policymakers should not ignore activities outside the forestry sector in efforts to reduce global deforestation, argues a new report published by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). The assessment, Embracing complexity: Meting the challenges of international forest governance, says previous efforts to curtail forest loss have “too often” ignored local needs and failed to address the underlying drivers of deforestation, including poor governance and international demand for commodities. It argues that the proposed reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism may too flounder if it fails to incorporate lessons from previous forest conservation and sustainable development initiatives.

UN forest protection plans failing because of land scarcity and demand for food

By Tom Levitt, The Ecologist, 24 January 2011 | REDD-type forest agreements ignore indigenous populations and are seeing a scramble for forest ‘carbon credits’ by governments and individuals, warns study. Schemes that pay countries to protect their forests are failing to stop deforestation because they ignore economic drivers such as land scarcity, demand for food, and biofuels, according to a study published this week… The authors say the UN-led forest protection plan to transform forests into storehouses for carbon, or for biodiversity or some other narrow purpose, will fail. Instead, they say, REDD-type projects should focus more on supporting regional and national efforts to tackle the economic and local factors driving deforestation.

Scientists urge UN to shield forest communities from REDD+

By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 24 January 2011 | Scientists will today call on the United Nations (UN) to develop an additional branch of its planned REDD+ scheme to cut emissions from deforestation, in a bid to protect the rights of forest communities. The call will come alongside a new report from the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO), analysing the potential pitfalls of the UN’s planned REDD+ scheme which was negotiated in December at the Cancun climate change conference. IUFRO will urge the UN to launch a “Forest +” scheme to ensure that the welfare of forest communities is not ignored as a result of an overriding focus on protecting and pricing the carbon stored in forests.

UN climate plans said too narrow to save forests

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 24 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 on 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.

Under-Secretary-General Calls for ‘People-Centred’ Approach to Managing Forest Lands as Forum Begins Ninth Session at Headquarters

UNFF press release, 24 January 2011 | As the United Nations Forum on Forests began its ninth session today, the world body’s top development official stressed the need for a people-centred approach to managing forest lands which would take into account not only their environmental riches but also their economic, social and cultural value. “It is imperative, therefore, that negotiations on forests are linked to the many facets of human life that they affect – from hunger and poverty eradication to governance, green economy and employment,” said Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, as he opened the ninth biannual session of the intergovernmental body dealing with the management, conservation and sustainable development of forest resources. The two-week session will focus on the theme “Forests for People” and mark the launch of the International Year of Forests, 2011.

Under-Fire Paper Group Touts New Green Initiatives

By Dion Bisara, Jakarta Globe, 24 January 2011 | Asia Pulp & Paper, one of Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper companies, says it will implement a series of initiatives in the next two years to comply with government efforts to preserve the environment. Indonesia will stop issuing new forest and peatland licenses to companies as part of its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) effort. “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,” APP managing director Aida Greenbury said in a statement on Monday.

Securing the rainforest riches of Borneo

WWF, 24 January 2011 | We’re well on our way to stopping the destruction of Borneo’s forests. But we need to make sure this conservation work continues… But over the past few decades, huge swathes of Borneo’s forests have been cut down for timber and to make way for oil palm and paper pulp plantations. Now only half of Borneo’s original forest cover remains. WWF has been fighting to prevent further destruction. We saw a breakthrough in 2007 when the island’s three governments – Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia – agreed a plan to safeguard their natural heritage. With our support, they committed to protect, manage and restore 220,000 sq km of forest – almost the same area as the UK. This agreement now needs to be turned into reality – but given that WWF resources are limited and so much of this huge forest area is under threat, our efforts are currently focused on protecting areas with especially high conservation value.

Being an Expert in International REDD+ Negotiations

Union of Concerned Scientists, 24 January 2011 | Please register below to attend a free workshop on June 17, 2011, in Arusha, Tanzania, immediately following the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation’s annual meeting. The workshop time and specific location in Arusha will be announced soon. All conference attendees are welcome to join the workshop to learn how their expertise can be used to influence international REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus related pro-forest activities) policy development.

The carbon market – gone in a puff of smoke?

