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REDD in the news: 7-13 February 2011

REDD in the news: 7-13 February 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.

Activist Outrage at the UN Climate Conference

By Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, Z Magazine, February 2011 | Likewise, Global Forest Coalition’s report “Getting to the Roots,” which analyzes the underlying causes of deforestation through a global series of workshops, insists that deforestation will not be stopped until the system driving it is changed. The conclusions of the report state, “Neoliberal economic policies were identified as an underlying cause by several workshops, not least because they themselves are at the heart of many of the other drivers and underlying causes.… It is most unlikely, for example, that climate change can be halted or demand for wood and land can be reduced without a fundamental review of neoliberal economic policies and trade regimes. “Likewise, it is the neoliberal vision of many international financial institutions that causes them to invest significantly more money in forest-destroying industries than in forest conservation (and to justify doing both at the same time).”

No Regrets: Maintaining Forests for Adaptation and Mitigation

By Frances Seymour, World Resources Report, no date | Financial mechanisms being mobilized under the rubric of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (“REDD+”) have the potential to provide a source of finance for such protection, and for compensating communities for any loss of current income that such protection entails. Depending on how REDD+ benefits are shared at national and local levels, forest protection efforts could help finance rural development, but could also easily make some stakeholders worse off. Thus an important trade-off is between imposing risks on some of the world’s most vulnerable communities in the short run, versus the risk of no action to reduce forest-based emissions, which benefits the global community as a whole in the long run. At the global level, REDD+ funds are likely to be targeted to the “high-carbon” humid forests of the Amazon Basin, the Congo Basin, and Indonesia.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Forest Protection: The Transaction Costs of REDD

By Lee J. Alston, Krister Andersson, The National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2011 | Understanding and minimizing the transaction costs of policy implementation are critical for reducing tropical forest losses. As the international community prepares to launch REDD+, a global initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation, policymakers need to pay attention to the transactions costs associated with negotiating, monitoring and enforcing contracts between governments and donors. The existing institutional design for REDD+ relies heavily on central government interventions in program countries. Analyzing new data on forest conservation outcomes, we identify several problems with this centralized approach to forest protection. We describe options for a more diversified policy approach that could reduce the full set of transaction costs and thereby improve the efficiency of the market-based approach for conservation.

Approaches to classifying and restoring degraded tropical forests for the anticipated REDD+ climate change mitigation mechanism

By N. Sasaki, Asner, G.P., Knorr, W., Durst, P.B., Priyadi, H. and Putz, F. E, iForest 4, February 2011 | Inclusion of improved forest management as a way to enhance carbon sinks in the Copenhagen Accord of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (December 2009) suggests that forest restoration will play a role in global climate change mitigation under the post-Kyoto agreement. Although discussions about restoration strategies often pertain solely to severely degraded tropical forests and invoke only the enrichment planting option, different approaches to restoration are needed to counter the full range of degrees of degradation. We propose approaches for restoration of forests that range from being slightly to severely degraded.

Common Property Forest Management: Implications for REDD in Ethiopia

Environment for Development, no date | The proposed project seeks to contribute substantively to climate change and community forest management policies and advance the literature by analyzing the relationship between common property forest management (CPFM) in Ethiopia and climate policy within the context of the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) and proposing instruments for channeling REDD benefits to households.

The Planet Keeps Warming, But U.S. Media Interest Cools

By Miranda Spencer, Extra!, February 2011, At least in part reflecting this pessimism, there has been a “steep slide” in climate reporting this year, Columbia Journalism Review’s science blog (Observatory, 11/24/10) noted. Few major corporate news media outlets even planned to send reporters to Cancún; as Washington Post lead environmental writer Juliet Eilperin told Observatory, “It feels like there is absolutely no momentum…. What will there even be to cover in Cancún in terms of public policy or reader interest?” … The Post (12/8/10, 12/12/10) and the Los Angeles Times (12/10/10) were the only two national outlets during the talks to cover REDD… The highly contentious market-based mechanism became part of the eventual Cancún Agreement. The articles mainly discussed the business implications of REDD and mentioned indigenous and global South objections only in passing.

7 February 2011

SBY still pondering planned forest moratorium

Jakarta Post, 7 February 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was still studying the concept of a forest moratorium before signing a presidential instruction as a legal instrument to stop the conversion of forest areas. Forestry conversion in Indonesia still measures about 1 million hectare a year. After a month-long delay, it remains unclear whether the forest moratorium would be imposed or not. “The President still needs to learn the [moratorium] concept better,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the taskforce charged with reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

Could carbon markets become obsolete?

