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REDD in the news: 14-20 February 2011

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REDD in the news: 14-20 February 2011. PHOTO: IUCN

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.

REDD Integrity: Addressing governance and corruption challenges in schemes for REDD

By Peter Bofin, Mari-Lise du Preez, André Standing, Aled Williams, u4.no, February 2011 | [C]ountries with the highest volumes of deforestation – and therefore a focus of REDD support – are also those with some of the poorest scores on established indicators of governance. Addressing challenges related to governance and corruption is an acknowledged goal among major donors supporting REDD, and actions are being taken intended to improve and monitor forest governance performance in REDD host countries. Yet despite recognition of the importance of practically addressing and analysing forest-linked governance and corruption challenges for REDD, detailed explorations of these issues have to date been scarce and potential policy approaches are still in their infancy. This U4 Report aims to add nuance to discussions on how donors might approach challenges of governance and corruption with special reference to REDD schemes.

Safeguards and REDD+

By Kristen Hite, The Center for International Environmental Law, February 2011 | This presentation was presented at the ninth RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change in London on February 8, 2011.

14 February 2011

In Peru, hopes for carbon deal wash away with the soil

By Barbara Fraser, The Daily Climate, 14 February 2011 | A newly paved highway has sparked a Klondike-style gold rush in Peru’s rich rain forest, threatening the country’s chances to strike carbon-offset deals on the international market… Heavily forested Madre de Dios, Peru’s top nature tourism destination, is a prime target for carbon-trading schemes such as REDD, or Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and REDD+, which includes forests not necessarily threatened. But those schemes, which took a step forward in the United Nations climate talks in Cancún in December, are being overtaken by mining and other development.

Chevron Ordered to Pay $9 Billion for Ecuador Pollution

By Simon Romero and Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 14 February 2011 | A judge in a tiny courtroom in the Ecuadorean Amazon ruled Monday that the oil giant Chevron was responsible for polluting remote tracts of Ecuadorean jungle and ordered the company to pay more than $9 billion in damages, one of the largest environmental awards ever.

Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly at the World Social Forum – Dakar, Senegal

Climate Connections, 14 February 2011 | We fight for climate justice and food sovereignty. Global climate change is a product of the capitalist system of production, distribution and consumption. Transnational corporations, international financial institutions and governments serving them do not want to reduce greenhouse gases. We denounce ¨green capitalism ¨ and refuse false solutions to the climate crisis such as biofuels, genetically modified organisms and mechanisms of the carbon market like REDD, which ensnare impoverished peoples with false promises of progress while privatizing and commodifying the forests and territories where these peoples have been living for thousands of years.

Uncontacted Amazon Indians face annihilation

Survival International, 14 February 2011 | A shocking report obtained by Survival International reveals that the home of the nomadic Awá tribe suffered more deforestation than any other indigenous territory in the Amazon in 2009. Around 60 to 100 Awá have managed to remain uncontacted, but their last refuge is now being destroyed. A huge influx of loggers and settlers has invaded the territory, but virtually nothing has been done to remove them, despite the authorities being aware of their identities. The report, by Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department FUNAI, shows that 31% of the forest in the Awá territory has been illegally cut down. The tribe lives in three of the five indigenous areas which suffered most deforestation in 2009 – the latest year for which statistics are available. There are about 360 contacted Awá, living in several communities.

Nigeria: Why Cross River Ban Logging – Imoke

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, allAfrica.com, 14 February 2011 | The Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has said that the recent ban on all logging within the state is to reduce deforestation and at the same time help in solving the climate change crisis. Governor Imoke who stated this in Calabar said the state is participating actively in the global REDD and other climate change campaigns and is expecting to access substantial financial and technical resources from the United Nations REDD to support the state’s REDD+ readiness efforts in 2011. “We will extend REDD+ activities to other forest communities in the state so that we can confidently participate in the emerging low carbon economy through the carbon credit mechanism”, he stated.

IUCN’s Stewart Maginnis on the importance of forests

Global Connections TV, 14 February 2011 | What role do forests play in combating climate change and providing livelihoods for millions of people around the world? How do forests affect all 6.8 billion people on the planet? Stewart Maginnis, Director of IUCN’s Environment and Development Group answers those question on Global Connections TV.