By Sabina Manea, The Guardian, 24 January 2011 | On the other hand, if Europe were genuinely concerned about the environment, why should we cry over a few lost credits? Fewer credits in the market could do wonders for the environment, but would wreak havoc on financial markets, which could come tumbling down. But if millions of stolen credits flood the market, this won’t help in the battle against climate change. It may be time to think about scrapping carbon trading altogether.

What Cancun meant

By Christine Campeau, Caritas Internationalis, 24 January 2011 | Progress was made in the negotiating track dealing with reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation (REDD), with an agreement to try to eliminate tropical deforestation. On closer inspection of the agreement, however, the safeguards are weaker than expected and may contain several possible loopholes. Nonetheless, the agreed text answers a numbers of questions that have been on the table since the Bali Action Plan in 2007. Also, negotiators still need to figure out how it will be funded, as well as agree on how to compensate countries to protect their forests, reimburse forest people, and protect biodiversity. The Cancun Agreement enables the issues that remain in play to be resolved at COP17 in Durban, South Africa in December 2011. It has rebuilt trust and demonstrated a true willingness to work together and share knowledge.

25 January 2011

External power ‘sways’ REDD task force

Jakarta Post, 25 January 2011 | Analysts say that a draft presidential instruction (Inpres) on the postponement of new permits on primary forests and peatlands has ignored national interests and will potentially harm Indonesian forestry businesses. Sadino, the executive director of legal study at the Forestry Policy Bureau, said Monday that the draft prepared by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) task force had veered from the Letter of Intent (LoI) agreed to by the governments of Indonesia and Norway last year because it included secondary forests and forests for other purposes. “The REDD-plus task force does not have adequate understanding of Indonesian forestry and seems to merely follow the interests of foreign companies and non-government organizations,” he said, as quoted by Antara. According to Sadino, the moratorium should have only included primary forests and peatlands, as stipulated in the LoI.

Are there two categories of Amerindians in Guyana?

By Patrick Fitzpatrick, letter to the editor Kaieteur News, 25 January 2011 | As an Amerindian, I personally feel that the move the President made in respect to being paid by the Developed Nations like Norway to preserve our forests is a good one for the simple reason that most life forms depend on the forest one way or another for existence. Developed and some developing countries have consumed most of theirs during the process of development and now realise that their very existence depends on countries that still have their forest intact. Amerindians stand to benefit from forests payouts and I think this is the reason that most village Councils supported the initiative at the recently held conference.

The government has always been committed to continuous consultation

By Noram Whittaker M.P. letter to the editor Guyana Chronicle, 25 January 2011 | An anonymous letter published in the Stabroek News on January 11 under the Headline: “Only one introductory LCDS meeting was held in Santa Rosa”craves my response; as it is apparent that the letter writer is sadly misinformed, both in regard to Guyana’s implementation of a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and the opportunities the Strategy creates for our Indigenous population and their villages and communities.

Learn from Our Mistakes: REDD Implementation 101, COP16

Pact, 25 January 2011 | Pact’s REDD+ and Carbon Forestry Advisor Keegan Eisenstadt participated in a panel discussion during COP-16 in Cancún: “Learn From Our Mistakes: REDD Implementation 101.” Keegan joined Gabriel Thoumi from Forest Carbon Offsets, Jeorg Steifert-Granzin from Forest Trends and Todd Lemons from Infinite Earth to discuss the challenges of implementing REDD+ projects and lessons learned through practical experience. The panel was moderated by Ilona Millar from Baker & McKenzie.

Comprehensive review of Cancun Climate Agreements and prospects for CoP17, 2011

By Alaa Khourdajie, Climate Policy Issues, 25 January 2011 | Going through almost 100 pages of Cancún Climate Agreements and another 100 of analysis from both the media and academia was not a delightful task to do during last month, given that the summit didn’t reach any genuine results. The more you dig, the more disappointed you become. The “set of focused” agreements was celebrated as building blocks for a real comprehensive agreement next year. This is a truly over-optimism. Unless serious negotiation rounds take place throughout 2011, there will be no final effective agreement signed in CoP17, Durban. We will be faced with either a gap period of delayed post-2012 action, or a virtual gap of weak and ineffective action; that is a continuation to Kyoto Protocol (KP) or a similar form of agreement.