By Esther Ng, todayonline.com, 7 February 2011 | It should be a happy headache for environmentalists. Yet the possibility of carbon markets becoming obsolete within the next one or two decades – as industralised countries cut their carbon emissions – could have dire consequences, according to three researchers. Currently, carbon markets provide a rich source of funding for United Nations-backed conservation scheme REDD+. The idea is for industrialised countries to offset their own emissions by buying carbon credits from developing countries, thereby giving communities in the latter group an incentive to protect their forests and preserve endangered species.

Rainforest fears slow Indonesia palm oil growth

agrimoney.com, 7 February 2011 | Efforts to preserve Indonesia’s rainforest, in the face of international pressure, look set to accelerate a decline in the plantation expansion which has driven the country to top rank in palm oil. Provincial authorities have already stopped issuing permits for planting on Indonesian land deemed forest by the government, and so protected from development – even if their restraint is far considered reluctant and temporary. “Provincial [officials] insist that land the government considers as primary forest has already been degraded and should be suitable for planting,” US Department of Agriculture attaches in Jakarta said. “There remain fundamental disagreements over the definition of ‘degraded land’.”

Forests Vs. Food?

By Bryan Walsh, Time, 7 February 2011 | 2011 could be the year the world finally stops losing the fight against deforestation. On February 2 the U.N. launched the International Year of Forests, beginning a series of events meant to raise awareness about the vital importance of forests and generate support for sustainable forestry practices. At December’s U.N. climate summit in the Mexican city of Cancun, governments took the first concrete steps towards creating a system for avoided deforestation, or REDD, which would allow companies and countries to claim carbon credits for maintaining trees. But at the same time, record high food prices could reverse all of that progress, if farmers around the world choose to clear forest to make room for more crops. “In my view, 2011 is going to be the critical year,” says Frances Seymour, the director-general of the Center for International Forestry Research. “This is the year we’ll find out whether we’ll be successful or not.”

NGOs Need to Walk Softly – and Hang Tough

By James Gray, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 February 2011 | Scores of non-governmental organizations are trying to help indigenous people out of poverty by showing them how to earn carbon credits for managing their forests, but not all are getting results. NGO veteran James Gray says that if NGOs really want to help, they have to cede more control to indigenous groups – and they have to convince those groups that they’re in it for the long haul. He offers this example from his own experience with CARE in Guatemala.

Forest Fest Makes Headway in Protection, Poverty Reduction

By Andrea Lunt, IPS, 7 February 2011 | While the U.N.’s premier forest scheme REDD+, negotiated in Cancún last December, has aimed to place local communities at the centre of forest governance, critics say the safeguards are negated by industry-friendly policies and failure of implementation at a national level. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, an indigenous person from the Besao mountain province in the Philippines, told IPS that despite her people being granted legal titles on their forest lands, the rights were largely symbolic. “The possession by indigenous peoples of these titles still does not guarantee their security of tenure over these forests, as licenses for mining and plantations are still given by the state to private business people and politicians,” Tauli-Corpuz said. Other environmental groups believe the increasing demand for wood-based bio-energy and the continued conversion of forests to plantations are the greatest threats to forest communities.

Dr Seuss and the Amazon

Bleeding Edge Blog, 7 February 2011 | The year 2005 was an exceptionally dry one for the Amazon rainforest. Thousands of square kilometres of rainforest were destroyed. The level of the mighty Amazon river and its tributaries fell to the lowest levels since records began. Fish perished in the abnormally warm waters. Boats were grounded. Locals were forced to abandon their homes. It was the kind of drought that researchers would expect no more than once a century. But then came the drought of 2010. As a new research paper published in the journal Science today reveals, last year’s drought was even more severe than 2005. So Brazil has experienced two “once in a century” climatic events in a decade. Unsurprisingly, scientists are beginning to suspect that something is amiss.

Cancun analysis: Starting the REDD+ dance

CIFOR, 7 February 2011 | “A REDD+ deal wasn’t guaranteed in Cancun either, and if we didn’t get it then, forests would have been off the table for a decade,” said Louis Verchot, CIFOR’s Principal Scientist in environmental services and sustainable use of forests. “We finally have a decision. We know where to start the dance, we know which foot to start on and we know what this program is going to look like.”