15 February 2011

EU seeks to slow carbon trades

By Joshua Chaffin, Financial Times, 15 February 2011 | Europe’s climate chief wants to slow down the pace of trading in carbon markets in order to make the system less susceptible to cyber-thieves. Connie Hedegaard, the commissioner for climate action, has ordered aides to study ways to introduce delays in carbon spot trading in response to a rash of thefts last month that forced the European Union to suspend a market that is its chief tool to fight global warming. The commission has estimated that criminals pocketed carbon allowances worth nearly €30m ($40m) by hacking into computer registries across central and eastern Europe where they were stored. A similar attack in November resulted in the theft of allowances worth more than €20m.

What’s behind the Belo Monte dam

By Rodrigo Nunes, The Guardian, 15 February 2011 | It is symptomatic that Belo Monte was first idealised by the military regime, as part of its 1970s “Big Brazil” policy – a programme of state-sponsored development based on gigantic flagship projects such as the Transamazonian highway, a black hole of money and men, unfinished to this day. “Development” here meant centralised planning and an ideal of absolute mastery over nature where the environment figured as an obstacle to growth. “National” meant managing people and nature as so many variables to be manipulated in the name of the national interest.

U.K.’s Plans for Carbon Tax Opposed by Traders, Steel Makers, Green Groups

By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 15 February 2011 | The U.K. plan to impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels faces opposition from steel makers, emissions traders and environmental groups. Britain, seeking private financing for nuclear stations and other low-carbon sources of power, proposed last year a CO2 charge when the price of European Union permits falls below a set level. The environmental groups WWF and Greenpeace said the plan may result in a “windfall” of as much as 3.4 billion pounds ($5.5 billion) for existing nuclear power stations, most of them owned by EDF SA and Centrica Plc… “At a time of fiscal austerity and rising energy bills, it seems crazy to be introducing a policy that gives huge windfall profits to the existing nuclear generators, especially when this sector has been bailed out by the taxpayer on several occasions,” Nick Molho, head of energy policy at WWF’s U.K. unit, said in the statement.

UN targets carbon credit backlog

BusinessGreen, 15 February 2011 | Clearing a backlog of credits and convincing small countries they can benefit from the UN’s carbon offsetting scheme will be amongst the top priority as the Clean Development Mechanism’s (CDM) executive board gathers in Bonn, Germany this week to discuss the future of the scheme. The meeting will also see Martin Hession, head of global carbon markets at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, appointed new chair of the group, which is responsible for the development of the popular UN-backed carbon offsetting scheme.

Rejecting REDD

climatesoscanada.org, 15 February 2011 | Activist and documentary filmmaker Rebecca Sommer filmed several statements from the Indigenous leaders of the Alto Xingu region. She has documented how certain co-opted NGOs try to convince the Indigenous Tribes that REDD is a good thing, how and why the Indigenous Peoples from the Upper Xingu don’t agree with it, and how they have NOT been informed about any of the problems and realities of the false solutions carbon market. Rebecca Sommers has made it her life’s work to inform the Indigenous Peoples of the dangers of REDD. She explained REDD in depth with the people speaking to many. She distributed brochures, text of the UNDROP, FPIC, REDD brochures, and had meetings with the Elders, paje’s, and leaders/casiques. She explained the truth about REDD to many indigenous teachers from various etnias indigenas.

Japan offers emission reduction exchange mechanism with RI

mcot.net, 15 February 2011 | Japanese entrepreneurs grouped in Keidanren offer to establish a mechanism for emission reduction exchange with Indonesia, Vice President Boediono`s spokesman said here Monday. “Keidanren offers a carbon emission exhange system with Indonesia, and Japan will provide sophisticated and inexpensive technology,” said Yopie Hidayat at the Vice President`s office after accompanying Boediono at the meeting with the head of Keidanren, Hiromasa Yonekura, here Monday. According to Yopie, Boediono welcomed the offer from the Japanese businessmen`s association considering that Indonesia also had a standing commitment to reduce carbon emission. Recently, Indonesia had entered into cooperated with Norway to reduce emission caused by deforestation and degradation (REDD+). A relevant tender, he added, was going to be processed soon due to Indonesia`s promise to reduce carbon emission.