26 January 2011

Cultivating the nation’s forests

Viet Nam News, 26 January 2011 | The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s regional senior forestry officer Patrick Durst said Viet Nam’s contribution to forest coverage was “very encouraging”. “For the first time ever, we [the world] are slowing down the pace of deforestation in many countries, and in some key countries, including here in Viet Nam, forest coverage is increasing,” he said… “Now we’re concentrating more and more on forest quality – how to enhance the health and the vitality of the forests and the richness of the forests, including bio-diversity and benefits for the local people,” said Durst… Norway has planned to provide Viet Nam with $100 million in non-refundable aid, the highest financial assistance the Vietnamese forest sector has received… Durst said Viet Nam was “showing leadership in programmes related to the relationship between forest and climate change, such as UN-REDD”.

Indian Magnates Behind $15 Billion of Investment for Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, 26 January 2011 | Indian companies, led by billionaires Gautam Adani and G.V. Krishna Reddy, have signed accords worth $15 billion to build various projects including airports, steel plants, ports and railroads in Indonesia… “There is great similarity” between India and Indonesia, said Sekhar, a fund manager at Mumbai-based Angel. “There is domestic opportunity, and the natural resources of Indonesia are far too tempting.” … Adani Enterprises agreed to set up a rail link and a port project with the South Sumatra government and Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam, a state-owned coal mining company, the Ahmedabad, India-based company said in a news release on Tuesday. The project involves the construction of a 250-kilometer railroad linking a coal mining area with a port that will also be built by the collaborating companies, among other infrastructure. International Coal Ventures … plans to invest $3 billion to build a steel plant in Indonesia.

Lumbering illegality: how to make timber sustainable and pro-poor

By Duncan Macqueen, IIED, 26 January 2011 | So it is with some relief that VPAs are not the only show in town. The agreement for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), agreed at last month’s UN climate talks in Cancun, is at heart an environmental payment mechanism rather than a trade agreement. But if REDD can also focus on the governance reforms needed for long term forest sustainability (without trampling on the fora and processes painstakingly developed through VPAs and vice versa), it may be possible to address these domestic market issues.

Another disappointment at climate talks

By Chris Kelsey, Western Mail, 26 January 2011 | The RSPB said that the most significant outcome from Cancun was the creation of a new Green Climate Fund that is intended to channel funds into reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change in developing countries. It also pointed to the progress made towards establishing a framework to protect forests in developing countries – known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). “REDD is our best hope to save the world’s remaining rainforests,” the charity said. “The RSPB has worked hard in support of REDD to ensure it effectively protects natural forests and respects the rights of indigenous people. The challenge is now to get enough money behind REDD – most believe it will need $35bn a year by 2020.” The RSPB was also concerned to make sure that greenhouse gas emissions from forestry in developed countries such as the UK were properly accounted for.

California Using Carbon Markets to Clean up Ozone-Killers

By Maud Warner and Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 January 2011 | Decades after most industrialized countries banned Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), tons of the stuff is still lurking in old refrigerators and foam insulation. Now the US state of California is using carbon markets to pay for the destruction of this environmental WMD, which can have up to 10,000 times the global-warming impact of carbon dioxide… Large quantities of ODS remain in old refrigerants, A/C units, building infrastructure and unused stockpiles. While some is recovered for reuse, much is left to leak out over time. Without incentives to destroy them, most ODS stocks are likely to remain in the market for years to come, ultimately being emitted to the atmosphere. The carbon markets have emerged as a cost-effective way to finance the destruction of ODS. Up to now the voluntary carbon market has played an important role in supplementing the Montreal Protocol…

President calls on Army to help ‘clean up’ GGMC

By Wendella Davidson, Guyana Chronicle, 26 January 2011 | Bharrat Jagdeo, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Disciplined Forces, yesterday called for more Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officers to be part of the safe craft partnership, under which officers are seconded to lend much-needed support to the Public Sector. Noting that there is now a demand for GDF officers in some of the agencies, including the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) where, according to him, “the corruption in the field is unbelievable,” particularly with the high price being paid for gold currently, President Jagdeo said: “I need to clean-up some of this situation there too; there are some other agencies where I need strengthening and focus, we need soldiers to go there.”