UN Year of Forests stumbles in first week

By Bill Gunyon, OneWorld UK, 7 February 2011 | Last Wednesday’s UN launch of the International Year of Forests has been tempered by disagreement over global plans for their protection. The flames of criticism have been fanned by reports of irregularities in pilot projects to reduce deforestation in Guyana and Indonesia… Two projects sponsored by Norway are currently gaining attention for the wrong reasons.

Where does international climate policy stand after Cancún?

Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 7 February 2011 | Negotiations on REDD (forest protection) have taken a big step forward. Nevertheless, the text must still be seen as a compromise. Questions related to inclusion in emissions trading, dealing with subnational activities and the legal status of safeguards were not clarified.

UNDP Administrator Emphasizes Safeguards for REDD+ at the launch of Forests 2011

UN-REDD Programme Blog, 7 February 2011 | In her address at the Ministerial Dialogue with the Heads of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, on the occasion of the 9th United Nations Forum on Forests, Administrator Helen Clark emphasized UNDP’s commitment to REDD+ safeguards.

Mozambique: Govt Designs Strategies to Curb Deforestation

allAfrica.com, 7 February 2011 | The Mozambican government and its partners are looking at the current level of deforestation and at new strategies to reverse the trend. These issues were discussed in Maputo on Monday at a meeting in preparation for the drafting of the new National Strategy for Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). According to the Mozambican Environment Minister, Alcinda Abreu, the process of drafting the National Strategy is reaching an advanced stage. The development of this strategy has had the support of partners, including the World Bank which in this preparatory phase granted 200,000 US dollars. This sum was earmarked for the preparation of the strategy, and additional funds are required for its implementation in the coming years.

A REDD+ manual for botanic gardens

bgci.org, 7 February 2011 | This 19 page publication by BGCI reviews the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme. There are a number of pilot projects in Bolivia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia. The manual notes the gaps in capacity for implementation, and the opportunities for botanic gardens. These might include assisting in planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects. The examples given in the manual show the involvement of botanic gardens based in Austraiia, Brazil, United Kindom, China and the USA.

Putting a positive spin on forests

By Sharon Guynup, CIFOR Forests Blog, 7 February 2011 | Jan McAlpine is the Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) which addresses all aspects of forests – from complete protection on one end of the spectrum to sustainable use one the other end, and everything in-between, including people, climate change, soils, water and biodiversity. Here she talks about the positive relationship between forests and the people who depend on them, and expectations following the launch of the International Year of Forests… There was also John D. Lui’s film, “Hope in a Changing Climate,” which showed the metamorphosis of a huge area in China: from dry, barren gullies into a natural landscape and agriculturally productive areas. It’s just an amazing story. There are lots of positive stories. It seems like bad stories get more attention, but we also want the public around the world to understand just how essential people are to forests and forests are to people.

Carbon jobs market resilient to recession

carbonpositive.net, 7 February 2011 | Employment and incomes in the climate change and carbon sector appear to be holding up well in the face of ongoing economic hardship, the results of a worldwide survey shows. Average salaries rose and respondents overall reported greater levels of job security and satisfaction compared to 2009, the Carbon Salary Survey 2010 found. The only worldwide job market appraisal in this field surveyed 944 participants in the climate change, carbon markets, renewable energy and clean technology fields in all regions. It was conducted in September and October by recruitment firm Acre Resources and corporate sustainability consultancy Acona.

8 February 2011

NGOs Appeal To Govt to Enact Logging Moratorium

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 8 February 2011 | More than a month after it was supposed to have enacted a moratorium on new logging concessions, the government has still not complied, prompting environmental groups to demand immediate action… In order for the moratorium to be legally binding from its Jan. 1 start date, it must be backed by a presidential decree, which has still not been issued. On Monday, a coalition of environmental and civil society groups urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to hold up Indonesia’s end of the bargain. “We, the civil society coalition for Indonesian forest protection, appreciate the government’s efforts to take initial action to save the country’s forests,” a statement from the coalition read. “The plan to issue a presidential decree on a moratorium on new permits in forests and peatland is an appropriate area to start before it’s too late.”