Nigeria to earn N34.44 billion yearly in tree planting

By Samuel Ogidan, Nigerian Compass, 15 February 2011 | If tree planting programme initiated by the Federal Government is taken seriously, the way it should, Nigeria stands to generate a revenue of about N34.44 billion yearly. Revealing this during a chat with newsmen in Abuja, UNISPACE/Global Oxygen Development (GOD) Corporation noted that 20 per cent scenario of deforestation avoidance projected rate at $15 per ton of carbon, country’s carbon credit sequestration capacity through the project’s implementation of these projects, it is estimated to generate equivalent of $229,605,000 million per year, which translates to about N34.44 billion. The Corporation also commends Nigeria as the first African country to boost reforestation, afforestation and re-vegetation programmes to the tune of five billion naira, with plans to raise millions of seedlings in the 36 states of Nigeria.

Event to unveil business opportunities in carbon forestry

Forest Industry Engineering Association, 15 February 2011 | Carbon Forestry 2011 is the first event of its type run in New Zealand, profiling key investment drivers and future business opportunities in carbon forestry. This international event is being hosted by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) on 13-14th July in Auckland, New Zealand. Mention the words climate change and many businesses will think it’s important – but just at the moment – it’s not impacting too much on me or my current operation. Bring up the term Emissions Trading Scheme and the eyes start to glaze over and when you start hearing acronyms like ETS, VER, REDD, AAU’s, PFSI, CDM and NZU’s bandied around, you’ve well and truly lost the plot.

The forest and the trees

By Tony La Vina, Manila Standard Today, 15 February 2011 | My position on Executive Order No. 23, issued by President Benigno Aquino III last 1 February, is clear. I support it; indeed, I wrote an open letter thanking the President for issuing this order imposing a nationwide ban on logging… Given the log ban’s potential adverse economic impacts, the Climate Change Commission should fast track implementation of the REDD-Plus program under the UNFCCC. In the recently concluded Cancun conference on climate change, the Philippines was instrumental in getting REDD-Plus approved. If designed properly with social, environmental and governance safeguards, the Philippine National REDD-plus Strategy (based on CBFM) should bring significant resources for forest protection and to support forest workers and communities. When REDD-Plus is fully implemented, we might not even have to exempt CBFM areas from the log ban.

Central America Has Highest Rate of Forest Loss in Region

By Danilo Valldares, IPS, 15 February 2011 | Central America has suffered the highest rate of forest loss in Latin America over the last 10 years, despite a growing number of plans aimed at curbing the decline, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports. FAO’s State of the World’s Forests report says the average rate of loss of forest cover in Central America, which is made up of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala City, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, was 1.19 percent a year between 2000 and 2010, compared to a global rate of just 0.13 percent. The region’s forested area shrank from 21.9 million hectares in 2000 to 19.4 million hectares in 2010. But the situation is not drastic everywhere. In the Caribbean, for example, forest area expanded by one million hectares from 1990 to 2010, “mainly through natural expansion of forest onto abandoned agricultural land,” says the study presented in late January, at the start of 2011, the International Year of Forests.

UN: Latin American Nations and the Cancun Climate Accords

United Nations press release, 15 February 2011 | The United Nations climate change chief today called on Latin American nations to fully capitalize on opportunities to take climate change action to the next level, building on the achievements reached at last year’s conference in Cancún, Mexico. “The Cancún Agreements are a small step for the planet, but they are nonetheless a beginning that can spark more action,” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in a speech to the Conference of the Secretariat General Iberoamericana in Madrid, Spain. [R-M: The full speech is available here: http://bit.ly/dVy2yj]

Asia-Pacific regional consultation and capacity-building workshop on REDD-plus, including on relevant biodiversity safeguards – Annotations to the provisional agenda

CBD, 15 February 2011 | The Asia-Pacific regional consultation and capacity-building workshop on REDD-plus, including on relevant biodiversity safeguards, to be held in Singapore from 15 to 18 March 2011, is being co-organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the National Parks Board of Singapore (NParks), with the generous financial support from the Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Germany, and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. The organizers gratefully acknowledge that several of the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) will contribute to the workshop by providing information about their work on REDD-plus.