Roubini Says Jump in Food, Energy Prices ‘Can Topple Regimes’

By Tom Keene and Stuart Wallace, Bloomberg, 26 January 2011 | A surge in food and energy costs is stoking inflation in emerging markets and causing riots that may topple governments, said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the financial crisis. Global food costs monitored by the United Nations jumped 25 percent last year, reaching a record in December, and crude oil traded in New York is at $86.38 a barrel, about 53 percent more than its average over the last decade. There have been protests in Algeria and Egypt, and Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country on Jan. 14. “In emerging markets, it’s leading to rising inflation, to reduction in disposable income, it’s leading to riots, demonstrations and political instability,” Roubini said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, today with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” “It’s really something that can topple regimes, as we have seen in the Middle East.”

Marlea Munez – CoDe REDD at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico

oneclimate.net, 26 January 2011 | Marlea Munez from CoDe REDD, talked to OneClimate at the UNFCCC Climate Talks that took place in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010.

27 January 2011

RI ‘should become’ low-carbon economy

Jakarta Post, 27 January 2011 | The UN Collaborative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) is committed to transforming Indonesia into a competitive low-carbon economy, a UN senior official says. El-Mostafa Benlamlih, resident coordinator of the United Nations System in Indonesia, said Tuesday that UN-REDD was not only an initiative on how to tackle global warming and save the planet. “Indonesia would not be able to compete in the future if it didn’t work in the low-carbon economy sector by either curbing greenhouse gases within its industry or increasing the carbon storage of its peatlands,” he told The Jakarta Post… The Central Sulawesi pilot was launched on Oct. 13, 2010 as the main pilot province of the UN-REDD Programme Indonesia. The province was chosen because it has a vast dry forest area with communities living either inside or outside the area.

Victory for Kalahari Bushmen as court grants right to water

Survival International, 27 January 2011 | In a momentous decision, Botswana’s Court of Appeal today quashed a ruling that denied the Kalahari Bushmen access to water on their ancestral lands. With support from Survival, the Bushmen appealed a 2010 High Court judgment that prevented them from accessing a well which they rely on for water.

Cancun REDD Outcome Text with a little Explanation

kjellkuehne.blogspot.com, 27 January 2011 | Because UNFCCC negotiations are text-based and often difficult to understand, I am copying the Cancun outcome on REDD below with a few headings and comments added by myself which are supposed to facilitate understanding. I will be writing a longer piece with the title “Why REDD+ is dangerous” soon and this one can serve as a reference where you can check what the text actually says.

Forest Summit Seeks “People-Friendly” Solutions

By Andrea Lunt, IPS, 27 January 2011 | Earlier this month, on a hot and humid day in the Jambi province of Indonesia, a group of local farmers was critically injured after being shot as they attempted to harvest fruit on a contested palm plantation. The shooting, allegedly carried out by the national police’s notorious Mobile Brigade (Brimob), followed a four-year-long conflict between the villagers of Karang Mendapo and an Indonesian palm oil company, involving local land rights. While this violent attack caused outcry and protests locally, Jambi’s is not an isolated case. As climate change fears lead to a rise in carbon trading, and industries such as palm oil and biofuel prosper, indigenous peoples worldwide are increasingly being forced to fight against land grabs from both big business and their own governments.

Forests and poverty: the latest thinking

IUCN, 27 January 2011 | Gill Shepherd, IUCN Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy Thematic Adviser on Poverty and Landscapes, speaks on the latest thinking on forests and poverty, drawing from lessons that have come out of IUCN’s innovative ‘Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy’ (LLS).

Why REDD+ is dangerous (in its current form)

Kjell Kühne, scribd.com, 27 January 2011 | This essay shall help you understand the role REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestationand Forest Degradation in „Developing“ Countries plus Conservation, Sustainable ForestManagement and Enhancement of Carbon Stocks) can play in solving the climate crisis, andthe role it can and will not play. There is a relatively small group of experts who have adeeper understanding of the technical details of REDD+ who sometimes lack a criticaldistance. On the other hand, many people who are against REDD+ do not understand toomuch of the technical details. With this essay, I hope to help both to get valuable additionalinformation.

European commission extends carbon market freeze indefinitely

By Leigh Phillips, Guardian, 27 January 2011 | The European commission’s emergency suspension last week of trading in carbon allowances to put a halt to rampant theft of credits by hackers has been extended indefinitely until countries can prove their systems are protected from further fraud. While the suspension had been expected to end last night, Brussels now says that the freeze in trades had been imposed to give the commission executive some breathing space to figure out what to do. “The suspension last week was only a transitional measure to give the commission and member states the time to assess the situation and decide the way forward,” the commission’s climate spokeswoman, Maria Kokkonen, said. “Okay, this hurts, but it must hurt in order to make things more secure, more robust. Evolution through crisis.”