China Drought Prompts U.N. to Issue Warning

By Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 8 February 2011 | The United Nations’ food agency issued an alert on Tuesday warning that a severe drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, and resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock. China has been essentially self-sufficient in grain for decades, for national security reasons. Any move by China to import large quantities of food in response to the drought could drive international prices even higher than the record levels recently reached. “China’s grain situation is critical to the rest of the world – if they are forced to go out on the market to procure adequate supplies for their population, it could send huge shock waves through the world’s grain markets,” said Robert S. Zeigler, the director general of the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, in the Philippines.

New Report Says Forest Land Reform Stagnating, Posing Risks To Global Efforts To Combat Climate Change, Hunger And Poverty

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, 8 February 2011 | Rapidly-rising food prices and growing demand for all land-based commodities, like palm oil and biofuels, are driving an intensive global land hunt that threatens the rights of hundreds of millions of local people living in tropical forests, according to a report released today by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The growing competition for tropical forests comes as recognition of land and resource rights largely stagnated in 2010-despite new commitments through governments and climate change initiatives to support tenure rights and determined efforts by Indigenous Peoples and other forest communities to secure their lands, according to the analysis presented at RRI’s Ninth Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change in London.

Monitoring deforestation: an interview with Gilberto Camara, head of Brazil’s space agency INPE

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 8 February 2011 | Space engineer Gilberto Camara has overseen much of INPE’s earth sensing work, first as head of INPE’s Image Processing Division, then as head of INPE’s Earth Observation, and since 2005 as director of INPE. During his watch, INPE has released several new exciting capabilities, including DETER, a program to monitor ecosystems outside the Amazon, tools to track forest degradation due to logging and fire, and a way to measure emissions from deforestation. INPE recently announced a LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging)-based system that will provide more precision, sensing even through smoke and cloud cover. In a January interview with mongabay, Dr. Camara explained how he went from a boy in northeastern Brazil to director of INPE and discussed INPE’s deforestation monitoring and other projects.

Unlikely road alignment and large forest clearing width for Amaila Falls road

By Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 8 February 2011 | So we have an unlikely road alignment, an extraordinarily large forest clearing width, no public news about the prior forest clearing which was to be completed within four weeks of the award of contract, and a roading contractor much behind schedule. Perhaps, Editor, you could send a journalist to have a look at what is actually happening on the ground? And how the estimated 101,000 m3 of commercial timber in road sections 6 and 7 have contributed to alleviation of the domestic timber shortage noted recently by Minister Robert Persaud, during a year in which exports of unprocessed logs to Asia have exceeded 101,000 m3? – as well as being contrary to the National Forest Policy and to the PPP 2006 election manifesto for in-country value addition of timber products.

CAR’s nested REDD+protocol process in Mexico

Tropical Forest Group, 8 February 2011 | The Climate Action Reserve (Reserve) is developing a Forest Project Protocol for use throughout Mexico. The Mexico protocol will be based on the U.S. Forest Project Protocol and will include guidance for the types of projects covered under the U.S. version of the Forest Project Protocol: Reforestation, Avoided Deforestation (Avoided Conversion), and Sustainable Forest Management (Improved Forest Management). Development of all three project types will be conducted contemporaneously, with initial efforts focused on areas of shared application. Reserve staff will work with the Mexico forest workgroup (see below) to refine the Forest Project Protocol for use in Mexico by developing guidance and standards for nested projects within a REDD framework, environmental integrity, land tenure issues, and permanence of forest carbon sequestration specific to projects in Mexico.

Keeping forest dwellers involved in forest protection and REDD

By Laurie Goering, AlertNet, 8 February 2011 | It’s no coincidence that Latin America has had some of the best success protecting tropical forest. That’s because the region, led by countries like Mexico and Brazil, has put more forest land in the hands of indigenous groups and other forest residents than any other part of the developing world, according to the U.S.-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). Forest residents who own or otherwise control the land they live on have a strong incentive to protect it from illegal loggers and other destructive pressures, argues Andy White, head of the initiative, which works on forest policy issues, especially land tenure. The proof? Brazil’s indigenous reserves have become the heart of that country’s Amazon forest protection effort, he says, and in Mexico, where communities own 80 percent of forest land, forests are more effectively managed and protected than in many parts of the world.