16 February 2011

Rwanda Launches Plan to Reverse Environmental Degradation

CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 February 2011 | Rwanda, the most densely populated nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, has launched a national plan to reverse the current degradation of soil, land, water and forest resources by 2035 while boosting economic development growth. The new Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, part of a blueprint to lift the Rwandans out of poverty, will evaluate the country’s forests, grasslands and wetlands to safeguard biodiversity, ensure sustainable agricultural production, and spur low carbon economic development.

Budget for rainforests puts Obama’s $1 billion pledge at risk

By Glenn Hurowitz, Grist, 16 February 2011 | Both President Obama’s proposed budget and especially House Republican proposals fall significantly short of the administration’s $1 billion pledge for short-term forest finance made at the Copenhagen climate summit – putting the United States’ climate credibility at even further risk. However modest, the $1 billion pledge was one of the few concrete, deliverable commitments on international climate finance that the United States has made. Without these funds, the United States will be doing very little indeed to address climate change internationally.

Lingui Development Berhad Ltd. excluded from the GPFG

Government Pension Fund Global (Norway) press release, 16 February 2011 | On the recommendation of the Council on Ethics, the Ministry of Finance has decided to exclude the Malaysian company Lingui Developments Berhad from the Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFG) investment portfolio. The divestment from the company has been completed. Lingui Developments Berhad is involved in forestry operations in the tropical rainforest, and the decision to exclude is based on the risk that the company contributes to severe environmental damage. The Council bases its recommendation on satellite image analysis, evaluation of available documents and field visits. Lingui Developments Berhad is a daughter company of the already excluded company Samling Global Ltd. The violations referred to in the Lingui recommendation formed part of the basis of the Samling exclusion.

Top UN climate official calls on Latin America to take advantage of Cancun accords

People’s Daily, 16 February 2011 | The head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Tuesday told Latin American countries that the Cancun Agreements provide them with great opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and grow sustainably, UN officials said. Speaking on Tuesday to the Conference of the Secretariat General Iberoamericana in Madrid, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, said that the agreements from last year’s conference in Cancun, Mexico, “signified what was a big step forward for the community of nations, but a small step for the planet.”

UK pledges support for Nigeria’s environmental programmes

By Ngozi Sams, 234next.com, 16 February 2011 | The British government will support Nigeria’s effort to manage her environment through reduction of carbon emission, Henry Bellingham, British minister for Africa and the United Nations, said yesterday in Abuja. Mr. Bellingham, who spoke at the ministries of environment and foreign affairs when he paid his first official visit to Nigeria, said the country’s role in the Cote d’ Ivoire crisis should also be commended. He said his first visit to the country after assumption of duties was borne out of the resolution by the UK to strengthen partnership with its allies. Speaking at the ministry of foreign affairs, the British official described Nigeria as a country that plays important role not only in Africa but in the United Nations. He said though both countries have very strong trade relationship, there was need for the countries to improve on it and even double it by 2015 as, according to him, there is huge potential to improve.

What wood you do to stop this?

By Dave Bangs, Morning Star, 16 February 2011 | The government’s announcement that it is postponing the sale of 15 per cent of the Forestry Commission estate, in order to review the site-by-site criteria for disposal is a first victory in the massive grass-roots anti-privatisation campaign… State ownership’s major advantage is that it subtracts a resource, at least partially, from the irrationality and greed of the market. The answer for our public forests is the same as the answer for our economy – we need more democratic public ownership and economy-wide planning, enough to break the dominance of the market and not some porridge of private businesses and “social enterprises” struggling for their market share.

Seminar on ‘reforms in forest laws’ held

Daily Times, 16 February 2011 | Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Tuesday organised a seminar “Legal & Institutional Reforms in Forest Laws for accepting Forest Carbon as Commodity.” Speakers at the seminar pointed out that there needs to be a “comprehensive definition” of what comes into the category of forests, and that how to balance livelihood of dependent people with deforestation. They also said that there needs to be a mechanism for REDD.

State of the World’s Forests 2011

Forest Carbon Portal, 16 February 2011 | The FAO has released its ninth biennial report on the state of the world’s forests. The report takes a wholistic view by examining how forests support livelihoods in multiple ways. Chapter 1: The state of forest resources – a regional analysis Chapter 2: Developing sustainable forest industries Chapter 3: The role of forests in climate change adaptation and mitigation Chapter 4: The local value of forests.