28 January 2011

Greenomics criticizes ministry for new decree

Jakarta Post, 28 January 2011 | Greenomics Indonesia, a leading NGO on forestry issues, lambasted Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan for issuing a new decree on Dec. 31, which would pave the way for 44 companies to get new forestry licenses. The decree was issued just a day before the government planned to impose a moratorium on new permits both in natural forests and peatlands as stipulated under the climate deal between Indonesia and Norway. “It is reasonable to assume the decree was intended to save 44 companies from having to comply with the moratorium regulations,” Greenomics’ executive director Elfian Effendi said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday. He said that with the new decree, the licenses for the 44 plantation firms could be processed although the moratorium would be applied this year. The 44 companies applied for permits for a total area of 2.9 million hectares, most of them were in secondary forests.

Govt to pump money into embattled national park

By Oyos Saroso, Jakarta Post, 28 January 2011 | The Forestry Ministry has earmarked Rp 250 billion (about US$25 million) to establish a rare flora and fauna rehabilitation center in East Lampung’s Way Kambas National Park (TNWK), whose lush forests and rare wildlife is under threat from rampant illegal logging, poaching and fishing. Lampung Governor Sjachroedin Z.P. said the project was a part of the Lampung tourism development golden triangle program, whose three points were the Siger Tower in Bakauheni, South Lampung, Way Kambas National Park in East Lampung and Lumbok Ranau Lake in West Lampung. “The government will also build the biggest veterinary hospital in Sumatra in TNWK, which is currently home to the Sumatran Rhino Refuge conservation center,” Sjachroedin said on Friday. He said the Lampung Forestry Office was supporting TNWK’s efforts to restore damaged forest areas in the park.

Brazil approves clearing of Amazon forest to make way for controversial dam

By Robin Yapp, Telegraph, 28 January 2011 | The Belo Monte dam, which will be the third-largest such project in the world, has been strongly opposed by environmental campaigners and indigenous people who face being displaced… Ibama, the Brazilian environment agency, said on its website that it has approved the clearing of 588 acres (238 hectares) of forest at the site where the dam will be built in the state of Para. It also said that Norte Energia, the consortium that won the bidding to construct the dam, can begin building roads to reach the remote site on the Xingu River, a tributary to the Amazon. Contracts for the dam – which the government expects to cost nearly £10bn – were finally signed last August after decades of disputes about plans for a dam in the area and a series of court injunctions.

PH supports REDD-Plus strategy

By Ricardo R. Argana, PCARRD, 28 January 2011 | The Philippines supports the REDD-Plus Strategy, an effective forest management option which aims to address the threats of climate change. A major output in the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, REDD-Plus means reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increased removal of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The REDD-Plus Strategy recognizes the importance of integrating forests management strategies in mitigating emission brought about by deforestration and forest degradation… The Philippines outlines national priorities and strategies for reducing GHG emissions in its National Framework on Climate change (NFSCC), incorporating therein the REDD-Plus and the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy (PNRPS).

Climate change: REDD and REDD+ – Briefing

IRIN, 28 January 2011 | “Forest areas are often worth more harvested than left standing,” said Manish Bapna, managing director of the World Resources Institute (WRI), on the website of this US-based environmental think-tank… The Indonesia-based Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) lists some of the main issues under discussion: How can the carbon stored in forests be accurately measured so as to put a value on it? Forest data in many countries is poor or non-existent – how can emission reductions be monitored, reported, and verified? Who will make payment? Who will receive payment – national governments, indigenous communities or logging companies? How do we ensure transparency and accountability in these transactions? How do we ensure that emission reductions are permanent and the forests remain standing? Where will the money for the compensation come from – governments, donors or carbon markets?