Resilient Forest Dependent Communities Need Supportive Government Policies And Strengthened Institutions

ICIMOD press release, 8 February 2011 | A Special Event on ‘Sustaining Forests for Mitigation and Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change’ was organised by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India; and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India on the sidelines of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS2011) in Delhi on 4 February 2011. Based on the presentations made by Dr. Giridhar Kinhal and Mr. Hari Krishna from ICIMOD and Dr. Yogesh Gokhale of TERI, panellists and participants from Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and others deliberated on the various aspects of the topic and called for enabling and supporting policies from governments of the region and strengthening of local forest management institutions to support REDD+ approaches and practices aimed at sustaining forests, reducing poverty, and building community resilience…

Kenyan Carbon Project Earns First-Ever VCS REDD Credits

By Maud Warner and Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 February 2011 | The US-based conservation consultancy Wildlife Works Carbon won the race to issue the world’s first offset credits under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) from a project designed to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Wildlife Works revealed today that they had received the first REDD-based Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) for the Wildlife Works’ Kasigau Corridor REDD project, which protects over 500,000 acres of forest in Rukinga, Kenya. “This is a watershed moment for REDD projects everywhere because it demonstrates they can attract private investment to this critical work,” says VCS CEO David Antonioli. It’s also a watershed moment for the VCS, which after years of waiting for REDD project development methodologies to fall out of its pipeline, has brought to the voluntary carbon market four REDD methodologies and the world’s first issued REDD credits…

No Correlation Between Democracy and Forest Governance

By Gabriel Thoumi, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 February 2011 | It is only when offsets follow the same rules around the world that an emitter in Chicago can offset his footprint by saving rainforest in Brazil, Columbia, and Kenya. Constance L. McDermott, Benjamin Cashore, and Peter Kanowski offer disturbing evidence that this isn’t happening. In Global Environmental Forest Policies: An International Comparison, published last year, they have provided the first concise, systematic approach to analyzing the global diverse forest management landscape. The 22 figures in Chapter Two alone (Selection and Global Context of the Case Study Countries) should be required reading for anyone interested in forest management for production, protection or both.

State eyes carbon credits through tree campaign

By Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times, 8 February 2011 | The ambitious rural tree plantation scheme – where the government wanted every villager to plant at least on tree each – will soon be taken to the next level. After having achieved planting of 5.93 crore over the past one-and-half-year, just a few lakhs short of the magic figure of 6.25 crore trees equal to the rural population, the state has already started thinking of earning some green points to support the project further. “I have asked the department to do a survey of the trees and see how they have been planted. Apparently, only trees which are planted in a linear method are eligible for earning carbon credits,” said rural development minister Jayant Patil.

RRI Dialogue Addresses Developments on REDD+

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 8 February 2011 | The ninth Rights and Resources (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change took place in London, UK, on 8 February 2011, bringing together international and non-governmental organizations, civil servants and representatives from civil society organizations, academia and the private sector to discuss the latest developments on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, plus the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+).

Forests to be a hot topic in 2011

By Sharon Guynup, CIFOR Forests Blog, 8 February 2011 | Eduardo Rojas-Briales is the Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department and chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). Eduardo participated in the launch of the International Year of Forests 2011 (Forests 2011) during the 9th Session of the UN Forum on Forests in New York where he encouraged people to take action to improve the state of forests during the Year. Here he talks about why forests are so politically important at the moment and what resources needed to implement REDD… From another perspective, it is not ethical to say that we should put more resources on REDD+, and less in education or in health or food security. Because of all this, it is critical that REDD is embedded in the new climate change architecture… Furthermore, the process of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was too complicated to work, so hopefully REDD can step in as the alternative.

Stewart Maginnis on Poverty and Forest Restoration

By Sharon Guynup, CIFOR Forests Blog, 8 February 2011 | Stewart Maginnis is the Head of the Forest Conservation Programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He has a keen interest in the linkage between forest conservation and livelihood security of the rural poor, the practical application of ecosystem or landscapes approaches in forest management and on the role of civil society in local and national forest governance arrangements. We had a chat to him at the UN Forum on Forests in New York.

9 February 2011

Slow but steady progress on recognizing indigenous land rights is interrupted by commodity boom

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 9 February 2011 | Progress over the past 25 years in recognizing indigenous peoples’ rights to land and resources has been interrupted by a worldwide commodity boom, argues a new report published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)… In a conversation with mongabay.com, Andy White, coordinator of RRI, discussed the new report and broader rights issues… I don’t know what a workable REDD mechanism looks like. I think it will take different forms in different countries. I don’t expect to see a global market for forest carbon, at least anytime soon. There need to be social and environmental safeguards (the UNFCCC REDD text is pretty good). And because the REDD world has become so fragmented – with the majority of funds now going through bilateral, rather than the multilateral channels, it’s now critical for bilateral parties to adopt safeguards (e.g. the Norwegians, USAID, DFID, etc).