17 February 2011

Thawing permafrost may speed global warming: study

By Karin Zeitvogel, 17 February 2011 | Global warming could cause up to 60 percent of the world’s permafrost to thaw by 2200 and release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere that would further speed up climate change, a study warned. Using projections based on UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Colorado estimated that if global warming continues even at a moderate pace, a third of the earth’s permafrost will be gone by 2200.

Moratorium to preserve only protected forest areas: Draft

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 17 February 2011 | Deforestation would continue in the country despite the pledged two-year moratorium, since it would only take effect in areas categorized as protected under the Forest Law, a civil society group said on Wednesday. After analyzing drafts of presidential decrees on the forest moratorium, Greenpeace said the target of the moratorium would only be 41 million hectares of forests. “The 41 million hectares have been designated as protected areas under the 1999 Forest Law,” geographic information center (GIS) specialist for Greenpeace, Kiki Taufik said at a press conference on Wednesday. The figure is far lower than the Forestry Ministry’s prediction of approximately 60 million hectares. The press conference came after a meeting of high-ranking officials to discuss drafts of presidential decrees was reported in a deadlock on Monday.

Nigerian State Sets REDD Pace for Entire Continent

By Emilie Filou, Ecosystem Marketplace, 17 February 2011 | In September, 2010, the United Nations REDD Program (UN-REDD) sent three representatives to Nigeria to determine whether the nation could become a pilot country for UN-sanctioned projects that funnel carbon offsets to people who save endangered forestland and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). By becoming a pilot country instead of just an observer country, they could eventually channel billions to the country’s rural poor – and save large swathes of virgin rainforest. After spending a few days in Cross River State and then visiting the capital, Abuja, the team invited the country to prepare a REDD readiness plan, which UN-REDD will support to the tune of $3-4 million. The promise of donor support for a national REDD strategy is the culmination of 15 years of environmental activism in Nigeria, centered mostly in one state: Cross River…

A Tentative Year for REDD+: Placing Value on Forests

By Anna Mazhirov, Climate Matters – State of the Planet, 17 February 2011 | The UNFCCC’s encouragement to begin experimenting with REDD+ implementation has increased nation-sized efforts. Understandably, more intentions to proceed have been displayed than actual changes. Without collective action, benefits seem unclear or unreliable for many. The global community has yet to determine whether financing should come from a fund, a carbon market, or some sort of combination. Other than the $4.1 billion UN seed fund, the source of long-term funding for REDD+ (estimated at $100 billion over the next two decades) has not been defined. The issue of how to preserve rights of indigenous groups still has to be addressed. Allowing forest value to be determined by unstable markets is also an ethical concern. With all these obstacles yet to be resolved, perhaps these smaller-scale undertakings are necessary to inform the process for the next Conference of Parties in Durban in 2011.

Environmentalists Say Moratorium on Forest Conversion an Empty Promise

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 17 February 2011 | Green activists said on Wednesday that the government’s much-hyped plan for a moratorium on new logging concessions would only apply to forests that were already protected in the first place… The Civil Society Organization Common Platform, comprising the groups Greenpeace Southeast Asia, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law and Sawit Watch, a palm oil industry watchdog, said even if enforced, the government’s claim that the moratorium would protect more forested areas was blatantly false. “The government lied about the moratorium, because based on a map [of the affected forest areas], only 41 million hectares will be protected, but these are already categorized as conservation and protected areas,” said Teguh Surya, head of international liaison and climate justice at Walhi.

This Week in Forest Carbon: A REDD Tidal Wave

Forest Carbon Portal, 17 February 2011 | Down in Indonesia, the moratorium saga drags on, with a key component of the REDD deal signed last year with Norway – a halt on concessions for clearing forest land – still yet to be made legally binding. For nearly two months, President Yudhoyono has apparently been mulling over two competing versions of the moratorium decree which was expected to be announced in January. Another major Norwegian REDD commitment, to fund Guyana’s forest conservation program, is also apparently hinging on a positive report from a single third-party verifier. What’s more, the deal is set to provide 9 percent of Guyana’s annual budget! Talk about high stakes! Following an abrupt halt to emissions trading in Europe mid-January following a security breach and theft of credits beginning in Austria, trading platforms across the EU have now come back online although traders appear to be moving a bit more cautiously.