ERA Carbon Offsets Shareholders Update

ERA press release, 28 January 2011 | The year 2010 was characterized by sustained growth and execution for ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd… On December 13, 2010, ERA announced the execution of a Carbon Offset Sales Agreement with the Forest Carbon Group AG, in Germany. The agreement will see the delivery of over 1 million tonnes of validated and verified carbon offsets over a 3 year period, and ongoing sales in subsequent years are anticipated… The projects ERA is developing in Africa are expected to produce over one million tonnes of carbon offsets per annum, which could be fungible in compliant markets in both Europe and the US. These projects would grow ERA’s sales and revenues dramatically and further broaden the Company’s international scope.

Ban Ki-moon: World’s economic model is ‘environmental suicide’

AP, 28 January 2011 | The world’s current economic model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that will result in disaster if it isn’t reformed, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, warned today. Ban said that political and business leaders need to embrace economic innovation in order to save the planet. “We need a revolution,” he told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on how best to make the global economy sustainable. “Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete.” He called the current economic model a recipe for “national disaster” and said: “We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change, time to ensure sustainable … growth.” The Guardian revealed yesterday that Ban is ending his hands-on efforts to reach a global climate deal through UN negotiations, and move to focus on a broader sustainability agenda.

Warning of ‘Global Suicide,’ UN Secretary General Calls for Revolution to Ensure Sustainable Development

unitedprogressives.org, 28 January 2011 | Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon today called for “revolutionary action” to achieve sustainable development, warning that the past century’s heedless consumption of resources is “a global suicide pact” with time running out to ensure an economic model for survival. “Let me highlight the one resource that is scarcest of all: Time,” he told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in a session devoted to redefining sustainable development. “We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change. Time to ensure sustainable, climate-resilient green growth. Time to generate a clean energy revolution.”

Non-existent body gets $130M allocation

Kaieteur News, 28 January 2011 | A review of the expenditures in the 2011 Current and Capital expenditure would reveal that monies have been allocated to a non-existent body which also spent more than was actually budgeted for last year. The State Planning Secretariat is slated as an agency under the Ministry of Finance and is budgeted to receive $130M in subvention/contribution from that Ministry, but the entity was abandoned ever since 1994. Further, the body was allocated $130M in the 2010 budget but the revised figures show that the entity actually received $140M.

REDD Forestry practices under fire – forest carbon storage and indigenous peoples

Indymedia, 28 January 2011 | A new report from some of the world’s top experts on forest governance has criticised various international climate change accords including REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and REDD+ for their narrow focus on carbon storage which fails to stop rampant destruction of the world’s most vulnerable forests and acts to further marginalise indigenous peoples. Despite billions of dollars being spent annually on sustainable forest management, the world is still losing an estimated 13 million hectares of forest per year, an important biological store of carbon. Tropical deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all carbon emissions into the atmosphere. “This is only the most obvious symptom of the fact that, not withstanding the growth of awareness and initiatives, international forest governance is struggling to meet a number of significant contemporary challenges.” says the reports conclusion in Chapter 8.

Forest protection scheme benefits 10,000 highland families

Thanh Nien Daily, 28 January 2011 | The experiences and successes of Vietnam’s Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) scheme, which has generated significant resources to support forest protection and local livelihoods, were shared at a workshop in Da Lat last Friday. The Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program (ARBCP), a project of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), helped Vietnamese officials pilot PFES in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. The scheme has increased financial incentives for forest protection by the providers of environmental services, including rural communities and forest managers, by creating linkages with the beneficiaries of such services – hydropower facilities, municipal water supply companies, and ecotourism operators.

EU Carbon Market Suffers Further Setback

By Sean Carney, Wall Street Journal, 28 January 2011 | Some European national registries of carbon-dioxide-emission allowances Friday said they were waiting for the European Commission to authorize a resumption of the troubled European Emissions Trading Scheme after the EC shut spot trading Jan. 19 due to cyberfraud. But registries from several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy and France, confirmed that they haven’t yet submitted reports required by EC to resume trading. The EC originally said the ban on spot trading would last through Jan. 26, but has yet to announce any resumption. The Czech carbon dioxide emissions registry said Thursday that it would be shut for at least six weeks, suggesting the problems may be worse than thought. The EC has said emission credits worth about €28 million have been stolen from three national registries in recent weeks.