Palm oil giant vows to spare most valuable Indonesian rainforest

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 9 February 2011 | The world’s second biggest palm oil company has agreed to halt deforestation in valuable areas of Indonesian forest, bowing to pressure from western food processors and conservationists. Golden Agri-Resources Limited has committed itself to protecting forests and peatlands with a high level of biodiversity, or which provide major carbon sinks, as part of an agreement with conservation group the Forest Trust… Scott Poynton, executive director of the Forest Trust, a Geneva-based not-for-profit organisation that helps companies improve their environmental sustainability, added: “Today’s agreement represents a revolutionary moment in the drive to conserve forests. “It’s about going to the root causes of deforestation – we have shown that the destruction of forests is anchored deeply in the supply chains of the products we consume in industrialised nations, and we are showing we can do something about that.”

Kenyan project issues first REDD credits-Point Carbon

Reuters, 9 February 2011 | A Kenyan project has become the first to issue Redd credits under the Voluntary Carbon Standard. NGO Wildlife Works announced Tuesday its reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (Redd) project in Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor became the first to be issued with VCS carbon credits, known as Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs)… The VCS said the announcement marked a “watershed moment for Redd projects everywhere” because it demonstrates how the private sector can mobilise capital to preserve forests. “Coupled with being able to measure emissions reductions accurately and generate verified credits, this is exactly what is needed to attract private investment for forest protection,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli in a statement… “We believe the global voluntary carbon marketplace is ready for carbon credits that the average consumer can relate to,” said Mike Korchinsky, president of Wildlife Works.

Will intensified farming save the rainforests?

By Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 9 February 2011 | The idea that intensifying agriculture relieves pressure on land is sometimes called the Borlaug hypothesis after Norman Borlaug, the pioneer of the green revolution, who first articulated it. But before we go ahead we had better be sure that it is true. The counter-argument is that farmers don’t clear forests to feed the world; they do it to make money. So helping farmers become more efficient and more productive – especially those living near forests – won’t reduce the threat. It will increase it. Tony Simons, deputy director of the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, put it this way in Cancún. “Borlaug thought that if you addressed poverty in the forest border, they’d stop taking their machetes into the forest. Actually, they get enough money to buy a chainsaw and do much more damage.”

Reassessing after relocation

By Carol J. Pierce Colfer (CIFOR), RECOFTC blog, 9 February 2011 | In the course of all this work, the Lao Government made the decision to resettle one of the communities where our team was working: the Hmong community of Phadeng. The Government’s official goals were to reduce swidden agriculture as a strategy to reduce deforestation, to protect the nearby Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, and to improve villagers’ access to services like health and education.

Wildlife Works Wins World’s First Forestry Credits

By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 9 February 2011 | Wildlife Works Carbon LLC, a U.S. conservation business, said its project to safeguard forests in Kenya was the first of its kind to get voluntary carbon credits. The program in the Kasigau Corridor, a strip of land 360 kilometers (225 miles) southeast of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, aims to reduce carbon emissions and help save 202,000 hectares of forest, Wildlife Works said today in an emailed statement. The Wildlife Works project is the first to get voluntary credits under a forest-protection program known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degredation, or REDD, it said. South Africa’s Nedbank Group Ltd. has received credits for its initial funding of the effort and had first rights to buy the credits produced, Kevin Whitfield, head of the African treasuries, carbon and financial products unit at Nedbank, said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg.

Rising land, food prices cause recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to stagnate

mongabay.com, 9 February 2011 | Rising food, energy, and mineral prices, coupled with new interest in forests for their carbon-storing capacity, are driving a global land grab that threatens the rights of hundreds of millions of people living in and around tropical forests, argues a new report published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The report, “Pushback: Local Power, Global Realignment,” says that after 25 years of progress on governments recognizing forest peoples’ land and resource rights (recognition of indigenous and community ownership and management tripled between 1985 and 2009), gains stagnated in 2010. “The lack of progress at the global level in 2010 was doubly disappointing,” said Andy White, RRI Coordinator, in a statement.