Greens may block carbon farming bill

By Stephen Johnson, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February 2011 | The Australian Greens have indicated they will block federal government moves to give farmers carbon credits for planting trees. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet told a land use forum on Thursday the government wanted legislation passed by July enabling landowners to be paid for capturing carbon. Labor is banking on getting its carbon farming scheme legislated before the Greens gain the balance of power in the Senate… While the timing is yet to be worked out, independent MP Rob Oakeshott, a committee member, said he would prefer a cap and trade system to begin without an interim period. “I question whether we need the transition period at all or whether we could start with a market-based system as quickly as possible,” he told reporters on Thursday. “The market is ready to rip, I’m of a view we should let it.”

U.S. REDD+ Fast Track in peril with DC budget debate

By John-O Niles, Tropical Forest Group, 17 February 2011 | It is a busy week on the Hill, between the release of President Barack Obama’s budget proposal and the debate in Congress about H.R. 1, the U.S. House of Representatives’ bill to provide funding for federal programs for the rest of the current fiscal year. Current funding for the federal government runs out on March 4, so the next two weeks is shaping up as a showdown between the parties on the country’s fiscal course. One important element that might get lost in all of the public discussion is this: H.R. 1 would slash U.S. direct foreign assistance and support for multilateral institutions. The total funding of these programs amounts to less than 1 percent of the federal budget, but they play a critical role in protecting U.S. security, contributing to a strong economy, providing stability in many countries, and preserving the U.S. as a strong global partner.

18 February 2011

Tropical forests ‘re-shaped’ by climate changes

By Mark Kinver, BBC news, 18 February 2011 | Future climate change could change the profile of tropical forests, with possible consequences for carbon storage and biodiversity, a study says. It suggests that if current trends continued, the drier conditions would favour deciduous, canopy species at the expense of other trees. US researchers based their findings on the changes they recorded in a Costa Rican forest over a 20-year period. The team’s paper has been published in the journal Global Change Biology. “It is important because – depending on the rate of change, and the type of species that are found in the forests – it will influence a lot of ecosystem services and processes,” explained co-author Brian Enquist from the University of Arizona.

Land of hope and storage

By Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator, 18 February 2011 | Squirreled together at a table perched under the escalator in the main conference building of the Moon Palace in Cancun during the recent climate change talks, a loose coalition of environmental groups were keeping a close eye on talks about land use and forestry management. Of particular concern were the efforts by a group of countries – including Australia, Canada, Norway, Russia and New Zealand – to forge new agreements on how land use change change and forestry should be accounted for in a new international agreement. It’s not that the environmentalists were arguing against land use change and forestry management; on the contrary, they just didn’t want a deal that delivered un-necessary free kicks to countries that – among other proposals – could set their own baselines and then claim credits for doing less.

For the love of markets

By Ama Marston, Bretton Woods Project, 18 February 2011 | As record high food prices have contributed to unrest in North Africa and beyond, the World Bank’s unwavering faith in markets has stirred debate about how best to address the multitude of factors underlying a global crisis in food prices. Meanwhile, World Bank president Robert Zoellick continues to champion efforts to bring agriculture into carbon markets. In January, Zoellick delivered a pro-market message addressing food prices in the UK newspaper the Financial Times. “The answer to food price volatility is not to prosecute or block markets, but to use them better,” he argued, urging the G20 leaders to put access to food at the top of its agenda. He also emphasised that trade barriers contribute to spikes in food prices and that food aid should be allowed to move more freely.

Kenyan project issues world’s first REDD forest credits

businessGreen, 18 February 2011 | The first officially verified greenhouse gas credits under the pioneering UN-backed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiative have been issued to a scheme in Kenya, marking the start of what supporters hope will be a new era in global forest protection. Around 1.45 million credits were issued last week to the Kasigau corridor project for its first six year monitoring period. Developed by NGO Wildlife Works in an area of semi-arid tropical forest in south east Kenya, the scheme is expected to reduce over six million metric tons of emissions during its 30-year project lifetime… “We’ve proved that the validation and verification of complex projects can be done in an efficient manner. I strongly believe this is a game changer in the market,” said Miguel Rescalvo, head of DNV’s climate change and environmental services in the Americas.