EU extends hacker-induced emissions trading halt

AFP, 28 January 2011 | The EU extended a freeze Thursday on trading in carbon credits ordered after hackers broke into national trading registries and stole and then sold millions of euros worth of polluting rights. “Security comes before trading,” said Maria Kokkonen, spokeswoman for European Union climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard. “It’s going to take time,” she told AFP, with only internal trading in the best-protected national registries targeted for resumption next week. Originally, it was suspended for a week which would have meant restrictions being lifted as of Wednesday evening.

29 January 2011

Chinese to invest US$1 billion in projects here – Ambassador Yu

Kaieteur News, 29 January 2011 | Chinese companies are getting ready to invest some US$1 billion in various projects in Guyana, Chinese Ambassador, Yu Wenzhe has said. To date, the total investment from China is over US$100 million in the field of mining and forestry, Ambassador Yu said, and other investment projects currently in the pipe line are worth more than US$1 billion… On the Guyana Government’s plan to pursue a low carbon development strategy and to transform and diversify the economy, Ambassador Yu said that with their advanced technologies and experiences, Chinese companies could work with Guyanese friends to expand our mutually beneficial cooperation in areas such as finance, agriculture, clean energy, labour, mining and resources and oil exploration, making new contributions to healthy and sustainable economic development for our two countries.

Guyana position outlined at international forest legality workshop

By Vanessa Narine, Guyana Chronicle, 29 January 2011 | Minister Robert Persaud said, Wednesday, that the Government has led efforts to strengthen forest legality to ensure access to traditional and new markets and is pursuing avenues to build on what was previously achieved. He was speaking to stakeholders at a European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Awareness Workshop at Grand Coastal Inn, East Coast Demerara… Persaud observed that: “The European Union has always been an important region for exports of Guyana’s forest products. As an example, Guyana’s total forest products export value to the European Union, in 2009, was US$4.55M.” He said, in 2010, that sum increased to US$8.1M, approximately 16.5 per cent of Guyana’s total forest export market, in terms of value…

Govt eyes joint REDD implementation

By Lucas LIganga, The Citizen, 29 January 2011 | The government admitted yesterday that there is poor coordination towards the planning and implementation of the REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Tanzania is in the initial process of implementing REDD, a mechanism designed to pay developing countries to protect their forests and reduce emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants, especially carbon dioxide. “Coordination (between the government and other stakeholders such as civil societies and the private sector) has not been good so far,” the Director of Forestry and Beekeeping in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Felician Kilahama, told a monthly breakfast debate.

Workshop on “Forest Carbon Stock Assessment for REDD in Pakistan” from Dec 13-18

OnePakistanNews, 29 January 2011 | Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) will organize national training workshop on “Forest Carbon Stock Assessment for REDD in Pakistan” from February 13-18 February here at a local hotel. The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with its partners, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI, Bio-resource Research Center, Pakistan (BRC), WWF Pakistan and Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP) has planned to organize a 6-day national technical training workshop on “Forest Carbon Stock Assessment for REDD” as part of fulfilling Pakistan’s commitments under the Cancun Agreements for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-plus). Pakistan has a long list of endeavors to bring the emerging trends in forestry related to Climate Change.

The Potential of the Forest Rights Act

By Sirisha Naidu, Sanhati, 29 January 2011 | Neoliberalism in India, rather than consisting of a wholesale withdrawal of the state, has seen its rollback in some spheres and an expansion in others. In the last few decades the state has withdrawn from providing basic goods and services, but has taken a much more active role in promoting new avenues of profitable investment (e.g., those associated with free market environmentalism, facilitating the process of commodification of goods and services that were previously outside the ambit of the capitalist market, and facilitating the privatization of state property)… The bourgeoning agro-forestry sector has received a fillip with World Bank sponsored bio-carbon projects in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh under the Clean Development Mechanism (DTE, 2008), World Bank proposed plantation projects in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, and recent developments on REDD Plus discussions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun in 2010.

30 January 2011

Group readies four states for REDD participation

By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 30 January 2011 | In line with the Cross River State initiative, more states in Nigeria are making plans to be part of the socio-economically beneficial Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) climate mitigation scheme. Indeed, two major forest reserves stretching across four states are being targeted by nature conservationists and government officials to toe the path of those in Cross River, believed to hold over half of what is left of the country’s largely degraded stock.

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  1. Nobody seems to know anything about the FIP strategy with Brazil. Pilot country program still “uncovered” nationally and internationally.