Video: REDD Road to Cancun

Climate Connections, 9 February 2011 | This video is an important piece of media created by Praxis pictures on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) to profile our REDD ROAD mission to the Conference of the Parties 16 of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico December 2010. IEN is an environmental and economic justice network, based at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, in Northern Minnesota. Our work focuses on fighting to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from toxic contamination and corporate exploitation.

UNFCCC Publishes Fact Sheet on REDD

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 9 February 2011 | The UNFCCC Secretariat has published a fact sheet titled “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action.” The fact sheet highlights the important role that forests play in climate change, and reviews the progression of UNFCCC negotiations on forests and deforestation. It lists relevant decisions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to stimulate action on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), including a decision taken in 2009 on methodological and capacity building guidance for related activities. The fact sheet further lists ongoing efforts in capacity building, technical assistance and financial support for a number of enabling activities, such as improving data collection systems, institutional reforms and national monitoring systems.

EU Climate Chief Says More CO2 Centers to Open Soon

By Ewa Krukowska and Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg, 9 February 2011 | The European Union will allow more national carbon registries to reopen this week and is looking at ways to stop “crimes against the system” after hackers roiled the market, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said. The European Commission, the EU regulator, permitted five out of 30 registries in the world’s largest emissions market to resume on Feb. 4 after demonstrating their systems are secure. The remaining national databases for tracking carbon permits have been halted since Jan. 19, and spot trading is limited after hackers illegally transferred about 29 million euros ($40 million) of permits from Austria, the Czech Republic and Greece.

7.5 million ha of Indonesian forest slated for clearing

mongabay.com, 9 February 2011 | 7.5 million hectares of natural forest will escape Indonesia’s planned moratorium on new forestry concessions, according to a new report from Greenomics Indonesia, an activist group. Under its billion dollar forest conservation partnership with Norway, Indonesia committed to establish a moratorium on new concessions in forest areas and peatlands beginning January 1, 2011. But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to sign the decree due to debate over the details of what types of forest will be exempted. Presently two versions of the decree are circulating. The one drafted by the country’s REDD+ Taskforce, chaired by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, is considerably stronger than one prepared by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Rajasa.

10 February 2011

Storm on the horizon? Why World Bank Climate Investment Funds could do more harm than good

By Nora Honkaniemi, eurodad.org, 10 February 2011 | A new Eurodad report provides a critical analysis of the World Bank’s role in Climate Finance. Civil society actors have long been contesting the role of the World Bank as an appropriate channel for climate finance based on the Bank’s questionable green credentials and its history of advising economic policy reforms to developing countries. This report focuses on yet another concern regarding the role of the Bank in climate finance: how the World Bank is planning to disburse climate finance, via its Climate Investment Funds. It concludes that the Bank is not the best-placed institution to channel climate finance, nor does it set high standards for a legitimate and development-friendly climate finance architecture for the future.

Kaaaching! Arcelor Mittal bags a windfall of €103million, but there is plenty more where that came from

sandbag.org, 10 February 2011 | [L]ast year Arcelor Mittal made €103million from the sale of carbon permits. This follows earlier sales of €108 million over 2008-9. Kaching indeed! But there will be plenty more where that came from. Sandbag estimates that Arcelor Mittal has a 2008-2009 surplus of 50.5 million carbon permits with an estimated value of €706 million. Loose change, perhaps, for a company which in 2010 had a turnover of €49 billion, but not bad considering the permits were allocated for free… Sandbag is keen to avoid to misinformation and exaggeration which is why we are so keen on the data. The graph below illustrates Arcelor Mittal’s carbon emissions and allocation of carbon permits. Even when you take into account the recession, the potential to increase production and the need to protect competitiveness… you can’t help get the impression that some companies were simply given far too many free permits…

Ms. Bulkan has emerged again from her cocoon

By Peter Persaud, letter to the editor Guyana Chronicle, 10 February 2011 | I wish to refer to a letter in the Stabroek News under the caption “Almost nine per cent of Guyana’s budget this year hangs on the POYRY – Guyana Forestry Commission Report” in its issue of Thursday February 3, 2011. Ms Janette Bulkan, a known critic of Guyana’s forestry sector, Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and the REDD + Initiative has again emerged from her cocoon for fresh air which our intact forests are providing as an ecological service to the world. Yet Ms Bulkan, a Guyanese who lives overseas and who does not care about Guyana’s development and the damaging effects of global climate change, wants to see the failure of Guyana’s LCDS, our strategy to fight against global climate change.