Trial of Indian leader’s ‘assassins’ resumes

Survival International, 18 February 2011 | The trial of three men accused of murdering renowned Guarani Indian leader Marcos Veron is set to resume on Monday in São Paulo, Brazil. Marcos Veron, an internationally respected Guarani Kaiowá leader, was beaten to death in 2003 by gunmen working for a local rancher, after he led his community’s reoccupation of their ancestral land. Veron said about his land, ‘This here is my life, my soul. If you take me away from this land, you take my life.’

If I ran the UNFCCC COP process…

By Matther Garcia, Hydro-Logic, 18 February 2011 | A recent study published by IUFRO … recognized that agreements such as REDD “have too often ignored local needs, while failing to address the most fundamental challenge to global forest management – that deforestation usually is caused by economic pressures imposed from outside the forests.” At the high-level tables of COP meetings, this is just more evidence that the representatives are out of touch with the populations for whom they claim to negotiate and work. It is at this point in time and work that an effort such as REDD, with such recognition and viable alternatives, must be taken away from those tables and back to the people involved and affected where the real work of locals can proceed – in other words, REDD must be taken out of the UNFCCC’s hands at COP meetings and developed as a process that has a chance of working out well.

Voluntary Carbon Fills Compliance Void

By Caroline Spencer (International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance), EkoEco, 18 February 2011 | Last week, Ecosystem Marketplace reported that a major formal voluntary carbon standard has verified its first carbon credits from projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). It’s the kind of mechanism that was pioneered and vastly improved in the voluntary carbon markets long before regulators felt comfortable enough to formally admit REDD mechanisms into an international compliance carbon market. Now, REDD is considered to be one of the few success stories at UN climate talks over the past few years.

REDD and rights: lost in translation

Forest Peoples Programme, 18 February 2011 | Important achievements on rights and safeguards in REDD at UNFCCC now risk being seriously watered down and reinterpreted in REDD policy debates and practices, posing significant threats to the environment and indigenous peoples… A final assessment of how the Cancun outcome will impact on REDD is not possible at this stage, considering that policy processes and political positioning require time and resources to evolve and consolidate. However, evidence is starting to consolidate about the hiatus existing between rhetoric and practice, confirming that what was achieved in Cancun might turn out to be nothing but a strong political mandate to intensify support and proceed with REDD readiness while diluting some of the key requirements in terms of rights and safeguards.

20 February 2011

European Union faces legal action over fraudulent carbon emissions trading

By Terry Macalister, The Guardian, 20 February 2011 | The European Union faces legal and political challenges over its handling of the carbon markets which remain in chaos after a cyber attack forced partial closure of the Emissions Trading Scheme. EU officials are due in a Belgian court on Monday to answer a request to name companies in possession of stolen allowances after a legal challenge by an Italian company affected by the fraud. And on Wednesday the EU’s climate change committee will try to reassure national governments and carbon exchanges that they have the right level of security in place to reassure nervous market users. British energy minister Greg Barker has sent a letter to the EU demanding that standards need to be raised to UK levels to prevent further thefts.

Room for forests

By Bharat Sharma Acharya, The Himalayan Times, 20 February 2011 | After the last agreement on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Cancun Climate meet, enthusiasm has ascended among key forest stakeholders. The focus has been shifted, thus, on conservation of forests. However, felling trees, encroachment of forests, smuggling, timber racketeering, and illegal trade of animal parts are on the rise, and has jeopardized sustainability agendas of conservation in Nepal. According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Nepal lost 1.23% of forest per year between 1990 and 2010, leaving only 25.4% of its forest cover. A study by the parliamentary committee on natural resources and means shows that approximately 10 million cubic feet of timber was cut down illegally in the Terai and Inner Terai forests, in FY 2009/2010.

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  1. The REDD+ power point presented by Kristen Hike for the World Bank and UNFCCC is a perfect example of reasons and strategies to the biggest land grab attempt of the planets history.
    TO THINK , EVEN the simplest layman to a Supreme Court judge would never dare suggest or use reference any part of the so called power point of description to alive evidence or try and find a foundation for process.International Environmental Law , who the hell are they for Gods sake, another consultant sticking their noses in to something they don’t understand to try and create a legislated crime of corruption.
    THE SAME OLD CLIQUE WHO OWNS THE TREE AND THEN THE CARBON.
    Certainly not the World Bank or UNFCCC.