WB seeking concrete mitigation programs

BusinessWorld Online Edition, 10 February 2011 | The World Bank esterday said the Philippines will be in a much better position to receive additional funding if the government were to provide concrete programs on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change mitigation, as well as instituting financing mechanisms in which to channel international funding. “There is going to be quite a bit of money available for either adaptation or climate mitigation measures that the Philippines can take… if the Philippines is really ready, as is various channels for absorbing that funding and doing things with it…,” the bank’s country director, Bert Hofman, told reporters in a forum… Mr. Hofman then listed funding opportunities, including Philippine-based private sector-led Post-Disaster Recovery Foundation designed for forestry initiatives, the reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) initiative specifically for tropical countries…

Climate talks in Cancún, Mexico: A step forward?

Consultancy Africa Intelligence, 10 February 2011 | As rainforests produce about 15% of the world’s total carbon emissions, conserving them became a priority during the COPs. REDD projects have provided these incentives. Probably the country at the forefront of these projects’ developments has been Indonesia, who is presumably attracted by the monetary gain – provided by developed countries – to be earned from changing their indigenous logging practices, for example. Developed countries can now provide financial aid and technology transfers to developing nations by assisting in forest projects. These may include reforestation or changing agricultural practices, all of which should provide incentives to prevent forest loss – which adds carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Although the development of REDD projects enjoyed centre stage in Cancún, many of its financial issues have not been resolved.

CDM is a work in progress: UN climate chief

By Rajiv Tikoo, Financial Express, 10 February 2011 | Clearing the air about the future of clean development mechanism (CDM), a market-based instrument under the Kyoto Protocol enabling developed countries to invest in developing countries to offset carbon emissions, UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres said, “CDM is a work in progress.”

11 February 2011

English forest sell-off put on hold

By Fiona Harvey and Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 11 February 2011 | The government has taken 40,000 hectares of public forest off the market, in the latest twist in the furore over the proposed sell-off of England’s woodland. About 15% of England’s public forests had been slated for sale, with the aim of raising £100m for government coffers, but on Friday morning the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it would hold on to the forest until the fate of the rest of the Forestry Commission’s land had been decided. Defra said the sale was being postponed because of concerns over access rights, and will not affect its broader proposal to sell nationally owned woods, which is still the subject of public consultation.

Kenya forest project claims first REDD credits

carbonpositive.net, 11 February 2011 | An avoided deforestation project in Kenya has become the first of a score of REDD projects around the world to have carbon credits issued under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). The Kasigau Corridor project developed by Wildlife Works and profiled by Carbon Positive in 2009, has now been issued with its first 1.45 million credits. They are VCUs for the preservation of 200,000 hectares of threatened forest and savannah land over the past five years since the project began. Around 1.15m credits were sold to Nedbank Group in South Africa, an early supporter of the project, while almost 300,000 have gone into a buffer reserve, a requirement for standards certification to cover any future loss of preserved trees.

12 February 2011

Indonesia Remains Committed To Implementing REDD

bernama.com, 12 February 2011 Indonesia remains fully committed although the presidential decree on a moratorium on peat land and natural forest conversion had not yet been signed so far, Vice President Boediono said as quoted by his spokesman, Yopie Hidayat. here on Friday. “Indonesia is committed to implementing the REDD+ but would remain prioritizing the welfare of the people,” Yopie said quoting the vice president. The Vice President made the confirmation when receiving the International Climate and Forestry Initiative Oslo, Hans Brattskar. Boediono said Indonesia was resolved to implement the REDD+ successfully and concretely as a new solution to overcome climate change problems without hurting the people… Hans Brattskar responded well the statement and said he could understand wh Indonesia had not yet been able to sign the decree.

Forest protection for survival, hope

By Conservation International, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 February 2011 | Recognizing the role of deforestation in contributing to greenhouse emissions, CI and its partners around the world are pushing for governments to adopt REDD+ mechanisms. REDD+ is a suite of policies, institutional reforms and programs that provide developing countries with financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance economic growth by preventing the destruction of forests… A global REDD+ mechanism presents a key opportunity to generate the funding, political will and internationally agreed-upon policies, economic incentives and social safeguards necessary to protect forests and combat climate change. The mechanism also seeks to improve human well-being and ensure protection of indigenous people and community rights in developing nations. It is a cost-effective climate-change solution that can be implemented now, without waiting for new technologies.

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